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  • Dead battery when disconnected….

    So not off to a great start… going out to load the camper for our first trip next week, and the battery was dead. It has been parked in covered storage for 12 days with battery disconnect in disconnect position. Currently on charger (was down to 5.7V). What is drawing power in that configuration? And would it be normal to be drawing enough juice to kill the battery that quickly? Called Campers Inn, and was simply told “If you don’t want your battery to die, pull the positive lead.”
    Rob & Stacy

    2020 F-250 7.3 Gasser 4x4 Crew; Reese GooseBox
    2022 Reflection 337RLS

    Charleston, SC

  • #2
    Originally posted by StarlifterFE View Post
    So not off to a great start… going out to load the camper for our first trip next week, and the battery was dead. It has been parked in covered storage for 12 days with battery disconnect in disconnect position. Currently on charger (was down to 5.7V). What is drawing power in that configuration? And would it be normal to be drawing enough juice to kill the battery that quickly? Called Campers Inn, and was simply told “If you don’t want your battery to die, pull the positive lead.”
    Obviously you neglected to call Maintenance and I bet you even have a tool or two hidden in your flight bag. Tough to teach flight crew to never, ever try to fix something themselves--call mx! (I'm teasing you.)

    Your Grand Design owners manual (link to electronic versions on menu bar above) states to pull the negative lead on the battery for long term storage. ("Long" is not defined.) Not sure why Campers Inn said to pull the positive. (Either will work in reality, but the negative is better IMHO.)

    There are several items in the camper that can draw a battery down even with the battery cutoff set properly. Some newer GD trailers have their refrigerator wired directly to the battery (bypassing the shutoff). Almost every GD trailer has the carbon monoxide and propane detectors hard-wired to the battery. On your new 337RLS there could be even more items.

    Anticipating your next question, the reason the battery cutoff doesn't disconnect all power is because that would mean the emergency brakes would not work. Code and liability force GD to wire the campers as they do. Many owners (including myself) have added a second cutoff that actually cuts off all battery power. Since the jacks won't work, the rationale is it would be difficult to drive away with all the stabilizers and front jack still firmly attached to the ground. (A self-correcting oversight!)

    Hope that helps (and that you didn't mind the good-natured teasing). Hang in there--lots to learn (and we've all been there).

    Howard
    Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

    2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

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    • #3
      howson Thanks Howard! I can take it... the worst thing is the truck was full of gear, so I didn't even have the tools to pull the battery (be gentle on that one).

      Campers Inn service just specified the detectors and the leveling system, but you're probably right. I guess I had "assumed" a disconnect switch meant disconnect.

      On a related note, short of going out to the camper every couple days to verify, any idea if the pre-installed solar array will grab enough UV to charge the battery in an outdoor covered spot? I had thought about this before, but thought I was playing it safe by "disconnecting" the battery. I also noticed a note in the manual that says to turn off the controller off before pulling the battery. Of course, I saw this after I pulled the battery, and the manual for the controller doesn't indicate an "off" function even exists.

      I don't mind the learning part... I actually enjoy it. I just wish the learning wasn't taking place at the same time as the fixing. My AF training spoiled me! What I learned today was that the carbon monoxide detector low battery beep works... unfortunately, my storage situation means I can't get into the rig while it's parked (space between the units).
      Rob & Stacy

      2020 F-250 7.3 Gasser 4x4 Crew; Reese GooseBox
      2022 Reflection 337RLS

      Charleston, SC

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by StarlifterFE View Post
        howson Thanks Howard! I can take it... the worst thing is the truck was full of gear, so I didn't even have the tools to pull the battery (be gentle on that one).

        Campers Inn service just specified the detectors and the leveling system, but you're probably right. I guess I had "assumed" a disconnect switch meant disconnect.

        On a related note, short of going out to the camper every couple days to verify, any idea if the pre-installed solar array will grab enough UV to charge the battery in an outdoor covered spot? I had thought about this before, but thought I was playing it safe by "disconnecting" the battery. I also noticed a note in the manual that says to turn off the controller off before pulling the battery. Of course, I saw this after I pulled the battery, and the manual for the controller doesn't indicate an "off" function even exists.
        Shade kills solar. I'd assume a fully covered spot means no solar input. Check out Shade's Effect on Solar Output here: https://gdrvowners.com/forum/solar/r...n-solar-output

        Adding a shutoff between the panel(s) and solar controller, and also one between the controller and battery, (if either do not currently exist) are "To Do" items to consider.

        My .02 on the battery: disconnect the negative (after ensuring it's fully charged since it is a lead acid) as the last step prior to leaving the camper in storage.


        Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

        2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

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        • #5
          StarlifterFE ,I don't know the correct answers but can relay my experience with my 2022 with 165w solar panel, and 2 LA batteries installed by the dealer.

          Even in full sunshine I have not been able to keep the batteries charged for more than a couple of days. And that was with the battery disconnected (with red disconnect key pulled) amd confirmed 12v fridge turned off. I don't know if there's something wrong with my solar charger or converter but I suspect there's just too much parasitic drain. I'll be disconnecting the negative lead from now on when storing the trailer.

