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Old 07-14-2021, 03:45 PM   #1
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Battery charging

So my wife and I purchased our 03 1950 a few months ago and are still working the bugs out of it. I was told that if I don't disconnect the battery when I plug into shore power that I will over charge the battery. Is this true? If so how do I go about wiring in a batter tender or something along those lines that will keep my battery from over charging and I don't have to remember to disconnect the battery every time I plug in.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 07-14-2021, 06:37 PM   #2
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I have the cs4500 converter in it currently.
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Old 07-14-2021, 06:37 PM   #3
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Short-term (2-3 days), that's not really much of a concern. But long term, yes, the tech they used back then can shorten your battery life if you're on shore power for weeks at a time.

If you don't have a battery disconnect switch, consider installing one. That way you'll have no concerns with minor drains like the LP gas alarm and whatnot draining the battery while the camper's in storage.

Though I have the technical background to set up a no-brainer modern battery tender, I just haven't found it worth my while to do so. Interested in seeing what others have come up with.
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Old 07-15-2021, 06:56 AM   #4
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If it's an older style linier charger yes it will damage the battery long term. The newer switching supply chargers are far better regulated and can be left on. You can put an older charger type on a timer to only run a couple or so hours a day.
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Old 07-15-2021, 01:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Tinstaafl View Post
Short-term (2-3 days), that's not really much of a concern. But long term, yes, the tech they used back then can shorten your battery life if you're on shore power for weeks at a time.

If you don't have a battery disconnect switch, consider installing one. That way you'll have no concerns with minor drains like the LP gas alarm and whatnot draining the battery while the camper's in storage.

Though I have the technical background to set up a no-brainer modern battery tender, I just haven't found it worth my while to do so. Interested in seeing what others have come up with.

So I'm dumb. I wired in a battery tender... Batter tender didn't come on when I plugged my caper in. I am guessing because it's DC that comes to my battery to charge it. I'm not guessing I know but I didn't think it through ha. Anywho I also realized that if I wire in a batter tender the voltage has no way to flow back into the camper through the tender. I am not sure what to do. Ill be honest. I'm lazy and trying to not have to disconnect and reconnect my batter when I'm plugged into shore power. Maryland is crap for boondocking so maybe I'll just forego the battery all together.
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Old 07-15-2021, 02:56 PM   #6
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Don't go without a battery. At the least, you need it to activate the electric brakes if something goes wrong while towing and the breakaway cable gets pulled.

When you plug into shore power, your converter immediately begins sending current to charge the battery, and you don't want that. The battery must be disconnected from the converter as long as you're on shore power.

The battery tender won't be able to function properly if the converter is still attached, and could even be damaged.

Again, if you don't have a disconnect switch, you should. Then it's easy-peasy to disconnect from the converter just with the flip of that switch. The battery tender should be wired directly to the battery so that switch doesn't disconnect it.

I have a 1999 T-1950, and the previous owner installed a disconnect. I have a tender wired as described above, and it's really not a hassle. Just one small item on your checklist when setting up/breaking down.
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Old 07-15-2021, 03:50 PM   #7
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Don't go without a battery. At the least, you need it to activate the electric brakes if something goes wrong while towing and the breakaway cable gets pulled.

When you plug into shore power, your converter immediately begins sending current to charge the battery, and you don't want that. The battery must be disconnected from the converter as long as you're on shore power.

The battery tender won't be able to function properly if the converter is still attached, and could even be damaged.

Again, if you don't have a disconnect switch, you should. Then it's easy-peasy to disconnect from the converter just with the flip of that switch. The battery tender should be wired directly to the battery so that switch doesn't disconnect it.

I have a 1999 T-1950, and the previous owner installed a disconnect. I have a tender wired as described above, and it's really not a hassle. Just one small item on your checklist when setting up/breaking down.
I have a disconnect switch I just forget to turn it off or turn it on and it's a pain in the butt. Do they make an upgraded or a newer style power converter that has a battery tender or maintainer built in so I don't need a disconnect?
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Old 07-15-2021, 04:37 PM   #8
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Yes, there are newer converters which use the appropriate technology. I haven't looked into them in depth, but I believe they're somewhere in the $200-400 range.

