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Old 08-17-2017, 06:17 PM   #1
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1961 26' Overlander
1988 34' Limited
Brunswick , Georgia
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 60
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Battery help please

Ok. I have a 1988 Limited 34'. My batteries are shot. I'll get 2 new batteries before my next camping trip. My question is, do I turn the main battery switch on all the time or just a couple of days before and during camping? I keep the camper plugged in at the house. Really the only time I need batteries would be for the refrigerator to switch to gas and for the emergency brake. The previous owner left them on and the camper plugged in at his house all the time. The batteries have lasted 6 years being constantly on charge.
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:30 PM   #2
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

Based on the info you have supplied so far ... there really isn't an answer. At 6 years you are doing ok on your last set of batteries. Depending on how much you care about batteries that's probably good news.

Best practice is to trickle charge batteries when "in storage". Current thinking is that a multi stage charger is a good idea. Temperature compensation has always been a good idea. These days the hardware to do it is dirt cheap.

This drives some people to upgrade their converter / charger when they buy new batteries. It's *not* mandatory. There isn't a lot of upside if you are already getting 6 years on batteries.

Not quite an exact answer to your question, but more a really fast run through of the range of options ...

Bob
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:47 PM   #3
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Hello Cristobal: We have an 86 Limited 34. You got good life from your old batteries. My 86 "converter" does a reasonable job maintaining the batteries. It pushes about 13.5 volts to the batteries, and that's a bit too high. 13.0 volts is better. The newer converters do better at this. I'll get a new converter for my trailer soon.

Battery life is a function of cycles. Deep cycle batteries are designed to go from fully charged, say 12.8 volts to discharged, say 10 volts. The more you do this, the shorter the life of the battery. It sounds like you don't cycle your batteries very much at all and thus are getting longer life. Since you don't boondock much, you might consider just one battery in your trailer. We did this for years.

We leave our 12v master switch on all of the time. I plug in my trailer for about 3 days every two weeks while in storage. If I had a "Battery Tender" device, I wouldn't have to do that.

David
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Old 08-17-2017, 07:19 PM   #4
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1961 26' Overlander
1988 34' Limited
Brunswick , Georgia
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 60
Images: 5
Thanks. I'm not really sure what set up is in the camper. I figure the life span on the old batteries was pretty great. We may start boondocking after the weather cools off. A/C is the only reason we bought our first camper which we still have (1960 Overlander 27'). I figure some people collect cars and some people collect boats, I'll collect Airstreams! I told my wife we have room for a Bambi. By the way, I can get a deal on Interstate Batteries, which I will try on our camper. I personally have not found much difference in my luck with car batteries.
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Old 08-18-2017, 12:15 PM   #5
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 6,125
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I didn't know you had a 1960 Overlander. Good for you. I almost bought a 59 Overlander (photo below) but backed out due to the single axle. I just felt it was too much length for a single axle, sway, sway, sway... Maybe your Overlander is a perfect boondocker. Like my old 66 Trade Wind, it doesn't have many amenities that draw power; a bed, and chair, a table, and a potty.

Collecting vintage Airstreams is a fun hobby, but more expensive than gardening.

Car starting batteries are completely different design from marine deep cycle batteries. I can't recommend a car battery as they won't hold a charge very long in your trailer. If you boondock in your 34, buy two batteries and stay an extra night or two. Buy a solar panel and stay an extra 3 or 4 nights. Buy a generator and run the AC and charge the batteries. We boondocked for two nights and found the batteries about half gone. We missed our electricity to charge computer batteries. Too attached to our coal fired electricity I guess.

David
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