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Old 01-14-2017, 08:43 AM   #1
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Battery Drain - Can it be stopped?

I have a 2015 Flying Cloud 28. I live in New England and am storing the trailer in my yard for the Winter. This Fall I topped off the batteries and charged them and left the batteries hooked up in the trailer. While the trailer is in storage for the Winter, my main concern was to make sure that the batteries wouldn't drain. So I disconnected the propane detector as well as the subwoofer for the stereo system.

However, despite disconnecting these accessories and switching the batteries to "storage", there is still some battery drain. Every two weeks, I've been plugging the trailer overnight into 110 power and in the morning the batteries charge will read 13 volts. After the batteries are charged, I disconnect the power cord. Two weeks later, the battery charge indicator will read 12 volts.

Sorry for the lengthy forward, but this is my question, how can I curtail the draining of the batteries while the trailer is being stored? Last year I took the batteries out of the trailer and frankly, it was a lot of work putting them back in and hooking them up again. I'm also curious as to what could still be draining the batteries. Any insights would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-14-2017, 09:08 AM   #2
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How about leaving the batteries in but disconnect the negative cable. That should prevent any discharge. Are you sure both of the batteries are good? Maybe one is drawing the other one down. After removing the negative cable, come back in 2 weeks and check each battery again.
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Old 01-14-2017, 10:41 AM   #3
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I put a set of those quick disconnect Knob battery connectors on the batteries - a quick turn of the knob and the batteries are disconnected although still in the battery compartments.

They only cost a few $ from Harbor Freight.

I do however still remove the batteries and bring them home when our trailer is going to be in teh storage yard unused for long periods - I put a battery tender on them at home from time to time, although they are AGM batteries and are supposed to self discharge very slowly so maybe don't really need it.


I also use the quick disconnect knobs when we are camping and on shore power if we will be there more than a couple of days so as not to cook the batteries - for now I still have the original "not very smart" charger in the trailer!


Brian.
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Old 01-14-2017, 10:41 AM   #4
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Test batteries with hydrometer to check for bad cells. I agree with Rich above. Also you can buy a true battery disconnect, or just disconnect the negative as he states. Check hitch jack if it has light and make sure it's not on.


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Old 01-15-2017, 11:27 AM   #5
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ALL batteries self discharge. Even if you removed the batteries, over time, the voltage readings will decline. When left in the trailer, there can be many sources of parasitic drain. You've addressed the major known sources. Troubleshooting with an amp meter should help you identify other parasitic drains. I leave my RV plugged into a 110VAC, 15A outlet all winter just so I don't have to worry about missing parasitic drain sources. I do check the electrolyte level monthly and, add distilled water as needed. The Pro-Fill system makes adding water a breeze (I have a six, 6VDC battery bank in my Super-C RV).
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Old 01-15-2017, 11:55 AM   #6
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As with a couple other commenters, I simply d/c the neg terminal cable.
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Old 01-15-2017, 01:54 PM   #7
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Good advice above. Cold weather is also hard on a battery. Check the batteries for a weak cell. Even fairly new batteries can go bad. Check the manufacture date on your batteries. Mine were a year old before ever being installed in my 2016.
Like Wingeezer, I use Battery Tender. Hook it up to the battery and forget it.
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Old 01-15-2017, 03:32 PM   #8
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I appreciate everyone's responses to my question regarding battery drain. I ended up installing two green knob battery disconnects (Noco Swan Terminal Disconnect) on the negative terminals to both batteries. I will update everyone on my progress. The disconnects fit nicely in the battery compartment without the risk of shorting out or obstructing the lid from closing. Apparently, there are two grounds I needed to address. One ground is part of a wiring harness that comes from one side of the A-frame and attaches to the battery on that side and the other ground (containing a rubber boot) comes from another wiring harness on the other side of the A-frame and attaches to the other battery. My question is why two grounds and what do the separate wiring harnesses go to? I don't want to get lost in too much detail, but I'm curious to know if someone has the answer handy. Thanks. Tom
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Old 01-15-2017, 06:19 PM   #9
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I run 110V power cord and leave it plugged in when not on the road.
If the batteries are original they may have cell going bad.
Thomas
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Old 01-15-2017, 06:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tbeck11931 View Post
I run 110V power cord and leave it plugged in when not on the road.
If the batteries are original they may have cell going bad.
Thomas
That only works well if you have upgraded the charger converter to a multi- stage unit. The original single stage unit will boil the batteries if left plugged in all the time. See the endless threads about converters in the electrical section of the forum.