You'd have to do some homework to ensure the replacement will physically fit where the old one was, and then have the technical expertise to do the wiring. Paying someone to do it is an option, but that could be pretty salty.
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Old 07-15-2021, 05:03 PM   #9
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In most cases the disconnect is part of the charger system no real need for redundant switches. Plug in trickle chargers will charge the batteries but you need to unplug the camper power or they will fight each other they are voltage sensitive so if one charger is sending X voltage the other looks at is as proper charged voltage ever if the battery is not charged.
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Old 07-17-2021, 08:38 AM   #10
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Hi Frankvee,

I'll add a couple things not yet stated as it relates to your 2003 T1950 with the CS4500 power converter.

1. When you come home from camping and are going to store the camper, any you have no battery tender/maintainer or good power converter on the camper plugged in, you need to unhook the battery from the main camper. Only have to remove the negative cable OR, better, turn off the battery disconnect. If not, then the LP gas detector which has no switch on it, the display on the radio that has no switch on it or other forgotten things in the camper, like the roof antenna booster will drain your battery close to dead in about 2 weeks. Point: Use your disconnect switch when storing the camper when not plugged into shore power.

2. Your 2003 CS4500 power converter, what brand is it? American Enterprise's or what? I have a 2004 T1950 (made in later 2003) that I am restoring right now. If you have the American power converter, that style converter has a float mode in it. Meaning it will drop the voltage down to about 13.25 volts and very low amperage once the battery is fully charged.
It will then act like a trickle charger.

If you have a volt meter, test the battery, at the battery for theses voltages with your existing power converter. The voltages may be a slightly off, but in this area.

13.25 (area) volts DC = float charge
13.65 (area) volts DC = Standard charge

Pending how drained your battery is, that American power converter could take 2 days to fully charge a group 24 battery. It should then flip down into float mode. If it does, then the charger is acting like a trickle charger.

If after 3 to 4 days, the battery is still at 13.65 volts DC and you are not using heavy DC power inside, then it is staying at standard charge and that is what boils out batteries. Some of the older or non working power converters never went into float mode and while they may even slow down some of the amps it was pumping into the battery, they do not drop the voltage and drop the current down way low, into the milliamp range. This test can be done on any power converter to see if it has the issue of never going into float mode. Power converters without a working float mode is why you hear to not leave the camper plugged in. First is to confirm your camper is made that way.

3. My American Enterprises power converter just died, last week. This is the second camper I have had with this brand that is in that 2003 to 2006 time frame Sunline models. The first one that died in my 2004 T310SR, the fan control died. This last one in the 2004 T1950, had other issues. After the unit is on for about an hour, the board starts clicking. And this converter has to have a battery installed in order to even power up the converter. And that is not supposed to happen on this vintage power converter. Before the whole thing died out in the campground, I made to the call to change. This vintage power converter is not the best, it was on the verge when the industry started to make better one. This vintage was not one them. They did make a better one in the later 2004 time frame.

Bottom line: I ordered a new Progressive Dynamics C9260 deck mount power converter last week and I am installing it today. I am keeping the old fuse panel and the circuit breakers, I am just gutting the power converter and wiring in the new converter. I will post the outcome when done. I have done this before on my T310SR, see here. https://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/f...rade-8888.html Just on that floor plan, it was harder to mount the unit. The T1950 I have room behind the old converter to mount a deck mount unit. I have not found a drop in power converter board to upgrader the American units, yet anyway.

Sunline changed power converter brands around the 2002/2003 time frame. The older Centurion (I think was the brand, don't quote me on that) was then changed to American Enterprises. Come the late 2005/2006 time frame, they stopped using them and went to WFCO brand power converter. Pending when your 2003 model camper was built, it may have the older Centurion or the American power converter.

