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RonRN18

Roseville, CA

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Posted: 06/07/19 12:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am fairly new to RVing, having purchased my trailer a few months ago now. When we purchased the trailer, our dealer offered a standard 12V lead-acid battery or as an upgrade, two 6V GC2 deep-cycle lead-acid batteries. I went with the upgraded 6V batteries. Now, my question has to do with how frequently do I need to inspect the batteries and check the fluid level. At this point, they are two months old and have been on three camping trips, with two scheduled for next month. I've read all about HOW to perform the maintenance and how to check the fluid level in the batteries but in all the instructions on how to do it, none state how frequently they need to be checked. We are not full-time campers, but we are looking to get away whenever we can. I don't want the process to be so frequent it becomes a pain in the behind, nor do I want it to be so infrequent, I end up damaging the batteries. Is there any advice based on either calendar time or usage time for routine inspection and maintenance?


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Ava

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Posted: 06/07/19 12:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If they are being plugged in to shore power and the converter is charging them all the time, you will need to have a regular check of fluid levels.
In my motorhome I can shut the batteries off anytime and charge as needed. I rarely need to add water to mine.

CA Traveler

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Posted: 06/07/19 12:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Start with more frequent checks and learn for your situation. For the last rig I worked up to 3 month checks and yearly water addition.

Besides camping trips there is dependency on storage factors including with or without power and the quality of your charger.


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Lwiddis

Crestview area, Inyo County, California

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Posted: 06/07/19 12:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I check monthly when not traveling...they are maintained by a small solar system. I check weekly when taveling...they are charged by a large solar system.


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wildtoad

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Posted: 06/07/19 01:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You might want to establish a preventive maintenance routine and schedule to include battery water level check, drain the water heater per the manual, blow out the burner tubes of the wh, furnace, refrigerator, and make sure all external areas of these are clean and free of bugs and debris. Make sure all hinges for the steps, moving parts of the stabilizers, have a squirt of silicone lube, or wiped down with WD40. Since your unit is brand new, you may want to look at a spray on / wipe off product that has UV protection. Two the come to mind are 303 Protectant, and Lucas Slick Mist. Both are very easy to use, and as a result don’t take long or much energy to do but will help keep the TT looking new for a long time.


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Gjac

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Posted: 06/07/19 02:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good luck on your new RV. Sounds like you are going camping at least every other week. Being a new camper you probably go in it at least once a week anyway to add things to it, so just check the batteries with a volt meter when you enter. You should read 12.6 + volts if they are fully charged. You will get an idea of how fast they will self discharge. Do you dry camp or go to FHU sites? If FHU they will charge when you plug in. If you dry camp fully charge them when you return home. Batteries will self discharge over time but new batteries like what you have will be fine if you have a battery disconnect switch and use it between your camping trips. I charge mine up in Nov and they sit over the winter with out a charger on them. They sit a month or so sometimes in the summer without a charge. If you post what charger you have you will get more detailed answers. Most batteries die from under charging and the plates get sulfated or overcharging and not checking the water levels.

RonRN18

Roseville, CA

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Posted: 06/07/19 04:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gjac wrote:

Good luck on your new RV. Sounds like you are going camping at least every other week. Being a new camper you probably go in it at least once a week anyway to add things to it, so just check the batteries with a volt meter when you enter. You should read 12.6 + volts if they are fully charged. You will get an idea of how fast they will self discharge. Do you dry camp or go to FHU sites? If FHU they will charge when you plug in. If you dry camp fully charge them when you return home. Batteries will self discharge over time but new batteries like what you have will be fine if you have a battery disconnect switch and use it between your camping trips. I charge mine up in Nov and they sit over the winter with out a charger on them. They sit a month or so sometimes in the summer without a charge. If you post what charger you have you will get more detailed answers. Most batteries die from under charging and the plates get sulfated or overcharging and not checking the water levels.


I happen to have a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor, so I can keep pretty close tabs on energy usage and status. I JUST came back from the trailer after initially asking my first question. I ran over to fix a problem I found last weekend. Last weekend's trip was an dry camping trip where we stayed for two nights. I plugged into a generator for about 45 minutes midway through the day between the nights; the batteries never dropped below 89% on the trip. I've found that the amount of charging when connected to the tow vehicle is extremely minimal. I did not have any time to top off the batteries after the trip and I'm unable to plug in while the trailer is in storage (at an RV storage lot). I noticed when I got to my trailer today, I forgot to disconnect the batteries last Sunday evening. The state of the batteries were down to 88% according to the VictronConnect app on my phone. I'd imagine that most of my camping will be at facilities that HAVE electricity hook-ups, but not all, like last weekend. I also have a generator, which I can use when dry camping. Unless I'm truly boondocking, most places have a curfew for generator use, so it will be episodic at best when dry-camping. Last weekend I was at a California State Park (Calaveras Big Trees SP).

While I was there at my trailer, I took the water caps off the batteries and they appeared to be full... a slight concave curvature of the water at the base of each fill-port. The water appeared quite clear, seeing the lead panels inside fairly easily. I did not pull out a hydrometer (I haven't purchased one yet).

When it comes to some maintenance, we plan on taking our trailer to the dealer we purchased it from yearly for an annual inspection. During this time, they do a multi-point inspection and repair of any little issue. This includes cleaning the refrigerator coils, the furnace, and the hot water heater. As it seldom gets to freezing here and if it does, only for a few hours in the night, combined with the insulation of the trailer (undercarriage is enclosed and insulated), I don't think I need to winterize it; I've asked many other RVers in the area and none winterize theirs.

SoundGuy

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Posted: 06/07/19 06:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RonRN18 wrote:

When we purchased the trailer, our dealer offered a standard 12V lead-acid battery or as an upgrade, two 6V GC2 deep-cycle lead-acid batteries. I went with the upgraded 6V batteries.

I don't want the process to be so frequent it becomes a pain in the behind, nor do I want it to be so infrequent, I end up damaging the batteries.


Too late now but you could have avoided this entire issue by investing in a pair of AGM batteries, whether 6 volt or 12 volt, and enjoyed not having to maintain them at all other than proper recharging of course.


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Gjac

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Posted: 06/07/19 09:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How many amps does you battery charger put out? Generally 45 mins on a genset is not enough time to fully charge your batteries after 2 days of dry camping. Does your charger or your monitor show you when the batteries are fully charged? Usually you will see the batteries accept a greater amount of amps when are somewhat discharged and will taper to 0 when fully charged.

RonRN18

Roseville, CA

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Posted: 06/07/19 10:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gjac wrote:

How many amps does you battery charger put out? Generally 45 mins on a genset is not enough time to fully charge your batteries after 2 days of dry camping. Does your charger or your monitor show you when the batteries are fully charged? Usually you will see the batteries accept a greater amount of amps when are somewhat discharged and will taper to 0 when fully charged.


If memory serves, when charging, it dumps about 25 amps into the batteries and takes a few hours to top off the batteries.

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