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Old 05-07-2019, 06:20 AM   #1
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 764
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Battery tender advice?

My bus currently will not start because the juice in the battery has gotten too low from sitting too long. I am solidly in the auto-mechanically clueless category, so I'm not sure exactly how to deal with this. According to stuff I've read, I need to buy a battery tender and hook it up and let it charge for 24 hours and then try to start it again.
  • What is a good battery tender to buy for this on Amazon?
  • How do you connect it to the bus batteries?
  • Can this setup be left unattended for a day (i.e. will it automatically charge the batteries full and then shut off)?

My bus is in a self-storage lot that is half an hour from where I live, so I would need to set this up in such a way that I can leave it. The bus has been broken into twice already, so I would need to have the battery tender inside the bus (power cord through a window and then the battery connectors out another window to the battery tray). I'm concerned that a power cord leading to my bus will be an invitation to a third break-in but it is what it is.

Any additional information or tips on using a battery tender with a bus would be much appreciated.
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:27 AM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Andrews,Indiana
Posts: 2,030
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 3116 Cat 250hp
Rated Cap: Just the two of us.
A battery tender is not intended to bring a discharged battery up to full charge. They are VERY low amperage. They are intended to maintain the charge on a good battery. That being said I use the brand "Battery Tender" and have had good luck with them.

All vehicles tend to have parasitic drains on the battery system. The more electronic stuff, especially the added kind, the bigger the drain. Mine is huge, all of those LED indicator lights that tell when a system is active account for much of mine. But, my bus is parked at home and I can deal with it.

In your situation, if the batteries are GOOD, I would either install a master cut off switch, or simply unhook the cables when I parked it. A good battery will maintain it's charge for months even in very cold weather if there is no drain.
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Old 05-07-2019, 12:35 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Philadelpiha Pennsylvania
Posts: 345
Year: 2007
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: FE Bus
Engine: DT-466 7.6L Turbo Diesel
Rated Cap: 77
I PURCHASED A 25 WATT SOLAR PANEL AND CHARGE CONTROLLER WHICH I PUT ON THE DASH AND PLUGGED IN THE ALWAYS ON CIGARETTE LIGHTER PORT. IT KEEPS MY DRIVE BATTERIES AT 100% JUST SITTING THERE PARKED. I THINK I SPENT $50 ON THE SET UP AT HARBOR FREIGHT WITH A COUPON.

https://www.harborfreight.com/25-wat...nel-63940.html

https://www.harborfreight.com/7-amp-...tor-96728.html
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