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Author Topic: Winter Storage and my batteries  (Read 1147 times)

ksmoody

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Winter Storage and my batteries
« on: January 12, 2020, 07:39:18 PM »
I have my Fleetwood Tioga class C in my garage for the winter. Is it OK to leave it plugged into shore power for long periods? Is it hard on the batteries and power converter to be charging all the time?
Ken & Susan
2008 Fleetwood Tioga 31M
Retired in Idaho

Arch Hoagland

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2020, 07:55:37 PM »
I have mine plugged in all the time, however I used to check the batteries every month for water usage.

I switched to AGM batteries several months ago and now I don't have to worry about the water levels.

Been plugged in for 13 years so I don't think it hurts anything provided you check your batteries.
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Larry N.

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2020, 08:19:31 PM »
You don't give any indication about age. A lot of older units had single stage chargers that would run a battery dry fairly soon. More recent units mostly have decent 3-stage chargers which will do just fine over extended periods.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL, Bounder, Beaver
  de N8GGG

ksmoody

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2020, 08:42:36 PM »
I will check the battery water levels.
It's a 2008 Tioga 31M
Ken & Susan
2008 Fleetwood Tioga 31M
Retired in Idaho

Mark_K5LXP

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  • 2005 Itasca Sunova
Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2020, 09:12:24 PM »
My take on extended storage, as copied from another forum:

I shut off the salesman switch, leave the RV disconnected from mains, and use a battery tender. My logic is this - if I leave the RV plugged in the converter and every circuit in the RV is energized. I'm basing it on faith that the converter will be putting out the correct voltage based on temperature, that all the energized devices operate fault free, and that any surge or spike that comes into the AC line will never cause a failure to the converter or energized devices. If you believe all of those things are possible with unattended equipment for months at a time, you have WAY more faith than me. With the RV unplugged and the switch off I've now isolated the RV from the hazards of the AC mains, and the only connected device is a $35 tender which only does one thing and they do it well. Could it fail? Sure. But I would rather have that fail and possibly end up with a dead set of batteries than a fried converter and other equipment AND dead batteries. ... If I have to leave something unattended to chance, it would be a lone mains connected tender and not a mains connected MH.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2020, 07:47:38 AM »
I don't know what converter/charger was used in a 2008 Tioga, but I would not leave it plugged in 24/7 unless it's a 3-stage charger. The brand & model of converter would tell us that if you don't know the answer. Single stage chargers too often overcharge if left connected for weeks at a time.  Of course, you could just plug the coach in part-time, as long as you remember to plug & unplug every couple weeks.

An alternative is to leave the coach unconnected and use an inexpensive multi-stage charger instead. Just hook the charger to the house battery(s) with its clips leads and plug in the charger.  Something like this Die Hard unit:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B077742Y1H/
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Rene T

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2020, 08:07:30 AM »
  Of course, you could just plug the coach in part-time, as long as you remember to plug & unplug every couple weeks.

I use to use a timer connected to the converter. I had it set so It would run 1 hour every day.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 08:09:13 AM by Rene T »
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HappyWanderer

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2020, 10:54:34 AM »
Our 2008 Jayco had a 3-stage charger, so it’s likely that another unit of the same vintage would as well.

That rig was plugged in for the entire 11 years we owned it.
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ksmoody

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2020, 12:26:53 PM »
Thank you for all your replies. The converter is a WFCO-9845. That looks like that charger is a 3-stage charger.
Ken & Susan
2008 Fleetwood Tioga 31M
Retired in Idaho

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2020, 01:59:08 PM »
Yes, the WFCO 98xxseries  is 3-stage.  Plug her in and relax!   If you have flooded cell batteries (removable caps), do check the fluid level once in awhile though.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Dan23

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2020, 09:13:12 AM »
I don't know what converter/charger was used in a 2008 Tioga, but I would not leave it plugged in 24/7 unless it's a 3-stage charger. The brand & model of converter would tell us that if you don't know the answer.
I'm going to have to note the brand and model of my RV's charger to see if it's a 3-stage. (Probably isn't.)

