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Old 11-08-2012, 08:21 AM   #15
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WE have an Iota charger and keep it plugged in while in storage with 2 AGM batteries on board.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:29 AM   #16
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We leave our Airstream plugged into shore power all winter while it is parked in Mesa, AZ, December through March.
Airstreams still come equipped with a Univolt converter/charger, an inferior choice in my opinion that is hard on batteries.
So, this summer I replaced the Univolt with an Iota DLS-55. It's great! Two things I have noticed are no more dry batteries, and much more efficient charging when using a generator.
Hope this helps!
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:31 AM   #17
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if you can't check your trailer from time to time, i'd disconnect or remove the batteries. while a battery failure with a new battery is rare, it is still a possibility. you could have a power outage to your trailer and the batteries will discharge to zero requiring new batteries. the battery disconnect does not disconnect the CO detector. it doesn't take much to pull the negative post from the batteries.

during the winter i'm plugged in for months in sunny florida. about once a month i check the heat coming from the batteries and add water if needed. i'm also there to notice the smell of a cooking battery.

if you're leaving it in to run the furnace i'd go with the suggestion of putting the converter on a timer for an hour a day to minimize any chance of long term cooking. you'll still have to deal with the possibility of a loss of power to the trailer such as a tripped breaker or disconnected cord, etc.
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:20 PM   #18
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I confess I don't know anything about this subject, so don't shoot the messager! Here is the FAQ from the Parallax website:

Can I leave my Parallax converter system constantly connected to 120VAC power? Will this damage my batteries?

Applies to 500,6700,7100,7300,and 7400 series Converter/Chargers.
These converter models deliver a nominal "float voltage" output of 13.2 -13.8 volts DC. Leaving the RV connected to 120VAC and the converter output connected to the battery should present no problems as long as this "float voltage" is between 13.2 - 14.1 volts DC and recommended battery maintenance is performed.
In order to keep the battery at 100%, the charging source (converter) must "stir" the electrolyte in the battery. This results in a normal amount of water vapor loss in non sealed batteries. This water must be routinely replaced. Failure to periodically "top off" the water level will expose battery plate surfaces to air. This leads to battery sulfation. The battery will develop internal "short circuits" as a result of the battery sulfating. A defective battery will "mimic" the symptoms of "over-charging" since the "effective" voltage and resistance of the battery system remains low and the defective battery or batteries will continue to accept a charge. Also see Battery Charging and charging rates.
Non-sealed batteries should be checked for fluid level at least once a month. Check the water level more often in hot weather.
All voltages generally referenced by battery manufacturers and converter manufacturers assume an ambient air temperature of 70 degrees F. When the battery temperature is above 70 degrees, the "rule of thumb" is for every 20 degrees of temperature rise, the float voltage should be lowered by .5 volts. Inversely, for every 20 degrees of temperature drop below 70 degrees the voltage should be raised by .5 volts. The problem is that no converter manufacturer, at present, controls voltage by temperature. Converter manufacturers currently provide the float voltage based at 70 degrees F as an output meant to "generally" cover most locations and conditions. This leads to the need to check water level more often if the battery is continually "seeing" temperatures above 70 degrees F.
If the RV provides charging from alternate sources, (ie alternator, generator, inverter, solar, etc.) voltages should be checked for recommended output. In many cases the voltages provided from these additional sources may be 14.5 volts or above.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:30 PM   #19
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With recent production Airstreams equipped with Parallax 7300 series converters, the float voltage is low enough to be safe for long-term use with batteries connected at temperatures below around 70 degrees or so. At higher temperatures the batteries will gas excessively and require frequent addition of distilled water, and probably shouldn't be left connected for sustained weather above 85 degrees or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by extiger View Post
All voltages generally referenced by battery manufacturers and converter manufacturers assume an ambient air temperature of 70 degrees F. When the battery temperature is above 70 degrees, the "rule of thumb" is for every 20 degrees of temperature rise, the float voltage should be lowered by .5 volts. Inversely, for every 20 degrees of temperature drop below 70 degrees the voltage should be raised by .5 volts. The problem is that no converter manufacturer, at present, controls voltage by temperature. Converter manufacturers currently provide the float voltage based at 70 degrees F as an output meant to "generally" cover most locations and conditions. This leads to the need to check water level more often if the battery is continually "seeing" temperatures above 70 degrees F.
This is no longer true. Xantrex TrueCharge converters, and some of their inverter-chargers, have a battery temperature probe available and use the data from it to adjust the float voltage:

Battery Temperature Sensor
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:31 PM   #20
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Also, FWIW, I leave my Airstream plugged in all winter. I do check on it occasionally.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:44 PM   #21
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I have the old univolt power supply and I leave it on all the time and have never cooked the battery. The trailer sits a lot.

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Old 11-08-2012, 05:11 PM   #22
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My trailer stays plugger in to shore power when not being used. In 5 years of ownership, I only had to water the battery once. The original battery (there's just one) lasted about 7 years, and the next one five (replaced this fall). So, the charger seems to do a respectable job. I run a small electric heater to keep the interior temp at about 50 degrees. I haven't winterized yet, as we've not had a significant cold snap - only a few nights dipping just below freezing - trying to get out for one more weekend!
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:49 PM   #23
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I leave my trailer plugged in all of the time while stored at home or when camping. I turn off the breaker that controls the circuit that powers the converter. A few days before I leave I turn on that breaker. If I do not travel I'll turn it on over night once or twice a month.

The reason I leave my trailer plugged in is to power a mouse repeller. Have not had a mouse in my trailer since I got this. And, I run a small electric heater fall and spring so I do not need to winterize before traveling south for the winter.
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:13 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumaholic
We leave our Airstream plugged into shore power all winter while it is parked in Mesa, AZ, December through March.
Airstreams still come equipped with a Univolt converter/charger, an inferior choice in my opinion that is hard on batteries.
So, this summer I replaced the Univolt with an Iota DLS-55. It's great! Two things I have noticed are no more dry batteries, and much more efficient charging when using a generator.
Hope this helps!
The IOTA is quieter too! No hums and a variable fan that is controlled by current draw not simply temp of power supply.

Brad
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:15 PM   #25
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You can leave the shore power connected, just flip the battery disconnect switch (ours is right by the entry door) to 'STORE' to isolate the batteries from the single stage converter/charger. This will prevent overcharging while leaving power (110v & 12v) energized. You might flip it to 'USE' for an hour or so once a month to maintain your batteries, or better yet, get a BatteryMinder to maintain the batteries. Ultimately, changing to a three stage converter/charger might be the best route. There is a three stage conversion kit for the Parallax converter available:
Magnetek/Parallax 6300/7300 Upgrade Kit
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Old 11-12-2012, 04:32 PM   #26
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Um, Joe, that link is for "upgrading" the Parallax converter by replacing it with a converter from the World Friendship Co. (WFCO).
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:33 PM   #27
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If you don't have a three stage converter, I'd disconnect & pull the batteries unless you keep furnace, fridge etc. going all winter and use it occasionally. IMO.

Terry
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:59 PM   #28
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What we recomend to customers that are able to store where there is a power connection is to plug the trailer or the convertor in with a cheap basic light timer. You don't want a fancy digital one just one where you slide the pin out. Set it to run one hour per day. That will top up the battery without putting constant pressure on it and save your power bill as well.

Andrew T
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