Battery - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-24-2007, 10:38 AM   #1
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Hi, another basic newbie question. If we plug the camper into an electrical outlet, will the battery be recharged? We do have a converter so it will be recharged running down the road, but we were curious how we recharge it while not actually travelling.
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Old 06-24-2007, 11:19 AM   #2
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If your converter has a battery charger, you will, yes. If not, you will have to purchase a separate charger from wally world or any auto parts store. Do a search on the board, there are many many threads on battery charging.

Your converter does not charge the battery while driving. Your car does. Do you have a 6 or 7 pin connector on your pigtail? You should have a line that runs from your car battery back to your hitch wiring.. your trailer battery should have a line on the trailer pigtail.. the car battery charges the trailer through these.
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Old 06-24-2007, 11:21 AM   #3
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If your converter has a battery charger, you will, yes. If not, you will have to purchase a separate charger from wally world or any auto parts store. Do a search on the board, there are many many threads on battery charging.

Your converter does not charge the battery while driving. Your car does. Do you have a 6 or 7 pin connector on your pigtail? You should have a line that runs from your car battery back to your hitch wiring.. your trailer battery should have a line on the trailer pigtail.. the car battery charges the trailer through these.

Yes, we have all of that, so the tow vehicle does charge the battery when hooked up. We just didn't know whether plugging the trailer directly into an electrical outlet would charge up the battery too.
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Old 06-24-2007, 11:36 AM   #4
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You'll have to see if you have a charger with your converter. They don't always do.

A down and dirty way to tell is to disconnect the battery, and plug the trailer in. Use a volt meter to measure the dc voltage at the end of your battery connectors. If you are getting 12v or so.. you have a charger.

I don't know about looking in there for one, you'll need an answer from a Scamp person on that. I can't see mine in the Burro, it's buried way back under the rear seat and around a corner.. even I can't get in there.. but I know it's there from documentation, the listing on the distribution panel and by doing the test above.

I use an outboard charger, however.. most chargers on converters do a poor job.. and mine is no exception.
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Old 06-24-2007, 01:18 PM   #5
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Hi Gina..Do you have a charger permanently mounted in your trailer ? Or do you just have it stowed and take it out for charging .
Bill
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Old 06-24-2007, 01:41 PM   #6
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Hi Bill,

My charger is set up as you saw in the 13 footer. It is permanently installed and plugged into one of the never used AC outlets inside the trailer, under the front seat.

Whenever I am plugged in, the charger charges independently. Since my battery is on the tongue, it wasn't as easy a wiring set up as the 13. I cut the charger line from the converter and ran the new charger to the end going to the battery.

I capped and coiled the converter end, and shut off the breaker to it .... just in case someone after me wants to use it
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Old 06-24-2007, 02:09 PM   #7
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As a general rule, unless equipped with a "smart charger" card, RV converters do not do a good job of charging. Their primary function is to be a 12VDC power supply when connected to 120VAC and battery charging is more of an afterthought.

A good charger has multiple stages to charge the battery properly, putting a strong charge in at first and then tapering to a charge that 'tops off' the battery but doesn't overcharge it and boil off the water as dangerous hydrogen gas.

Conversely, the typical converter (or direct-connect 12V port on a generator) puts out a relatively low charge at first (usually about 8A) and then keeps a low charge rate going practically forever if left connected during storage. This overcharging is likely worse with an older battery.

If you have a modern converter that is capable of accepting a smart card, then your choices are to buy/install the card or buy a smart, multi-stage battery charger. I prefer the latter choice because I can get a lot better battery charger than the card for the money and the charger is useful for things other than the RV.

If you have an older converter, your choices are to manually monitor the charging times (or install a timer) or get a real battery charger. Also, the older converters are somewhat heavy, being transformer-based. I pulled the 12VDC fuse panel from my old converter, gave the converter to an RV shop for repair parts and bought a real battery charger.
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Old 06-24-2007, 03:50 PM   #8
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Gina , I don't have a converter in my 83 Scamp . It sounds like really all I need is a good charger . I don't remember your charger in the 13 Burro. I'm putting a new wiring harness in and I thought I'd put in a 7 way junction Box.
Do I need to wire the charger directly to the battery on the tongue or can I just wire it to the hot and ground on the junction box ?
Its strange on these scamps the white is ground and black is hot.
Bill
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Old 06-24-2007, 06:01 PM   #9
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Bill, I think Scamp developed its wiring code from a 120VAC guy, where red or black are hot, white is neutral and green is ground, so black and white are the two leads for a working circuit.

You can connect your tow vehicle charging lead to either a junction box or directly to the battery, but be sure to put in a 20A or 30A fuse or autoreset circuit breaker to protect the wire in case of a short. Also, be sure your TV charging lead has a fuse or breaker at the TV battery.

When I have 120VAC available to use for my battery charger, I clamp the charger directly to the battery and hang the charger underneath the Scamp (drilled a small hole for a cord thru a piece of frame angle iron) where it is out of the weather and off the ground.
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Old 06-25-2007, 12:03 AM   #10
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Thanks for the info Pete ..I have a fuse on the tv and I have a fuse on the trailer near the + post on the battery.What kind of charger did you get? Do you think 1.5 trickle rate will be ok? Bill
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:14 AM   #11
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As a general rule, unless equipped with a "smart charger" card, RV converters do not do a good job of charging. Their primary function is to be a 12VDC power supply when connected to 120VAC and battery charging is more of an afterthought.

A good charger has multiple stages to charge the battery properly, putting a strong charge in at first and then tapering to a charge that 'tops off' the battery but doesn't overcharge it and boil off the water as dangerous hydrogen gas.

Conversely, the typical converter (or direct-connect 12V port on a generator) puts out a relatively low charge at first (usually about 8A) and then keeps a low charge rate going practically forever if left connected during storage. This overcharging is likely worse with an older battery.

If you have a modern converter that is capable of accepting a smart card, then your choices are to buy/install the card or buy a smart, multi-stage battery charger. I prefer the latter choice because I can get a lot better battery charger than the card for the money and the charger is useful for things other than the RV.

If you have an older converter, your choices are to manually monitor the charging times (or install a timer) or get a real battery charger. Also, the older converters are somewhat heavy, being transformer-based. I pulled the 12VDC fuse panel from my old converter, gave the converter to an RV shop for repair parts and bought a real battery charger.
Ok, I looked at the battery and there is a small card inserted. So, what does this mean with respect to our charging options?
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:29 AM   #12
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Bill,

I just redid our 81 13 Scamp and we have the Porch outlet by the front door. I just plug my Charger in there once a week when we're out and top off the battery which doesn't take long. Then I don't sacrifice any of the precious storage space in the Scamp as the charger stays in the tug.

With the LED lighting, etc. It looks like we can go over a week easily without needing to top off the battery so I don't have any great need to have a charger hooked in. Ultimately, want to put solar in anyway which would make the charger obsolete.
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:51 AM   #13
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Ok, I looked at the battery and there is a small card inserted


I am no expert.. but I have never seen a battery with a card. Are you taking about your charger?
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:09 AM   #14
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I am no expert.. but I have never seen a battery with a card. Are you taking about your charger?
There are wires running to the postive/negative nodes (?) and connected to those wires is a green card inserted into a black holder of some kind. The card has the letters OE on it. Maybe I should post a picture?

Clearly I have no clue - but the owner said he put a converter on the battery. We also know that the battery is charged when plugged into the vehicle. LOL Thats the extent of our knowledge.
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