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Old 09-08-2015, 10:01 AM   #1
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Toad Battery Discharging

We've towed a Dodge Caravan for years without encountering any issues discharging its battery until recently. The battery tests ok (about 2 yrs. old.), terminals clean & tight and takes a recharge normally. Radio, lights, fans & AC off. Switch is ON to unlock steering wheel, transmission in neutral. Umbilical cord attached, lube pump running. Always done it this way. Nothing has changed, but now the battery discharges after 5 hours or so. Any ideas?

I have a solar panel that I can place on dash. Can I backfeed it through accessory plug or do I need to run wires straight to battery?


Jim & Shirley & Abbie (Scottie)
2013 Newmar Canyon Star 3911
2005 Dodge Grand Caravan Toad
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Old 09-08-2015, 10:30 AM   #2
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If you are running a 7-way plug, then run a hot wire to the battery. We have an inline fuse just before the battery. Keeps the battery at full charge all the time.
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:27 PM   #3
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Have you recently added a tow brake that mashes the vans brake pedal if so that will activate the brake lights on most vehicles with the key off or in acc and will generally cause a low battery unless you run a charge wire.
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:45 PM   #4
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Have you recently added a tow brake that mashes the vans brake pedal if so that will activate the brake lights on most vehicles with the key off or in acc and will generally cause a low battery unless you run a charge wire.

No tow brake added. Drove about 2.5 hours today, toad started fine at end of trip. ?????


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2013 Newmar Canyon Star 3911
2005 Dodge Grand Caravan Toad
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Old 09-12-2015, 05:03 AM   #5
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We are new to MH and toad towing. The toad is a Honda CRV. We have installed everything, including the charge line but our battery after 2 days of towing is dead. DH checked everything out(electrical engineer) and it looks fine. Ended up buying a new battery since this one may have died a natural death. It was OEM and 3 years old but there was no place on the battery that had a date.

The only question we have is how much charge should be coming through the charge line from the MH? It is a small wire so not much but we can't find any documentation on this. Anyone know?

We are using a Ready Brute Elite as our braking system.

I want to get an additional solar charger just to be sure.
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Old 09-12-2015, 06:02 AM   #6
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Jim, batteries can be very strange and since you have not changed anything I would change the battery. Even batteries that check fine can act silly with even small amounts of drains. I have seen a battery that tested fine crater in exactly 20 minutes. You could set your watch by it. Turn the headlights on and 20 minutes later the voltage would just drop to 8.5 volts.

Keep in mind that we really do not buy batteries, we just rent them. Save yourself some grief and just install another one. My Ford Edge battery started doing the same thing at 2 yrs. Just measure the hole and fill it up with a new battery.
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Old 09-12-2015, 06:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue46 View Post
We are new to MH and toad towing. The toad is a Honda CRV. We have installed everything, including the charge line but our battery after 2 days of towing is dead. DH checked everything out(electrical engineer) and it looks fine. Ended up buying a new battery since this one may have died a natural death. It was OEM and 3 years old but there was no place on the battery that had a date.

The only question we have is how much charge should be coming through the charge line from the MH? It is a small wire so not much but we can't find any documentation on this. Anyone know?

We are using a Ready Brute Elite as our braking system.

I want to get an additional solar charger just to be sure.
Without seeing the wire size I can only speculate the current could be 2-10 amps. Likely on the lower end.

Since your husband is an engineer have him measure the current.

Towing for two days could be a problem if you are not shutting things off at night. The vehicle needs to be started and run for a few minutes and then shut off completely.
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Old 09-12-2015, 06:07 AM   #8
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Sue and Tom-

It seems odd that a 3-year-old OEM battery should fail. I'd start by checking the trailer plug for 12V on the charge line pin.

I can't speak to your set-up without asking some more questions, many of which Tom (as an engineer) probably has asked and answered. So, I'll do something I usually don't do (in advance of actually finding the problem cause), and point you to this product URL:

TOAD-CHARGE Dinghy Vehicle Battery Charger/Maintainer

The page and links off it contain useful info, such as their supplied wiring size from the motorhome battery (12 AWG). I hope it answers some questions for you.

I did install a Toad Charge on our 2009 Honda Fit Sport (auto), and had no problems with a dead battery until after we got home from our long trip out west. The Fit battery is a tiny thing (only 320 cold-cranking amps), so if it hadn't been charging from the RV while under way I'm sure we would have had a dead battery several times.

Oh, and I bought the Toad Charge by itself (that is, without their cables), as I had already installed a 10 AWG wire directly from the motorhome battery to the trailer plug. I wired the toad side plug with 10 AWG to the battery and ground, and 12 AWG for the Toad Charge.

This is not to recommend adding a component to the mix in advance of finding the cause for your dead battery. Let us know what your further investigations turn up.

Mark
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Old 09-12-2015, 07:01 AM   #9
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As Mark has said A Good Ground and I used #12 wire because I used the pigtail between the coach and toad and the largest wire in my pigtail is a #12, at the time I was running my charge line most pigtails were #16 wire and some had one #12 wire in the middle. You might want to check your pigtail or run a #10 on the outside.
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Old 09-12-2015, 07:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim T. View Post
We've towed a Dodge Caravan for years without encountering any issues discharging its battery until recently. The battery tests ok (about 2 yrs. old.), terminals clean & tight and takes a recharge normally. Radio, lights, fans & AC off. Switch is ON to unlock steering wheel, transmission in neutral. Umbilical cord attached, lube pump running. Always done it this way. Nothing has changed, but now the battery discharges after 5 hours or so. Any ideas?

I have a solar panel that I can place on dash. Can I backfeed it through accessory plug or do I need to run wires straight to battery?


Jim & Shirley & Abbie (Scottie)
2013 Newmar Canyon Star 3911
2005 Dodge Grand Caravan Toad
You don't mention removing a fuse. When I was towing a Chrysler Town and Country I had to remove a fuse to keep from draining the battery. You may also have to turn off the air conditioner or heater fan. The fan may come on when the key is turned on. That will drain a battery over time.
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Old 09-12-2015, 11:26 AM   #11
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I'll have him read all these replies. We don't have anything on overnight nor when we are running. In the morning we run the towing routine for the toad. I may have been a natural death, First night out in the AM it was OK, 2nd night out we needed a jump start in the AM. Pulled into CG 5 hours later and it was dead again.

We do have a Brake Buddy Towed Vehicle Battery Maintainer.

We considered the Amp-L-Start but a similar item came with our MH.

Talked to O'Reilly Autoparts and described the problem, they felt it was a natural death. We bought a second set of battery cables so we could reach from the house batteries to the car for a jump if needed.

We are concerned about pulling the radio fuse. Does anyone know if we would need to put in the security code each time we plugged the fuse back in?
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Old 09-12-2015, 12:05 PM   #12
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We have a 2012 CRV and had same problem. We purchased this:
Roadmaster Inc. - Tow Bars, Braking Systems & RV Accessories.

Not sure of the number fuse to pull and put this in place of it. Look at the bottom of the page. Accessory Radio Fuse needs to be changed..Works great.

Good luck

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Old 09-12-2015, 12:39 PM   #13
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Jim, what are the details for your lube pump?
Is it on a timer, or does it run all the time.

As others have said, either battery went south, or you are now drawing more current than before.

With everything off, put the toad in the tow state and measure total current draw thru the pos. Battery cable. Watch out for inrush current, you might blow the fuse on your meter.

Regards,

Dan
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Old 09-12-2015, 01:00 PM   #14
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George,

That looks really neat. When you did pull the fuse in putting it back in did you have to re-enter the security code?
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