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Old 09-12-2019, 09:55 PM   #1
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Winterizing - Battery Question

We haven't had to winterize the trailer since we bought it 6 years ago. Now that we have a permanent place in Arizona the Airstream won't be going south with us. So my question is should we disconnect the batteries, but leave them connected to the solar panels? This would keep them topped up over winter and prevent them from freezing.

As always we look forward to your input.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:59 PM   #2
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As long as everything goes according to plan...yes should be OK. But you would be better served to take them out and put them on a trickle charger indoors somewhere if you can. If solar goes down and batteries drain, they won't be happy in the freezing weather.
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:29 AM   #3
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I would remove the batteries from the airstream, put them in a heated space, and put them on a trickle charger.
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Old 09-13-2019, 07:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kamadeca View Post
We haven't had to winterize the trailer since we bought it 6 years ago. Now that we have a permanent place in Arizona the Airstream won't be going south with us. So my question is should we disconnect the batteries, but leave them connected to the solar panels? This would keep them topped up over winter and prevent them from freezing.



As always we look forward to your input.


If it’s an AGM I would charge it up before you depart for Arizona, that should hold them for 3 months if there in good shape to start with. I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving them on a trickle charger for 3 months without some supervision. Maybe a local garage can look after them while your away in their shop.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:34 AM   #5
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Seeing that you live in Saskatchewan I would make sure the batteries are charged and then store them inside. You shouldn't have to put them on a trickle charger since there is no load and they are being stored in the warmth. I leave mine in, but remove the snow from the panels after every snowfall, which you won't be able to do since you're in Arizona.

A properly charged battery should endure the winter without any issues if it is stored in doors.
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:29 AM   #6
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Hi

Ok, so why store indoors?

As the battery discharges, the electrolyte will freeze at a higher temperature. The colder it gets where you store, the higher the charge percentage needs to be to keep the battery from freezing.

https://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/WP...orage_0512.pdf

If you can hold > 85% charge, there is no problem with storing outdoors. Since self discharge drops as temperature goes down, a fully charged / healthy battery should do pretty well for a number of months. Yes, this assumes you disconnect the battery from any loads ....

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Old 09-13-2019, 09:39 AM   #7
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...all of the above plus do not leave your batteries parked on a concrete surface...use an old piece of 2x4.
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Little View Post
...all of the above plus do not leave your batteries parked on a concrete surface...use an old piece of 2x4.
Bob, that use to be the case but modern plastic case batteries are no longer susceptible to discharge if let of concrete :-)

https://www.batterystuff.com/kb/freq...ete-floor.html
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:09 AM   #9
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Of course you are right. I like to keep them off the concrete they look prettier longer.
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:28 AM   #10
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We leave our Trojan T-105s in the AS with 200w of solar - however, we live on Vancouver Island different climate -eh!
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Old 09-13-2019, 12:56 PM   #11
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I have a solar panel on top and it keeps the batteries charged. Well, there was last winter when I parked in a new spot next to a building which cast a shadow over the back half of the AS and prevented the sun from reaching the panel. It wasn't as efficient but it still kept them mostly charged. I pulled the AS out a little further and it was OK again.

My boat is kept in the garage, it has 3 batteries; 2 deep cycle and 1 starting. I have an onboard charger that cuts off when they are fully charged but I still put the charger on a timer to kick in daily for 15 minutes then turn it off. It has worked very well, the batteries last a long time. I figured it's like starting your car and driving 6 miles to work on a daily basis. Car batteries seem to last a long time, so there's my logic.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:25 PM   #12
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Winter battery storage

I have a battery disconnect that I installed 3 years ago on my battery. I have a Battery Minder that i connect to the batteries. The Battery Minder floats and does a maintenance cycle where it desulphates the batteries. Works well. If the trailer is not under a cover I would pull them out also and put them inside a garage hooked to a battery Minder.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:28 PM   #13
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I live in Northern Wisconsin. My AS is in a pole barn. I just put the trickle charger on them all winter and don’t mess with it. Just check them from time to time. Don’t take them out of the AS. They did just fine. But I have a plug in. It would have to get pretty darn cold to freeze a battery.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:32 PM   #14
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Have you ever been to Saskatchewan in winter? I've seen-50C. And some places it can get colder than that. Personally I'd err on the side of caution.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:05 PM   #15
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It depends on a number of factors, including where in AZ you are storing your AS (i.e., how cold it gets), charging capacity of your panels, how much sun your AS gets, and the rate of power drain from your AS systems (not a consideration if you have a true battery disconnect).

I store my AS over the winter in Albuquerque, with batteries installed, no disconnect. Temps routinely drop below freezing at night Nov - Feb, sometimes into the teens. My AS is outdoors, on the north side of a warehouse, and receives no direct sun from late Nov - early Feb. It stays pretty cold in there! My 340W of solar keeps the batteries at 100% all winter, even in indirect sunlight. However, I live only a few miles from my AS storage location and am able to check on her from time to time over the winter.

YMMV.
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:33 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by gator.bigfoot View Post
Have you ever been to Saskatchewan in winter? I've seen-50C. And some places it can get colder than that. Personally I'd err on the side of caution.
So here are the facts: A weak battery will freeze at 32 degrees F, while a fully charged battery will freeze at -76 degrees F. So if you keep it fully charged on a trickle charger there is no reason to take it out of the AS unless you live in the arctic circle.

The average low January Temp in Saskatchewan is just below zero at night. It has never gotten to -76 degrees. The record is -70 degrees F. So I would say if you think it is going to be really really really cold then take them out of the AS and put inside.

https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-a-t...charger-534853

As for me I won’t begin to see -76 F so I will leave them in on the trickle charger.
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Old 09-14-2019, 02:40 PM   #17
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If it’s an AGM I would charge it up before you depart for Arizona, that should hold them for 3 months if there in good shape to start with. I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving them on a trickle charger for 3 months without some supervision. Maybe a local garage can look after them while your away in their shop.
I installed AGMs 4 years ago to avoid the battery removal and replacement hassle. When disconnected, the AGMs measure almost no voltage drop during 6 months of cold storage in Ontario. The temperature rarely drops below minus 30c.
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Old 09-14-2019, 04:48 PM   #18
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I installed AGMs 4 years ago to avoid the battery removal and replacement hassle. When disconnected, the AGMs measure almost no voltage drop during 6 months of cold storage in Ontario. The temperature rarely drops below minus 30c.
Hi

It's a good bet that your battery leakage at least doubles for every 10C the temperature goes up. If you are at 30C running around in the summer and they don't go crazy with a month's storage, They should be fine for > 16 months at
temperatures around 10C.

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Old 09-19-2019, 07:53 AM   #19
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In SC I disconnect the batteries (just the main negative cable, I have it loose enough to twist off) after each trip in the AS and on the pontoon boat only for the winter. Each person has their own story, but I have not had any charge issues yet and been doing this for 9 years.
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Old 09-20-2019, 10:04 AM   #20
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In SC I disconnect the batteries (just the main negative cable, I have it loose enough to twist off) after each trip in the AS and on the pontoon boat only for the winter. Each person has their own story, but I have not had any charge issues yet and been doing this for 9 years.
Hi

If you have an inverter *and* put a full load on it .... the "twist off tight" approach probably is not a good idea.

Bob
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