Dead Battery in Storage – Installed a Battery Disconnect

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After getting my Sabre 36QBOK, I found that the battery would be dead while in storage in less than a week’s time. I also knew from my reading that this continual deep discharge of my deep cycle battery was bad for it’s health (discharging a deep cycle battery more than 50% of it’s capacity shortens its lifespan).

Once I figured out that the battery was dying so quickly, I started moving the junk in the basement to get to the battery box and I’d actually disconnect the positive battery cable from the battery itself until I was able to get and install a battery disconnect switch. The hassle with this is that it required moving stuff and using tools to remove the battery cable. I wanted something simple…

I went looking on eBay for a simple battery disconnect switch. I found a listing from a seller, spiker123marc, for an item that looks like the switch above.

I ended up mounting this inside of the basement storage area on the sidewall (just beside of my front landing gear switch). My father-in-law made an aluminum plate (painted black to match) that spanned 2 parts of the frame and then put spacers behind of it so that the back of the disconnect had space. We mounted the disconnect to the plate and then mounted the plate to the camper.

Installed Battery Disconnect Switch
Installed Battery Disconnect Switch
Aluminum Mount and Spacers
Aluminum Mount and Spacers

I installed it between the battery and the power distribution block of the camper on the positive side. I did need to pick up a battery cable (mine came from AutoZone) for the install.

An Important Safety Note

(I’m adding this based on comments from Ducky below.)

The disconnect switch removes all power to the camper. Without testing it, I assume that includes the magnets for the brakes. Which means that I’m opening a safety hole – if I forget to enable the battery and I have an emergency event where the trailer disconnects from the truck (and the emergency breakaway cable is pulled), I will not have power to my emergency brakes. While an extremely unlikely combination of events, the risk is very real and the results possibly catastrophic.

To mitigate it – the proper solution would be to wire the brake magnets in a way that it bypasses the disconnect and they’re always hot. Unfortunately, this is beyond my paygrade. My solution is to ensure that enabling the battery is on my mental checklist of things to do when I hitch up.

4 COMMENTS

  1. From Ducky on the ForestRiverForums:

    Doug,
    Nice install on the switch. Being a safety conscious type, I would be remiss if I did not mention the possibility of a safety hazard. If you tow with the switch off you may not have power to the breakaway safety switch if it draws its current from the house battery.
    Safe Travels
    Ducky

  2. I plan on updating the blog entry, but to answer the above comments from Ducky:

    YES- this is a safety issue. If I were smarter, I would bypass the disconnect for the brake magnets for emergency brakeaway switch. Unfortunately, that's above my paygrade and have to live with this being a mental check-list item when I hitch up after having the camper in storage or parked out front of the house.

  3. Remove breakaway cable keep in glove box in a baggy with a reminder note. If you have to plug in breakaway for hitching you will remember battery disconnect. If you forget breakaway cable, well what can I say !!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. SoCo, interesting idea in pulling the cable. Each camper is wired differently and I know some are wired so that the emergency brakes are always hot (like Ducky suggested) so you would have to check your specific setup.

    And, welcome!

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