          Regards turning the solar charger "off" - Grand Design customer service told me it was OK to disconnect the batteries even though there is no way to turn off the solar charger.
          Mike and Rebecca
          2022 Reflection 150 260RD
          2001 Chev 2500 HD 8.1 liter 4x4

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          • #6
            Mike & Rebecca that would be utterly remarkable if the solar setup can’t supply more power than parasitic drain… what exactly is the purpose of the solar then?
            Rob & Stacy

            2020 F-250 7.3 Gasser 4x4 Crew; Reese GooseBox
            2022 Reflection 337RLS

            Charleston, SC

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by howson View Post

              Shade kills solar. I'd assume a fully covered spot means no solar input. Check out Shade's Effect on Solar Output here: https://gdrvowners.com/forum/solar/r...n-solar-output

              Adding a shutoff between the panel(s) and solar controller, and also one between the controller and battery, (if either do not currently exist) are "To Do" items to consider.

              My .02 on the battery: disconnect the negative (after ensuring it's fully charged since it is a lead acid) as the last step prior to leaving the camper in storage.

              I’ll have to dig into the stack to read through any documentation to see what’s in the solar setup. What is the benefit of installing shutoffs in those locations? I wouldn’t be adverse to mods that maximize what I have, but if the solar can’t even keep the batteries charged in full sun (as mike & Rebecca described) I wouldn’t want to just throw time and money away. Installing the Progressive EMS is first on the list, once I find the video I had and determine whether the 6ga wiring need to be stranded, or solid copper, or if it matters.
              Rob & Stacy

              2020 F-250 7.3 Gasser 4x4 Crew; Reese GooseBox
              2022 Reflection 337RLS

              Charleston, SC

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by StarlifterFE View Post

                I’ll have to dig into the stack to read through any documentation to see what’s in the solar setup. What is the benefit of installing shutoffs in those locations? I wouldn’t be adverse to mods that maximize what I have, but if the solar can’t even keep the batteries charged in full sun (as mike & Rebecca described) I wouldn’t want to just throw time and money away. Installing the Progressive EMS is first on the list, once I find the video I had and determine whether the 6ga wiring need to be stranded, or solid copper, or if it matters.
                Solar is a complicated topic with many, many variables. I agree completely that it should be way down the list of priorities. If / when you want to dig into the subject more, I suggest starting a specific thread on the topic.

                A hardwired EMS was also one of my very first mods back in Jul '18. The cabinet and wire run in your 337 is very similar to my 315RLTS. If it helps, I documented my install here: https://gdrvowners.com/forum/operati...a-2019-315rlts

                If you haven't seen it yet, there's a spreadsheet that keeps an (almost) comprehensive list of the mods done by members of this forum. You'll find it in the Modifications channel. It will give you tons of ideas on what you can do to your camper. https://gdrvowners.com/modifications
                Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

                2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

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                • #9
                  Mike & Rebecca StarlifterFE howson Does the factory solar charge the batteries with the disconnect off (red key pulled)? I wouldn't expect it to.

                  FWIW, our Solitude has 300 watts of factory solar feeding 320 amp hours of lifeline AGM batteries. Unit has a residential frig, and 2000 watt inverter. Just dry camped for three days in full sun (when it was up, lol) in Central CA, daytime temps near 70. Ran the onboard generator 3 hours each evening. No one in the unit all day; everything except frig was off. After three days, batteries were down to 12.5 volts.

                  If we were seriously into dry camping, we would have to significantly upgrade our panels, or run the generator far more, or both. I provide this info so you can kind of see that the solar is not the end all, cure all for the RV battery system without significant upgrades and $$.

                  Starlifter, If I were in your spot, I would be looking for the largest capacity battery(s) that would fit your available space (as a start), then physically disconnect them while in storage.
                  Dave and Darren Bakersfield, CA
                  2019 GMC Denali dually 4x4 duramax, BW puck hitch, timbrens
                  2015 Chevrolet 3500 CC duramax SB SRW (much loved; replaced with dually)
                  2021 Solitude 390 RK-R (3 A/C, solar, gen, 8K axles DP glass), comfort ride shocks, VIN 03584
                  Max and Riley, our chihuahua/jack russell furbabies

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DarnDave View Post
                    Mike & Rebecca StarlifterFE howson Does the factory solar charge the batteries with the disconnect off (red key pulled)? I wouldn't expect it to.

                    FWIW, our Solitude has 300 watts of factory solar feeding 320 amp hours of lifeline AGM batteries. Unit has a residential frig, and 2000 watt inverter. Just dry camped for three days in full sun (when it was up, lol) in Central CA, daytime temps near 70. Ran the onboard generator 3 hours each evening. No one in the unit all day; everything except frig was off. After three days, batteries were down to 12.5 volts.

                    If we were seriously into dry camping, we would have to significantly upgrade our panels, or run the generator far more, or both. I provide this info so you can kind of see that the solar is not the end all, cure all for the RV battery system without significant upgrades and $$.

