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Old 04-20-2014, 11:53 AM   #1
Barbell
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Battery being drained

This is a 2014 Montana 3100RL. Last fall while in Vermont, we parked the rig for 2-3 days while we were staying with friends on a mountain road we could not take the trailer on. When we came back to hook up, the battery was almost dead even though I had flipped the disconnect switch when we left it. By putting jumper cables on trailer battery, I was able to hook up. We do not dry camp and have had no problems with any electrical devices either ac or dc. Everything seems to work as it should. When I park it when we are home, I flip the disconnect switch and also disconnect the ground cable to keep the battery from going down. I have checked amps across the negative post to the disconnected cable and it shows about 50 milliamps of current flowing. I assume there is no point in trying to pull fuses to find the problem since it happens even when there is no juice going to fuse panel. The slide motors are the only thing that gets power when the disconnect switch is thrown, as far as I know. I have not tried to trouble shoot them yet. Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 04-20-2014, 12:26 PM   #2
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To add to original post: I just went out to the trailer and find that the 6 point leveling system is also not cut out when the disconnect switch is thrown. I have never had any problem with either the slides or the leveling system. I should have also stated that the original battery was replaced under warranty within the last month. It was fully charged when I parked trailer few weeks ago. When I checked the new battery late last week, it was down to 2 volts with the ground cable attached. It is now fully charged and seems to be holding the charge with cable off.
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Old 04-22-2014, 06:47 AM   #3
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Even with the battery cutoff switch in the off position, there are "ghost drains" on the system. Your CO detector, smoke detector, propane detector, backlight on the stereo and possibly other drains may still be connected to the battery. Most RV battery banks will "drain down" over a period of a week to 3 or 4 weeks.

About the only way to stop the drain is to physically remove the battery from the trailer wiring. Most people will disconnect one of the battery leads to do this. Even then, most deep cycle batteries will "self discharge" in time. Usually not within a couple of weeks, but I wouldn't expect to have an adequate charge after a month or more of "just sitting" in an RV.
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:36 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reply. I had about come to the same conclusion even though it was taking only 2-3 days for the battery to go flat. Not completely sure but I believe the various detectors are cut out when the disconnect switch is thrown. I have since installed a cutoff on the battery and it is now completely isolated from everything else in the trailer. If it still goes flat in a short time, I will have to assume a bad battery.
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Old 04-26-2014, 01:13 PM   #5
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Have you checked the fluid level of the battery?

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Old 04-30-2014, 07:43 AM   #6
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Water level in battery was fine when I last charged it. So far seems to be holding the charge.
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Old 04-30-2014, 05:27 PM   #7
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Something doesn't sound right to me. I've left batteries in ours for weeks and they were still 12 volts.
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Old 05-09-2014, 06:48 AM   #8
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Yes, just sitting there I wouldn't expect a battery to drain that quickly. Even with ghost drains, I wouldn't think it would go flat so fast. How would you ever dry camp? Maybe one of the things causing the ghost drains is bad and is putting more than a normal load on it?

I would also look for lighting in storage areas that may not be disconnected, that might have accidently been turned on?

