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Old 03-29-2014, 11:46 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by rogerdodger View Post
Sorry to tell you all, the size of wire you are running to the toad will cause a drop in voltage, the best you can charge is about 3-5 amps. 20 amp fuse is overkill, and will probably not protect from a short as you think. I put an ammeter in mine, got 3 amp charge when battery on the toad was low, less when near full charge.
Roger
agreed. i measured it with an ammeter too. when my toad battery was full (actually always full), the amp was only 0.5 and when i turned headlight on to deplete it it's 1.5 - 2. so really not much amp flowing. i put a 7a fuse in the line toward the toad battery.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:57 PM   #16
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So,why not run a # 8wire to the toad with a 30 amp fuse?
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:00 AM   #17
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The solution is to run a large wire that will have a small resistance ie small voltage drop. A #2 cable on a 40' run would probably do it, however not easily done, because you still have to deal with a connecter, which has a voltage drop as well.
As a practical matter, a #14 or #12 wire will give a trickle charge. Just be aware to not expect your toad to be fully charged after a day of towing, if it was already discharged. Better to keep a charger on hand, to recharge to full status. Then the motorhome charge line can keep the toad charged while towing, especially if you have a brake system hooked into the toad.
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Old 03-30-2014, 12:09 PM   #18
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Charge line

It appears as though the #12 wire is plenty big enough. If it causes so much voltage drop, why don't they use a #2 wire for four trailer brakes?

After a full day of towing, the vacuum pump, and big actuator solenoid for the braking system, my battery is fully charged when we disconnect.

Must be something I am missing after 45 years as a mechanic.
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Old 05-31-2014, 10:03 PM   #19
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Took care of our needs with a 14 guage dual conductor plugged from battery terminals (+/-) to a pigtail at the front of the denali. The other side of the pigtail goes to the coach trailer connector (7 pin). I bought a blank 7 pin connector, and landed my + and - per the diagram (think it was 1 and 7 oclock positions). This has taken care of the parasitic draws on my denali battery while being towed. No diode used - think it is overkill...
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Old 05-31-2014, 10:05 PM   #20
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Took care of our needs with a 14 guage dual conductor plugged from battery terminals (+/-) to a pigtail at the front of the denali. The other side of the pigtail goes to the coach trailer connector (7 pin). I bought a blank 7 pin connector, and landed my + and - per the diagram (think it was 1 and 7 oclock positions). This has taken care of the parasitic draws on my denali battery while being towed. No diode used - think it is overkill...
Sorry - forgot to mention that I put an inline 20 amp fuse in case anything crazy happens...
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Old 06-01-2014, 06:11 AM   #21
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Well.... Have you put brakes on the towed yet?

If not, then I'll do the towed charge the easy way, also one other suggestion.

First: On many cars there is a fuse, You can buy a switch kit consisting of a fake fuse/connector (This is a 2 "Pin" blade connector that fits in a fuse socket) a fuse holder (inline type, takes the fuse) wires and switch they charge about 50 bucks for this 10 dollar assembly. Flip the switch and the battery does not run down.. WHICH fuse varies from Towed to towed.

Second: The US-Gear, Unified Brake Decelerator is an installed, invisible to the driver of the towed, electric/hydrauic brake system, It eats battery power.. SO.. They included a TOWED CHARGE line

This line consists of a 20 amp breaker, a 40 amp breaker and I suspect 12ga wire (I'd rather use 10) between the Motor home battery and the towed battery.. I forget which end gets the 20 amp breaker.

How well does it work:

The brakes Well this system gives the MH driver FULL control of the towed brakes, you can SET the towed brakes from the MH cockpit without using MH brakes (Useful if you hook up on a down hill slope. You set towed brakes and let the MH roll forward till arms lock) you can adjust the ratio or totaly disable towed brakes, all from the MH cockpit, no better system that I know of.

