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Old 02-03-2018, 10:06 PM   #1
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Battery Overwinter Discharge

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I recently pulled my 2016 Escape 21 out of storage in preparation for attending Quartzsite 2018. 2 days on shore power only brought the batteries up to a 90% charge. The Escape has an ETI installed 160 W solar system. The electrical system master switch on the rear bench seat was turned off during the 3-month shutdown.
I pulled the batteries for a diagnostic at our local Mastercraft Auto Repair and Interstate Battery dealer. Obviously Iím concerned about being able to enjoy boondocking at Quartzsite.
The Mastercraft technician indicated that the batteries were shot and unable to hold a charge and required replacement. Replacements have been ordered.
Questions
1. Should the batteries be pulled in the winter and trickle charged in my garage or
2. Can the master switch be left on and the solar array will effectively trickle charge the batteries.
3. Any other thoughts on winterization procedures to avoid battery failure

As a sidebar the solar unit typically does and excellent job of recharging the batteries daily even during hazy sunshine conditions. I havenít had to carry my Honda 2000 generator in 2 years.
Also we live near Sacramento so our winters are pretty mild compared to what many Escape owners typically endure.

Thanks all for any guidance or suggestions offered.
Jim Tischer
Woodland CA



concerned AB
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Old 02-04-2018, 08:10 AM   #2
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The master switch has no effect on the solar, it merely eliminates parasitic drain from on board items like propane detector. Your solar is supposed to be charging your batteries and connected all the time, regardless of the master switch position.
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:02 AM   #3
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Hi CPA Harley - it’s good to see your electrons and Happy New Year!
Thanks for the prompt response.
Re: Master Switch
Understood and that is what I thought that it would turn off all the subsystems to avoid battery drain.
I did expect that the 160W so.ar system would keep the batteries charged.
I did however fail to mention that the Escape was covered with a good CalMark cover as a
winterization practice. Apparently good for the Fiberglass protection but not for keeping the batteries charged.
If that is correct then A. The batteries need to be pulled and trickle charged of the cover is used or
B. Don’t use the cover or
C. Install a clear panel in the CalMark cover of adequate size to insure the batteries stay charged.
Am I missing anything?
Your thoughts please.
Thanks Again
Jim Tischer
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:26 AM   #4
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winter battery charge?

We to have the 21 Escape that is covered for Winter . We have the dual battery and solar but it is covered up. Should we be plugging it in to keep batteries maintained or charge it up in Spring ? When we put it away it was reading 13.4 volts on the Go-pro gauge . I might just plug it in every month to charge it up your thoughts Thanks Jim
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
The master switch has no effect on the solar, it merely eliminates parasitic drain from on board items like propane detector. Your solar is supposed to be charging your batteries and connected all the time, regardless of the master switch position.

Maybe it's not supposed to work this way, but when I'd had the master switch turned off, I was quite disappointed when the solar did not charge my batteries... Guess I should ask ETI if this should be?
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:52 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jtischer View Post
Hi CPA Harley - itís good to see your electrons and Happy New Year!
Thanks for the prompt response.
Re: Master Switch
Understood and that is what I thought that it would turn off all the subsystems to avoid battery drain.
I did expect that the 160W so.ar system would keep the batteries charged.
I did however fail to mention that the Escape was covered with a good CalMark cover as a
winterization practice. Apparently good for the Fiberglass protection but not for keeping the batteries charged.
If that is correct then A. The batteries need to be pulled and trickle charged of the cover is used or
B. Donít use the cover or
C. Install a clear panel in the CalMark cover of adequate size to insure the batteries stay charged.
Am I missing anything?
Your thoughts please.
Thanks Again
Jim Tischer

Reese suggested to me when the camper is in storage that I shut off the battery switch. My solar is covered as well. Reese said I should go out and turn on the battery switch once a month for a day or so to give the batteries a good charge. So far so good. Also for your dry climate I would check the water level in the batteries before turning the switch on. That can kill a battery too.
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Old 02-04-2018, 11:16 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ian and Sue View Post
Reese said I should go out and turn on the battery switch once a month for a day or so to give the batteries a good charge.
Wait, I donít understand this statement. The switch has no bearing on charging the batteries. As stated above, the switch is used to eliminate drain.

As to the OPís situation, if your solar panel is covered up then youíll need to trickle charge by some other method. Bring inside with a trickle charger or occasionally connect to shore power.
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Old 02-04-2018, 11:22 AM   #8
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Some covers allow some solar, the plastic panel would help. I do not cover and my solar keeps me @ 100%. I also do not turn the switch to off. It is useful in storage, without solar, so turning it on/off and plugging in would recharge. Check the water (use distilled only) and let the solar do it's job.
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Old 02-04-2018, 11:39 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by canyonrider View Post
Wait, I don’t understand this statement. The switch has no bearing on charging the batteries. As stated above, the switch is used to eliminate drain.

As to the OP’s situation, if your solar panel is covered up then you’ll need to trickle charge by some other method. Bring inside with a trickle charger or occasionally connect to shore power.
My understanding from Reese is that the battery switch disconnects the battery from the trailer wiring circuit. The solar panel is connected through its charge controller directly to the battery and still charges, the shore power comes through the trailer wiring and is disconnected from the battery when the switch is off(so you will not charge the battery from shore power if the switch is off), if on battery power nothing in the trailer will function when the switch is off. So if the trailer is plugged in all the time in storage like mine(the cord is buried under the snow), Reese suggested that I shut off the switch unless I am giving the battery a charge...the lights etc in the trailer work because they are powered by shore power but not the battery. The idea of the switch is to take the battery out of the trailer wiring circuit, the only safe way to remove the charging ability of the solar panel on the battery is to cover the solar panel or work at night.
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Old 02-04-2018, 12:01 PM   #10
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^^^Ah, got it. Thanks. I never really plug in during storage, so wasnít thinking along those lines.
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