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Old 05-14-2007, 10:21 AM   #1
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Hi Everybody. We just took possession of a 2007 Meridian 34H.

I have been reading this board for years and have gathered a lot of information. I also have been posting on the Open Roads Forum (RV.net, etc.) for a couple of years under the name "amanda" so some of you may be familiar with my posts.

We've been researching this motorhome purchase for almost 3 years now and finally have possession but we are new to RVing so have many questions about different systems, etc. of the motorhome itself.

I will be doing most of the posting as DH is a terrible typist and dislikes the internet in general. *laughs* So I'll be asking a lot of technical questions through him at times.

Again, we are newbies and will be asking some very elementary questions sometimes so I hope you guys won't mind and will be patient with us. We'd sure appreciate any help we can get and all you folks here seem so nice and helpful!

First question to start out: We have a attached garage at our home and have 50 amp service. During periods of inactivity (storing while between trips), can we just leave it plugged in and ignore it? I think we asked a salesman about that and he was saying something about leaving some lights and fans on or the batteries would boil out their acid. Does that sound right? Even at a campground, if we left to do things for the day, would we leave it plugged in or unplug it while we are away to make sure the batteries don't boil over?

Ok, many more to come! *laughs* Oh, it's an '07 Meridian 34H with the CAT C7.

Thanks guys!

~~amanda
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Old 05-14-2007, 10:21 AM   #2
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Hi Everybody. We just took possession of a 2007 Meridian 34H.

I have been reading this board for years and have gathered a lot of information. I also have been posting on the Open Roads Forum (RV.net, etc.) for a couple of years under the name "amanda" so some of you may be familiar with my posts.

We've been researching this motorhome purchase for almost 3 years now and finally have possession but we are new to RVing so have many questions about different systems, etc. of the motorhome itself.

I will be doing most of the posting as DH is a terrible typist and dislikes the internet in general. *laughs* So I'll be asking a lot of technical questions through him at times.

Again, we are newbies and will be asking some very elementary questions sometimes so I hope you guys won't mind and will be patient with us. We'd sure appreciate any help we can get and all you folks here seem so nice and helpful!

First question to start out: We have a attached garage at our home and have 50 amp service. During periods of inactivity (storing while between trips), can we just leave it plugged in and ignore it? I think we asked a salesman about that and he was saying something about leaving some lights and fans on or the batteries would boil out their acid. Does that sound right? Even at a campground, if we left to do things for the day, would we leave it plugged in or unplug it while we are away to make sure the batteries don't boil over?

Ok, many more to come! *laughs* Oh, it's an '07 Meridian 34H with the CAT C7.

Thanks guys!

~~amanda
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Old 05-14-2007, 10:44 AM   #3
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Congratulations, Many safe and happy miles.

Left my o3 plugged in all the time and never had a problem with the batteries. Did check the water in them about every month...
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Old 05-14-2007, 10:46 AM   #4
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Hi Amanda,

Let us be the first (..or second) to congratulate you on your new 34H, we just love ours.

I would not leave it plugged in 24/7 when not in use unless you get a better charger/converter than the default Parallax unit. This has been a problem with our current Journey as well as our previous Suncruiser and we just replaced it with a Xantrex unit that works a lot better.

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Old 05-14-2007, 10:58 AM   #5
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Amanda,

Congratulations on the new coach---good choice! We have never, in 15 years with 5 motorhomes, have had a problem boiling batteries when leaving it plugged in. Like ichn2go said, be sure to check the batteries every so often. Have fun with the new coach.
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Old 05-14-2007, 11:39 AM   #6
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ichn2go: Hi! You seem like an old friend for we've been reading your posts for years! Thanks for the warm greeting!

knut: Hi! You ARE an old friend! You've helped us out so many times over there on the other board! DH always wants to read your posts because you always have such good things to say about your coach. You're one of the reasons he's always tended to sway toward a Winnebago.

Oh, so you don't recommend leaving it plugged into shore power continuously? Even with leaving some lights on, etc.? We do have the optional 2kw inverter, does that make any difference?


John: Thanks for the welcome and the advice! So it sounds like checking the water regularly is the key. That's logical.


~~amanda
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Old 05-14-2007, 11:56 AM   #7
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mandah,

Congrats on your new 34H Meridian I expect you will love yours as much as we love our 34H Journey!

I also do not recommend keeping your coach plugged in all the time due to the concern regarding boiling your batteries. I know there are lots of opinions on this, but Winnebago clearly does not recommend keeping it plugged in during storage.

