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Old 12-30-2019, 10:52 PM   #1
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Lost Power

We just completed a 3000 mile Holiday trip and trailer performed flawlessly with only one issue that may help others with some preventative maintenance.
When we arrived at a campground on one of our last short days the trailer had lost all battery power. (Two 6v) Figured it was the in-line fuse in the battery box which is a 50 A Max fuse on ours. Since I carry a spare, the fuse turned out to be OK, but noticed the cable connecting the batteries in series had sheared near the ring connector. Even though the corrosion is cleaned every time the water levels are checked it had weakened the wire to the point it snapped from the road vibrations.
Walmart carries new battery cables and there was one nearby so off to get a 24” cable $5 and replace it. Opened both battery boxes to install the new + to - cable and noticed that the neg cable going into the trailer was almost sheared in same manner. Off to Home Depot nearby for a pack of 6ga ring terminals.
Repair took about 30 minutes and restored power. I noticed the rest of the trip that charging performance went up noticeably. I’m assuming that the cable performance had been less than optimal for a while but not real noticeable because much of the damage was under the sheathing and not visible to inspection. For around $7 to put new ring terminals/cable on the batteries I’ll be more proactive replacing those if they show any signs of damage.
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Old 12-30-2019, 11:35 PM   #2
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huh, 2 years now since new batteries (dual costco/interstate gc2 6V), and not a trace of any corrosion.
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Old 12-30-2019, 11:56 PM   #3
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Time flies when it comes to batteries. I was just looking up my Trojan and discovered it is already three years old.
Last year I was having an issue with charging and holding charge ( I thought ). Discussed with ETI by email without resolution. When I got home I found the terminals corroded ( lots of green fuzz ), so I applied a couple battery cleaning solutions.
I decided to remove the cable rings and clean them and when I did, the ring separated from the wire; it was that corroded, although it appeared solid.

My go to solution, whatever the electrical problem, is to first remove the cables, clean the rings and terminals, and reattach. Works most of the time.
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Old 12-31-2019, 01:22 AM   #4
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I've read recently that a common cause of battery corrosion is acid leakage from where the terminal post goes through the case, this can crack and separate and vent acid vapors. this was happening to a bunch of ford diesel truck batteries (a pair of 12V group 65 in parallel)
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Old 12-31-2019, 01:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
Time flies when it comes to batteries. I was just looking up my Trojan and discovered it is already three years old.
Last year I was having an issue with charging and holding charge ( I thought ). Discussed with ETI by email without resolution. When I got home I found the terminals corroded ( lots of green fuzz ), so I applied a couple battery cleaning solutions.
I decided to remove the cable rings and clean them and when I did, the ring separated from the wire; it was that corroded, although it appeared solid.

My go to solution, whatever the electrical problem, is to first remove the cables, clean the rings and terminals, and reattach. Works most of the time.
I would pull those crusty batteries out of the trailer, hose them off, and sprinkle baking soda all over the top of the wet battery, let it sit a few minutes, hose it off again, let them dry... wet rag and baking soda on the terminals, too, unless you're replacing them. then reinstall everything and spray battery protector over the connections, and around the posts.

this stuff....
https://www.autozone.com/batteries-s...ctor/55918_0_0
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Old 12-31-2019, 01:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg A View Post
We just completed a 3000 mile Holiday trip and trailer performed flawlessly with only one issue that may help others with some preventative maintenance.
When we arrived at a campground on one of our last short days the trailer had lost all battery power. (Two 6v) Figured it was the in-line fuse in the battery box which is a 50 A Max fuse on ours. Since I carry a spare, the fuse turned out to be OK, but noticed the cable connecting the batteries in series had sheared near the ring connector. Even though the corrosion is cleaned every time the water levels are checked it had weakened the wire to the point it snapped from the road vibrations.
Walmart carries new battery cables and there was one nearby so off to get a 24Ē cable $5 and replace it. Opened both battery boxes to install the new + to - cable and noticed that the neg cable going into the trailer was almost sheared in same manner. Off to Home Depot nearby for a pack of 6ga ring terminals.
Repair took about 30 minutes and restored power. I noticed the rest of the trip that charging performance went up noticeably. Iím assuming that the cable performance had been less than optimal for a while but not real noticeable because much of the damage was under the sheathing and not visible to inspection. For around $7 to put new ring terminals/cable on the batteries Iíll be more proactive replacing those if they show any signs of damage.
Greg thanks for the heads up ! Pat
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Old 12-31-2019, 01:40 AM   #7
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I've used both the battery cleaner and protector. Just pointing out that you might also want to check that what looks like a good connection is actually functional.

I'll be checking again before my next trip.
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Old 12-31-2019, 01:46 AM   #8
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I've used both the battery cleaner and protector. Just pointing out that you might also want to check that what looks like a good connection is actually functional.

