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Old 07-29-2005, 06:55 PM   #1
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Battery question

Hi, I purchased a new 2004 16ccd bambi this last spring. I have notice that it dosen't seem to hold a charge long. If I let it set for just 4 weeks, it doesen't have enough power to raise or lower the electric hoist. When I look at the gauge inside it shows green, and 3/8. If your sure that all the power is turned off, and you store it in a warm climate, (very warm, valley CA), how long should a battery hold enough charge to work properly. Assuming that its fully chargred form last use.
1. If you hook up an generator to the electrical outlet and run it, does it charge the battery?
2. When driving should it not also charge the battery
3. How can you test to see that it does get charged while veh motor is running
4. And if it should be charging while hooked up to electricity, is their a way to test it?
thanks for any and all help.
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Old 07-29-2005, 07:32 PM   #2
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1. If you hook up an generator to the electrical outlet and run it, does it charge the battery? YES
2. When driving should it not also charge the battery. It does charge from the tow vehicle's alternator.
3. How can you test to see that it does get charged while veh motor is running. Use a DC volt meter at battery terminal or at DC plug. Look for charging voltages over 13 VDC
4. And if it should be charging while hooked up to electricity, is their a way to test it? Same as 3
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Old 07-29-2005, 08:08 PM   #3
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If your sure that all the power is turned off, and you store it in a warm climate, (very warm, valley CA), how long should a battery hold enough charge to work properly.
I live in a warm climate, S. Florida (Airstream interiors break 100 F daily). I can leave mine unattended for months (4 - 6) and when tested will display 12.8 Volts. Single battery 1.5 years old.
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Old 07-29-2005, 08:43 PM   #4
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I purchased a new Sears Diehard battery for one of my trucks years ago and it lasted only a week. The alternator checked out ok (63 amp version in a '77 K5 Blazer) but the battery had a bad cell in it. Pull the battery out and have it load tested. I suspect it might not have had a full charge when you picked it up and if you rely on charging it by your vehicle's alternator then you have to drive long distances. The battery should be a deep cycle RV/marine type and should be charged properly. Don't forget to check your battery level often.

I use a 1 amp BatteryMinder purchased from BatteryMart.com (can get it at Camping World also). It is a 3 stage charger which has never failed to bring my 2 Delco Voyager maintenance free batteries up to full charge after a trip. I've left it hooked up for months at a time with no problems. Over the last 5 months I have not had it plugged in but keep a full charge with a 5 watt PulseTech solar charger/maintainer. I've run 3 fans for several hours a number of times during the last 5 months while working inside preparing it for sale and the solar charger always keeps things fully charged.

My newer '86 Sovereign has an Intellipower converter/multistage charger (Charge Wizzard) and I leave it plugged in all the time because the Fantastic fans run during the day to keep inside temperatures down in the 80's.
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Old 07-29-2005, 08:53 PM   #5
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I've had very good luck with Interstate brand batteries in both my trailers. My Tradewind sat several month at a time and the battery seemed quite peppy. No problems using the tongue jack and inerior lights/fans after prolonged storage.
I suspect that you have a bad battery, or some sort of unusual draw on the battery while your trailer sits. Try disconnecting the battery next time you park it, and see if it draws itself down again. You will loose your radio presets....
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Old 07-29-2005, 09:04 PM   #6
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uwe, you just reminded me that he probably has a propane detector or another electronic device (clock/radio display) that is drawing from his battery. They will pull a battery down after a short time if he isn't hooked up to a charger.
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Old 07-29-2005, 09:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagine
Hi, I purchased a new 2004 16ccd bambi this last spring. I have notice that it dosen't seem to hold a charge long. If I let it set for just 4 weeks, it doesen't have enough power to raise or lower the electric hoist. .
Yep that's how my '01 Safari was. You need to turn that master disconnect switch to the off postion once you store the trailer. As I've noted in a few other threads, the draw on the battery on my Safari was .1 amp.with the master disconnect left in an on position and all appliances turned off. When the master disconnect is turned off, the draw is .01 amp. which is being drawn by the propane detector.

If you do the amp hour math you will find that that a single battery will be in poor condition after 4-6 weeks when leaving the master disconnect on.

The other battery killer that a lot of folks forget about is the high humidity switch on the refrigerator. A lot of folks turn it on when camping in humid weather. Due to the postion of the switch in the refrigerator door frame, its easy to forget and leave on.

Jack
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:42 PM   #8
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Thanks for help

I really appreciate all the advice. I did take my volt/Amp meter out and it is charging at 13.5 volts. So that eleminates that potential cause. I am guessing at this point that its the battery. I guess my next step would be to take it to Western Auto,,,,to have a load test. Thanks.... a lot for the help, and taking the time to send your ideas.... mike/joyce
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:54 PM   #9
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Solar Chargers

I have not had it plugged in but keep a full charge with a 5 watt PulseTech solar charger/maintainer. I've run 3 fans for several hours a number of times during the last 5 months while working inside preparing it for sale and the solar charger always keeps things fully charged.

Tell me more, if you would about the best route to go on a solar charger! I have a single battery, and live in a sunny climate!! I know Harbo Freight has several ranging in price from cheap to very expensive!
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Old 07-30-2005, 03:22 PM   #10
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Battery Info

You can quickly tell the batteries ability to deliver current with a load battery tester. You simply clamp the device onto the plus and minus leads of the battery and click the switch on for 10 seconds. The meter will move telling you what the voltage of the battery is under load. This can indicate if the plates are sulfated or not. If they are, the voltage will drop to unacceptable levels under load and the meter will show that. Measuring the voltage during charge will not tell you much more than that the charger puts out sufficient voltage.
Once the plates are sulfated the internal resistance of the battery goes up and this effectively prevents the battery from charging. It will seem like all is fine when you measure the volts on the battery, even when it isn’t charging. But under load it will tell another story.
BTW, Harbor Freight had an el cheapo load tester that is good enough for testing stuff like this.

Another thing you can do is get a specific gravity tester and check the cells individually. A properly charged battery will have about the same reading for each cell – 1.285 for a fully charged battery. Any appreciable difference can indicate problems with that cell.

Lastly, proper water level for non-sealed batteries must be maintained. You must only use distilled water as the impurities in tap water will kill the battery very quickly. If you have ever topped off a battery with tap water, be ready to replace it in a few months as it will fail.


I say to just load test it yourself or at any battery or auto shop and if it doesn’t pass, replace it.
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Old 07-30-2005, 09:07 PM   #11
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Any solar charger you buy should have at least a 3 stage charge controller that will desulphate the battery. Go to www.pulsetech.com for an explanation of the process and their different solar charger/maintainers. Also go to www.batterymart.com and look at the 5, 10 and 15 watt solar chargers by BatteryMinder. A friend has a single battery on a 21' SOB (some other brand) trailer and has been pleased with a 15 unit he bought and an additional 2 panels.
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