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Old 05-25-2011, 09:36 AM   #1
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Keeping batteries charged

I have a 2004 28' Safari SE. It's stored undercover in Portland, OR with no sun exposure. I recently bought a Honda 2000u generator. Can I keep the batteries charged during the winter by connecting and running the generator at regular intervals (say every 2-3 wks)? I'm trying to avoid removing the batteries and bringing them home. Finally, would a battery shut-off switch help in this effort?
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:02 AM   #2
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I have a 2004 28' Safari SE. It's stored undercover in Portland, OR with no sun exposure. I recently bought a Honda 2000u generator. Can I keep the batteries charged during the winter by connecting and running the generator at regular intervals (say every 2-3 wks)? I'm trying to avoid removing the batteries and bringing them home. Finally, would a battery shut-off switch help in this effort?
Your battery cut-off switch will certainly help isolate phantom loads from your batteries when in the 'store' position. Just remember to put it back to the 'use' position if you will be plugging the trailer into the Honda for battery charging. If you decide to use a separate battery charger plugged into the Honda and connect it right to the battery terminals, then you don't have to worry about the cut-off switch. I would NOT use the DC charging feature on the generator as it is only 8 amps and is not regulated.

A solar battery maintainer like this Battery MINDer product : BatteryMINDer Solar Charging System — 12 Volt, 15 Watt Panel, Model# SCC-015 | Battery Maintainers | Northern Tool + Equipment will work very well if you can secure it and have it face the sun. It has a fully automatic 3-stage charging section and will certainly maintain the 2 batteries that you have. I have installed several on units that go into storage and the feedback has all been positive.

You should also be aware that if your batteries are original, then they are probably approaching the end of their useful life.
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:23 AM   #3
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If you don't have solar but have access to an electric outlet, you can also use the plug in version of the battery minder.
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:37 PM   #4
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I'm also looking for ways to maintain my batteries between trips and am in the process of learning about BatteryMinders. I have 2 batteries in my 2010 Flying Cloud ~ do I need a battery minder for each battery? Or can I charge/maintain both simultaneously? Or one at a time...?


BatteryMINDer Charger/Maintainer/Desulfator 1.3 Amp, 12 Volt, Model# 12117 | Battery Maintainers | Northern Tool + Equipment
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Old 07-14-2011, 03:06 PM   #5
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If you have electric power at your storage location you can just leave the trailer plugged in.
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:53 PM   #6
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I'm also looking for ways to maintain my batteries between trips and am in the process of learning about BatteryMinders. I have 2 batteries in my 2010 Flying Cloud ~ do I need a battery minder for each battery? Or can I charge/maintain both simultaneously? Or one at a time...?


BatteryMINDer Charger/Maintainer/Desulfator 1.3 Amp, 12 Volt, Model# 12117 | Battery Maintainers | Northern Tool + Equipment
The site says 1 to 5 batteries can be maintained with one BM. I use mine (same model) to maintain 2 group 29 batteries over the winter. No problem at all.
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Old 07-14-2011, 05:10 PM   #7
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If you plug your trailer into shore power with a one stage charger, you will overcharge them and have to add water periodically. In recent years Airstream has installed one-stage converters to save a few bucks. This also can happen when you are plugged in at a campground and aren't using much power.

You can get various devices that have 3 stage chargers that solve this problem. My solution was to get a better, more sophisticated converter with a multistage charger. I don't need any add ons. My came from Iota as recommended by lewster, a Forum member who knows electricity. If you want to do this, you will probably have to cut off the front of the OEM converter to provide a way to screw the cover on.

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Old 07-14-2011, 08:17 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info!
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:10 AM   #9
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If you install a marine battery isolator switch to completely remove the batteries from all trailer phantom loads (like the propane alarm), they will hold a charge for several months. We have two Optima Blue Tops (group 24), and they are supposed to hold a charge for up to a year. However, the longest period our Bambi has set without taking it out has been 3-4 months.

I charge each battery separately overnight, once a month via the converter; and we don't worry about dead batteries freezing here in Phoenix. However, I wouldn't worry if I forgot to charge them for several months.

The only thing I have to worry about is someone turning on the light on the electric tongue jack, which is wired directly to one of the batteries. Someone turned the light on last year (probably kids), and I didn't see it for a couple of weeks, and one battery went dead. Wiring in an ON/OFF switch for the jack on the side of the battery box is one of the items on my TO-DO list.
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Old 07-15-2011, 05:58 AM   #10
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You could also leave the positive wire unhooked from the battery while in storage. You can get one of those inexpensive solar charging panels, run a long extension wire for it, and place it out from under the storage roof in the sun. I have the 5 watt panel from HF. Don't consider anything smaller in watt capacity. I hook my panel up about once a month early on a sunny morning and put it away again in the evening so it doesn't get stolen. This has kept my AGM maintained for a couple years now.
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:07 AM   #11
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Note: Our Bambi is always connected to a 30-amp plug on the side of our house. To charge the batteries, all I have to do is turn the marine battery isolator switch to 1, 2 or BOTH, from OFF.

Once a month, when I come home from work, I turn the selector switch from OFF to 1. The next night, I turn it from 1 to 2. Then, the third night, I turn it back to OFF. This keeps the batteries topped off without overcharging them.

Being constantly connected to shorepower (with the battery switch set to OFF), we always have converter power for the lights and FantasticFans, or 110v for the air conditioner. Plus, since it's on the side of our house, we're always ready to pack up and go. Can't wait for retirement, but that's still a couple of years away!
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:36 PM   #12
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I left my 2005 LY plugged in over the winter, and Spring maintenance found low water in my two house batteries (3 yr old) from the built-in constant single-mode charger. I topped them up with distilled water & we headed up to the NorCal rally. Just before I exited from 101 to River Road we heard a loud "blam" from the front. Since it still steered okay it was not a blowout. An inspection showed that half the top of one of the house batteries had blown off! I'm guessing sulfation and maybe a clogged vent. The battery acid kept bubbling even with no charging or no load, very interesting. Now I'm back home with new batteries and a battery maintainer plugged in and the moho is NOT plugged in unless I need 120 v for tv or something. I added a second one for the chassis battery after it died, I think it was the OEM unit from the 2005 sale. Now a nice red top Optima should last me a while.
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
If you plug your trailer into shore power with a one stage charger, you will overcharge them and have to add water periodically. In recent years Airstream has installed one-stage converters to save a few bucks. This also can happen when you are plugged in at a campground and aren't using much power.

You can get various devices that have 3 stage chargers that solve this problem. My solution was to get a better, more sophisticated converter with a multistage charger. I don't need any add ons. My came from Iota as recommended by lewster, a Forum member who knows electricity. If you want to do this, you will probably have to cut off the front of the OEM converter to provide a way to screw the cover on.

Gene
Hmmm, my recent 22' Safari came with the WFCO 3-Stage 8900 power center which has been working great. I would encourage the OP to determine what unit he has before going through extra effort.
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Old 07-17-2011, 02:16 PM   #14
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On mine an interior propane (?) detector will slowly drain the batteries even when the disconnect switch is off. I have AGMs and they seem to go months OK as long as I physically disconnect them by removing cables. On mine the easiest cables to disconnect are the two parallel cables with the thumbscrews. Both cables have to be removed to disconnect both batteries.
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