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Old 05-14-2015, 03:13 PM   #1
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Charging trailer battery from tow vehicle

Here's something you can try when dry camping. When your trailer battery gets weak and you have no generator or solar panels, run your tow vehicle engine and plug in the pig tail from the trailer to the vehicle and let it idle. I carry an 8' extension with me, for if the vehicle is disconnected and I can't get the vehicle close enough. You may need to find a way to set the engine idle a little higher. The engine alternator will provide a strong fast charge and run quieter than most generators. On cold nights when the gas furnace has sucked your battery almost dry, give it a try.
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:49 PM   #2
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It will work, but not sure how fast. Because most of the time it is only a 10ga wire run for the charge line.
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:57 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by fred481 View Post
Here's something you can try when dry camping. When your trailer battery gets weak and you have no generator or solar panels, run your tow vehicle engine and plug in the pig tail from the trailer to the vehicle and let it idle. I carry an 8' extension with me, for if the vehicle is disconnected and I can't get the vehicle close enough. You may need to find a way to set the engine idle a little higher. The engine alternator will provide a strong fast charge and run quieter than most generators. On cold nights when the gas furnace has sucked your battery almost dry, give it a try.
Good idea for when a battery is really low, but car shargers are NOT good charges, as they taper off at 13.X volts and don't run the batteries up to a full charge. They are designed to keep a full battery full and power all the accessories. A good 3 or more step charger is the best way to charge your batteries.
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Old 05-15-2015, 07:57 AM   #4
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Yep, as others said, you'd run out of gas in your tow vehicle before the battery had any kind of charge on it.

You want to charge your batteries with 14.8v or 15.3v if possible. I charge mine with 15.3. You need a full charge, not partial. You won't get a full charge with the trailer lights lead or with the converter that is likely on your trailer. The important thing is that the battery has a resting voltage of 12.6v - 12.8v when you are done charging. I get 12.8 out of mine.
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:44 AM   #5
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You'll also get a false surface charge of about 2/3 in 20 min that will very quickly return to low.
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Old 05-15-2015, 01:09 PM   #6
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fred481-

Using the tow pigtail to charge your house batts is very inefficient due to voltage drop on long thin wires. Its much more efficient to go direct with jumper cables, TV batt to house batts. Expect about 40 amps at about 14.2v until the alternator heats up then both amps and volts will drop. It could take 2-3 hours to get a low (40-50% SOC) house batt to 80-85% SOC at a cost of .5-.75 gal of fuel per hour at idle.

If using the TV as your charger is Plan A, you might want to consider a remote rectifier circuit. The discussion is here:

http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/26303825/srt/pa/pging/1/page/1

I can recommend a parts list if you are a DIY'er.
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:41 AM   #7
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you can make a cable that only uses the ground and charge wires, this will help a little more but not by much
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Old 05-17-2015, 10:01 PM   #8
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With 2 alternators I was able to get 23 amps to the batteries when they were down using booster cables. My batteries were killed after 3 days and needed replacement every 2 years. Solar for me was the only solution.
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:37 PM   #9
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Good evening just thought I would mention that you can also charge your batteries my building is small 12 volt alternator and a5 horsepower motor such as I have you for a year now Burns about half a gallon a day for better than 4 hours of use bringing my batteries quite well while out camping.
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:44 PM   #10
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Or just drop $100 on one of the cheap 900 W generators and another $50 on a battery charger if you do not already have one.
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:16 AM   #11
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you might want to have two batteries, Keep a switch between them and have one always hooked up to solar to trickle charge while using the other.

seems to work well for me. by the end of the day I have a full and 3/4 battery which takes me to the wee hours of the morning if Ai have fridge, heater and a few lights on.

run the Tele and the night gets dark earlier...
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Old 05-21-2015, 04:05 PM   #12
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Or just drop $100 on one of the cheap 900 W generators and another $50 on a battery charger if you do not already have one.
And get run out of the campground for noise pollution
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Old 05-22-2015, 05:12 AM   #13
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for those who have a problem with noisy gennys.

try sleeping when a few sites down they are screaming drunk at the top of their lungs and every call to the office is met with leave a message.

I realize the generators may be loud, but what about those noisy drunk people?

I know, well then just ask for your money back and go to another campground.

too late already have family meeting me here......

ah, frustrated!!!!

this ought to bring some replies.....

cant wait for those....
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