Two almost dead batteries - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-02-2005, 07:09 PM   #1
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Today I checked the batteries in my Bigfoot as I removed them for winter storage. I have two deep cycle batteries in parallel and didn't think they would be almost dead. Turns out that the wire coming from the converter to the battery positive connection had corroded wires where the in-line fuse is located. As a result the battery was never receiving a trickle charge at all this summer.

Tomorrow I will go to the auto parts store and buy a new in-line fuse holder and replace the old one. Next year I'll have to try to remember to check the charge on these batteries more than once a year. We just didn't do any boon docking this year and never needed the batteries to do any work or we may have noticed they were useless.

We are not sure if they will take a charge and recover from this drain. Luckily we are living close to the Interstate battery factory and can purchase deep cycle batteries for only $20.00. We get factory seconds, those that have a slight blemish on them and are not able to be sold.

Paul
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Old 12-02-2005, 09:13 PM   #2
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Interstate is a Portland Co?

Wow, I didn't know that.
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Old 12-05-2005, 07:54 AM   #3
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A true deep cycle battery is designed for discharge/recharge usage (trolling motors, boondocking etc.). According to the information I received with my last deep cycle battery it should be good for up to 400 charge/discharge cycles. 1-2 cycles would kill a auto starting battery.
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:07 AM   #4
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The first one took a charge. Now for the second.
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Old 12-05-2005, 11:23 PM   #5
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If the Foot doesn`t have one, I`d put in a small volt meter someplace convenient enough to take a glance at it once in a while.....you would have noticed a problem earlier....Benny
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Old 12-06-2005, 09:19 AM   #6
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Cheep chargers don't have the capability to prolong battery life.

Get yourself a charger that will automatically charge the battery then shut off. It should also have the desulfate mode on it.

Check www.sportsmansguide.com for a Vector with these capabilities. They sometimes have factory rebuilt models for about 1/2 price. Get the best one, the one that will start your car if needed and be worry free. I use mine on the antique car and motorcycle to desulfate the battery and on the Scamp and our other vehicles. It works.
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Old 12-06-2005, 09:55 AM   #7
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The second one is flat on it's face and won't take a charge.

The Foot has a volt meter built in, but since I was on shore power all summer it showed the batteries as having a good charge. Or at least when I turned the dial on the systems monitor to the battery check position a green light lit up instead of a red one. Had I unplugged the shore power and then checked the battery condition I might have noticed it sooner but I was only looking at the battery condition on my monitor as I was spinning the dial to the water tank conditions.

It also has a built in "Smart Charger" so leaving it on shore power at the house is an option that I choose to do. That way I have an extra Fridge for beer cooling without taking up any space in the kitchen.

The corroded wire that went to the on-line fuse should have not only kept the batteries from taking a "smart charge" when needed, I would have thought that it would have kept them from draining. The fuse wire was the only connection to the positive terminal except for the No. 2 wire that went to the invertor. The invertor was never turned on this year, so that wouldn't have caused the drain. I wonder what did?
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:15 AM   #8
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Paul,

Lead acid batteries self discharge at a low rate so if you weren't replacing the charge, they'll go flat over time. That's why it's necessary to charge them periodically or leave a trickle charger connected.

With the corroded wires preventing charging, it was just a matter of time.
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:45 AM   #9
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While we are on this topic, I`d like to an opinion ....I used to use a control circuit that a friend built for me and a battery charger to keep up a battery in a homebrew alarm system in my shop.....the charger is a 4 amp oldie and the control turns the charger on at 11.3 volts and turns it off at 13.7 .....the voltages can be set by trim pots....would this be OK to use on a deep cycle in my trailer and leave it connected all the time since it is usually on shore power when on trips and sometimes at home also?.....are the voltages that I mentioned OK or should the turn on be somewhat higher? ....Benny
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Old 12-06-2005, 03:58 PM   #10
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While we are on this topic, I`d like to an opinion ....I used to use a control circuit that a friend built for me and a battery charger to keep up a battery in a homebrew alarm system in my shop.....the charger is a 4 amp oldie and the control turns the charger on at 11.3 volts and turns it off at 13.7 .....the voltages can be set by trim pots....would this be OK to use on a deep cycle in my trailer and leave it connected all the time since it is usually on shore power when on trips and sometimes at home also?.....are the voltages that I mentioned OK or should the turn on be somewhat higher? ....Benny
Benny,

The 11.3 volt turn on is too low. 11.3v represents 10% charge in a 12 volt battery. You would be running the battery down 90% before starting the charger. 12.0 volts represents about a 50% charge; I wouldn't run it down lower than that.

I wouldn't even hazard a guess on the cutoff voltage. I will observe, however, that the battery will be charging at considerably less than the rated 4 amps. If you have a 70AH battery and run it down 50%, you'll need to replace 35AH before the battery is fully charged.

I'd say you'd be smart to dump the setup you propose and buy a decent 3-stage charger. It will greatly prolong the life of your battery. Such a charger will cost about what one deep cycle battery would cost you. It will also charge faster.
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Old 12-07-2005, 05:29 PM   #11
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Like I said. You can not recover the battery with a cheep charger. Get an automatic one that will desulfate and I bet it will do the trick, that is, if the battery is not over 5 years old.
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Old 12-08-2005, 07:55 AM   #12
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Paul ,,, does your rig have a 12-volt cigarette plug inside the trailer?

Mine does ... I also have a plug-in battery tester (I think I got it at JC Whitney) that shows the charge level ... that way, prior to hooking everything up ... ie not hooked to tow vehicle or shore power .. I can insert the tester and get a quick read of the battery state.

I do this before I hook up at the storage yard ... most of the time ... to see if my 3 watt solar panel kept the battery fully charged while in storage.

You could also use it to check the battery charge when you arrive at the campground ... but if you don't let the battery "rest" ... you'll get a false "higher than actual" reading because your tow vehicle will have been charging the battery enroute.

I also use the tester to monitor battery state while boon docking.

Not professional. And the tester probably isn't right on the money with the true charge ... but hey, it works for me.

I'm not a EE like someone I know ... so don't take what I say to the bank.

But I'm a EEE major.

I ENTER EGGS EXCITEDLY !!!

Yes I do.
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