Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-25-2018, 05:22 AM   #1
Member
 
soulman327's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Indiana
Posts: 44
To plug in or not to plug in

That is one of my questions. I searched but got totally conflicting information. New to motorhomes and multiple batteries, my questions about my 2012 3170DS are:
1. If I leave it plugged in during months long winter storage in my shed will this keep the coach batteries charged?
2. If so, does the battery disconnect need to be in the "on" position for this to happen?
3. If not, should I turn battery disconnect to off and connect a trickle charger?
4. Will leaving it plugged in affect the chassis battery which I now have on a trickle charger?

Thanks a bunch!
John
__________________
"If I was any better, I'd be dead!"
"The sun's always shining, otherwise it would be dark!"
"God looks out for the stupid, so I keep Him pretty busy!"

2012 Forest River Sunseeker 3170 DS 32' w/2 slides
soulman327 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 06:04 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
retireearly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by soulman327 View Post
That is one of my questions. I searched but got totally conflicting information. New to motorhomes and multiple batteries, my questions about my 2012 3170DS are:
1. If I leave it plugged in during months long winter storage in my shed will this keep the coach batteries charged?
2. If so, does the battery disconnect need to be in the "on" position for this to happen?
3. If not, should I turn battery disconnect to off and connect a trickle charger?
4. Will leaving it plugged in affect the chassis battery which I now have on a trickle charger?

Thanks a bunch!
John
In my experience if you plug into AC power it keeps all of the batteries charged, irrespective of the cutoff switch in the stairwell. The newer converters don't seem to cook the batteries as bad either, but I would still keep an eye on water levels.
__________________
2017 Forester 2291S
2015 Honda Accord on Master Tow Dolly
retireearly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 06:49 AM   #3
World Wide Wanderer
 
wahoonc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Sprung Leak, NC
Posts: 1,635
Depends...

On my Coachmen Concord; I leave it plugged up 24/7 when at home. The converter charges the coach batteries only, as set up from the factory. Turn the battery switch off and it doesn't charge anything. We use ours at least once a month so the chassis battery gets topped up then. I check the water levels on all batteries once a month.

Eventually I will wire in a TrikLStart to keep the chassis battery charged up. You most likely have a WFCO converter, it has problems with the charge profile and sometimes will overcharge the batteries. For longer term storage I would either completely disconnect the batteries and use a battery maintainer charger. Using just the disconnect switch doesn't kill all the parasitic loads, like LP detector and whatever else they have wired past it.

Another option for keeping batteries topped up is a decent solar system.

Aaron
__________________
Aaron & Rhonda
wahoonc & Airangel60

2016 Coachmen Concord 300DS
2015 Fusion Hybrid following along
wahoonc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 10:28 AM   #4
Member
 
Shredder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Ontario
Posts: 98
You can plug you unit in and it will charger the batteries. However where i live it gets pretty deep into the minus numbers. I don't want to risk the batteries freezing so i take them in and trickle charge them. If you live where it stays a little warmer then by all means leave it plugged in.
__________________
2013 Forest River Sunseeker 3010DS
Shredder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 12:30 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 446
soulman327, I have a single axle travel trailer and a Georgetown 31L5.

Single Axle travel trailer: I winterize the trailer and pull the battery. I put the battery on a battery maintainer in my garage.

Georgetown 31L5: After wearing out multiple RVs from popup to 35' Class A, I learned that the worst thing you can do to an RV is put it in storage for the winter and let it sit lonesome the whole time. Lack of use is harder on the rig than using it. Something always doesn't work when checking out the rig in the spring.

Now I take my Class A for a "walk" every two weeks. In between times, nothing is plugged in. For the "walk" I start the generator, start the frig, start the engine, and drive for about 10 miles. This exercises everything except the air conditioner. Everything stays lubricated/used and everything holds up better, including the tires.
__________________
McCormickJim
2017 GT 31L5
McCormickJim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 12:45 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Minnesota, St. Paul suburb
Posts: 333
I like the taking it for a walk every so often however I store my 5th wheel in the back yard and keep it plugged in year round. Unfortunately I can't get the rig out of the back yard because of the snow and I'm pretty sure I won't use the energy to plow it out for a 10 minute run. Not that I don't like the idea I just don't have the energy to do it. I've had my rig plugged in 24-7 since purchasing in August 2017 and have only added about 1 ounce of water to each of the 2 batteries. I would agree that the newer converters don't put a equalize charge on the batteries constantly. FWIW
__________________
2018 Cedar Creek Silverback 29IK
18 Silverado 3500 HD Dually 6.6 Duramax 4X4
Ultimate Aluminum 5th Wheel Hitch, TST tire monitors w/repeater
Semi-Retired February 3, 2014
Bob & Cindy
Lvn2tvl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 12:52 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: 8300 Feet - Rocky Mountains
Posts: 1,283
This topic should attract plenty of comments:

My recommendation:
  • Use the battery disconnect switch to eliminate any parasitic loads such as the CO/Propane detector, LED displays on entertainment gear, "pilot" LED indicators on this and that, and so on.
  • Once disconnected, batteries will hold charge for a long time...through the winter, for example.
  • When you plan a trip, turn on the battery disconnect switch, check electrolyte levels, and plug in to top off the batteries and cool your fridge between 24 and 48 hours before departure.
  • You should be good to go.
  • As for the engine battery, if you are running the rig...actually driving it...once a month, that should be fine. If not, a battery tender is all you need INTERMITTENTLY. While the battery tender should not hurt the battery if connected continuously, there's that word, should, again.

