Solar keeps batteries from freezing? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 10-07-2015, 11:31 PM   #1
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Solar keeps batteries from freezing?

I know having the batteries fully charged means that that helps keep them from freezing. Does it mean that they will not freeze in a northern climate if the solar panel is constantly charging them?
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Old 10-07-2015, 11:39 PM   #2
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That would depend on solar source and many other factors. Trojan battery site is excellent source of information:

Can a battery freeze?
The only way that a battery can freeze is if it is left in a state of partial or complete discharged. As the state of charge in a battery decreases, the electrolyte becomes more like water and the freezing temperature increases. The freezing temperature of the electrolyte in a fully charged battery is -92.0oF. At a 40% state of charge, electrolyte will freeze if the temperature reaches approximately 16.0oF.
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Old 10-07-2015, 11:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
That would depend on solar source and many other factors. Trojan battery site is excellent source of information:

Can a battery freeze?
The only way that a battery can freeze is if it is left in a state of partial or complete discharged. As the state of charge in a battery decreases, the electrolyte becomes more like water and the freezing temperature increases. The freezing temperature of the electrolyte in a fully charged battery is -92.0oF. At a 40% state of charge, electrolyte will freeze if the temperature reaches approximately 16.0oF.
The panel will not be covered except when it snows and then I don't know what we are clearing it with because our metal snow rake is not going to work! Maybe the washing brush.
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:20 AM   #4
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I think I would remove them and store them inside. Battery manufactures usally recommend storing above freezing. Also the orientation video mentioned that the propane detector was a drain that had no fuses or disconnects and would drain a battery in short order in storage unless disconected. I would store them in a place where it was relatively warm and put a charger on them every month or so. I do that to my boat through the winter and have had excellent results. I usually put a 1&1/2 amp charger on my boat batteries for a day or two halfway through winter. If you can't bring them inside at least remove the negative cable and charge them every month or two.
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Old 10-08-2015, 01:29 AM   #5
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I have never removed batteries from a trailer during the winter, just ensured that they were fully charged, maybe checking a couple times during the winter. Never had a problem.

With the solar to keep it topped up, there definitely would be no issue.

Look at it this way, if we were to remove all lead acid batteries during the winter, how would we start our vehicles?
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Old 10-08-2015, 01:57 AM   #6
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Glad to hear it! That's what I was hoping. We don't want to pick up those heavy things!
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Old 10-08-2015, 09:32 AM   #7
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I just wanted to reprint what Gbaglo answered but with Celcius temperature.
Still from the Trogan website;

9. Can a flooded battery freeze?
The only way that a battery can freeze is if it is left in a state of partial or complete discharge. As the state of charge in a battery decreases, the electrolyte becomes more like water and the freezing temperature increases. The freezing temperature of the electrolyte in a fully charged battery is -92º F (-69º C). At a 40% state of charge, electrolyte will freeze if the temperature reaches approximately 16º F (-9º C).

Trojan has alot of information on their website
Frequently Asked Questions | Trojan Battery Company
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Old 10-08-2015, 10:19 AM   #8
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To clarify I didn't mean you had to remove the batteries just make sure all parasitic loads are removed and as everyone else says keep them charged.
A dead battery is filled with plain water and a fully charged battery is filled with sulfuric acid with a specific gravity of approx. 1.250. Freezing will usually reduce the life of a battery, but letting it go completely dead can sulfate the plates and reduce it's life as well even if it does not freeze.
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:16 PM   #9
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To clarify I didn't mean you had to remove the batteries just make sure all parasitic loads are removed and as everyone else says keep them charged.
I measured the parasitic load (the load that could not be turned off with any switch) at 140 milliamps in our '21. That is an amount easily replaced by a few minutes of direct sunshine on the solar panel. But - a few weeks of clouds and snow on the panel might leave them vulnerable. Also, keep the age of the batteries in mind. There is no hard rule but the older they get, the better chance that the specific gravity ("strength") of the electrolyte is going to decrease. The gold standard is a hydrometer measurement, to eliminate all doubt.

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Old 10-08-2015, 12:37 PM   #10
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Why is there any parasitic drain, if you turn the master switch off??
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:45 PM   #11
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As I understand it, the CO and smoke detectors are wired direct off the battery, around the switch so they do not inadvertently get turned off. So they drain the battery a little at a time. I think that's the way I understand it.
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Old 10-08-2015, 01:07 PM   #12
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In my 2010 the disconnect switch completely disconnects everything from the batteries. Is that no longer the case?
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Old 10-08-2015, 01:49 PM   #13
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In my 2010 the disconnect switch completely disconnects everything from the batteries. Is that no longer the case?
It is likely, and likely intentional as a safety measure.

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Old 10-08-2015, 02:08 PM   #14
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We've never removed the batteries for winter. The solar keeps them topped up. Where we park the trailer it is quite windy and the panels are usually clear of snow.

We turn off the master switch, which I believe disconnects everything except the solar.
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Old 10-08-2015, 03:24 PM   #15
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Dave,
I believe that the switch eliminates all connection with the trailer, except for the solar.
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Old 10-08-2015, 03:37 PM   #16
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Anyone have a wiring diagram?

I asked ETI when I got the trailer and they said there wasn't one available. Maybe now?
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Old 10-08-2015, 03:49 PM   #17
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As someone else recently posted, there are so many options and customizations that a wiring diagram would need to be custom for each trailer.
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Old 10-08-2015, 03:58 PM   #18
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OK well then I don't know where phantom draws would come from then. We used to have to hard wire fire exit signs in the Rec centers., plus they had a gel cell backup battery so they could not get accidentally turned off or disconnected. My brother is the electrician in the family. I take my flashlight to the hardware store so the nice man can change the batteries
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Old 10-08-2015, 04:25 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by shrncnddck View Post
We've never removed the batteries for winter. The solar keeps them topped up. Where we park the trailer it is quite windy and the panels are usually clear of snow.

We turn off the master switch, which I believe disconnects everything except the solar.
We don't even bother to turn off the master switch and batteries are at 100%. We have the 160w panel
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Old 10-08-2015, 05:43 PM   #20
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As someone else recently posted, there are so many options and customizations that a wiring diagram would need to be custom for each trailer.
There should be a 'standard model' drawing.
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