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Old 03-01-2015, 02:41 PM   #1
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Batteries in storage

Do I need to disconnect both negative posts while in storage or just the one with the main cable clamp?
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Old 03-01-2015, 03:10 PM   #2
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Besides disconnecting the main power cable going into your Airstreams 12-volt DC electrical system, one of the two parallel cables connecting your two batteries together should be disconnected.

If one of your batteries were to fail in storage, isolating them from each other will prevent the defective battery from draining the good one and ruining it, too.
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Old 03-01-2015, 03:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
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Do I need to disconnect both negative posts while in storage or just the one with the main cable clamp?

Yes...


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Old 03-01-2015, 03:29 PM   #4
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You should also make arrangements to ensure that the batteries do not discharge beyond 50% or so during storage, especially if you are in freezing conditions. Non-AGM batteries can discharge in four to six weeks or so even if they are totally disconnected from all loads, AGMs will take a little longer but will also end up discharging over time. Some people use a trickle charger to keep the batteries topped off during the off-season. If you can't use a trickle charger for whatever reason, it would make sense to bring the batteries home and store them in a heated basement with a trickle charger over the winter.
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Old 03-01-2015, 03:33 PM   #5
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Thank you for your input.
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Old 03-01-2015, 05:46 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by AnnArborBob View Post
You should also make arrangements to ensure that the batteries do not discharge beyond 50% or so during storage, especially if you are in freezing conditions. Non-AGM batteries can discharge in four to six weeks or so even if they are totally disconnected from all loads, AGMs will take a little longer but will also end up discharging over time. Some people use a trickle charger to keep the batteries topped off during the off-season. If you can't use a trickle charger for whatever reason, it would make sense to bring the batteries home and store them in a heated basement with a trickle charger over the winter.
Sorry, I disagree with the statement. For many years now I have done nothing but disconnect my RV batteries when I winterize the trailer and leave them in place with no additional charging for 5 months. This is also in Idaho, where it is cold. In the spring I just re connect them and turn the PD 3 stage converter/charger on. It takes very little time or power for them to come back to full charge. The last set of Trojan golf cart batteries in my '74 Argosy lasted 9 years.

Fully charged flooded cell batteries, not connected in a cold climate (outside) will NOT discharge in 4 to 6 weeks. They will not discharge in 4 to 6 months. There is no need to take the batteries home and store them in a heated basement with a trickle charger.

The lower the temperature, the less self discharge you will have. Storing them warm will cause more self discharge than cold. Chemical reactions slow down by 50% for each 10 degrees C. A fully charged battery will not freeze until it gets colder than -40 F.

For winter storage all you need to do is 1. to be sure the batteries are fully charged, 2. the tops are clean (dirt and moisture will cause a small current flow between the terminals) and 3. fully disconnected, that is at least one terminal isolated from it's cable so no small loads can cause long term discharge.

Now, if your batteries are not fully charged, or dirty, or have not been fully disconnected all bets are off. Also, storage in warm climates is harder on batteries than storage in cold climates, as the rate of self discharge will be higher. If your batteries have been used and stored less than fully charged (that is pre-abused) conditions all bets are also off.

And I also know that most "conventional wisdom" statements about batteries and storage of them does not agree with what I have said. But most "conventional wisdom" is simply repeated over and over with no testing, no evaluation, no data to back it up. My engineering background makes me very careful about such "conventional wisdom" and my own tests and experiments and measurements over many RV seasons show different results.

In a month or so I may have some more data to add to my statements. I am running long term tests now of batteries stored as I have recommended.
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Old 03-01-2015, 06:19 PM   #7
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i have had the same experience as idroba. i'm a snow bird and have vehicles both north and south. a weak battery will discharge faster in my experience.
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Old 03-01-2015, 06:33 PM   #8
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All winter I have been going over to where my AS is stored and checking the battery. I would leave the cable on the negative post off. When checking, I would reconnect the. Battery and use th e monitor gauge in AS. After about 5 weeks it would guage a little over 1/2 charged. I was not disconnecting any other connections. I would hook up to AC for about 8-10 hours and it would be fully charged and then disconnect the neg post. I will break circuit between batteries now. Thanks for all your feedback. Springs around the corner.
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Old 03-01-2015, 06:48 PM   #9
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with batteries being much better insulated these days you're pretty safe with them sitting on the ground or concrete even if the ground is wet. I still prefer to store my batteries in a clean, dry and off the ground location. Right now I have them on the shelf beneath my workbench on a charge maintainer.

