to plug or unplug? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-02-2018, 08:38 PM   #1
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Name: Brian
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Question to plug or unplug?

Hello fellow travellers, Could use some guidance. I am leaving my 2004 17 ft Little foot alone for two months while I play elsewhere. Batteries are topped up. Would it be best to remove and store, or plug the baby into shore..... oops house power while gone and let the onboard charger take care of the batteries. I believe when plugged in the battery charger cycles to keep the batteries up...right? Thanks for any and all guidance. Cheers, trapper
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Old 12-02-2018, 08:55 PM   #2
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If fully charged, I'd just disconnect the battery.

For more, Google Trojan battery maintenance.
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:00 PM   #3
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I leave my camper plugged in when not in use, just to be certain the battery stays fully charged and doesn't freeze while being stored during a cold Minnesota winter.

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Old 12-02-2018, 09:04 PM   #4
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From Trojan FAQ:
9. Can a flooded battery freeze?
The only way that a battery can freeze is if it is left in a state of partial or complete discharge. As the state of charge in a battery decreases, the electrolyte becomes more like water and the freezing temperature increases. The freezing temperature of the electrolyte in a fully charged battery is -92º F (-69º C). At a 40% state of charge, electrolyte will freeze if the temperature reaches approximately 16º F (-9º C).
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Old 12-02-2018, 10:48 PM   #5
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If you have a propane detector, it might run the battery down enough in the two months left unpluged. I would just disconnect the negative or positive leads from the fully charged battery and enjoy your time away.
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Old 12-03-2018, 05:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by David B. View Post
... I would just disconnect the negative or positive leads ...
Negative preferred, and SOP is to disconnect negative before positive.

Whether to leave the camper on shore power depends on what loads there are, and what kind of charger / converter you have. If you disconnect the battery then topping it off every 2-6 months is sufficient (and likely more than sufficient). As was mentioned, if you leave a propane alarm or other similar things operating then more frequent charging is called for.. likely weekly or so. If you have a quality charger / converter that is designed to be left on 24/7 then thats fine, but if it is a single stage cheepo, then leaving it on 24/7 can damage the battery.
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:20 AM   #7
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I had a Corolla sitting in a garage with a new battery. About a year later, I noticed the battery starting to get 'weak'. I spoke with Batteries Plus and the lady asked...."Do you drive this car regularly?" I told her I did not...maybe once a month to just keep it from sitting. They replaced it then......

She gave me a battery lesson. I went to a Battery Tender (link below) and installed one on the Corolla, my Scamp, and motorcycle. That's been probably 3-4 yrs now and I've never had another battery problem and they're always "hot" when I need them.

These "Smart" chargers KEEPS the battery "topped off" - where they NEED to be and MUST be in order for them to last. Some of the Progressive Dynamic converters on Scamps (and others) comes with the "Wizard" which would do this for you so you could leave your RV plugged in continuously. If you do not have this Wizard, then do NOT leave your RV plugged as it will boil your battery dry if you're not vigilant and keep an eye on it.

I dont work for BT nor am I sponsored. I just use them and know they work. I bought 3 of the small 2A versions (Battery Tender JR) for a discount through Amazon several years ago. The warranty was/is 5 yrs on this model. That tells you something about their product. There's the BT + that is 10 YRS!

Battery Tender is the Most Trusted and Reliable Brand Since 1965. We Design, Manufacture, and Distribute Technologically Advanced Products that Meet the Ever Changing Needs of our Worldwide Customers. | Deltran Battery Tender
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:45 AM   #8
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A fully charged lead acid battery will not discharge as long as it is disconnected, and clean and dry on top. Nor will it freeze.
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:47 AM   #9
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Thanks to everyone for so many well-thought-out and helpful replies.

Here's another wrinkle -- I have an older trailer so it most likely does not have a very up to date charger/converter. It would seem that using something like a Battery Tender or Noco Genius would be the best choice. But, I store my trailer in an environment that is often humid and often cold so being plugged into shore power is almost essential as I operate a 110-v heater and dehumidifier fairly often.

I suppose that one option would be to upgrade the charger/converter. Can anyone recommend a great charger/converter for installation in a 1994 Bigfoot 17 that currently has a single 12-v battery and will likely have a solar panel installed at some point?

If I don't do that, would it make sense to hook up to shore power and disconnect the battery while the trailer is stored?
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Collins View Post
A fully charged lead acid battery will not discharge as long as it is disconnected, and clean and dry on top. ...
Bull Hockey


1. What is the shelf life of my battery?

Partial quote:
The limiting factor of battery’s shelf life is the rate of self-discharge which itself is temperature dependent. ... Flooded batteries will self-discharge up to 15% per month at 77º F (25º C). ... The specific gravity or voltage of flooded batteries should be monitored every 4 – 6 weeks and should be given a boost charge when they are at 70% stat of charge (SOC). ...
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:58 AM   #11
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Either disconnect the battery cables or leave the battery on a smart charger.

If there is any chance that you have a small load, such as a CO detector, or a light, or anything, leave it on a charger. But only on a smart charger. If your internal charger is not one that has a float function, get a modern tender that does and use that. If your on-board charger is a smart charger, you are all set.

If it is fully charged, you can disconnect the cables and it will be fine, if it is a good battery and stored out of the weather. No need to worry about freezing a fully charged battery. But it may self-discherge gradually over the period you leave it and that will lead to sulfation.

The best and safest way is to store it is to clip on a smart battery tender and leave the trailer unplugged. Or use the on-board smart charger and leave it plugged in. Make sure the battery does not need water. This will make sure it stays charged, doesn't freeze and minimizes any sulfation. If you do that you'll leave the battery cables connected. Then everything is ready to go.
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Old 12-03-2018, 11:04 AM   #12
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Robert,

Just noticed that you have an older charging system in the trailer. Get a smart battery tender and clip it on. Either leave the trailer unplugged or disconnect the battery so that your on-board charger is out of the loop.
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Old 12-03-2018, 11:11 AM   #13
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Thanks Gordon2 for posting that. I knew it wasnt true...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Bull Hockey


1. What is the shelf life of my battery?

Partial quote:
The limiting factor of battery’s shelf life is the rate of self-discharge which itself is temperature dependent. ... Flooded batteries will self-discharge up to 15% per month at 77º F (25º C). ... The specific gravity or voltage of flooded batteries should be monitored every 4 – 6 weeks and should be given a boost charge when they are at 70% stat of charge (SOC). ...
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Old 12-03-2018, 11:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Negative preferred, and SOP is to disconnect negative before positive.
That's a carry over from early automobile time. Doesn't apply to fiberglass trailers.
Reason for the disconnect negative first if you should hit a metal part of the automobile chassis with a wrench connected to positive terminal the wrench would get welded to the frame and batter terminal clamp,
Since is no metal chassis there no chance of the above happening.



Therefore it doesn't matter which terminal you disconnect or the order of disconnection.
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