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Old 10-28-2020, 06:22 PM   #1
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Do you have to remove the house batteries?

We have a Redhawk 24B. I'm wondering if we drive it an hour or two throughout the winter if that will be enough to keep the house batteries charged. We have to run the generator 1 hour per month anyway and it seems like a pain to remove and charge the house batteries.
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Old 10-28-2020, 06:58 PM   #2
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I am in the freezing cold area of the country known as Southern California. On my Greyhawk I find that the house batteries (I have 2) will go down to an unacceptable level within a couple of weeks. If I engage the battery disconnect they will last longer.

I have solar for charging which works good for charging as long as the sun comes out. If it will be overcast for the foreseeable future I will plug the thing in.

As far as the chassis battery is concerned I have put a trickle charger on it to keep it happy. It would bleed down within a few weeks without fail.

As far as your question is concerned, your chassis battery may be able to remain in good shape with starting the engine now and then but I can almost guarantee your house battery will never come up to a full charge. It can take hours to bring back a low battery. Also, the charge from the alternator may not be as high as you would like at the house battery. Depends a lot on wire run length and wire size.

The best thing you could do is to put these batteries on trickle chargers. You don't need anything expensive with a high current output. An amp or 2 should keep the batteries happy. A separate charger for each battery would be best since they are not tied together.

Better get out my winter clothes. Might get down to the low 60s.
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Old 10-28-2020, 07:13 PM   #3
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House battery charging

Jim, I obviously don't have your experience with this type of thing. So when you are talking about the trickle chargers you have either removed the battery or have the unit at your house? And by the battery disconnect you mean the main switch by the stairs?
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Old 10-28-2020, 07:17 PM   #4
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Most RVs with factory battery disconnect switches are still connected to the LP/CO monitor and possible other items Jayco considers vital. This load stays there and will drain batteries over a relatively short period of time.
If you are going to run the generator monthly I would install a simple battery cutoff switch at the battery to fully insulate it from any load. With that there will be a very good chance the batter will not discharge more than a few percent in a month.

Best, of course, is to have either reliable solar or a battery tender to keep them at 100% in a safe manner. Leaving the whole RV plugged in will use a lot more electricity and in my opinion will use up the life of your converter.
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Old 10-28-2020, 07:19 PM   #5
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That's the switch. Mine has a nice red light on it.

I leave the batteries in the coach and just tuck the battery charger under the hood. It is plugged in to a decent extension cord. You don't need a high current extension cord for a trickle charger.
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Old 10-28-2020, 08:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by UDFlyer View Post
Jim, I obviously don't have your experience with this type of thing. So when you are talking about the trickle chargers you have either removed the battery or have the unit at your house? And by the battery disconnect you mean the main switch by the stairs?
Where the rig will sit for Winter, is there 120 volt power nearby? If so, you can plug the batteries into a trickle charger. Otherwise, the batteries will discharge within a month. I notice that the chassis battery discharges quicker than the house batteries, due to parasitic drains.
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Old 10-28-2020, 08:21 PM   #7
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I leave the batteries in the coach and just tuck the battery charger under the hood. It is plugged in to a decent extension cord. You don't need a high current extension cord for a trickle charger.
I do something similar. I put one trickle charger in the coach, to charge the house batteries. I take a second one, with a male cig plug, and plug it into the empty cig outlet in the dashboard. This one charges the chassis battery.

Then, I put both trickle chargers on a timer that comes on twice a week. I found out last year, to keep the batteries topped off, the trickle chargers don't need to run 24/7.

I don't keep the complete coach plugged into shore power. There's no need to keep the complete 120 volt system energized 24/7, and I don't need the high output of the converter to keep the batteries charged.
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Old 10-29-2020, 04:18 AM   #8
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Get you something like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tende...69784302&psc=1
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Old 10-29-2020, 04:37 AM   #9
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So it's ok to leave the batteries out in the cold northeast winter weather as long as they are being trickle charged?
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Old 10-29-2020, 05:14 AM   #10
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Good article on trickle charging in the cold north east: https://northeastbattery.com/can-tri...tery-freezing/

Trickle charging causes a little heat in the battery and therefore helps save the battery.

I use the battery tender jr on my 90 Stang that sits over the winter in a cold garage and it will crank right over every time, battery is prob 5-6 years old.

YMMV
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Old 10-29-2020, 08:48 AM   #11
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So it's ok to leave the batteries out in the cold northeast winter weather as long as they are being trickle charged?

Yes... a fully charged battery won't be hurt by that cold. Remember, every car you see on the road in the Winter, has a fully charged battery in it, that sits overnight or days in that cold.
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Old 10-29-2020, 10:11 AM   #12
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Any particular reason why you couldn't just use a dog bone to 120v @ 15amp outlet and leave the coach "plugged in" all winter and let the coach decide the battery management? That's my plan for our Seneca this winter since I don't really want to pull all 6 batteries out (4 x 6v for the house and then the 2 for the chassis).

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Old 10-29-2020, 11:20 AM   #13
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I have read the WFCO manual for the power center that came with our trailer and it seems to indicate that there is a built in trickle charger, "
Float Mode: In this mode, the converter is charging the battery with
a trickle voltage of 13.2 Vdc. When the converter senses a demand
(by turning on lights), the converter automatically returns to the
“Absorption mode”.

So is this the same as having a stand along trickle charger, and would leaving the trailer plugged in to shore power long term hurt the battery?


Thanks,
Steve
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Old 10-29-2020, 02:00 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jeffro01 View Post
Any particular reason why you couldn't just use a dog bone to 120v @ 15amp outlet and leave the coach "plugged in" all winter and let the coach decide the battery management? That's my plan for our Seneca this winter since I don't really want to pull all 6 batteries out (4 x 6v for the house and then the 2 for the chassis).

Jeff

Maybe your Seneca is different, but I've confirmed that when plugged into shore power, my house batteries get charged but the chassis/Ford battery does not.


I'm using a 20 watt solar panel to keep the Ford battery charged.
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Old 11-12-2020, 10:24 AM   #15
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I use two solar chargers for the batteries and locate them on the dash in the cab of my 2016 Redhawk 31XL
Even when it is cloudy they are still charging!
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Old 11-12-2020, 01:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UDFlyer View Post
We have a Redhawk 24B. I'm wondering if we drive it an hour or two throughout the winter if that will be enough to keep the house batteries charged. We have to run the generator 1 hour per month anyway and it seems like a pain to remove and charge the house batteries.
You don't need to remove the batteries. Just start the engine and it will charge your house battery as well as the chassis battery.

Or you can fire up the Onan and run it for a while under load (AC running or a box heater plugged in are good loads) and the generator will be happy as well as your house battery.

Or as was said by others, just put a solar panel on the house battery. However remember your Ford chassis battery needs to be charged as well. So the first option is the best for both batteries.
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Old 11-13-2020, 06:08 AM   #17
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House battery charging

Thanks for all the great information! At least now I have some options. I don't have power at the lot where we store the coach but I will be able to bring it back to the house for trickle charging.
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Old 11-14-2020, 05:58 PM   #18
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Simple answer - probably. But what you might want to consider is installing battery disconnect switches. It's cheap and easy to do. The reason to do so is the fact that the batteries will discharge because of radio memory and clock, detectors, and other parasitic draws items. So the best practice would be to charge the batteries, then disconnect in between. That will be your best bet. Cheers.
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