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Old 09-18-2007, 08:18 PM   #1
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Battery Drain? - Diagnose

I have this suspected battery drain problem I don't know how to diagnose. I have two batteries on the front of my '02 AS. A few times these past months I have been unable to connect the batteries using the "use" & "store" switch because of low/0 voltage. The trailer is parked in my drive and not in use right now. I charged the batteries with a charger and everything was fine until they were dead again. The last time I tried to make absolutely certain that I had placed the switch in "store". Today I had to charge again. Now this time I am going to monitor voltage at least twice daily to see what might be going on.

My question is: Is there a possible drain point before the "store" switch? How would you diagnose this problem?
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:23 PM   #2
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Propane detector doesn't turn off with the switch. Over a period of time, it will drain the batteries. If you're going to leave it for some time, disconnect the negative terminals to keep them from being flat when you want to use them.
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:34 PM   #3
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The first question I have is how old are your batteries. If they are the original batteries you are living on Gods GRACE to coin a term. If not you might have a problem. When I bought my 2007 25 ft FB the dealer told me if the batteries ever went dead that you have to put 12 bvolts on the batteries on the trailer or the converter would not charge the batteries even when plugged in to shore power . He said it was a common problem for people to bring in their trailer with a dead battery and he would hook up a good battery to the trailer and then the converter would charge up the batteries, Hope this helps.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:30 PM   #4
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Reply..

That's interesting about the butane. While I have two tanks on the front, there are no electric wires or sensors on those tanks. My power test panel has a propane report function, but it always reports '0'. I'm assuming there is no butane quantity sensor installed on my trailer. (I wonder if there was supposed to be one?)

Since I am the second owner (at least) I don't know about the age of the batteries. It could be they are old. I don't know how to evaluate them. I put the charger on. Once done I check their voltage immediately after disconnect and got 12.8 volts (read on the battery). The interior power panel reported 12.4 v.

It's still hot here in Texas. I know that around November, the cold nights will set in and that's when older, marginal car batteries start to fail in the morning. Maybe these trailer batteries will do the same.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:50 PM   #5
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Hi, I beleive that overlander63 meant the propane leak detector inside of your trailer. [Alarm] Other than that I would bet that the batteries are too old and need to be replaced. My trailer is three years old and my batteries went bad six months ago. Two and one half years is not very long compared to a car battery, but neither is the one year warranty on deep cycles.
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Old 09-20-2007, 09:36 AM   #6
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Cool

the volt meter is the best tool for testing batteries (unless you have a load tester) charge your batteries for a full charge (2 or more hours) then unplug the 120vac to the trailer, turn off or pull the fuse to the solar panels, since you have 2 batteries you should see 13.6vdc after the full charge, the slightest load will see that voltage drop to 12.6vdc ( the volt meter is not seen as a load, resistance is too high) , put 2 fans on, watch the volt meter for an hour, the voltage will drop but very slowly to about 12.4vdc and probably stay at 12.4vdc, turn everything off, remove a negative battery lead (isolating each battery), test each battery, they should be the same voltage 12.4vdc, if not replace 2 batteries.
Why? one battery has a bad cell, the other battery is acting as a charger, thus draining the batteries.
note that batteries have the abillity to increase their out/put voltage after a couple of minuits (electron migration).

good luck
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Old 09-20-2007, 10:28 AM   #7
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I'm going through a thing now where I am trying to resucitate my original Interstate batteries in our '04 so they make it through the season.

I brought them home because there was evidence of leakage from the top. Some of that go on to the metal batt. box and is now a white-ish powder. I'll clean that up with a baking soda paste.

I hooked up one battery to a BatteryMinder and after two days, there battery was leaking again. I cleaned that up but I also removed some of the "juice" from each of the six cells. This seemed odd, because prior to our last trip, I had to add a little distilled water to a few of the cells in both batterys. The voltage read 13.2 after letting it sit for the day.

I did the above procedure on the second battery. I now have both batteries on the blinking green de-sulfinate mode.

Next spring I will be buying new batteries. I'm just trying to make it through the rest of the season, which will involve only CG that have electric anyway.

Question: Could I have killed myself???

...by removing the "juice" from the batteries??? I've heard stories of batteries blowing up and I know that the stuff is sulfuric acid and that ain't good. I used a syringe with about 8" of tubing to remove the stuff. I removed about a pint total, and then (don't laugh, flame, or hate me) put that down our basement slop sink, let cold water run for about 1/2 hour to clear the drain.

Washed hands well with soap and water.

Any advice for a situation as described above?

All advice for a situation like this will be heeded, I promise!!!

Jonathan
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Old 09-20-2007, 02:09 PM   #8
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i'll just toss in that you should neutralize the acid with the baking soda before disposal.
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Old 09-20-2007, 03:16 PM   #9
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Talking Hi,

To find out where your discharge is.
1. Disconect the batterys.
2. Connect a volt meter beween the disconected battery lead. If you get a reading start shutti8ng down your 12v system one a time until the meater reads zero volts.
That will show you which circuit is on at all times.
Regards from Russell in sunny Tucson Az.
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Old 09-20-2007, 06:36 PM   #10
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draining down the juice will hurt the batteries if you expose the lead plates it will cause them to sulfate and this puts flakes on the plates that will flake on and sink to the bottom and short the cell.
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Old 09-20-2007, 06:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RUSSELL
To find out where your discharge is.
1. Disconect the batterys.
2. Connect a volt meter beween the disconected battery lead. If you get a reading start shutti8ng down your 12v system one a time until the meater reads zero volts.
That will show you which circuit is on at all times.
Regards from Russell in sunny Tucson Az.
A simple 12v test light can do the same thing, if you don't want to use a volt meter. Hook the point of the light on the cable end, and the clamp end on the battery terminal. When the light goes out, that is the circuit with the draw.
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Old 09-20-2007, 07:41 PM   #12
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Professionals At Parallax

I just spent a couple of months going throught this similar situation. I took my AS to Parallax (they manufacture the voltage converted / power supply in my AS), which is just about 10 minutes from my home. They were glad to see my AS. They said they have spent tons of time on the phone with owners and AS tech to resolve problems, but don't get to see them. They did an extensive analysis of the electrical system to determine why the batteries were being drained so quickly. They determined that there was a bad ground, which allowed the batteries to charge, but not to a full deep charge. I had all sorts of symptoms from CD changer not working to 12 volt lighting dimming if any other electrical device was turned on. They called AS, since my Safari is under warranty, and provided them the diagonsis. I took my AS to Jackson Center and they found that the ground wire from the voltage converter / battery charger had vibrated loose from the front of the grounding bar, worked it's way to the back side and spark welded it's self, by only a couple of strands of wire to the back of the grounding bar. Once they replaced / repaired the problem everything has worked wonderfully. The AS techs also replaced the monitoring panel, which failed due to this problem. Thanks to Marty Redd and his co-workers at Parallax for getting this diagnosed. Hope this helps.
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Old 09-20-2007, 08:01 PM   #13
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"I've heard stories of batteries blowing up and I know that the stuff is sulfuric acid"
When batteries blow up it is usually because of internal short or external short, your 12v battery is capable of producing 2000amps yes 2000amps in a milli second with a dead short, ( heat and steam then cause internal short and explosion) this is why CORRECT FUSING is so important.

good luck
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