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Old 10-04-2012, 07:47 PM   #1
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Can I leave my Interstate marine flooded batts on trickle charger in winter?

I have new interstate marine deep cycle batts in my AS. also bought a high quality battery minder trickle charger for them. They are currently in my AS and connected to the trickle charger at our storage area. Provided that I top off the distilled water in my batteries is it safe to leave them on the AS or should I remove them and trickle charge them in my garage to lessen the low temp impact. We typically get winter temps down to -20 or in an extreme case -25 for 2 weeks in the winter. Other than that, we are in the 20-40 range most of the winter.

Since I just bought new batteries, I don't want to destroy them but maintain them the best way to preserve them this winter.

Thanks!

Sandy
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:53 PM   #2
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I guess it depends how secure your storage area is.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:59 PM   #3
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Your Airstream is modern enough it should have a battery charger that goes into trickle mode when there is no load on the batteries. With those temps it might be better to store them where the temps are not as extreme. At some point even a charged battery will freeze.

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Old 10-04-2012, 07:59 PM   #4
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My battery guy recommended storing mine inside, don't know if that is an option for you but a well ventilated closet may be the way to go.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:18 PM   #5
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I bring mine home and keep them on a BatteryMinder over the winter.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:13 PM   #6
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Sounds like indoors in the garage. Was hoping I didn't have to take them out but don't want to damage them..
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:15 PM   #7
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My first TT was small enough to keep in the driveway. Therefore I left the batteries in, and I would plug the trailer in for a couple days each week. My second trailer also was kept in the driveway, and I started out leaving it plugged in all the time. This is when I learned about 2,3,and 4 stage converters. The batteries were ruined from overcharging. So I upgraded the converter and just to be safe went back to the off and on charging cycle. When I bought the Airstream it was too big for the driveway and had to be stored in a RV storage lot. The first two winters, I brought the batteries home and put them on a good quality maintenance charger. Within the first year of having the Airstream I upgraded the converter to one capable of charging the batteries full time, but still brought the batteries home due to lack of electricity. Last year electricity was installed where my trailer is stored. So I decided to risk trying out the new charger full time. I check it every week to be sure all was normal. When we got the trailer out of storage the first time, the batteries were still in great shape. Since then, I have left them in the trailer and left the trailer plugged in. However if I still had the stock parallax converter, I definitely would not do it. I would leave the batteries in the trailer and charge them with a maintenance charger. That would be slightly less work than taking them out.

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Old 10-04-2012, 09:29 PM   #8
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I do have a fairly high quality battery minder trickle charger on my batteries in the AS that is plugged into a normal power outlet at my storage unit. Could I not leave them trickle charging in storage if I top them off?
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bonginator View Post
I do have a fairly high quality battery minder trickle charger on my batteries in the AS that is plugged into a normal power outlet at my storage unit. Could I not leave them trickle charging in storage if I top them off?
Let me answer this way.

I would do it that way.

But I'm not willing to say someone else should, because there might be something I'm not thinking about.

However my batteries survived the same environment as your trailer was in last year. In my mind, even my upgraded converter is probably capable of doing more damage than your trickle charger. Now should we be forecast to be near this rumored -30, I would definitely do some more research before I was comfortable. I am more worried about the case cracking and dripping H2SO4 down the aluminum under the front of the battery box, than I am about trashing the batteries.

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Old 10-04-2012, 10:08 PM   #10
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In retrospect, I need two large mirrors. One in front of my storage spot to reflect the sunlight to the ceiling above my trailer. The other would be on the ceiling to reflect the light down to my solar panels.

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Old 10-04-2012, 11:39 PM   #11
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-30 in Colorado this winter? hallelujah. The money we save by not having to spray for the beetles will buy me LOTS of batteries.

Both of mine were toast after last winter. one year old interstates that came with the new AS. I left them in the trailer, no charger, outside storage in Ft. Collins. They were a fraction of a volt when I finally got back to them three weeks ago. I topped em up with distilled water, kept the AS plugged in for three weeks, and they were at 50% charge. I just junked them this afternoon.
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:58 AM   #12
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The key to preserving your lead-acid wet-cell batteries in the cold is the specific gravity in the cells. Wet-cell batteries kept constantly over 75% charge (specific gravity 1.225) will freeze at about -35°F. At 100% charge (specific gravity 1.265) the electrolyte won't freeze until about -75°F. So, as long as the batteries are never allowed to go below 80% charge, and aren't cooked off by overcharging either, you should be good.

Now here's the kicker; in cold temperatures, your battery capacity is reduced, by as much as 50%. A 100-amp-hour battery will only have 50 amp-hours available at 100% charge at -22°F. But by the same token, if you recharge at that cold temperature, a full charge still only restores you to 50% capacity. A trickle charger is likely to cook off your batteries because the low temperature fools it into overcharging (chargers don't measure specific gravity).

