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Old 10-24-2011, 03:28 PM   #29
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..... I suspect we didn't have a full tank to start with from the dealer......
Gringo,

There is a new(?) type of propane tank on the market. They are transparent so you can see exactly how much fuel is actually in the tank. However they are expensive ($$$$$$) and I don't think they are rated to last as long as a steel tank. One of the brands I have seen is Clearview but I have only seen 7 lb and 20 lb tanks in the stores. I 'think' they also come in a 30lb size (and larger). Because they are made out of fiberglass they weigh much less than steel. I would love to upgrade to these, but haven't been able to justify the cost.... yet...
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:09 PM   #30
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Thanks for the advice. We drove from Ft. Collins down to Boulder and back today. This place has literally thousands of RVs stored in yards outside all over the place. We are feeling better about leaving Silver Sage for the winter. I am studying up on the winterizing.

What do you guys do with your batteries if storing for the winter in sub freezing conditions, and no electricity. Do you remove them? Does a trickle charger like one of those solar doo dads make any sense? Does a charged battery not freeze?

I am a little puzzled about the advice to remove them from the trailer that I read in some of the AS lit. I used to travel the world extensively in my job, and I remember leaving my vehicles parked in outside long term airport parking for a month or two at a time without any battery damage.
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:46 PM   #31
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Charged batteries won't freeze. Loss of charge that might concern us could take several weeks to a month. Left wired in place, some parasitic drain from the coach will accelerate that slightly (taking 2-3 weeks instead -- I don't know enough to say for sure). This sounds like a prime situation for a small solar recharger. I recall hearing about one that sits inside the front window. Don't know much about it otherwise. You'll want to scrounge for more info on that.

I normally wouldn't say this, but removing the batteries doesn't sound like a good idea unless somebody responsible could put them on a battery minder every few weeks to a month.

The roof can take any amount of natural snow & ice with minimal to no chance of damage.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:05 AM   #32
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yeah, I was thinking a solar charger inside a south facing window wiring routed under the bed and out the hatch. There must be a smart one somewhere that monitors the batts. I appreciate the comments on the cover. It makes sense that it would scuff the surface with coase fabric chafing, and dust accumulation. This is all great information. Do you think covering the tires is worth it? Or is it a good idea to euthanize these Marathons and buy my first good set in a year or two?

I kept the speed control pretty much on a max of 65-66 mph almost all the way. I might have hit 68 to squeeze past something a time or two. The rented ford would have pulled that trailer up the side of Pikes Peak at 65, or at least it felt like it. Could smoke the rear tires, despite the fact that I never got the Reese installed and all the tongue wt. was on the rear of the truck.

If the opportunity presents itself, I now have some tales of fighting for control while spinning tires and sliding backwards down a steep gravel driveway in the mountains. It never occured to me that the new trucks have manual hubs again....

and then there were some backing up tales.
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:52 AM   #33
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They are right in the matter of a (or any kind of cover) that makes contact with the skin of the Airstream...It will leave all kinds of marks and blemishes that you could only begin to imagine. Just park it. But do not park under a tree (tree sap and falling limbs)...and especially if there is a hawk thats made its home up there (the other falling stuff... ...)
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Old 10-25-2011, 05:50 AM   #34
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Gringo,

WNY Winters....the AS batteries come out. With the IOTA converter I can isolate the cables and still plug in with no damage if I need power in the coach.

I use a Battery Minder on the 6v Ford battery stored in unheated garage, no freezing problem.
The AS & boat batt's get charged and stored indoors, with no draw they will stay fully charged for several months, re-charged with a Vector 1093 when needed.
Not much Winter Sun for solar around here.

BTW...I would not cover if stored outdoors.

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Old 10-25-2011, 07:04 AM   #35
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By the way, I've discovered this way that my right rear truck tire always runs about ten degrees hotter than the others ... no good reason that I have found. And it's not the tire ... after rotation, the right rear is still a bit warmer. It's also not load or pressure; have checked carefully. It doesn't run hot - just a bit warmer than the others. Of course, if there's much sun, sunside tires run a bit hotter also. That too doesn't explain this particular phenomenon. I'm not worried, but I AM puzzled.
I bet you have a right rear brake that is dragging.
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:52 AM   #36
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The problem for me in taking the batteries out is that I have no place at all to secure them. I guess we could rent a small heated storage facility, and keep batteries in there over the winter, if I can find one. I am going to look into solar chargers today. They really wouldn't need much charge to keep up from totally dead, I don't think. We have two sunroof type windows in the top of this AS, I am thinking that I might be able to suspend a solar panel in the top one, and maybe a second one wired in parallel....if I don't get enough output from the first one. But a couple hours a day of sun, average, should be enough, maybe?
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:47 AM   #37
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Batteries need proper maintenance during storage for best performance. That means keeping a full charge and also applying a sulfation inhibiting technique.

