Battery winterizing options

Discussion in 'Camper Storage / Winterizing & De-Winterizing' started by tfischer, Sep 11, 2021.

  1. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    For the past 8 seasons we've had to store our camper off-site. Having no power option at the storage site, I always pulled the battery from the popup and brought it home, keeping it indoors/protecting it from freezing over the winter (but not on a battery tender/charger).

    We just finished widening our driveway and adding a fenced-in parking area for the pup, and I brought it back from the storage lot for the last time yesterday. So I now have the option to keep the camper plugged in 100% of the time if I want.

    So my question is, is it practical/better to just leave the battery mounted all winter with the converter trickle-charging it? We have a nice Progressive Dynamics converter with a true battery charger. This is Minnesota so it does get quite cold.

    Another concern I just thought of is that if the converter is powered, it may provide some warmth that rodents seek out and now have a reason to chew their way into the camper, where they wouldn't otherwise.
     
  2. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    I would bring it inside and put it on a maintainer.
     
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  3. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    Too cold. Pull it
     
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  4. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    Our campers have always lived in the driveway. With the Cobalt, we pulled the battery off and kept it in the garage, putting it on the charger once a month. We don't get as cold as Minnesota, but we see temps in the teens and below for part of the winter. We did the same routine the first winter with the group 24 on our TT, and I think one or 2 winters after we switched to dual 6v golf cart batteries. In our less than spacious garage, dealing with the pair of batteries was more a pain than having a single one.
    We leave the trailer plugged in, the battery charge on it works well, and we do keep tabs on water levels, etc. I like being able to go out and spend time in the trailer if it's not too cold, to work on a trailer or other project, so being able to flip the lights on, and use the electric radiator if I want is great.
     
  5. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    I leave the batteries in my TT and plug it in once a month or so.

    I pull my boat battery and bring it in. I put it on a charger at least once during the off season.

    I get a reasonably long life out of the batteries doing it both ways.
     
  6. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    Thanks all. I'll probably just continue to bring it in, along with my lawn tractor battery (which I could theoretically leave on a charger now as well, since I ran power to our shed a couple summers ago).

    I've never bothered putting them on a charger over the winter while indoors, and every spring I put a volt meter on them and they're still virtually fully charged.
     
  7. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Well-Known Member

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    I pull my battery in MN and bring it inside. Fully charged, then recharge again in about Jan. I don't keep it on a maintainer all winter.
     
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  8. Bullfrog Bheer

    Bullfrog Bheer Well-Known Member

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    The battery goes in the basement for the winter. Once a month I take it in the garage to put the trickle charge on to keep it fully charged.
     
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  9. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

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    I pull the battery and put it in the basement. I'll pull it out once a month and throw it on the charger.
     
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  10. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member

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    My battery has stayed outside in Michigan the last two winters. Both years, I just disconnected the neg cable. No ill effects that I can see.
     
  11. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    Well you don't want them to freeze, and they will if they discharged. That's why I'd either bring it in or keep it on a trickle charger.
     
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  12. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member

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    It maintained 12.7v throughout the season.
     
  13. davido

    davido Well-Known Member

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    My converter provides a reasonable maintenance charge, particularly where I have two batteries in parallel, so plenty of capacity to soak up the maintenance trickle. I live in Salt Lake City where we can go a month at a time below freezing in December and January timeframe. We may have a few spike days, and a few deep dip days. But I've never had a properly charged battery freeze. A fully charged battery has a freezing point of negative eighty degrees Fahrenheit. I don't think even Minnesota gets down to that level. So keeping it topped off and charged is what's important.
     
  14. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    Got it. The "disconnect the neg cable" threw me because I charge mine with my converter.
     
  15. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    Right, a charged battery isn't going to freeze anywhere you'd want to live anyway lol. We get down to -20 for a (hopefully short) period at least once a season, so a moderately discharged battery could freeze (a quick google shows a discharged battery will freeze at 20 degrees F)
     
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  16. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    I pull the battery, set on a bench in an unheated garage (main door will be left open anytime I'm snowblowing or plowing) and rotate it and nephews boat battery on the charger every couple weeks.. battery is 10 years old and well abused but will still give me 2-3 days use out of it if needed..
     
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  17. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    Lead acid batteries are said to discharge 3-5% per month. I believe either putting them on a maintainer or charging them periodically is the key to a long life.
     
  18. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    This seems to be one of those things (like getting the camper 100% level to the micron) that some people seem to enjoy fussing over, but I don't. If I get 5 years out of my battery, great. If after that point it needs replacing, not a big deal, they cost like $100, so that was $20 a year which allowed me to camp off-grid. If I could have gotten 6 or 7 or 8 years by using the maintainer and/or setting a reminder every month to pull back out of storage and recharge, I'm not going to lose sleep over it lol.

    And my first battery did last 5 years. It probably could have gone a lot longer, but I was having electrical issues and replaced it to rule that out. Turned out to be a bad fuse holder not passing power correctly, so I could probably still be using that battery today.
     
  19. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    My TT has 2 batteries. On top of that, I have 7 seasonal vehicle batteries plus the ones in my 3 daily drivers. Going the extra mile to try and extend battery life is worth it to me.

    As far as life goes, my longest lasting vehicle battery made it 18 years.
     

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