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Friday, October 23, 2009

Dry, Dry Batteries

I have a 1994 Winnebago, gas powered, that I have been living in since the firestorms in this area a while back. Upon checking the batteries I found they are dry. I'm on a 50-amp shore power line right now but I want to replace the batteries as I will need to move the motorhome soon. Is this a do-it-yourself project or should I have someone come out and change the batteries for me. Also any particular brand or type of battery I should or shouldn't use?
Julio, (El Cajon, CA)

Julio, I can certainly empathize with you; I too, had to evacuate because of that firestorm. If you are certain the existing batteries are beyond rejuvenation, in most cases, they are easy to replace. The first thing you should do is label every wire connected to each battery post. Once you remove all the conductors it can indeed be confusing trying to remember where each wire was connected, so take the time to literally label each one. When you are ready to replace the batteries, disconnect the shore power to the rig and disable the inverter if you have one. Only connect to the 50-amp shore power after all the batteries have been replaced and the conductors attached and terminals tightened. Obviously use an automotive battery for the engine start circuit. For the house batteries, if you have the room, I recommend four, 6-volt, golf cart batteries wired in a series/parallel configuration. If you are simply replacing twin 12-volt batteries, go with a name-brand, RV deep cycle battery. If you take your time and label each wire correctly to begin with, you should have no problem replacing them yourself. Have them fully charged before installing them.

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