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Old 09-12-2011, 02:45 PM   #1
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Exclamation Battery help needed

Can someone please explain in very simple terms, using very small words, about the TT battery?

I did not plug in the trailer after our last trip (I really meant to do it....), and the battery was quite dead when I checked it the other day.

Upon being faced with this, I realized that I know nothing about charging and testing batteries, and what I read on google, confuses me even more.

I finally opened up the case today, and I have a 'Magnum" gold deep cycle battery 140hr reserve. (can't find this brand when I searched it)

I have several questions:

1. What is the best way to charge it fully?
2. What is the relationship between the volts available (ie 12) and the amount of available amperage? (crank hours?)
3. Does my converter charge up both volts and amps, and if so how fast?

I can hope that the battery installed was new, but I do not know this for sure.
How can I check it to see if it is working 100%?

Thanks in advance for your help

Kim
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:12 PM   #2
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the first thing to realize that your trailer has parasitic power drains that will empty a battery in a few days, if it's not hooked up to shore power or has no battery disconnect switch.
a lot of us have installed such a switch and it prevents the batteries from being drained when not hooked to power.

most modern 3-stage converters can recharge a battery almost as fast as a separate battery charger and do it safely.
your battery is most likely the cheapest one the dealer could find to install. unless you specify something better, you'll get a low quality battery.

i'll let some of the electric experts answer the other questions.
one good site to learn is: The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:15 PM   #3
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Hello Kim, here some things to consider.

All trailers will drain the battery eventually. Even if you think you
have everything off. Often this happens in just a couple weeks to a
month. Completely draining a battery is very hard on it.
You want to avoid doing that if at all possible.

There are things in the trailer that are pulling down your battery while
you aren't home. The LP detector and the onboard battery charger/converter
will both drain your battery when you aren't looking!!
For this reason many of us have installed battery disconnect switches.
We flip open the battery switch when we are done with the trailer and
that way only the battery internal resistance will drain it. On a good battery
the internal resistance won't kill it for at least a few months.

If you plug in your trailer the built in charger should be able to charge
your battery fully in a couple days.
You said--Does my converter charge up both volts and amps, and if so how fast?
I said see above. Built in charger also known as the converter will do the job.

If you have a decent digital volt meter and read the battery voltage while
it is not charging and nothing much is turned on in the trailer you can
sort of guess how full it is.
12.75 volts with no load (nothing on, not charging) is pretty close to 100% full.
12.00 volts with no load is pretty close to 50% charge and you want to
try to always stay above 50% for longest battery life.

I use an unscientific method. When we are dry camping (camping without
a plug in) and my water pump is running, if the pump slows noticeably
right before it shuts off, I know my battery is getting low.

There are battery disconnect switches you can install yourself.
One type goes right on the battery post. Check that you have room under
the battery box cover before hooking up but these are the easiest to install.
The problem is you have to take off the strap and raise the lid on the
battery box to turn on or off.

Of course you can pay a dealer to install a battery switch. It should not
cost more than $75 for parts and labor.

All trailers should come standard with a battery disconnect switch but
they don't. The makers leave it up to us to foot the bill for that one.

Good luck and happy camping!
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:55 PM   #4
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A very important point. DO NOT let your battery sit in a discharged state. Always keep it topped off. There are chemical processes that take place in a lead-acid battery when discharged that robs the battery of it's performance. If it sits that way long enough, it will be ruined. Always put it on the charger as soon as possible after use.
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:25 PM   #5
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When your trailer is left for a long period of time it is advisable to put a small solar charger on it. This will keep it charged up and ready to go when you leave on your next trip.
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlhoppe View Post
A very important point. DO NOT let your battery sit in a discharged state. Always keep it topped off. There are chemical processes that take place in a lead-acid battery when discharged that robs the battery of it's performance. If it sits that way long enough, it will be ruined. Always put it on the charger as soon as possible after use.
chemical processes = sulfated battery
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:11 AM   #7
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it has all been said above abt what discharges it and how to prevent it.

i usually think of a battery like a surge tank on a well. the pressure on the tank would be like the volts.
the amount of water in the tank would be like the amps.
the relationship comes in when it flows. both amps and volts come into play.
a charger replaces the amps back into the battery gradually. if it flows too fast, the battery heats up and the plates buckle.

even if u charge the battery slowly but over charge it, the water will boil out. (i believe boil is a loose term; i believe the water breaks into its parts (gas)). this exposes the plates and causes them to flake. the flakes build up, make contact with the plates, and cause a cell to short out (go dead). this is why it is important to inspect the battery weekly (until u find how fast the water is dropping) and keep the level up to the level rings above the plate. you may find that water usage may allow u to go longer between checks. i wouldn't go longer than a month.
the above post also mentioned the 3 stage chargers. they will adjust to the demand. when the battery is charged, they will go into a low trickle. damage to batteries is very minimal with these.
when u replace the water, use distilled water.

if u leave it plugged in to shore power, check ur water level no less than once/month.

i would treat the converter/charger in ur trailer as though it was one of those that doesn't drop enough when the battery is charged. keep a monthly check on the water when in use. if u have a 3 stage great but i wouldn't count on it.
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Old 09-13-2011, 02:40 AM   #8
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If I am storing the TT without hooking it to Shore Power (115Volts) I simply remove the Wire from the Ground Side (-) on the battery. When ready to plug in the camper simply hook it back up. Cheaper than a switch and takes about the same time.....
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Old 09-13-2011, 02:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
1. What is the best way to charge it fully?
Plug the TT into Shore Power (115 Volts AC) .

Quote:
2. What is the relationship between the volts available (ie 12) and the amount of available amperage? (crank hours?)
The higher the amperage rating on your battery means it will supply 12 volts longer for powering whatever you have on in your TT.

Quote:
3. Does my converter charge up both volts and amps, and if so how fast?
Yes it charges both. How fast depends on the size of your converter but your battery should be charged fully in a day. Sometimes when they are fully discharged as yours was it is possible that you may need to replace it. Check the water level in all the cells and let it charge for a day and see if your lights work with the shore power disconnected. If they do you should be good to go. I would then leave the TT hooked up to Shore power for another day or two and then disconnect the battery negative lead if you plan on unplugging the TT for storage.
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