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Old 12-21-2010, 12:06 AM   #1
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Dead Batteries

Hubby went out to check the 2011 Berkshire 410qs and all the house batteries are dead!!! We have a battery charger and it stated that they were bad. Only have had MH for over 1mo. What would make them all go bad? Any suggestions?
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Old 12-21-2010, 12:44 AM   #2
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Well, let me take a stab at this. You assume a new Motor home came with new batteries. May not be true. You assumed they were fully charged when you bought the motor home. May not be true.

Now if the motor home has been parked, and not plugged in, it will kill the batteries in a month, especially if a light or the radio was left on. There are things that draw current from the batteries when not in use.

Get a voltmeter and measure the battery voltage. If it is below 5 volts, most newer battery chargers won't work to charge them up. Fire up the generator, and measure the battery voltage with the generator running, and it should slowly climb to over 13. ( the generator needs to be run once a month anyway.) After 30 minutes, shut the generator off, and measure battery voltage, should still be over 12.5 volts. Check them 24 hours later, and hope for more than 12 volts.

While the generator is running, go in the motor home and check for lights left on, radio, refer, furnace, and other stuff.

Don't blame the batteries just yet.
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:10 AM   #3
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The carbon monoxide detector in our trailer will kill the batteries in no time, as it seems to pull a lot of juice. I disconnect the batteries whenever it sits for more than a day.
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:39 AM   #4
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Like others have said, don't blame the batteries just yet.
IF they are totally discharged you might have to use an external
battery charger to get them started or at least partially charged.

On-board items like the LP gas and possibly the carbon monoxide
detector can drain your batteries. The on-board power center
(battery charger) built in my trailer also is a slow drain when
the trailer is not plugged in.

For this reason I added a battery disconnect switch WHICH SHOULD
BE STANDARD EQUIPMENT in all RVs. Ahem.....'scuse me as you
can see this is a sore spot with me.

You are only one in a LONG line of RVers who have found their
brand new RV has dead batteries after just a brief spell of storage.

I installed my switch in the toe kick area right next to my
fuse box/power center. This required only a very short piece
of extra wire and one hole in the baseboard. Since I have some
electrical experience it was an easy (1 beer) job ;-)

Go to Amazon.com and search for
battery switch.
I have the top one on that page.

Maybe you can install it or maybe you have an experienced neighbor or
maybe your dealer will do it for a reasonable price.
It's a good "upgrade" and will save your batteries.

Once we return home from a trip and the fridge has been
emptied and dried and everything put away that needs
it, we shut off the battery disconnect.
This shuts off EVERYTHING including the LP gas detector.
My LP tanks are shut off at this point so I am not worried.
Our smoke and CO detectors are not in the house
battery circuit. They have their own (AA or 9V) batteries.

For your consideration-- I also use a "battery tender Jr."
while my trailer is parked at home. This little device keeps
my batteries at full charge all the time.
Keeping your batteries at full charge is the best way to extend their
lives and it means we are always ready to go battery wise.
Good Luck!!
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:40 AM   #5
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Well the bad news.
Once the batteries are dead; there is no freeze protection.
The Sulphuric Acid in the battery is what protects it from freezing.
A discharged battery has all the Sulfate plated on the lead cell walls and there is only a very weak acid left to protect the water (Specific Gravity close to 1.00 pure water).

If the water in the battery freezes it can: bulge/crack the plastic case and cause the electrolyte to leak out; crack the lead plates in one of more cells; or cause an internal short that will prevent charging.

Replacement is your only option for a battery that froze. Pulling it out and taking it to a battery shop will verify the battery condition.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
Well the bad news.
Once the batteries are dead; there is no freeze protection.
The Sulphuric Acid in the battery is what protects it from freezing.
A discharged battery has all the Sulfate plated on the lead cell walls and there is only a very weak acid left to protect the water (Specific Gravity close to 1.00 pure water).

If the water in the battery freezes it can: bulge/crack the plastic case and cause the electrolyte to leak out; crack the lead plates in one of more cells; or cause an internal short that will prevent charging.

Replacement is your only option for a battery that froze. Pulling it out and taking it to a battery shop will verify the battery condition.

I feel very lucky after reading your post. I went out to check the battery on my TT, just like I do every month, and the meter on the wall didn't register anything. So I thought, well, I'm going to be giving the Bronco a tuneup today, so I'll just plug it into the garage circuit and let the converter do it's job. After about an hour, I went back in to check to see that it was indeed charging and guess what...nothing. Checked all the connections again, still not charging. Pulled the mainline and took my external charger out and set it up to start charging. 9 hours later at 2A, i'm back up to 91% and still going. Interesting that the converter wouldn't bring it off the bottom, but the external charger would. But that's not what makes me feel lucky...I feel lucky because we've had single digit temperatures here in N. Colorado for the last few days and on some occasions, below zero during that pre-sunrise time. Battery isn't bulging or cracking and is taking a charge. Whoa!

(Although, had it gone belly up, that would have given me the perfect excuse to tell the wife I need to go shopping for new 6V batteries for the trailer. )

All's well that ends well.

Joe
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:31 AM   #7
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So glad they are taking a charge. Hopefully no internal damage was done. I would keep an eye on them and see if they work as well as they used to.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:01 AM   #8
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rthrbelsewhere,

I understand everything except the part that you feel lucky that it got down to single digits the last few nights ?
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by peskin View Post
rthrbelsewhere,

I understand everything except the part that you feel lucky that it got down to single digits the last few nights ?
He's feeling lucky that his batteries didn't freeze and burst.
Dead lead/acid batteries can freeze and split wide open.
Fully charged lead/acid batteries won't do that. That's why
it's so important to keep them charged especially in winter.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:37 AM   #10
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Dan,
I know its early!
You need another cup of Joe! Wake up!
I think that was a joke.
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