Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 10-14-2021, 08:16 AM   #1
Winnebago Camper
 
Balou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 8
Winter Battery Maintenance

Hi,
I have a 2002 Winnebago Journey 36G

Last year when I stored the motorhome for the winter, I plugged it in, turned the AUX BATTERY switch OFF, and in spring, it would not start.

When it didn't start, all I did was turn the AUX BATTERY switch back ON and let it sit till the next day.

The next day, it started.

So my 12 volt converter is apparently working.

I then load tested all the battery's. I wasn't happy with the test results and the battery's were 7 and 8 years old anyway so .......

I replaced all the battery's ....... 2 start and 2 coach.

I have a jumper wire from the coach battery's to the start battery's that I plug it when the motorhome is sitting.
I know there is a unit out there that will do this automatically, to charge all the battery's when sitting, but this method works fine for me.

This kept all the battery's charged by the 12 volt converter all summer long with no issues.

My question is ......... do I leave the AUX BATTERY switch ON while plugged in during the winter to keep the battery's charged?
__________________
Jeff
2002 Winnebago Journey 36C
Balou is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2021, 09:28 AM   #2
Winnebago Master
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 711
That switch is variously labeled use/store, disconnect switch or aux start switch (which seems to be counter intuitive to me) which is what you seem to have. Other MHs have a aux start switch that is a momentary contact switch to boost starting the chassis engine. Confusing, right?

If yours is equivalent to the other two then it will not let the converter keep the chassis batteries charged when off. Leave it on.

David
__________________
2021 Thor Axis 24.1
DavidM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2021, 10:06 AM   #3
Winnebago Master
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Elk Grove, CA
Posts: 2,560
Turning off the aux battery switch won't necessarily turn off all the loads. Things like the propane alarm may still stay connected which will drain your batteries over time. Since you apparently have year-round shore power, David M's suggestion will work with the following caveat:

If your converter is original you'll need to upgrade to a modern one with a multi-stage charger to avoid battery damage from long term use. Here's what I installed on my 2002:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

In the meantime, I suggest you completely disconnect your battery bank after fully charging by disconnecting the neg cable along with any other ground wires connected to the battery post. Doing so will eliminate all parasitic loads.

Note that, in some posts, the Aux Battery switch is euphemistically referred to as a "Salesman's Switch".
__________________
Bob C
2002 Itasca Suncruiser 35U
Workhorse Chassis
BobC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2021, 11:25 AM   #4
Winnebago Camper
 
Balou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidM View Post
That switch is variously labeled use/store, disconnect switch or aux start switch (which seems to be counter intuitive to me) which is what you seem to have. Other MHs have a aux start switch that is a momentary contact switch to boost starting the chassis engine. Confusing, right?

If yours is equivalent to the other two then it will not let the converter keep the chassis batteries charged when off. Leave it on.

David
Confusing is right !

In conjunction with the AUX BATTERY switch, I also have the AUX START switch.

I used the AUX START switch it when it failed to start last spring to no avail. So apparently none of the battery's were being charged with the AUX BATTERY switch off??

Now you would think I'm answering my own question but here's the catch. I also have a solar panel that keeps the battery's charged in the summer.

So I really don't know if the converter does disconnect when the AUX BATTERY switch is off because in the summer, I don't need to keep it plugged in to maintain the battery's.
__________________
Jeff
2002 Winnebago Journey 36C
Balou is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2021, 11:43 AM   #5
Winnebago Master
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Elk Grove, CA
Posts: 2,560
My understanding is the converter is disconnected when the Aux Battery switch is off. I have a small solar panel that keeps my batteries charged through the winter but I live in CA, not WI.

I know you said the wire from your house batteries to your starting battery works for you but do yourself a favor and install a Trik-L-Start, Amp-L-Start or a similar unit. With just a simple wire you risk one battery unexpectedly draining the other.

