Batteries draining when in storage - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-05-2017, 10:25 AM   #1
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Question Batteries draining when in storage

I have a Parkliner that I got new in January 2017. I have it in storage between trips and the batteries are discharging at an alarming rate. I take the Parkliner out camping for a few days every month and last had it out 2 weeks ago. When I checked the batteries yesterday, they were below 5 volts. I had to take them out and bring them home to charge them up. I don't have anything running except the battery combo monitor when it's in storage (and I assume the smoke alarm and CO2 monitor are also on).

What could be draining my batteries? I have two 12 V batteries.
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:30 AM   #2
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Get a battery disconnect switch and disconnect it when you put it in storage. You can get the switch at an auto parts store, it goes on the negative side of the battery.
https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&ke...9nq6y2ao_b_p19
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:54 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandy54 View Post
I have a Parkliner that I got new in January 2017. I have it in storage between trips and the batteries are discharging at an alarming rate. I take the Parkliner out camping for a few days every month and last had it out 2 weeks ago. When I checked the batteries yesterday, they were below 5 volts. I had to take them out and bring them home to charge them up. I don't have anything running except the battery combo monitor when it's in storage (and I assume the smoke alarm and CO2 monitor are also on).

What could be draining my batteries? I have two 12 V batteries.
Barring any other parasitic loads, I would suspect the both the battery monitor and the CO detector.

My LPG/CO detector pulls 108 MA. In a 2 week period, that would be 36 amp hours. I don't know what the draw is on your battery monitor, but you can check the documentation and calculate the amp hours per day it draws.

You don't mention the group size of the batteries. Still with two batteries, I wouldn't think they would draw down that much. If you have two group 27 marine batteries for example, you would have about 200 amp hours of power; not drawing down below 50% that would still be 100 amp hours of usable power. Assuming that the monitor draws the same as my detector, that would be 72 amp hours and you should still have some reserve.

Put an amp meter between the negative cable and post and turn off, or pull the fuses, on the monitor and detector. With everything else off, there should be no draw. If there is, start pulling fuses until there is none. The parasitic drain is from that leg.
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:54 AM   #4
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If the trailer never came with a disconnect switch, do as Darwin said and install one. It should be stored that the charging current from the converter or solar if you have it, it's still connected to the battery when the switch is off. Any leads should be divorced though.
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:21 AM   #5
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Regardless of parasitic pull on the battery, do as the others state and put a "disconnect" on it. That STILL will not be enough for your batteries in storage for long periods of time!!

Get you one of these smart chargers (see link below) and place on the battery and your woes will go away and it will extend the life of the battery! Since you have two batteries, you may want to research and get a bigger/better "maintainer" which is what these chargers are. If you use a regular battery charger for autos, it will boil the battery dry. These "smart" chargers will not.

I also own a "Battery Minder" that supposedly "desulfates" the battery which is what happens to batteries that sit in storage and not kept charged. It's about $150 compared to the "Battery Tender" below which is about $25. BUT, the Minder has an 8A charger built in if I need to revive a battery where I left the lights on accidentally or what have you.

This is one area I live what I preach. I have a Corolla that is garage-kept not being ran that often right now (inherited a vehicle from my Dad), I have a riding mower, my Scamp, and my TV - Nissan Frontier that are all on these smart chargers as I type.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Battery-T...&wl13=&veh=sem
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:45 AM   #6
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Darral is right, you might want to add a disconnect switch. However, if the combined draw of the CO detector and the battery monitor aren't enough to draw down your battery so much you should probably look for parasitic losses, which may indicate other electrical problems. We sometimes tend to think of parasitic draw as something that happens when we aren't using our batteries. Truth is, in most cases, they represent a constant use of power. Though a disconnect switch might prevent losses when you are not using the trailer, as soon as you reconnect you are once again wasting valuable power.

Better to check and be sure.
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Old 07-06-2017, 10:44 AM   #7
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Phantom Loads.....

Hello,

Newer trailers have many phantom loads....

Refrigerator circuit board
Water Heater circuit board
CO/CO2/Propane detectors
Furnace

Also, flooded lead acid batteries tend to self discharge
at least 5% per month.

