Battery thoughts/help! - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-11-2015, 11:48 AM   #29
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Battery thoughts/help!

Jenny,

From the lack of light functionality and from your voltmeter test, it seems certain that your battery is currently completely discharged.

What caused the discharge, why the battery hasn't recharged on 110v or 12v, and whether any damage has been done to the battery all seem uncertain to me.

In the other thread you referenced (Never a Thought?), IIRC Carl found his 3 - pronged cord unplugged.

On our trailer, we have used 110v "shore power" for extended periods of time at the LBL rally, at Scamp Camp (Sebring, Fl), and many other places during cross country travels. I don't think we've ever "boiled our battery" or otherwise damaged it from week-long connections to 110v power. Leaving the trailer plugged into 110v all winter long might be another matter altogether?

When our charging circuit fuse was blown (probably during the addition of a new interior 12v outlet), we did completely discharge the battery. Accidentally leaving the refrigerator set on 12v overnight (at a WalMart parking lot) also discharged the battery one time.

You really need to make sure that, measured with your voltmeter at the battery terminals, you are getting an adequate charging voltage when plugged into 110v power or from the 12v line from the tow vehicle.

Then, especially if your battery won't hold a charge, have the battery checked for shorted-out cells or its general condition/health. As mentioned, many places will test your battery for free.

Once it is all working and/or tested, you can decide on a possible new marine (deep cycle) battery, a new converter/PDU, and/or a battery wizard/tender etc.

Good luck! ☺

Ray

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Old 09-12-2015, 08:37 AM   #30
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Battery thoughts/help!

Jenny,

I am assuming that you will be able to find and resolve your charging and/or battery issues this weekend.

We store our trailer indoors, so our use of solar is simply for boondocking/dry-camping.

If you trickle charge your battery all winter (whether at home and off the floor on some 2x4s or at the storage facility), you should use some sort of desulfator battery minder/tender/wizard ..... or possibly the 12watt solar panel solution.

In the later part of this thread are some links to interesting solar discussions.
Solar trickle charger

Again .... Good luck! 😊

Ray


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Old 09-12-2015, 03:49 PM   #31
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A good fully charged battery with a clean and covered top will sit for months without losing significant charge.

Charge the battery,disconnect the terminals, clean the top and cover it with something like a shower cap.
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Old 09-13-2015, 11:46 AM   #32
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So I was able to check a few items yesterday on my Scamp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdickens View Post
Have you checked that the 3-prong cord is plugged into the PDU under the seat?
Yes, the cord was plugged in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
What your measurements should see tug battery 12.5 to 12.75 volts. Tug running 13.5 to 14 volts. Trailer battery your 10 volts. Trailer battery hooked up to running tug over 13 volts. Trailer battery with engine running revved up some closer to 14 volts. If you don't get close to these voltage you will not charge your battery while your towing. If you do this test with the fridge on at 12 volts while you drive and can't maintain battery voltage over 12.7 volts wit the engine running then you are also draining your battery while driving.
My benchmarks were:
Tug: 12.42
Tug running: 14.20
RV Battery: 9.14
RV Battery attached to tug: 9.14
RV Battery attached to revving tug: 9.14

Uh, oh... something is wrong. Turns out the fuse on the outside of the battery is broken. So there's one mystery solved. I went into the Scamp and pulled the #3 fuse from the panel to use as a tester. I replaced the bad fuse and attached the tug again. 8.67. What?!? It occurred to me that perhaps I should try again with a different fuse from the panel. So I replaced the #3 fuse and pulled the #2 fuse. Attached the tug and now saw:

with fuse replaced, attached to tug: 12.21
with fuse replaced, attached to revving tug: 12.44/12.66

So the battery never gets up to the 14.xx as recommended to charge the battery while driving, even with the good fuse. I do plan to take the battery to a professional to be tested. Is the battery itself preventing the charge from going up to the recommended 14.xx?

I searched and searched for the elusive 2nd fuse inside the Scamp (passenger side under bench storage). I saw lots of wires coming in from the battery and a lot of black tape covering the wires but no fuse. I pulled back some of the rat fur and still no fuse. Then I got to thinking:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdickens View Post
Have you checked each of the fuses? (IIRC one of the top 2 fuses in mine is the charging circuit.)
Could it be that the secondary fuse is in the #3 slot on my fuse panel? And that's why when I pulled that fuse I still didn't see a charge in the 12.xx range? Ray, is that what you meant by "one of the top 2 fuses in mine is the charging circuit"? I hope so because I don't want to have to pull away too much of the rat fur to search for a fuse that isn't there.
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Old 09-13-2015, 11:59 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fallon View Post
A smart converter like a PD 4045 is going to be your best way to go (It's always highly recommended around here). It's a 4 stage "smart" charger (what you seem to be calling a charge wizard), a trickle charger or maintainer only has 2 stages, maybe 3. It costs about $200 or so, getting an electrician or RV guy to install it might cost that much again if you aren't electrically inclined. If you aren't electrically inclined, I'd recommend getting a professional to do it as electrical problems can start fires.
I did look at this one but I already have a converter and a panel and I'd like to avoid the cost of replacing all of the electrical in my Scamp (I thought about doing it myself until I took a thorough look at the panel and converter. Way above my level of expertise!). I was hoping to get something like this: Amazon.com: Progressive Dynamics PD9105V Lead Acid Battery Charge Wizard: Automotive that I could just plug into my converter. I have an Intelli-Power 9100 Model PD9130

