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Old 12-30-2009, 01:55 PM   #1
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batteries in winter

The Egg Nest is winterized and sitting on the lower driveway. I plug in to shore power for a day or more once a month (pay the bills, go plug in the trailer) to charge the batteries. So far, I've been leaving the main switch on and the monitors have been drawing their little bit of current.

Now the Question: What's better for long-term battery life -- leaving that switch "on", or "off" during winter storage if the batteries are getting charged monthly? Or, does it matter? (Or, am I showing signs of cabin fever -- it has been a wet December, and I really want to go camping)

Hopefully Reace and/or other experienced members will have a detailed scientific analysis of what choice to make -- or, at least an informed opinion.

I've attached a photo of the Egg Nest in its winter nest, just for fun.

Bruce
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Old 12-30-2009, 01:58 PM   #2
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Re: batteries in winter

I know nothing about the batteries.. but the Egg Nest is awesome...nicely done!
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Old 12-30-2009, 06:15 PM   #3
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Re: batteries in winter

Great photo, makes me think of my relatives not too far from you, live on Mosquito Rd. Happy new year
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Old 12-30-2009, 06:54 PM   #4
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Re: batteries in winter

Nice looking "nest" Bruce! Just perfect for a camper.
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Old 12-30-2009, 07:12 PM   #5
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Re: batteries in winter

Jerry here in PEI. Not sure where you are, but I remove my batteries and put the on a trickle charger. Usually when our trailer (from Scamp to 17B in May) is winterized it is stored outside and that would not be good for batteries considering we could see -15 to -20. If you accustomed to sitting in your trailer during the winter do dream about camping weather, or whatever, that may not work for you. My father owns a Boler (London, Ont.) and in the winter it becomes extra deep freeze storage. Just thought you might like to know that.

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Old 12-30-2009, 08:33 PM   #6
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Re: batteries in winter

Hi: JerryCpei... I have yet to take the battery out of our 5.0 and it is the original one. I just turn the kill switch off and leave the battery in its sealed box under the dinette bench. I think the battery for the 17's is mounted outside and easier to remove tho!!! Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie p.s. would love to see your fathers deep freeze some time.
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:22 PM   #7
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Re: batteries in winter

There's a kill switch on the 17 ? Where?
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:50 PM   #8
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Re: batteries in winter

Hi: Deb h... There's only a kill switch if your battery(ies)is/are located inside the trailer. The reason for this is that they are less accessable to be disconected by removing the power wire from the battery post. If your battery(ies) is/are located outside the trailer you can open the box(s) and disconnect the wire more easily!!! Alf
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:40 PM   #9
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Re: batteries in winter

From the 12volt side of life web site

Winter Storage
Most RVs used for recreation are stored for long periods of time in the winter months. This storage can be very hard on your batteries if you don't take care of them. Batteries in storage self-discharge over time. This is a natural phenomenon and will cause your batteries to slowly go flat. Deep discharges drastically shorten your batteries life. Extremely cold temperatures can cause your batteries to freeze if they aren't adequately charged. A battery close to fully charged is far more resistant to freezing than a partially charged battery. Freezing will normally kill a flooded cell battery dead. Some of the gell batteries and most of the AGM type batteries are more resistant to damage from freezing, but it's better to prevent it. To avoid all this potential mayhem, some charging current will have to be applied to the batteries periodically during the storage period.
To keep your battery safe through the winter storage period, consider removing the batteries and storing then in a warmer place, like a garage. Check the voltage once a month and do an overnight recharge if the voltage falls to the 80% state-of-charge point. (see charts above). If removing the batteries just isn't possible, then there are several things that you must do when the rig is put into storage.

Ensure that ALL electrical loads are disconnected from your house batteries. There are lots of things in your RV that may put a tiny load on your batteries even though everything is "off". Most stereo receivers, electronically controlled refrigerators and smoke, CO2 and Propane detectors all are tiny drains on the batteries. Even if the current draw is only a few milliamps, over time these "phantom loads" will run your batteries flat! Best bet is to identify which 12 volt fuses protect these units and remove them. It is a real good idea to check at the battery with an ammeter to ensure that there is no current drain.
Provide for some sort of charging to offset the batteries tendency to self-discharge. This can be provided by a small solar panel or trickle charger, or the converter or 3 stage charger in your RV. It is best to let the batteries discharge slightly over a few weeks or a month and then do a full recharge overnight. Trickle chargers and unregulated solar panels can slowly boil off electrolyte, or worse, fail to maintain the charge, allowing your batteries to become deeply discharged. If your RV has a standard converter, do not leave it plugged in constantly to keep your batteries up! That converter will boil your batteries DRY in a big hurry! If you must leave your RV plugged into A/C power over the storage period, make sure to either unplug the converter or switch it off at the breaker. It's far better to run the converter overnight every 3 or 4 weeks or so as needed to charge the batteries. Another possibility would be to put the converter or the whole RV on a simple plug in timer and set it to be "on" for about 1 hour a day. If you have a smart 3 stage charger, it may be safe to leave it plugged in at all times, buy I would pay very close attention to the electrolyte level in the batteries just in case. Boiling a battery down to where the plates are exposed to air will cause permanent damage to the battery. Don't let this happen to you!
Check on the batteries from time to time during the storage period. Stop by at least once a month and check battery voltage and electrolyte levels. Don't walk away from your RV batteries in November and expect them to still be ready to go in May. Folks that adopt the "Out of sight, out of mind" approach to battery maintenance are usually the ones buying a new set of batteries at the start of every camping season!

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Old 02-03-2010, 03:32 PM   #10
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Re: batteries in winter

Thanks, all for the comments on the Egg Nest's nest. It's come in handy, as we've had several substantial snows, and the long range forecast indicates El Nino's going to crank up again this month.

And thanks, Padlin, for the definitive answer as to whether or not to use the disconnect switch. I know the answer had to be out there. Just curious -- what do you paddle? Canoes? Kayaks? Rafts? Misbehaving children? :

Bruce
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