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Old 05-29-2015, 07:42 PM   #1
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Can I jump start my toad from my motor home?

Recently we have found that at every stop, after towing our car with the Unified Tow Brake hooked up, the car battery is completely dead. We had the battery (which is new) and the charging system checked, and everything checks out fine. The question is this:

Until we find out what the cause of the problem is, can we use either the 6-volt house batteries, or the chassis batteries, to jump start the vehicle, and if so, what would be the proper procedure for doing this safely?
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Old 05-29-2015, 07:49 PM   #2
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From my 'limited' knowledge, you do not want to use a 6 volt system to start your 12 v toad. I am not sure what type of system your toad has, but I use a Prostrat portable battery pack to power the aux braking system for our toad. I need to recharge the battery pack about every three days when we are traveling. Using this system, I have never had a dead battery on the toad, and did not have to put in any extra wiring.
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Old 05-29-2015, 07:53 PM   #3
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We use a ToadCharge system to provide charging power to our toad while it is being towed. However, we also carry a portable power pack capable of starting the vehicle if we do have a problem (we've had dead car batteries only twice in 4 years of full-timing.) Here's what we carry; it stays in the basement of the MH always plugged in: Amazon.com: Schumacher PSJ-1812 DSR ProSeries 1800 Peak Amps Jump Starter and Portable Power Unit: Automotive
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Old 05-29-2015, 07:55 PM   #4
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My (unqualified) opinion. Your chassis batteries will be 12v so just like jump starting a car. Voltage drain, you either need to install a battery switch on the toad or supply power via the cabling from the M/H to the toad. There must be something on the toad draining power? Do you have to have the ignition to "on" for wheel unlock or the like?
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Old 05-29-2015, 07:56 PM   #5
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Your 6 V batteries are arranged in banks of two in series to make 12 V. The banks of two are connected in parallel to get higher current. The short answer is that you can jump from the car to the 12 V point.

I would prefer you do two other things. Assuming you have a 7 pin tow connection feed 12 V power to the car battery via an isolator to keep the battery charged. Charge the battery with any reasonable shop type battery charger instead of jumping it. It will take an hour or so to get up to where you can start the towed but the battery will last a lot longer. Batteries in general do not like extremely high charging currents. That is what happens when you jump start the vehicle.
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Old 05-29-2015, 07:59 PM   #6
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You don't say what model coach you have. If it's a DP, yes, you can boost your toad off the master switch in the engine compartment. Put the Pos (Red) on the connection on the switch and the Neg (Black) on any good ground point.
If you have a gasser, you might be able to reach the house batteries depending on how far away they are. Same principle, red, positive, black on the negative post. And the same on the toad battery.
As for you dead battery issue, what are you towing and do you have a charge line in the umbilical cord.
If it's a CRV, change the battery to a larger one. I used to have a dead battery every day and now with the new larger battery, I have gone two days without unhooking, short run in the AM before taking off, and no dead battery.
There are a few post in the Toads Forum on this subject.
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:17 PM   #7
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All you need to keep the toad battery up is a charging wire. Pin 4 in your 7-pin trailer connector has 12 volts on it. Connect a wire from that pin to the positive lead on your toad battery and your problem is solved. Just to be safe, I put a 10 amp fuse in that line. I had the same problem in my Durango, and after jump-starting it from the coach batteries several times, I installed this one additional wire. The Durango battery never died again.

You don't need to spend any money on a "Toad Charger" or any other gimmick that says it will charge your toad battery. All you need is a piece of wire and a fuse holder.
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Old 05-29-2015, 10:02 PM   #8
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I guess I should have been more specific. First of all, thanks for the many replies. We have had this braking system since 2007, and never had a problem. Just this year, on the past 3 trips, with the brake hooked up, we have had a total discharge of the battery. (We have a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee being pulled by a 2005 Fleetwood Providence.) The Jeep does not require any fuses to be pulled, and does not require starting the car at interim stops.

We have had all systems checked out, and narrowed it down to the tow brake system, which is kind of what we thought from the jump. We don't know if there is some kind of diode that is allowing electricity to flow from the Jeep to the coach, or some other problem. There is a charging wire from the coach to the toad, and it checks out fine.

That being said, until we can get the problem fixed, we hate to keep imposing on others for a jump and thought perhaps we could do it ourselves. You all bring up many interesting points!
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Old 05-29-2015, 10:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rich-n-Linda View Post
All you need to keep the toad battery up is a charging wire. Pin 4 in your 7-pin trailer connector has 12 volts on it. Connect a wire from that pin to the positive lead on your toad battery and your problem is solved. Just to be safe, I put a 10 amp fuse in that line. I had the same problem in my Durango, and after jump-starting it from the coach batteries several times, I installed this one additional wire. The Durango battery never died again.

