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Zach

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Nov 12, 2006
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74
Hello,
I'm so new to RVing it's crazy!! I have a 1989 Class C on a Ford 350. I've gone through all the systems and they are all functioning great. It looks like I'm going to need to buy an Inverter though to run AC  powered things while driving, but that's just for a TV for passengers.

My first question is there is a red switch over the battery under the hood...if I turn it it powers the lights in the RV but I'm not sure the reason for this....why does there need to be one in the first place?

Also, the RV is 98% dry but the roof doesn't appear to be in great shape, it's discolored and parts are flaking off...it's seems like vinyl maybe? Any words of advice on neatening things up there?
Thanks so much,
Zach
Mass.
USCG
 

Ned

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Rather than buy an inverter just to run a TV, get a 12VDC TV.  The red switch is the battery disconnect switch, it shuts off all DC power when the RV is in storage.
 

Zach

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Nov 12, 2006
Posts
74
Hi Ned,
Thanks for the reply. I was plugged in for two days charging the battery, it seems that I only have one...the one under the hood, my power meter on my control panel said I had a full charge so I unplugged and left it for five days. When I came home I was curious if there would still be power, and there was not...like the battery charge didn't hold or something...or maybe I should have done something with that red switch, I really have no idea.
Thanks,
Zach
 

Ned

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There are always some loads on the battery even when you think everything is turned off.  That's what the disconnect switch is for.  Turn it off when you store the RV and the battery won't be discharged when you return.  Of course, the battery could just be old and not holding a charge very well.  I would get it load tested and replace it if it fails.
 

Zach

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Nov 12, 2006
Posts
74
Okay, so I should have flipped that switch after I charged everything?
Thanks for the help by the way...all the systems and my lack of mechanical skills can be a bit daunting.
Zach
 

Ned

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Yes, but do get the battery load tested too.
 

Karl

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Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
As Ned said, get it load tested. A new battery may last 5-7 years under good conditions. Something that's been sitting around for any length of time in a discharged state will have a much shorter life. If possible, you should install a separate deep cycle battery for the rv interior lights and appliances. That way you will be able to start the truck engine even if you've drained the rv battery. I would suggest you buy an inverter to run the t.v. and other 120 volt stuff. 12 volt t.v.'s and appliances are expensive, and you don't have a lot of choices between brands and functionality.
 

Shayne

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Jan 22, 2006
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4,324
For your Roof  It needs to be recoated.  There is a previous thread on theat about 2 weeks or so ago.
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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24,969
Location
Davison Michigan
The device below will load test most automotive batteries.

It is a bit small to test an RV battery but... If you crank it up to the max and the battery fails... It's bad
(If a 230 AH battery just passes it is still bad,  The device can accuratly test batteries up to 150 AH bigger batteries can pass test even if not up to spec, but bad is bad

Takes 15 seconds to test, gets very hot

Harbor Freight
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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You can take the battery to most any major auto parts store and get it load tested for free. You probably need a new one - get the largest (in terms of amp-hours or "Reserve Capacity") that willl fit in the battery case/holder.  Don't get mislead with high CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) - that measures the ability to start an engine in cold weather. For an RV, you need more Reserve Capacity than CCA. Since you have only one battery for both engine and house, you need a combination starting and deep cycle type, sometimes called a "marine battery".

Adding a second, separate battery for the house would be a major improvement and prevent you from running down the engine start battery to the point where you cannot start the engine.
 

Zach

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Nov 12, 2006
Posts
74
Adding another battery seems like the smart thing to do. How difficult of a re-wiring job is that? Are most second batteries located in a storage compartemnt?
Thanks everyone.
Zach
 

Zach

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Joined
Nov 12, 2006
Posts
74
Also. I have charged the battery for over 24 hours now...I might spend the night in it tonight and live off the battery and see how that goes, though I'm bringing it to my mechanic tomorrow and so I guess there would be a chance that I'd kill the battery, so maybe I'll leave it plugged in.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Adding another battery seems like the smart thing to do. How difficult of a re-wiring job is that? Are most second batteries located in a storage compartemnt?

It can be crude or sophisticated.  Basically you add the battery and hook the house supply wires to it instead of the starting battery. Depending on where the new battery is located, you might have some re-wiring to do to get to it. But you also need to provide for charging it, either with a separate charger off the shore power supply (called a converter/charger) or from the engine alternator. In that case, you need an isolator as well, to keep the engine and house electrical systems separate.

You may have a converter/charger now - does something charge the battery while the rig is plugged into shore power? Or does it charge only when the engine is running?

A standard lead-acid battery needs a vented compartment because it releases small amounts of hydrogen gas. If you place a new battery in a sealed compartment, you must use a sealed type of battery, i.e. gel or AGM, so that explosive hydrogen fumes don't build up in the compartment.
 

Zach

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Nov 12, 2006
Posts
74
Okay, so I'm an idiot!! I do have two batteries...so will that red switch switch between the two? or is it the DC turn off? Also the red switch is over the right hand battery...the right if you're looking into the engine.
thanks,
Zach
 

DonTom

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Apr 21, 2005
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Auburn, CA or Reno, NV or Cold Springs Valley, NV
," I do have two batteries"

Did you find them both?  If not, look for other evidence, such as a battery  isolator under the hood. That's to charge TWO batteries from one alternator and is a good clue that you have two batteries. Often, the coach battery is well hidden.

What type of rig is it? Perhaps somebody here can tell you where the other battery might be located. In my old RV, it's under the couch that coverts to a bed, which is also  close to the water heater.

You should NOT have to switch any batteries, but you still need to find out what the switches are for. Perhaps it's just a switch to disconnect the cab battery if you're going to be out of the RV for several weeks.

                                        -Don-
 

Zach

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Joined
Nov 12, 2006
Posts
74
Yeah I found the other battery...pretty difficult, it was right on the other side of the engine...lol!!

That switch, as previously mentioned, seems to shut the house battery off. I'm having it load tested today, and will hopefully take it out for the first time this weekend.

thanks,
Zach
 

DonTom

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Auburn, CA or Reno, NV or Cold Springs Valley, NV
Yeah I found the other battery...pretty difficult, it was right on the other side of the engine...lol!!

Since it's under the hood, I was wondering if that was a spare starting battery and not a house battery.  Are house batteries sometimes  under the hood?

I would expect the house battery to be in the house! 

                                                        -Don--
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
It's not unusual to place the house battery(s) under the hood - the fit them in wherever they can find space that has ventilation. I even had a Class A Southwind that had its house batteries "under the hood", though that is perhaps a bit of a misnomer for a Class A's engine area.
 

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