Quote
Just hook the charger to the house battery(s) with its clips leads and plug in the charger.

On my RV there's sticker near the batteries saying to disconnect the cables if an external charger is used.

Dan23

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2020, 06:31:54 AM »
I checked the converter/charger in my unit and even though it's 21 years old, it does charge, then shut off and  monitor the batteries. I took a photo of the labels in the rig at the charger so I could see them better and that is where I found the info. The unit is a MagneTec 6345, if that helps the OP or anyone.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2020, 08:39:03 AM »
The Magnetek 63xx series of converter/charger is a notorious battery destroyer, consistently over-charging a battery if left on 24/7 for weeks at a time.  I think you will find that it maintains a constant float charge and never shuts off.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

John From Detroit

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2020, 04:04:56 PM »
I checked the converter/charger in my unit and even though it's 21 years old, it does charge, then shut off and  monitor the batteries. I took a photo of the labels in the rig at the charger so I could see them better and that is where I found the info. The unit is a MagneTec 6345, if that helps the OP or anyone.

The 6345 does NOT shut off. It charges (Very slowly) then slows down a bit more but it never shuts off. That is why it is famous for boiling batteries dry in as little as 1-2 weeks.

page 2

Many have had them fail and replaced the GUTS with somethign like the Progressive Dynamics 4635.

The best 3 stage converter made in my not very humble opinion (OR rather one of them, PD makes several functionally identically models, 9200, 9100 WITH optional wizard all same as 4600)
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Mark_K5LXP

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2020, 06:48:28 PM »
I have a 6345 in my Itasca.  As built it's not the greatest converter you could have.  When I got my Itasca I noted that both house batteries were only a couple years old but shot, and the converter made noise that wasn't the fan (which made it's own special noise...).  Being an electronics guy I pulled it out and fixed it up.  It was choked with dust, the electrolytic caps were bulging and leaking and the section of circuit board that holds ballast resistors was well roasted.  After going through it the phantom noises were gone and it put out spec amps into discharged batteries.  While I was at it I fabricated a remote control for it to manually switch between bulk, float and equalize.  Point of all this is my 6345 was 15 years old and failing, one at 20+ years is definitely on borrowed time.  I gave mine a second lease on life but even when working right it doesn't compare to modern form/fit/function replacement (PD, et al).  In my opinion don't pass go or collect $200, buy a new converter.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM

Dan23

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2020, 06:58:21 AM »
Well, I guess I'm okay for now since I don't have it (the Magnetek 6345) plugged in constantly. I periodically plug the RV in for a few hours. I'd like more examples of better converter/chargers and what do I need to know to change it over? I suppose there are just 3 wires to connect and the new unit will have to fit where the old one does. Thanks for the comments above.

X-Roughneck

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2020, 01:21:10 PM »
I have my Fleetwood Tioga class C in my garage for the winter. Is it OK to leave it plugged into shore power for long periods? Is it hard on the batteries and power converter to be charging all the time?

Interesting read from my perspective. Which is…I have my motor home 10 feet from my back door and don't own a charger at all.  We are brand new to this adventure.  We are 5 months into a very long journey we hope.
 
My question to the board is Do I really even need one?

My Rig is 2017, It has Factory everything so I already have decided when that time comes I am going AGM batts.  I am going thru the, “Fill the battery cells Adventure / Possible Mis-Adventure,” with each and every lovely cell on my batts during my PMCS, when filling my cells with distilled water.

Our reality is, We go out for a week to three and come home.  When I am home I based that as Day # 0 on a 30 day count down to the day I exercise my gen set under load.

My rig has currently a 100w panel ZAMP, upgradable to 510w max, 3 panel input solar installed on the roof.

I only have 2 coach batts, Marine deep cycle 31, I think? 

We currently like to stay full hook up, so with Distilled water refilling and 100 watt providing a trickle charge, so far so go.  I want AGM but want to get all the good out of what is currently taking us to the dance. For a lack of better terms.

