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Old 11-26-2003, 06:22 AM   #1
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Battery Charging During Winter

Just wondering if I should leave my RV (96 land yacht) plugged in to the 110 over the winter (Chicago area). It will be in storage outside in the yard. Does this over charge the batteries? Or should I plug the unit in to 110 for a few days each month?

I know the recommendation is to remove batteries and keep in the garage, but Id like to avoid that (lazy, I guess!!)

Thanks a Bunch!

John
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Old 11-26-2003, 06:26 AM   #2
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I usually keep mine plugged in. Sometimes I unplug it for a week or so. I am in and out of it all winter long. Sometimes I'll fire up the furnace and watch TV in there, for a few hours. Mine has an old Univolt. I check battery water level every 6 weeks or so, but usually only add water every 6 months.
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Old 11-26-2003, 07:26 AM   #3
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Mine is plugged in whenever it's in the driveway. I try to make sure to get the battery cells topped off before freezing weather starts. Like Pick, I check the water level every 3 months. Over the winter, you don't use as much water... probably won't need any until May.
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Old 02-28-2004, 09:40 AM   #4
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John;
My 95 LY has a diesel engine. When plugged in all winter the univolt only charges the house batteries. The electric door lock and walk-in lights near the floor draw voltage from the motor/starting battery. I go in and out frequently. When I go to start it for our monthly rally the motor battery is low and I have to push the dash switch to put the house batteries in line. Then it will start. Newer models have gotten over this by installing solar panels to keep the starting battery up.

I went to Harbor Freight and bought a "float charger" which is a plus-or-minus one amp charger that will back off when the battery gets to 12.6 volts. The charger is about $14.00. I keep it plugged in at all times and have not had to "borrow" voltage from the house batteries to start the coach any more. It also keeps the motor battery healthier.

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Old 02-28-2004, 10:17 AM   #5
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Battery charging

Depending on the cost of your battery, you might consider buying a three stage charger. Battery should get an equalization charge (14.5V) every month or so to keep the acid stirred up. Otherwise they will sulfate and die sooner. You need to balance the cost of the 3-stage charger against the cost of earlier battery replacement, sometimes its cheaper to just replace the battery.
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Old 02-28-2004, 05:28 PM   #6
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John;
Go to motorhome forum and scroll down to "Battery Running Down" if you need more info on the float charger. See my post there. I gave the Harbor Freight item number. The price is $16.99.

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Old 02-28-2004, 08:22 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the info.

Thanks for all the tips! This year I am leaving the unit plugged in. I think I will try the float charger next year, though. I did check the batteries and so far no need to add water.

Thanks again!

John
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Old 02-28-2004, 10:43 PM   #8
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John,
I have two Delco Voyager batteries which are maintenance free. For that reason I do not leave the onboard Magnetek charger plugged in for very long since water boiled off cannot be replaced. I currently have a BatteryMinder 1 amp charging system that has a boost charge, taper charge, desulfation and float charge. This way the batteries are not overcharged. If I want a faster charge when at a campsite with power, I just leave the Magnetek plugged in during part of the day and unplug it at night. I like to keep the BatteryMinder plugged in while the trailer is at the house during winter to make sure the batteries are always topped off and there is no chance they will freeze.

The battery is also helped with a PulseTech Solargizer 5 watt solar panel/charger. When boondocking I just hooked up an additional 20 watt panel with charger so that I can run some of the overhead fans during the afternoon and at night and not drop the battery charge significantly.

If you don't have the Intellipower with Charge Wizzard, have you considered hooking up some type of timer that might control how long electricity is applied to your converter/charger?
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Old 02-29-2004, 09:58 AM   #9
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Let me clarify that I have not yet gotten around to installing the Inteli-Power with Charge Wizard.

Our trailer has been plugged into the house for a year and a half now, and the 13.8V Magnetek Airstream supplied hasn't "boiled" water out of the batteries.

It does, however, evaporate it faster than it would if I had the IP w/CW in there at 13.2V float, but it doesn't evaporate very fast at all in the winter.

Sealed AGM and gel cell batteries are recombinant. The hydrogen and oxygen rejoin in the sealed cell to form water. Not sure if the Delco Voyagers are the same.
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