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Old 06-09-2021, 09:24 PM   #1
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Mt Hamilton , California
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How to leave Interstate for 3 months

Hi, I am new to the world of Interstate camper vans and we are about to leave it in storage for 3 months so perhaps someone can help me with a question regarding how to protect my batteries for the 3 months. I am in a covered storage unit that has 110V but wanted to know what to do, ie,

- do I simply switch off/disconnect the batteries with the switch beside the door?
- Do I connect up to the 110V and leave the batteries connect with the switch on?
- Do I need a trickle charge and if I do where do I connect it to the batteries?

Any other options?

Thanks for the help
Brian
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Old 06-10-2021, 05:14 AM   #2
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Sag Harbor , New York
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Welcome to the forum. Some Interstate experts will probably comment.

Is your owners manual any help? Maybe too basic.

Good luck,

Peter
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Old 06-10-2021, 06:52 AM   #3
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2007 Interstate
League City , Texas
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Any chance of having a trusted friend do a couple of spot checks for you?

Three months represents a long opportunity for Murphy's Law to kick in. Even if you establish the best electrical conservation strategy, there's still a lot that can go wrong. Rodents, impacts of facility mismanagement, vandalism, etc.
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Old 06-10-2021, 07:11 AM   #4
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2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Cedar Rapids , Iowa
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We leave our Interstate in winter storage easily for this amount of time so here’s what works for us. When we had AGM batteries, we would plug in our house batteries and leave the battery switch on. We also have a Schumacher SC1319 trickle charger that easily clips on to your chassis battery connections under the hood which we plug in also.

If you decide to disconnect your house batteries, I believe you should remove the black negative cable from the bank so it doesn’t have any sort of drain on it. Our battery disconnect doesn’t work properly after adding a surge protector, but I think there is still a draw even with the switch off (possibly through the generator connection). Maybe other members could clarify that for you since our switch doesn’t operate properly and I can’t speak totally on that point.

In addition, they do recommend you run your generator under a load once a month while in storage. I’m sure there’s members who don’t do that so it’s probably not the worst thing to let it sit, but that’s another thing to know about. They also recommend running your AC unit once in a while. I try to run both to keep the seals from drying out, but I have the ability to do so fairly easily too.

One thing to keep in mind, you want to remove paper products, food, and soaps/shampoos from your Interstate before you put it in storage. Mice love to get into anything like that and sometimes you can forget things they love to eat or make nests with. We use a product called Fresh Cab and some ultrasonic plug in deterrents along with traps that contain mice while it’s sitting in storage. I don’t know if it helps a ton, but we have had very little issues with them in storage and left one unit that had mice scattered everywhere and we didn’t have any in the Interstate thankfully! It didn’t stay very long in that place after I saw the aftermath, let me tell you!! Hope you can get back out on the road soon.
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Old 06-10-2021, 08:00 AM   #5
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2021 Interstate 24GT
Magnolia , Texas
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You didn't mention what year but if it's a new Interstate, best storage procedure is plugged into 110V, and the battery switch by the door turned OFF. This cuts power to the 12V distribution panel to minimize (but not eliminate) parasitic drains, but both the house batteries and the chassis (engine) battery will still be charged as necessary.
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Old 06-10-2021, 09:50 AM   #6
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2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Brookhaven , Georgia
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Put the propane switch in the off position and plug it in. You can use individual chargers, but you have to crawl under. My Interstate is on my drive with a 30 amp plug in. I'm close friends with 5 neighborhood cats who like to lounge underneath the van. Vermin are not a concern.
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Old 06-10-2021, 10:38 AM   #7
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

Both the house and chassis batteries have parasitic drains on them. Welcome to modern vehicles..... you have two basic choices:

1) Pull a wire off the battery ( or put in a full disconnect switch)

--- or ---

2) Run some sort of charger ( if you are outdoors, solar likely would do the job).