Opinion, anyone?
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Mark_K5LXP

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2020, 02:00:27 PM »
My question to the board is Do I really even need one?
Your solar panel is more than enough to perform a maintenance charge between trips.  And, there's no more cost effective a battery than the one you have that works.  Even though you already have a transition plan I'd use your current setup to get familiar with how the system behaves under your usage conditions.  The only comment I have is I'm into my 2nd season with my current set of GC-2's and I have yet to add water to them.  If you're adding much water to yours this early in their life I'd review the charge profile and make sure you're not overcharging them.  It's normal for batteries to require more water as they approach end of life (commensurate with a decrease in capacity) but they use very little when new(er).

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM


Arch Hoagland

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2020, 03:25:01 PM »
X-Roughneck asked "My question to the board is Do I really even need one?"

Absolutely Positively YES!

Things happen so you need to be prepared.     
2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
W22, 8.1 gas,  Allison 1000 Transmission
7.1 MPG over 90,000 miles

2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
U.S. Gear Braking System

X-Roughneck

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  • 2017 Winnebago Aspect 30J/ 2013 Jeep
Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2020, 05:18:00 PM »
In response to both Mark and Arch

I hear you about the batteries.  This year was in the Nuclear Hot Category down here.  I was desert Landscaping my front yard and I was hiding behind a telephone pole for shade hot.  I just had to laugh.  Fat man hiding behind a telephone pole for shade.  In my back yard I have only poured my concrete as of now, with no cover from the sun. I need to check because they needed a drink when we got back after our first trip.  Been more cool so should be a better read on H20 this time.   

Arch.  I ultimately plan on adding 2 each 170Watt panels.  The existing 100W on the roof will give me 440 Watt.  The ZAMP 30 Amp Controller is capable of 510 Watt input.  I need to check out how much available real estate is on the roof, getting up there with a Tape Measure in Hand.

Now, Needing a charger, I agree with you I might need one for the Ford OK, I buy into that.  I know when the time comes I am going AGM there too.  I wanted to do the Battle Born Stuff, but not sure that is necessary.  We like accommodations and Full Connect RV Parks, Dog Runs etc.  We have never BLM and I will not until at least new, Fresh AGM in the rack, then a maybe depends on the area temp.   
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 05:23:33 PM by X-Roughneck »
2017 Winnebago Aspect 30J
2013 Jeep
M&G Air Over Hydraulic Brake on Jeep
Air Tank Adapter for braking on RV

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Only Lessons I never forgot, Were taught by my parents, or a Dog.

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Arch Hoagland

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2020, 08:00:17 PM »
I too have stood in the shade of a telephone pole, when it's hot it's HOt and any shade helps!

We were on a cross country trip to Florida and the alternator died in my toad. So every night I hooked up my charger to the toad battery and charged it until we got back to California.  Couldn't drive very long at night with it but daytime was OK.

I switched to AGM batteries last year. $189 at Sam's Club. No more checking water levels!!!

2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
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X-Roughneck

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  • 2017 Winnebago Aspect 30J/ 2013 Jeep
Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2020, 04:10:45 AM »
I too have stood in the shade of a telephone pole, when it's hot it's HOt and any shade helps!

We were on a cross country trip to Florida and the alternator died in my toad. So every night I hooked up my charger to the toad battery and charged it until we got back to California.  Couldn't drive very long at night with it but daytime was OK.

I switched to AGM batteries last year. $189 at Sam's Club. No more checking water levels!!!

Makes sense, I need a charger. It is now on my list.  I also heard, maybe somebody can shed the light of truth with me. I heard that connecting the trickle charger to the house, somehow you can run the 12 volt side of the house (in a emergency), by direct connecting the charger to the house leads or somewhere he tied his charger input as a power source.  I think he was doing some MacGuyver stuff, can't remember.  Is there a scenario where I can use this style if I ever found myself in a 12v DC bind, using the trickle charge as a steady DC source to run appliances?  If true...can somebody explain how this could save me in a 12 volt pinch?
« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 04:22:50 AM by X-Roughneck »
2017 Winnebago Aspect 30J
2013 Jeep
M&G Air Over Hydraulic Brake on Jeep
Air Tank Adapter for braking on RV

Certified Oil Field Trash / Roughneck (5 yr)
Retired Army (20 yr)
Retired Army Civilian (10 yr)

Only Lessons I never forgot, Were taught by my parents, or a Dog.

