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Old 10-26-2021, 09:57 PM   #1
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Default Tips on Roadtrek being idle for 6 months...

....Hello again...I went to start my RV to warm up the engine since I planned to change the oil/filter...Dead!...a quick jump and it started right up...two days later, Dead!...I noticed that the solar panel controller still had power, is this draining the engine battery? I won't be using this RV until next April, stored outside in WNY weather..is the solar panel controller always on, and should I disconnect the battery for sitting for such a long time? Thanks
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Old 10-26-2021, 10:07 PM   #2
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....Hello again...I went to start my RV to warm up the engine since I planned to change the oil/filter...Dead!...a quick jump and it started right up...two days later, Dead!...I noticed that the solar panel controller still had power, is this draining the engine battery? I won't be using this RV until next April, stored outside in WNY weather..is the solar panel controller always on, and should I disconnect the battery for sitting for such a long time? Thanks

Yes, you would need to disconnect the battery but you should also disconnect the solar panels from the controller.


The reason is that without a battery in the circuit for reference, if the solar panels see sun they can generate an uncontrolled voltage that could damage anything connected to them including the controller and anything else still connected.


But that should not prevent the van from starting unless the coach and chassis batteries are connected, which they shouldn't be without the engine running. You must also have something going on with the chassis battery if the coach isn't connected. It is typical for starting batteries to go dead in a month or less these days, so in 6 months the small losses to the computer and radio probably killed it dead, and ruined it.
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Old 10-26-2021, 10:09 PM   #3
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Yes, you would need to disconnect the battery but you should also disconnect the solar panels from the controller.


The reason is that without a battery in the circuit for reference, if the solar panels see sun they can generate an uncontrolled voltage that could damage anything connected to them including the controller and anything else still connected
Excellent answer.

And I would disconnect both batteries.

Or for the chassis battery, it's probably toast..

I would have it (the replacement) ona high quality charger like a CTek, etc or disconnect it & charge it a few days before you need to use it.

I love Lifeline AGM Batteries but for my Chassis Battery I have the best Odyssey unit available from Auto Zone with the Warranty, practically Bulletproof.
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Old 10-27-2021, 05:45 AM   #4
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As I recall, you have a Simplicity. If you look at your Promaster battery under the driver's seat, it comes with a manual disconnect on the negative if you are parking it for over... say... 10-14 days. It will be dead by that time. And for longer than that, and if repeated times, it will be toast. And if the battery is 5 or more years old, you will most likely have to replace it.

The starter battery has no connection at all to the solar. But the solar will keep your house battery healthy. It normally goes to float once they (or it) are charged. I assume that you have AGM battery(ies?). Leave the battery disconnect over the door off, but I would leave the solar controller on.
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Old 10-27-2021, 01:26 PM   #5
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As I recall, you have a Simplicity. If you look at your Promaster battery under the driver's seat, it comes with a manual disconnect on the negative if you are parking it for over... say... 10-14 days. It will be dead by that time. And for longer than that, and if repeated times, it will be toast. And if the battery is 5 or more years old, you will most likely have to replace it.

The starter battery has no connection at all to the solar. But the solar will keep your house battery healthy. It normally goes to float once they (or it) are charged. I assume that you have AGM battery(ies?). Leave the battery disconnect over the door off, but I would leave the solar controller on.

That is a short time, remindful of the 2008 Chevies.


I do think that if he leaves the solar controller on, he will kill his coach batteries though. If he gets snow like we do here, the panels will be covered and controller using enough to probably kill the bank over the winter because of no solar input. You do have to remove the panel connection to the controller also, though, as mentioned above.



I think solar controllers and generators are the only thing I have heard of being wired directly to the coach batteries, so then there should be no power use at all and AGMs would make it through the winter most likely. Wet cells it would be close as they self discharge faster.
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Old 10-27-2021, 04:07 PM   #6
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I do think that if he leaves the solar controller on, he will kill his coach batteries though. If he gets snow like we do here, the panels will be covered and controller using enough to probably kill the bank over the winter because of no solar input. You do have to remove the panel connection to the controller also, though, as mentioned above.
Since I've never stored my rigs with solar (daily driver too), this hasn't come up. I'm on 3 Roadtrek owners pages over on that FB place, and no one has ever mentioned disconnecting the solar when parked for the winter. Or mentioned any issues caused by leaving it. Most mention going out to remove the snow regularly, which is likely the key.
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Old 10-27-2021, 04:13 PM   #7
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Since I've never stored my rigs with solar (daily driver too), this hasn't come up. I'm on 3 Roadtrek owners pages over on that FB place, and no one has ever mentioned disconnecting the solar when parked for the winter. Or mentioned any issues caused by leaving it. Most mention going out to remove the snow regularly, which is likely the key.