If your current converter is working OK, for now, then when storing the camper either plug in the battery tender with the disconnect switch off, or do not plug in and just turn the battery disconnect off. If and when the day comes the power converter dies, consider the converter up grade to a newer 3 stage or better 4 stage with desulfate mode power converter that will handle and maintain your battery much better and not need a battery tender or to be unhooked while camping.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 07-17-2021, 11:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
Hi Frankvee,

I'll add a couple things not yet stated as it relates to your 2003 T1950 with the CS4500 power converter.

1. When you come home from camping and are going to store the camper, any you have no battery tender/maintainer or good power converter on the camper plugged in, you need to unhook the battery from the main camper. Only have to remove the negative cable OR, better, turn off the battery disconnect. If not, then the LP gas detector which has no switch on it, the display on the radio that has no switch on it or other forgotten things in the camper, like the roof antenna booster will drain your battery close to dead in about 2 weeks. Point: Use your disconnect switch when storing the camper when not plugged into shore power.

2. Your 2003 CS4500 power converter, what brand is it? American Enterprise's or what? I have a 2004 T1950 (made in later 2003) that I am restoring right now. If you have the American power converter, that style converter has a float mode in it. Meaning it will drop the voltage down to about 13.25 volts and very low amperage once the battery is fully charged.
It will then act like a trickle charger.

If you have a volt meter, test the battery, at the battery for theses voltages with your existing power converter. The voltages may be a slightly off, but in this area.

13.25 (area) volts DC = float charge
13.65 (area) volts DC = Standard charge

Pending how drained your battery is, that American power converter could take 2 days to fully charge a group 24 battery. It should then flip down into float mode. If it does, then the charger is acting like a trickle charger.

If after 3 to 4 days, the battery is still at 13.65 volts DC and you are not using heavy DC power inside, then it is staying at standard charge and that is what boils out batteries. Some of the older or non working power converters never went into float mode and while they may even slow down some of the amps it was pumping into the battery, they do not drop the voltage and drop the current down way low, into the milliamp range. This test can be done on any power converter to see if it has the issue of never going into float mode. Power converters without a working float mode is why you hear to not leave the camper plugged in. First is to confirm your camper is made that way.

3. My American Enterprises power converter just died, last week. This is the second camper I have had with this brand that is in that 2003 to 2006 time frame Sunline models. The first one that died in my 2004 T310SR, the fan control died. This last one in the 2004 T1950, had other issues. After the unit is on for about an hour, the board starts clicking. And this converter has to have a battery installed in order to even power up the converter. And that is not supposed to happen on this vintage power converter. Before the whole thing died out in the campground, I made to the call to change. This vintage power converter is not the best, it was on the verge when the industry started to make better one. This vintage was not one them. They did make a better one in the later 2004 time frame.

Bottom line: I ordered a new Progressive Dynamics C9260 deck mount power converter last week and I am installing it today. I am keeping the old fuse panel and the circuit breakers, I am just gutting the power converter and wiring in the new converter. I will post the outcome when done. I have done this before on my T310SR, see here. https://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/f...rade-8888.html Just on that floor plan, it was harder to mount the unit. The T1950 I have room behind the old converter to mount a deck mount unit. I have not found a drop in power converter board to upgrader the American units, yet anyway.

Sunline changed power converter brands around the 2002/2003 time frame. The older Centurion (I think was the brand, don't quote me on that) was then changed to American Enterprises. Come the late 2005/2006 time frame, they stopped using them and went to WFCO brand power converter. Pending when your 2003 model camper was built, it may have the older Centurion or the American power converter.

If your current converter is working OK, for now, then when storing the camper either plug in the battery tender with the disconnect switch off, or do not plug in and just turn the battery disconnect off. If and when the day comes the power converter dies, consider the converter up grade to a newer 3 stage or better 4 stage with desulfate mode power converter that will handle and maintain your battery much better and not need a battery tender or to be unhooked while camping.