Your converter/charger "should" manage the batteries when plugged in 24/7, with emphasis on "should." But a battery tender or converter/charger pumping in juice relentlessly might lead to overcharging if something goes wrong.

I have solar on my rig, and the same is true of solar. Left to its own devices, the only thing between solar and your battery is a charge controller. They "should" regulate charging to prevent over-charging, but again emphasis on should. I don't have a disconnect so I manually disconnect the battery cables. Over the winter I bring my one battery inside for storage, but that's not really necessary. It just makes me feel good.
About 3 or 4 times during the winter, I hit it with the charger overnight then disconnect again.

My battery is going strong after 5 seasons, so my method is working OK.
__________________
Jim & Renee
2020 Jayco Jay Feather X-213
previously 2014 Forest River/Rockwood HW 277
2006 Ram 1500 4WD Crew with Firestone Airbags
Every weekend boondocking in the National Forests or at Lake Wellington
jimmoore13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 01:08 PM   #8
RV There Yet?
 
IsleDog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Winona, MN
Posts: 789
remove the parasitic draw using the battery cut off switch. use either the charger built in or use a trickle charger to keep the batteries charged. a properly charged battery will have a very hard time freezing.

" if a car battery is discharged because of damage to cells, poor connections or a charging system that isn't doing its job, the battery could start freezing at the same temperature as water at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. "A 100 percent fully charged battery will not freeze until approximately minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit."

https://www.cars.com/articles/2014/0...attery-freeze/
IsleDog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 01:20 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Port Charlotte Fl/Hinsdale Ma
Posts: 4,824
Quote:
Originally Posted by retireearly View Post
In my experience if you plug into AC power it keeps all of the batteries charged, irrespective of the cutoff switch in the stairwell. The newer converters don't seem to cook the batteries as bad either, but I would still keep an eye on water levels.
I fail to understand why so many people have trouble understanding the battery disconnect. Disconnect means off. Off means no battery charging from the converter.
cavie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 01:31 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
SeaDog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Idaho
Posts: 7,315
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shredder View Post
You can plug you unit in and it will charger the batteries. However where i live it gets pretty deep into the minus numbers. I don't want to risk the batteries freezing so i take them in and trickle charge them. If you live where it stays a little warmer then by all means leave it plugged in.
A charged battery is not going to freeze there is no need to remove the batteries if you have them on the converter or a battery maintainer. Think about your car sits out in the cold and the battery doesn't freeze.
__________________
Retired Navy
Jake my sidekick (yellow Lab) 10/04 - 05/20
2017 RAM 2500 CC 4X4 Cummins Diesel
2016 Flagstaff 26 FKWS
AF&AM & El Korah Shrine of Idaho
SeaDog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 01:38 PM   #11
RV There Yet?
 
IsleDog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Winona, MN
Posts: 789
Quote:
Originally Posted by cavie View Post
I fail to understand why so many people have trouble understanding the battery disconnect. Disconnect means off. Off means no battery charging from the converter.
some are wired a little differently than others. some are wired on the 12V + and some on the 12V -. when i wire them in, i hook them up to the 12V + side and leave the brake circuit off of that switch for safety reasons. It would be silly to have the charging circuit run through that switch. AC comes in through converter, direct to battery. Disconnect should be connected between the coach 12V system and battery.
IsleDog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 01:51 PM   #12
...far N Georgia!
 
formerFR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Hiawassee, GA!
Posts: 3,102
your batteries, specifically your HOUSE batteries, will always enjoy being constantly charged rather than no charge at all, especially over long periods, like storage months.

and, since you have 120v power, certainly leave everything on just as you would if you were living there...there's little reason to flip breakers, or use cutoff switches when you have external power. Of course, the fridge doesn't need to be constantly running, and you can solve that by simply turning the temp to 'off', but otherwise leave everything in their regular state.

I think that most folks new to RVing somehow believe that something will somehow go 'wrong' just because they are not with their RV 24/7... so they must 'turn everything off', but really, it doesn't hurt anything to leave everything with 120v power.
formerFR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 02:13 PM   #13
Member
 
RudysWorld's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Collierville, TN
Posts: 568
As you can tell everyone has an opinion. As for mine I always have mine plugged in (Georgetown 350) with the house batteries connected. This charges the house batteries but not the chassis battery. On mine even with the batteries disconnected there is some parasitic discharge. As others have stated batteries will freeze if they do not have a full charge. I also check the water level monthly. This gives me the most peace of mind, YMMV. Good Luck!!
__________________

Rudy - 10 year old long haired dachshund, RIP
2011 Georgetown 350TS
2013 Chevrolet Equinox toad
RudysWorld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 02:27 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
camaraderie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 2,397
The freezing temp of a FULLY CHARGED 12V wet cell battery is -90 degrees.
Even if it is only 60% charged you are still good to twenty below.

