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Old 03-08-2016, 07:54 PM   #1
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Charging Batteries

I've only had my trailer a couple weeks. Camped once, and spent a few nights in it while in the driveway...just checking different things out.

When plugged into shore power, I've been pulling the battery disconnect. But, I think this was the wrong thing to do. I noticed my battery is reading at 3/4 charge.

I think the battery will trickle charge when plugged into the truck or shore power.

My question is, do you folks take your batteries off the trailer and charge them on a charger before a trip? Or, is 3/4 ok and on the way to the next campground the truck should charge them up. Or...I guess I can just do it and see what works.

What are your battery maintenance procedures?

Do you only pull the disconnect when in storage for long periods?

Thank you,

Mike
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Old 03-08-2016, 08:51 PM   #2
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Charging Batteries

I disconnect the battery when not plugged into shore power to prevent drain

I let the trailer's onboard charger do all the charging.

I plug it into shore power the day before leaving to charge the batt and cool the fridge down.

Check the water in the battery a few times / yr. fill with distilled water as required.
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Old 03-10-2016, 03:50 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLiljen View Post
I've only had my trailer a couple weeks. Camped once, and spent a few nights in it while in the driveway...just checking different things out.

When plugged into shore power, I've been pulling the battery disconnect. But, I think this was the wrong thing to do. I noticed my battery is reading at 3/4 charge.

I think the battery will trickle charge when plugged into the truck or shore power.

My question is, do you folks take your batteries off the trailer and charge them on a charger before a trip? Or, is 3/4 ok and on the way to the next campground the truck should charge them up. Or...I guess I can just do it and see what works.

What are your battery maintenance procedures?

Do you only pull the disconnect when in storage for long periods?

Thank you,

Mike
What a great post. This question about if the truck trickle charges RV batteries while you drive has been knawing at me . thanks for posting this.. I was just about to do it.
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Old 03-10-2016, 03:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bjlakatos View Post
I disconnect the battery when not plugged into shore power to prevent drain

I let the trailer's onboard charger do all the charging.

I plug it into shore power the day before leaving to charge the batt and cool the fridge down.

Check the water in the battery a few times / yr. fill with distilled water as required.
So does the truck charge the RV batteries when travelling. Would love to now the answer to that.
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Old 03-10-2016, 04:52 AM   #5
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Fairly easy to tell, a fully charged battery at rest should measure 12.8 volts (more like 12.6) or less with no charging device hooked up.

The alternator in the truck would probably charge at around 14 volts so start the truck and measure at the battery. If you get any more than 13 volts the truck is charging.

If not charging you need to run a fused wire to the 7 pin blade connector at the back of the truck and then a wire from that same connector on the trailer side to the trailer battery.

When you park or camp, make sure you disconnect the trailer, otherwise you could deplete the truck battery..
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Old 03-10-2016, 09:22 AM   #6
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Most on-board trailer chargers are crap. Be sure you are bulk charging at no less than 14.8v. Charge to 12.8v resting (after a day of no use check the voltage). I recommend a stand alone charger for your bulk charging and use the trailer charger for trickle once charged to maintain the charge.

I personally have an Iota 15.4v 55amp charger I mounted in my pass through. All my bulk charging is done with that charger. When boondocking I charge for no more than a couple hours every 2-4 days depending on my desire to start the generator. No need for trickle since I get the battery up to 12.8v resting (based on my trimetric readings I know where that is) each time.
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:09 AM   #7
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So does the truck charge the RV batteries when travelling. Would love to now the answer to that.
If you have a seven lead plug between the truck and trailer, the answer is yes, it should. YMMV.



Don't trust the converter/charger to treat your batteries right. My converter/charger will give the batteries a 13.6 volt charge all the time. This could cook batteries over a long period, so I have to keep on eye on the water level in the batteries at least once a month, more often if on shore power.

I prefer a solar panel for charging the camper batteries over the converter/charger, but I don't look a gift horse in the mouth, either. I just know the difference and act accordingly.

More info here on taking care of batteries: The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 03-10-2016, 12:21 PM   #8
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With regard to the question of whether the truck will charge the batteries while towing. To say "charge" is misleading. It will supplement the charge if anything. The wires are far to small gauge to provide sufficient amperage for charging capability and the voltage is far too low for deep cycle battery charging. There is little to nothing to gain from that.
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Old 03-10-2016, 12:47 PM   #9
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Most on-board trailer chargers are crap. Be sure you are bulk charging at no less than 14.8v. Charge to 12.8v resting (after a day of no use check the voltage). I recommend a stand alone charger for your bulk charging and use the trailer charger for trickle once charged to maintain the charge.

I personally have an Iota 15.4v 55amp charger I mounted in my pass through. All my bulk charging is done with that charger. When boondocking I charge for no more than a couple hours every 2-4 days depending on my desire to start the generator. No need for trickle since I get the battery up to 12.8v resting (based on my trimetric readings I know where that is) each time.
Your 15.+ volt charger is a purpose built charger. It works very well in your situation but does need to be monitored. It is not automatic.

Many, probably most, RV users don't have a battery monitor or want to wait for the battery voltage to climb up to 15.+ volts.

They want to start the generator or plug in and go about there business.

Your charger, if forgotten, will boil out and overheat the batteries in a few hours.

Sure, it will work for many users but it can be a dangerous thing if left on its own, which is why it is a special order item from 1 vendor.
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Old 03-10-2016, 12:58 PM   #10
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With regard to the question of whether the truck will charge the batteries while towing. To say "charge" is misleading. It will supplement the charge if anything. The wires are far to small gauge to provide sufficient amperage for charging capability and the voltage is far too low for deep cycle battery charging. There is little to nothing to gain from that.
I have to disagree that there is little or nothing to gain from a charge line .

Most charge lines are fused at 20 amps. With the lenght of the run and gauge of the wire, I believe it should carry at least 15 amps to the trailer battery.

Take the 15 amps a 6 hour drive and you have sent 90 AH to your battery bank.

Considering many trailers only have 180 AH of battery capacity and should only be down to 50% charge, that's more then a little gain.
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Old 03-10-2016, 01:33 PM   #11
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I have to disagree that there is little or nothing to gain from a charge line .

Most charge lines are fused at 20 amps. With the lenght of the run and gauge of the wire, I believe it should carry at least 15 amps to the trailer battery.

Take the 15 amps a 6 hour drive and you have sent 90 AH to your battery bank.

Considering many trailers only have 180 AH of battery capacity and should only be down to 50% charge, that's more then a little gain.
Wish there was a LIKE button...
My drive south is 20 hours...
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Old 03-10-2016, 06:24 PM   #12
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I'm still hung up on "pulling the battery disconnect." What is he pulling, the break-away switch?
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Old 03-10-2016, 07:03 PM   #13
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A lot of trailer have a 12 volt disconnect switch between the batteries and the 12 volt fuse panel.

Besides what could possibly go wrong?


The information is out there, all you have to do is let it in.
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Old 03-10-2016, 07:12 PM   #14
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Battery disconnect...it's a push/pull switch on the instrument panel of the trailer. My understanding...and if I'm wrong, please set me straight, is that it opens the circuit between the battery and the trailer.

I'll check the batteries when we get to the campsite tomorrow.
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