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Old 11-21-2015, 11:51 AM   #1
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2nd Battery Addition

I found some handy connectors and switch at Princess Auto. I think they are intended for marine use. They weren't that level of quality but they were good enough for a old TC. The connectors were for trolling motors, two prong 8ga. one was surface mount. The other thing was a 4 position 400amp switch ,1,1+2,2, and off. This allows me to switch in to the truck ,#1+2, for charging while traveling and switch to house batteries ,#1, for camping. Off allows me to plug in at home without boiling the battery. I made the connection ahead of the converter.

Yes, I know 8ga is light, but the manufacturer only used 10ga. I was going to change that but routing was such that I gave that idea up. The 2nd battery got mounted ahead of the passenger side wheel well. This was specific to my truck and the liner.
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Old 11-22-2015, 11:11 PM   #2
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I just used a fairly heavy continuous duty solenoid (I think 30 amp.) that was activated by the ignition switch to engage the solenoid and connect the camper batt. to the charging system. When the switch was turned off it was dis-engaged and the camper batt. was isolated. I also wired a switch into the system so I could do it manually, but almost never used it. With my propensity to forget I needed something that would be automatic. That system worked well many years for me.

I believe I used 8 ga. for mine also.

Best of luck with yours.


Steve
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Old 11-23-2015, 08:02 PM   #3
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Thanks Steve. I used that method on my first camper I had, showing my age, it was in '75. Finding a HD solenoid then was a problem., but the wiring was simple. This is the second camper, we just purchased it, mostly for hunting.
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:16 PM   #4
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Ha, not much difference in the age thing as we had our first TC in '78-'79. Before that it was tents and a tent trailer.


Ours were used for hunting also, mostly bow hunting for elk here in OR, fishing, and just exploring, as well as nearly annual trips from OR to WV and back. They were used a lot.


Another problem we had with the last truck, a '89 Dodge W250 Cummins, was with the camper on and towing a boat or the Tracker after dark the headlight switch would overheat. After replacing one switch I wired another solenoid into the system so the only additional load on the switch was to activate the solenoid (about .5 amp) which has worked well so far. The solenoid carries the load for the camper and towed vehicle lights.


Best of luck.


Steve
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Old 11-24-2015, 03:39 PM   #5
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Headlight switch

It wasn't just your truck, all Chrysler products I've had, burnt out that switch. At least in a truck it was an easy fix, unlike some of the cars.

This weekend I'll be taking the camper out hunting. I have a drawn doe tag and 4pointers are open. This will be my first trip with it, the heater going to get a test with the artic front coming down.
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Old 11-24-2015, 11:09 PM   #6
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I put a catalytic heater in mine. If it's very cold and the battery runs down enough to significantly slow the camper heater fan the heater will stop working and things could freeze. Mine did that several times before I got the catalytic (Wave) heater, but fortunately nothing froze.


Best of luck hunting, and staying warm.


Steve
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Old 11-29-2015, 01:06 AM   #7
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How cold is it getting when you have these freeze issues? Last New Years trip it got down to single digits at night, a few in our camp had issues with frozen plumbing, but I had no issues with the heater in my camper despite it running what seemed like continuously.

I have also wondered about the headlight circuit. On my F350 the stock truck headlights are isolated from the trailer light circuit but I still have both the camper and trailer running off that trailer circuit which equals a lot of lights. No issues though!
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Old 11-29-2015, 12:34 PM   #8
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In my experience with TCs from '78 to the present the only thing I have had freeze is the holding/dump system in the really cold temps you mention, but there was no way for me to provide heat there and once I got to where it was warmer that thawed and there was no damage. I have always provided heat to the interior or winterized the system to prevent freezing.


My concern about the water system inside the camper freezing was only if the battery got low enough while dry camping to cause the heater to stop working when there was no one around to either start the gen. or truck to charge the batt. and get the heater working again. If the heater stopped working in below freezing temperatures for several hours there is no doubt in my mind that things would start freezing and the colder it was the sooner this would happen. My heater stopped working several times while I was hunting because of a low batt., but luckily not long enough for things to freeze before I decided to stop tempting fate and installed a heater that didn't need the battery in order to function. As long as the inside of the camper is kept above freezing there should be no problem there, at least in the temps. I've experienced which would be approaching single digits at night.


I think the OP mentioned that in his experience there was a problem with the headlight switch used in my truck. I think my final solution was similar to what Ford did to your F-350 at the factory and I have had no problems either since then, but originally all those lights you mentioned were running off a switch in my truck that was only designed to run the lights on the truck.


Steve
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Old 11-29-2015, 08:21 PM   #9
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The first trip was this weekend, cold, -15c when it warmed up during the day. We ran the genny every night to power the electric heater as well as the furnace.. Since we were many miles to the nearest people, I don't think we annoyed anyone. The water did freeze up last might, but we had ran out of gas and filled up during the night, then ran out of propane, and changed over,so we only had one working at a time. I was using ear plugs so my hunting partner was the one getting out there. It didn't start out too good, the regulator froze and the genny had be warmed before it would start. The regulator got a few raps with the 7/8" wrench to smarten it up. There was quite a howl from the furnace at the thought of working at those temperatures.

We used 2gal of gas and 10# of propane. We drove up Friday after work, my partner still has to work, and left Sunday noon. We filled the tag, so overall a successful weekend. The forest was very frosty, the trees had one inch long crystals. Beautiful .
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