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Old 08-31-2009, 03:07 PM   #1
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Life of House Batteries

When I bought my coach in February '07 I had an extra house battery added. I was just out there sprucing up for a beach trip and hit the battery monitor switch in the coach. For the first time, it registered 2/3 charged. The coach is plugged into the house, so I was a bit surprised. I topped off the water in them just over a week ago. It was not below the plates in the battery.

How long should batteries last?
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:18 PM   #2
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House Battery

I have two house batteries in my Bounder, Trojan 105s. They are now 12 year sold and work just fine. They have been plugged in every day since the coach was purchased in 1997. Our controller does have a anti-sulfation mode as do most new converters which helps their life.

Our's are always fully charged except when we are dry camping.

Except for the last two years we've averaged 7 months a year on the road and have never had trouble with them. My experience is that they may out live me.

Norm
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:23 PM   #3
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What all 12v power did you have on when you checked the meter?

When plugged in to 110AC, you should see full charge because you are seeing the 12v coming off the convertor. To get a true reading on the batteries you should check the meter with no AC voltage to the convertor and also nothing running 12 v DC.

How long they will last depends on how well they are maintained and stored. Charge State and Storage Temperature being two of the big factors. I'd say average is about 5 - 7 years.

Norm is doing real good at 12 and counting.
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:29 PM   #4
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I hope they never fail. The house batteries are located in a pit in front of the radiator. I realy can't imagine getting them out.

Two years ago we had a truck battery failure at Lake Mead and had to remove the truck battery. It is better located than the house batteries but it had well less than an inch of clearance. We did get it in.

Later that month we went to Chaco Canyon, a truly marvelous place to visit. Unfortunately its a 20 miles down the dirt road from hell. When we reached our site and shut off the engine, nothing that runs off the truck battery would work, including the engine.

On the way down the road from hell the house battery had lept off it's shelf and disconnected one of the terminal wires. We were creeping down the road but 90 pound tires transmit every bump. Hence our house battery is now strapped down.

By the way Chaco Canyon is one of the most isolated National Parks. They claim they don't pave the road because they don't want many people to come. The sites our small, only two could handle our 32 foot Bounder.

If you're looking for quiet this is the place - 75 miles from a street light and 25 miles from a real two lane road.

Norm
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:38 PM   #5
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Storage temperature

I meant to comment on storage temperature. We park our Bounder in front of the house when we're home. Last year it spent the winter there, plugged in the whole time while we took the Sunline, as we plan to do again this year.

It obviously got well below freezing in NH, no apparant damage. I wonder if the fact that they're powered mitigates the affects of temperature?

We topped the batteries before we left in our Sunline last year. We were gone 7 months. leaving in October and returning in April. The water level was not below the plates when we returned in late April. The house batteries power a number of things while we're gone, a number of sensors and the refrigerator.

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Old 08-31-2009, 05:16 PM   #6
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I can't find a pic of a tank monitor right now, but I believe you're reading the face wrong. The E, 1/3, 2/3, and F are for the three holding tanks. There should be another scale on the other side indicating like Low, Fair, Good, and Charging. So the top light shouldn't light when the battery isn't plugged in.

However, since your coach was plugged in, you may want to inspect your charging system, as it may not have been charging. If you had it plugged in for a while with nothing running, it may have been full and just wasn't charging at that moment.

Jon
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Old 08-31-2009, 06:17 PM   #7
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I am embarassed to say that the GFI had tripped, so no power was getting the to coach.....it is working now! Thinking about the charging system made me wonder.....

Thanks for the relies.
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Old 09-01-2009, 08:08 AM   #8
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My tripped GFI story: At least your tripped GFI wasn't powering a Medic Unit in your driveway

I was a Medic in a rural community on MD's Eastern Shore where we brought the unit (a Full size Ford Bronco) home and ran calls. It had a shore line that powered all the chargers for the electronic equipment and a small heater in the winter. The shore line attached on the B post right behind the driver's door, which was also where the rain gutter dumped off the door Great design. Anyhow, I get alerted for a call about 06:30 and jump in the unit to click, click, ........ it had rained over night and tripped the GFI. Fortunately, the 12v charger (which worked through the vehicle battery) was strong enough to get the truck running fairly quickly, and I still made the call.

You might want to look into a cover that covers the GFI and cord to prevent the issue in the future.
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:50 AM   #9
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GFI Story

On our trip to Labrador one of the places to stop is a hotel while waiting for the ferry at Cartwright. The hotel is located within 20 feet of the Labrador highway, a two lane dirt road.

Ginny went in to the hotel to ask where to park. He said we could park across the highway near the helicopter and he would run a power cord from the hotel to us, laying it on the highway or next to the hotel. Not being able to imagine a power cord lying across the Labrador highway, we opted for next to the hotel.

We parked and he ran a 50 ft power cord to us out the back door of the hotel for us to plug into. It rained the next day tripping a GFI.

We learned that GFIs trip if the connections get wet.

As solution our GFI problems, he told us to bring our power cord over to the window of his office where he would plug it into his air conditioner outlet. I got to the window where there was a permanent screen. He quickly took out his knife and to my chagrin proceeded to cut a hole thru the screen, saying I never use the screen. Welcome to Labrador (and GFIs).

Norm
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:49 PM   #10
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I feel better now about not checking the GFI! We have had lots of quick and dirty storms this year that resulted in the power blinking on and off....I feel certain it was on of those storms that tripped it.....

I am thankful the coach is set to go to the shore without the added expense of new batteries!
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