Pulling battery wires will turn off all those little gizmos that sucked power. Some of them may not be very happy about this. You may need to reset this or that after you power back up.

Running a charger involves a couple of risks. One is simply failure of this or that. Somebody trips over a cord, a breaker pops , who knows ..... now you don't have power to the charger. The much less likely risk is something like a lightning strike. There are YouTube videos out there about this actually happening. A lot of stuff can get messed up.

The A/C on your MH is the similar to the ones on trailers. Folks leave them turned off for years at a time. They don't seem to self destruct as a result. Propane fired generators don't have quite the same issues as gas (or diesel) ones. Leaving it powered off for a couple months should not be a big risk.

So, no perfect answers other than "get out and use it every month !!!!"

Bob
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Old 06-10-2021, 11:18 AM   #8
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Batteries in storage.

We own a Pleasure Way Sprinter that I place in store for months on end. I do not disconnect the chassis battery, but use a trickle charger. We have two 100 amp Lithium Ion batteries and I just turn off power to unit. I have never had a problem with these batteries. Do not believe they should be charged while in storage, but do not know how complete your system shut off is.
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Old 06-10-2021, 10:46 PM   #9
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Mt Hamilton , California
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Its a 2013/2014 Interstate.
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Old 06-10-2021, 10:50 PM   #10
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No unfortunately no one to check up on it.
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Old 06-10-2021, 11:18 PM   #11
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Mt Hamilton , California
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A few answers have commented to turn the battery switch ON and a few say to turn the battery switch OFF. Its a 2014 Interstate ad I'm mostly concerned about the House batteries. I seem to recall someone telling me the House batteries wont charge with the Switch OFF so I assumed that I needed to keep it on and connect the external power input to a 110V source.
A few people commented about disconnecting the black cable from the house batteries - where the heck are the house batteries??!?
Im OK with disconnecting the black cable from the batteries if that's the best thing for the batteries.
Good comments on the Mouse issue - I'll try and make sure to take out any potential mouse food or bedding !!!

Thanks everyone for all the help
Brian
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Old 06-11-2021, 09:27 AM   #12
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Thousand Oaks , California
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On my 2014.5 model year unit a connection to 110 keeps the house batteries charged and the battery interface seems to keep the chassis battery charged as well. It works with the main disconnect on or off. Turn the fridge and all appliances off, make sure the dash radio is off too.

Do you have time for a field test before you leave? I think a couple of days would tell you if it's working.
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Old 06-11-2021, 09:09 PM   #13
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2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Cedar Rapids , Iowa
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We leave our RV powered on, do not switch anything off, and just plug the house batteries in to the wall through the cable.

We then hook the chassis battery under the hood to the trickle charger and plug into the wall outlet.


I don’t believe that shutting the battery shut off on the wall completely disconnects all parasitic drains off your house batteries. Your radio is wired in directly to one of the sets of batteries. Even if you think it’s off, it still is not fully off, so the radio always has a draw on, I believe, on your house batteries. It will draw down your batteries without you knowing and you will have a dead set of house batteries even if you hit that switch on the wall. I believe this is correct, it’s been a while since I worried about it.

I personally wouldn’t worry about disconnecting your black negative battery unless you have no power available in your storage unit. Then you’d be looking at a different scenario.

And just FYI if you ever need to disconnect it, your batteries are in the black metal box when you open your back doors, to the right side under your sofa. You can take a screwdriver to unscrew the screws and open the back side of the box, and pull the plastic tray the batteries sit in out. It will be heavy. If you ever need to disconnect your negative cable, you can do it by disconnecting it from the top post on the battery that it connects to the inside in the back of that box.
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Old 06-12-2021, 06:03 AM   #14
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2013 Interstate Coach
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I installed a shut-off switch on the 12V cable to the Magnum. I have not used it because shortly after installing I saw on this forum that somebody learned the hard way that running 120V to/through the Magnum without also having 12V to it can start a fire. With the Airstream cut-off and my second cut-off I think I can shut off everything for 3 (+ ?) month inside storage. Just need to remember to turn on the Magnum cut-off before connecting to shore power.
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Old 06-13-2021, 08:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titus View Post
...... I have not used it because shortly after installing I saw on this forum that somebody learned the hard way that running 120V to/through the Magnum without also having 12V to it can start a fire. ......
Hi

