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Old 02-07-2003, 01:37 PM   #1
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Univolt with Battery Minder

We just purchased a deepcycle 12V Trojan battery and want to maintain it. We are looking to purchase the BatteryMinder, but being a novice, I am reading this thread and not sure all questions in my head are answered.

1. Do we keep BatteryMinder hooked to battery when we are at a fullhookup site using Univolt to convert AC to 12V? or

2. Do we unhook(not sure we have a battery selector switch to turn off battery from Univolt) battery and not use because the Univolt will run with the full hookup?

3. If #2 is correct, do we even need the BatteryMinder while on the road to maintain the battery - or do we hook the battery to it when we return to recharge?

We will be gone 7-10 days. Total confusion at this point!! Leigh
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Old 02-07-2003, 06:14 PM   #2
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Use the battery minder to maintain the battery between camping trips, the univolt will charge it while you are plugged in. The battery will help regulate the univolt output, I would leave it hooked up.

John
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Old 02-07-2003, 06:23 PM   #3
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The battery minder used between camping trips will be better for your battery than leavuing the univolt plugged in while storing the camper. Mine stayed plugged in for too long i guess, as one of my coach batteries died, and the other was weakened by overcharging. I bought a deep cycle battery charger with a lower voltage charge rate for storing the motorhome, and it seems to be working out well. I now have only one coach battery, but that seems to work as i run the generator often when on the road, and plug in when camping.
I also use an inverter (small plug in type) for my kids to watch tv or play video games when on the road and the generator isn't running.
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Old 02-07-2003, 07:32 PM   #4
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Ok.... I am getting the idea that the BatteryMinder is to use at home after trips or for wintering the battery outside of the TT (like in a garage or basement, hooked to the BM) to keep the amps of the battery up to 100%. Not to use on the road?? Right?

Now, our upcoming trip will be to a full hookup site. So ??? is - do we unhook battery and just use the Univolt. Another thread has suggested that the Univolt will work to run everything electrical w/o the battery. Is that true? If the AC hookup craters or if Univolt quits, we have the battery as backup to use, but it is not necessary if the full hookup and Univolt are functioning?

We will be looking into getting a generator for those times we are boondocking (which is most often), but, I want to concentrate first on understanding what we need for this upcoming trip to a campsite with full hookups. Thanks, Leigh
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Old 02-08-2003, 12:06 AM   #5
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filter

the battery acts as a reserve and a filter.

leave it hooked up when camping. during periods of high load, when you have everything in the trailer turned on both the battery and the univolt supplies power to the 12v system.

when you turn lights pump fans off the univolt automaticly recharges the battery.

they work together, you will notice the lights will dim less or not at all when motors run.

the univolt should not overcharge a battery, just check the water level on a monthly basis.

the battery minder is good for long term storage.

when you boondock running a generator, and run out of gas, you will not need to stumble outside in the dark if you have the battery hooked up!

john
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Old 02-08-2003, 10:07 AM   #6
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Univolt hurts Battery?

There seems to be some controversy about the Univolt and the battery when hooked up to AC power? I have read several threads where the conversation is related directly to overcharge occuring. (the Univolt can't detect when battery is fully charged) Dire warnings about new batteries being burned up by overcharge thru the Univolt. This is what is confusing.

In a thread called "Univolt Facts" it was stated that the battery could be switched off (unhooked) and the Univolt used as a stand-alone running off the AC. Is that true or bad for the Univolt? We wonder because as my husband used the battery when bringing home the trailer, it worked. At home we hooked trailer into AC with battery still wired up (that was off&on for about a week). When we trailered the Argosy down to its winter home, we spent 1 night boondocking. We only used the lights and on that trip, they went dim almost immediately. We arrived at our destination, took battery to have it checked, it was dead. We don't know how old the battery was, so hard to determine if time spent plugged into AC here at home did a number on the battery thru Univolt or whether it was just it's time, but now that we have Brand NEW battery, don't want to make same mistake!!!

What is the consensus? Inquiring minds want to know??? Leigh
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Old 02-08-2003, 11:08 AM   #7
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magnateK

leigh

the attached is right out of my manual. make of it what you will...

john
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Old 02-08-2003, 11:10 AM   #8
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Unhappy

sorry about the quality of that, it is the best my scanner will do!

better than nothing i guess.

john
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Old 02-08-2003, 03:07 PM   #9
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Leigh, battery maintenance is simple. Just pull the caps off and check the water/acid level. Check them every 2 weeks or so. With my Exide dual starting/deep cycle battery I added a few oz of water after using it all summer from May to October. Battery is out of the Airstream in the shop setting on the battery minder. Univolt is on, furnace running right now, off Univolt, with no battery. No worries.
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Old 02-08-2003, 04:17 PM   #10
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Univolt w/o Battery

OK Pick - Gotca!! Appliances work with just Univolt. No need to worry it will burn up or short out. Thanks - Leigh
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Old 02-08-2003, 10:39 PM   #11
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Leigh,
I agree with everyone here. I use my BatteryMinder to keep the batteries topped off and unplug when I go boondocking (solar panel keeps battery close to the top). If I am in a campground for a weekend, my Magnetek keeps the batteries up. If I feel that they may be charging too much, I unplug the charger overnight. I could also plug in the BatteryMinder but usually don't. I think you will be fine on your trip, just plug in the BatteryMinder when you get back home.
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Old 03-04-2003, 04:40 PM   #12
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Battery Minder