You don't need to spend any money on a "Toad Charger" or any other gimmick that says it will charge your toad battery. All you need is a piece of wire and a fuse holder.
Thanks for the response. Our system does have that, on pin 4. We just don't have a tester that can tell us if we are getting the full 12 volts. Do you have a Unified Tow Brake system? If so, what is the need for the fuse in the system? Ours has worked fine for 9 years, and just started discharging on the last 3 legs of our journey.
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Old 05-29-2015, 10:45 PM   #10
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As for the problem. As others have commented, a wire added from the RV connection can provide enroute charging.

As for jump starting until you get tge problem fixed, yes you can jump start from either the engine or house batteries. House batteries if six volt are wired together to provide 12 volts. Use the appropriate terminal to connect to.

That said, I would suggest you buy a jump box instead of jumping from the RV. Safer and easier to use a jump box. And a jump box is a very handy thing to have around. I carry one in the jeep for use when needed.
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Old 05-30-2015, 07:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich-n-Linda View Post

You don't need to spend any money on a "Toad Charger" or any other gimmick that says it will charge your toad battery. All you need is a piece of wire and a fuse holder.
Actually, the ToadCharge and other similar products are not "gimmicks". They perform a very real function.

Yes, you can use a simple wire and connect the batteries of your MH and your toad but in that situation the batteries are tied together whenever the circuit is complete. Therefore, if you were to keep the toad connected overnight it's possible that the MH's batteries would be drawn down.

With the ToadCharge current will not flow to the toad's batteries unless the MH engine and alternator are running. As soon as the MH engine is turned off the circuit is broken.

In addition, the ToadCharge kit comes with a circuit breaker to ensure that you don't short out your MH batteries as the result of a short in your wiring. My MH has two 950 A-hr batteries--shorting them out would be a very "exciting" experience.

I don't get any money for endorsing this product or a similar one sold by Brake Buddy. All I'm doing is passing along some common sense advice FWIW.
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Old 05-30-2015, 07:20 AM   #12
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Actually, the ToadCharge and other similar products are not "gimmicks". They perform a very real function.

Yes, you can use a simple wire and connect the batteries of your MH and your toad but in that situation the batteries are tied together whenever the circuit is complete. Therefore, if you were to keep the toad connected overnight it's possible that the MH's batteries would be drawn down.

With the ToadCharge current will not flow to the toad's batteries unless the MH engine and alternator are running. As soon as the MH engine is turned off the circuit is broken.

In addition, the ToadCharge kit comes with a circuit breaker to ensure that you don't short out your MH batteries as the result of a short in your wiring. My MH has two 950 A-hr batteries--shorting them out would be a very "exciting" experience.

I don't get any money for endorsing this product or a similar one sold by Brake Buddy. All I'm doing is passing along some common sense advice FWIW.

I agree with DocJ here. The commercially available ToadCharge is less than $100 and is really a one stop shop.


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Old 05-30-2015, 07:37 AM   #13
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Thanks for the response. Our system does have that, on pin 4. We just don't have a tester that can tell us if we are getting the full 12 volts. Do you have a Unified Tow Brake system? If so, what is the need for the fuse in the system? Ours has worked fine for 9 years, and just started discharging on the last 3 legs of our journey.
Not sure others are picking up on the fact that you have a toad charging system installed already, that it's been performing as expected for years, and that you just started having trouble recently.

This would tell me there's an issue that's just come up with that charging system. If you don't have the equipment to check it with you, maybe a mobile tech could give you a hand?

Your issue could be in the MH or the toad so the presence of 12v on pin 4 is helpful, but may not be the whole story. That voltage needs to make it from there to the toad's battery. Could be a blown fuse or a bad circuit breaker, corroded wiring, or a few other things. It just needs to be tracked down. You mention you have voltage at pin 4. Was that on the coach or the toad side? It should be on both sides for a complete circuit.

Regarding jumping, as mentioned earlier, the preferable method would be charging for an hour or so with a charger. Doesn't need to be anything super, maybe something in the 10-20 amp range. With that, any time you arrive with a dead battery, all you need to do is fire up the coach's genny and run an extension cord to the charger that's hooked up to the toad's battery. We seldom have issues where a charger is required, but carry a charger with us just as we carry a few tools. -Al
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Old 05-30-2015, 10:43 AM   #14
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. We have had this braking system since 2007, and never had a problem. Just this year, on the past 3 trips, with the brake hooked up, we have had a total discharge of the battery. (We have a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee being pulled by a 2005 Fleetwood Providence.) !
I believe you have no key turned to on in your Jeep GC as there is no wheel lock.

So as you state, the only draw on your Jeep battery is for auxiliary brake power.

Either the brake system is drawing way too much power.

The Jeep battery is going bad and cannot withstand the brake system load.

Or perhaps you are towing the car for multiple days without unplugging the brake system over night.

I would think the likely cause is the Jeep battery. It might pay to have it load tested. JMWAG
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