Somehow I find that hard to believe. The standard install on these devices (as shown in their manuals) includes a fuse to the battery and optionally a disconnect switch. They certainly knew that an "open battery" was a possibility when they designed it. If they *do* catch fire run this way, I'd call that a *very* serious design fault.

Yes, any piece of gear can go nuts. Running them in strange configurations is not a good idea. Things like inverters do sometimes break. Any electrical gear that breaks could catch fire. We often "assume" two events are connected when sometimes they are not ....

Bob
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Old 06-13-2021, 03:58 PM   #16
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2013 Interstate Coach
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uncle bob
I am a mechanical engineer and don't claim to understand what I've posted below. It from an RV recall notice, part of a thread started by Alex AVI about a fire he had in his interstate. My takeaway was to not use the cutoff for fear that I'd forget and get the dreaded ripple current (not to be confused with rip currents in the ocean).

the Magnum 1000W Model MMS
1012 inverter is sensitive to AC ripple voltage which is present in various
chassis electrical systems and customer electrical equipment loads We have
determined that the users of the vehicle can place the vehicle into an
operational mode that disconnects the inverter from the conversion batteries
while the inverter is functioning, exposing the inverter to excess AC ripple
current. This exposure could result in an internal failure of the inverter that
could lead to an overheating condition and, if undetected, possible fire.
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Old 06-14-2021, 12:13 AM   #17
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2021 Interstate 24GL
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besides electrical concerns.... you need to take care of the water tanks too.

watch youtube or read the owner's manual, about how to sanitize RV tanks with bleach.

algae can easily grow in the tanks / water lines especially in summer
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Old 06-14-2021, 06:36 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titus View Post
uncle bob
I am a mechanical engineer and don't claim to understand what I've posted below. It from an RV recall notice, part of a thread started by Alex AVI about a fire he had in his interstate. My takeaway was to not use the cutoff for fear that I'd forget and get the dreaded ripple current (not to be confused with rip currents in the ocean).

the Magnum 1000W Model MMS
1012 inverter is sensitive to AC ripple voltage which is present in various
chassis electrical systems and customer electrical equipment loads We have
determined that the users of the vehicle can place the vehicle into an
operational mode that disconnects the inverter from the conversion batteries
while the inverter is functioning, exposing the inverter to excess AC ripple
current. This exposure could result in an internal failure of the inverter that
could lead to an overheating condition and, if undetected, possible fire.
Hi

Part of that sounds like they are talking about disconnecting while the inverter is running as an inverter with no AC input to the device. That does not make much sense ( to a EE ...). Here's my bet:

They cheeped out and did not put enough of a bypass capacitor on the output of the *converter* section. With no battery present the converter goes a bit nuts. (= the AC ripple is at the output of the converter, generated by the switching regulator). That's not at all a good thing. One wonders what else they left out.....

Bob
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Old 06-15-2021, 08:48 AM   #19
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2013 Interstate Coach
Raymond , Iowa
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Not going to argue with you on the ripple stuff. My sense from the recall notice was that their solution was more than simply adding a capacitor. Alex XVI will have to weigh in on whether/not the scenario you described fit his situation
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Old 06-15-2021, 09:28 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titus View Post
Not going to argue with you on the ripple stuff. My sense from the recall notice was that their solution was more than simply adding a capacitor. Alex XVI will have to weigh in on whether/not the scenario you described fit his situation
Hi

I very much doubt they will add parts in the field. If there is a design issue, they will be swapping out the entire unit.

Bob
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