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Old 11-21-2021, 11:31 AM   #1
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Winter question

will it hurt to leave camper plugged in all winter? It does have a solar panel on the roof. I think it is only 50 watt. I could just turn the battery disconnect off and would let sit. Will that work? I
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Old 11-21-2021, 02:35 PM   #2
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You are better off to disconnect one of the battery cables. The disconnect may not disconnect everything, such as co/propane detector.
Be sure to fully charge the battery before disconnecting the battery cable.
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Old 11-21-2021, 02:42 PM   #3
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You can do either, really. Leave it plugged in all winter, or disconnect a cable completely from the battery. If you choose to disconnect the battery, make sure it is fully charged first.

The battery disconnect switch will not disconnect every load, and I doubt the 50 watt solar panel would keep the battery charged unless it was connected directly to the battery and not to RV in any way.
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Old 11-21-2021, 02:48 PM   #4
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I leave my plugged in 24/7 with battery on flow charge. never had any issues other than adding a little water every few months or so.
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Old 11-21-2021, 03:25 PM   #5
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Unless you have a Lithium-Iron battery (LiFePO4) in which case you want to discharge to 50% before disconnecting. And it's best to not leave it on a charger.
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Old 11-21-2021, 03:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hclarkx View Post
Unless you have a Lithium-Iron battery (LiFePO4) in which case you want to discharge to 50% before disconnecting. And it's best to not leave it on a charger.
Quote from the Battleborn lithium battery manual:
"We recommend bringing the Battle Born batteries to a 100% state of charge. Then, disconnect the
battery from any loads by removing the negative cable from one battery. On average, the batteries lose
approximately 2-3% capacity per month. This is subject to increasing if stored in extreme environmental
conditions. "
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Old 11-21-2021, 03:58 PM   #7
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The battery disconnect will completely disconnect the camper from 12v. And the solar power is connected to the battery side of the disconnect switch.
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Old 11-21-2021, 04:19 PM   #8
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The battery disconnect will completely disconnect the camper from 12v. And the solar power is connected to the battery side of the disconnect switch.
Have you actually tested the disconnect switch because many do not completely cut power. For example, many still allow the clock and slideout to work, even in disconnect mode. So there still can be parasitic power drains.
That's why I put a secondary disconnect switch ON the battery.

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Old 11-21-2021, 04:28 PM   #9
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Yes, it's by the battery with about a 12 inch cable going straight to the battery and a small wire from the solar panel controller. Everything going dead when you turn it off.
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Old 11-21-2021, 04:55 PM   #10
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When we remove the batteries for the winter, and turn the battery disconnect switch, is there anything else that has to be done for the two 190 watt solar panels on the roof?
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Old 11-21-2021, 05:53 PM   #11
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I'm trying not to remove the battery. It is a group 27 and hard and heavy to get out.
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Old 11-21-2021, 06:08 PM   #12
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I'm trying not to remove the battery. It is a group 27 and hard and heavy to get out.
No need to remove it. Fully charge the battery, disconnect it and leave it until spring.
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Old 11-21-2021, 07:01 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by W5CRE View Post
Quote from the Battleborn lithium battery manual:
"We recommend bringing the Battle Born batteries to a 100% state of charge. Then, disconnect the
battery from any loads by removing the negative cable from one battery. On average, the batteries lose
approximately 2-3% capacity per month. This is subject to increasing if stored in extreme environmental
conditions. "
I stand by my statement. Quiz BB on it. They won't argue with 50% SOC storage.

Though with their 2-3% monthly SOC loss, higher makes sense. Ten months of storage with 3%/month loss could get a battery down to 20% (depending on the basis for their 3% which isn't stated). Though most often I hear people say that BB recommends storage at 80% SOC. Maybe that has changed. In any event, with 2-3% SOC loss I would agree to start storage above 50%, even 80-100%.

