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Old 01-26-2016, 03:00 PM   #21
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With the parasitic drain, you have to leave them on some kind of charger or disconnect altogether.
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Old 01-26-2016, 04:31 PM   #22
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I leave our TT plugged in 24/7 because I also run a de-humidifier inside 24/7. Never a problem.
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Old 01-26-2016, 04:50 PM   #23
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I use a pair of 6 volt golf car batteries and top them up each month even if just a drop or two. Just be sure not to overfill and try to use only distilled water.
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Old 01-26-2016, 05:41 PM   #24
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Being an ex telco worker I tend to be overprotective of my wet cell batteries. Part of my winterization process is to remove the battery and bring it into the garage. Keep it on the bench, top off the water, charge it up and put it on the trickle charger (Harbor Freight about $8). Makes em last a good long time.
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Old 01-26-2016, 05:50 PM   #25
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I would not advise it!

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Originally Posted by Grandad53 View Post
Hello friends! I am fairly new at this and have a brand new 2016 Forest River Vibe 268 RKS. The question in my mind is: should I leave it plugged in to the 120volt service over the winter? Nothing is on inside but was wondering if it keeps the batteries topped off while plugged in or if it is actually bad for the batteries. I don't want to cook them dry but, if it doesn't trickle charge them at all, no need to keep the microwave clock functional. Thanks for your knowledgeable replies!!!
RV's of this class that have the factory converter/charger are low end (had to change/upgrade mine) as the low end models the factory installs do not have the proper type of charger to just leave plugged in and forget. They can damage the battery if left alone.
So i would just unplug the coach, take out the battery and put it in your basement (or somewhere warm and dry) it will freeze pretty easy, with a float charger clipped on it the battery, and just reverse the process in the spring (or month) when you leave again.

Hope this helps and Happy Camping
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Old 01-26-2016, 06:08 PM   #26
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My batteries are now 8+ years old being maintained by the "low end" converter, plugged in 24/7 and they still hold a charge. We camp without hookups half the time and the batteries still perform well. I do keep the water level up, but only have to add a couple of times a year.
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Old 01-26-2016, 06:18 PM   #27
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Interesting! I've owned 12Rv's including 3 diesel pushers (Gulfstream, Monaco Dynasty, Allegro Bus), and have NEVER had batteries that didn't occasionally need water. Only batteries that I've owned in all my years that didn't need water now and then were "sealed units".
I'm with him!
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Old 01-26-2016, 09:16 PM   #28
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We too leave ours plugged in 24/7 and so far no issues. Had this camper for almost 6 yrs now.
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Old 01-26-2016, 09:56 PM   #29
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Leave plugged in or not?

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Originally Posted by Grandad53 View Post
I see in this "owners manual" that it DOES charge the batteries while plugged into 120v power supply. I have no build sheet telling me anything about this particular power converter. I do not expect it to be sitting for much longer, perhaps less than a month so maybe it will be ok. Thanks for the advice!!

You really need to get the build sheet with the model number of your converter and all your other equipment. For the converter, that will tell you if you have the type that can be left plugged in long term during non-use (will automatically shift to float mode) or not. Or you can look on your WFCO for the model number and Google it. I see directly conflicting comments above as to whether this particular unit can or cannot be left plugged in full time.

By the way, you will have very little battery trouble with storage for one month. I really can't see where it's worth the bother of pulling out the battery. If in doubt, plug it in for a couple of days then unplug it. Two weeks later, repeat. Two weeks later repeat then hit the road. Check battery water levels each time.


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Old 01-27-2016, 12:28 AM   #30
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IMO, if you are going to leave the battery (s) connected, they need to be on charge 100% of the time. I've sulfated a battery in less than 1 1/2 years by unknowingly charging and discharging it too much due to the parasitic drain. So given the alternatives, keeping it on charge all the time is what I do now. The WFCO is definitely not overcharging on my TT. I'm definitely going to put a disconnect at the battery so I can stop the parasitic drain however.
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Old 01-27-2016, 08:26 AM   #31
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As others have correctly indicated, it all depends on your converter. Mine is a Progressive Dynamics 9200 series. When it detects that it hasn't supplied significant current after something like 30 hours, it will go into a trickle "storage mode" and drop its output to 13.2 volts(yes just like an aftermarket Battery Minder.) This will keep the battery charged but not evaporate water over long storage periods. It will, in addition run the output up to 14.4 volts for 15 minutes each day (actually every 21 hours) which will prevent the settling of the sulfuric acid to the bottom of the battery which reduces capacity and leads to irreversible sulfate crystals being formed on the lower part of the plates...all good stuff to do to maintain battery life!