The Towed charge line: Pulling out of my drive in the wee hours of Jan-2 2006 I found no tail lights on towed.. A quick review of my brand new system and I walked back, turned on the parking lights on the 1992 Lumina (lots of lights) and drove to Las Vegas, Still had good battery on arrival.. (( l left out of Detroit)) got it fixed at what is now camping world LV (Was Wheeler's then) but the US gear tie line kept the battery nice and full.. This included a few overnight stops where I left the parking lights on the towed on all night. Did not turn them off till I dropped the tow bars.
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Old 06-15-2014, 11:47 AM   #22
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Charging line to towed wrap up

I started this thread a months ago and received many helpful inputs, thanks to all! I just recently finished the charging line project because it took several months to find the right terminal to insert in the spare line on the 7-pin rear harness socket on the rear of the Spartan chassis. The harness connector is made by Delphi and the terminals are available from Mouser.

My towed is a 2013 Ford Explorer XLT and the battery runs down during towing as the key must be in accessory position and the computer drains it in about 5 hours of towing. The fix was a neat little charging module from RVI Brake for $50. It includes a 15 amp fuse and diode in a small module and mounts in the Ford engine compartment. It took 20 minutes to mount it and and connect to the spare pin on the umbilical connector on the front of the Ford.

My umbilical cord had a spare wire and free terminals on each end which I connected in about 15 minutes. The Spartan chassis 7 pin tow connector has a spare +12VDC line terminal that was not used on this coach. Once the correct terminal to connect the wire to was found it took only about half an hour to run a #12 wire from the chassis battery, through a 20 amp fuse to the tow harness connector which then plugs onto the external 7 pin tow connector. I have now towed it about 2000 since installation and it works flawlessly.

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Old 06-15-2014, 12:17 PM   #23
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"I think I need a diode...."

Well.. that does make sense but ... On my motor home and towed the original brake for the towed (I have a new towed now) was the US-GEAR Unified Braked Decelerator system.

This eats battery power so they provided a charge line.

Chassis battery--Breaker--------x-----x-----Breaker----Towed battery

That's all there was to it .. The two "X"s are the connectors for the umbicial cord (Between towed and MH)

No diodes, no anything..... My new towed.. Same hook up.
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:32 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
"I think I need a diode...."

Well.. that does make sense but ... On my motor home and towed the original brake for the towed (I have a new towed now) was the US-GEAR Unified Braked Decelerator system.

This eats battery power so they provided a charge line.

Chassis battery--Breaker--------x-----x-----Breaker----Towed battery

That's all there was to it .. The two "X"s are the connectors for the umbicial cord (Between towed and MH)

No diodes, no anything..... My new towed.. Same hook up.
my setup is just like yours, except it looks like
x--------x----fuse--battery (toad)

the first 'x' is the tow cable 7-pole socket on RV which has a live power. the manufacturer put a breaker prior to reaching this point, so i didn't need to worry about the safety. i used an inline fuse to the positive line right before the toad battery. it works good so far.
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:10 PM   #25
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Diodes are a bad choice for a charging line because there is a voltage drop across them. You need all the voltage you can get at your second battery to help it charge. A better choice is a heavy duty solenoid with normally open contacts. The solenoid is wired between the tow vehicle and the second battery typically right at the fire wall of the tow vehicle so that ignition on powers the relay contacts closed. The heavy duty contacts stay closed as long as ignition is on then, off when the tow vehicle is not running opening the charge line circuit. The single advantage of a relay over a diode is the relay contacts in the heavy duty charge relay should have no voltage drop across them in operation. They are available easily through the web or on Ebay and through hitch dealers country wide. ebay:


Industrial Solenoid Relay Switch Continuous Duty




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0r even Amazon:
Starter Solenoid Switch 12 Volt 3 Terminal Heavy Duty Winch Marine by Crank-n-Charge

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Old 06-20-2014, 06:30 PM   #26
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Geesh, talk about getting carried away. The purpose of the charge line is simply to overcome the "Phantom" loads in a towed car, it doesn't need to charge a dead battery. You guys talking about 2/0 battery cable and 100 amp solenoids are giving me a headache.
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