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Old 10-26-2023, 11:28 AM   #21
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Name: Rob
Trailer: Burro
New Mexico
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Solar

We’ve had solar on our trailers for the past 27 years and live in a sunny cold location. We don’t do anything with the batteries in the winter and never had an issue with the batteries even when below zero overnight. It does warm up here during the day with about a 40° night day swing. The mass of a lead acid battery especially inside a trailer keeps it from getting down near the overnight low.
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Old 10-26-2023, 11:39 AM   #22
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Trailer: 2016 Parkliner
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I got mine on Amazon. It self regulates. Never had problem with overcharging.
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Old 10-27-2023, 07:31 AM   #23
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Trailer: ex-Casita, now Alto R series
Massachusetts
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A word of caution: .....

...don't use high consumption DC items on shore power when the battery is removed. I suspect that running the tongue jack to uncouple the trailer last autumn once in it's winter parking area was (in my mind anyway) a possible reason the converter failed and needed to be replaced this season.
In fall of 2022 I removed the battery when the trailer was in the driveway, a shorter move to bring it in. In previous years I had removed and carried the battery back from the far side of the house. I used the lawn tractor to move the trailer to the other side of the house. I ran a 115 cord set, plugged in and tried to lower the jack to raise off the tractor. Instead of a constant whir I had just a 1/4 second of motor, then a pause, another 1/4 second and another pause. This 'pulse' puzzled me, but I presumed it to be the motor demand being more than the converter's capacitor storage capability. I figured the converter with smaller capacitors, and this year with no battery to contribute capacity, was incapable of maintaining the current the jack motor was consuming. I presumed the pause was the capacitors needing a moment for 'recharging' and then 'discharging' in 1/4 second. I eventually uncoupled and thought no more of it.
This spring I installed the battery before attempting to use the jack. The jack worked fine so that settled in my mind that I presumed correctly and made a note to not remove the battery until I was completely done for the year.
It was on our first camping trip of 2023, with no shore power, that I discovered that the battery had been losing charge. The days of pre-season home shore power for de-winterizing and spring clean activities had not kept charge level up. The converter had failed sometime between 2022's last camping trip return and 2023's first outing. The only intervening use was the uncoupling. The only difference from prior years was uncoupling on converter 12 volt alone, without battery.
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Old 10-28-2023, 05:08 AM   #24
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Seeing the hundreds and thousands of trailers parked the the two local Camper World stores here, I know they don't do a thing with the batteries in any of them over the winters, and I am sure they don't replace them after a few years of them sitting there for sale.
Guess mine will be OK to winter in place and I will go down a few times this winter to plug the inverter in to a 120 plug I have near where it is parked.
I did see a 7 watt solar panel at Tractor Supply with a smart charger on it but there again, when get snow I would be trudging down there every snowstorm to clear the snow off the panel.
So going down there once every 8 weeks is better then twice a month.
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Old 10-29-2023, 08:14 PM   #25
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Name: Jann
Trailer: Casita
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Originally Posted by Gerry View Post
I hope I made the right choice of leaving my Gel battery in the camper over the winter here in Maine. I left it in the bay on my older Casita FD because it is so heavy and the hole in the seat hatch is so small, it is real hard to get in and out.
I left the cut off switch in the ON position and plan to go out a couple of times during the winter, and plug in the trailer and let the on-board converter charge the battery.
AM I DOING IT RIGHT.
In over 40 years we have never removed a battery for the winter. We plug in our Casita and our motorhome about once a month for about 24 hours. It gets cold here. Today the high was 29 and there are times that we get below -10. As long as the battery is fully charged it will not freeze. Gel batteries may be different but if they aren't don't bother taking it out. Solar charging could be to much for the battery if it is not being used. You don't want to overcharge them. You are doing it right just maybe charge it once a month or so.
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Old 10-30-2023, 04:20 AM   #26
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Trailer: 2019 Escape 21C, NTU April 2022 (was 2013 Casita Spirit Deluxe 17)
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Don't know about gels, but leave my Escape (and formerly Casita) plugged in all the time. I'm assuming the converter is designed to keep the battery charged, but not over-charged. Am I wrong?
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Old 10-30-2023, 07:43 AM   #27
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Trailer: ex-Casita, now Alto R series
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That answer depends on the charger.
If you have a multi-stage charger-converter that automatically measures the battery's voltage and modifies the charge current to provide less and less amperage as the battery gets more and more 'full', then you're likely OK.

