Battery & Back Up Camera Update - and a New Tire Question and ...

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chaajoad

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May 29, 2006
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322
Location
Poulsbo WA
A few of you have been very kind in answering my questions and it's been helpful. Here's a follow-up.

My chassis battery WAS deader than a door nail. I replaced it today and the engine fired right up. Now I need to make sure it stays charged between uses. Is there a way of checking a sealed battery's strength? I have two battery chargers - both small; one for a car battery (small) and one for the motorcycle battery (smaller). I'm unsure if either of these cut off the power when the battery is charged - they might not. Do I need a special "trickle charger" for that? Or can I just throw a regular 12v charger on it every few weeks and leave it on overnight?

The back-up camera DID have a blown fuse. Must have happened during my battery escapades. I actually went to a lot of trouble before noticing the in-line fuse in the wiring out of the back of the camera - all of the wires are in a cable protector type thing and it dawned on me to look in there at some point. So I'm assuming a trip to the hardware store will fix the camera. Thank you for small favors, ya know?

Someone recommended the Crossfire air management system for the pair of rear duals. The price is right and I'm thinking they'll work. The question is - can they be put on by me? Without removing a tire? Glancing at  the web site looks like it's possible.

Thanks as always -

Danny Wright
Poulsbo WA
1999 35' Bounder
 

Karl

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Mar 3, 2005
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Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
Danny,

We always recommend using a three-stage charger for deep-cycle batteries that starts out in 'Bulk Mode' for high-rate charging of a worn down battery, then switches to 'Acceptance Mode' to bring it up to full or nearly full charge, then drops down to 'Float Mode' to maintain the charge. Cheaper, two-stage units may not have the float mode, so it's possible to overcharge the battery and cause premature failure. The same type of charger can be used for deep-cycle house batteries or sealed chassis batteries, but each may have different charging requirements based on their respective types. There's an excellent discussion on battery types and charging in our Library (button above). If you need help navigating it, just ask. 
 

Ned

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Feb 1, 2005
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25,107
Location
USA
You can't use a hydrometer on a sealed battery.  The only way to determine the state of charge is by the voltage.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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74,620
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At our Silver Springs FL home
Use a hydrometer ( available at auto stores and Wal Mart) to check the specific gravity and a voltmeter....

A hygrometer canot be used on Danny's sealed battery - no way to get at the fluid inside (and it may be a gel anyway). Hygrometers are for flooded (wet) cell batteries only.

There is a device called a batery load tester that can be used to test any type of battery.  Just hook a couple leads to the battery terminals and push a button on the tester. Most auto parts stores have them to test customer bateries, but you can buy one for yourself for around $40-$50. In fact, Harbor Freight sells a cheap one for only $19.95 plus shipping & handling. Harbor Freight Load Tester

Yes, you can use a regular automotive charger if you remove it after 24 hours or so.  If you do not it may overcharge the battery and shorten its life.  Your small car charger will probably work fine.

The real question is why is your chassis battery discharging?  And if you run the RV occasionally, why isn't the RV's own alternator charging the chassis battery sufficiently?
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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25,231
Location
Davison Michigan
Which reminds me, I need to do a load test on my towed's battery,  Twice this last week I came out and jump started it, (it is currently charged up, it's still plugged into the MH, the battery on the MH is charged by the converter, thus , the battery on the towed is charged)  More money out the window.  Oh wellg
 

chaajoad

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Joined
May 29, 2006
Posts
322
Location
Poulsbo WA
I believe the battery in the unit was the original and was probably on its last legs to begin with. I think the labelling showed it to be about 7 years old. After I picked the rig up - it was running and waiting for me, of course - and I stopped to get $185 worth of gas (!) it wouldn't start. Just that ticking sound of a dead battery, ya know? I only got a brief run-through but I did recall the seller telling me I could use aux battery to start the engine - thankfully, it worked and got me home. When I shut it off in the driveway, it wouldn't start. Charger overnight did nothing. All the charger did was make the entry steps go in and out! So my guess is the battery was shot, the seller probably knew it - maybe he discovered it just that morning so I'll cut him a break -
and I was lucky to get it home. Maybe I left the aux battery switch near the door "on" but that shouldn't affect the chassis battery plus everything in the rig was off.

Anyway - it seems to work like a champ now. And the fuse the camera needed is NOT stocked at auto parts stores - I had to get it a Radio Shack. Haven't put it in but I'm confident it will work. In just a short time, I sure saw the value of a camera on something this big. Without it, I'd hate trying to back it up alone.

Danny Wright
Poulsbo WA
 

scottydl

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Jul 1, 2006
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Land of Lincoln
If the seller was a dealership, I would definitely bring the battery issue to their attention.  That should be something a dealer would repair/replace before selling the unit.  If it was a private seller, your call.  A follow up couldn't hurt, might just help him do a better check next time before he sells a vehicle.
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
Posts
25,231
Location
Davison Michigan
If it is a dealership they need to be reported to the DMV, Generally it is prohibited for a dealer to sell a vehicle that can not be driven (there are exceptions)  Private sale... Laws very from place to place, but I'd not be pleased with the seller on that one

For fuses Radio Shack is a decent source, they have a wide variety, but very little that is not common, and I'm not always impressed with the quality.  Most decent auto stores and truck stops have just about every fuse R.S. has and made by Buss or Littlefuse (Top quality) as well
 
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