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Old 04-03-2015, 06:51 PM   #1
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How to ruin an RV battery

How to ruin a flooded cell RV battery. These are not in any significant order as I cannot tell you which is worst. Some of these donít apply to AGM batteries, but AGM batteries can be abused too.

1. Go out camping with no hookups, run the battery down, do not charge it up for days to weeks, or wait until you go out again to charge it.

2. Leave your battery half charged for weeks. It will never take a proper charge again.

3. Let your battery go dry, and then re fill it and expect it is OK. It is not, once the plates become exposed, it is all over.

4. Leave your conventional single stage charger connected to your battery 24/7 and donít check the water level frequently (like once a week or more).

5. Donít totally disconnect your battery over the winter months when you are not using the RV. There are always some little loads which will run it down and a discharged battery left sitting will never recharge properly.

6. Buy an RV from a dealer who has not disconnected the batteries and let the visitors play with the power systems. The batteries will have been discharged and sat, and damaged. You buy them with the RV. What a deal! A few months old and shot.

7. Buy non deep cycle replacement batteries. I assure you that they will not last long. The dual purpose ďstating/deep cycleĒ batteries are not a lot better. True deep cycle batteries will last much longer.

8. Go camping and run your batteries down to the point they are dead, then get the generator out and re-charge them a little. Then go home and wait days or weeks before you charge them again. Hey, the lights work, the batteries must be OK. Not.

If possible never let your batteries fall below 40% charge, and re-charge promptly to 100%. Do not let your batteries sit at half charge for days or weeks.

Even a few very deep discharges (to <20%) will significantly shorten the life of a true deep discharge battery. The same will ruin a dual purpose or starting only battery.

9. Let dirt and crud accumulate on your battery top. Dirt gives a good path to discharge across the battery terminals over time, especially when sitting for long periods.

10. I am sure I have missed something.
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Old 04-03-2015, 07:34 PM   #2
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Ask your teenager to check or maintain it.
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Old 04-03-2015, 07:58 PM   #3
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Old 04-03-2015, 08:02 PM   #4
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This is why solar has grown on me. I like the idea that it's topped up in the storage lot ready to go when I grab it and go. Although so far it seems to charge really fast from the 10A 12V through the tow connection.
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:40 AM   #5
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The only downside of our solar system is that I have to park the AS where sun will hit it most of the day. The batteries stay nicely charged winter and summer in storage and on the road as well. Our Tacoma TV does charge it some, but the solar system does most of the heavy lifting.


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Old 04-04-2015, 02:18 AM   #6
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You forgot the most effective, and most spectacular method of ruining a battery-- drop a wrench across the terminals.
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Old 04-04-2015, 06:50 AM   #7
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What not to do......thank you.


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Old 04-04-2015, 12:35 PM   #8
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I buy Deka Deep Cycle batteries 1100 cranking amps!
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Old 04-04-2015, 02:20 PM   #9
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Doesn't do the wrench much good either. That's why you use eye protection and disconnect the negative lead of the battery first!


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Old 04-04-2015, 04:10 PM   #10
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When cleaning the terminals let the baking soda cleaning solution get in to the battery. Is another method of destroying a battery.
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Old 04-04-2015, 04:17 PM   #11
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Or mix AGM and non-AGM batteries. Someone did that in my Airstream, and eventually it catches up with you and the batteries overheat.
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Old 04-04-2015, 04:55 PM   #12
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How to ruin an RV battery

This is my first post on the Airstream Forum, so forgive me if I inadvertently breach Forum etiquette in this very long reply/question. We live in Los Angeles, and store our 19' Flying Cloud in an open facility in Marina Del Rey. My niece and her family keep their 16' Bambi in another open storage facility near Pasadena. We both just spent a week dry camping in Death Valley. Prior to leaving for DV our coach had been idle for six plus months; however, the solar panel had kept the batteries charged. (The batteries are flooded Interstate Deep Cycle, installed Jan, 2013.) The drive to DV took 5-6 hours, and the batteries were fully charged upon arrival. There was no shortage of sunshine throughout our stay. The first full day there, we ran both fans all day while we were out hiking, thinking the solar panel (12 volts - 10 amps, producing 12.8-13.0 volts consistently) would replenish the batteries. That evening there was enough charge in the batteries to run the lights into the evening , and the fans all night. We didn't use the fans the next day, but did use the 1,000 watt inverter to boil water/blend smoothies, had the lights on that evening, and ran the fans all night. By the third night, we could only run one fan, and some lights because the solar panel had not completely recharged the batteries (the monitor never showed the batteries as 'charged'). The fourth, fifth and sixth nights were progressively worse - we used camp lights, no fans, and the batteries still discharged so much with minimum water pump usage that by morning, no charge was left. Have we found a new way to ruin RV batteries, or did we expect too much from our solar panel?

Ps - We've been back a couple of days now. I washed the solar panel and its output is 13.8-14.0 volts. The output monitor keeps alternating between 'charging' (yellow light), and 'charged' (green light). The batteries appear to be retaining their charge.
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Old 04-04-2015, 05:31 PM   #13
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You may have expected too much from your panel. What's the panel capacity in watts?

What is the battery capacity in amp-hours. To me, it sounds like you tried to pull too much off the battery and the panel did not have enough capacity to put it all back.


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Old 04-04-2015, 06:01 PM   #14
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@ rmkrum
You may have expected too much from your panel. What's the panel capacity in watts?

What is the battery capacity in amp-hours. To me, it sounds like you tried to pull too much off the battery and the panel did not have enough capacity to put it all back.

I'm not sure where to find the battery capacity in amp-hours? The top of the battery has the following designations: SRM-24 550 CCA 690 MCA. I also don't see any information on the Solar Charge Controller referencing wattage; only amperage. Is there another place to look on either the solar panel, or the batteries for the information you requested?
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