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Old 01-14-2015, 04:08 PM   #1
Raw Slaw's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 21
Winter Storage/battery charging

Hi all,

We're here in central VA and it's getting a bit cold. I recently had both of my 12 volt batteries fully charged, and I'm wondering about what we should do for winter storage. The bus will not be moving for the next year or so.

We have a Black and Decker "smart charger" that can do a float charge, and I"m wondering how many amps I should charge at (I'm guessing 4) and if I should bring the batteries into the basement, on the porch, leave them in the bus, etc. Thanks for reading and I appreciate any advice about keeping my bus healthy while stationary.
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Old 01-14-2015, 07:41 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Montana
Posts: 1,618
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All-American R/E
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
If you bring the batteries in that will make it hard to start the bus once a month or so. You could disconnect the master switch and leave them there with a "battery minder". However, I have been told that those trickle chargers are no good for batteries.

Glad I could clear it up for you, lol.
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Old 01-14-2015, 11:35 PM   #3
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Awesome, thanks. Our bus is on the street, so we'd have to have a giant extension cord running from the house and it would make us pretty conspicuous, so I'll just have to keep them close by.
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Old 01-20-2015, 05:57 PM   #4
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Location: MB
Posts: 279
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Tomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444e
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I would install a master switch to disconnect the batteries.
As long as you have good batteries you would be surprised how long they will stay charged for. I had an old 650cca interstate battery a friend gave me after he scrapped his farm car. This battery was manufactured in 03, after leaving it on my garage floor (-40 sometimes) all winter it still started a '99 VW passat(?) and it was a v8.

The moral of the story is.... If the battery is disconnected it will be fine. I would also recommend hooking up 1-2 1.5 watt solar battery maintainer. Just leave them on the dash, avoid H.F. Apparently there is no diodes in those ones.
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Old 01-22-2015, 11:38 AM   #5
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Location: central texas
Posts: 151
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas/International
Chassis: 3700
Engine: 7.3
Rated Cap: 72
If you decide to use a solar battery maintainer you will need at lest 5 watts per battery, probably better to have 10 watts, any less and it will not keep the batteries topped off.

If you get a 10amp plug in battery maintainer you can just plug it in every week or two, get one with a quick connect that you can leave connected to the battery all the time,

Even if you decide just to start the bus every week or three you still need to experiment to make sure whichever method you use is working, to do this just charge as much as you think is necessary, let the battery set for 6 or more hours without being charged and then check the voltage, 12.6 or 12.7 is great, 12.5 is ok, anything less means you need to charge more the next time, then you will also need to see how fast your batteries discharge and this also takes some experimentation with a volt meter.
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Old 01-22-2015, 11:44 AM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 22,921
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
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Just throwing this out there in case anyone is needing batteries. Rural King has Exide-made batteries on sale for $75 for a group 31 size. I bought mine there and am happy months later.

I start mine about every two weeks and drive it around the pasture a bit.
Starts up quicker than my new subaru.
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Old 01-22-2015, 11:55 AM   #7
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Twin Falls, Idaho
Posts: 809
keeping any battery fully charged

The method that works great is to connect any charger to a basic clock timer, available for less than $10. Set the charger at about 20 amps. Set the timer to 6 hours on, set time to 6 hours off. I have been using this method for many years. My Crown is always ready to start. Frank
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