Even if not connected to your house batteries, your starting battery has it's own set of "parasitic" loads that can drain it in as little as a couple of weeks. You can install a simple disconnect switch to the negative post to prevent this from happening. You can also install one on your house batteries for a 100% disconnect:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=automotiv..._ts-doa-p_1_23

I know that that most of us would assume we should install the disconnect switch to the positive post but the negative post is the post recommended by most manufacturers.
__________________
Bob C
2002 Itasca Suncruiser 35U
Workhorse Chassis
BobC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2021, 11:58 AM   #6
Winnebago Camper
 
Balou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobC View Post
Turning off the aux battery switch won't necessarily turn off all the loads. Things like the propane alarm may still stay connected which will drain your batteries over time. Since you apparently have year-round shore power, David M's suggestion will work with the following caveat:

If your converter is original you'll need to upgrade to a modern one with a multi-stage charger to avoid battery damage from long term use. Here's what I installed on my 2002:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

In the meantime, I suggest you completely disconnect your battery bank after fully charging by disconnecting the neg cable along with any other ground wires connected to the battery post. Doing so will eliminate all parasitic loads.

Note that, in some posts, the Aux Battery switch is euphemistically referred to as a "Salesman's Switch".
Hi Bob,
I don't understand why I'd need to replace the converter. Mine works fine. The old battery's lasted 3 years of my ownership. They were 5 years old when I got this coach. I continued to use the old battery's for half this summer before replacing. The solar Panel and converter kept them adequate enough to start the engine.

I believe the AUX BATTERY switch in my coach is what's referred to as the "sales man switch". It will cut all 12 volt power to the coach. I always shut the switch off in the past when storing and not on shore power.

I'm guessing it stopped the converter from charging the battery's too but really don't know at this point.
__________________
Jeff
2002 Winnebago Journey 36C
Balou is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2021, 12:06 PM   #7
Winnebago Camper
 
Balou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobC View Post
My understanding is the converter is disconnected when the Aux Battery switch is off. I have a small solar panel that keeps my batteries charged through the winter but I live in CA, not WI.

I know you said the wire from your house batteries to your starting battery works for you but do yourself a favor and install a Trik-L-Start, Amp-L-Start or a similar unit. With just a simple wire you risk one battery unexpectedly draining the other.

Even if not connected to your house batteries, your starting battery has it's own set of "parasitic" loads that can drain it in as little as a couple of weeks. You can install a simple disconnect switch to the negative post to prevent this from happening. You can also install one on your house batteries for a 100% disconnect:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=automotiv..._ts-doa-p_1_23

I know that that most of us would assume we should install the disconnect switch to the positive post but the negative post is the post recommended by most manufacturers.
That's the unit. I've been told you can wire that to the solenoids in front .... on the firewall. You're right. My jump wire is doing the same thing but will drain all the battery's if the start battery's get drawn down. I should upgrade.
__________________
Jeff
2002 Winnebago Journey 36C
Balou is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2021, 01:28 PM   #8
Site Team
 
creativepart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Spring Branch, TX
Posts: 4,482
Here's my two cents... for FREE!

When storing a motorhome for winter I would not leave it plugged in. I would disconnect both sets of batteries and put a smart trickle charger on each set. Battery Tender, Battery Minder, etc they go by different names but they are smart chargers that run off of AC power that will cycle your batteries and keep them not only charged but healthy.

About that solar panel - I'm assuming it's the totally worthless 10w panel manufacturers put on motorhomes in the early aughts. It's directly connected to your chassis batteries and has no effect on your house batteries. But truth be told it barely has as much output as one of those "solar wrist watches." And, winter is not good solar weather to rely on. To back me up on this watch the latest AZ Expert's winnebago roof replacement video. He points to a broken 10w solar panel and says, "I'll not replace that those things are worthless gimmicks."

Leaving your RV plugged in all winter gives you false assurance that everything is OK in your RV. You figure everything is charging or getting power and all is well. But you are not monitoring your RV during the winter months. Things could be fine... or they could very well not be fine at all.

Keep your batteries "tended" and let the rest of the RV have a long winter's nap.

PS. I'm kind of shocked a Journey DP doesn't have two starting chassis batteries and 4-house batteries. But if you never need more power from your batteries then I guess 2-house batteries is the right amount.
__________________
2017 Winnebago Adventurer 37F
2016 Lincoln MKX Toad
creativepart is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2021, 02:15 PM   #9
Winnebago Master
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Pflugerville/Austin, Tx
Posts: 3,732
Way too much on ideas but little on actual facts, perhaps leading to lots of confusion?
One place to start is that when you are speaking of starting the RV engine, the coach batteries , charged or dead is not a factor as the engine uses the chassis or start battery to start. That combined with whether there is a method used to keep the start battery charged is a big part of the question.