On the other hand, most LiFePO4 mfgrs recommend down around 50%. But, that's with prismatic cells which seemingly have much lower storage losses than BB's cylindrical cells. I have experience with three different makers of prismatic cells and the monthly SOC loss is too small to measure easily. I'm thinking "1/2%" is a worst case rating.
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Old 11-21-2021, 07:09 PM   #14
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When we remove the batteries for the winter, and turn the battery disconnect switch, is there anything else that has to be done for the two 190 watt solar panels on the roof?
There should be a disconnect of some kind between the solar controller and the panels. It's common practice to always open that disconnect before disconnecting things on the 12V side. And energize the solar controller from the 12V side before closing the panel side disconnect when firing up the solar system. Some solar controllers require this but most don't or tolerate doing otherwise. But, IMHO, the solar panels are still producing voltage, and potentially some current, while in storage (if they remain out in the sun). You will want the solar panels disconnected from the solar controller during storage if only to reduce the risk of a short-circuit and fire should something go awry in the solar controller.
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Old 11-21-2021, 09:54 PM   #15
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Hclarkx, I agree there should be a disconnect between the panels and controller yet they are not installed (at least not on any model I've seen). Every instruction manual I've read states to connect the batteries to the controller before connecting the panels, and to disconnect the controller from the panels before breaking the connection with the batteries. I don't understand why Go Power doesn't require FR to install a disconnect.

This is one of the first mods I will be making once the TT is delivered, unless FR gets with the program and starts installing one at the factory.
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Old 11-21-2021, 10:29 PM   #16
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Hclarkx, I agree there should be a disconnect between the panels and controller yet they are not installed (at least not on any model I've seen). Every instruction manual I've read states to connect the batteries to the controller before connecting the panels, and to disconnect the controller from the panels before breaking the connection with the batteries. I don't understand why Go Power doesn't require FR to install a disconnect.



This is one of the first mods I will be making once the TT is delivered, unless FR gets with the program and starts installing one at the factory.
It's very possible that controller mfr's are using the same cautions for large solar array/high power setups on the smaller RV units. The necessity for a disconnect for the PW array may be unnecessary for smaller parallel setups around 300w or less. Perhaps more important if a series connected array with higher voltages. Anything AZ round 45 volts or more could give one a good, potentially lethal, jolt.
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Old 11-22-2021, 02:20 PM   #17
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No need to remove it. Fully charge the battery, disconnect it and leave it until spring.
Does that advice apply in all climates?
I am also trying to decide whether to remove the batteries and bring them indoors for our very cold winter. They're big and heavy and I'd rather leave them, but not at the expense of decreasing their lifespan.
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Old 11-22-2021, 02:35 PM   #18
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Does that advice apply in all climates?
I am also trying to decide whether to remove the batteries and bring them indoors for our very cold winter. They're big and heavy and I'd rather leave them, but not at the expense of decreasing their lifespan.
No, if the winter is warm then not a good idea to do that. If the winter is below freezing then fine, the batteries may lose only about 10% charge over 5-6 months.
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Old 11-22-2021, 09:50 PM   #19
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The battery disconnect will completely disconnect the camper from 12v. And the solar power is connected to the battery side of the disconnect switch.
Since it's important to keep the battery fully charged, especially where it's cold, it's tempting to leave the solar panels/controller connected to the battery. With zero load on the battery the controller could keep it topped off even during cloudy weather (since it won't take much to cover the self-discharge). But, the advisability of this depends on the solar controller. Some solar controllers won't go into bulk mode the next morning unless battery voltage has fallen a bit below the normal fully-charge resting voltage (usually 12.6 to 12.7 volts). Such controllers would stay in float mode and thus not burden the battery with a bulk charge every time the sun comes up. Other solar controllers go into bulk mode with little provocation. These will "exercise" the battery needlessly with a near daily trip to 14.4 volts. Some solar controllers have a "user mode" that allows one to set the solar controller to avoid this problem of needless bulk charging. Some solar controllers also do an occasional automatic "equalization" charge. A healthy battery in storage does not need the wear and tear this would cause. A solar controller with a "user set" charge regime could be set to address this issue as well.

A 120V charger that would top off the battery with a trip to 14.4V then drop back to the float voltage and stay there for months (until unplugged) would be good. That would be the safest way to ensure the battery remains at max charge. However, if it's a charger that does an occasional "equalization" charge, I would avoid it. A healthy battery in storage does not benefit from equalization IMHO.

Disconnecting is also fine. Most battery manufacturers recommend monthly voltage checks to be sure the battery stays at/near full charge (older batteries may self-discharge a bit faster and thus be more susceptible to freeze damage). And electrolyte level checks unless it's an AGM.

When I lived in upstate NY, I used to put a 25 Watt incandescent lamp close to the battery with a box over it to trap the heat. This didn't really keep the battery very warm, but likely did keep it from getting below 32F.
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