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Old 01-27-2018, 12:15 PM   #21
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I am not sure if the charger/converter on my 2015 Windsport is one that drops the charge rate to a maintenance level, but I suspect that since I had to add water every once in a while, it charged at too high a rate for long term storage. I have replaced both coach batteries with maintenance free, AGM, deep cycle batteries, so when being stored, I disconnect the batteries from the coach with a switch and attach a battery maintainer specifically designed for AGM batteries. I just changed the engine battery to a maintenance free lead acid battery and use a .750 mA Battery Tender to keep that battery maintained.
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Old 01-27-2018, 02:27 PM   #22
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Smile

You guys beat me to it, yes, I have found that you have less problems, dead batteries, etc. when you leave it plugged in.
This trickle charges the batteries a little more aggressive then in the stored stage which is no charge.
Here is the thing, people sometimes go in the coach and leave a light on then what do you have, dead batteries when your ready to go on a trip.

The bottom line - Leave it on shore power all the time, as there is a very very slight possibility that it could insignificantly shorten the life of your batteries. We do it out of convenience.
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Old 01-27-2018, 03:09 PM   #23
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THOR #1765
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Originally Posted by Metalman View Post
I am not sure if the charger/converter on my 2015 Windsport is one that drops the charge rate to a maintenance level, but I suspect that since I had to add water every once in a while, it charged at too high a rate for long term storage. I have replaced both coach batteries with maintenance free, AGM, deep cycle batteries, so when being stored, I disconnect the batteries from the coach with a switch and attach a battery maintainer specifically designed for AGM batteries. I just changed the engine battery to a maintenance free lead acid battery and use a .750 mA Battery Tender to keep that battery maintained.
Unfortunately, the converter/charger Thor installs is very unreliable. If you get a good one, you are lucky. Buy a cheap volt meter and hook it up to your coach batteries and you can easily tell if your charger goes into maintenance mode or if it starts out in high charge mode. Many do not do that. If it does not go into maintenance mode, it will destroy your batteries. Progressive Dynamics makes a replacement which I have found works as it is supposed to and is easy to install. The charger is also supposed to start out at 14.1 to more quickly charge the batteries. Mine never did that either which means it took a lot longer to recharge the batteries. Many of us have purchased trickle chargers (either solar or regular) and installed disconnect switches (or use the 50 amp breakers) to disconnect the batteries from any drain.
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Old 01-27-2018, 03:34 PM   #24
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I use shore power on my 2017 Thor Vegas when the rig is parked at home, sometimes for a month or two, thinking it was good to keep the batteries charged. Camping World told me that it was bad for the batteries and I should put it in store mode. Is CW right?
I disagree. The converter is designed to keep the house batteries in a fully charged state and float them when they are. Keeping batteries fully charged and floating them will substantially extend the batteries useful life.
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Old 01-27-2018, 04:05 PM   #25
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I disagree. The converter is designed to keep the house batteries in a fully charged state and float them when they are. Keeping batteries fully charged and floating them will substantially extend the batteries useful life.
That may be true if your converter/charger works as it should. Neither original chargers in my Vegas or Axis ever went into maintenance mode. That is something you can easily check with a volt meter.
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Old 01-27-2018, 04:19 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Oneilkeys View Post
That may be true if your converter/charger works as it should. Neither original chargers in my Vegas or Axis ever went into maintenance mode. That is something you can easily check with a volt meter.
That would be a reason to have it repaired or replaced, but as is the case with any of the equipment, owner needs to monitor to be sure its all functioning correctly and repair as required.
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Old 01-28-2018, 12:07 PM   #27
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Should I assume that whenever I am using my rv I should be in the use position, plugged into shore power, driving down the road, using the generator, parked at a campsite? Whenever I am not using the rv and not connected to shore power, I should be on the store position? When stored at home and plugged in should be in use position? I think that covers all options.
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Old 01-28-2018, 12:09 PM   #28
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Should I assume that whenever I am using my rv I should be in the use position, plugged into shore power, driving down the road, using the generator, parked at a campsite? Whenever I am not using the rv and not connected to shore power, I should be on the store position?
Correct.

Only time to put in store: when in storage and not connected to power. All other cases leave in Use.
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Old 01-28-2018, 12:11 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Oneilkeys View Post
That may be true if your converter/charger works as it should. Neither original chargers in my Vegas or Axis ever went into maintenance mode. That is something you can easily check with a volt meter.
Can you explain how to tell if the battery goes into the maintenance mode by using a voltmeter?

