Winterizing and Batteries

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ruthandken CDN

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Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Posts
831
Location
Ontario, Canada
We have a Pinnacle 40 foot 5th wheel, 2013.  On our previous MH there was a trickle solar charger to keep the batteries topped up while not in use.  As we head south, usually, before the really bitter cold hits Ontario we were never too concerned about the batteries because of this trickle charger.  The 5th wheel doesn't have one.  We have 2 house batteries for the rig.  There is an on/off switch for them.  Our RV dealer told us that if we shut the batteries off they will not freeze, that they will only freeze if they are in the 'ON' position.  As we are heading south a little later this year I am a wee bit concerned.  Is that statement correct?  What the heck is the difference between have the switch ON or OFF??
Thanks for any input.
 

jim and di

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Joined
Aug 9, 2009
Posts
841
Location
Sun Citu, Hilton Head, SC
Well he is half right. With the switch off and the battery's fully charged you would be OK. If the batteries are allowed to discharge then their is a chance, a good one, they will freeze.
I have a small, one plate solar charger I keep on the boat in Boston. It keeps the batteries charged through the shrink wrap, for the winter. Boston's winter might not be as cold as Ontario.
Good travels,
Jim
 

harris155

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Joined
May 8, 2007
Posts
106
From my experience with batteries over winter in boats and RVs is that if you use manual disconnects or lift cables good batteries will last the winter but marginal batteries may not make it.
But then do you want marginal batteries in the RV.
The self discharge rate in the cold is way less than in warmer climates.
You should lift the cables of parallel connected batteries, the reason is if one goes bad the good one will be dragged down by the  failed one.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
Posts
73,979
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
Questionable advice, in my opinion. Batteries will not freeze if they are fully charged, and turning the disconnect switch off may help them retain their charge for a somewhat longer time. That's because the switching off should eliminate some tiny power draws on the batteries. But there may well be things that bypass the switch, e.g. the LP gas detector, so the batteries will still slowly discharge.  Plugging  it into shore power or a battery charger would be a more reliable method of maintaining charge.

You can add a portable solar charger if you like - I'll bet Canadian Tire sells one. A 18-20 watt solar charger should be enough to keep the batteries alive if you have reasonable sunlight.
 

taoshum

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Joined
May 21, 2009
Posts
2,679
Location
Taos, NM
just remove them and store them someplace that doesn't freeze... even then a trickle charger would help keep them "ready to go"
 

mphy98

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Joined
Jun 30, 2008
Posts
244
I store my mh idoors but still freezes.  no heat in a cement floored steel walled pole barn.  I just keep the shore power connected and have never had a problem.
 

John From Detroit

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Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
24,969
Location
Davison Michigan
Two recommendations, you may use one, the other or both.

First: Fully charge the batteries before storing. And while you are at it take either a can of RED paint or a roll of RED electrical tape and paint/tape ALL the positive wires.

(Use of black on the negatives is optional)

You may also use wire loom instead of tape/paint,  I like paint.

Once the paint dries (And the batteries are full up) my suggestions.

1: Disconnect,,, Lift the NEGATIVE cable off the battery.

2: Battery minder, Battery tender or.. If you have a good 3-stage converter plug in

(If you plug in do not lift battery cable) Battery Minder, Or battery Tender (Both registered trademarks) are 2 stage (Absorption/float) chargers, a good 3 stage converter (Adds bulk) also performs this sxervice,  Keeps em charged.

If you choose the plug in option, you might consider turning off all circuit breakers except the main and the one feeding the converter.. OR< if your rig is like mine, plug in JUST the converter.
 

Mopar1973Man

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Joined
Jul 4, 2011
Posts
3,485
Location
New Meadows, Idaho
I drain all tanks (sewer, water, and water heater). Then blow all line clear of water and blow all P-traps (sinks and shower). Add just 1-2 ounces of pink stuff to the toilet. No anti-freeze used in any plumbing. Then as for the batteries I leave the RV plugged in all winter and check the electrolyte once a month and top off with distilled water as needed. Going into my 3 winter now.
 
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