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Old 10-26-2021, 03:14 PM   #1
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Question lingering electrical question...

I have had various 5th wheels over the years and never had understood exactly how to put the coach away for the winter as far as the batteries/electrical system. First off, can it be plugged into shore power for extended periods (maybe 2 or 3 months) without damaging the batteries? I have a new 2021 Montana High Country 334BH, since this is a newer coach it comes with a battery disconnect switch. If I put it away for the winter, do I take the disconnect key out, and leave it plugged in? Do I disconnect the negative side of the batter?

I also have factory installed solar power. Is there anything I need to do here to pack it away for the winter?

Sorry to be on the dummer side of this but the Montana manual that comes with the trailer is so generic and does not relate very well to what I have. Basically looking for a procedure to follow so my batteries don't turn to junk in a few months.

Thanks in advance
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Old 10-26-2021, 03:54 PM   #2
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The battery disconnect does NOT disconnect all the 12V parasites. The only sure method to avoid dead batteries in the spring is to remove the negative battery cable.

The newer converters do a good job of keeping the battery tended without boiling out the water *IF* you have power. Mine is always plugged in, even when stored here at home.

As for the impact of solar, I can't help you. It may keep the batteries charged too if there is sun. But I have no idea. Surely someone with a new solar equipped rig will be along to help.
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Old 10-26-2021, 04:30 PM   #3
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I'm in the Midwest, KC Missouri. Store my unit under cover but exposed to the temperature. We have some days close to zero and many more in the teens and twenties. Here is what I do. Always keep battery cells full of liquid. Battery is fully charged when I put in storage. A fully charge battery will never freeze. (at least theoretically) Remove negative cable from battery. Leave battery in unit. When I go to take it out of storage hook up negative cable. Generally only in storage 4 months or less. Has never failed me when I take it out of storage.
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Old 10-26-2021, 06:34 PM   #4
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We store both of ours for about six months each. The Kansa one spends the winter in Kansas sitting on our lot there and the Arizona one spends the summer sitting on our lot here. So one deals with extreme heat and the other a good deal of snow. Both of them are treated like Jim treats his and we've been at it several years with no problems. Before we went full time we left the rig plugged in at our shop, so you should be good whatever you decide.
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Old 10-26-2021, 09:12 PM   #5
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I just left my 2007 plugged in in storage any time we were not using it. Did have to add water spring and fall but never seemed to hurt battery.
Bill & Patricia

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Old 10-27-2021, 12:37 AM   #6
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I am with the guys disconnecting battery cable and leave it sit. I think a few years (here in Mesa, AZ) I left it for at least 7 months and almost always it sits for 5 months. Always has juice to raise the rig onto the truck.

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Old 10-27-2021, 09:20 AM   #7
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We always leave our camper plugged in.
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Old 11-03-2021, 02:09 PM   #8
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Like it was said, a fully charged battery will not freeze.

Fully charge the batteries then disconnect the negative side, that will remove all the parasitic drains. After storage all will be good.

There are some risks to leaving an rv plugged in.
- Charger could over charge the battery, this will depend upon the type of charger, some have happy maintain modes and some don't.
- Fire, having the rv's system energized could result in fire, mouse chewing, equipment failure, etc.
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Old 11-03-2021, 08:26 PM   #9
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I have used a few different methods over the years, including removing the battery and storing in my heated garage.

A few years back my onboard converter / charger started cooking the battery when left plugged in for long periods. It is built into the 120 VAC breaker panel as well as the 12 VDC fuse center as many RV's that vintage are (2004).

What I opted to do was to buy a 50 Amp smart converter / charger and I took the on board system out of the picture and wired in the new unit in a storage bay on the opposite wall of the existing setup. At the same time I wired in a 120 volt outlet on the same wall and hooked it into the "Living Room" circuit so I would have somewhere to plug the new converter in.

Not fully trusting that to maintain the battery without cooking it in my long 9 month storage time in the ND winter and spring, I bought a plug in 7 day timer and plugged the converter into it. I have it set to turn on for 3 hours, twice a week. Obviously I leave the battery connected and am not concerned about parasitic loads. Any time I need to go into the coach in the winter, the 12 volt lights work, as well as the slide pump when I have to pull in the bedroom slide which tends to creep out in the fluctuating temps a couple of times a winter.

Battery electrolyte level stays correct all winter.
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Old 11-04-2021, 09:45 AM   #10
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Switch to good Lithium batteries, the onboard BMS monitors temperature, load and charging and will automatically stop the batteries from charging if too cold or charge voltage is excessive. I use 2-BIg battery 170ah lithium batteries and could not be happier!! I leave my coach plugged in at all times. If power goes out the solar tops them off.
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Old 11-04-2021, 10:34 AM   #11
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JPz, welcome to the forum. You are getting a lot of information that is pertinent to the units people have. Your new 2021 has a very different charger from a 2004 Montana. Your charger will do just fine plugged in and no need to turn off the battery switch. I never use the battery switch because it really doesn’t turn off parasitic loads like your CO detector. If you don’t want it plugged in, you are good to go if you disconnect the negative terminal. We have solar and I could leave mine unplugged, but we plug in to our 50amp RV plug. Lithium batteries are great, but not needed by everyone. It sounds like you have power available. Just plug it in, it’s the easiest thing to do and it uses very little electricity.
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Old 11-06-2021, 09:08 AM   #12
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Agree with all that was pass on. I put a 10 watt solar charger on the rooof angled for the low sun. It does a great job of keeping the battery topped off. I havenít had to disconnect the negative cable, just turn off the disconnect switch
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Old 11-06-2021, 10:00 AM   #13
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I am in the camp of disconnecting the batteries. We have been boaters for all our lives with a little camping thrown in. Most boat yards up north here do not allow boats that are all crowded together in yards or in buildings to be plugged in because of electrical safety concerns. They also recommend removal and storage of batteries in the winter. Of course there’s a charge for that. I have always left my batteries in the boat and disconnected the negative cables. Fully charged batteries that are disconnected from parasitic loads will not freeze and will not discharge enough over winter to cause any concern. My current boat has 7 batteries, so i wouldn’t risk it if i thought there was risk of damage to them. It is also the way most knowledgeable boaters handle their battery storage. I am doing the same thing with the new Montana. I installed a disconnect on the negative cable as we also have to use a storage facility so there is no power even during the summer on the Monty. Easy turn of the switch.
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