A few years back I left them in over the winter and added a small solar charge maintainer. Trouble was keeping the window clear of snow so the panel could get some sun exposure...
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Old 03-02-2015, 07:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by submirj View Post
All winter I have been going over to where my AS is stored and checking the battery. I would leave the cable on the negative post off. When checking, I would reconnect the. Battery and use th e monitor gauge in AS. After about 5 weeks it would guage a little over 1/2 charged. I was not disconnecting any other connections. I would hook up to AC for about 8-10 hours and it would be fully charged and then disconnect the neg post. I will break circuit between batteries now. Thanks for all your feedback. Springs around the corner.
On a typical lead acid battery, 1/2 charge is as low as you want it to go. Looks like your batteries reach the 1/2 charged level in about 5 weeks when disconnected as I had previously indicated (sorry idroba .) Whether you charge them in place periodically as you, take them home to trickle charge them or trickle charge them in the coach continuously is immaterial. The key is to make sure that they stay at least 50% charged. Sounds like you are doing it right!
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:14 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by idroba View Post
Sorry, I disagree with the statement. For many years now I have done nothing but disconnect my RV batteries when I winterize the trailer and leave them in place with no additional charging for 5 months. This is also in Idaho, where it is cold. In the spring I just re connect them and turn the PD 3 stage converter/charger on. It takes very little time or power for them to come back to full charge. The last set of Trojan golf cart batteries in my '74 Argosy lasted 9 years.

Fully charged flooded cell batteries, not connected in a cold climate (outside) will NOT discharge in 4 to 6 weeks. They will not discharge in 4 to 6 months. There is no need to take the batteries home and store them in a heated basement with a trickle charger.

The lower the temperature, the less self discharge you will have. Storing them warm will cause more self discharge than cold. Chemical reactions slow down by 50% for each 10 degrees C. A fully charged battery will not freeze until it gets colder than -40 F.

For winter storage all you need to do is 1. to be sure the batteries are fully charged, 2. the tops are clean (dirt and moisture will cause a small current flow between the terminals) and 3. fully disconnected, that is at least one terminal isolated from it's cable so no small loads can cause long term discharge.

Now, if your batteries are not fully charged, or dirty, or have not been fully disconnected all bets are off. Also, storage in warm climates is harder on batteries than storage in cold climates, as the rate of self discharge will be higher. If your batteries have been used and stored less than fully charged (that is pre-abused) conditions all bets are also off.

And I also know that most "conventional wisdom" statements about batteries and storage of them does not agree with what I have said. But most "conventional wisdom" is simply repeated over and over with no testing, no evaluation, no data to back it up. My engineering background makes me very careful about such "conventional wisdom" and my own tests and experiments and measurements over many RV seasons show different results.

In a month or so I may have some more data to add to my statements. I am running long term tests now of batteries stored as I have recommended.

However, when the day comes that that healthy battery becomes unhealthy...and it happens while stored, it could very well freeze, crack and make an acidic mess. If you are near the AS and can give it a check a few times during the winter, then this is OK, but I wouldn't risk it if the AS is remote to your location.
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Old 03-02-2015, 09:08 AM   #12
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However, when the day comes that that healthy battery becomes unhealthy...and it happens while stored, it could very well freeze, crack and make an acidic mess. If you are near the AS and can give it a check a few times during the winter, then this is OK, but I wouldn't risk it if the AS is remote to your location.
It's been my experience that unless an Airstream owner has replaced the factory provided charger with a multi-stage charger and then installed brand new batteries, the batteries in the coach will not be in good health. By asking the original question, I presumed that the OP was a "battery newbie" and had not changed his charger and thus my advice about checking/charging the batteries during the winter. It's all about the context.
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Old 03-02-2015, 09:14 AM   #13
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In a business I ran, golf carts, we used the same batteries as in AS, deep cycle 12v batteries. We stored hundreds and sometimes thousands of carts (we call them cars) outside in Western PA, Western NY, and very seldom would the batteries freeze or discharge substantially. The KEY is to bring them up to a full charge, disconnect and let them be. In the spring, we would re-connect, put on charge and they would be ready to go back to the golf courses. Some would freeze but in those cases of the 4 batteries in the car it was always one that had something going on anyway an the cold brought out the weakness.

I take my AS batteries out and put them on trickle in the basement.
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Old 03-02-2015, 09:42 AM   #14
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It's been my experience that unless an Airstream owner has replaced the factory provided charger with a multi-stage charger and then installed brand new batteries, the batteries in the coach will not be in good health. By asking the original question, I presumed that the OP was a "battery newbie" and had not changed his charger and thus my advice about checking/charging the batteries during the winter. It's all about the context.
I'm not disagreeing with you. I pull mine out and bring them home and keep them on a BatteryMinder. It has always been stored away from my home. However, next winter, my pad and electric will be completed at home and I will leave the batts in the AS....but still on a solar trickle charger or on the converter.
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