Yep, it would absolutely be the key and would work as long as nothing, like the separator, is taking more power than the solar can put put out in the winter sun, on average over time.
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Old 10-27-2021, 04:25 PM   #8
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My van has a master disconnect switch. It is configured such that exactly two things are wired on the house battery side of this switch: 1) The solar controller and 2) the Trik-L-Start.

When I park, I turn off the master switch. When I come back, all batteries are always fully-charged and ready to go. If I lived somewhere where a snow-load on the roof might last the entire winter, I might reconsider. Does that really happen in MN? In PA, there are always intervals with enough sunshine to melt the snow.

If I had lithium, I would not leave them connected to the solar (if any) during storage.
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Old 10-27-2021, 04:59 PM   #9
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My van has a master disconnect switch. It is configured such that exactly two things are wired on the house battery side of this switch: 1) The solar controller and 2) the Trik-L-Start.

When I park, I turn off the master switch. When I come back, all batteries are always fully-charged and ready to go. If I lived somewhere where a snow-load on the roof might last the entire winter, I might reconsider. Does that really happen in MN? In PA, there are always intervals with enough sunshine to melt the snow.

If I had lithium, I would not leave them connected to the solar (if any) during storage.

I think it depends on the year, and lately the winters have been milder so not ever for certain. When I have gone to the junk yards in the past, in the winter, it was pretty uncommon to see all the vehicles with snow melted off. Some depends on how long the snow is on compared to battery capacity, I think. Worst worst would probably one of those times you get wet snow and then a little thaw to make a layer of ice that might be very slow to melt off.


If you lived on the south shore of Lake Superior, he whole vehicle might be buried with the 300" of snow they can get per winter.
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Old 10-27-2021, 07:47 PM   #10
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....Hello again...I went to start my RV to warm up the engine since I planned to change the oil/filter...Dead!...a quick jump and it started right up...two days later, Dead!...I noticed that the solar panel controller still had power, is this draining the engine battery? I won't be using this RV until next April, stored outside in WNY weather..is the solar panel controller always on, and should I disconnect the battery for sitting for such a long time? Thanks
You donít say what Roadtrek you have in your profile. I doubt your solar panels and controller are set to your chassis battery as it is a house battery function. If a Sprinter you need to disconnect the chassis battery is all and thatís inside under the dash. You donít have to remove the chassis battery. I imagine other models have the same function. If you have it connected to a trik-L-Start where the solar via the house batteries will charge your chassis battery then you might not have to disconnect. Sounds like you donít have a Trik-L-Start connection. I never heard or read Roadtrek as offering that.

If you have a 15a plug accessible which every home has on the outside by most all codes, you can plug in to shore power with a cheap 30a to 15a attachment and that would solve your problem if you have Trik-L-Start. You could then extend you access beyond your 30a cord with a heavy duty 15a extension cord. If no trick-L-Start disconnect you chassis battery. House batteries will be fine on 15a shore power or adequate solar.
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Old 10-27-2021, 10:14 PM   #11
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....Thanks to all who responded...yes, it is a Simplicity, 2016...yes, I have the AGM batteries...should I give the engine battery a good charge before disconnecting or does it matter sitting for so long?...otherwise it's winterized and ready for our lake-effect squalls.
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Old 10-27-2021, 10:30 PM   #12
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Lead acid batteries should be fully-charged before storage. Else they are subject to freeze damage.
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Old 10-28-2021, 06:36 PM   #13
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If there is 110V power available, a Battery Tender is an excellent tool.
We have the 4 amp models for our Rvs and tow vehicle.
Have never had a problem with dead batteries thereafter.
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Old 10-29-2021, 04:34 AM   #14
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I don't understand why a battery tender is any better than simply disconnecting the battery. The self-discharge rate of modern batteries is such that they will last for years before being dangerously discharged.
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Old 10-29-2021, 07:57 AM   #15
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I don't understand why a battery tender is any better than simply disconnecting the battery. The self-discharge rate of modern batteries is such that they will last for years before being dangerously discharged.
For me it is a simpler and permanent solution.
Don't have to get the tools out and get access and unbolt a cable that is side bolted on from the backside of the battery.
And then do the reverse of that to get it going again.
And, as we like to run the engine every couple weeks, do this nuisance several times each winter and when we will not be using the Van for an extended period.
Real PITA.
YMMV
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Old 10-29-2021, 11:11 AM   #16
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For me it is a simpler and permanent solution.
Don't have to get the tools out and get access and unbolt a cable that is side bolted on from the backside of the battery.
And then do the reverse of that to get it going again.
And, as we like to run the engine every couple weeks, do this nonsense several times each winter and when we will not be using the Van for an extended period.
Real PITA.
YMMV

