what is your routine when storing van/camper for a while

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 07:35
ThreadID: 76281 Views:2562 Replies:3 FollowUps:5
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Hi everyone,

When the van/camper is not being used for a while what routine do you have for general up keep. eg on axle stands, taking for a quick spin around the block every so often, greasing etc etc. Always on charge, or charge each week/month.

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Reply By: Member - Howard (ACT) - Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 08:09

Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 08:09
Depends on what you call a while
my camper just sits next to the driveway.
I charged the batteries up yesterday because it hasnt been used for 2 months buts thats the longest its sat since I have had it.
I normally check it over a couple of days prior to each trip fill water, kick the tyres pump up jockey wheel,etc or if I note something while away for the weekend it gets done first thing when we get home so its ready to go.
I usually do a major trip each year so it gets big go over ie brakes ,spring shackles , bearings etc then.
cheers
Howard
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AnswerID: 405697

Reply By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 09:01

Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 09:01
for VRLA AGM batteries: a boost charge (14.4 to 14.7V) followed by 13.6V float charge overnight - done at least every three months.
Or: constant 13.6V float charging, but only if battery temperature sensor is being used

for flooded type batteries: check electrolyte level, make sure there is adequate ventilation, then boost charge at 14.4V, followed by equalisation charge (generally around 15.5V), followed by float charge overnight - done at least every month.
Or: constant 13.6V float charging, ideally temperature compensated (same as for AGM)

Best regards, Peter
AnswerID: 405705

Follow Up By: Member - Keith C (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 17:22

Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 17:22
Peter. How about a 10amp solar panel and reg,permenantely hooked up to a 200ah agm battery in the van when the van is in storage,just to keep it topped up??
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Follow Up By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 17:47

Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 17:47
Keith,

nope, wouldn't do it.

Just to keep the 200Ah topped up, the float voltage provides a low current through the battery, as low as 10mA/100Ah @ 20 degrees, a power requirement of 272 mW, just a bit over a quarter of a Watt, for a 200Ah battery.

Anything below this, and the battery will sulfate, and anything above and the battery will dry out over the 24 month period.
To complicate matters, the ideal float voltage needs to be temperature compensated.
It's better to have the battery sitting there o/c for a few weeks/months before it receives a proper boost charge. Any sulfate crystals which would have formed in the meantime will get recycled into the electrolyte on boost charging.
This way, a constant overcharge cannot happen, i.e. the battery won't suffer loss of electrolyte and/or excessive positive grid corrosion.

Best regards, Peter
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FollowupID: 675497

Reply By: Mark, Michelle & Abraham (NT) - Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 09:27

Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 09:27
I will just add to the question if I may. Mid year we will be storing our Cavalier camper trailer for two years whilst we head overseas. Will be stored under cover in a secure shed. Don't want to sell it as we have set it up well now. What should I do with the battery and is there anything else except lifting it up on stands and making sure it is clean and dry that I should be looking at.
Thanks
Mark
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AnswerID: 405709

Follow Up By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 10:19

Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 10:19
Considering a life time of 8 years under favourable conditions, your battery would depreciate 25% over 2 years.
Therefore, I wouldn't store a battery for 2 years, I'd flog it off instead and buy a new one later.

If you're not comfortable with this idea, you could try the following:
Buy a 240V timer (about 20 bucks at Kmart), and program it to switch on your battery charger for an hour or two.
Make sure it's got an alkaline battery for memory backup (don't let black outs wipe your program settings during the 24 month period).
I'd have the battery and charger free standing on a concrete slab just in case something happens to the setup while left unattended.

One word of caution: some chargers discharge the battery while connected to it and the input power is switched off.
You can find out if your charger is ok, by wiring an amp meter in series and watch out for any reverse current when the input power gets switched off.

Best regards, Peter
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Follow Up By: henpecked - Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 17:06

Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 17:06
I'd have the battery and charger free standing on a concrete slab just in case something happens to the setup while left unattended.

****

There are recommendations about advising NOT to store batteries on concrete!
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FollowupID: 675492

Follow Up By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 17:32

Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 17:32
Yes, I've heard that one!

Although no plausible answers seem to exist, I can think of a reason for this:
in cold winter regions, the cold creeps through the concrete slab into the heated room environment.
It's not uncommon for some basement floorsto reach temperatures just barely above freezing (Siberia, permafrost anyone?).
This, together with the higher room temperature can cause a temperature gradient within the battery.
This in turn can assist electrolyte stratification inside the battery, a non-desirable effect.

But hey, M&M&A live in Australia's NT!

Anyway, for peace of mind, a timber board or similar can be put between the battery and the concrete.


Best regards, Peter
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FollowupID: 675496

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