Has anyone used one of these?
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Old 09-13-2015, 12:24 PM   #34
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In my old.Scamp ,the charging portion of my converter went bad . I disconnected the charging section of the converter and tied in a smart charger implace of the converter charger. This was easier, cheaper and worked well . The 4 stage charger did a better job of
charging / maintaining the battery than the original converter charger. The battery was 5 years old when I sold the trailer and still tested okay
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Old 09-13-2015, 01:52 PM   #35
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Battery thoughts/help!

Jenny,

When you replaced the fuse and the battery terminal voltage went from 8.#-10.# to 12.#, you almost certainly have solved the problem. 😀

Because the battery is/was so completely discharged, it is very likely pulling down the charging voltage from 13.# to 12.#. Once the battery is again fully charged, you will likely see higher voltages when connected to the tow vehicle or to 110v shore power.

I would now plug the trailer into 110v (for a half a day or so), verify the starting voltage at the battery terminals, test the voltage periodically during the charge cycle, and test at the end of the charging cycle with 110v still plugged in and again with 110v unplugged.

You could then repeat your tow vehicle tests if you want to.

Then get the battery tested for shorted cells and make sure it will "hold a charge" when not attached to the trailer.

When you reattach the battery to the trailer cables, look for any possible power drains within the trailer (I.e. A light or water pump inadvertently left on.)

Then, I'd suggest going out and get replacement fuses and spare fuses of every size used in the trailer. (I hear that they even have fuses that light up to show whether they are blown or not.)

If you are getting adequate charging voltage (with a fully charged battery) from both 110v and 12v and your battery tests good, you might possibly be overthinking the battery minder/tender/wizard things? Those things are valuable and have their place, but they might not be an immediate need?

Good job of troubleshooting! Well done! 😀

Ray






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Old 09-13-2015, 02:32 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdickens View Post
Jenny,

When you replaced the fuse and the battery terminal voltage went from 8.#-10.# to 12.#, you almost certainly have solved the problem. 😀

Because the battery is/was so completely discharged, it is very likely pulling down the charging voltage from 13.# to 12.#. Once the battery is again fully charged, you will likely see higher voltages when connected to the tow vehicle or to 110v shore power.
If your battery ever drops below 11 volts (to some degree even under 12) you are causing serious longterm damage to it. You never want to drop a deep cycle battery below 50% charge of you will cause damage to the plates. Your standard car battery gets damaged at even lesser rates of discharge.
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Old 09-13-2015, 05:31 PM   #37
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I must confess that I have heard the "never discharge below 50%" rule often repeated and I guess that I maybe I don't quite fully understand it.

I have long thought that marine deep-cycle batteries were designed for use with electric trolling motors and were built to be repeatedly 80% discharged down to to about 20% of their capacity.
(I am truly not wanting to be contrary or argumentative. I really don't understand. &#128543

In one of the later segments of the solar thread that I referenced, there is a reference to something called "The 12 Volt Side of Life". It seems to be well written and discusses all sorts of batteries (flooded cell, Gel, AGM, deep cycle, etc.)
http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm
http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volta.htm

From that article, I understand that it is not a good practice to "REGULARLY consume more than 60%" of your battery's capacity and that the more times that you really deep cycle the battery, the shorter it's useful life will become.

That said, I have never been sure how much damage might really be done to a good marine deep-cycle battery by an occasional inadvertent deep cycle. Does it vary by brand?

I really regret the couple of times that I have inadvertently discharged my battery, but it still seems to be quite functional ..... knock on wood. I suppose that I really should go get it professionally tested sometime soon.

If it tests OK, am I still supposed to preemptively replace it?

I do try to keep track of my battery status on a somewhat regular basis. (I have meters that measure my battery voltage, both the voltage and amperage supplied by my solar panel, and/or the amperage drawn from my trailer appliances - i.e. fan, water pump, lights, etc.)

Just wondering ....... 😕

Ray




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Old 09-13-2015, 06:12 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdickens View Post
I must confess that I have heard the "never discharge below 50%" rule often repeated and I guess that I maybe I don't quite fully understand it.