Ensuring that the batteries are fully charged and then
disconnected/switched off for storage will go a long
way toward solving the problem.

Larry H
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Old 07-06-2017, 10:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
Regardless of parasitic pull on the battery, do as the others state and put a "disconnect" on it. That STILL will not be enough for your batteries in storage for long periods of time!!

Get you one of these smart chargers (see link below) and place on the battery and your woes will go away and it will extend the life of the battery! Since you have two batteries, you may want to research and get a bigger/better "maintainer" which is what these chargers are. If you use a regular battery charger for autos, it will boil the battery dry. These "smart" chargers will not.

I also own a "Battery Minder" that supposedly "desulfates" the battery which is what happens to batteries that sit in storage and not kept charged. It's about $150 compared to the "Battery Tender" below which is about $25. BUT, the Minder has an 8A charger built in if I need to revive a battery where I left the lights on accidentally or what have you.

This is one area I live what I preach. I have a Corolla that is garage-kept not being ran that often right now (inherited a vehicle from my Dad), I have a riding mower, my Scamp, and my TV - Nissan Frontier that are all on these smart chargers as I type.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Battery-T...&wl13=&veh=sem
I just got a Dellran 5V solar battery tender (no access to power in the storage lot). When I went to install it is when I found the batteries were at 5.4 V. Took the batteries home and charged them back up. When I reinstall the batteries, I'm going to connect them to the solar charger. (SC gets a good amount of sun.) I'm going to look into a cut off, but don't want to violate my warennty.
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Old 07-06-2017, 11:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
Get a battery disconnect switch and disconnect it when you put it in storage. You can get the switch at an auto parts store, it goes on the negative side of the battery.
https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&ke...9nq6y2ao_b_p19
Wouldn't shutting off the main breaker do the same thing as a battery disconnect?
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Old 07-06-2017, 11:10 AM   #10
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I'm clearly missing something because no one else brought this up, but 5 volts?? What exactly are you measuring? A 12V battery is irreversibly damaged at even 11V. I wouldn't think you can even get them down as low as 5V. If your 12V batteries are really at 5V, you need new batteries. They are dead and will never hold a charge again.

I'm obviously missing something so feel free to ignore that comment...

I don't know Parkliners, but at least in my camper, the breakers are only for controlling AC power coming into the trailer. You may have a main DC breaker, I'm not sure. I don't. But in my camper, all DC electronics like lights, water pump and in your case CO/LP/Smoke Detector run off the battery, and though their fuses likely share the same area as your AC breakers, they are not effected by the AC breakers. They are always connected to the battery unless you pull their individual fuses or install a battery disconnect.
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Old 07-06-2017, 12:07 PM   #11
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That is correct about damaging your batteries. When brought to such a low voltage they be sulated beyond recovery. Some loads are hard wired in and should stay that way so turning off breakers will not turn them off.
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Old 07-06-2017, 12:09 PM   #12
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Our 2016 ParkLiner's battery cover cannot be removed without removing the LP tanks first ---- a major pain! how easy is yours?
We keep the trailer at home, it has sat for long periods. the battery seems to hold its charge.
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Old 07-06-2017, 12:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Collins View Post
Our 2016 ParkLiner's battery cover cannot be removed without removing the LP tanks first ---- a major pain! how easy is yours?
We keep the trailer at home, it has sat for long periods. the battery seems to hold its charge.
Same with my Parkliner- I have to remove propane tanks to get to the batteries. I'm trying to figure out a way to put a lid on top so it will be easier to get to them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
I'm clearly missing something because no one else brought this up, but 5 volts?? What exactly are you measuring? A 12V battery is irreversibly damaged at even 11V. I wouldn't think you can even get them down as low as 5V. If your 12V batteries are really at 5V, you need new batteries. They are dead and will never hold a charge again.

I'm obviously missing something so feel free to ignore that comment...

