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Old 04-30-2015, 09:51 PM   #1
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Battery question

We just purchased a new to us 2004 wildwood travel trailer. We got it about 2.5 weeks ago and at that time the battery showed full on the gauge. Today I came home from work and the alarms were going off because the battery is dead. Does the battery need to be unhooked when it is not being used or is the battery junk. I will charge and test it over the weekend but just wondering if it needs to be unhooked or if it should last when it is just sitting? Thanks
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Old 04-30-2015, 09:57 PM   #2
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You need to leave it plugged in or disconnect the battery.
Most of us install a battery disconnect switch.

The parasitic draws will drain your battery.

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Old 04-30-2015, 10:09 PM   #3
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Welcome!

When not in use, yes. Your battery should be disconnected or have a battery tender attached. There is always a small "parasitic load" (typically around 2 amps or so) drawing on the batteries unless physically disconnected. Either disconnecting the negative cable or installing a battery cut off switch.

Out of curiosity.. when your battery showed "full" on the gauge, perchance were you plugged in to shore power? The reason being.. while plugged in, your gauge will show "full" as the converter attempts to charge your battery, and does not indicate the actual amount of charge of the battery itself. I will say that those standard battery gauges supplied in nearly all RV's is notoriously inaccurate.

One other thing to consider. Even disconnected, a typical wet cell battery will self discharge at a rate of about 15% every 30 days. For long term storage, it's recommended to place your battery on a "battery tender", or be fully recharged every 30-60 days.

Have fun!!
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Old 04-30-2015, 10:10 PM   #4
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You will have from .5 to 1 amp draw from the propane detector and the standby mode of the radio alone. That would amount to a 12-24 amp hour depletion on the battery daily. It dosen't take long to drain a battery with that amount of draw.
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Old 04-30-2015, 10:26 PM   #5
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Besides the propane detector and outside stereo drawing power, I have CO2 detector, 12vdc smoke detector and carbon monoxide detectors that added to the parasitic list. Sometimes I would forget and leave the antenna signal amp on. Big draw! My two original batteries were lasting 5 days and they were at or below 12vdc. I added a 5 way marine disconnect switch after I got tired of pulling fuses every time I left the unit. I would leave it on one battery at a time or shut them all off just depending on how long I planned to be away. Thus my solar revolution started......no sweat now.
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Old 05-02-2015, 03:49 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. When we picked up the camper they never told us to unhook the battery when it sits. I will install a disconnect to make it easy.
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Old 05-02-2015, 03:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mod381 View Post
Thanks for the replies. When we picked up the camper they never told us to unhook the battery when it sits. I will install a disconnect to make it easy.
It's probably more than likely that your dealer was not actively maintaining the battery while it sat on the lot as well. It wouldn't be a bad idea to set aside a few penny's and start thinking about an upgrade/replacement in the near future.

Installing a disconnect is a very low cost step in the right direction.

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