I have long thought that marine deep-cycle batteries were designed for use with electric trolling motors and were built to be repeatedly 80% discharged down to to about 20% of their capacity.
(I am truly not wanting to be contrary or argumentative. I really don't understand. &#128543

In one of the later segments of the solar thread that I referenced, there is a reference to something called "The 12 Volt Side of Life". It seems to be well written and discusses all sorts of batteries (flooded cell, Gel, AGM, deep cycle, etc.)
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
The 12volt Side of Life Part 2

From that article, I understand that it is not a good practice to "REGULARLY consume more than 60%" of your battery's capacity and that the more times that you really deep cycle the battery, the shorter it's useful life will become.

That said, I have never been sure how much damage might really be done to a good marine deep-cycle battery by an occasional inadvertent deep cycle. Does it vary by brand?

I really regret the couple of times that I have inadvertently discharged my battery, but it still seems to be quite functional ..... knock on wood. I suppose that I really should go get it professionally tested sometime soon.

If it tests OK, am I still supposed to preemptively replace it?

I do try to keep track of my battery status on a somewhat regular basis. (I have meters that measure my battery voltage, both the voltage and amperage supplied by my solar panel, and/or the amperage drawn from my trailer appliances - i.e. fan, water pump, lights, etc.)

Just wondering ....... 😕
It's not a hard & fast thing, but going below 50% does decrease it's capacity & lifespan. There is no reason to replace a battery that if functioning properly & still has adequate capacity. Adequate capacity may mean different things to different people though.

Deep Cycle Battery FAQ vs Life
Battery life is directly related to how deep the battery is cycled each time. If a battery is discharged to 50% every day, it will last about twice as long as if it is cycled to 80% DOD. If cycled only 10% DOD, it will last about 5 times as long as one cycled to 50%.

Different sources will state different details or formulas, but the deeper the discharge the worse it is for the battery.

Voltage isn't actually that great a way to determine how charged your battery is. You need a meter to measure how many amps you stuff into the battery & how many you pull out to do it properly. Personally I use a TriMetrics TM-2030 which runs a hair over $170 with the proper shunt & wiring. My next step is another $120 for the solar charge controller & some panels.

If you really want to go down the rabit hole about battery charging (and solar) look up HandyBob. He rant's a lot & is generally a bit angry, but definitely knows his stuff about batteries, charging them & solar. It's a great place to learn a lot.
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Old 09-13-2015, 08:11 PM   #39
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Much of the information in the Deep Cycle Battery FAQ seems very similar to the information in "The 12 Volt Side of Life".

The volt/ammeter that I use in our airplane is an E.I. VA-1A and is about twice the cost of the Trimetrics TM-2030. In the event that I ever lost the
alternator while in flight, it would help me with "load shedding" (shutting off all non-essential loads in order to conserve battery power until I could
safely land the airplane).

The voltmeters and volt/ammeters that I use for the trailer are considerably
less expensive ...... but then my life doesn't depend on those.

Ray
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:53 AM   #40
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Name: Jenny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdickens View Post
Jenny,

When you replaced the fuse and the battery terminal voltage went from 8.#-10.# to 12.#, you almost certainly have solved the problem. 😀

Because the battery is/was so completely discharged, it is very likely pulling down the charging voltage from 13.# to 12.#. Once the battery is again fully charged, you will likely see higher voltages when connected to the tow vehicle or to 110v shore power.

I would now plug the trailer into 110v (for a half a day or so), verify the starting voltage at the battery terminals, test the voltage periodically during the charge cycle, and test at the end of the charging cycle with 110v still plugged in and again with 110v unplugged.

You could then repeat your tow vehicle tests if you want to.

Then, I'd suggest going out and get replacement fuses and spare fuses of every size used in the trailer. (I hear that they even have fuses that light up to show whether they are blown or not.)
My next scheduled trip is the weekend of October 2nd. I will run another set of benchmarks before and after hooking up to power for the weekend. Hopefully my battery will be able to fully charge.

I will also stock up on fuses before that trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdickens View Post
Then get the battery tested for shorted cells and make sure it will "hold a
charge" when not attached to the trailer.
Most certainly!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdickens View Post
Good job of troubleshooting!
Thanks to you and everyone else who helped me!!

I'll post an update in this thread after my October trip.
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Old 09-14-2015, 01:01 PM   #41
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No problem!
Glad to help when I can .... just as others have helped me. ☺

BTW - I sent you a PM.

Ray

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Old 09-14-2015, 01:35 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScamperGirl View Post
I will also stock up on fuses before that trip.
A fuse is designed to blow & fuses really don't "go bad". They blow because something on that circuit tried to pull to much juice. Fuses aren't designed to protect appliances, they are designed to protect the wire. If you pull to much juice though a wire, they heat up & can catch fire. So if you have a frequent problem with blowing fuses, DO NOT EVER PUT IN A HIGHER RATED FUSE. A higher rated fuse won't protect the wire & could result in things burning down. If you frequently blow fuses, get with an electrician or RV repair guy so that they can troubleshoot the root problem causing fuses to blow. A fuse frequently blowing is just doing it's job giving its live to save you. Honor it's sacrifice by fixing the root problem causing to much power to be pulled through the fuse.
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