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Old 02-07-2016, 08:20 PM   #1
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Dead Batteries. Why?!

I have "HaRVey" (named by my 6yr old) winterized and in storage now. Went to check on it a few weeks ago and batteries dead. I'm down south so not real cold temps... above freezing. I have not disconnected the batteries, mostly because I left like I would be able to hook up to the truck and charge it often enough if volts got low... apparently not. Went again today and dead again.

I must have some sort of parasitic draw coming from somewhere, right?

Is it unrealistic to think that the batteries should be able to hold a charge for a month straight?

I'm guessing a replacement is going to be in order but I don't want to treat the symptoms without addressing the cause. Plus, we never boondock and frankly, I wouldn't mind reducing the tongue weight either...

If I don't have batteries installed, would this parasitic draw pull on my trucks charging system?

Thanks for the help. Go Panthers!
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Old 02-07-2016, 08:37 PM   #2
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Parasitic draw shouldn't kill your batteries in a month. Any chance you left the trailer in storage with the Store/Use switch in the Use position?

Your batteries might also have been damaged by overcharging with the stock converter. This might have happened if the dealer left the converter on for an extended period.

Either way, you cannot eliminate the batteries. You need them for your trailer brakes. I would recommend you buy another set of flooded lead-acid batteries, charge them up before winterizing and then disconnect the negative cable(s) while in storage.

For peace of mind I would measure the DC current from the batteries with the disconnect switch set to Store with a clamp on DC ammeter to confirm the parasitic current draw.
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Old 02-07-2016, 08:48 PM   #3
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Unless you disconnect from negative battery post their is always a draw from LP detector even in store position. If you check the dectecor the red light is always on if the trailer battery is connected.
Your batteries need to be removed & given a bench charge in an attempt to save them, otherwise they're toast!
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:20 PM   #4
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The parasitic draw will pull your batteries down in a couple of weeks. As Joe mentioned, you can do a bench charge with a good charger that has the ability to recondition (remove sulfate from plates) your batteries. My guess is they will be ok.

I always pull the negative lead any time we store the trailer. If you're storing outside, a solar panel would be a good way to keep them topped off.
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:39 PM   #5
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Parasitic current drain should be on the order of 70 mA, due only to the propane leak detector, which should only require 50-55 AH of battery capacity in one month. Even accounting for a self-discharge of 15%/month, the batteries should not have been dead.

Make sure your disconnect switch is in the "Store" position next time and confirm the parasitic current drain.
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:51 PM   #6
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Yep, the switch was definitely in store mode. I am religious about it when leaving the trailer. I've forgotten before (probably a year ago) and killed the battery then... but got it charged right up and had no problems thereafter.

Talk to me about this converter. I did somewhat recently (three months ago...?) leave it on DC mode for a while. But I wasn't using the AS and the switch was in store mode. Does that somehow drain the battery?
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Old 02-07-2016, 10:00 PM   #7
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Since there are no dumb questions, only dumb people asking them, here's a dumb person asking a question…

Were the house batteries fully charged when the trailer was placed in storage? If the batteries had less than a full charge to begin with, it wouldn't take much of a parasitic draw to drain them the rest of the way.

--Typo fixed by DKB_SATX 90 min. after the fact. Letters added in italics--
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Old 02-07-2016, 10:10 PM   #8
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Yep, the switch was definitely in store mode. I am religious about it when leaving the trailer. I've forgotten before (probably a year ago) and killed the battery then... but got it charged right up and had no problems thereafter.

Talk to me about this converter. I did somewhat recently (three months ago...?) leave it on DC mode for a while. But I wasn't using the AS and the switch was in store mode. Does that somehow drain the battery?
Your converter will charge your batteries when connected to shore power and when the battery disconnect switch is in the Use position. When the switch is in the Store position the batteries are disconnected from the converter.

My only point about the converter is that it contains a simple single-stage battery charger. This isn't the best, especially if you leave the converter connected to shore power and the switch is the "Use" position, and has been know to shorten the life of lead-acid cells.
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Old 02-07-2016, 10:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Since there are no dumb questions, only dumb people asking them, he's a dumb person asking a question…

Were the house batteries fully charged when the trailer was placed in storage? If the batteries had less than a full charge to begin with, it wouldn't take much of a parasitic draw to drain them the rest of the way.

I'm not sure who is or could be dumb here but yes, the batteries were fully charged. I only assume that to be the case though because I towed the trailer to storage and it was hooked to shore power for days prior.
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Old 02-07-2016, 10:50 PM   #10
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Connected to shore power won't charge the batteries unless the disconnect switch is in the "Use" position. If the switch happened to be in the "Store" position, well...
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Old 02-07-2016, 10:58 PM   #11
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I believe the subwoofer is another potential draw. I think there was a thread that discussed it, and that the owner had disconnected the speaker (?).
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Old 02-07-2016, 11:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I'm not sure who is or could be dumb here but yes, the batteries were fully charged.
Typo… should have been "here's a dumb person" Namely me.
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Old 02-07-2016, 11:27 PM   #13
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In a recent model Airstream there are 5 possible things which can draw on the battery if it is in Store mode but the batteries are left connected.

1. The propane detector...however it only takes about 6 to 10 mA, not enough to drain the batteries in a month.

2. The post jack. Unless the lights are left on though, it should draw no power.

3. The optional inverter (factory wiring). If left on it will kill the batteries in short order, less than a week. It takes about 1.7 to 2 amps even if nothing else is on. It is not shut off with the USE/STORE switch. It also can take a small amount of power, even when shut off, but I have not measured the exact amount. About the same as the propane detector I would guess.

4. The solar charge controller, if the trailer is left inside where no sun can hit the panels, the charge controller takes a small amount of power. How much depends on the specific controller. Small, but steady draw, might be as much as 30 to 50 mA.

5. Dirty battery tops. A small amount of power is drained off through the dirt and crud on the batteries, if left that way. No way to measure it however.


If the batteries are partly discharged to begin with, or are defective with low capacity, everything is speeded up (faster dead batteries).

The sub woofer on my rig only uses power when the radio is on, and it is wired through the USE/STORE switch. Some have reported a drain when the radio is off, I can only say that mine had none, and anyway, it is not directly wired to the batteries.

If the batteries were already left discharged for any time period, and the OP says they were (post #6) they already have been damaged, even if they charged up and appeared to be OK. Since the OP seldom uses the batteries (post #1) he may not know that the batteries are not in good condition to begin with. Also possible he bought the trailer with dealer lot rot batteries and they were poor the day he got it. That certainly has happened to others.

I am guessing bad batteries, combined with some of the items above.
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Old 02-07-2016, 11:35 PM   #14
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Typo… should have been "here's a dumb person" Namely me.
I fixed that for you in the post, with the letters I added in italics. I was actually about to write you a snappy PM about the out-of-character tone after I finished reading the thread.
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