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Old 11-12-2011, 05:58 PM   #1
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Cool Engine Battery Charging?

Need advice to keep my engine batteries up during storage. They only hold enough charge, to crank the engine, for about 5 or 6 weeks. I only use this rig 8 weeks a year so it sits the other 42 weeks. I start the generator and connect my charger about once every 5 weeks during the winter. There's no power at my storage location.

I've been using my 20 amp charger, for over a year now, connected to the terminals, without lifting the wires. Seems to work fine. I'm told that's not a good idea, and seem to remember a past post on the subject, but don't remember the reason why.

There's 2 heavy wires and 7 light wires, on the negative side to lift, so it's not that easy. Am I asking for trouble by leaving the wires connected?

Thanks in advance, .....Doug

2003 JourneyDL 36GD, 330Cat, 74,000 miles. 70,000 when I traded our 5th wheel on it last year.
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Old 11-12-2011, 09:06 PM   #2
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If you want to disconnect the charger when not in use then you could install Quick Connectors for a winch.
Battery end: Winch Quick Connect 48 - Winch Mounts - RECEIVER MOUNTS - 48 inch Quick-Connect (Battery/Contactor End) - KFI ATV Winch, Mounts and Accessories

Charger End: Winch Quick Connect 20 - Winch Mounts - RECEIVER MOUNTS - 20 inch Quick-Connect (Winch End) - KFI ATV Winch, Mounts and Accessories

Or if your rig is in the sun, you could replace the charger with a solar battery maintainer. Given that you can last 5 weeks without recharge you most likely could just use a 5W solar unit. If you want a little more insurance then use a 15W system. You could also install a 15W system to the house battery and add a Trick-L-Start and charge maintain both house and chassis battery system.

Dave
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Old 11-13-2011, 04:39 PM   #3
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Look into the Trik-L-Charger

Easy to install and cost under $50.00

Mentioned many times on this site.

Roy
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Old 11-13-2011, 05:28 PM   #4
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Since you use your coach so little you might consider installing a chassis battery disconnect. There are several available at all price ranges. We installed this one when the coach was new and use it every time we store it.

Summit Racing SUM-830050 - Summit Racing® Battery Disconnect Switches - Overview - SummitRacing.com

It's not the cheapest but ours has lasted over 10 years without a single problem. We live in cold country so it's not uncommon to leave the motorhome in storage for 2 - 3 months in below zero weather. When we come to start it we jst flip on the switch, turn the ignition and away we go. Even in the coldest weather (-20*F) the battery remains charged sufficiently to start the engine.
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:29 AM   #5
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pOOches, I use the Trickle-Start but in order for it to work, you have to use your rv either under gen. or shore power for a day or two. It will charge the chassis batt. as the house ones are being charged. But, if your coach sits a lot, this won't work. You'll need the Batt. Minder or just do as you've been doing.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by royinflorida View Post
Look into the Trik-L-Charger

Easy to install and cost under $50.00

Mentioned many times on this site.

Roy
If you're referring to Tiick-L-Start the I doubt it will work for this application. The instructions say there must be power at the house batteries (i.e shore power or generator power) for the charger to operate. If there is no power to the house batteries the charger is essentially disconnected.

This unit steals current from the house batteries and diverts to the chassis battery. While it does not hook directly to the shore power it must sense that the house batteries are being charged.

The same would be true for a standard trickle charger. The OP has no shore power where the coach is stored.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:24 AM   #7
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This seems the perfect application for a solar charger. Just plug in and let sit. A 5 watt should do fine but if you want all batteries topped off all the time go for a 7 or 15 watt unit.
-Paul R. Haller-
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