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Old 12-07-2022, 07:22 AM   #1
steve james
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keeping batteries charged

I've have a 1/2 ton Cougar 22rwsbe with 2- 6 volt batteries and have access to shore power, should I keep the trailer plugged in during the winter months ? or randomly pull the batteries and trickle charge them . Also while plugged in should I shut off the main battery discount and will shore power still charge the batteries ? Ive got conflicting answers from the dealer. thanks for any reply
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Old 12-07-2022, 07:28 AM   #2
chuckster57
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You will be ok leaving it plugged in, and if you use the disconnect to turn off the batteries you will NOT be charging them. Be sure to check the water level in the cells at least monthly and only add distilled water if needed.
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Old 12-07-2022, 07:31 AM   #3
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thank you for the reply makes sense but I wasn't sure .
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Old 12-07-2022, 07:55 AM   #4
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I keep mine plugged in 365 days a year. If you have access to shore power it seems the logical, least troublesome way to do it. You need to check your water levels monthly. After a while you may find that you can go 6 weeks or so without needing much water. I installed a watering system on my batteries; pull out the hose, drop it in a bottle of distilled water, pump it a few times then put it away - about 2-3 minutes and no trouble.
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Old 12-07-2022, 08:24 AM   #5
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Looking at it from a slightly different perspective:

1. If you turn the battery disconnect off, you will NOT be charging the batteries, but the batteries will be connected to the trailer In-Command, the LPG detector and possibly the CO and Fire/Smoke detectors, so you WILL be discharging the batteries, ending up with "completely discharged" (and damaged batteries) within a couple of weeks, even with the trailer connected to shore power. The only "end run way to prevent this" is to completely disconnect the batteries from the trailer electrical system. DO NOT rely on the OEM battery disconnect system, you'll likely not achieve "complete disconnection" and will end up with discharged batteries during the storage season.

2. You have a "highly sophisticated" battery charger/trickle charger built into the trailer. It's the WFCO power center. It is "at least as good as any trickle charger you can buy to use in your garage, and is better than most of the low priced systems like the ones from Harbor Freight or Tractor Supply or Auto Zone" to keep the batteries charged.

3. Removing the batteries to store in your garage or basement will potentially increase the chances of an explosion/fire in your house or the outbuilding where you store them. If you choose this method, make sure you have adequate ventilation around the batteries to dissipate the "off gassing" that will occur.

So, with a "designed specifically for the purpose battery maintenance charger" already installed in your trailer (WFCO power center) and the potential for issues with removing the batteries (including damage to the trailer/blown fuses when you reinstall them), as well as the possibility of increased risk while in storage in your home, why risk all the disadvantages.

If the trailer is stored where there is shore power available, just leave the batteries in the trailer with the battery disconnect in the "connected" position and monitor the battery electrolyte level monthly.

Also, remember to check the shore power cord regularly to make sure that the trailer "really is still connected and the power center has power". Essentially, that is the same thing you'd have to do if the batteries were stored in the garage: That the trickle charger is connected and working and the battery electrolyte level is correct.
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Old 12-07-2022, 02:53 PM   #6
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Keep the camper plugged in. Won't hurt anything. Also, the very, very small amount of electricity going through your entertainment system (radio and television), as well as the microwave, and any other electronics in your camper. This will also help keep the electronics in these devices, including refrigerator, furnace, and anything that runs on a remote-control warmer in cold weather also, and help keep moisture dried out.
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Old 12-18-2022, 12:10 PM   #7
Dave fromRockcliffeTheSea
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Originally Posted by JRTJH View Post
Looking at it from a slightly different perspective:

1. If you turn the battery disconnect off, you will NOT be charging the batteries, but the batteries will be connected to the trailer In-Command, the LPG detector and possibly the CO and Fire/Smoke detectors, so you WILL be discharging the batteries, ending up with "completely discharged" (and damaged batteries) within a couple of weeks, even with the trailer connected to shore power. The only "end run way to prevent this" is to completely disconnect the batteries from the trailer electrical system. DO NOT rely on the OEM battery disconnect system, you'll likely not achieve "complete disconnection" and will end up with discharged batteries during the storage season.

2. You have a "highly sophisticated" battery charger/trickle charger built into the trailer. It's the WFCO power center. It is "at least as good as any trickle charger you can buy to use in your garage, and is better than most of the low priced systems like the ones from Harbor Freight or Tractor Supply or Auto Zone" to keep the batteries charged.

3. Removing the batteries to store in your garage or basement will potentially increase the chances of an explosion/fire in your house or the outbuilding where you store them. If you choose this method, make sure you have adequate ventilation around the batteries to dissipate the "off gassing" that will occur.

So, with a "designed specifically for the purpose battery maintenance charger" already installed in your trailer (WFCO power center) and the potential for issues with removing the batteries (including damage to the trailer/blown fuses when you reinstall them), as well as the possibility of increased risk while in storage in your home, why risk all the disadvantages.

If the trailer is stored where there is shore power available, just leave the batteries in the trailer with the battery disconnect in the "connected" position and monitor the battery electrolyte level monthly.

