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Old 11-15-2016, 02:50 AM   #1
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THOR #4986
Battery Cables

When using a battery tender/maintainer on the chassis battery is it permissible to leave the cables connected or is recommended to disconnect them? I'm electrically "challenged" and rather be safe than sorry. Appreciate any advice.
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Old 11-15-2016, 11:47 AM   #2
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It probably depends on how it was made. If using a major brand - ask mfg. I did and was advised that it was OK to leave it connected. One design problem would be if the charger draws power from battery when there is no 110 power.
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Old 11-15-2016, 05:41 PM   #3
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If it goes over 13 volts then the B.I.R.D may try to switch in the house batteries also. The use/store switch will not prevent this as the relay is between the house batteries and the distribution panel.

As soon as my solar system goes above 13 volts, after the time delay, the Trombetta is picked up and ties the house and cranking batteries together.

Unless your B.I.R.D is wired wrong like mine was.
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Old 11-15-2016, 07:58 PM   #4
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As I read the replies it hit me that I may not have been clear on my question. What I was wanting to know is if I hook a maintainer to the chassis battery do I need to disconnect the battery cables and connect maintainer to posts or can I leave them connected to the battery. Sorry for the confusion on my part.
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Old 11-16-2016, 03:53 PM   #5
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One of the infamous 'it depends' answers I think...

If the rig is unplugged - I see no issue with just connecting the maintainer to the battery and leaving the cables alone...

If plugged in though - your RV may already be charging the chassis battery - and not sure how the maintainer (or converter/charger in the RV) would react to that... Disconnecting the chassis battery would work - but it would also mean you may not need the maintainer at that time.
My older RV (2000) had a chassis battery disconnect switch in addition to the coach disconnect - they seem to have eliminated that in newer models.

Some people find their RV doesn't charge the chassis battery when plugged in... Some due to miswired components as scrubjaysnest found... I expect most SHOULD... (they do limit conditions to isolate from a problem on one side or the other... but if all is well - should be charging.) Lots of info on the BIRD and Trombetta on the forum.

In my car (the non-toad that gets left behind...) - I leave the maintainer on it while gone for extended trips - with everything still connected.
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Old 11-17-2016, 12:02 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the great information guys. Once again the forum has been an invaluable asset to me as a new RV'er. Thanks again. Stay safe
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Old 11-17-2016, 01:20 AM   #7
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THOR #5196
You can use a maintainer if the coach isn't plugged in. I keep our coach plugged in for house batteries and then run maintainer on engine battery.
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Old 11-18-2016, 12:15 AM   #8
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SuperD, thanks for the info appreciate it. I also have my coach plugged in and now plan on using maintainer on the chassis battery. When you hook the maintainer to your chassis battery do you disconnect the battery cables or leave them connected ? Thanks again
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Old 11-18-2016, 12:23 AM   #9
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SuperD, thanks for the info appreciate it. I also have our coach plugged in and now plan on running a maintainer to the chassis battery. When you Uruk your maintainer to the chassis battery do disconnect the battery cables or leave them connected? Thanks again
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Old 11-18-2016, 01:31 AM   #10
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THOR #5196
On my chassis battery I leave the cables on. I have one of those Battery Tender chargers with the harness that unplugs but stays on the battery. I also have another quick disconnect harness that is on my motorcycle.
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Old 11-18-2016, 01:37 AM   #11
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I don't understand a reason or need to run a "maintainer" on either battery source with most recent RVs if all components are working/wired appropriately and the coach is plugged in.

If you have power to plug in a trickle charger/maintainer then there's power to plug in the coach.
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Old 11-18-2016, 01:40 AM   #12
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Appreciate it SuperD. Stay safe
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Old 11-18-2016, 01:41 AM   #13
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THOR #5196
I plug the trickle charger in for my engine battery since it doesn't charge with the house batteries, wish it did, would save the trouble of having separate charger.
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Old 11-18-2016, 02:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TyCreek View Post
I don't understand a reason or need to run a "maintainer" on either battery source with most recent RVs if all components are working/wired appropriately and the coach is plugged in.

If you have power to plug in a trickle charger/maintainer then there's power to plug in the coach.
Yes - BUT. When parked with power for extended periods of time it is best to put batteries in store mode (no load on house batteries) and run DC stuff on the converter only. Chassis battery will not charge in store mode but chassis/engine still uses some power and that will result in dead battery eventually. That is why you need to have a trickle charger on chassis battery. Mfg for our charger said it is OK to leave our Battery Tender Plus connected to battery at all times with charging from either engine, house charger/converter or battery tender or both or no charging at all. And that's what I have been doing on two different motor homes for almost four years. With gen running and driving we get charge to chassis battery from all three.
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:46 PM   #15
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THOR #3119
There is no problem connecting a maintainer to the chassis battery with the cables connected but there may be a problem with leaving a maintainer on the battery unattended for long periods. There have been more than a few reports of the maintainers malfunctioning and overcharging or damaging the battery. I bought one of the weekly mechanical lamp timers and plug the maintainer into it, I have it set to come on for 4 hours every Friday but you could set it for a couple hours every day. That way if something goes wrong it wont be on long enough to do any damage but still keeps the battery topped off.
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Old 11-18-2016, 10:55 PM   #16
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My take is keep it simple ...
The claim of "best" to put batteries in store mode when supplied with power for extended periods of time sounds like a convincing line to sell an accessory.

Whatever makes one happy I guess ... my RVs have simply been plugged for the last 30 something years without issue. The coach and chassis batteries are maintained quite acceptably in my experience.
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Old 11-18-2016, 10:56 PM   #17
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Never thought of using a timer, great idea!
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Old 11-20-2016, 11:03 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by ctpres View Post
Yes - BUT. When parked with power for extended periods of time it is best to put batteries in store mode (no load on house batteries) and run DC stuff on the converter only...
That's advice I have never seen before... Since the converter shouldn't overcharge the batteries - I don't see a difference leaving the batteries connected to the coach (and charged/maintained) vs a separate maintainer.
3+ month stays in FL - I've always left the rig plugged in with batteries connected. And when the campground power goes out - almost everything keeps on running...
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