I have mixed feelings on this whole question of tenders or long term float, and even the battery manufacturers are squishy on the subject, from what I have seen. I asked Lifeline about it a number of years ago and they wouldn't say for sure what they recommend, but the tech leaned toward using a tender or float a little bit. That said, at 1% a month discharge for AGM batteries you normally would be down well under 10% over the winter so that isn't bad as long as that doesn't get locked in as lost capacity because the manufacturers state that it can be if you don't recharge within a short time after a discharge. They don't address it for small discharges over time, though. Our van sits inside a heated garage so I do a hybrid of letting it sit a month or so and then run a full voltage to 100% full charge cycle and let it float a few days, then disconnect again. I am out in the garage a lot anyway so it is easy to do.


Just add disconnects to the batteries and there will be no tools needed to disconnect them when needed, and the disconnects are nice to have anyway sometimes besides.



The area I would not agree with over winter storage is running the van every few weeks, as this is pretty commonly not recommended by a lot of knowledgeable sources. First, in a short running time of not driving, you will not recover the chassis battery charge you used to start it, especially if it is cold out. Second, it won't run long enough to drive off all the water that will get into the entire engine and exhaust, nor will you drive off the fuel wash from cold weather start that will go into the oil. Cold starts are a much larger wear causing item than warm starts or driving and even more wear than just sitting. Most would say that it is more of a problem with diesels than gas because they are tough to get warm in cold weather. I live in Minnesota and have seen many, many engines with lots of whitish "goop" in the valve covers to the point of impeding oil movement. It also causes corrosion. The cause is cold starts and short trips a very large amount the time. If you have moisture or goop on the bottom of oil fill cap or in the PVC valve you are not getting the engine hot enough, often enough, in general. Even worse is if the drain oil or dipstick smell of gas or show diesel contamination as that dilutes the oil and accelerates engine wear.
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Old 10-29-2021, 12:08 PM   #17
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booster, that seems much like not having the evidence to make a definitive statement concerning 50% soc ........... Good for Lifeline for Not making stuff up! Just a guess based on whatever Until the Time, Energy and Money has been spent to find out.

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Old 10-29-2021, 12:30 PM   #18
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booster, that seems much like not having the evidence to make a definitive statement concerning 50% soc ........... Good for Lifeline for Not making stuff up! Just a guess based on whatever Until the Time, Energy and Money has been spent to find out.

Bud

I agree that it is similar, but we certainly do have lots of data on the 50% SOC rule now, and Lifeline still is recommending 50% max discharges for the most part. They don't make crazy claims though about killing the batteries with a couple of deeper discharges though like we hear so often.


I do wish there were some real testing done on the best way to store batteries in various conditions as it would help a lot of people. Unfortunately, doing those tests at home is not really possible due to time required and controlling conditions well.


There are a couple of long discussions on this forum about the 50% with lots of data a testing to back up the claim that the 50% rule is grossly exaggerating the amount of extra wear you get from going to 20% SOC instead of 50%. I will dig out some links, it is a bit of a read, but to me was very interesting and useful. This is the kind of data it would nice to have about storage issues.


Here is the first one:


https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...html#post43528


And another one later on:


https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...imit-5595.html
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Old 10-29-2021, 01:16 PM   #19
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You may have understood booster. I was trying to say that Lifeline has spent the the time, energy Money concerning 20% vs 50%, but not 'trickle charging' vs doing nothing - just a guess based on whatever evidence is available. You and Lifeline are something alike!

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Old 10-29-2021, 01:32 PM   #20
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You may have understood booster. I was trying to say that Lifeline has spent the the time, energy Money concerning 20% vs 50%, but not 'trickle charging' vs doing nothing - just a guess based on whatever evidence is available. You and Lifeline are something alike!

Bud

Gotcha, thanks.
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