I cycle mine: plugged in for 3-5 days, and then unplugged for 2 weeks or so. I also turn off both battery switches (1 on the dash for the house batteries, and the GUEST switch at the rear of the coach in the engine compartment for the engine batteries). Note, that if you turn off the engine batteries, you will have to reset your date/time in the engine computer. No other issues with turning it off.

I did this with my '00 Journey and the batteries lasted 4+ years.
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Old 05-14-2007, 12:08 PM   #8
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Amanda,

Welcome! We also have the 34H Meridian. It's a fine coach! We have 50 amp service at the house and leave it plugged in 24/7. I check the batteries about once a month and have not yet needed to add water. We leave the air on at about 80 degrees to keep the coach cooler here in Florida.

First addition we did was a Trik-L-Start. Works well to maintain the batteries.

Again, welcome!
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Old 05-14-2007, 12:48 PM   #9
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First off, congratulations, the 34H is great!

I am surprised to see how many people don't have any trouble leaving it plugged in all the time. I did that when we first got the coach and have since had to replace my batteries (coach was new in November, straight from the factory order). However, I was a newbie at the time (I suppose still am) and did not check my fluid levels. And it turned out one of my batteries was leaking, which I can't say that leaving it plugged in would cause, so leaving it plugged in may or may not have been the trouble. But, having had that experience and not enjoying the annoyance of resetting all the clocks every time I disconnect the batteries, I have had solar panels installed to keep the batteries charged while not in use and I no longer plug it in at home at all.

To answer your other question regarding being at campgrounds, I don't think anyone will argue that that should be no problem, plug it in and forget about it for as long as you're there. It's only extended periods of being plugged in where problems can arise.

Good luck, and enjoy that coach!

Alan
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Old 05-14-2007, 04:46 PM   #10
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Wow, some of you say don't leave it plugged in, and some say it's ok. Interesting!

Don: Hi and thanks! Your suggestion makes sense. That's probably what we'll do. So 5 days is about the longest you want to leave it plugged in? Would it make a lot of difference if we didn't turn off both battery switches? We've been leaving them both on for the past few days that we've stored it.


Tom: Thanks for the welcome! So if you leave your plugged in all the time, is it the use of the A/C that perhaps is not boiling the batteries over? I thought Trik-L-Start was standard ...or we thought that's what they told us we had.


Alan: Hi! Thank you! Since we keep store it in a garage, I guess solar panels aren't going to do a lot for us, right? So what would you say is the longest time period we'd want to leave it plugged into shore power when it's not really being used that much?


Thanks again to everybody for your help!

~~amanda
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Old 05-14-2007, 04:59 PM   #11
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Amanda:

Welcome to the forum and contrats on the new rig! As you can see, you will get lot's of advice here from the friendly and helpful folks on this forum.

Right or wrong, I leave my rig plugged in 24/7, check the house batteries monthly, and have not had a problem. I do have a Xantrex three stage inverter/charger. I also leave the thermostat set to about 80-82 to keep things from getting so hot in the rig.

You will also find that the Freightliner chassis may discharge your chassis batteries over time. You may have a chassis battery disconnect so you can prevent that by turning that switch off during periods of storage. Mine has no disconnect so I use a Battery Minder to keep the chassis batteries fully charged.

Don't hesitate to ask any and all questions....we are all here to share and help. Enjoy that new coach.
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Old 05-14-2007, 05:03 PM   #12
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One clarification relative to switching off the batteries -- I don't generally turn off the engine batteries unless the coach will not be used for about a month.

Just got back from Florida about 2+ weeks ago, and did not plug in the coach since getting home. Checked the batteries, and both are at 12+V.

With the Winnie's having the coach/engine battery voltmeter it's easy to keep an eye on your battery condition, and plug it in when it needs a charge.

P.S. Winnie installs the Trik-L-Start as standard equipment in all diesel coaches since 2006.
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Old 05-14-2007, 05:07 PM   #13
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Amanda! Congratulations (finally...)
Before I read the post or your sig, my scrabble brain had arranged your screen name and brain had ID'd you.

To the batteries: The newer coach's have Dimensions inverter/ chargers (I assume you have the 2K inverter?), and I watch the charge rate constantly via the control panel. When the batteries are topped off, it shuts down, but ramps up in 5A increments as needed. I wouldn't worry about leaving it plugged in whatsoever. Just keep an eye on the charge rate (bottom panel on the monitor wall) until you're comfortable.

