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Old 04-19-2007, 12:02 PM   #1
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Question How Long Should an Idle Battery Hold Its Charge

Our Safari is parked in a storage facility, not connected to shore power. Everything is turned off, and the battery is disconnected (set for storage) using the switch on the wall.

How long can a fully charged battery be expected to hold it's charge under these conditions?

We haven't had the trailer out since mid-February. We were at it yesterday, getting ready for a coming trip, and the monitor panel presented a yellow status light, when we powered up.
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Old 04-19-2007, 02:53 PM   #2
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Look for this thread..

There are severl threads on 12V v. 6V installations, and wet cell v. AGM bettery technology...

I think this thread http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...olt-14234.html has useful info on discharge rate for each battery type...

As they age the discharge rate increases, but I think practical limit even disconnected is 3 to 4 months without recharging, less if subject to extreme low or high temps...
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Old 04-19-2007, 04:03 PM   #3
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If the battery is stored with a full charge, it will likely winter over without issues. I generally store mine from October through April and the battery still has charge when I take it out of storage. A lot will have to do with the age of the battery and the condition when it was stored, of course. The worst thing you can do is store a discharged battery. It will sulfate the plates and short out.

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Old 04-19-2007, 04:11 PM   #4
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It depends on your trailer vintage. With the master disconnect on, my 2001 Safari pulled .1 of an amp hour. With the master disconnect off, it drew .01 of an amp hour.

The problem is with the master disconnect on, your furnace, water heater, propane detector, are all drawing power, even though they are turned off. With master disconnect off, you still are pulling power to the propane detector.

It's just a matter of how many amp hours your battery(ies) can support, the master disconnect switch position, and the length of time that the trailer sits without an A/C connection.

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Old 04-19-2007, 05:02 PM   #5
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Phantom loads will slowly discharge your battery over time, even with the battery disconnect switch in the "Store" position. I found out the hard way last Spring. I even tried to charge it up with Shore Power through my converter/charger. It didn't work. I thought I had a dead battery for sure. I took it to the dealer to check out my charging system. Everything was OK, BUT when the battery discharges below 10.5 VDC, the battery solenoid closes and doesn't allow charging through the trailer's charging system. The battery has to be charged directly with an external DC charger to get it back up above 10.5 VDC before the trailer's charging system will work. Airstream doesn't mention this feature in the Owner's Manual. My battery fortunately wasn't damaged and is now fully charged and still working.
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Old 04-19-2007, 05:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rseagle
Phantom loads will slowly discharge your battery over time, even with the battery disconnect switch in the "Store" position. I found out the hard way last Spring. .
Yep, that's why I've learned to pull the batteries at the time we winterize.

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Old 04-19-2007, 06:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera
Yep, that's why I've learned to pull the batteries at the time we winterize.

Jack
Learned that lesson myself this Winter Jack. The University of Hard Knocks is the most valuable and most expensive I've ever attended.
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Old 04-19-2007, 07:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgodfrey
Our Safari is parked in a storage facility, not connected to shore power. Everything is turned off, and the battery is disconnected (set for storage) using the switch on the wall.

How long can a fully charged battery be expected to hold it's charge under these conditions?

We haven't had the trailer out since mid-February. We were at it yesterday, getting ready for a coming trip, and the monitor panel presented a yellow status light, when we powered up.
Assuming that your battery is disconnected (and by this I mean removing the negative lead from the battery terminal completely and not relying on the disconnect switch) it is totally a function of the internal resistance of the battery. This assumes a 'no phantom load' situation, which is why I mentioned disconnecting the negative lead(s) from the battery.

AGMs are the longest lasting, as their internal resistance is 2-3%. They also charge much faster as this low internal resistance does not inhibit charging. Regular liquid cells are the worst, as their internal resistance can be 30% or more. What this translates to, in the AGM for example, is a 2-3% internal self discharge per month, which is almost negligeable, where a wet cell can be effectively 'dead' in the same time frame.
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Old 04-19-2007, 08:36 PM   #9
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We always pull our battery out for the winter and store it in the basement. Once a month I put the charger on it set on trickle charge for a day or two and each spring its good as new!
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Old 04-19-2007, 08:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickandsandi
We always pull our battery out for the winter and store it in the basement. Once a month I put the charger on it set on trickle charge for a day or two and each spring its good as new!
Does that mean that you're storing it on .........CONCRETE?!?!
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Old 04-19-2007, 08:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster
Does that mean that you're storing it on .........CONCRETE?!?!
Ya beat me to it!
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Old 04-19-2007, 09:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325
If the battery is stored with a full charge, it will likely winter over without issues. I generally store mine from October through April and the battery still has charge when I take it out of storage. A lot will have to do with the age of the battery and the condition when it was stored, of course. The worst thing you can do is store a discharged battery. It will sulfate the plates and short out.

