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Old 05-28-2020, 09:30 PM   #1
CarolynT
 
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Batteries dead in storage

We have a Sandpiper 378FB 5th wheel which we used extensively for 6 months without a problem. We parked it at a storage facility last month and disconnected the batteries by removing the negative poles. When we went back to hook up, the batteries were dead so we couldn't raise our landing jacks. Had to have a friend bring jumper cables to power up the batteries. Batteries are only a year old. Considering they were disconnected, where did the power go? I would have thought there might be some loss of power but shouldn't they hold for a month?
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Old 05-28-2020, 09:40 PM   #2
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Are they deep cycle, dual purpose or regular batteries?
When was the last time you checked the electrolytes?
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Old 05-29-2020, 12:42 AM   #3
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Your batteries are likely toast if they were fully charged before storage.
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Old 05-29-2020, 08:22 AM   #4
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a few thoughts:

are you sure you reconnected the trailer jack cable? many times the jack has it's own cable to the battery that is different than the main battery cables?

did you by chance trip the resettable circuit breaker?

when you say 'removed the negative poles' does that mean that each and every cable attached to the negative battery terminals was removed? were the batteries fully charged when you took the cables off and put them into storage? if they were fully charged and you took all cables off they should not discharge in a month.

what do you mean when you say you used the jumper cable to power up the batteries? do they now work? a jumper cable will not recharge the batteries.

at this point take the batteries out and take them to a local auto store to get them tested. leave the overnight and have them try to recharge them.
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Old 05-29-2020, 01:35 PM   #5
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You don't say that you fully charged the batteries before leaving them for a month... but my guess is that they were damaged before you put them away and if you boondock and don't have a battery monitor...they were probably over used and under charged which sulfated the batteries leaving them without the capacity to sit for a month.
That's a guess... but you can still remove the batteries to from the unit and charge them up OVERNIGHT with an old fashioned heave iron charger... then have them load tested at the local autoshop or get a $20 load tester at Harbor Freight. OR<<<... just leave them unhooked after charging for 24 hours and put a voltmeter on them. Anything 12.4 or less means significant loss of capacity...anything 12.2V or less means trade the cores in on a new set of TRUE deep cycle batts and get a battery monitor so they will LAST and not be murdered.
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Old 05-29-2020, 02:30 PM   #6
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I don't know what disconnecting the negative pole and leaving the positive connected might implicate, but there may be other negative connections somewhere. Newer trailers have little power draws even with the battery disconnect switch in the off or disconnected position. Such little things as the CO2 detector, digital clocks and other little gizmos that use 12v current. In most situation it won't kill the battery, but a weaker battery or extremely cold weather can cause it to draw down over the winter. Happened to me with a brand new trailer in storage. Removing the battery when the trailer is in storage or keeping it on shore power, if available, or a solar charger, would likely prevent this from happening. I agree with the suggestions about getting the battery checked and/or charged by an auto parts place. BTW, all the dealerships I've visited in cold weather fully remove the batteries and keep them in doors when the units are winterized.
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Old 05-29-2020, 04:07 PM   #7
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I would take the batteries home and check the electrolyte level, check the specific gravity of the electrolyte, then add distilled water if needed, check the voltage across the terminals once again and put them on a 6 amp (or more) charger for a while or over night or more time depending on the charger rating and see if they become charged by checking the specific gravity again and the voltage across the terminals. Hope this helps.
An auto parts store can check them as well, usually for free. Our RV batteries were badly sulfated and replaced under warranty after sitting on the dealers lot for months before purchase.
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Old 05-29-2020, 06:02 PM   #8
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I disconnect the positive terminal wires after fully charging the batteries. They then maintain charge over the winter for more than 5 years. When they do not maintain a charge I replace them.
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