Every time I checked the voltage of my coach batteries after having the coach plugged in for a week or so, switch on "use", and nothing using electricity except the radio memory and CO detector, the battery shows a constant 13.6 volts. I have had to add water to those batteries more often than I think I should, if the battery is only being maintained.

When the coach is in the "use" mode, current is being continuously drawn from the batteries. That leads me to believe that storing a battery in the "use" mode will keep it working (current in and current out). Therefore I feel that using a maintainer while the battery is disconnected from the coach with an add-on battery disconnect switch, insures that the battery is simply being maintained and not used in any way.

Also, I have read that AGM batteries, which is what we have as coach batteries, require a slightly higher initial charge voltage than a normal flooded lead-acid battery charger/maintainer provides. That is the second reason why I use a separate battery maintainer for the coach batteries for long-term storage.
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Old 01-28-2018, 12:18 PM   #30
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Something to keep in mind, even in the store mode there is still parasitic drain on the batteries that will discharge them in a short period of time. The only way to prevent any drain on the batteries is to install a battery disconnect switch.

Since my coach is always plugged in I never use the store position.
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Old 01-28-2018, 12:44 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by PNTR10 View Post
Should I assume that whenever I am using my rv I should be in the use position, plugged into shore power, driving down the road, using the generator, parked at a campsite? Whenever I am not using the rv and not connected to shore power, I should be on the store position? When stored at home and plugged in should be in use position? I think that covers all options.
I go one step further and disconnect the lead at the battery with a mechanical switch.
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Old 01-28-2018, 12:57 PM   #32
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Your converter charger is supposed to have three modes that it switches to automatically. When you have used your coach without plugging it in or using the generator the coach batteries will “run down” from their full voltage of 12.6-12.8v (depending on the age and condition of your batteries. This is the voltage you will see on your volt meter after your batteries are fully charged and have been removed from the charging system and let stabilize for a few hours. Now let your batteries discharge to below about half their useful charge (about 11.8v). This 50% level is the minimum charge you should try to not go below when you are using your batteries. While the deep discharge batteries can be discharged below that, down to close to the 10.8v minimum multiple times without seriously damaging them, the more times you do that, the shorter your battery life will be.
If your batteries are discharged below about 11.8 (on your volt meter) and you plug in to shore power, a volt meter should show your converter/charger charging your batteries at about 14.1 volts or the “boost” mode. That is to quickly put some charge into your depleted batteries. After some hours (depending on how low your batteries are) the converter/charger should automatically switch to the “regular” charge mode of 13.6v (which you can read off your batteries with a volt meter.) It will charge at that level for a day or so until the battery is about fully charged. At that time, the converter/charger should go into “maintenance” mode (about 13.1v which you can read off your batteries with a volt meter). This will maintain the charge in your batteries without “boiling them” which will damage and destroy them over time.
The converter/chargers which Thor installed in my Vegas and Axis never worked as the should. Neither ever started in the boost mode and one never went into maintenance mode. That meant that running the generator to charge up the house batteries took forever. And, I could not leave my coach plugged into shore power without damaging the batteries.
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Old 01-28-2018, 01:19 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Oneilkeys View Post
...At that time, the converter/charger should go into “maintenance” mode (about 13.1v which you can read off your batteries with a volt meter). This will maintain the charge in your batteries without “boiling them” which will damage and destroy them over time.
The converter/chargers which Thor installed in my Vegas and Axis never worked as the should. Neither ever started in the boost mode and one never went into maintenance mode. That meant that running the generator to charge up the house batteries took forever. And, I could not leave my coach plugged into shore power without damaging the batteries.
Thanks for the detailed response. I agree with everything you wrote. The fact that I never see any less than 13.6 volts during long time storage, is one reason why I use a maintainer with the batteries disconnected. Perhaps a high-end RV has a better charger/converter.
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Old 01-28-2018, 01:20 PM   #34
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When I first plug in my shore power cord to my 110v outlet in my garage with an adapter between the two, I get an arc as I plug it in. Trying to figure out it this is normal or not. As far as I know, garage outlet is wired right as it powers other things o.k. I plug it into. I'm confused if my batteries are really charging or not because the test battery button that has 4 little lights, shows 4 lights when plugged into shore power, but only 3 lights after I disconnect the shore power. The lights were tested after I had it plugged in for about 3 days. Wonder if my converter is working properly or not, charging batteries or not. My coach is a Thor Freedom Elite 22fe, has 2 12v batteries. My knowledge of how this works as far as battery systems is next to nothing. Still under warranty as I bought it just last Nov. but cringe at having to take it back to C. W. for something like this as they take forever to get to things.
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Old 01-28-2018, 01:33 PM   #35
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I honestly think that a maintainer isn't necessary unless it's going into storage mode for more than about 2-3 months.....assuming the battery is fully charged or at least nearly so going in..... If totally disconnected, self discharge will take away maybe 10% charge per month.....so in theory, one should be able to push out to 6 months.....but I don't think that's wise or realistic. I will say that my experience that 10% number is a good real ballpark.

