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Old 05-22-2016, 01:30 PM   #1
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Have I killed my batteries

New Flying Cloud 28 (bought in December of last year). I have been keeping the battery switch off while hooked to shore power for fear of overcharging, and I've been using the battery check module which always reads about 13.3 volts so I assumed my batteries were charged
Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. When I unhooked today from shore power and turned the battery switch on, I was reading 11.6 volts. So I immediately plugged back in to shore power and within minutes the voltage was up to 12.3 (briefly unhooking from shore power). Of course, what I had been reading was the inverter voltage and not the battery voltage.
The battery water levels are fine. The Parallax website (I have the 7300) suggests leaving the batteries charging all the time.
So my misunderstanding may have left me with damaged batteries, although on another posting I heard the deep cycle batteries can tolerate 11.6 volts.
And we are about to go the Shenandoah NP where I can only top off the batteries with my EU2000i for a couple of hours a day.
Are we in deep trouble?

Richard
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Old 05-22-2016, 02:29 PM   #2
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DEALER may have killed your batteries on their lot!

Our 2014 International batteries were DAD before we signed and paid for the trailer. Dead After Delivery to the RV Dealer's lot. To demonstrate the interior of the trailer, they needed to bring the batteries on a dolly over and jump cables onto the batteries in the trailer. We could not even get the interior LED lights on.

Duh... now I am onto dead batteries in a new trailer, too.

Without any appliance using power, other than a LED glowing, the battery would drop to below 10volts and not hold a charge. Down below 9 volts faster than you can turn the water pump to ON.

Take your tailer to an International battery dealer and have them check them out. Ours had several dead cells that would draw the power down. (In layman's terms of my own.) That was the first trip and had zippy do dah little battery voltage after the first evening on the road.

I was able to pay not much more for sealed AGM batteries as the originals were being stacked onto the pallet with lots of other new looking batteries. They, the AGM batteries, work fine for us and when Off the Grid and need the furnace running a little, will hook up the tow vehicle, let it idle and maintain some reasonable voltage when warming the interior to... 45 degrees in New Mexico. I like to stay above 10.9volts before charging with the Honda generator twenty minutes and work at keeping as few power vampires drawing our batteries down.

There are lots of experts in batteries and if you can make some sense of all the opinions and experience... pass what you find out to all of us. I am the guy who puts his tongue onto the end of a 9 volt battery to test it. After awhile... you might want to try that just to get over this unneeded stress.
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Old 05-22-2016, 02:44 PM   #3
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Dealer killed the batteries???

Well, I suppose it's possible. I never checked the voltage when not connected to shore power so I'm not sure what their status was when we picked up the trailer. I wonder if there is some way to test the batteries before our trip without the hassle of hooking up and towing to an International dealer even if I could find one in my neck of the woods.
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Old 05-22-2016, 02:54 PM   #4
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Any discount auto parts store that sells batteries will have the load testing meters to check them. Charge the batts up, pull them, and take them for a drive.
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Old 05-22-2016, 02:57 PM   #5
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My tongue meter can detect good/bad AAA batteries, 9 volts are easy.
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Old 05-22-2016, 02:58 PM   #6
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Buy a cheap hygrometer at any auto parts store. If any cell is lower than the others you need new batteries. You have to purchase in pairs.

Seeing all these comments about new trailers and dead batteries I suspect lights are being left on in the dealers lots while showing the trailer or they have been drawn down in some other way. If they kill them once they are gone.
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Old 05-22-2016, 03:07 PM   #7
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Having the generator will get you through all of this.

If you figure you are responsible... then go to the next paragraph and pay the piper.

Look up an International Battery dealer that may be on your way to where you are going. The batteries need to be checked and no doubt will be replaced. Whine enough about being a new trailer and get a fair deal on AGM batteries. Take about one hour and you are on your way.

If they are bad, they will look at the date of manufacture on the batteries and spend some time calculating how much they can get out of you on an exchange... then hit them with the upgrade to AGM batteries.

I was not a happy camper, but it was the DAD that killed them. I was the one who knew, too late, that the batteries had nothing left to use other than a boat anchor. It is not International's fault, so be easy on them. The usual suspect: the dealer let them die on the lot and you are now owning the trailer.
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Old 05-22-2016, 03:17 PM   #8
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Deep cycle batteries can tolerate dropping to that voltage, just recharge them, check the acid/water level of each cell. If one cell is considerably lower than the rest that might be a weak one. Like Ray says, get a hydrometer from an automotive store and test each cellbefore adding distilled water.