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X-Roughneck

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2020, 04:31:14 AM »
Your solar panel is more than enough to perform a maintenance charge between trips.  And, there's no more cost effective a battery than the one you have that works.  Even though you already have a transition plan I'd use your current setup to get familiar with how the system behaves under your usage conditions.  The only comment I have is I'm into my 2nd season with my current set of GC-2's and I have yet to add water to them.  If you're adding much water to yours this early in their life I'd review the charge profile and make sure you're not overcharging them.  It's normal for batteries to require more water as they approach end of life (commensurate with a decrease in capacity) but they use very little when new(er).

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM

Yes, I know my 30 Amp ZAMP Solor Controller on wall inside was showing AGM in the LCD window.  I knew I did not have AGM in the tray. I call ZAMP, up in Oregon, outstanding group of folks up there let me add, Gave me alot of Get Rich Quick Training on the phone. Their Controller defaults to AGM, for safety purposes.  The Zamp AGM setting will have no ill effects, The AGM setting by default is friendly to those who don't read the directions, friendly that is, by not trashing your coach batts on the other end. He gave me the direction over the phone to set to "Wet" Seems the Wet cycle goes thru some Maintenance Purge of something every 28 days he said.  Can't remember exactly/
2017 Winnebago Aspect 30J
2013 Jeep
M&G Air Over Hydraulic Brake on Jeep
Air Tank Adapter for braking on RV

Certified Oil Field Trash / Roughneck (5 yr)
Retired Army (20 yr)
Retired Army Civilian (10 yr)

Only Lessons I never forgot, Were taught by my parents, or a Dog.

John/JD

Larry N.

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2020, 08:11:49 AM »
Quote
Is there a scenario where I can use this style if I ever found myself in a 12v DC bind, using the trickle charge as a steady DC source to run appliances?
No, not a trickle charger. It won't put out enough juice to run much -- maybe a couple of lights and a radio -- so you'd need something much more substantial.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL, Bounder, Beaver
  de N8GGG

X-Roughneck

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  • 2017 Winnebago Aspect 30J/ 2013 Jeep
Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2020, 10:30:59 AM »
No, not a trickle charger. It won't put out enough juice to run much -- maybe a couple of lights and a radio -- so you'd need something much more substantial.

Thanks Larry, I was not sure, I'm not electric smart.  I only know enough to be dangerous. 
2017 Winnebago Aspect 30J
2013 Jeep
M&G Air Over Hydraulic Brake on Jeep
Air Tank Adapter for braking on RV

Certified Oil Field Trash / Roughneck (5 yr)
Retired Army (20 yr)
Retired Army Civilian (10 yr)

Only Lessons I never forgot, Were taught by my parents, or a Dog.

John/JD

Henry J Fate

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2020, 03:47:36 PM »
I like the idea of installing a secondary battery tender with the batteries isolated from the coach. You should also make sure that the chassis battery is included in the battery tender circuit and not necessarily disconnected from the chassis circuits. This will keep your computer happy and ready to go.
Everything under the sun is in tune
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Dan23

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2020, 08:05:19 AM »
You should also make sure that the chassis battery is included in the battery tender circuit and not necessarily disconnected from the chassis circuits. This will keep your computer happy and ready to go.

Is it harmful to have the computer disconnected?

ChasA

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2020, 08:27:18 AM »
Dan, no, it does not harm anything. You may lose the presets on your radio, or your transmission may revert to factory settings and take a while to relearn your driving habits. And you might get a check engine light which wll go out after a bit of driving.
Apex, NC
2010 Winnebago journey Express 34Y
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Dan23

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Re: Winter Storage and my batteries
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2020, 05:21:19 AM »
Dan, no, it does not harm anything. You may lose the presets on your radio, or your transmission may revert to factory settings and take a while to relearn your driving habits. And you might get a check engine light which wll go out after a bit of driving.

Thanks. I did not need another concern. Hoping to return to RVing in six months or so. Maybe less.