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Old 01-16-2017, 03:16 AM   #11
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Doh. I kept the original batteries and converter in my 2006 and 2012 EB. Batteries lasted 5 years in each unit. I fulltime mostly with hookups. Never boiled a battery. Why?
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Old 01-16-2017, 04:33 AM   #12
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The reason is that you are using your trailer; the batteries do not just sit there and cook.

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Old 01-16-2017, 11:48 AM   #13
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When batteries are drained they will never recuperate to original
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Old 01-16-2017, 12:26 PM   #14
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Doh. I kept the original batteries and converter in my 2006 and 2012 EB. Batteries lasted 5 years in each unit. I fulltime mostly with hookups. Never boiled a battery. Why?
Guessing that you have been very diligent in checking and topping off your batteries regularly.


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Old 01-16-2017, 02:11 PM   #15
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When I leave my trailer for months I plug it into a 24 hour timer. I set it to have power for 1 hour out of every 24. Seems to work fine. Original converter. I change batteries every 2 to 3 years or so because I like to have power available if I need it.
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Old 01-16-2017, 02:49 PM   #16
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I got the joy of changing my interstates out for new batteries at exactly 13 months after I bought the trailer new. And one month past the warranty date. Oh the pleasure of researching chargers, batteries, and warranty issues. Endless hours of fun on the Internet and with my rep at my local dealer.

I believe, but cannot prove, that the batteries were not properly maintained on the dealers lot, and parasitic drains caused them to discharge too much. Furthering the injury, I didn't really know how much the batteries would discharge and how quickly, even with the store/use switch in store mode, so they got too low while in my storage place.

Anyway, I replaced them with 3 yr warranty Trojans and replaced the charger/converter to multi stage. Since then, it's all been good. Just checked the Trojans yesterday with my multimeter. (They are stored in my garage until spring) I stored them in Nov and they were at 12.87 volts. Untouched, they are still at 12.62 volts. When they get down to 12.4 I will put them on the battery tender for a few days.

Mike
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Old 01-17-2017, 06:12 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caffeinated View Post
I got the joy of changing my interstates out for new batteries at exactly 13 months after I bought the trailer new. And one month past the warranty date. Oh the pleasure of researching chargers, batteries, and warranty issues. Endless hours of fun on the Internet and with my rep at my local dealer.

I believe, but cannot prove, that the batteries were not properly maintained on the dealers lot, and parasitic drains caused them to discharge too much. Furthering the injury, I didn't really know how much the batteries would discharge and how quickly, even with the store/use switch in store mode, so they got too low while in my storage place.

Anyway, I replaced them with 3 yr warranty Trojans and replaced the charger/converter to multi stage. Since then, it's all been good. Just checked the Trojans yesterday with my multimeter. (They are stored in my garage until spring) I stored them in Nov and they were at 12.87 volts. Untouched, they are still at 12.62 volts. When they get down to 12.4 I will put them on the battery tender for a few days.

Mike


Mike,
Are you able to plug your camper into 110 volt power source? The multistage converter charger will do all the work for you.
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Old 01-18-2017, 07:35 AM   #18
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Batteries and tires often suffer from "lot rot". These two items need to be used regularly. Sitting for months (or longer) on a dealer's lot is very bad for both.
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Old 01-19-2017, 05:19 AM   #19
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Well, I try to be diligent about all aspects of Airstream maintenance, including topping off my batteries and making sure they're charged. When I picked up my new 2015 Flying Cloud 28 from the dealer, I thought the batteries were also new, but they were well over a year old and poorly maintained and over time I realized they weren't holding a charge. So, I picked up two new batteries at Walmart, which cost me roughly $200 and are guaranteed for two years. At a certain point, it's more practical to get new batteries, than to spend one's life obsessing over battery maintenance. Obviously, there's a happy medium and no one wants to discover their batteries are dead while boondocking in the middle of the wilderness. In any case, I want to thank everyone for replying to my post.

Basically, I installed two battery cutoff switches (the ones with the green knobs) on the negative posts of my batteries. I then turned the knobs disconnecting my batteries flow to and from the trailer. I left the cross cables connected , which connect the two batteries in parallel. I then connected an 8 amp battery tender I purchased from Walmart from the positive of one battery to the negative of the other. I made sure my propane tanks were tightly turned off and I placed the battery tender under the propane tank cover where it is protected from the weather. At this point, the tender is safely working on standby and my batteries appear to be charged and in good shape. That's all folks! Thank you all again for your valuable input.
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Old 01-20-2017, 07:26 AM   #20
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Why are NEW batteries only warrantied for two years?
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