Also, as an aside, does your truck charge the battery through the 7-way (I assume it has a 7-way?)? Reason I ask is I had to connect a cable in the fuse box to enable this, so while hooked to the truck and running, it will charge the battery on the trailer as well. I pull my battery when I drop the trailer off at storage and through it on a Battery Tender at home that keeps it nice and charged up. Its all probably overkill, but I needed to find a use for the tender lol.
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Old 05-09-2014, 10:57 AM   #9
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Barbell Sounds like you got it squared away i too have a battery disconnect at the battery and never use the factory one. no dead battery issues since 2010.
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Old 05-09-2014, 03:01 PM   #10
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I'm a relative noob when it comes to TT's but I did notice that with my boat that my deep cycle seemed to self-discharge far more quickly here in TX than ever previously experienced (TN, AL, MI). Don't know the cause as I pulled my battery and brought it home after every use but believe that its got to have something to do with the ambient temperature; stored ours in the garage between uses. We typically were on the lake every week, every other week...
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:30 PM   #11
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I'm a relative noob when it comes to TT's but I did notice that with my boat that my deep cycle seemed to self-discharge far more quickly here in TX than ever previously experienced (TN, AL, MI). Don't know the cause as I pulled my battery and brought it home after every use but believe that its got to have something to do with the ambient temperature; stored ours in the garage between uses. We typically were on the lake every week, every other week...
So, as I've indicated, we're relatively new to TT's; rented a few before buying our Laredo. Loving it so far, no big issues but we are learning. Determined that we have a power drain even with all of the breakers off. Thought it a bit odd that the various detectors and the Entertainment Center still had power (stand-by) but wasn't overly concerned as we'd turned off the breakers. Been to the trailer a couple of time the past two weeks to do a few minor things; torque the lugs, check tire pressure, hang the new plates, etc. First time I attempted to do anything inside, turned on the lights and, nothing. No problem, had the charger with me, threw it on while I did other things. Checked voltage before leaving, good to go. Bugged me so I ran back the next day and sure enough, voltage was down. Now thinking about installing a solar trickle charger. Looks like I'll pull the battery after each use until. Anyone else experience this? Water level is fine! Battery test good and charges with no problems? Seems to be just a ghost drain! Thoughts? Recommendations?
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:51 PM   #12
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I may have missed it but if you are plugged in to shore power, then your converter, if it is functioning properly, should be charging your battery. There are, as you pointed out, various parasitic drains on your battery - the stereo lights and some of the detectors, which will, over time, eventually drain your battery if it isn't being charged up from time-to-time.
If your battery is "good" it should not run down in a day even with these parasitic draws. There must be some other drain that is causing your battery to become run down or your battery is not in a condition to hold a charge for a reasonable length of time.

You might consider installing a battery cut off switch which would help prevent some of these issues from occurring and check your battery with a hydrometer to see if each cell's SG is ok. It shouldn't be necessary to pull your battery out after each use --- just disconnect one of the cables (+ or -).
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:51 PM   #13
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From your last post, it sounds like you put a battery charger on the battery while you did a couple of things and commented that the battery was "fully charged". Depending on the size of your battery charger, it should take upwards of 6 hours or possibly as long as 12-14 hours to fully charge a battery that is "dead".... So, you may not be starting with a fully charged battery ????

The next time you're at the RV, make sure the battery is FULLY charged, then remove both the battery cables (If I say to remove one or the other, someone will say it's the wrong one and the other should be removed) and see if the battery will hold a charge. I think that you have something in the RV that is either turned on (and you don't know about it) or you've got a "weak battery".

If you've got the battery at home, charge it up, take it to the RV, hook it up, do the things you need to do, and before you leave, just remove both the battery cables. Remember, white is NEGATIVE (ground) and black is POSITIVE......

Theoretically your battery should operate the trailer for at least a week with nothing turned on except the "emergency monitors and the radio backlight". Those devices will drain the battery. The length of time really depends on the size of the battery, the temperature (to a much lesser degree) and length of time until dead. Usually with a single deep cycle group 27 battery you should still have "some power" in the battery after a couple of weeks, but it will be dead probably within a month.


As an ending thought, is it possible that you've got the thermostat set to heat and the furnace is coming on late at night when the temp cools down?

Hope you find your issue.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:10 AM   #14
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Barbell Sounds like you got it squared away i too have a battery disconnect at the battery and never use the factory one. no dead battery issues since 2010.
I installed a marine cutoff right next to the battery. No issues even after a full Michigan winter. Which was a doozy this year!
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Old 05-15-2014, 09:30 AM   #15
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I may have missed it but if you are plugged in to shore power, then your converter, if it is functioning properly, should be charging your battery. There are, as you pointed out, various parasitic drains on your battery - the stereo lights and some of the detectors, which will, over time, eventually drain your battery if it isn't being charged up from time-to-time.
If your battery is "good" it should not run down in a day even with these parasitic draws. There must be some other drain that is causing your battery to become run down or your battery is not in a condition to hold a charge for a reasonable length of time.