There is NO NEED to leave a fully charged battery on a charger since loss of charge DECREASES in the cold and should not even be an issue for at least 90 days. At 90 days...measure the voltage and if it is still 12.3 or better...you're fine...otherwise plug it in and recharge for 24 hours.

Bottom line: Charge the batts fully. Remove the negative wire from the post to prevent parasitic loads and forget about them for at least 90 days in the winter.
(Note...in room temps you lose 10-15% charge a month so they need to be checked more often below the Mason-Dixon line in storage. )
__________________
________
Cam
2015 Georgetown 280DS
2019 Vespa Primavera 150's (pair)
camaraderie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 02:31 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: SO-CAL
Posts: 456
Quote:
Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Depends...

On my Coachmen Concord; I leave it plugged up 24/7 when at home. The converter charges the coach batteries only, as set up from the factory. Turn the battery switch off and it doesn't charge anything. We use ours at least once a month so the chassis battery gets topped up then. I check the water levels on all batteries once a month.

Eventually I will wire in a TrikLStart to keep the chassis battery charged up. You most likely have a WFCO converter, it has problems with the charge profile and sometimes will overcharge the batteries. For longer term storage I would either completely disconnect the batteries and use a battery maintainer charger. Using just the disconnect switch doesn't kill all the parasitic loads, like LP detector and whatever else they have wired past it.

Another option for keeping batteries topped up is a decent solar system.

Aaron
Just looked up that box, the wires seem to short. It also seems like a trickle charger.
__________________
RETIRED U.S. NAVY
2017 FORESTER 3051S
IN SO-CAL
Philkaty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 02:47 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
BobHanke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: West Des Moines, IA
Posts: 494
My house batteries finally gave up after 7 years of service. While replacing them at Interstate Battery, I inquired about keeping the rig plugged and and was told that this is most helpful for a long battery life.
On another note. I noticed that I had to disconnect my shore line after switching the main disconnect off before changing out my CO/LP detector after it reached end-of-life after just under 7 years.
__________________
"Lurch" = Georgetown 2011 330TS
Toad = Jeep 2016 Cherokee
Pilot = Bob
Navigator = Xiangbing
Crew = Radar, NiuNiu & NaNa
BobHanke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 06:13 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 384
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shredder View Post
You can plug you unit in and it will charger the batteries. However where i live it gets pretty deep into the minus numbers. I don't want to risk the batteries freezing so i take them in and trickle charge them. If you live where it stays a little warmer then by all means leave it plugged in.
Just so you know, fully charged batteries will not freeze. You can disconnect them for months once they are chared and the cold will not affect them as bad as heat which dissipates batteries quicker. I take the ground wires off my batteries after a full charge and leave them until April. Never had a problem yet and I live in Michigan.
Stovebolt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 06:14 PM   #18
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: British Columbia Canada
Posts: 441
Leave my 2917 fr3 plugged in to power 24/7, the outlet is there so I use it. Leave a Driz-air in coach. Occasionally I will go out and start the furnace, fridge and engine and leave on for awhile. Run AC on truck engine, heater, whatever runs I run it,(not hot water heater as I am winterized). Run the Generator if for no other reason to put fresh fuel in carb.


Have not had a problem with overcharging and check battery water level couple times over winter
cariboo camper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 06:52 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 538
I leave a small (5 watts for each battery) solar panel hooked to the battery, and disconnect the battery from the trailer. It is free power, and it keeps your battery from losing power over the winter. It won't actually charge it, but it will keep it from discharging. Harbor Freight and others sell small panels that plug into your cigarette lighter plug. I kept one on the dash of my pickup, which I only used occasionally, and the battery lasted 10 years. it is a simple way to keep your starter battery charged up. My boat is stored inside, and I put a Battery Tender trickle charger on it to keep it up. It is supposed to take care of sulfation.
__________________
2009 Roo 21ss + 2007 Superduty 6.0
mnoland30 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2018, 07:57 AM   #20
Senior Member
 
Wolverine 1945's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: SouthWest Michigan
Posts: 5,940
Quote:
Originally Posted by soulman327 View Post
That is one of my questions. I searched but got totally conflicting information. New to motorhomes and multiple batteries, my questions about my 2012 3170DS are:
1. If I leave it plugged in during months long winter storage in my shed will this keep the coach batteries charged?
2. If so, does the battery disconnect need to be in the "on" position for this to happen?
3. If not, should I turn battery disconnect to off and connect a trickle charger?
4. Will leaving it plugged in affect the chassis battery which I now have on a trickle charger?

Thanks a bunch!
John
I do not worry about the Ford battery,,, because I have to start it about once a month,,, and let it run a little while I am exercising the Genny !!!
Do Not Forget the Generator !!!
Wolverine 1945 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Forest River, Inc. or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:53 AM.