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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Unused batteries discharging; is solar trickle the answer?

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dave14117

Lacey, Wa

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Posted: 07/11/18 11:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have two fifth wheels and since using them we've almost always been on shore power or generator, I think I've been delusional thinking the batteries in the rigs are working. They're unused for months at a time and I've noticed that when we are dry camping, the batteries are no-go. Thought it was just the WFCO converters, but maybe not -- can even deep cycle batteries survive so much time off power? Currently trying to get 3 year old Costco batteries working; they won't keep a charge even out of the RV after being on a car charger.

Question is whether a solar trickle charger is an answer. (No power where we store these rigs.)

Thanks


Thanks,

Dave

MEXICOWANDERER

las peñas, michoacan, mexico

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Posted: 07/11/18 11:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A decent solar battery float system not only will maintain float voltage but will goose the batteries occasionally with higher voltage to stir the electrolyte. Sizing at 3% per total amp hour capacity is plenty. Cheap and solar management are two incompatible words -- but it's worth every penny.

2oldman

Salton Sea

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Posted: 07/11/18 11:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Disconnecting your batteries works pretty well.

BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 07/11/18 11:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You other choice it to take the batts home and keep them on a maintainer there. Solar is better, since you can also use it while camping if you get more solar than needed just for storage.


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Sam Spade

North Central Florida

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Posted: 07/11/18 12:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All 3 of the previous answers are correct in their own right.
You just need to pick the one that best suits you.

And it looks like your present batteries are toast.

At a minimum you need new batteries and a multi-meter to test them and your converter.

P.S. If the battery disconnect switch is left in the OFF position, your 12 V stuff will work on shore power or gen but the batteries will never charge.


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fitznj

nj

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Posted: 07/11/18 12:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I keep my TT at the back of my property and have 2 x 100W panels which keep the batteries fully charger when stored. I take the panels with me if I'm dry camping.

I also have a battery disconnect switch - batteries consistently stay at 12.9.


Gerry

Housted

Los Angeles, CA

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Posted: 07/11/18 01:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have a permanent site 5er in the mountains. A 50 watt solar panel works well to keep the two 12 volt batteries trickle charged. I have a battery disconnect so that there is nothing connected but the solar when we are not there. Has maintained the batts for over 2 years with little loss of water and they are fully charged when we arrive. I did tilt the panel for optimum exposure to the sun.

Housted


2015 Dodge 3500 Laramie 6.7 CTD Tow Rig Integrated ball with Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel hitch
2011 Arctic Fox 29-5T 5th - 4 Pt Leveling, Disk Brakes, 650 W Solar
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Lwiddis

Los Angeles :(

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Posted: 07/11/18 03:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My TT batteries are maintained with a small solar panel and controller from WindyNation when at rest and covered. This system is completely separate and hooked directly to my two T125 batteries. Works great!


2015 Winnebago 2101DS TT & Tahoe LTZ, 300 watts WindyNation solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL flagpole for US flag. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - old MOS 1542 & 1560.


time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 07/11/18 04:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes solar works great. Forget the tiny trickle panels. For the effort get 100 to 200 watts and a good controller.


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las peñas, michoacan, mexico

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Posted: 07/11/18 04:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Intermediate Question

Does a reasonably priced controller exist that not only maintains batteries at the correct voltage but weekly or bi-weekly give a surge of voltage for perhaps a half hour?

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