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Old 04-10-2017, 04:04 PM   #1
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batteries drained in storage

While storing our 40 ft. 2012 Berkshire (model 390FL) in our park's storage area in Leesburg FL, the batteries gradually drained to the point of no charge, in spite of disconnecting everything we knew to do. Put in storage in Nov., and turned off the three battery disconnects in the battery compartment; shut off the house disconnect on the dash board; went back in Dec. and it started ok. Went back in January and it was dead. Tried to charge batteries from generator, but it didn't work. I removed the batteries over the w/e and charged them on a charger, but when I reconnected them, it sparked and looks like something is draining them. Don't know what else to shut off--any ideas? The house batteries are not going down, but something continues to drain the coach batteries. Thanks!
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Old 04-10-2017, 09:30 PM   #2
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There are plenty of phantom small loads which together can drain the coach batteries. Starting batteries less but drain anyway. Since you know how to remove them you should pull the negative battery terminals to break all circuits. Even easier, go full time and stay connected!
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Old 04-10-2017, 09:35 PM   #3
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While I'm not familiar with your unit model, what is surprising is there are other load that are on the battery BEFORE the battery disconnect. So even if you use the battery disconnect switch in the coach, there are still loads on the battery that aren't disconnected. Time to get an ampmeter and figure out where the current is going. Or solar panel/plug in unit during storage to keep everything topped off.
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Old 04-10-2017, 09:47 PM   #4
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While I'm not familiar with your unit model, what is surprising is there are other load that are on the battery BEFORE the battery disconnect. So even if you use the battery disconnect switch in the coach, there are still loads on the battery that aren't disconnected. Time to get an ampmeter and figure out where the current is going. Or solar panel/plug in unit during storage to keep everything topped off.


No don't jump ahead. Normally safety items such as propane detector with its shutdown solenoid, the leveling system sometimes awnings all come first off the battery. Door step always powered for safety. Remove the cables reduce bleed 90%. Internal battery loss is the balance.
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Old 04-10-2017, 09:55 PM   #5
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Just pull the positive lead on the battery. That eliminates any drain. They will naturally drain but not much overwinter.
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Old 04-11-2017, 08:41 AM   #6
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I guess it's 6 of one, half a dozen of another. Difference is if you are disconnecting the positive and a body part touches any frame part including battery hold down or neg wiring, could be painful. Those batteries hold lots of ampacity, when you become the short circuit
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Old 04-11-2017, 08:02 PM   #7
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mine was drained by the oxy sensor
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Old 04-11-2017, 08:13 PM   #8
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I guess it's 6 of one, half a dozen of another. Difference is if you are disconnecting the positive and a body part touches any frame part including battery hold down or neg wiring, could be painful. Those batteries hold lots of ampacity, when you become the short circuit
X2. It's always safer to disconnect the negative wire. Less arcing.
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Old 04-11-2017, 11:06 PM   #9
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X2 Scrapper...and there's usually LESS to disconnect there AND the $7 buck ez disconnect knobs sold at Walmart etc. are ONLY made for the negative post.

***********
To the OP... Before storing you MUST fully 100% charge the batteries. On a converter...a 50% discharged battery will take at least 6 hours to get to 100%....don't shortchange this process by taking phony in use voltage readings! Plug in or run the genny for at least 6 hours. And check the water before you do this.
Next....simply disconnect the negative wire ...forget all the other switches...disconnecting the negative is all you need to do.
There are both parasitic loads and passive discharge on stored batteries. Disconnecting the negative will eliminate the parasitic. Passive discharge will be 10-15% of capacity in room temp weather each month...less than 10%...usually far less in winter cold. You need to plan on this for long term storage and always recharge the batteries before they get to 12.1 Volts (disconnected) in the spring/summer and before they get to 12.4 volts in deep freeze northern states in winter (to prevent freezing...a fully charged batter will not freeze till -90 degrees! )
I fear your batteries have been compromised or ruined by being allowed to go flat. If you boondock...get TRUE deep cycle replacements...if you don't boondock you can save some money with dual purpose "deep cycles" . Good luck.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:07 AM   #10
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Solar Power

Disconnect at the battery, and add one of those dashboard solar panels to keep your battery topped off all winter. It will extend the life of your battery. On my old Ford truck, which I didn't drive much, the little solar panel allowed my battery to last 10 years. I was amazed.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:17 AM   #11
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Good idea, watch the water.
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Old 04-12-2017, 09:57 AM   #12
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Take it out

I always remove the battery, take it home and place it on an inexpensive charge maintainer (Harbor Freight). Assuming your battery has a full charge this will keep it that way. Keep battery off cold cement floor up on wood. At beginning of next season you are ready to go. Other answers about disconnecting ground cable are correct and the only way to handle any automotive battery
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:07 AM   #13
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As 30 yr new car dlr some of above is correct!
Disc negative!
Get solar panel!
You will be happy!
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:18 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Stlcaly View Post
I always remove the battery, take it home and place it on an inexpensive charge maintainer (Harbor Freight). Assuming your battery has a full charge this will keep it that way. Keep battery off cold cement floor up on wood. At beginning of next season you are ready to go. Other answers about disconnecting ground cable are correct and the only way to handle any automotive battery