Hope this helps

John

Thank you.
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Old 07-24-2021, 06:17 AM   #12
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My T1550 has a battery box on the front frame of the trailer. Inside the box I have a 30 amp spade type fuse connected inline to the positive cable of the battery . When I store my camper at home I remove the fuse to isolate the battery to prevent discharge.
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Old 07-24-2021, 07:49 AM   #13
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One of the first things I did with my "new 1990 T1700" was replace the converter charger with a modern one. It had a 10 amp greater output and only produced the power needed to keep the battery's up it stays on 24/7 year around and charges two group 24 batteries. The batteries last at least 5 years. I live in Maine below zero weather is not unusual a dead battery can freeze and it's not a pretty sight. I have another modern converter charge in the basement it keeps small batteries (snow mobile, lawn mower and a group 27 and my generator battery charged also. By design the modern ones are internally isolated.
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Old 08-28-2021, 02:20 PM   #14
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Just read through this thread...leaves me to ask a related question. I parked my 2007 Sunny after a trip in May. I plugged it into my 20Amp outside all-weather socket on my house, and left the whole setup on as if still at camp. After reading all this am I in for a battery surprise next time I try to use it which is in about 3 weeks?


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Old 08-28-2021, 07:28 PM   #15
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Good question, Bob, but not enough info. If you have the original converter in your Sunny, chances are it's not being particularly kind to the battery. If the battery's relatively new, it might be fine for your trip--depending on how much juice you're going to need.

If you have a digital voltmeter, turn a few lights on (with the camper unplugged from the AC outlet), and you should see 12.6 volts if the battery's anywhere near healthy. Anything lower is cause for paranoia.

With or without the voltmeter test though, with three weeks to go, you have enough time to just pretend you're camping, running lights, water pump and whatnot for a day or six to see if everything behaves as expected.

Another option might be to take it to a car parts place, where they have the equipment to put it on a dummy load and evaluate its condition. They will often do that for no charge.
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Old 08-29-2021, 06:26 AM   #16
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Not knowing what you have for a charger it's only a guess. One dead give away would be low water level in the battery but any more many are sealed batteries and it would be difficult to tell. All of the above would work a load will drop the voltage, the interior lights draw a lot of current and if the battery is weak they will dim fast. I'm in Maine it gets cold that is another reason to up grade to a modern charger. A frozen battery is equally as bad as as an over charged one! My camper stays plugged in year round.
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Old 08-29-2021, 12:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Just read through this thread...leaves me to ask a related question. I parked my 2007 Sunny after a trip in May. I plugged it into my 20Amp outside all-weather socket on my house, and left the whole setup on as if still at camp. After reading all this am I in for a battery surprise next time I try to use it which is in about 3 weeks?


Thanks Bob
Hi Bob, since you have the newer 3 stage charging WFCO converter, you have a good chance you may be OK, pending how topped off the battery was when you started and is now, with the electrolyte in the battery being over the plates in the battery. The electrolyte level is the issue when it gets below the plates.

Your converter has a float mode, that means it will drop down into the 13.25 volt range and drop the current to minimal once the battery is 100% charged. This reduces the gassing off of the battery from over charging.

I have data on the Progressive Dynamics converter that will not boil out a battery in over a year, but not that much data on the WFCO. The WCFO was the last vintage Sunline put in, the 2006 and 2007 models had them. Some late 2005's might have them.

Ideally, you check the battery electrolyte level every 6 months on your vintage converter. Make sure the level is up to just touching the spilt site rings in the battery so you know for sure where the level is. If it can go 6 months OK and it has not dropped, then you can try for a year. Going lots beyond a year and not checking, well it's an unknown. This testing is with the converter plugged in. Regardless plugged in or not, checking the battery electrolyte level once a year until you know how your converter works, it a need. Make this part of your spring start up checks and make sure the battery is topped off to the split indicator rings. (not full up to the top of the case, that is too full)

Hope this helps.

John
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Old 08-31-2021, 12:22 PM   #18
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I did the battery checks as recommended. It was topped off as per your recommendation John. I also disconnected from shore power and ran a selection of lights, fans etc. 12.5/6 volts was shown. Seem like this battery...Interstate Marine/RV SRM-27, 600CCA is treating me good. Thanks for the information everyone.


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