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Old 12-30-2017, 07:35 PM   #1
Spr
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Freezing battery

I live in Illinois and we are experiencing low single digit to negative single digit temps right now. I currently keep my van garaged at a storage facility with about 8-10 hours of power per night. There were no units tall enough for the van that had a permanent power source so I found a unit with a junction box and added an outlet that only goes live when the street lights are on.
I keep the van plugged in to keep the battery topped off on a nightly basis. My solar boost panel usually shows a charge of 12.6-12.7 when I check on it but yesterday in the midst of this insanely cold weather it showed 12.4. I called camping world to get their take on the situation and they told me they are currently taking out all their batteries because of the cold and suggested I do the same.
Yesterday I ran the van for about an hour to let the battery fully charge and today I had the great pleasure of removing the battery (which sucked because Fresno decided to leave the negative wiring wayyyyyy to short) but the battery is now warm and toasty in my basement and hooked up to a charger. The charger stated the battery was 95% charged when I plugged it in and it is now charged and in maintenance mode.

So my questions are:

  1. Is this ridiculous? Should I just leave the van plugged in and give the battery 8 hours a charge a night without fear of freezing?
  2. Can I plug into shore power without the house battery installed and be able to operate the pop top, fridge, furnace, lights etc for some winter camping on shore power?
  3. Can I start or drive the van? a. without fear of the separator trying to engage b. so I can charge the starting batteries once in a while?
  4. Is "SEP" on the fuse panel the separator? I pulled the fuse hoping it was
  5. If I can find a storage facility with full time power is it recommended to leave the van plugged in 24/7?
  6. Lastly what is the best tape you recommend for re installing the battery temperature sensor?
BTW, the battery is a 7 month old DEKA and has been fantastic. I hope to keep it for a long time and avoid yet another $500 expense



I know this is a long winded multi question post so thanks in advance for any answers. You guys are always a huge help
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Old 12-30-2017, 09:57 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spr View Post
  1. Is this ridiculous? Should I just leave the van plugged in and give the battery 8 hours a charge a night without fear of freezing?
  2. Can I plug into shore power without the house battery installed and be able to operate the pop top, fridge, furnace, lights etc for some winter camping on shore power?
  3. Can I start or drive the van? a. without fear of the separator trying to engage b. so I can charge the starting batteries once in a while?
  4. Is "SEP" on the fuse panel the separator? I pulled the fuse hoping it was
  5. If I can find a storage facility with full time power is it recommended to leave the van plugged in 24/7?
  6. Lastly what is the best tape you recommend for re installing the battery temperature sensor?
BTW, the battery is a 7 month old DEKA and has been fantastic. I hope to keep it for a long time and avoid yet another $500 expense



I know this is a long winded multi question post so thanks in advance for any answers. You guys are always a huge help
Yes, it is ridiculous. Just plug your van in when you can and drive it normally. It's not necessary to remove things and overreact to some cold weather. People all over the world deal with harsh winters and you'll be fine.

If you remove your house battery lots of things won't work. This is unnecessary.

I wouldn't mess with your separator or pull fuses. Just use the van normally.

Any tape will do. Duct tape, Gorilla tape, etc. Not Scotch tape.
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Old 12-31-2017, 12:06 AM   #3
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What are insanely cold temps? Ive found that AGM's suffer slightly (as far as capacity holding levels) in cold temps. There are several sites showing what to expect depending on the ambient temperature that a AGM battery is subjected to. Seems the DOD is proportional to the temps and why some install batteries in a warmer spot. Both of mine are mounted outside and I don't have issues, but it might get down to the teens a few times a year where I'm at so YMMV.
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:06 AM   #4
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Greetings spr,

A couple of thoughts,
- You did nothing wrong by removing the battery. You saw a potential issue and took action to prevent it. In the conditions you described unnecessary but you solved your concern. I wish a few select co workers thought that way until further advised.

A benefit of all this is if you've never removed the battery on your own before, now you know you can. And you got to see the condition of the cable, the work of others, saw anything you would like to change, ect. This was not a waste of time if you've learned some things about your battery set up.

- I realize it's the holiday and you were looking for advice but, when working on a battery only ask the battery manufacture in this case Deka. The world is swimming with incorrect info about batteries. Battery manufactures are highly motivated to have us users be successful with their products.

- OK, it's not impossible for a lead acid battery to freeze but it will need to be discharged and really cold. Here is the tech sheet for a Lifeline AGM. I realize you have a Deka and these temperature vs State of Charge will vary a bit among brands. However, of the high quality brands they will perform close enough to the Lifeline. The exception is my battery which is a UPG made of Chinesium which performance is less than the big names. So I baby it more.

Page 23 is where Temperature tables can be found.

http://lifelinebatteries.com/wp-cont...cal-Manual.pdf

The key here is keeping your battery state of charge and thus the electrolyte above where it will be damaged. It's pretty forgiving if your always above say 75 % charged. At that SOC it would have to be so cold it would exceed the antifreeze in your motor. The usual scenarios of failure are, batteries were stored discharged all ready then went to -10F, batteries were all ready bad and self discharged over the winter and froze, a small load like a CO detector was discharging all winter while at -10 and froze. SOC is the key to storing and using batteries in cold. And you solved that by plugging in a maintainer.

Hope this helps
-Eric
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Old 12-31-2017, 10:17 AM   #5
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Thank you all for the replies. After looking at the lifeline temperature chart I can definitely see that pulling the battery is unnecessary so I'm going to chalk this up as a great learning experience and an opportunity to get out and put a little work into the van which is always enjoyable even when not needed.

When I called camping world their service tech was certain I would be freezing my battery and that I would be in need of a new one come spring. He also told me that he was spending his day pulling batteries which makes sense as well. They have a huge lot of RV's that aren't plugged in and likely have snow covering their solar panels (if they even have solar). If their batteries are down to a 50-60% SOC pulling the battery seems like a good move but considering my SOC is always north of 90% its senseless to pull it.

At the very least hopefully this thread helps someone else in the future. Thanks again for all the help and I hope you all have a great new year with lots of road trips and great new experiences

-Shaun
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Old 12-31-2017, 10:33 AM   #6
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I think it's better to error on the side of caution when in doubt. All it cost you was some of your time. Still, it was probably unneccessary if the battery was fully charged. So, now that it's safe and warm, you can put it back when your ready for more road trips. Cheers.....

https://www.optimabatteries.com/en-u...tteries-freeze
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Old 12-31-2017, 10:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post
Any tape will do. Duct tape, Gorilla tape, etc. Not Scotch tape.
Off the subject, but the camp I built last year came with a prefab foreign made shower house that was wired for 220V 50cycle. Since the wires were too small I had to rewire the whole thing and when I exposed the original wiring, I found two 18ga wires spliced with Scotch tape, so I guess in some places Scotch tape is acceptable.
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