Oliver | Luxury Fiberglass Travel Trailers, Campers & RVs › Forums › OLIVER CAMPERS › Mechanical & Technical Tips › Shore power at home?
- November 26, 2008 at 2:17 pm #12030
I’m sure this has been discussed before, but …
At home, it is convenient for us to leave the Oliver connected to shore power. Is this the best thing to do in terms of batteries, etc. and for simplicity seekers like us? At times we have just disconnected the batteries with handy dandy disconnect, but we’re not clear on whether or not that is a good idea.
Thanks so much,
TomNovember 27, 2008 at 2:06 am #15683
From what I understand, with the smart charger that is installed as standard equipment in the Oliver, it should be fine–even recommended–to leave our Olivers connected to shore power while we have them at home between trips. That is to allow the smart charger to keep the batteries adequately charged, through the charger’s ability to provide the level of charge that is needed, including a "storage mode" of 13.2 volts DC "When the converter senses that there has been no significant battery usage for approximately 30 hours," to quote from the Progressive Dynamics Intelipower 9200 converter/charger instruction manual. In addition, the manual mentions the charger’s Equalization Mode and describes its function: "When in storage mode the microprocessor automatically increases the output voltage to 14.4 volts for 15 minutes every 21 hours. This will help to reduce the buildup of sulfation on the battery plates."
We have kept our Oliver connected to shore power most of the time that we have it here in our driveway. I check the voltage reading from the meter in front of the sink once or twice each day (if I think of it). Although the reading is sometimes 13.1 volts, most of the time I have checked it recently, the reading has been 13.5 volts, even when there has been no significant use of 12 volt DC for several days. So, it puzzles me a bit that the charger apparently hasn’t stayed in storage mode. However, several sources that I have found (but not all) indicate that a charging voltage of up to 13.8 volts could still be considered a float (or storage) charge for the flooded lead batteries that we have in our Oliver. Also, I have found information that it is good (or necessary) to adjust the charging voltage to compensate for the difference of the battery electrolyte temperature from a norm of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, adding charging voltage as the temperature goes down. I even found a chart that shows how much output charging voltage should be added or subtracted to compensate for temperature changes in the electrolyte. The charger may be finding it necessary to provide a higher charge sometimes these days, as our local temperature goes down into the 40’s and 50’s, requiring a voltage of 13.5, even though, as far as I can tell, this charger does not have a probe to measure the temperature of the batteries.
In sum, I have read wildly conflicting recommendations on the web regarding this issue, ranging from a recommendation that one leave your trailer unplugged from shore power except for two consecutive days each month, or to just one day each week, even if the trailer is outfitted with a four-stage smart converter/charger, like the unit in our Olivers. Others say that if you have a smart charger, you can leave it connected to shore power indefinitely, so that the charger will maintain the batteries’ charge. (This appears to be the intent of the design of the charger in our Olivers.) Frankly, I doubt that most of the advice on the web is provided by knowledgeable parties, and some of it may just repeat what on one web site what has been posted on another. So, I hope that some of those among us who may truly be knowledgeable and experienced in these areas can help us.
SteveNovember 27, 2008 at 12:16 pm #15685
Good post AstroCaster. We have the older charger rated at less ampres, but it has the smart charger wizzard accessory. Our batterys are the fiberglass wrapped Optima batterys. The higher voltage you see from time to time may be the periodic de sulfidization, a programmed function of the smart charger, that flooded batterys need. I wonder if the gell filled, fiberglass wrapped Optimas also need periodic de sulfidization ? I just plug in to shore power and forget it. Maybe I’ll look at the voltage more often.
I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)November 27, 2008 at 1:44 pm #15688
Thanks so much Steve and Larry. I guess this is more complicated than I imagined. Until we learn more, we’ll just leave it plugged in and go with you guys. Maybe we can get a group discount on new batteries if this doesn’t work.