This is a Berk with 6 batteries or more! Much taller order (2 start, 4 coach). Size 27 or greater.
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Old 04-12-2017, 12:55 PM   #15
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X2. It's always safer to disconnect the negative wire. Less arcing.
X2..ALWAYS get in the habit of disconnecting the Negative terminal on your battery any time you need to remove it. Some vehicles electrical system have components which will be fried if you disconnect the Positve while it is still on. There is no arc if you disconnect the Negative cable first.

That said, by disconnecting the negative battery cables you have completely broken the circuit so NO drain can be caused by anything n the camper. BUT, time itself can drain them so it is best to find some method whereby you can keep them charged. Solar works well, so does a trickle charger/battery minder that stops the charging when the battery is full. Otherwise you run the risk of overcharging which can be as bad as letting it go completely dead.

Good Luck!
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Old 04-13-2017, 10:47 AM   #16
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Rag,

You mentioned coach & house batteries. I assuming you mean chassis & house batteries, correct?

If your chassis batteries won't hold a charge, check the water level, then look for something associated with the chassis that is staying energized.

If you're using the chassis battery disconnect switch (in the battery compartment) your chassis battery should be isolated from the chassis circuit.

Let us know what you find.
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Old 04-13-2017, 11:42 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stlcaly View Post
I always remove the battery, take it home and place it on an inexpensive charge maintainer (Harbor Freight). Assuming your battery has a full charge this will keep it that way. Keep battery off cold cement floor up on wood.
I disagree with both statements. Keeping battery off a cold floor originated in the 1st half of the 20th century when casings were made of rubber. It has not been valid advice for 30 years but the rumor stays alive. Do Cement Floors Ruin Car Batteries?

A maintainer WILL do exactly what you say but it will also subject your battery to sulfation since it allows the H2So4 to separate from the water by not providing enough current to mix the two. Better to allow the battery to dissipate though self discharge and THEN but a full bulk charge on at 14.5+ volts and full amperage from the charger.
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Old 04-13-2017, 11:48 AM   #18
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I disagree with both statements. Keeping battery off a cold floor originated in the 1st half of the 20th century when casings were made of rubber. It has not been valid advice for 30 years but the rumor stays alive. Do Cement Floors Ruin Car Batteries?

A maintainer WILL do exactly what you say but it will also subject your battery to sulfation since it allows the H2So4 to separate from the water by not providing enough current to mix the two. Better to allow the battery to dissipate though self discharge and THEN but a full bulk charge on at 14.5+ volts and full amperage from the charger.
X2.
I copied the post because it is worth a re-read.
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Old 04-14-2017, 07:56 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
I disagree with both statements. Keeping battery off a cold floor originated in the 1st half of the 20th century when casings were made of rubber. It has not been valid advice for 30 years but the rumor stays alive. Do Cement Floors Ruin Car Batteries?r

A maintainer WILL do exactly what you say but it will also subject your battery to sulfation since it allows the H2So4 to separate from the water by not providing enough current to mix the two. Better to allow the battery to dissipate though self discharge and THEN but a full bulk charge on at 14.5+ volts and full amperage from the charger.

Cam
Just wondering, could one use a home brew bubbler
system using vinyl tubing led the bottom of each cell powered by a fish tank air pump. Would only need a bleed valve to regulate the needed stirring flow. This to eliminate the high voltage phase of "storing" the cells
Penetrate the cell caps for a gas tight fit of the cell vinyl tube descenders.
Just a thought.....
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Old 04-14-2017, 10:46 PM   #20
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Cam
Just wondering, could one use a home brew bubbler
system using vinyl tubing led the bottom of each cell powered by a fish tank air pump. Would only need a bleed valve to regulate the needed stirring flow. This to eliminate the high voltage phase of "storing" the cells
Penetrate the cell caps for a gas tight fit of the cell vinyl tube descenders.
Just a thought.....
Well...I suppose you could rig something like that and keep the mix from settling out with a few minutes for each cell ... it certainly wouldn't hurt anything and might help.... but a couple of hours charging at bulk rates (as I suggested) can only be accomplished when the batteries are below 80% charged and if you wait till they measure at around 12.3V while disconnected...then the charging also serves to get the battery back towards 100% to bust up the lead sulfate (PbSO4) from the negative plate and turn it back to Pb and PBO2 ... in addition to mixing the H2O and H2SO4 before the charger goes to 13.2V and less than 1 amp in float stage.
Or you could by a LIFEPo4 for about 9x as much and never worry about it!
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