I don't know Parkliners, but at least in my camper, the breakers are only for controlling AC power coming into the trailer. You may have a main DC breaker, I'm not sure. I don't. But in my camper, all DC electronics like lights, water pump and in your case CO/LP/Smoke Detector run off the battery, and though their fuses likely share the same area as your AC breakers, they are not effected by the AC breakers. They are always connected to the battery unless you pull their individual fuses or install a battery disconnect.
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Old 07-06-2017, 12:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Collins View Post
Our 2016 ParkLiner's battery cover cannot be removed without removing the LP tanks first ---- a major pain! how easy is yours?
We keep the trailer at home, it has sat for long periods. the battery seems to hold its charge.
My HOA won't allow me to keep it in my driveway.
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Old 07-14-2017, 10:51 AM   #15
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Thanks

Thanks to everyone for all the input and suggestions. It's quite a learning experience!

I have decided to keep the batteries removed and at home on a trickle charger. I'll install the batteries when I am ready to take the Parkliner on a camping trip. I did get a battery disconnect switch, but haven't installed it, and probably don't need it if I'm not going to leave the batteries connected between trips.
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Old 07-14-2017, 11:24 AM   #16
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Make SURE it's a "smart" charger like the Battery Tender and just not a regular ole cheapo car battery charger that has a "trickle cycle" on it. They will STILL boil the batteries dry!! The "smart" charger or another buzz word they use is "Maintainer" will actually monitor the voltage and keep it fully charged but will NOT let it over-charge.

For what it's worth, Battery Tenders can carry up to a 5 yr Warranty. That tells you something about them!
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Old 07-14-2017, 07:22 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
Make SURE it's a "smart" charger like the Battery Tender and just not a regular ole cheapo car battery charger that has a "trickle cycle" on it. They will STILL boil the batteriges dry!! The "smart" charger or another buzz word they use is "Maintainer" will actually monitor the voltage and keep it fully charged but will NOT let it over-charge.

For what it's worth, Battery Tenders can carry up to a 5 yr Warranty. That tells you something about them!
Darrel,
It should be unless it's not original. My 2014 has the Progressive Dynamics PD4045 with the charge wizzard feature built in.
Four winters later with the trailer left plugged in and I am still rockin the original battery with no noticeable drop in capacity.
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Old 07-14-2017, 07:56 PM   #18
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Not sure what you mean Sid. The OP said they took the batteries "out". Doesnt matter what kind of converter they have if they're not in the trailer. My Scamp is a 2010 and Scamp did NOT add the "Wizard". It IS available as an option. I just dont care to leave my Scamp plugged in all the time. Therefore, there's a "Battery Tender" plugged into the battery as I type. And I dont disconnect it from the Scamp but have never had any problems with parasitic battery drainage.

But yes, I agree 100%, the "Wizard" is an add-on "Smart" charger made by Progressive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid View Post
Darrel,
It should be unless it's not original. My 2014 has the Progressive Dynamics PD4045 with the charge wizzard feature built in.
Four winters later with the trailer left plugged in and I am still rockin the original battery with no noticeable drop in capacity.
Sid
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Old 07-14-2017, 08:16 PM   #19
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My bad.... I missed that.
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Old 09-04-2017, 08:36 AM   #20
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So is taking the batteries out really the solution to battery drain while in storage away from power? I may end up in the same position as Sandy - storing in a lot without shore power. I just got a Parkliner 2014, and it seems to be equipped like the others in the thread; PD 4045 and TM 2025 monitor. right now, in my driveway on shore power for a couple of days, the TM 2025 shows 13.7 volts. It also shows 83% - which may be a settings issue; I gather that volts are observed, but % calculated based on an installer's setting of what is "full", and that 13.7 should be about right (but my ignorance on this stuff is appalling). But at the very least the PL will have to move for some home repair and maybe permanently. So some questions:
I can see pulling the batteries and trickle charging would work, but the tanks really have to come off whenever that happens? No wonder they're putting another foot on the tongue.
Does the configuration allow a disconnect switch that can be done without battery cover removal? Anybody done one yet?
Above someone asked if the main breaker would serve a similar function as a disconnect, and it sounds like it wouldn't. But is there somewhere else a cutoff could be installed? I don't anticipate even 2 months passing without being able to address battery charge, so would battery decay over that time matter?

No doubt just the first set of many questions.
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