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Old 12-12-2017, 10:00 AM   #1
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Battery Maintenance With Solar

Newbie question but I can't really seem to find a direct answer after searching old posts. We bought a 2013 International Serenity about a month ago. Bought it from the original owners who are getting a little too old to travel and maintain a trailer. The ordered the trailer with every option including solar. He mentioned to me that he simply took the batteries out every winter and put them on a float charger and they have been perfect. We're in PA so winters can get cold.

I can do the same as well and store them in the garage and float them but wondering if that's necessary with the solar package. Wouldn't the solar keep the batteries topped off or is it simply better to keep them inside and float them thru the winter and reinstall them in the spring before camping season? I can do either but looking for the best way of doing it for the batteries sake. I apologize if this has been covered before but couldn't really find that answer after searching. Thanks.
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Old 12-12-2017, 10:08 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by GSP9 View Post
... We're in PA so winters can get cold.

I can ... store them in the garage and float them but wondering if that's necessary with the solar package. Wouldn't the solar keep the batteries topped off ... Thanks.
The solar would work except when the panels are covered in snow, which might be a lot of the time. Also, with the sun low on the horizon and short daylight hours they will produce less charging amp hours.
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Old 12-12-2017, 10:49 AM   #3
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I had a 2005 a/s 30 motorhome with a trickle charger on the roof. left batteries installed, shut off main power switch by the door and batteries were fine. I'm in SW Ontario. with maybe 2 to 5 inches of snow every few weeks. Sun did its job very nicely. I'll be adding a trickle charger to our 2006 a/s 30. If you cannot charge them in the winter, than best to remove them to garage ( they seem to get heavier every year) or basement and charge them up once a month.
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Old 12-12-2017, 11:14 AM   #4
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I utilize a 100 Watt roof panel for winter battery maintenance. Works well. When there is a bit of snow, the panel warms quickly if any of the cells are exposed. (Mine is tilted 56* to the southwest in winter) This thawing effect of the heating of the dark panel works down into the teens on a sunny day. If we are in a cloudy period, or there is a heavy snow cover for more than a week, I will broom off the panel. Since the AS systems are completely disconnected from the batteries, they can go weeks without a charge. The only draw when in storage mode is the battery monitor itself, and the internals of the solar controller. One sunny day...or maybe a bit more...brings it back to 100%. Not a problem here in the Chicago latitude.
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:10 PM   #5
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Thanks guys.
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Old 12-13-2017, 10:23 AM   #6
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Short answer: It'll keep a charge when the sun is out. If you are not gonna use it for a while, then leave it alone. The solar will do it's thing. Besides, you are likely gonna charge before you leave or have a gen or have shore power where you are anyhow.
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by GSP9 View Post
Newbie question but I can't really seem to find a direct answer after searching old posts. We bought a 2013 International Serenity about a month ago. Bought it from the original owners who are getting a little too old to travel and maintain a trailer. The ordered the trailer with every option including solar. He mentioned to me that he simply took the batteries out every winter and put them on a float charger and they have been perfect. We're in PA so winters can get cold.

I can do the same as well and store them in the garage and float them but wondering if that's necessary with the solar package. Wouldn't the solar keep the batteries topped off or is it simply better to keep them inside and float them thru the winter and reinstall them in the spring before camping season? I can do either but looking for the best way of doing it for the batteries sake. I apologize if this has been covered before but couldn't really find that answer after searching. Thanks.
I take my battery out, why take the risk of a frozen / trashed battery? Solar in theory should work but if your solar panel is snow coverd it wont work or your busy with other chores or not receiving enough sun, it’s one less worry that will be on your mind through winter.
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Old 12-13-2017, 08:09 PM   #8
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I have 265 watts of solar panels on the roof and they may get covered a few times with snow during the winter but they clear off in a few days. The only thing the batteries are running is the propane detector. I've eliminated all phantom loads such as the radio lcd display (toggle switch to cut off the display power). I have never had a problem with the panels charging a single battery or the dual Trojan batteries I installed 3 years ago, winter or summer. I check water levels at least once a month.
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:21 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Silvr_Bullet View Post
I take my battery out, why take the risk of a frozen / trashed battery? Solar in theory should work but if your solar panel is snow coverd it wont work or your busy with other chores or not receiving enough sun, it’s one less worry that will be on your mind through winter.
Neither methodology is wrong. I used to take mine out, particularly when it was stored away from home. Now that I have it beside the house, it is much more hassle to remove and reinstall batteries than to occasionally broom off snow and check the monitor every couple weeks.
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Old 12-14-2017, 01:22 PM   #10
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Thanks for the replies. Fortunately, we're able to store it at our house. I just had some stone delivered this week to make a pad next to our pole building. Once I get that leveled up I'll move it into position and it should get a fair amount of sun during the day. I'll probably grab the multi meter this weekend and check to see what they batteries are reading. I'm not sure what kind of batteries they are other than I know they are original and the previous owner took good care of them as he was pretty attentive to those types of things.
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