ok, so kind of quiet here.....How about a dumb question? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-15-2013, 05:13 PM   #1
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Name: Francois
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ok, so kind of quiet here.....How about a dumb question?

I'm towing with a Dodge Nitro, seven pin elec. connector and trailer package (right down to a selectable "tow/haul" mode for transmission)....

When I'm driving the alternator in the truck is supposed to charge the coach batteries. So far so good. So my question is, if I "dry camp" and run the coach batteries right down to nuttin'...will I have a dead battery in the truck in the morning??? Or should I unplug the trailer from the truck when I park for the night?
I come from boats, so the issue's never come up before..... Thanks a bunch, F
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:37 PM   #2
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Name: Terry
Trailer: 1996 Casita Freedom Deluxe 17 ft
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franswa View Post
I'm towing with a Dodge Nitro, seven pin elec. connector and trailer package (right down to a selectable "tow/haul" mode for transmission)....

When I'm driving the alternator in the truck is supposed to charge the coach batteries. So far so good. So my question is, if I "dry camp" and run the coach batteries right down to nuttin'...will I have a dead battery in the truck in the morning??? Or should I unplug the trailer from the truck when I park for the night?
I come from boats, so the issue's never come up before..... Thanks a bunch, F
Francois, the best choice for safety would be to install a relay that will disconnect the truck power from the trailer when the ignition is off. An alternative would be to always unplug the 7-pin connector. In most cases, the trailer uses very little power when you dry camp as long as you don't run any high current devices like an air conditioner or electric refrigerator. You can also extend your battery life by changing the lights you use often to LED's. My Casita will boondock for a week usually without completely draining the battery.
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:38 PM   #3
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Name: RogerDat
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Typically you want your TV electric system connection to the trailer to be one way (Diod bridge isolator) Or off of an accessory circut so if the TV is off there is no connection from TV battery to trailer plug power wire. Or with a switch and relay (like a golf cart relay) again to make it a choice if you want to have your trailer getting power. Ideally the relay might only have power from an accessory circut in the TV.

Imagine pretty quick specific installations and hardware suggestions will start flowing

Otherwise yeah you can kill your TV battery running things in the trailer.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:33 PM   #4
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It depends on the tow vehicle, some have factory installed relays that shut off power to the trailer unless the vehicle is running, mine does.

It's an easy check with a meter.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:53 PM   #5
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I always unplug the umbilical cord, even if stopped for a few hours. Simple enough to do compared to finding someone to give me a jump! YMMV
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:56 PM   #6
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Send a message via Yahoo to Lynn Musgrave
Don't think like that ......there is no such think as a dumb question

well it might be one if you don't ask it,but once you ask it ,well then it becomes a GOOD question.


Happy Camping
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:39 PM   #7
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Standard practice in RV's is to install a battery isolator relay in the charging line going to your coach. This usually goes under the TV's hood and is only energized when the ignition switch is ON, meaning you are disconnected from your vehicles battery when the key is OFF.

You can buy one at any RV store for less than $20. Be wary if they offer a solid state isolator. They offer no advantage to trailer towing and cost a lot more to buy and install.

Although they look like a common starter relay, they are different. DO NOT attempt to substitute a starter relay, they are not designed for continuous service.
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Old 10-15-2013, 11:06 PM   #8
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Name: Mike
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Another thread that discussed this in great detail. FWIW, I unplug the harness from my tow vehicle when I park the Bigfoot.

Anyone keep their scamp hooked to the truck while camping?
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Old 10-16-2013, 12:16 AM   #9
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Name: Francois
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thanks all....

that's pretty well what I expected....I never ran out of battery in my boats...but I also had a battery switch between the house and start batteries....for the first few times I'll just unplug the truck at night and check voltage in the morning (get an idea of how much power I'm using).....and dig into this deeper next spring....I'm only looking at going out two or three times before "the winter hits" around here anyway. Thanks
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Old 10-16-2013, 12:27 AM   #10
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Just stick a meter on the hot and ground of your vehicle connector and see if you have power with the key off. If you don't, no need to unplug and get a ticket or in an accident with no brakes, because you forgot to hook it back up.
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:52 AM   #11
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If you have a multimeter, set it on 20 volts DC. A diagram of a seven pin connector on the tow vehicle will give you a key to location of ground and 12VDC charging conductor. The pins you want are at 10 and 4 o'clock if you don't find a diagram. With ignition off, put the meter probes on these pins (doesn't matter which probe to which pin). If the meter reads 12 volts, the charging circuit is hot with ignition off. If no voltage, the charging circuit is controlled by the ignition switch and you can unplug or not as you choose. Do the same with ignition switch hot (idiot and status lights will all be on). Should read 12VDC on meter.

jack
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