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Old 11-05-2015, 09:36 AM   #1
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2010 23' Flying Cloud
High point , North Carolina
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remove batteries if have solar panel??

2101 Flying Cloud 23' has 2 (sealed top) batteries with solar panel on roof. I used to remove battery from our old trailer (Keystone) for the winter. Dealer told me that solar panel will charge (but not overcharge) batteries so we can leave them on trailer all winter. Any thoughts??
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Old 11-05-2015, 10:04 AM   #2
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What kind of batteries, charge system, any really long stretches of sub zero days, amp draw from system while in storage (LP/CO detector is always running), long periods of cloudy days (could system run down and damage the batteries), etc.
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Old 11-05-2015, 11:51 AM   #3
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There is no need to remove batteries from your Airstream in the winter, solar or not.

See my post and tests on the subject and make your own conclusions on what to do.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...ml#post1602338
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Old 11-05-2015, 11:59 AM   #4
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I dont remove mine. Just keep an eye the battery charge. If the snow gets too deep on the solar panels you dont get much charge.
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Old 11-05-2015, 08:49 PM   #5
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to idroba: I read your post...great info. You also posted "So, you now know the drill: Fully charge the batteries with your built in converter/charger (run it 48 hours or so), clean the battery tops, disconnect the negative terminal at the batteries (both) and wait for spring. Oh, check the water level prior to charging." I was told the solar panels keep them charged (the batteries have sealed tops....no way to check water/fluid). Do the solar panels do the same thing as a converter/charger? I have a battery charger that I use for my lawn mower battery. It does conventional or marine type batteries ....trickle charge/10 v (I think) and a setting for starting. I guess what I'm saying is... how can I tell if they are fully charged??
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Old 11-05-2015, 09:42 PM   #6
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If you have your AS where it sees the sun and have sealed AGM batteries, you probably need to do nothing but walk away and let the solar system and charge controller do their thing all winter.

If your trailer does not see the sunshine (mine sit in a carport and the solar panels never get sun) then you will want to fully charge and then disconnect the batteries.

Fully charged (some opinion here) is letting the original converter/charger run for about 48 hours with no other load on it but the batteries. It is not as good as a newer 3 stage converter/charger would do but will bring them close enough to fully charged so no damage will occur when disconnected.

Your little battery charger you use for the lawn mower probably is not up to the job of bringing the batteries to full charge... unless it is one of the 3 stage chargers such as the Battery Tender (brand). To be sure that type brings the batteries to full charge, I would leave it on for about 4 days per battery.

If the battery open circuit voltage is in the 12.6 to 12.8 volt range after the battery charger (be it the converter/charger or another battery charger) has been shut off for at least 5 hours and no load applied to the battery, you can also consider the battery fully charged. The time wait is important.

So that is what I consider to be "fully charged".
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:27 AM   #7
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2004 28' Classic
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A warning about sealed batteries. I recently burned up two of them in my 2004 Classic. Thought my converter was bad, but upon testing it was fine. A salesman at the Airstream dealership also had sealed batteries that lasted only a year despite having a converter that was fine.

The converters in question were single phase, unlike more modern multi-phase converters. The dealership's conclusion is that sealed batteries are much more sensitive to temperature than old-fashioned batteries and the older converters don't monitor temperature. Some of the newer ones do.

I don't know what kind of converter you have or whether the dealership was correct, but wanted to give you the benefit of my painful and expense experience with sealed batteries.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:32 AM   #8
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Solar Panels May Leave Wiring Hot!

Just a word of caution: The solar panels may have direct access to the battery cables and if you disconnect the battery cables (to remove them or for any other reason) the positive cable may still be hot. If you drop it on to the frame of the trailer or a metal battery box, it can arc or short and should blow a fuse (hopefully there is one) between the controller and the battery. The solar controller is not effected (in most cases) by the battery-store switch.

Additionally, I had my original solar panel installed at Jackson Center and they failed to install a fuse between the panels and the controller. I pulled the fuse between the controller and batteries to swap out to a different controller but found that I had no way to conveniently kill the power coming to the controller!
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Old 11-07-2015, 07:36 AM   #9
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Okay....how do I find out what type of converter I have?? Is the converter accessible in the trailer interior, or is it buried somewhere?
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Old 11-07-2015, 05:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gmutt View Post
2101 Flying Cloud 23' has 2 (sealed top) batteries with solar panel on roof. I used to remove battery from our old trailer (Keystone) for the winter. Dealer told me that solar panel will charge (but not overcharge) batteries so we can leave them on trailer all winter. Any thoughts??
I think your dealer is correct assuming you have a quality solar system with a regulator to prevent over charging. I am in Colorado and leave my batteries in the trailer in the trailer all winter without difficulty. Cold won't kill a charged battery in good condition. Propane detector draw is minimal. Turn off your disconnect switch and you should be good to go.
If you have the stock Paralax battery frier, you should replace it with a 3 or four stage battery charger. Even with the Paralax, you will only damage your batteries if they are plugged into to shore power for the winter.
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