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Old 03-31-2020, 04:10 PM   #1
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Angry Voltage drop after storage

Last fall, I put my AS 27FB FC into storage at a local RV facility for its second winter. As the year before, when I got it out last Thursday there was not enough power in the batteries to lift the jack. So, we used a battery booster. The facility required me to leave the batteries in and were SUPPOSED to disconnect the batteries when it went into their storage facility. When I got it back to my town, there was enough juice in the batteries to raise the hitch off of the ball. However, when I went back today to start to dewinterize it, I checked the voltage of the brand new Interstate batteries I purchased last September from Costco and found it to be 4.4 volts on both of them.
Last year when this happened I blamed the dealer for not having properly maintained the batteries when it was on the lot (it was still under warranty). This year, I am definitely blaming the RV storage facility.
So, the question is: Should I even try to charge them or are they completely destroyed? My understanding is that anything less than 11 volts or so is beyond help. If they are beyond help, they are still under warranty from Costco and can be returned.
Thanks,
Eric
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Old 03-31-2020, 04:22 PM   #2
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You should get new batteries . . . period.

The "blame" issue can be sorted out later [by others], depending on details TBD, including the time periods/lengths of time you were gone, and how long the batteries would have been disconnected if the storage place had done its duty to disconnect them, etc..

If by "winter" you mean you were gone 2-3 months . . . it is unlikely [IMO] that your batteries would have been undamaged, even if they were disconnected properly, especially if the storage area was unheated.

This Battery School site is a good place to read up:

http://www.batteriesnorthwest.com/batteryschool.cfm

In general letting the voltage drop below 12.3 is when some damage starts to occur [chart at link above].

Good luck, and please let us know if Costco honors their warranty, as they would be well within their rights to refuse, due to "owner abuse" IMO.

Peter
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Old 03-31-2020, 05:53 PM   #3
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Thank you for your comments. They WERE new batteries when it went into storage. There is no possibility of maintaining batteries when one puts an RV into storage other than having them disconnected (which was the agreement with the storage facility). They insist on having the batteries in place in order to use the power jack to move the RV into storage and they are to disconnect that black connector in order to protect the battery from discharge. I am not taking responsibility for any 'owner abuse.' I put the AS into storage with the agreement that the batteries would be disconnected at that time and then reconnected to charge them as needed at the end of the storage. I do appreciate that they are now destroyed due to the vampiric draw of the AS since October. I have no expectation that Costco will do anything other than swap them out for new ones. I no longer plan on storing at that facility come next winter.
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Old 04-01-2020, 08:24 AM   #4
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If it was me I would take the batteries back to Costco and get them exchanged if it's still within the warranty period. All they can say is no. If they say no then I would try to put a charge on them. A deep cycle down to 4 volts will undoubtedly harm them but they should still be able to take a charge. You may need to use a charger that doesn't have a maintenance mode to get them back up to at least 11 volts. Then you have a set of batteries to put in the AS for next winter and keep the good ones at home.

You might want to consider putting the propane detector on a switch to avoid the parasitic drain on the batteries when in storage. A battery disconnect switch is another option, then the storage facility has only to throw the switch. You could call them and make sure they did it.
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Old 04-01-2020, 08:37 AM   #5
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I agree with Peter. Replace the batteries but accept that you cannot leave conventional flooded batteries unattended all winter and expect them to be of any use when camping season arrives. Even if you put a switch on your propane detector(which I have done), the batteries will self-discharge. You need to find a facility that will let you take the batteries home or charge them in place periodically or, if stored outside, have a small solar panel. If you cannot do any of that, you need a different battery type.