Also, remember to check the shore power cord regularly to make sure that the trailer "really is still connected and the power center has power". Essentially, that is the same thing you'd have to do if the batteries were stored in the garage: That the trickle charger is connected and working and the battery electrolyte level is correct.
THank you very much for your detailed reply. It only confirms what I thought and what in fact my method is. One think a friend of mine does is keep a low light on visible from his house so that he can tell that the shore power has not become disconnected which would be a problem during long periods of sub zero temperatures.
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Old 12-18-2022, 12:31 PM   #8
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Guess I’ve been lucky with the water levels. Have 2 6V golf cart batteries from Costco, stay plugged into power 365. Check water levels when I winterize in late October. Check again in spring when snow is gone, usually mid March. Have to add some, but not much. Never seen the plates exposed. Guess I have a good converter. Or lucky. Or both.
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Old 12-19-2022, 05:53 AM   #9
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I didn't see anyone mention a float charger. My previous trailer (1997) had a trickle charger. Not a float charger. I disconnect the batteries from the trailer and fully charge them when I stored the trailer (subzero weather). I checked the batteries voltage about once a month. Most winters, I never had to charge them at all.
The trailer I have now (2014) has a float charger, so I leave it connected to shore power all winter. And a light on as well. Because I want to know if the power goes off. If it does it'll run the batteries down.
The difference between a float and a trickle charger is that the float charger shuts off when the battery fully charged. It constantly monitors the voltage, when it reaches a lower voltage, it'll start back up. Keeping the battery fully charged. I don't know what voltages triggers these actions.

A trickle charger sends a constant, low amperage, current to the battery. Can overcharge them quite easily.
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Old 12-19-2022, 09:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve james View Post
I've have a 1/2 ton Cougar 22rwsbe with 2- 6 volt batteries and have access to shore power, should I keep the trailer plugged in during the winter months ? or randomly pull the batteries and trickle charge them . Also while plugged in should I shut off the main battery discount and will shore power still charge the batteries ? Ive got conflicting answers from the dealer. thanks for any reply

That's what I do with mine, Steve - I have two, 6 volt AGM batteries, so I don't have to worry about checking fluid level. I had a "Watering System" as 'sourdough' stated, in one of my truck campers a few years back and that thing was awesome!!! We winterize in November but we leave for FL in early Feb, so we need to keep the thing ready to head out. Can't really cover it... have to just pray for no heavy snow before we hit the road. 35A outlet on the side the garage keeps everything charging and we turn on the fridge in mid-january so we can start packing.
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Old 12-19-2022, 11:30 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by jimd1050 View Post
That's what I do with mine, Steve - I have two, 6 volt AGM batteries, so I don't have to worry about checking fluid level. I had a "Watering System" as 'sourdough' stated, in one of my truck campers a few years back and that thing was awesome!!! We winterize in November but we leave for FL in early Feb, so we need to keep the thing ready to head out. Can't really cover it... have to just pray for no heavy snow before we hit the road. 35A outlet on the side the garage keeps everything charging and we turn on the fridge in mid-january so we can start packing.
I realize the comment in red, on your part, a "historical account of past equipment"... That said, for anyone who currently is using a "battery watering system", remember that it must be filled with distilled water and, in extremely cold weather, that watering system WILL freeze if not heated. So, essentially, using a "battery watering system" while in storage in freezing temperatures is impractical for almost everyone. If you do have a "battery watering system" be sure to empty it and protect it from damage during freezing temperatures.
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Old 12-19-2022, 04:06 PM   #12
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I realize the comment in red, on your part, a "historical account of past equipment"... That said, for anyone who currently is using a "battery watering system", remember that it must be filled with distilled water and, in extremely cold weather, that watering system WILL freeze if not heated. So, essentially, using a "battery watering system" while in storage in freezing temperatures is impractical for almost everyone. If you do have a "battery watering system" be sure to empty it and protect it from damage during freezing temperatures.

I've had a watering system on my trailers for several years with no ill effects or worries of freezing. All the cells of the batteries are connected by tubing that is fed by a longer tube with a squeeze bulb on it. You immerse the end of the feed hose into a bottle of distilled water and pump water in until it's full - it has a one way in live valve that prevents water from backing out under pressure. When the cells are full (bulb will not compress) you just pull the hose from the distilled water jug, disconnect the lower fill line and drain then depress the one way valve to drain the lines at the batteries. There is no water to freeze anywhere other than what's in the battery being charged. It is hands down (light years) better than trying to top off batteries the "old fashioned way".
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Old 12-19-2022, 04:46 PM   #13
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I've had a watering system on my trailers for several years with no ill effects or worries of freezing. All the cells of the batteries are connected by tubing that is fed by a longer tube with a squeeze bulb on it. You immerse the end of the feed hose into a bottle of distilled water and pump water in until it's full - it has a one way in live valve that prevents water from backing out under pressure. When the cells are full (bulb will not compress) you just pull the hose from the distilled water jug, disconnect the lower fill line and drain then depress the one way valve to drain the lines at the batteries. There is no water to freeze anywhere other than what's in the battery being charged. It is hands down (light years) better than trying to top off batteries the "old fashioned way".
There's two (maybe even more) types of "battery watering systems".

The one you have is a manual system, squeeze the bulb to add water.
Another type is the "fully automatic type" that uses gravity to keep the battery cells filled with water from a "always connected tank".

That's the type I was referring to. With a container of distilled water sitting above the batteries, as soon as the temperature falls below freezing, all the lines will be "solid ice" and the watering system will stop working.

Here's a couple of figures to show the difference. Yours, no problem with cold weather. The gravity system, however..... NOPE...
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Old 12-19-2022, 06:14 PM   #14
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Yep, I had no use for the gravity system as it only introduced more potential issues.
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Old 12-19-2022, 06:41 PM   #15
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Guess I’ve been lucky with the water levels. Have 2 6V golf cart batteries from Costco, stay plugged into power 365. Check water levels when I winterize in late October. Check again in spring when snow is gone, usually mid March. Have to add some, but not much. Never seen the plates exposed. Guess I have a good converter. Or lucky. Or both.
Are they AGM type where you can add water if needed??
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