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Author Topic: Winter batttery storage/maintenance  (Read 1359 times)

Woodbooger

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Winter batttery storage/maintenance
« on: January 20, 2019, 07:24:40 AM »
Just got our 22' TT last July.  New to RVing.  I recently had reason to check the health of the battery.  No good.  Bought a new one.  Question:  Is it better to leave it on camper hooked to shore power during cold weather storage or should I bring it in to the garage where temps rarely get to freezing and keep it hooked up to battery charger?  It is an automatic charger - it automatically switches between charge mode and maintain mode.  When the voltage drops below a preset level goes into charge mode.  What's your advice?
-Woodbooger-

Doswell, VA
2008 Gulfstream M21b
2014 Ram 1500 Laramie 3.92
Equalizer WDH
Tekonsha P3

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Winter batttery storage/maintenance
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2019, 09:30:40 AM »
Can't answer that without knowing more about the charger in the trailer.   Or the one at home, for that matter.  Some of them back in 2008 will overcharge if left on for weeks at a time, while others were multi-stage chargers that maintained voltage nicely.    Generally, though, the safest approach is to keep the battery somewhere above freezing and maintain the charge at "full".  A  small (aka "trickle" charger on a timer (about 1 hour/day) is one good way to do that.  Sounds like that automatic charger may be ok, assuming what it calls "maintenance mode" is a true float charge.

If it's flooded cell type battery (has removable caps to view the electrolyte inside), make sure the level stays 1/4" above the lead plates and add distilled water if needed.  Continuous charging in a very dry environment can deplete the water from the electrolyte.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Woodbooger

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Re: Winter batttery storage/maintenance
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2019, 04:54:24 PM »
I know nothing about the trailer's charger.  Gulfstream manual says "the converter will charge your battery when the trailer is plugged into shore power."

My home charger (Shumacher Elec. Corp.) manual says "the charger switches to the Maintain Mode automatically after the battery is charged...When the FULL CHARGE (green) LED is lit, the charger has started Maintain Mode.  In this mode the charger keeps the battery fully charged by delivering a small current, when necessary.  If the battery voltage drops below a preset level, the charger will go back into charge mode until the battery voltage returns to the full charge level, at which point the the charger will return to the maintain mode.  The voltage is determined by the BATTERY TYPE selected."  (choose between SLI and deep cycle.  I choose deep cycle.  Charger also has 3 voltage selections: )  Manual further explains that "the Automatic charger automatically switches between Charge Mode and Maintain Mode as necessary.  The FULL CHARGE (green) LED will cycle on when the battery is at full charge and off when the voltage drops below a preset level and the charger goes into Charge Mode.  This will continue, and the FULL CHARGE (green) LED will stay on for longer periods of time as the battery becomes more fully charged."
-Woodbooger-

Doswell, VA
2008 Gulfstream M21b
2014 Ram 1500 Laramie 3.92
Equalizer WDH
Tekonsha P3

SpencerPJ

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Re: Winter batttery storage/maintenance
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2019, 07:05:16 AM »
I've always taken my batteries out of boats, motorcycles, and RV and put in warmer garage.  I don't even keep them on trickle charge.  1st of every month, I charge them.  They lose minimal charge just sitting there.  Been doing this for many years.  I keep them on a piece of wood, I once read it's best not to store on concrete floor, not sure if that still applies? 
2020 F150 Lariat 502a, Max Tow, 3.5 Eco
2012 Puma 21BH TT
Paul & Julie


"Never argue with stupid people. They bring you down to their level and beat you with experience" - Mark Twain

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Winter batttery storage/maintenance
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2019, 09:53:19 AM »
Quote
My home charger (Shumacher Elec. Corp.) manual says "the charger switches to the Maintain Mode automatically after the battery is charged...
Difficult to tell from advertising blather. It may have an actual separate charge mode for maintenance, or it may just turn on an led when the battery voltage or amp rate reaches a predetermined value.  However, the cost of electronics has gone down so much that even cheap chargers can do fairly sophisticated charge management, so it's probably OK.


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I don't even keep them on trickle charge.  1st of every month, I charge them.
That works as well as a timer, as long as you remember to do it every month.  :D

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I keep them on a piece of wood, I once read it's best not to store on concrete floor, not sure if that still applies? 
Very much "old school".   Modern battery case materials are totally unaffected by the surface they rest on, even freshly poured (uncured) concrete. But the myth persists...
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 09:58:03 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Woodbooger

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Re: Winter batttery storage/maintenance
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2019, 10:46:40 AM »
Thanks guys for your comments.  All input I've received makes comfortable that I'm  taking good care of my battery.
-Woodbooger-

Doswell, VA
2008 Gulfstream M21b
2014 Ram 1500 Laramie 3.92
Equalizer WDH
Tekonsha P3

denmarc

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Re: Winter batttery storage/maintenance
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2019, 12:30:39 PM »
Something you might consider that hasn't been mentioned. I've done this for years with no issues. I have a small battery bank (2 flooded 4D's) that suit me well for my boondocking. I put them (cabled together in parallel) on a Battery Tender Plus for the entire Michigan winter. Just a monthly check of fluid level. 
And the charger can be used for many other purposes when not keeping the RV batteries up to snuff during the winter. Came in so handy that I bought a 2nd one! 

https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tender-021-0128-Maintain-Damaging/dp/B00068XCQU/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=battery+tender+plus&qid=1548094230&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1

Whatever you chose to do, I would disconnect the TT from the battery (if not removing the battery) to cut any phantom draws from appliance circuit boards and the like.
Gary is correct in that it's too hard to make recommendations without knowing the specifics on the particular charger/converter in your TT. As well as your home charger.
You sound like you're on the right track. Just keep up on the research. There is a ton of it here. Ask away!
Mark

1994 Jayco Eagle 370FB on 24 acres of paid off paradise in Michigan.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
Dr. Seuss