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Old 12-27-2020, 09:05 AM   #1
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Intentional use of dead batteries for winter?

I've pondered the option of removing the new batteries from my Greyhawk and Ford E-150 and keeping them in the basement vs. leaving them in the vehicles and starting it up every few weeks. Here in Vermont -20 degrees F is not uncommon in the winter.

So I wondered what the concerns would be for using old batteries in both locations, then jump starting the engine periodically and running the generator, knowing that the installed batteries wouldn't keep their charge anyway. That way I could eliminate the freeze risk to the new batteries and keep them inside where I can easily maintain them with a battery tender. I have an old sealed aircraft battery that would work in one of the locations and could probably obtain another one easily.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-27-2020, 09:18 AM   #2
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The old dead battery would freeze. Then there could be trouble when you tried to jump start the unit. I have had 3 batteries explode on me, all of which were bad, 2 of them were being jumped by me. There was no spark created by me at the time the battery exploded. Jay.
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Old 12-27-2020, 09:36 AM   #3
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Wow! I guess that answers the question.

Well, on to plan B, which here is best done with removal of both batteries, I think. Is there any harm in leaving the whole rig electrically "inert" for a few winter months? People seem to recommend starting the generator periodically, but I also presume that step isn't essential. I've already run stabilized fuel through it. Should anything else be done to maintain the generator over the winter?
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Old 12-27-2020, 09:49 AM   #4
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I would look at SOLAR trickle chargers since a fully charged battery doesn't freeze.

From the web:

A fully charged battery has a freezing point around -80 °F
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Old 12-27-2020, 09:51 AM   #5
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I used to have a generator at my previous house. I went from running
once a week to once a month and finally once every other month for years and never had a problem with it.
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Old 12-28-2020, 03:34 PM   #6
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I would look at SOLAR trickle chargers since a fully charged battery doesn't freeze.

That's what we're doing. I found a 20 watt solar panel to trickle the Ford battery while it's in storage.


Colorado gets 300 days of sunshine a year, so my situation could be different.
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Old 12-28-2020, 03:42 PM   #7
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I second the small solar panel as a trickle charger. When they installed my TPMS I didn't realize it would be a battery drain, but eventually found that out. Ever since I've hung that li'l panel in the window I've not had a problem again.
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Old 12-28-2020, 04:16 PM   #8
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We don't get a lot of sunshine in the winter in Vermont, so I'm not sure I can rely on solar. The local Jayco shop just recommended leaving the batteries in and just disconnecting the ground terminal. I think if I do that it's not much more to just disconnect them and bring them inside for the winter months. I can easily monitor voltage and charge them if needed that way.
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Old 12-28-2020, 06:38 PM   #9
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If your MH is at home, can you just leave it plugged into shore power? If so, bring an extension cord up to the engine compartment, and use a battery maintainer, and the converter will keep the coach battery charged.

What I have noticed over the recent years, vehicles have a fairly good power management system, and you can park them for months, and they will start right up (non MH). The camper on the other hand, the battery will be dead within a few weeks.

What about installing a good marine battery disconnect switch under the hood?
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Old 12-28-2020, 08:52 PM   #10
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What about installing a good marine battery disconnect switch under the hood?
Am I wrong in thinking that you have to manage both batteries? Are saying that as long as I keep the chassis battery charged (by shutting off) and use that to run it every few weeks that's all I need to do? If so, it's also really pretty quick and easy to just disconnect it from the terminal.
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Old 12-29-2020, 09:09 AM   #11
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why run it?? that is probably the worst thing you can do to it... My 2010 genny has not run during any winter and my boat, motorcycles, lawnmower etc.. sit all winter long on battery tenders waiting for spring... take the batteries out and put them in your house on a high quality sensing charger and wait till spring to put them back in... or put a charger on the batteries in the vehicle and wait till spring...
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Old 12-29-2020, 10:07 AM   #12
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If you don't have power to run trickle chargers and don't think solar will work consider a jump pack to start and run the generator. I agree that the generator engine does not need to run but the problem may be with letting it sit is that the generator side of the system may need to be run to keep corrosion, etc. off the contacts, wiring, etc. to keep it in good shape over the winter.
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Old 01-01-2021, 08:27 AM   #13
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So if the chassis and house batteries are both removed it's OK to run the generator (using a battery pack to start it)?

It's already January 1st so I'm thinking of just running it this weekend, removing the batteries for the coldest months here (January, February) then re-installing them in March as we start to prepare for a long trip when weather conditions allow us to leave Vermont and head south (North Carolina initially) then west. The plan is just to avoid snow and try to avoid deep freezing, but I think we can manage temps by being ready to re-winterize the plumbing if needed.
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Old 01-01-2021, 09:51 AM   #14
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I leave mine plugged in to the shore power. And have a small battery charger plugged in in the camper and then plugged into the cigarette lighter. The cigarette lighter plug on the Ford F 450 are always open to the battery. Then I start the camper and the generator about every 2 to 3 weeks. And run them for about an hour. It’s been working for me for three years now.
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Old 01-02-2021, 03:32 PM   #15
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dbahn, I run Stabil through my generator as well. Then I loosen a screw on the carburetor and drain all the gas out of it. This eliminates the problems caused by ethanol in the fuel (i.e. water vapor rusting out the carburetor). I learned this lesson when I had to replace the carburetor in the 40 hp outboard on my duck boat. I bring all the batteries inside the house and have them on battery minders on the advice of members from this forum. Once you drain the carburetor, it should be good until early spring when you re-start everything.
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Old 01-16-2021, 02:14 PM   #16
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All for trickle charging

I have for nearly 40 years been a big proponent of trickle charging batteries that will lie dormant for extended periods. I have had and continue to have several batteries, both starting and deep cycle in my boats, tractors, boat lift, DC-powered hunting cabin, ATVs and RVs. I take the batteries out of equipment that will be stored in sub-freezing buildings and bring them to my workshop which I keep heated to 50 degrees in the winter. I set the batteries up on trickle chargers being careful to only connect the same type of batteries when I hook up multiple batteries on the same charger (no more than 3 per charger). I made some simple wiring harnesses that allow batteries to be linked together on the chargers. I also make certain that all batteries are fully charged before setting them up on the trickle chargers. I have batteries that last for several years. Most recently I replaced a deep cycle trolling battery on my boat that lasted, believe it or not, 22 years. The hardest part about this process is lifting them in and out of the equipment, Fortunately, that’s what grandsons are for.
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Old 01-16-2021, 03:34 PM   #17
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batteries in winter storage

I am using solar battery chargers for my chassis battery and the house battery. Both are 20 volt tenders. We have many many cloudy days in western NY, and on those days the chargers are charging at 17 volts On sunny days they are producing 21 volts. Having zero problems
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Old 01-16-2021, 06:02 PM   #18
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I keep my boat and TT batteries in my garage on a bench top battery maintenance system. My boat batteries are 2009 vintage. No problems what so ever. Never have to worry about them. Cheers, Rick
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