TomNovember 28, 2008 at 2:06 am #15690
If so, we’re in the same group, and our batteries will be in the same state. At home now for the winter, we’re plugged into the garage outlet. I cleaned out and shut down the refrigerator sometime in the first week or so at home… Our battery draw since then has been confined to (mostly) my going out and sitting in the trailer, wishing we were planning a trip somewhere, or cleaning and running the fan to keep cool (sorry–I know that’s a sore spot for folks further north sometimes)….. Oh, well. Sigh. Looking forward to spring! (Maybe we can work out some weekend trips somewhere close by. That would be nice! ) Our Oliver seems very sad, sitting in the parking pad next to the house, I think. Or, gee, is it me?
2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4
2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12November 28, 2008 at 1:25 pm #15692
Up till’ today our Ollie has been in use, Deer Season here, but today the winterizing process begins. Dump station first thing, with a good rinse of the tanks, then drain all of the stuff. A slosh of RV antifreze in each drain, and a oil filled radiator type heater set to come on at about 38*/40*, with all doors and drawers open and the window shades pulled ( we don’t have the double pane windows ). This will be our second Winter with this setup and constant shorepower on our Ollie. We typicaly see temperatures down into the single digits for brief periods, but with overnight lows mostly in the teens and twentys and highs generaly above freezing on most days.
I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)November 28, 2008 at 2:02 pm #15694
During the RVER II rally in Van Buren, there was a tech guy that the presenters had come in and give a talk. One of the things he recommended was that the refrigerator be left on when in storage. He stated that the ammonia needs to be circulating in order to not form a crystalline ridge (or something like that) where the level sits idle in the system. It apparently can plug up the works. He said to stuff the fridge full of loosely wadded newspaper and set the temp on 1 or 2 and just let her run. Tali wrote all the stuff he said down so it must be true. Anyway, for what it’s worth, that’s what we are doing.
Of course, the trailer should be sitting level.
Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4November 28, 2008 at 4:52 pm #15695
Steve, you are using the electric refrigerator element instead of propane ?
I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)November 28, 2008 at 8:10 pm #15698
Steve, Thanks for the tip. Not one I’d heard of before, but it makes sense. We do keep the trailer level during storage. Any other great tips that Tali wrote down?
2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4
2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12November 29, 2008 at 2:47 am #15699
Larry, yes to the electric element.
Sherry, she’s got a whole pad full o’stuff. I’ll have to have her call you.
Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4December 1, 2008 at 6:20 pm #15726
I too have been keeping the Oliver plugged in, and will likely keep it plugged in throughout the winter. I figure that the onboard smart charger is better than anything else I have to keep the batteries maintained. Plus, it’s a lot easier this way. The only thing I’ll be doing is periodically checking the water level, since I have flooded lead acid batteries (Trojan T-105’s).
Interesting comment on keeping the frig running…never heard of that either. Not sure I really want to start up the compressor now that it’s cold however.
HermDecember 1, 2008 at 10:37 pm #15729
Any great tips to share for the manual?December 5, 2008 at 1:04 am #15756
My recommendation is that if you leave the unit plugged in, be sure to check the battery water level monthly. I had hoped the smart charger would do a better job at just maintaining the batteries when in storage, thus reducing fluid loss. This has not proven to be true, at least in the Florida heat. If you remember to keep an eye on the fluid level it is just fine to leave it connected.
If you stay unplugged, the handy battery disconnect is really nice. Otherwise if your unit goes unused for two or three months, heaven for bid that would happen, you will get a reminder of the lack of use from the gas detector once the voltage drops below 11 volts or so.December 5, 2008 at 1:35 pm #15757
So, what is the down side of disconnecting the batteries as opposed to staying connected to shore power?
TomDecember 6, 2008 at 5:01 pm #15761
Having to monitor their charge state and liquid levels. I never did like using a hydrometer to check the specific gracity of the electrolite (h2so4), sulphuric acid. Inattention can signifigantly shorten the batterys life.
Yeh, I know, I take the easy out and let a computer chip do the thinking for me. He, he. We just love our smart charger set up. It is a older, less smart, less powerful modle than everyone elses, yet our Optima fiberglass wrapped, gel filled batterys still seem to be doing ok. We are in the second winter with them plugged in constantly.
I guess the bottom line is we spent a bit more on technology and selected batterys that were a bit less efficient, inorder to get a setup that we could just plug in and forget.
The regular desulfidization bursts that the smart charger gives the flooded batterys is a automatic function when left plugged in. A great longivity bonus for flooded batterys.
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