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krumkake

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Jul 27, 2006
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Greetings all.? Elise and I are RV'rs for a couple of years, after 25 years of sleeping on the ground? - running a 2004 Lexington 27' by Forest River.? Love it.? Tow a matching Goldwing...? We just went and picked it up from storage for a weekend jaunt to Indiana - it sat for 2 1/2 months, and the batteries (coach & engine) were dead.? That's never happened before, although we've never been able to go more than a day or so boondocking without running the engine to recharge.? But I've never had a problem at least starting it in storage.? I don't believe any accessories were on.? I'm looking at a Coleman trickle charger for $35 to plug into a cigarette lighter to keep things charged in storage.? I figure one for the engine and one for the coach, both sitting on the dashboard.? Any comments?? I'm also seeing $1800 solar systems which seems a bit over the top for us just now...

Any comments on this Coleman unit just to keep charged batteries topped of would be appreciated!?

Regards, Scott
 

Carl L

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I'm looking at a Coleman trickle charger for $35 to plug into a cigarette lighter to keep things charged in storage.

Won't work.  It might keep a chassis battery up enough, but definitely not that plus house batteries.  Those little rascals just do not put out the watts.  A 50-100 watt solar system would do it nicely but, as you say, it would be pricy.

You may well have hit a stray load problem with your batteries.  Disconnect them for storage at the terminals.  You might even find it worth while to install cut off switches on both sets of batteries.
 

krumkake

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Carl, thanks for that thought.? Any specific type of cutoff switch?? or just a Radio Shack toggle switch?? ?

Lundquist....? Hmnmm? you know what krumkake is, right?
 

Tom

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Our coach has phantom or residual loads that will run the batteries down in storage if I don't turn the battery switches off. Same story on our prior coach until I installed battery switches. You can buy switches made for the job - like these - at any marine store. You'll need one switch for each battery bank. This is not something you'd buy at RadioShack.

Install the switches in the battery compartment, near the batteries. For each battery bank, you'll also need an additional length of cable with lugs on each end - similar to  these, although I'd use a larger cable than the ones in this link.
 

Carl L

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krumkake said:
Carl, thanks for that thought.? Any specific type of cutoff switch?? or just a Radio Shack toggle switch?? ?

Lundquist....? Hmnmm? you know what krumkake is, right?

Whut Tom said.  I use a marine grade switch myself.  Since I mounted it near the propane tanks, I liked the Coast Guard non-arcing requirement.    The amperages involved would fry a Radio Shack toggle switch in no time at all.

The switch is mounted on the positive (red- coded) side of the battery connections.  Use very heavy patch connections to connect the switch in.  Tom's illustrations show the type.  They do come in made up assemblies.  You can make your own but it is a big soldering job.  Go with the made up units.  The best place to look for all this stuff is at a marine supply store.  West Marine was used for the illlustrations and they do have an on-line store.
 

Tom

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If you can't find the short cables already made up in sufficiently heavy gauge, a welding supply shop will make them for you. Their connections will be crimped vs soldered, but they're used to running 300 amps all day through this stuff.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Most any inexpensive trickle charger should keep the batteries alive while in storage - look for one that puts out 1-2 amps at a local auto parts store, Walmart, etc. You don't need to have the one that plugs into a lighter outlet - your batteries should be accessible to clip on the charge leads.  Here's several made by Schumacher Electric: Schumacher Battery Maintainers  And If you have power where the RV is stored, you could plug the RV itself in to maintain the house batteries - the converter/charger will handle that. And local boat stores should carry small chargers that handle two batteries at once - they are used for bass boats that have multiple battery systems. Like Rvs, boats often sit around unused and need battery maintenance chargers.

A Radio Shack toggle switch won't carry the amps the battery sometimes puts out, so you need a switch designed for battery-size loads. There are several types - here's some from JC Whitney
Most local auto parts stores also have them.
 
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