Roger
This presumes that the terminals would be disconnected, not merely using the "disconnect" switch.

Roger
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Old 04-19-2007, 09:32 PM   #13
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storing batteries on concrete

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fyrzowt
Ya beat me to it!
My high school auto shop teacher told us never to store batteries on a concrete floor . . . but does anyone actually know why?
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Old 04-20-2007, 06:56 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by AlbertF
My high school auto shop teacher told us never to store batteries on a concrete floor . . . but does anyone actually know why?
At one point in the timeline of battery manufacturing, there 'might' have been issues with the material that was used to make the casings of batteries.

Modern polymer battery casings can be stored on just about any surface....INCLUDING CONCRETE!!!!!!! There is NO EFFECT from the concrete on a battery. Just another 'old wives tale (sorry girls ).

If you don't believe this, do a test with 2 new, fully charged identical batteries. Place one on the concrete and the other on some 2 X 4s. After a month or so, they will BOTH have exactly the same voltage reading and will respond to a load test with identical results! CASE CLOSED!
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Old 04-20-2007, 07:39 AM   #15
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Battery maintainer

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgodfrey
Our Safari is parked in a storage facility, not connected to shore power. Everything is turned off, and the battery is disconnected (set for storage) using the switch on the wall.

How long can a fully charged battery be expected to hold it's charge under these conditions?

We haven't had the trailer out since mid-February. We were at it yesterday, getting ready for a coming trip, and the monitor panel presented a yellow status light, when we powered up.
I will admit to no knowledge as to whether your late model unit comes from the factory with a 3 stage convertor or not. IF you do not,and since no one else took the opportunity to tell you, I will. It is a very simple, and cheap aid-why not consider a battery maintainer?
I will not get into educating you concerning them, use your Google feature, however, for an initial cost of $29 or so, and a monthly electrical cost of mere pennies, you can store your unit with a maintainer hooked to the batteries, and come back, finding the batteries fully charged, but not overcharged or sulfated from lack of use, nor will the liquid be boiled out if you are using wet batteries. So much to be gained at such a small cost.
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Old 04-20-2007, 05:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgodfrey
Our Safari is parked in a storage facility, not connected to shore power. Everything is turned off, and the battery is disconnected (set for storage) using the switch on the wall.

How long can a fully charged battery be expected to hold it's charge under these conditions?

We haven't had the trailer out since mid-February. We were at it yesterday, getting ready for a coming trip, and the monitor panel presented a yellow status light, when we powered up.
A small solar cell charger works great. Something in the order of 1/2 ampere is fine.

Only cost is the intial purchase price.

The energy from the sun, is free, at least for the time being.

Andy
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Old 04-20-2007, 07:10 PM   #17
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you're killin me Andy, I hear in Santa Cruz CA. the city govt charges you for how much run off goes into the storm drains. Business owners I heard. Soon they will be taxing the air we breathe.
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Old 04-20-2007, 07:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doorgunner
you're killin me Andy, I hear in Santa Cruz CA. the city govt charges you for how much run off goes into the storm drains. Business owners I heard. Soon they will be taxing the air we breathe.
The day of pay toilets may come back in style.

Rumor has it that California is going to have a toilet seat tax, for homes, hotels, businesses and RV's as well.

If they would only make people have current license plates, instead of expired, on their vehicles, they could reduce the budget.

Then, holly molley, if they fined people with only the driver in the car, that travels in the "car pool" lanes, California could have a budget surplus.

Lets see what Arnie has up his sleeves.

Andy
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Old 04-21-2007, 06:36 PM   #19
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I like Andy's comment about just using a simple solar panel. Currently, I store my rig in the driveway and periodically plug it in when I notice the batteries getting a tad low. The solar panel would keep me from struggling with the power cords when we have a foot or two of snow on the ground. Normally, using the panel for reference, I plug it in about every two to three weeks.
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Old 04-21-2007, 09:25 PM   #20
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We use one of the cheapo solar chargers. As the attachment shows, it's intended to be plugged into a cigarette lighter outlet. However, the cord was too short to reach from the back window of the AS to the nearest outlet, so we got a cheap cig lighter unit and larger alligator clips to build an extension cord to go from the charger directly to the battery. The charger is a 1-watt model, output only during the day (obviously), and we leave it plugged in all winter.


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