If the batteries are sealed then you won't be able to use a hydrometer or add distilled water. You can pull the batteries out and take them to any auto parts store and they can load test them. I bought a cheap load tester at Harbor Freight to check mine, works fine for my needs and I don't have to take the batteries out of the carrier, just disconnect the negative cables.

When you are on shore power your voltage reading is off the converter. You have to disconnect to check the batteries since the converter powers all your 12v stuff in the trailer. With the switch in Use you are then connected but the converter is still providing the power. You need to take a reading at the batteries after they have been off the charger for a couple of hours.
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Old 05-22-2016, 04:38 PM   #9
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I just bought new batteries for our '07 20' when we traded it in for a '14 25'. My batteries were less than a week old. So I swapped batteries between the two units.
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Old 05-23-2016, 12:30 PM   #10
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Just replaced our Interstate Deep Cycle batteries (6 months old) with Interstate AGM batteries. Our deep cycle batteries suffered from permanent sulfation from leaving the use/store switch in the use position while connected to shore power for a week.

Since the batteries were under warranty I upgraded to AGM for half the price. If you have Interstate batteries take them out and find the nearest Interstate warehouse/distributor. They will want to keep them for 24 hours for full charge and testing. Both of ours were bad and had the option of upgrading to AGMs for the price of one... well worth it.
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Old 05-23-2016, 12:55 PM   #11
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I have a sheepishly "dumb" question to ask.

Our Sport 22 is about 2 years old. We are the second owner, and not sure what life it had before we bought it about a year ago.

Battery reading was at 11.7 after being plugged into shore power all weekend, so I suspect we need to get a new one before a long boondocking trip this summer.

So can we simply remove current battery, go to Walmart or autoparts store, and get a new battery? What to look for?

Sport only has 1 battery, so we want to be sure we can have power to run heater and refrigerator fan when boondocking.

Advice anyone?
Thanks!
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:03 PM   #12
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Just replaced our Interstate Deep Cycle batteries (6 months old) with Interstate AGM batteries. Our deep cycle batteries suffered from permanent sulfation from leaving the use/store switch in the use position while connected to shore power for a week.
AGM batteries require a different charging cycle than wet-cell batteries— they're not just drop-in replacements. A charger that will work perfectly well for wet-cells can ruin AGMs.

So you may find yourself replacing your charger or inverter/charger (whichever you have) before too long as well.
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:05 PM   #13
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I mean, this is only "sorta" hijacking this thread...but it really is directly relevant to the question at hand about battery health.

I had about 1.5 years ago, my batteries nearly "boil" out all the water, and I was worried that it may have damaged the batteries and had the question to myself "how would I know if the battery was damaged/dead?"

The hydrometer idea was proffered on that thread, but some said it is far too crude...the device I got did not even seem to work.

I brought the battery to local advanced auto parts, the dude ran a test, I took a snapshot of the receipt from that test, and Lew here on the forums told me that dude had it on the wrong settings.

Then I was told to plug in and charge for 24 hours, then take off the neg. battery terminal and wait a few hours...note voltage...then use some 12v stuff for a bit, and kinda see how fast voltage drops....all that give some sense of the health of the battery.

So far the batteries appear to be working fine, I have boondocked a number of times since then without any recollection of any problems...

Often I feel like a dummy, and in a situation like this, is there not just a nice meter I can hook up to my battery and it can track the numbers for me and this give me a valid sense of the health of the battery over time?

May be a dumb question, but honestly, I still am not crystal clear on how to get a sense of the health of my battery, short of it just not holding a charge at all....
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:19 PM   #14
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Often I feel like a dummy, and in a situation like this, is there not just a nice meter I can hook up to my battery and it can track the numbers for me and this give me a valid sense of the health of the battery over time?

May be a dumb question, but honestly, I still am not crystal clear on how to get a sense of the health of my battery, short of it just not holding a charge at all....
Of course there's a meter for that. Chemists use hydrometers that only work for wet cells, but engineers and electricians use voltmeters, which work for both wet cells and AGMs.

However, in order to get an accurate reading with a voltmeter, you have to let the battery "rest" for about an hour, meaning that the battery hasn't been charging or discharging. Allowing the battery to rest lets the chemical reactions that take place in the battery to reach equilibrium so you can get an accurate reading of the charge state.
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