Solar panels and single charge rate chargers, even those 'maintenance' trickle chargers, have just one output amperage. These type could (not will, but could) continually feed more amperage to the battery than the discharge rate of storage uses from the battery. This is what could lead to overcharge state. Even a low rate maintenance trickle charger might put out more current than the natural discharge when a camper is stored might be consuming.

Adding a charge controller to break the connection from the solar panel or single rate charger once the battery is full, and can re-connect when the battery voltage drops, can mimic the multi-stage charger effect.

FWIW: I have a small 18V (max, open circuit voltage), 3.2 watt (max.) solar panel connected to a garden tractor battery in my shed to run an LED interior light. It's been in place for years. I have no charge controller there. I have yet to have an overcharge situation.
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Old 10-30-2023, 08:57 AM   #28
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Name: Lynn
Trailer: 2019 Escape 21C, NTU April 2022 (was 2013 Casita Spirit Deluxe 17)
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Thanks, Jon— I suppose I should find out which type of converter I have; it's whatever Escape put in their 21' trailers in 2019.

I do have a single solar panel on the trailer, but as it lives under a canopy here at home, it gets very little sunlight.

PS How do you like the Alto? Is it new?
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Old 10-30-2023, 05:18 PM   #29
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yes, thanks Jon ... I was going to just buy one of those small solar panels and hook it direct to the battery...
My 100 W solar panel that I use while dry camping does have it's own controler so after reading your post, if I was to use the small 7 W panel for battery maitainacne, I would now plug it into the controler unit, which in turn goes down to the Battery.
Am I right in thinking this would work?
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Old 10-31-2023, 05:17 AM   #30
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Lynn, The Alto R will be getting a more thorough 'shake-down' this November, than the one night following the pick-up day a few weeks ago. I've been through it pretty well, found some assembly oversights and mistakes and have addressed those to my satisfaction.
Gerry, A lower maximum wattage output panel should work as well provided that the voltage the panel produces is within the input voltage limitations of the controller, and provided the draw rate of the battery discharge is less than the panel and controller output.
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Old 10-31-2023, 02:41 PM   #31
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Name: Susan
Trailer: Scamp 13
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charge wizard

Finally I went through last winter without wrecking a battery. I kept it plugged in, BUT I added a PD charge wizard from etrailer. When I bought it, I knew how it worked, but you are on your own now to figure it out. It regulates the charging somehow so that the battery does not overcharge. My converter is really old so it did not have one of these devices. It was just a plug in. Seems to be doing the trick.
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Old 10-31-2023, 05:50 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SusanS View Post
Finally I went through last winter without wrecking a battery. I kept it plugged in, BUT I added a PD charge wizard from etrailer. When I bought it, I knew how it worked, but you are on your own now to figure it out. It regulates the charging somehow so that the battery does not overcharge. My converter is really old so it did not have one of these devices. It was just a plug in. Seems to be doing the trick.
I have a NOCO 'Genius' Battery Maintainer that I use on my snowblower over the 9 no-snow months here in New England:

https://www.amazon.com/NOCO-GENIUS1-...zcF9hdGY&psc=1

Seems to work well. Needs AC current. If I had to bring my trailer batteries in for the winter, I'd use these. As it is, I just keep the trailer on shore power, and the converter maintains the batteries, as I said earlier.
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