A float charge alone is 'old school' and insufficient as far as sulfation inhibiting goes.

A good converter such as the one with the Charge Wizard or some others will provide good battery maintenance. They make trailer batteries a simple matter of keeping the trailer plugged in when not in use.

I have only recently started to see solar charge controllers that provide storage maintenance features.
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:56 AM   #38
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Its not like I have a lot of choice. I can't think of any other way to keep the batteries from going dead. And I am not really worrying so much about 'best performance'. I just want to keep them from freezing over the winter with no other souce of charging current.

I am thinking of something simple like the 5 watt solar panel Harbor Freight carries. I wonder if I still need a controller, since it will be charging two batteries. That's not much charge per battery, and the winter days are short this far north. I am looking at the two sky lights in the AS, and thinking I could suspend this thing in the forward one somehow. There are two layers of plexi between the inside and outside, but it's thin and clear plexi. Not anything like the heavily shaded glass windows. It weighs 4 lbs and I can run alligator clips directly to the batteries instead of trying to plug it into an internal 12 volt connector. I guess I could also wire up a connector for that round 7 conductor that connects to the tow vehicle, but alligator clips seem simple and cheap.
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Old 10-25-2011, 09:45 AM   #39
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A 5 watt solar panel will only put out about 400 milliamps, and if you have two batteries, that's only 200 milliamps per battery.

Not enough, even if the panel is in direct sun light and angled at the sun, but you would not need a controller.
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:41 PM   #40
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The problem is that lead acid batteries discharge on their own over time. Even with the battery switch set to store, most trailers keep the LPG detector energized, a small but incessant drain on the batteries. In an ideal situation you would have a way to either maintain them with something like a Charge Wizard or set a timer to charge them for a day once a month.

In your case you are pretty much limited. Remove the batteries and take them home, or rig up a solar charger.

The smaller panels like you mentioned don't need a charge controller and they don't have the capacity to truly charge a battery like their bigger siblings. But they can compensate for parasitic loss and self discharge. Temporarily mounting one under a skylight seems to be a possibility. You could put a cigarette lighter plug (observe polarity) on the end of the cable and plug it into the 12v power point in one of the TV connection wall plates. Or you could permanently mount it or a slightly larger panel on the top of the A/C shroud and run the cable down the fridge vent and tie it into a hot 12v line in there.

A few concerns here... These panels are more efficient if they are angled to face the sun. A horizontal panel works but not as well. Snow! It might take several days for the snow to clear off a panel or skylight, further reducing its effectiveness. Several storms in succession could defeat the small daily gains you would otherwise want. For both reasons a panel facing south angled to catch the winter sun would be desirable. Another concern besides the efficiency of different designs and compositions of solar panels, some incorporate a diode in their design and some (lower cost ones) do not. The diode prevents the parasitic drain the panel would otherwise impose on the battery when it was in the dark.

A proper solar panel is a solution if you don't want to take the batteries home. I don't know haw effective a 5 watt panel will be in your situation. Remember how the battery storage switch works and understand that depending on how you make your connections, you have to think about that switch... Example, using the cigarette lighter plug may require the switch to be on rather than in storage.

Being an experiment, I would like to visit the trailer in storage monthly to: a) put a meter on the batteries to see how the system is doing. b) make sure the solar panel didn't grow legs if mounted externally.

Some might suggest that if you take the batteries home, take the wheels also.
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:24 PM   #41
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There was an earlier post that said, when using an infrared tire temperature gauge, it appeared that the tires on the curb side of his truck were always warmer than those on the street side. I can't explain why the truck tires would be warmer but I've always found the curb side trailer tires to be warmer and I simply assumed that it was due to the diesel exhaust from the truck??? I've never noticed a big temperature differential between the duallys on different sides of the truck.
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:56 PM   #42
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The roadways all slant toward the curb side. they are not level. I wonder if this has anything to do with the temp difference?

Regarding the batteries, I can't take them home with me. American Airlines would go batshirt if I tried to fly a couple lead acid batteries to the tropics as checked baggage or carry on.

What would you think would be the minimum size solar panel I would need to keep them functional all winter?
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