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Old 09-12-2012, 04:09 PM   #15
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I am a contrarian on this issue. Batteries, charged, to not freeze down to about -40 or below. If they did those in Alaska and the Yukon would never be able to have a car which sat outside at all. There is less self discharge (chemical action) at lower temps. They do not need to be kept warm.

There is no real reason to remove your trailer batteries from your trailer in the winter. They will be just as happy there as in your basement, or garage. There is no need to store them specially, and yes, Virginia, they can be left on a concrete floor.

If they are fully charged they will survive a winter just fine, but only if there is no drain on them at all. By no drain, I mean that they have clean tops (current flows through the grime and acid film on the battery tops) and have either a total electrical disconnect switch or one terminal of the battery wire is completely removed.

If you can, a very small solar charger is a good addition, especially for 6 months or more of storage to make up for the internal self discharge, but not absolutely necessary.

And yes, I expect I will hear from those who disagree with me. (but they are wrong.... big grin).
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Old 09-12-2012, 04:15 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
I am a contrarian on this issue. Batteries, charged, to not freeze down to about -40 or below. If they did those in Alaska and the Yukon would never be able to have a car which sat outside at all. There is less self discharge (chemical action) at lower temps. They do not need to be kept warm.

There is no real reason to remove your trailer batteries from your trailer in the winter. They will be just as happy there as in your basement, or garage. There is no need to store them specially, and yes, Virginia, they can be left on a concrete floor.
.
Really?? I was always told not to put batteries on concrete. Guess I never questioned why. But now I think about it, why would concrete discharge a battery?? It's no like it is drawing anything form the battery..
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Old 09-12-2012, 04:21 PM   #17
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idroba -- I'm astounded you would say that! I agree with you fully.

Jason, yep -- an old hubby's tale I guess. lewster will back us up on this point.

I bring my batteries inside only for convenience.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:25 PM   #18
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Fortunately, the guys at Car Talk have the answer on the battery vs. concrete floor issue.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:36 AM   #19
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So, Gringo, how were the batteries? Enjoy Fall in Colorado.
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Old 09-19-2012, 11:32 AM   #20
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well, they did not freeze and split, at least. We were surprised at how well the trailer did stored outside in the Rockies over the winter. The batteries were dead and one tire was flat. I checked the level in all the cells and they were all slightly low. I just topped them off with distilled water yesterday after moving the trailer from the storage place to a KOA. We finally got plugged in yesterday and they've been on charge overnight. I really don't yet have a way to test them, guess I need a hydrometer. I'll pick one up at next opportunity.

Thinking ahead to next season, any recommendations on a small solar trickle charger? Something I could put in one of the sun roofs and keep inside the trailer would be good. I don't want to leave any external solar stuff on it, as we literally won't see this trailer again from october until probably next August. Another rocky mountain winter coming up.
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:07 AM   #21
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I'm planning to buy a couple of the 5 watt solar trickle chargers for this coming winter. I was thinking I can put them both inside the trailer. One facing upwards in one of the skylights to catch overhead sun, and one in a side window facing south to get that component. I have a question as to the best way to do this. It would be easiest to just plug the two solar panels into the cigar lighter style 12 volt jacks in the trailer. In this case, would I leave the Battery Disconnect switch in the Use or Store position?

I was also thinking the most foolproof way to do keep the batteries charged throughout a winter would be to disconnect the ground connection to the battery, and parallel the two solar panels and just run them right to the battery terminals with the trailer out of the circuit entirely. This would make sure nothing was draining the battery.

I don't expect a lot of power from two little 5 watt panels, especially since they will be in fixed positions behind plexiglass and glass. I'm only trying to keep the batts with some charge thru the winter.
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Old 09-28-2012, 06:29 AM   #22
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I'd do the second thing - hook the panels directly to the batteries, and keep the rest of the trailer off. The small panels will help some, but I don't know if it'll be enough. I have a small 10 watt panel I used to keep in the B190 for similar reasons, but I didn't use it long enough to get a good feel for whether it did keep the battery topped off or not.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:36 AM   #23
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The batteries were toast, by the way. I bought a hydrometer, and after a week on the AS charger, I measured six of the twelve cells ( I checked three on each battery) and the temp compensated charge was 50%. So, when we packed up the trailer for storage this year I junked the two year old batteries. I'll replace them next spring when I return to the trailer. Gives me a few months to think about various solar options. I like the idea of a big flexible strip on the roof, but I absolutely hate the idea of putting any holes into it.

