Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's a New Week

Okay, our grand daughters have returned to mom and dad and grandma and grandpa can get their life back to normal. We've wanted to host them for years and this year, it finally happened. There were a few rough edges that had to be smoothed over, but we survived it well. However, hosting grand daughters for the first time when they are "set in their way" teenagers is just a bit late. I'm of the old school and there are a few of things that I don't like or will not tolerate.

Now that we have a little more time, I've been into the coach and doing some needed maintenance work. Last year we added solar panels and a monitor panel that really tells me what is going on with the batteries. Well, this summer, I began to see indications that perhaps my batteries were not up to par. Batteries are like so many other things in life, they don't always just say, "I'm bad". Perhaps the saying of General Macarthur of "they just fad away" best describes what my batteries are doing.

What I noticed with the batteries was that they gave fewer and fewer Ampere-Hours of service before the voltage was nearly rock bottom. I also noticed that the float charging rate never seemed to go down to less than one amp and currently was more like 3 or 4 amps. Finally one morning I decided to take a temperature reading of my batteries. Surprise, one battery was 20 degrees warmer than the other two. My conclusion was that it had a shorted cell and was soaking up the charge, plus at night, it would discharge the two good batteries when I was operating on solar only. So we quickly removed that battery from the string of batteries. Things improved some, but not as much as I expected.

So we decided to pull all three batteries and wire in a deep cycle marine battery that I bought four years ago for our fifth wheel and have hardly used it since. With all three batteries sitting on the ground, it was apparent that both the first and third batteries were failing (Their voltages were low.) Life was different with the replacement battery, which made us happy. We then removed the battery tray and went about measuring and contemplating how we were going to rework it so that I can install 4 golf cart batteries. I'm short one inch of vertical space and there is 5 inches of surplus space below the tray. Winnebago did me no favors and installed a cross member below the tray plus they installed a 12" by 18" plate below the tray closer to the inside. To install my desired batteries, both items need to be lowered.

Late yesterday, we decided that before we start cutting and bending, we ought to get the new batteries and verify the fit. So that is Tuesday's job. We finished off the day by riding the lawn mower and trimming our hay field down to a more reasonable level. Everything is green in Iowa and growing.


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