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Old 04-01-2020, 10:23 AM   #6
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I two echo Isbordsky ... flooded batteries require some sort of battery tender to maintain charge over the 3-6 months of storage. If you are in outdoor storage (with little or no snow) solar will keep you charged. If not then take them home and trickle charge with some sort of battery tender.
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Old 04-01-2020, 10:34 AM   #7
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If you are otherwise happy with the storage arrangement maybe a set of batteries a year is a small cost. They are only going to last 2 years anyway. Buy new ones in the spring when you start out. Not in the fall. Maybe they disconnected them, maybe not. Did they have the key for the battery box? Fight the big battles. Pass on the little ones. There is nothing in the maintenance of a Airstream cheaper than a couple of batteries every year. I get mine at Walmart. To me new cheap batteries have more capacity than 3 year old better batteries.
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Old 04-01-2020, 12:00 PM   #8
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OEM batteries can last for many years, if properly maintained, including charging/water/etc..

By no means disposable after only 2 years.

The OP's storage arrangement may not permit battery longevity, but it is possible.

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Old 04-01-2020, 12:13 PM   #9
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We fought with Interstate batteries each and every year until we finally swapped out for mounted solar and a different type of battery.

We discovered there was a sensor onboard that would drain them in short order, but even that didn't explain our battery-agony. Leave them on, take them off, store them in the house, store them in the garage, use a trickle charger, use a smart battery tender, leave suit case solar on.

Seriously, we bought and returned to Costco so often we looked to see where the nearest store was when traveling because we knew we'd have to get batteries.

However, we had permanent solar installed and changed to lithium ion batteries and the lights have stayed on ever since. It wasn't cheap, but having the batteries fully charged and ready to go, not having to worry about it and not having to spend $$$ and hours replacing them? Priceless! Although, Costco misses us...
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Old 04-01-2020, 12:27 PM   #10
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Always physically disconnect the batteries when you go into storage, too many little electrical loads that will drain the batteries after months of storage. Don't rely on the disconnect switch. That way you know there is nothing to drain them. I do this every year and have never had an issue.



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Old 04-01-2020, 02:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damonbeals View Post
Always physically disconnect the batteries when you go into storage . . .
. . .
The storage facility did not permit this.

Post #1:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randonneur View Post
. . .
. . . The facility required me to leave the batteries in . . .
. . .
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Old 04-01-2020, 06:44 PM   #12
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Another option in the future would be get one of the cheapest batteries you can find (doesn't even need to be deep cycle) to leave in over the winter and take the better ones out to take care of at home.
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Old 04-01-2020, 06:52 PM   #13
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Or replace the electric jack with a hand crank jack for storage.
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Old 04-01-2020, 07:12 PM   #14
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Bottom line, Id find a different storage facility. The only person that moves my trailer is me...or someone Im watching very, very closely.
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Old 04-02-2020, 05:20 AM   #15
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Smile Success!

Thank you for all your comments. I ended up simply returning the batteries to Costco and getting new ones at no cost. I am moving this year to a place where I will have my own pole barn in which to store my trailer and hope never to have this issue again.
Eric
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Old 04-02-2020, 12:47 PM   #16
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Thanks for the update.

Happy trails,

Peter
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Old 04-08-2020, 09:24 AM   #17
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For long term storage, nothing beats removing the batteries and bringing them home.
Next best is a battery disconnect. But even batteries without a load will lose voltage due to internal resistance. (over time)
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Old 04-08-2020, 10:09 AM   #18
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My recommendation is to invest in a storage area where you can charge the batteries and maintain them as needed
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Old 04-08-2020, 10:16 AM   #19
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For battery storage of 3-5 months, a fully charged battery should easily survive if completely disconnected from service. The colder the battery is during storage, the longer it will survive. Self discharge rates DECREASE the colder it gets.
Attached is a post from Trojan Batteries on this subject. From their article, at 42 degrees, a battery will loose 20% of its charge at 19 weeks. If it is colder, it will take significantly longer. Also, a battery at 30% discharge will not freeze until temps are somewhere near -30F.

https://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/WP...orage_0512.pdf
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Old 04-08-2020, 01:40 PM   #20
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My 5 year old interstate batteries still show good or better on specific gravity test. I disconnect them every winter and connect them to a battery tender. Check and add water every two months as needed. I’m more than happy after reading so much about the short life they are supposed to have.
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