Anyone know any good adhesives that would stick a flexible solar panel to the aluminum roof? I know I can run the wire down without drilling holes, but need to stick the panel in place if I go that route.
How about plain old RTV? Would that be good enough? There probably isn't much wind drag on a flexible solar panel.

Duct tape would probably hold it, but duct tape doesn't last long in sunlight.

not really that much snow up in Ft. Collins. Blows off, anyhow.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:57 AM   #24
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I have heard all of the " Old Wives Tales" about batteries too. But I like to be kept warm during the winter so why wouldn't my batteries ????? I just installed a new smart converter in my trailer so I guess I can leave them in and on the charger full time. But in the past I brought them home and put them on a tender for the winter. I know that's not an option for the original poster here though. I'm afraid he just may be in for replacing the batteries each year. Unless there's a forum member close enough to offer to sit on them at their home for the winter ???
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:20 AM   #25
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hey, we like warm, too! Thats why we moved to the Turks and Caicos Islands in the first place!

I've got a stepson in Boulder who is about to move from a condo into a house with storage in the basement. I am hoping that I'll be able to do something there, but he won't be living there forever. He graduates from college this year, with a degree in International Relations. Probably won't be finding a job in Boulder, so I really do need a long term solution that doesn't include humping those suckers back and forth to Boulder every year. We've also got some boondocking planned, so the solar solution is attractive to us for other reasons, too.
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:56 AM   #26
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A) Batteries are not people. They do not need to be warm.
B) Once batteries are left totally or even partly discharged for any time period, they are always toast, or have their capacity reduced greatly.
C) A small solar charger will work fine to replace the very small self discharge rate of the batteries. Just totally disconnect at least one terminal of the batteries and then direct connect the little solar charger to the batteries. The solar panels will work inside, if they get some direct sunshine now and then.
D) Yes, purchase your new batteries next year if you can. Otherwise they will be a year old when you first use them.
E) I expect that something was on in your trailer, like a CO2 detector or a Propane detector which ran down your batteries and killed them. I don't know how the storage switches in the newer AS works, but from what I read it does not really totally disconnect the batteries. That is why I say totally disconnect them, and make sure the tops are clean.
F) I suspect that those who insist on removing the batteries and "keeping them warm" are actually inadvertently just doing what I suggest, totally disconnecting the batteries. But it is not necessary to move them.

I hope I am not coming across as a know it all bigot. I have had much experience with batteries over the past 50 years. I commonly have had a lifetime of 10 years out of my own RV batteries. I tend to use golf cart batteries if I can fit them into my rigs. On my 310 motorhome, I got 10 years of life from a set of #27's in parallel, and that was using the old stile Univolt converter/charger (which I did not leave on all the time). I built my first solar system in 1995 and it is still in operation, but has now been moved to a friends off grid home in NM. As a volunteer, I build and maintain solar systems for the Forest Service at their remote facilities. I have 4 to 6 in operation at any given time.

So, maybe I am a know it all bigot....LOL. So be it.
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:48 AM   #27
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I'm that way about boats, the ocean, and underwater acoustics. I looked up the pertinent info on batteries, and see that with a full charge they are good to about
-40F. I suspect the attraction to keeping them inside is that they are also near an electrical outlet, and a smart charger then makes sense.

I do plan to keep them in the trailer when I work out the solar charger details. Stashing them in stepsons basement is a temporary solution if I don't get the solar worked out.

Disconnecting the batteries makes sense, and complicates things a little in that with the batts hooked up to the trailer it becomes simple to plug the solar output into one of the several cigar lighter jacks that Airstream decided to use for some reason for their dc outlets.

I wonder why they chose those. They're just about the worst connectors you can have, designed to light cigars in the 1940's. I replaced them on the boat with a rugged two prong connector.
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Old 10-11-2012, 01:36 PM   #28
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Two problems with the cigar lighter situation:

A) the voltage drops via the wiring and the poor connections with the lighter plugs (quality as you mention)
B) leaves any little loads such as the propane detector, or CO2 detector connected. They can easily discharge a battery over months, even with a small solar system in place. So my rule now is total disconnection (or a Perko switch, wired properly, and in the OFF position)

On my 310 motorhome I had an electric lift Braun Antenna (no amplifier). The lifting mechanism electronics, even when the switch was "off", took enough power to kill the batteries over a few months. I finally found it, and added a second switch in series with the input to the Antenna lift, and that killed the slow but constant drain. End of problem, finally.
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