You might consider installing a battery cut off switch which would help prevent some of these issues from occurring and check your battery with a hydrometer to see if each cell's SG is ok. It shouldn't be necessary to pull your battery out after each use --- just disconnect one of the cables (+ or -).
Thank you Festus2/JRTJH, I believe that I will install a cut-off. After bringing the battery home I did check it with a hydrometer before putting it back on the charger; that's how I know its good. The first two weeks we had it stored, we did not experience this issue. It's only been since our last time out. I'm inclined to agree with you that the "normal" parasitic draws shouldn't have drained it by 4-5 volts overnight; over a week or two sure. That's what made me first suspect the battery itself. I've had it here at the house for almost a week now, charged it overnight, and have checked it every day since; it tests good. I've got to have something still on somewhere? Going to look at it again this weekend. We're planning to go out again over Memorial day weekend so I'd like to resolve this before we go. We won't really need it as we'll have full hookups but its annoying because the TT's new. I'm sure its something I've simply overlooked but the fact that the breakers were all off and it still lost so much overnight is troubling?

I will check the thermostat when I go back out tomorrow. It is possible that "it" was left on; I hadn't thought of that! Can't check it without extending the front slide. I'd have thought that having the breakers off would have shut it off though?
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:02 AM   #16
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gvansickle1,

The circuit breakers are for the 120 VAC side of the camper. They have nothing to do with the 12VDC battery side of the electrical system. The only interface is the circuit breaker that turns off the converter (AC to DC converter)

If you think about it, turning off all the circuit breakers is the same as unplugging the shore power cord. The action stops AC power, and that's when the DC (battery) side takes over
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:23 AM   #17
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gvansickle1,

The circuit breakers are for the 120 VAC side of the camper. They have nothing to do with the 12VDC battery side of the electrical system. The only interface is the circuit breaker that turns off the converter (AC to DC converter)

If you think about it, turning off all the circuit breakers is the same as unplugging the shore power cord. The action stops AC power, and that's when the DC (battery) side takes over
Well that would explain the situation. The more I've thought about it I'm all but sure that we did leave the thermostat on. Hadn't ever occurred to me to turn it off as I'd assumed that killing the breakers killed everything; noob! That would also explain why we didn't have this problem after the initial 2 week period of storage; there was no loss/drain as we hadn't yet used the thermostat so if was set to off. I'll report back after I confirm tomorrow!
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Old 05-15-2014, 12:03 PM   #18
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HEAT IS WHAT KILLS A BATTERY! THEN WHEN THE COLD COMES THERE IS NO RESERVE LEFT IN IT.KEEP IT IN A COOL PLACE IF YOU CAN. SORRY ABOUT THE CAPS DID NOT MEAN TO YELL...Just call it a loud whisper
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Old 05-15-2014, 12:44 PM   #19
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HEAT IS WHAT KILLS A BATTERY! THEN WHEN THE COLD COMES THERE IS NO RESERVE LEFT IN IT.KEEP IT IN A COOL PLACE IF YOU CAN. SORRY ABOUT THE CAPS DID NOT MEAN TO YELL...Just call it a loud whisper
That's the primary reason I never leave the batteries in my boat; it's stored outside, in the open. TX temps from June-Sept will eat'em up. I know that the temp inside the boat, sitting in the sun with the boat cover on, gets way hot. It had cut-off's but they do nothing for the heat. Pulled and took the batteries home after every outing. Was a pia but significantly extended the life of the batteries, I believe. Course, we bought the boat used for $1000 so I couldn't justify covered parking/storage for it. Now with our brand new Laredo, different story. It's stored/parked under cover which knocks the temp down considerably. That said, in this instance I don't believe that heat was the problem. Think that its more likely that being a noob I hadn't realized that the breakers were only cutting shore power and not battery power. I'll confirm tomorrow!
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:48 PM   #20
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So, to follow up on the issue with an unknown drain on the battery of my 2013 Laredo 303TG... I did get out to the trailer over the weekend and checked to see if we had inadvertently left the thermostat “ON” in the trailer causing the battery drain. Answer: No. The thermostat was OFF. So I'm back to square one RE what's causing the battery to lose voltage overnight. As we will be taking the trailer out this coming weekend through Memorial Day and I haven't identified the problem, I've decided to take a backup deep cycle. Now hoping that JRTJH was correct in that during my recent experience and in my haste simply didn't realized that the really wasn't truly “FULLY” charged to begin with giving the false impression that the overnight loss was more significant than it actually was. I plan to take another look at it Thursday night before we head out Friday morning. We'll have a full hookup over the weekend so it shouldn't be a big deal for this outing, just annoying. I'll follow up again after the weekend...
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