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When I first plug in my shore power cord to my 110v outlet in my garage with an adapter between the two, I get an arc as I plug it in. Trying to figure out it this is normal or not. As far as I know, garage outlet is wired right as it powers other things o.k. I plug it into. I'm confused if my batteries are really charging or not because the test battery button that has 4 little lights, shows 4 lights when plugged into shore power, but only 3 lights after I disconnect the shore power. The lights were tested after I had it plugged in for about 3 days. Wonder if my converter is working properly or not, charging batteries or not. My coach is a Thor Freedom Elite 22fe, has 2 12v batteries. My knowledge of how this works as far as battery systems is next to nothing. Still under warranty as I bought it just last Nov. but cringe at having to take it back to C. W. for something like this as they take forever to get to things.
I'd suggest getting a multi-meter and a battery hydrometer (a temperature compensated one). Both are very simple to use and plenty of info online and youtube for instruction.

Here's an often cited site for battery system information
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 01-28-2018, 02:39 PM   #36
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When I first plug in my shore power cord to my 110v outlet in my garage with an adapter between the two, I get an arc as I plug it in. Trying to figure out it this is normal or not. As far as I know, garage outlet is wired right as it powers other things o.k. ...snip...
I do as well: If you don't want an arc turn off the main breakers inside the coach when you plug in. Of course that just moves the arc to the main breakers instead of the plug (when you turn them back on after plugging in).

If you think about it: When you plug your coach in you are plugging one house into another--its more than plugging in a TV, Microwave, or vacuum. Its plugging all those things in at the exact same time (e.g. with everything off the motorhome is going to draw some current--the parasitic draw from all those appliances adds up to a small spark when you plug in).
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Old 01-28-2018, 03:04 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Metalman View Post
Thanks for the detailed response. I agree with everything you wrote. The fact that I never see any less than 13.6 volts during long time storage, is one reason why I use a maintainer with the batteries disconnected. Perhaps a high-end RV has a better charger/converter.
Progressive Dynamics makes a true replacement for the Axis/Vegas (their 4655 model). For around $200 you can purchase one that works correctly. I am convinced that it is a cost effective buy when you figure the cost of batteries and especially if you dry camp and use your generator to recharge your batteries. The PD4655 allows you to charge on “boost”(14.1v) past the 50% charge mark. If you are using you generator to recharge your batteries you can charge at the boost level the whole time that you run your generator resulting in less generator time run and higher charged batteries.
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Old 01-28-2018, 03:09 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by blw2 View Post
I honestly think that a maintainer isn't necessary unless it's going into storage mode for more than about 2-3 months.....assuming the battery is fully charged or at least nearly so going in..... If totally disconnected, self discharge will take away maybe 10% charge per month.....so in theory, one should be able to push out to 6 months.....but I don't think that's wise or realistic. I will say that my experience that 10% number is a good real ballpark.



I'd suggest getting a multi-meter and a battery hydrometer (a temperature compensated one). Both are very simple to use and plenty of info online and youtube for instruction.

Here's an often cited site for battery system information
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
I have found, that if you are going to do that, you must disconnect the house batteries completely from the coach by either installing a disconnect switch or using the 50 amp breaker in the house battery box. If the house batteries are completely disconnected from the coach, I can leave it for 2-3 months at least and not go below 11.8v
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Old 01-28-2018, 07:14 PM   #39
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I do as well: If you don't want an arc turn off the main breakers inside the coach when you plug in. Of course that just moves the arc to the main breakers instead of the plug (when you turn them back on after plugging in).

Yes, there might be an arc inside the main breaker but it shouldn't be visible.

If you think about it: When you plug your coach in you are plugging one house into another--its more than plugging in a TV, Microwave, or vacuum. Its plugging all those things in at the exact same time (e.g. with everything off the motorhome is going to draw some current--the parasitic draw from all those appliances adds up to a small spark when you plug in).


I don't believe that the accumulated current draw due to parasitic draw from devices that are turned off will be enough to produce arc of the intensity that we see and hear when we plug into shore power. I don't know what is causing the majority of current flow, but I assume it could be relays and/or the inverter/converter.
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Old 01-28-2018, 10:00 PM   #40
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I go one step further and disconnect the lead at the battery with a mechanical switch.
Ditto...
I then run some direct leads to the batteries from my Battery Tender.



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