Hey Craig, You stated that you sometimes hook up the BM while camping instead of using the Magnetek in the A/S. When you do this do you unhook the battery cables going to the univolt and then clip on the BM, or, do you leave the univolt cables hooked up and just clip the BM right over them?

rick
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Old 03-04-2003, 05:45 PM   #13
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If you leave your trailer pluged in make sure that you check your fluid level often at the very least once a month I noticed that the battery that I cooked was extreamly low in fluids That was my fault for not checking my fluid level. On my new batery I have been checking my fluid level every two or three weeks and I only keep it pluged in for one week out of every month and so far no problems
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Old 03-07-2003, 04:29 PM   #14
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Rick,
The BatteryMinder has a quick disconnect with 2 types of connectors to the battery. One set has ring terminals and the other has standard clamps. I connected the ring terminals to one of my Delco Voyager batteries in the battery box to the left of my propane tanks and leave the quick disconnect hanging outside the top of the door where there is a vent hole. Since the right hand battery box/battery is wired into the system, they both get charged at the same time. My Magnetek has the standard 3 prong plug and is plugged into a 110 v. outlet within the front entertainment center. I can unplug it anytime when connected to 110 v. shorepower or unplug the 110 v. at the 30 amp. plug. At this point I can run a heavy extension cord to 15 amp. shorepower and plug the BatteryMinder in or I could conceivably plug the BatteryMinder into the same 110 v. outlet the Magnetek was plugged into and then use the clamps to clamp onto the + and - poles within the 12 v. fuse panel. I opt for the former and it has been fine for almost 2 yrs. now.
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Old 03-07-2003, 07:58 PM   #15
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Univolt with battery minder

Thanks for the info Craig! Sounds like you definitely have more experience than I.

Our univolt is under the bedroom gaucho, it is hard wired and when I tried turning the circuit breaker off from the 120 box it also turned out some other receptacles. So, I was thinking about finding some kind of double spade switch to attach right on the battery. It will be kind of a hassle to go outside open the battery compartment door and slide the battery out to switch it from univolt to the battery minder, but from what I have been reading it sounds as if it will be worth it to make my battery last longer.

Has anyone heard of a double spade switch, or would you call it a double throw battery switch?

Still learning, still enjoying all the lessons from you seasoned pros!
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Old 03-07-2003, 08:15 PM   #16
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I'd just like to point out for those that don't know....DO NOT USE TAP WATER when topping off batteries. It's full of minirals and chemicals that will cause problems and accelerate Sulfating of the plates (what causes batteries to fail). Use DISTILLED water only. Available in most grocerie stores. Same with your engine coolant. Tap water bad.
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Old 03-07-2003, 09:36 PM   #17
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Rick,
Some of the motor home guys have outfitted their batteries with the type of switches you are talking about. Do a forum search on throw or spade switches and I think you will come across a few pictures. Some of the MH guys will probably pitch in here soon. If not, post you question on the MH section and they will be quick to answer. By the way Rick, I also have a 5 watt Solargizer solar panel charger / maintainer hooked up to the other battery box and it has worked with the BatteryMinder perfectly. At least when I boondock for a week at a time and use lights sparingly, it keeps the batteries topped off.
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Old 03-07-2003, 11:22 PM   #18
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Pulse Tech Solargizer

Check out www.pulsetech.com for info on the Solargizer solar chargers and maintainers. The 5 watt unit I have will charge (slowly) up to 4 batteries at a time, taper the charge, desulfate the battery (sends pulse charges to the battery plates to shake off sulphur accumulating on them) to allow the particles to blend back with the battery acid and then keep a maintenance charge on the battery while in storage or periods of inactivity. They also have a 10 watt unit of the same design and both are available with multiple lines to different batteries if needed. They were designed for railroad cars that utilized a battery to open panels and they needed to keep the battery fully charged. This device, theoretically, beats the standard 5 watt solar charger/maintainer due to the different steps the electronics use. Eventually I would like to go to one 125 watt solar panel on top of the trailer or a couple of 75 watt units. That would be a different setup than what I have now but I have parked the trailer for a month at a time and used electricity sparingly for 2 1/2 days of each weekend and never had a battery problem with my 2 Delco Voyager 105 amp hr. batteries. I guess the sunny days I am not there give it time to charge up between uses. I've even run the furnace all night long on just the 2 batteries and not had a problem. I'm usually not using the water pump or running more than 2 lights at a time but I am running a fan for 3 hrs. each afternoon and have sometimes done so during the night for 6 hrs. while sleeping. These batteries are almost 2 yrs. old and still strong so I guess this has been why I have been successful. You never want to run the batteries down completely because they will never be the same. You a also better off not running them more than 50 % down to make them last longer. Overcharging and not checking water periodically has also caused premature battery failure.
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Old 03-07-2003, 11:35 PM   #19
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Rick,
Another alternative would be to install one of the Intellipower converter/chargers with the additional Charge Wizzard which plugs into it and does the same thing as the BatteryMinder. While we are talking additional money here, it could be hardwired into your trailer just as the univolt is now but without any additional problems if you plan on running everything for long periods at a time.
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Old 03-07-2003, 11:40 PM   #20
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59toaster,
Good plug on the distilled water for batteries as well as radiators. Mineral deposits do cause problems and this is why I use to run straight anti-freeze while down in TX. They say that straight anti-freeze does not give you as much protection as an anti-freeze/water mixture so that is why I run a 60 % anti-freeze and 40 % water mixture in TN.
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