Having said that, I don't leave mine plugged in because it needs to live in storage. I kill the house mains from the dash switch and leave it to the little solar cell to keep the batteries charged. Also as mentioned above, Winnebago has installed a Trik-L-Start that also keeps the engine batteries charged. More than once I have been in there for a few hours putzing around with a few lights on, fan running, leave (shutting everything down again), and return the following weekend, fire the generator to charge the batteries, and they're completely topped off.

So I would say it's your call as long as you have sufficient sun. One day I might goose up the panels when there's nothing else to do..
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Old 05-14-2007, 09:13 PM   #14
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Congratulations!! There seems to be quite the 34H family in this forum these days.

We love ours for the versatility. Dirt camping to resort living, it all works. We've slept as many as 6 in it too (once).

I tried to manage the original house batteries (Interstate SRM-29) similar to Pusherman. For some reason after a little over two years their performance was falling off to about 60% of spec which isn't good for our dry camping. So we replaced them with AGM's and now we don't have to worry about leaving them plugged in all the time as they are completely sealed and truly maintenance free.
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Old 05-15-2007, 04:47 AM   #15
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Hi Amanda,

Congratulations!! What a great coach. We love our 2007 Meridian 34H.
We keep ours in a storage lot unpluged.
There is great information and advice shared on this site. Great folks here.
Enjoy your new Meridian!!!!
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Old 05-15-2007, 08:28 AM   #16
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Gary: Another old friend! We still remember that day you went out and took pictures of your tail lamps for us. That was so nice of you. Thanks for the invitation to aks questions. I think we'll definitely be taking you up on that! Thanks!

Don: What you are saying makes sense and what we might end up doing. Can you give us the exact readings on the voltmeter that we should be monitoring? Thanks again.

Jeff: Hi Jeff! ...our buddy who has helped us tremendously during the past year in answering questions. You really have been such a huge help! Yes, we have the 2k inverter. That should adjust itself from keeping the batteries from boiling over, correct? So even if we decide to keep it always plugged in, that inverter should prevent (or protect) the batteries from overcharging or boiling over? Thanks!

Jon: DH is already looking forward to replacing the batteries with AGMs so he doesn't have to keep adding water to the batteries! *laughs* Thank you for the comments!

Bill: Thanks for the welcome! Yeah, I didn't realize that there are so many of you that have the 34H. This will really be a great resource for us to have all of you to help us! Thanks!


We have a question on exactly how the Trik-L-Start is suppose to work but I guess we should ask in a separate thread. I'll try to do that later.

Thanks again, everybody!


~~amanda
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Old 05-15-2007, 07:58 PM   #17
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WELL, since you asked.... (heck! It's your thread. ask away..)

The Trik-L-Start is basically a current limited "transfer" device that can keep the starting batteries topped off from the coach battery bank (and it's solar charger) when either sitting in storage, or when plugged into shore power. It limits the current to 5A max. so you won't be boiling them off.

They also make Toad-Charge, which keeps your toad battery topped off. Especially nice for those who need to either keep the ignition on, or are having problems with the aux braking compressors killing the battery. It's the same box, just re-labeled.
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Old 05-16-2007, 06:00 AM   #18
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Relative to monitoring the voltage of the batteries and when to charge, if the voltage drops below 12.2V (resting with no load) for a liquid battery, you are greater than 50% discharged. Time to charge it!
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Old 05-16-2007, 09:34 AM   #19
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Jeff: Thanks for the explanation on the Trik-L-Start. We should've read the link that Tom also posted first before we aksed questions but I think we understand now how it functions. DH said that he found the control head under the hood in the compartment above the generator. He was looking for it in the battery compartment at first.


Don: Thanks for the response! Ok, so when we see that both readings are below 12.2v, then plug the shore power back in? Then let it charge to 13.?v on the chassis and about 12.? on the engine?

In other words, what should the voltmeter be reading when fully charged?

House- ?
Engine-?



Thanks! ...you guys are GREAT!

~~amanda
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Old 05-16-2007, 12:44 PM   #20
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I pulled this table out of my Onan Energy Command Guide:

State of Charge/ Liquid/ AGM/ Gelled
100%/ 12.6V/ 12.9V/ 12.8V
75%/ 12.4V/ 12.7V/ 12.6V
50%/ 12.2V/ 12.4V/ 12.3V
25%/ 12.0V/ 12.0V/ 12.0V
0% / 11.8V / 11.8V/ 11.8V

You have a 'flooded cell' batteries, both starting and coach (Liquid) if they are original to the coach. The other 2 colums are for other battery types which some in this forum have used to replace their batteries.

These voltage levels will be for when the charger is 'off' (no power to coach). When the coach batteries are charging, you will see voltage levels in the 13-14V range.

Hope this helps!
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