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Old 07-27-2013, 05:00 PM   #1
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batteries while the rig is winterized?

I know its only the end of July but the I'm new to a class A and am trying to learn and plan. I traded in a 5th wheel with one battery when I purchased a 2013 Vista 26 HE which has three batteries, one coach and two house. The 5th wheel battery was simply charged, removed and stored in the workshop until spring.

Unless I'm wrong, after the class A is winterized, I plan on leaving the coach battery in the rig so I can drive it every few weeks to warm the engine, oil, tires and charge the battery. I know I have to remove the house batteries and plan on keeping them in the warm workshop.

Here's where I need advice. I also know I have to exercise the generator. Does the generator start on coach or house batteries? Even if its the coach battery, don't I have to put the house batteries back in the rig to turn on different systems to put a load on the generator while it is running?

Any comments, advice or guidance will be appreciated.
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:17 PM   #2
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Isn't you rig a Winnebago product; and if so, do they not all have solar panels to keep the batteries charged while in storage? The only battery that isn't attached to the solar panel is the chassis battery, so when the rig is going to be in storage for an extended period of time, I connect a battery booster cable between the + terminals of the house and chassis battery. That keeps everything fully charged.

No useful purpose can be served by removing batteries from the rig for winter storage. That just discharges them and ages them 4X faster.
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:22 PM   #3
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If you are going to drive the unit every couple of weeks I would leave the batteries installed. It takes some really cold weather to freeze a fully charged battery. The gen usually uses the house batteries to start and will be charged as you run the gen and/or drive the mh.

If you don't have a switch to disconnect the batteries while not in use ( I suspect your mh has one for the house and one for the coach batteries) you might want to install some aftermarket ones.

Since the gen is started from the house batteries you should have access to all lights and appliances.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:00 AM   #4
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I don't have solar panels on my model.

Pennsylvania winters can get very cold so it sounds like I need to explore the disconnect switches and running the rig more often to alleviate removing the batteries.

Does anyone keep their rig plugged into the house during the winter? Seems to me this would also keep the batteries charged enough to keep from freezing.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:24 AM   #5
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There are a lot of variables to consider in making this decision. For example, I have found that there is almost a drag on the house batteries when left connected in storage. That makes the case for either disconnecting them by a switch or just unhooking them. In either instance, make sure that the terminals and surrounding areas are clean, as that is a source for battery drain.

I see no reason to remove the batteries, but it is essential that they be fully charged while being stored. I leave mind installed and connected, but I also have the motor home connected to shore power when in storage. This means that I continue to service them year around.

I recommend that you disconnect the house batteries while in storage after fully charging them. If fully charged, they should not freeze, but if you have a bad cell, all bets are off. There are a number of previous posts on this issue, and there is no shortage of individual practices, and most are valid given the circumstances. My recommendation is based on the assumption that you do not have access to power to charge them other than the generator.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:51 AM   #6
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Thank you all, the light of knowledge is getting brighter.

The rig is parked in my driveway so I can plug into the house using the 20 amp adapter. With the advice received so far, I'll keep the batteries in the rig, charging them periodically with the land line between the exercise periods of the generator. I'll also use the house battery disconnect switch when not on generator or land line and I'll need to check the battery fluid levels monthly.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:49 AM   #7
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A Trik-L-Start is a good addition. It keeps the chassis battery fully charged. A good $45 investment and simple to install.
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