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Old 08-10-2013, 03:49 AM   #1
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Make your batteries last

I know from experience that letting your battery just sit in the rig while it's not being used is slow but sure death sentence for the battery. Two of mine died completely in my old trailer, and they were only two years old. I just ignored them during the off times, and they retaliated.

Then I got smarter, and built a solar charging gizmo. It's an A frame of wood, with two 5 watt chargers powered by the big nuclear inferno in the sky. The frame holds the panels, which attach to the batteries by nice leads, and keep them trickled up to charge whenever the sun is out.

It was easy to make, and it just parks on the ground. I have a cable bolted to it and lock the cable end to the rig for security.

I just finished up a post on this, with photos, at MyVoltageRV.com so click on over and have a gander at it. Feel free to copy if you like.

There's nothing quite as satisfying as building something with your own hands and having that thing save you a lot of money by extending your battery life.
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:49 PM   #2
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We just turn the battery off!
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Old 08-10-2013, 03:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nana & Poppy View Post
We just turn the battery off!
Just so you know, it doesn't matter. Your battery will still discharge itself. You can take a fresh battery and sit on your workbench. Just leave it there, hooked up to nothing. Check the voltage. It'll be 13 and change. Come back and check the voltage a month later. It WILL NOT be 13. It'll have dropped. It drops a small amount every day, until one day, you find that battery, brand new, never used, DEAD. It has become a paperweight.

And an ugly paperweight at that!

Don't let this happen to your expensive deep cycle batteries. Keep them alive. This process of slowly losing energy is due to the natural chemical reactions going on inside. A little trickle charge is enough to keep them from discharging.

Your batteries will love you if you never let them discharge more than 50%, too. That may not be possible always, but you want the trend to be on the charged side whenever humanly possible. Or get ready to spend, spend, spend. A good deep cycle battery costs $80 or more.
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VoltageGuy View Post
Just so you know, it doesn't matter. Your battery will still discharge itself. You can take a fresh battery and sit on your workbench. Just leave it there, hooked up to nothing. Check the voltage. It'll be 13 and change. Come back and check the voltage a month later. It WILL NOT be 13. It'll have dropped. It drops a small amount every day, until one day, you find that battery, brand new, never used, DEAD. It has become a paperweight.

And an ugly paperweight at that!

Don't let this happen to your expensive deep cycle batteries. Keep them alive. This process of slowly losing energy is due to the natural chemical reactions going on inside. A little trickle charge is enough to keep them from discharging.

Your batteries will love you if you never let them discharge more than 50%, too. That may not be possible always, but you want the trend to be on the charged side whenever humanly possible. Or get ready to spend, spend, spend. A good deep cycle battery costs $80 or more.
What Voltage said. Solar trickle is the only way to go.

My neighbor sold me on solar. He is a retired electrician and has been using solar on his vehilce batteries since day one. He has batteries in his vehicles that are 10 years old and still going strong.

Keep the electrolyte topped up, the terminals clean and a nice trickle charge and you can leave your batteries in the rig ready to go when ever you want to hit the road.
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