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Old 06-17-2015, 10:33 AM   #1
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Long Term Storage--Use Battery Disconnect?

Hi guys,

I have a 2008 Berkshire 390QS. I'm putting the unit up for a couple months at my storage place (where I have it plugged into a 110 outlet via the main cable with the 110 adapter on my 30-to-50 dog-bone. My charger is running fine, but I'm wondering if all batteries will be charged if I flip the battery disconnect switch by the front entrance? I'm sort of assuming that disconnected means disconnected, but I don't know if that also means no float charging can take place either?

Second question, the former owners have a battery tender wired in for what I assume are the chassis batteries. Will the chassis batteries get charged by the main coach charger or do I need to keep the Battery Tender plugged in as well to keep the chassis batteries topped off?

Thanks,
Mark...
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Old 06-17-2015, 10:34 AM   #2
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No charging will happen if "disconnected"

I leave my unit plugged in 24/7 365

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Old 06-17-2015, 10:50 AM   #3
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Thanks Turbs,

Will "plugged in" also keep the chassis batteries topped off or just the 6v coach batteries?
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Old 06-17-2015, 02:26 PM   #4
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No charging will happen if "disconnected"

I leave my unit plugged in 24/7 365

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2011 32bhok Sabre
2015 camping "9 nights"

This isn't true. I think TURBS is referring to not being plugged into a power outlet. Your Berkshire will charge the batteries when plugged in and the front "disconnect" switched off. It will still even charge if you turn the main disconnects off for both coach and chassis batteries. You'll see that with the disconnects off and plugged in you can read your charging indicator in the coach and it will display the state of charge.
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Old 06-17-2015, 02:30 PM   #5
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Long Term Storage--Use Battery Disconnect?

I leave mine plugged in 100% of the time. I'll turn the inverter off , and I turn the salesman switch at the door to off. The refrigerator stays on also.

On this program all seem to be fine. Just keep an eye on your batteries. Mine seem to use up a little water. Not sure if it because they being charged too much or not??

I never touch the battery disconnect switches.

Russell
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Old 06-17-2015, 02:31 PM   #6
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This isn't true. Your Berkshire will charge the batteries when plugged in and the disconnects shut off. You'll see that with the disconnects off and plugged in you can read your charging indicator in the coach and it will display the state of charge.
Respectively I think your wrong. But I'd like to stand corrected.
Charger will still put out voltage "appearing to be charging" but will not charge the batteries if disconnect is off.
The battery cables go directly from the batteries to the charger to the distribution panel.
No matter where the disconnect is in that line it disconnects the batteries from the charger.
Unless the disconnect is between Charger and distribution panel, is that the case?


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Old 06-17-2015, 02:46 PM   #7
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I don't think mark is talking about the 'real' cutoff switch in the power bays, but the 'salesman switch' by the front door. The Berk has multiple ways to cut power.

When I only flip the switch by the door off, my batteries still charge. And my residential fridge stays on.
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Old 06-17-2015, 03:17 PM   #8
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I don't think mark is talking about the 'real' cutoff switch in the power bays, but the 'salesman switch' by the front door. The Berk has multiple ways to cut power.

When I only flip the switch by the door off, my batteries still charge. And my residential fridge stays on.
I guess some clarification is needed!


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Old 06-17-2015, 05:16 PM   #9
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He said "if I flip the battery disconnect switch by the front entrance" in the OP.
That clarified it for me. At least in a Berkshire, I don't know about other types of RVs.
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Old 06-17-2015, 05:27 PM   #10
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He said "if I flip the battery disconnect switch by the front entrance" in the OP.
That clarified it for me. At least in a Berkshire, I don't know about other types of RVs.

Ha. I missed the OP front door switch. But Turbs on the Berkshire that switch is just the salesman switch. In the compartments there are two other battery disconnects. I never switch off the compartment disconnects due to bring plugged into shore power

Russell
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Old 06-17-2015, 05:40 PM   #11
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If I store mine for a week or month I always turn my main battery disconnect off in the bay. My coach is 4 years old and I've never had replaced the batteries yet.


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Old 06-17-2015, 06:12 PM   #12
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If I store mine for a week or month I always turn my main battery disconnect off in the bay. My coach is 4 years old and I've never had replaced the batteries yet.


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But then your refrigerator is off too. Right?

Russell
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Old 06-17-2015, 07:37 PM   #13
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Yes. I don't need it on in the storage unit. When I pick it up I get the fridge going on gas. By the time I get home it had started to cool.


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Old 06-17-2015, 07:39 PM   #14
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Ok. I keep my plugged in full time. I also have residential frig.

Russell
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Old 06-17-2015, 07:55 PM   #15
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That's why I like the multi usage fridge. Yes it's not as big but it runs off battery/shore power/ gas. And I don't have as many batteries to worry about.

But yes it's not as big. 😊


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Old 06-17-2015, 08:10 PM   #16
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When traveling daily the gas frig the best. If setting all winter someplace the residential probably better. Either one big enough.

