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Old 03-15-2008, 12:31 PM   #1
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Long Term Storage

So, here's the deal. I put my van in enclosed storage last fall for what I thought was going to be two months, things changed and we had to leave it there for six months. Because it was only going to be a short amount of time I did not plug it in or hook up a trickle charger. When we went to get it last week all three batts were dead. I hooked up the shore power and a 12 volt charger to the starting batteries and the next morning all was good. The house battery was fully charged and the van started on the first try. So, the next time I do this I'm wondering if plugging in the shore power will be sufficient to charge the house and starting batteries. My knowledge of how the shore power works is zilch as we have 3 solar panels.
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Old 03-15-2008, 01:44 PM   #2
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If it's like my '06, just plug it into the shore power point, and it will keep all the batteries charged.
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Old 03-15-2008, 05:27 PM   #3
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long term storage

Like Scatter said. I have solar too, but the SMB's always stored under a carport & plugged in.

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Old 03-17-2008, 11:54 AM   #4
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SMB Power Converter vs Battery Buddy

Will the SMB base power converter automatically switch to a trickle charge when all batteries are fully charged? If so, then why do some of you guys have a Battery Buddy or similar product? Can't I just plug in the shore power (and power converter) for the winter and relax, or will my batteries burn up?

Mike in Charlotte
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Old 11-08-2009, 01:17 PM   #5
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Re: Long Term Storage

Has "Mike in Charlotte"s question beeen answered in another post? I am wondering the same thing.
I think it should float once both batteries are charged but I would hate to find out otherwise.
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Old 11-08-2009, 02:25 PM   #6
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Re: Long Term Storage

It probably depends on the charger and if the batteries are the same. The charger part is simple; it should be a smart charger that supplies a maintenance mode. Lots of high tech marine chargers out there that do that. But if you plan to use the same charger to maintain different types and/or makes, you might be in for trouble. On top of that, if any one battery fails, the charger will simply see the others as also needing a charge and will ramp up the charge. Now the charger is not putting out a maintenance charge, rather more of a full charge. As the battery fails, it's possible that the charger will put out heavy amperage and cause the bad battery to heat up to a dangerous level. The best bet would be to have a smart charger that is unable to produce large amperage. But if any battery in the bank fails for whatever reason, the low amperage smart charger will not be able to keep up and after a time all the batteries will be killed. So you're rolling the dice when not monitoring the status from time to time. To separate each battery and have individual low amp chargers for each battery would be a PITA to deal with. Myself I know my twin starting batteries are the same make, type, and age Just as my house batteries are. So I would feel somewhat safe in having 2 low amp maintenance chargers charging each bank. Now the disclaimer; anything can happen including burning the van to the ground. Although I’ve never heard of that happening, it’s possible. A charger can also fail leaving you with dead batteries. With the AGM’s I use for power supplies (non SMB), I go out every couple of weeks and put a 1 or 2 hour charge on each battery. An AGM can sit at full charge for a few months before having to be topped off again. Hire a babysitter???
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Old 11-08-2009, 05:53 PM   #7
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Re: Long Term Storage

Well now I'm wondering...
I have it plugged into shore power now it shows 14v so I'm fully charged. Both the van batteries and the house AGM I assume.
I have the Pro Sine panel that came with SMB's system in the van.
Right now it shows 122v in- 1 amp, the ac in light in on. The charger switch is set to enable and the charging light is on.

Is this all that is needed to do for 4 to 5 months storage as far as battery maintenance is concerened?
Also would there be any advantage to raising the top while in storage?

I just want to make sure I'm correct since the van will be stored at my brothers house cause I gotta go home and back to work and I dont want to fry my batteries or burn down his shop.
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:16 PM   #8
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Re: Long Term Storage

The most conservative approach is to disconnect your starting battery from the house batteries and connect the engine battery to a trickle charger like the "battery tender junior". Especially if it's a flooded type battery. If you house charger is high quality like the Xantrec Prosine, that will handle the deep discharge batteries fine.

Some RVs and have a battery tender junior permanently installed for the starting battery, as well as a switch to separate battery banks manually.

When replacing the starting battery it makes sense to go to an AGM starting battery. These sit unused better than stock starting batteries. The Sears Platinum is the least expensive high quality AGM starter I know. (The less expensive Sears batteries don't rate very well in Consumer's Reports)

Batteries like the Sears Platinum are designed for vehicles that are not run every week. Odyssey is another brand.
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:17 PM   #9
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Re: Long Term Storage

If your charger is showing 1 amp that's perfect. When any of the batteries begin to fail you'll see that 1 amp start to creep up. Unfortunately no one knows when or if a battery will fail and that's the problem. I have found that the chassis system is usually the problem that most have to deal with. But the same can happen with the house setup. That said, it might be best not to use the prosine because it charges both house and chassis batteries. If the starting battery or one of the starting batteries fail (in the case of a diesel) and the prosine ramps up (LIKE IT DID ON ME-TWICE ) it will push a bad wet cell battery to the point of off gassing. Mine got so hot I couldn't touch it. Not good if you're not on top of it. I now know if I see something like 9 amps on the display after leaving it on overnight, something is wrong The twin low amp chargers would be the safest method. Leaving the inverter in the charge mode for long perionds of time without monitoring it might be a mistake.

There is no way for someone to go out every couple of weeks and turn on the Prosine for a day?

If the batteries are in good shape that should do it. Just have them make sure it has dropped off to one or two amps on the display when they go to turn it off. That will show all is well. The separator will keep the chassis and house systems separate when the charger is off (provided it's working correctly). Make sure the water pump, radio switch, and any lights are off. Keep the inverter in the off mode with the charge setting on.
Here is a thought:
Maybe you can find some kind of industrial timer (with a backup clock) that can handle something like 15 amps and have it come on from time to time say 6 hours once a week; something like that. Fairly hard to jack up something on a 6 hour charge. You will first have to check if the prosine charger mode will activate with the charge switch in the on position when the timer comes on. Try it by plugging your shore power in with the prosine in the charge on mode and see if the display shows anything. That way it keeps the charge time low, plus you have a smart charger doing what it does best. If a battery does go bad, you'll only loose one bank or the other. Hopefully you only have one house battery. As far as the starting batteries, if you do have two, big deal. You would have to change em both out anyway if one failed. I would still have someone look at the van from time to time. I have friends with RV's that have never had any problems with storage and they are using cheap .7 amp chargers. I'd rather be on the safe side myself. Good luck.
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:35 PM   #10
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Re: Long Term Storage

Also you might want to give Xantrex a call. The Prosine 2000 might be able to be configured to produce a battery tending low amp charge only. I've never needed to do that so never looked into it.
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