Originally Posted by BrianKrueger
I have been trying to get the generator started and have only had it started successfully two times--once at delivery in March and once in August after being on shore power for 18 hours. I have not been able to start the generator on its own without shore power . We store the AI in an open lot with plenty of direct sunlight, but no power available.
I know that the recommendation is now to put the AI on shore power for 24-48 hours each month, but that's simply not practical for us (and apparently many others, from reading the forum threads).
I'm willing to try just about anything to avoid paying $800 for batteries I have never used. In looking at the batteries, they are slightly bowed out on the sides. Is this what the service tech was referring to as being "swelled" (which is not covered by the warranty)?
Any suggestions on what I might do over the next 8-9 days before bringing the AI in for service?
Any help or advice to ..... would be appreciated.
Brian, you are experiencing the disadvantage of storing your RV in an uncovered lot with no shore electricity available. The storage lot industry does not understand the needs of the RV owner.
I have on occasion stored an RV in a covered facility that was always heated to above freezing (40 degrees +) & allowed powering the RV up to 10 amps. This is really deluxe living for an RV !
Presently, my RVs all have power available, with one stored inside, as well.
My advice is to search until you find a storage facility that offers inside storage, heated, and with power. It will be money will spent. If you are in the Atlanta area, there is a big co., National Indoor RV Centers, that has this type of facility.
In your present situation, I recommend that you obtain a stand alone portable genset. Harbor Freight has a 2 stroke 900 watt genset for about $100 that would be enough power to allow your on board converter/charger to recharge your batteries.
It could possibly help your batteries start your genset, but don't let the AI's genset & the outside genset provide electricity to the coach at the same time. Turn the genset to AI breaker off until you shut off the outside genset. Harbor Freight also offers a 2500 watt 4 stroke inverter genset for $500 that provides 18 amps at 120 VDC or 8.3 amps at 12VDC.
This genset can likely power everything in the AI just as though it was hooked up to shore power. After a couple of hours run time, a good set of coach batteries possibly could start your AI genset. Again, don't let both gensets provide power to the AI electrical system at the same time.
I mentioned the brand name not as an endorsement, but to illustrate the size of genset. There are a lot of 2500 watt gensets on the market. Not too many 500 to 800 watt sizes, but they are out there, too.
I recommend that you run either one of these size gensets hooked to the RV once per week for 2 hours or so. If you have batteries in the AI, that should be enough run time to recharge what the batteries lost since the last power application.
Power to RV's at all times is best
: keeps the coach batteries charged, allows the owner to keep the refer turned on, allows the use of a dehumidifier, and also to possibly keep some anti freeze heat or air conditioning in use.
I have used small carbon disk heaters to keep the RV interiors above freezing. The 1500
or 750 watt setting provides an anti freezing setting. Not much heat but typically keeps the coach at 40 to 50 degrees.
I have one trailer at a leased lake side site. The thermostat is set to 89 degrees and keeps the trailer from overheating + reduces humidity which is one of the many enemies of RV's. I am seeing monthly electricity bills of around $25. A trailer stored outside on my property has a dehumidifier powered 24/7. The water drains via hose to the shower drain and thence to the 35 gallon gray tank. I drain that tank at least once per month although the dehum has never come close to filling the tank. The dehum draws 400 watts when it runs, but it's duty cycle seems to be about 15 or 20 minutes per hour, after the humidity in the trailer reaches the level set on the dial.
I've heard the term "lot rot". It's not my term but I think it means that RV's suffer when left on lots and the temperature/humidity is not controlled inside. I know the batteries fail when allowed to discharge and sit for very long in a flat condition. I baby my batteries, but I get 2 or 3 times the life most people report.
I think the condition in your AGM batteries was caused by overpressuring the cases. What happened? We may never know, it likely happened before you got the AI. Possibly the batteries were hit by a charger that fed too much amperage into the batteries and caused gassing that could not be released via the tiny vent holes.
Hope you find my suggestions to be useful. Many other posters have given very good advice also. Battery maintenance is a very technical subject. Many RVers want to use only full hook up sites in order to avoid the distressing battery failures common to dry camping. It is improper battery maintenance that cause these poor results.
Let's Roll !