The only time the coach batteries become involved in helping to start the engine is when you use the momentary switch on the dash, etc that is often called "aux, boost", or some thing like that to indicate it can be used to "boost" or jump start the engine!
Connecting or disconnecting the coach batteries will not change the engine starting in any way if the boost switch is not used. Sometimes the engine will start the second time when it didn't the first?

For maintaining the batteries there are different ways that suit different folks, so the details matter.

Many older converters would charge too high for too long and did tend to boil the water off if we did not watch carefully enough. Newer charger/converters have better systems built in to gradually reduce the voltage as the battery reaches full charge but exactly when each RV got into the better systems is not a firm answer as the idea has been around for as long as the '80's if we paid enough! So experience is one way to see if things work for you and it sounds like you are happy with your battery lifespan and doing the single jumper to get the converer charge voltage from the coach to the start battery.

Before selling our last RV, I had moved to a single wire between the positvie post and letting the converter charge both as being a very simple move as I had found the batteries were okay when done that way. Yes, it is true that the single wire WILL drain both battery sets IF the converter fails but that is one I was willing to go with to assure higher charging for both sets at all times and being less complex.

But the really basic thing to be aware of is that BOTH start and charge batteries tend to go flat, even when all the built in disconnects are used becasue there are safety items and small parts still connected in most cases.
On the start, there is a group of ignition, radio preset and other automatic items which are often still on and on the coach , there are CO and propane detectors as well to slowly drain things. The steps are often left as a safety item as they are really touchy about letting folks fall out!
If the steps are out and the light underneath is not noticed, the battery doesn't last very long!

We might look at the drawings and find what is connected or not when the switch is thrown but it is really quite simple to just flip the switch and find out what stopped working!
__________________
Richard
Morich is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2021, 04:00 AM   #10
Winnebago Camper
 
Balou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobC View Post
Turning off the aux battery switch won't necessarily turn off all the loads. Things like the propane alarm may still stay connected which will drain your batteries over time. Since you apparently have year-round shore power, David M's suggestion will work with the following caveat:

If your converter is original you'll need to upgrade to a modern one with a multi-stage charger to avoid battery damage from long term use. Here's what I installed on my 2002:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

In the meantime, I suggest you completely disconnect your battery bank after fully charging by disconnecting the neg cable along with any other ground wires connected to the battery post. Doing so will eliminate all parasitic loads.

Note that, in some posts, the Aux Battery switch is euphemistically referred to as a "Salesman's Switch".

Thanks Bob

I'm going to look at my converter to see if it's still the factory unit.
If it is, I going to take your advice and replace it with a 3 stage converter.

I've been looking at 4 bank battery maintenance chargers and the price's for the cheapest units are comparable to a complete converter replacement. Then I'll know my battery's are being maintained correctly plus I won't have to remove battery cables during winter storage !

Thanks to EVERYONE else and because of all the responses, I feel I have this issue worked out !
__________________
Jeff
2002 Winnebago Journey 36C
Balou is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2021, 09:25 AM   #11
Winnebago Master
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Elk Grove, CA
Posts: 2,560
A two bank maintenance charger should be adequate. Unless you were to completely separate all your batteries, your two house batteries are one bank and your two starting batteries are one bank.
__________________
Bob C
2002 Itasca Suncruiser 35U
Workhorse Chassis
BobC is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
battery, maintenance, winter


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
2018 Aspect 30j Battery Maintenance BRHauenstein Winnebago Class C Motorhomes 5 10-22-2018 08:16 AM
Battery Fill Maintenance on Forza 34T dvlong General Maintenance and Repair 0 02-05-2018 09:20 AM
Battery Maintenance Trynforpar General Maintenance and Repair 6 09-28-2017 09:48 PM
Winter camping in real winter conditions michealwhela Winnebago Lifestyle 21 11-03-2014 06:35 AM
House Battery Maintenance Electrical | Charging, Solar and Electronics 22 12-31-1969 07:00 PM

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Winnebago Industries or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×