                    Starlifter, If I were in your spot, I would be looking for the largest capacity battery(s) that would fit your available space (as a start), then physically disconnect them while in storage.
                    Thanks for your thoughts. I think I was really frustrated thinking the disc would spare my batteries for two weeks, and had a full day of loading planned which couldn’t be done since I couldn’t move unit for access. Had to install an actual disconnect on previous TT and it did what I expected. Pointing out the need to pull cables for even a short storage seems something that should be covered in PDI, but It is what it is. Live and learn; spend to fix; enjoy the next day.

                    Since boondocking isn’t in the plans for the near future, we’ll prob just figure out how to add another battery, and upgrade from the lead acids… I’ll do a forum search and see what if I can find a cost-effective solution that will meet our needs. For start, I’ll be adding a true disconnect, since the solar isn’t any help in a covered lot.
                    Rob & Stacy

                    2020 F-250 7.3 Gasser 4x4 Crew; Reese GooseBox
                    2022 Reflection 337RLS

                    Charleston, SC

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by howson View Post

                      Anticipating your next question, the reason the battery cutoff doesn't disconnect all power is because that would mean the emergency brakes would not work. Code and liability force GD to wire the campers as they do.
                      How about one more question. What is the purpose of a battery disconnect...that doesn't disconnect the battery? Why have it at all?
                      Starlifter is by no means the first person to discover this the hard way. And there lots more "my battery is dead" threads coming. It seems like a trap for new owners and the purpose of it escapes me.



                      2018 Dodge 3500 6.7 Cummins w Aisin and 9 cup holders
                      2021 Reflection 303RLS, Haloview RD7, Strong-arms, Micro-Air364

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                      • #12
                        That is a great question and one that will get asked in April.

                        I know by the code/law that they are not allowed to install a full battery disconnect.

                        Brian
                        Brian & Michelle
                        2018 Reflection 29RS Oct.2017 build date, EMS-HW50C , Lippert Remote
                        2015 Chevy 3500HD CC LB Duramax , Reese Elite 18K

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Scott'n'Wendy View Post
                          How about one more question. What is the purpose of a battery disconnect...that doesn't disconnect the battery? Why have it at all?
                          Starlifter is by no means the first person to discover this the hard way. And there lots more "my battery is dead" threads coming. It seems like a trap for new owners and the purpose of it escapes me.
                          I can't find a definitive answer--would be a good one for J.A.M. ("Just Ask Mike"). "Mike" is Mike Sokol and his No Shock Zone newsletter at https://www.rvtravel.com/category/rv...ty-newsletter/

                          A speculation (I could be completely wrong): battery disconnects started out years ago as just that--battery disconnects. Over time, as accidents happened, standards were created in an attempt to negate a repeat of the event.

                          In some cases it's not even an accident that drives an OEM to bypass the disconnect. GD purposefully bypassed the battery disconnect (at least they did on early installations) on 12v refrigerators. I believe the intent was to keep owners from inadvertently shutting the appliance off. We've certainly read many, many threads where that happened ("bumped the key in the passthru").

                          Killing batteries due to the parasitic drain could be considered an unfortunate unintended consequence.
                          Last edited by howson; 02-20-2022, 12:04 PM.
                          Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

                          2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by howson View Post


                            In some cases it's not even an accident that drives an OEM to bypass the disconnect. GD purposefully bypassed the battery disconnect (at least they did on early installations) on 12v refrigerators. I believe the intent was to keep owners from inadvertently shutting the appliance off. We've certainly read many, many threads where that happened ("bumped the key in the passthru").

                            Killing batteries due to the parasitic drain could be considered an unfortunate unintended consequence.
                            Interesting you said that… though I couldn’t get in the camper, I did notice lights were on on the display of my 12v fridge. The fridge was turned off at the pdi, and I had “assumed” the lights stayed on due to shore power being connected. Also noticed the manual points out my tankless water heater has a parasitic draw of .25 unless the master switch on the heater is off (it wasn’t, but the heater controller inside was off). Again, this all with disconnect switch off. I may have to get a current meter and see if I can measure exactly how much power is leaching…
                            Rob & Stacy

                            2020 F-250 7.3 Gasser 4x4 Crew; Reese GooseBox
                            2022 Reflection 337RLS

                            Charleston, SC

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Scott'n'Wendy View Post
                              How about one more question. What is the purpose of a battery disconnect...that doesn't disconnect the battery? Why have it at all?
                              Starlifter is by no means the first person to discover this the hard way. And there lots more "my battery is dead" threads coming. It seems like a trap for new owners and the purpose of it escapes me.


                              According to discussion about this, that I have had with folks at Grand Design, they build to the requirements of their governing organization, RVIA. Having a "battery switch" and having certain circuits that bypass it are part of these requirements.

                              Rob
                              Cate & Rob
                              (with Border Collies Molly & Angel)
                              2015 Reflection 303RLS
                              2022 F350 Diesel CC SB SRW Lariat
                              Bayham, Ontario, Canada

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