If your converter doesn't support these features, you can get a separate Battery Minder that does that for around $30 to $150 BatteryMINDer 2012-OBD2 : 12Volt 2 Amp (12V 2A) Charger/Maintainer/Desulfator W/ OBD2 Connector (World Wide Usage) - VDC Electronics But you could also replace your converter with a newer one for around $150.00, depending on how much amperage you want, and get a manual boost control for rapid recharge when running a generator in the process.

In short, if you have a good converter...leave it plugged in as it is smarter than we are, will overcome any parasitic loads and apply desulfation pulses each and every day.
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Old 01-27-2016, 01:28 PM   #32
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I have a solar panel that can keep the batteries charged but I still like the idea of being able to disconnect the bats completely when not in use. I'm upgrading the disconnect switch soon because there are others I like much better than what came with the trailer that will allow multiple banks and have a positive feel about switching.

I like to fully charge the bats, disconnect them, then every month or so plug it in and let it charge for just a few hours to top off. I like this way because there is little time usage on the converter, little water loss, no parasitic losses or elec cords happening 24x7. A few days before heading out I plug in.

I don't live in cold country so I just leave the bats installed. This way appears to work just fine but I'd like to know what's recommended from converter and battery manufacturers.

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Old 01-27-2016, 02:35 PM   #33
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I am sitting in my recliner in Florida, 68 degrees and showers, looking at my disconnect switch down the hall. It is ON, and has been almost every day since new. This TT comes to Florida in November/December, goes in any number of roundabout routes back to Kentucky in April/May, staying plugged in all the time. If we are not on the road it is in the barn, plugged in. Like bob caldwell, I have never added water to a single cell in almost 3 years. I just checked it last Friday while replacing my propane regulator and all is well.
It always surprises me to see that all plates are generously covered with water. I have no explanation for that, but I am happy with the fact.
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Old 01-27-2016, 03:10 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by FordHauler View Post
I am sitting in my recliner in Florida, 68 degrees and showers, looking at my disconnect switch down the hall. It is ON, and has been almost every day since new. This TT comes to Florida in November/December, goes in any number of roundabout routes back to Kentucky in April/May, staying plugged in all the time. If we are not on the road it is in the barn, plugged in. Like bob caldwell, I have never added water to a single cell in almost 3 years. I just checked it last Friday while replacing my propane regulator and all is well.

It always surprises me to see that all plates are generously covered with water. I have no explanation for that, but I am happy with the fact.

Travel safe

Sounds good!! Ours is three months old and the other day I put a total of 2 Cups of distillers water into the two batteries. Each cell took between 10 and 50 cc. Not sure why they needed so much - nothing unusual going in except cold weather. Maybe they came low from the factory.

PS: a 10-20cc syringe is the bomb for carefully adding distilled water to each cell without spilling a drop.


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Old 01-30-2016, 03:34 PM   #35
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Please remind me on a Crusader 5th wheel, do I push in or pull out battery switch to disconnect?
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:35 PM   #36
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Old 01-31-2016, 11:38 PM   #37
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Please remind me on a Crusader 5th wheel, do I push in or pull out battery switch to disconnect?
Most are push in to disconnect. That way you can accidentally hit it with your foot and turn the refer off. But as mentioned with shore power disconnected, turn on a light and push it in and out and that will confirm it.
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Old 01-31-2016, 11:54 PM   #38
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This is what the WFCO manual for my Rockwood says about charging and maintaining. It seems to do a pretty good job I'll find out when I start boondocking this summer.

1. NORMAL MODE (Absorption) powers all DC loads, and keeps the battery charged.

2. TRICKLE MODE (Float) is initiated when there is no significant change in current draw for 44 continuous hours, keeping the battery charged while prolonging its life.

3. FAST CHARGE MODE (Bulk) kicks in to charge the battery if its significantly discharged due to improper maintenance, long term storage, or significantly heavy system overloads. Bulk mode is maintained for 4 hours (max.) to prevent possible battery damage.

Normal and Trickle Modes are the only charging modes your battery should ever require when you properly maintain your battery. The WFCO Normal Mode is a powerhouse, capable of charging a fully-discharged battery in under 3 hours. Trickle Mode will keep the battery safely charged when your RV is not in use.

Some RV and battery manufacturers believe high-voltage charging can potentially damage the battery if not absolutely required. The WFCO Fast Charge (Bulk) Mode is provided for the rare times a battery needs extra power for charging.

The key to long battery life is proper maintenance. Keep the battery terminals, top, and sides clean and free from corrosion, dirt, and grime. When the RV is not in use, keep it connected to a trickle charging source that will keep the battery safely charged, or disconnect the battery completely by removing all wiring connections from the battery terminal posts.
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