I'll be checking again before my next trip.
Thanks Glenn will do Pat
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Old 12-31-2019, 01:58 AM   #9
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I wish I had a proper load tester. I've got a digital battery tester that measures microohm internal resistance and calculates the "CCA', which is of more interest to starting batteries than to deep cycle.

I suppose I could build something with a 1 ohm dummy load... Thats 12 amps at 12V which is 144 watts, gonna get really hot! An embedded microprocessor like an AVR(arduino) or PIC with a couple A/D (analog to digital) converters could integrate the volt/current drop, and interpolate the rate of drop over a couple minutes to calculate amp*hour capacity.

battery(+) to RV + and A/D #1
battery(-) to <1 ohm load resistor> and A/D #2
1 ohm load resistor to RV - and the ground reference for the two A/D's
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Old 12-31-2019, 05:27 AM   #10
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I guess it is a good practice to replace cables when you replace batteries, similar to new tire valves with new tires.
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Old 12-31-2019, 08:34 AM   #11
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It was warm last weekend and decided it was time to do some checks before heading to Arizona. I looked at the ring connectors on our AGM batteries and they were clean as a whistle. I'll probably never be able to break that habit.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 12-31-2019, 09:42 AM   #12
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One thing I noticed is that the series cable that I replaced was a home made cable with crimped on ring connections. The Walmart 24” pre made cable had much better termination that covers the wire and over the sheathing to protect against having any exposed bare wire.
The other failure point had the same crimped on ring connection.
The positive to the inline fuse and into the trailer has a different connector and does not seem to be damaged.
My batteries are 4.5 years old now but are still strong. Scheduled to go to Lithium in a year and move them inside. With the new, better cabling now I should be good for the next year until replacement.
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Old 12-31-2019, 09:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
I suppose I could build something with a 1 ohm dummy load... Thats 12 amps at 12V which is 144 watts, gonna get really hot!
...
Here's a 1 ohm dummy load that serves double duty as a hot dog cooker. No sense in letting all that heat go to waste.

(Note to the non-electrical types reading this. The term "dummy load" is frequently applied to the owner of such bizarre and obscure gadgets.)

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Old 12-31-2019, 09:53 AM   #14
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Alan,
Bring that hot dog cooker to Quartzsite gathering in Feb. It might win the wiener roast competition.
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Old 12-31-2019, 10:22 AM   #15
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Alan,
Bring that hot dog cooker to Quartzsite gathering in Feb. It might win the wiener roast competition.
Lets see...

We could hook everybody's portable solar panels to the resistor and use a stop watch to time the perfect done'ness.

No - wait - that's the dummy talking...
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Old 12-31-2019, 10:42 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg A View Post
One thing I noticed is that the series cable that I replaced was a home made cable with crimped on ring connections. The Walmart 24” pre made cable had much better termination that covers the wire and over the sheathing to protect against having any exposed bare wire.
The other failure point had the same crimped on ring connection.
The positive to the inline fuse and into the trailer has a different connector and does not seem to be damaged.
My batteries are 4.5 years old now but are still strong. Scheduled to go to Lithium in a year and move them inside. With the new, better cabling now I should be good for the next year until replacement.
I use Ancor terminals for the battery terminals that are compression crimped then heat shrinked. They seem to resist corrosion and vibration failure and have not had one fail yet.

Just a thought.
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Old 12-31-2019, 11:53 AM   #17
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Even though the corrosion is cleaned every time the water levels are checked it had weakened the wire to the point it snapped from the road vibrations.
I had that happen last summer and replaced a terminal. I'm thinking my 6V batteries are now exactly five years old and maybe it's time to get AGMs and new cables.

These are before and after pictures from one cleaning (before having that negative connection fail). They really get a lot of dirt being on the back of the trailer, besides the corrosion.
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File Type: jpg IMG_5673 1.jpg (267.7 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_5676 1.jpg (240.9 KB, 38 views)
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Old 12-31-2019, 12:16 PM   #18
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I also had the same problem last year, here is my succession of repairs:
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File Type: jpg IMG_4565.jpg (15.9 KB, 281 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_4568.jpg (13.7 KB, 275 views)
File Type: jpg Terminal.jpg (12.3 KB, 279 views)
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Old 12-31-2019, 12:24 PM   #19
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I also had the same problem last year, here is my succession of repairs:
Yes, I saw a post of yours and ended up buying the same terminal block you used to repair the terminal! Thank you.
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Old 12-31-2019, 10:46 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanmalk View Post
Here's a 1 ohm dummy load that serves double duty as a hot dog cooker. No sense in letting all that heat go to waste.

(Note to the non-electrical types reading this. The term "dummy load" is frequently applied to the owner of such bizarre and obscure gadgets.)

--
Alan
is that meant for 12VDC or 120VAC or what? 1 ohm at 12VDC is 144 watts. 1 ohm at 120VAC would be 14400 watts, way more than a typical house circuit can deliver.
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