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Old 11-29-2019, 02:47 PM   #1
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leaving auxiliary batteries in during "winterization"

What will happen if I leave the coach/auxiliary batteries installed over winter? Or rather, what's the worst that can happen? Thanks Rg.
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Old 11-29-2019, 03:03 PM   #2
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assuming they are new or new-er and there are no damage (cracked case, etc) likely nothing bad will happen. If they are lead acid be sure each cell has the required amount of distilled water and then charge the batteries overnight then disconnect the negative cable. it would be better to store them inside your garage with a Battery Minder or similar device keeping them charged.

if they're AGM batteries then just charge overnight. I don't remove cables from my AGM batteries.

if batteries are old, damaged or don't hold a decent charge then the winter may finish them off.
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Old 11-29-2019, 09:32 PM   #3
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A health flooded cell battery can survive -76 F. Just service them with distilled water, charge them up, and disconnect the grounds (because of all the phantom draws in the typical RV system).

Next spring, put a trickle charger on them over night before using them.
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:17 PM   #4
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A small solar charger kit. left connected all winter could be the answer.
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:40 PM   #5
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Most Class A RV's come with a totally worthless 8-10 watt solar panel on the roof. Now days, the AH of the batteries is over 100 and there usually a couple of them connected to that panel. If you do the math, 10 watts in full sunshine gives around 0.8 amps. Not enough to run a transistor radio. The fact RV manufacturers still offer them as an expensive option is a crime because the batteries are so much bigger these days.

A 100 watt solar panel, plus the controller, plus the beefed up wiring, would probably be a big improvement over a 'small solar charger kit' as it will provide 8 amps in full sunshine. But still nowhere near as cost effective as just disconnecting the grounds.

Jus sayin'.
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:44 PM   #6
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Yes, if the solar charger kit isn't up to the job, I totally agree. I was kinda thinking of a 100W panel, maybe the folding kind, that can be set up for the winter parking period. I happen to have 4x100W panels on the roof for general purpose, and the 40W charger keeps the batteries ready to go, for Four Seasons RV'ing. My Renogy charge controller does an overcharge routine every 28 days. Seems to be very effective.
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Old 12-04-2019, 07:13 PM   #7
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Just got a covered storage spot here in AZ and thought I was lucky to get one since I was on a list. Now just realized my solar charging panel is under a roof and worthless. Guess uncovered space has its merits afterall at least this time of year as opposed to June - Aug with 120* degree sunshine
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_HiTek View Post
Most Class A RV's come with a totally worthless 8-10 watt solar panel on the roof. Now days, the AH of the batteries is over 100 and there usually a couple of them connected to that panel. If you do the math, 10 watts in full sunshine gives around 0.8 amps. Not enough to run a transistor radio. The fact RV manufacturers still offer them as an expensive option is a crime because the batteries are so much bigger these days.

A 100 watt solar panel, plus the controller, plus the beefed up wiring, would probably be a big improvement over a 'small solar charger kit' as it will provide 8 amps in full sunshine. But still nowhere near as cost effective as just disconnecting the grounds.

Jus sayin'.
Jim,
I have an Ď01 36 DL similar to yours. So you feel it would be safe to winterstore all my batteries after being fully charged and disconnecting negative cables for both house & chassis batteries? This summer I purchased all new, 5 Interstates. (No access to power at site, in Seattle area.)
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Old 12-04-2019, 10:00 PM   #9
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If my personal experience with disconnecting the batteries grounds in Fairbanks Alaska over 3 winters...mid Oct. through middle of May...is any indication, yes, your batteries will be fine. Did need to charge them up a little in the spring but not a big deal since I had shore power nearby.

I've also just disconnected the grounds when leaving the RV in a storage yard outside of LA for 2 full months. Started right up without hesitation when I got back, didn't have shore power nearby. Did use the AUX start switch to be safe.

Remember to service them first, be sure they have plenty of water and a good charge on them (plugged into shore power for a few days prior or driving for 20 miles is fine for that), might as well clean all the terminals while you're in there, tighten everything you can reach in the battery compartment.
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Old 12-06-2019, 05:39 AM   #10
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If you leave the battery like this in your coach, after the first winter nothing bad will happen. But after the second, if you are "lucky" after the third winter, you will have to buy new batteries.

The minimum you should do is to disconnect the batteries completely from the coach and install a smart battery charger / battery minder (such a device costs about $25). This will keep the battery "busy" all the time (give a little bit, take a little bit etc.). That's exactly what a battery needs for a long life. Your batteries will run well 6-7 years minimum.

Wintering those heavy batteries inside the garage is not essential, if the temperatures are not too low (lower than 0F, -10F over a long period like several weeks; theoretically a fully charged battery may survive -76F).
Not only the weight plays a role (your back will be thankful), but also the fact that a wrong handling (hard putting on the floor, holding at an angle, shaking hard, etc.) may create some small damages (Sulphur precipitation) and shorten the battery's life. A battery does not like to be moved away from its place, so if you do it, be very careful. All in all it's better to leave the batteries in the choach.

Once again: Important is to disconnect the batteries from the coach and connect a smart charger / battery minder.
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:06 PM   #11
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Thanks CJ. Wish I could use trickle charger but canít. No power available at my storage facility. Seattle winters usually get lows down in 20ís for a few weeks. I am thinking of fully charging then keeping batteries in motor home with negatives disconnected, then take for a (30 mi) drive every other month. Comments anyone?
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Old 12-07-2019, 09:20 AM   #12
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Is it practical for you to remove the batteries and bring them to your garage at home for winter and putting them on a smart charger?

You have not told us the type of battery or the number of batteries you are talking about. And we’ve just learned that you’re in the Seattle area. So, you’re not talking about a really harsh winter like in North Dakota.

More info would be helpful in answering your question.

Perhaps consider filling out your Profile here with your location and a signature with you model and year of RV.
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Old 12-07-2019, 11:52 AM   #13
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Creative: It is possible for me to remove batteries, but not very convenient - especially house batteries. I moved from boat to RV last year. I believe my profile has all my info, and signature shows year, model: “01 Journey 36DL”. But to be more specific, I am driving a 2001 Winnebago Journey model 36DL with a Cat Diesel 3126b engine. This year, replaced all my batteries with same wet Interstates : (2) grp 31 MDH’s for chassis and (3) grp 27 DC’s for house. I do not have access to electricity in storage in milder Seattle climate.
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Old 12-07-2019, 12:28 PM   #14
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Great Jim, thanks.

In your case, the easiest answer is to do as you plan to do. Charge them fully, disconnect the negative cables (alternator, main ground and inverter if you have one) and return a couple of times during the winter to reconnect and run the engine and generator under load for 20-mins each.

Too bad you don't have a couple of 100w solar panels and a solar charge controller. That setup would probably keep your batteries at or near fully charged even during a NW Winter.
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:30 AM   #15
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Coach Batteries

Our coach batteries are 5 years old and we have never removed the coach batteries. We do turn off the battery switches and keep the inverter off too. We do take our coach out for a one hour drive every 1-2 months. Our coach batteries have never been drained. Good Luck
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