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Old 08-12-2017, 08:55 PM   #1
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Maintain Engine Battery over the winter

In our Axis 24.1, the engine battery went dead over the winter, and I would like a solution for that problem.

Has anyone used a solar charger panel placed on the inside of the vehicle on the front dash and plugged it into one of the 'cigarette' lighter on the vertical surface of dashboard? I suppose I could use a 120V charger and connect it to the battery but am concerned that it might get wet over the winter with dire results.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:06 PM   #2
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Put a battery disconnect on it and leave it disconnected. Been working for me now for two seasons.

I visit the camper about once a week or so (yeah I miss it if I don't--it can go longer like a month or so), connect the batteries (yeah I have disconnects on all the batteries) and fire everything up. Let everything run long enough to get to operating temperature (which can take some time in frigid February), shut it all down, disconnect all the batteries and button everything back up again.
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:21 PM   #3
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I use a batteryminder plug it in and forget about it. That said I still start my unit every few weeks as well as the generator and let it fully warm up for all the other reasons.
It pulls a lot of juice out of the battery to start it and unless you let it run for awhile you can lose more than you gain. Batteryminder will keep it fully charged all the time but don't forget to check the power going to the batteryminder once in awhile.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:14 PM   #4
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If you have access to 110 volts where you store, just use a battery maintainer, be sure you use an intelligent charger that knows to go into float mode when the battery is fully charged. If you have no power access you will have to visit it periodically during the winter and run it long enough to keep things charged up. Not a good idea to let batteries go completely dead. Another possibility, use a rechargeable power station and plug your battery charger into that, then take it home every month or so to recharge it.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingVehicle View Post
I suppose I could use a 120V charger and connect it to the battery but am concerned that it might get wet over the winter with dire results.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laco View Post
If you have access to 110 volts
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:35 PM   #6
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If you're plugged in to 120 and the use/store switch is in the use position the onboard charger should keep your batteries up.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:52 PM   #7
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If you're plugged in to 120 and the use/store switch is in the use position the onboard charger should keep your batteries up.
The engine battery?
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Old 08-13-2017, 12:30 AM   #8
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The engine battery?
You would have to ask either Thor, dealer, or someone with an ACE, but on our coach yes, engine too.

If your coach does charge the battery and you add another charger it can cause a problem because of sensing and the chargers fight each other.
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Old 08-13-2017, 01:38 AM   #9
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Even the engine battery?

Thanks
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Old 08-13-2017, 01:41 AM   #10
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Oops, should have read all the comments.

No one seems to have used a solar panel charger to keep the battery fully charged.
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Old 08-13-2017, 02:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingVehicle View Post
Oops, should have read all the comments.

No one seems to have used a solar panel charger to keep the battery fully charged.
If you are storing it over winter the solar panel may get covered with snow and thus reduce its effectiveness (regardless of where it is: roof, sitting outside, or even on the dash inside the front window). Necessitating you visiting and cleaning it off. A battery maintainer would be more reliable--provided your 120V is pretty reliable.
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Old 08-13-2017, 03:23 AM   #12
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I have been using one of these "Genius" smart chargers with great results. I just disconnect the Negative cable from the battery or coach batteries. Then attach the chargers. I just check the 120v source to make sure the GFCI hasn't tripped.

https://www.amazon.com/NOCO-G3500-Ul...004LX3AS6?th=1

If you don't have access to 120v, I would disconnect the battery cables. I haven't tried a solar charger.
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Old 08-13-2017, 03:26 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by SailingVehicle View Post
I suppose I could use a 120V charger and connect it to the battery but am concerned that it might get wet over the winter with dire results.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Oh, as far as the electrical connections getting wet. I make sure the connections are up under the MH. Use a zip-tie or lay then on top of a tire to keep them dry.
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:58 AM   #14
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I haven't used one, but I did look at them.
I have a disconnect switch on all my batteries, first thing I do when I park it for storage is disconnect tyem. Try to have them as fully charged as I can.
I'm in the South so not dealing with low winter temperatures really, but I've gone up to maybe around 3 months or so with no problem.

I have a smalle battery minder about like this one
022-0150-DL-WH
on my boat battery that sits very long periods of time between uses. Has worked for a number of years now. Before getting this, I replaced way too many batteries in boats and pupoups.
That same company makes solar trickle chargers.

My take...... if you are going longer than say a couple months in storage and can't do a plug in trickle charger, I wouldn't hesitate to do one of these little solar ones.

Even when disconnected, these batteries will loose roughly 10% per month....so assuming you start with 100% you've only got maybe 4-5 months. Now start less than full, and don't disconnect all the parasitic loads, then you're asking for a damaged battery. Solar can't hurt!
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Old 08-14-2017, 10:27 AM   #15
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I just go start the RV up about once a month. Turn on generator. But our main plan is to find a place warmer than Michigan for winter storage.
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Old 08-14-2017, 05:49 PM   #16
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Good plan and good luck!
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Old 08-14-2017, 06:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99dart View Post
I have been using one of these "Genius" smart chargers with great results. I just disconnect the Negative cable from the battery or coach batteries. Then attach the chargers. I just check the 120v source to make sure the GFCI hasn't tripped.

https://www.amazon.com/NOCO-G3500-Ul...004LX3AS6?th=1
I have used that Genius smart charger for 3 or 4 years, had one permanently installed on my former DP to keep the chassis batteries up whenever it was plugged in. Still use it, but now only occasionally as the chassis battery is completely isolated on the Mercedes chassis, and stays fully charged for months. I carry it with me, just in case, though. Had a problem with one, and NOCO immediately replaced it.
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Old 08-15-2017, 01:24 AM   #18
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Solar isn't going to hurt - but as mentioned - relies on the sun hitting the panel... and snow can affect that in Maryland...

If your rig is NOT plugged in:
When I was in the north - had no issue going 6 weeks or more with no power - battery disconnect in 'store'... On both my rigs (2000 and 2014) - the disconnects have been 'complete'. (Actually 2014 rig in backyard in in FL now - and hasn't been plugged in for 4+ weeks - checked batteries yesterday - and all was fine.)
If your disconnect doesn't really disconnect everything - then you can have an issue - but would normally affect the coach battery - not chassis... There you have a choice of chasing the loads to fix - or adding a manual disconnect.

If your rig is plugged in - and use switch is in 'Use' - it should be charging BOTH the coach and chassis - if it isn't - read Ed's manual section on the BIRD and BCC - figure out which your unit has and what is broke...

I used a battery minder on the 'non-toad' I left behind in MI for 3+ month snowbird trips in past winters... Have never used it on the RV.
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Old 08-15-2017, 10:39 PM   #19
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Smile

I have a goal zero maintainer in my Ace. The maintainer keeps the chassis battery. Put it on the dash and plug into the dash.

The house batteries are charged via the rooftop solar panel. I attached a screenshot from their website.
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Old 08-17-2017, 03:24 PM   #20
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We just let the solar system I installed handle it.
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