Keep the batteries charged, by all means, but under your control, and only after checking electrolyte levels and specific gravity. Don't rely upon an automatic system.

One thing that helps to mitigate the problem… Batteries have a large "thermal mass." They heat up or cool down more slowly compared to the outside air. So your batteries will never get as cold as the overnight low temperatures. Only an extended cold snap will get the temperature low enough, long enough, to freeze a charged battery.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:21 AM   #13
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If you can leave the battery minder plugged in all winter, I would leave them in as well. I would check the electrolyte level before leaving them for months though. I would also go ahead and disconnect the battery cables. Even with the store switch in the disconnect position, there may be some parasitic loads from the LP alarm. The battery minder is only 1 amp IIRC. not sure what your parasitic load will be, but I'd bet it's at least 250mA.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:58 AM   #14
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Keeping flooded lead acid batteries properly watered in storage is essential. I stored my original (2011) Interstate batteries in my garage, on a BatteryMinder 12248 last winter. The BatteryMinder is excellent for maintenance charging, but we were absent for five months, and the batteries lost electrolyte. They failed prematurely this summer after only 8 months of active service. I replaced them with AGM batteries that are better suited for our lengthly storage periods.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Keeping flooded lead acid batteries properly watered in storage is essential. I stored my original (2011) Interstate batteries in my garage, on a BatteryMinder 12248 last winter. The BatteryMinder is excellent for maintenance charging, but we were absent for five months, and the batteries lost water. They failed prematurely this summer after only 8 months of active service. I replaced them with AGM batteries that are better suited for our lengthly storage periods.
I wonder if there was an issue with the batts prior to the storage. I have used a batteryminder on known good batts for 2 winters now and there was little, if any, water gone in the spring when it was time to reinstall.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:31 AM   #16
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BatteryMinder(s)

Keep in mind when comparing results with BatteryMinder products, they make many different models with different capabilities and characteristics. Clicking on their Website's RV link alone provides 10 different 12 volt models.

http://batteryminders.com/store.php?...n_home&&app=rv

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Old 10-05-2012, 09:37 AM   #17
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True, I use a pair of these " Battery minder with desulfator #12117". I use one for the two AS batteries and one for my lawn tractor and scooter batteries. None of the batts use any discernable water over the winter.
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:15 PM   #18
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OK - after reading all of this, I am going to pull them from the AS and trickle charge in my garage over winter. These are new batts so want to maintain them well.

Thanks, everyone.
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Old 10-05-2012, 02:50 PM   #19
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Not so fast there bonginator.... Many replies but few facts.

At lowish temps it becomes more difficult to overcharge batteries because the chemical activity in the battery slows down with temperature. So, with typical mountain winter temperatures, overcharging isn't a problem. The stock converter in your Safari is the same as what I have in my trailer. I looked up all the voltages once and in essence with these chargers no charging takes place below 50 degrees or so. In my climate, similar to yours, I leave the batteries installed and leave the trailer plugged in all winter. My batteries have lasted through two winters and are still going strong. I have checked electrolyte levels in them and find that it's only necessary to top them off in the fall before storing and then in the spring again before getting the trailer on the road.

The main source of damage to batteries over the winter is loss of charge, so if you're plugged in you'll be OK.

You can bring them in the garage and trickle charge them there but at best there will be no benefit... and... if your garage is much warmer, you may reduce the life of the batteries as they deteriorate more quickly in warmer conditions. Besides, it's a hassle.
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:17 AM   #20
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Not so fast there bonginator.... Many replies but few facts.

At lowish temps it becomes more difficult to overcharge batteries because the chemical activity in the battery slows down with temperature. So, with typical mountain winter temperatures, overcharging isn't a problem. The stock converter in your Safari is the same as what I have in my trailer. I looked up all the voltages once and in essence with these chargers no charging takes place below 50 degrees or so. In my climate, similar to yours, I leave the batteries installed and leave the trailer plugged in all winter. My batteries have lasted through two winters and are still going strong. I have checked electrolyte levels in them and find that it's only necessary to top them off in the fall before storing and then in the spring again before getting the trailer on the road.

The main source of damage to batteries over the winter is loss of charge, so if you're plugged in you'll be OK.

You can bring them in the garage and trickle charge them there but at best there will be no benefit... and... if your garage is much warmer, you may reduce the life of the batteries as they deteriorate more quickly in warmer conditions. Besides, it's a hassle.
Just to confirm, when you say "if you're plugged in you'll be OK" - you are referring to my batts being connected to a trickle charger and the trickle charger plugged in, correct? I don't have shore power at my storage place - only a normal outlet into which I can plug a trickle charger.
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