Russell
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:18 AM   #17
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Either one big enough.

Russell
Not if you have one of your sons, their wife and either 2 or 4 grand children with you. That is why we went to the '14 with the residential refrigerator because it is bigger and gives the ability to carry more food. Just need to get to the refrigerator before the grand kids do!! (LOL!!)
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:34 AM   #18
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OK, we're making progress, but I still have questions and maybe it will take a volt meter to get true answer.

Yes, I was only planning on using the "salesman switch" disconnect by the front door. The old Westinghouse TV seems to have a mind of its own and turn on via power fluctuations, so I want to turn off the coach--we have the fridge emptied, new baking soda installed and turned off.

I want to charge/keep topped-off both the coach (6V) and chassis (12V) batteries.

1. Will the chassis batteries get charged by the main charging system? Or do they only get charged via the alternator. I seem to recall reading or being told that once the coach batteries are charged, the system will redirect power to the chassis batteries. Is that true?

2. Based on what you've said so far, the salesman switch may turn off the power to the coach, but leave the batteries connected to the charger...I like that idea...any other comments/confirmation on that statement would be appreciated.

3. If I get out the trusty volt meter while it's plugged in, I should see ~13.6v on the batteries right?

One last idea...I could hear the fan on my charger the other day (and I have not disconnected the batteries via the salesman switch); I suppose if I flip the switch and the fan turns off, that would be a pretty good indicator that no charging was occurring...thoughts?

Thanks as always for the great discussion...it is much appreciated!
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Old 06-18-2015, 12:33 PM   #19
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Physically disconnect the batteries for long term storage. There are several small loads that will discharge them otherwise.
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Old 06-18-2015, 01:05 PM   #20
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I'll weigh in here... I have a 2015 Charleston, which should be very similar to your Berkshire...

First off, the 120V AC system and the house batteries are two completely different systems. If you are plugged in to Shore Power, you will have 120 VAC available at all your outlets - regardless of the status of your battery cutoff switches (in the battery compartment) or the Salesman's switch (by the front door).

The only "connection" between the batteries and the 120 VAC systems is your inverter. When you are not plugged in to Shore Power, you can turn on the inverter to get 120 VAC at the outlets. My coach will run pretty much all day on batteries (when not running A/C), then I charge them for a couple of hours with the generator.

I too have a residential refrigerator, and I run it 24/7/365. Not necessary, but easier... If you shut off the refrigerator, be sure to prop the doors open so the inside can dry. I don't know where you all live, but out here, I can get mold growing in a day or two if the fridge is wet and closed.

The Salesman's Switch will turn off most, but not all of the 12V systems in the coach. When I turn mine off, everything 12V behind the front seats turns off. It does not turn off the 12V outlets on the dash. I believe those outlets are powered by the chassis batteries.

I do believe the cutoff switches in the battery bay turn off all connections to the batteries - including charging. The reason for this would be that those batteries store a tremendous amount of power - if there was an electrical failure, the batteries could cause a fire, and/or explode. The cutoff switches completely disconnect the batteries. When I store my coach, I plug in the shore power cable, and leave the battery bay disconnects "ON". If I have to leave the coach disconnected for any length of time (not connected to shore power), I turn the battery compartment cutoff's "OFF".

When the coach is unused and not connected to power, there are parasitic drains on the batteries. The radio memory, system controllers, GPS, among others, all cause power drain. If you're not using the coach and it's unpowered, these systems are unnecessary, and only run down the batteries. Using the battery compartment cutoff will eliminate these current draws, and will keep the batteries at their full charge...

Just a side note - if you use the battery compartment cutoffs, all of your radio settings will most likely be lost. Not a huge deal, but something to notice...

Another use for the battery cutoffs: Occasionally, my GPS/radio locks up and so does my thermostat. If things ever get "weird" (not functioning as they should), I pull my shore power cord, and cut off the batteries for 5 minutes. This causes all power to the coach to be lost. When power is restored, many times the weirdness will resolve. Just like rebooting your computer...

The coach will charge both the chassis and coach batteries when plugged into shore power (and the battery bay disconnects are ON). The easiest way I can think of to verify this is to get a Digital Multi Meter (DMM). Measure and record the voltage across the batteries with the battery compartment cutoff OFF, and the shore power disconnected. Now plug in the shore power and wait several minutes. Make the same voltage measurement. If the batteries are charging, the voltage will be slightly higher than the previous recorded voltage. If the voltage is the same, your batteries are not charging. Next, turn the disconnects to ON and wait a few minutes. Even with current draws from the coach, the battery voltage should still be slightly higher. If the voltage never rises, it would appear that there's a problem with your charging system.

One last note, use the voltmeter to verify charging - the charger fans may be thermally controlled. No fans may not equate to no charging...

13.6 V sounds like a good voltage level when charging...

Good luck!
Carl
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