Battery charging wire - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-14-2007, 03:41 PM   #15
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In *addition* to the frame ground, I run a hefty ground wire under the truck along with the battery and brake lines, so I *know* that ground is a good one. Although the ground and battery wires in the trailer harness are relatively small, so are the fuses! The shorter I can make the small runs, the less total resistance I will have in them.

You guys who are using fuses may want to consider using auto-reset circuit breakers instead -- Unless you obsessively check the fuses or voltages, you will not know one is blown until your egg battery is kinda depleted (which is certainly not good for the battery) -- ARCBs don't cost much more than a replacement fuse in those sizes...
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Old 06-14-2007, 03:49 PM   #16
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You're absolutely right Pete (as usual). I thought I was being clever to use a fuse, so that if there were a short the breaker wouldn't be constantly resetting and possibly causing some problem, but the bigger issue is I NEVER check that fuse, so for all I know it IS blown!

Will change that out before the next trip!
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Old 06-14-2007, 05:27 PM   #17
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After earlier discussions (including Pete's explanations), I chose auto-reset circuit breakers for both the brake controller power supply and the battery charging line. For the brake controller it is essential (you can't plug a new fuse instantly when you need to apply the brakes); for the charge line I would be happy with a manual reset if I had an indication on the dash that the breaker had tripped.
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Old 06-14-2007, 05:30 PM   #18
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And remember the ground wire (and the hot wire) in the 7-wire trailer connection carries all that current too, and God knows what size of wire that is!
That's a good point: there are different types of 7-wire cable available, and only some of them have heaver-gauge power (black) and neutral (white) conductors. If you want to run electric brakes or charge the battery, it matters. Mine was what the nearest RV store stocks in bulk, and I think it has 10 ga for these conductors (and smaller for the rest).
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Old 06-14-2007, 05:46 PM   #19
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That's a good point: there are different types of 7-wire cable available, and only some of them have heaver-gauge power (black) and neutral (white) conductors. If you want to run electric brakes or charge the battery, it matters. Mine was what the nearest RV store stocks in bulk, and I think it has 10 ga for these conductors (and smaller for the rest).
Actually I meant the one on the trailer, which has the long run. On the Casita the battery is way back in the boondocks!

I've always had a auto-reset breaker on my brake controller, for the safety issue.

Seems like what we need is some type of wireless device showing current flow to the trailer!
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Old 06-14-2007, 08:55 PM   #20
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Actually I meant the one on the trailer, which has the long run. On the Casita the battery is way back in the boondocks!
Seems like what we need is some type of wireless device showing current flow to the trailer!
You want a hall effect current meter. It can detect current flowing through a line. The cheapies are AC only. The more expensive ones will tell you DC.

I just bought some 7 conductor cable from the local hitch place. The white/black were 10ga, the blue was 12ga, and the rest were 14.
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Old 06-15-2007, 12:48 AM   #21
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LOVE that this thread was started, I've wondered many times about adding a charging wire to my tow vehicle for my trailer. I'm a little puzzled though, I thought that one added the charging wire to the alternator, and then ran back to the trailer. Is that an option, or should you only go to the tow vehicle's battery, or what?
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Old 06-15-2007, 07:18 AM   #22
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LOVE that this thread was started, I've wondered many times about adding a charging wire to my tow vehicle for my trailer. I'm a little puzzled though, I thought that one added the charging wire to the alternator, and then ran back to the trailer. Is that an option, or should you only go to the tow vehicle's battery, or what?
On my vehicles, the wire from the alternator goes right to the battery. So it's probably easier to wire to the battery posts than the alternator connector.
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Old 06-15-2007, 01:09 PM   #23
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On my trucks, what I did was make a sort of bus connection off the battery posts, one for the grounds and one for mounting the autoreset breakers. Since I am coming up the driver's side of the truck with all the wiring, and the battery has large connectors, it was much easier to put the connections there.

BTW, in the case where the truck's voltage regulator is separate from the alternator, one would NOT want to connect to the alternator. That's why the battery connection is best, from electrical, installation and troubleshooting perspectives.

Tekonsha specifies an autoreset circuit breaker in their installation instructions.

Here's a link to a personal site by a poster on another RV group about installing a battery isolation relay

http://www.neon-john.com/RV/Electrical/rv_...tion_relays.htm
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Old 06-15-2007, 07:32 PM   #24
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Actually I meant the one on the trailer, which has the long run. On the Casita the battery is way back in the boondocks!
That's what I meant, too. That cable ran to just inside my Boler, with wire from there forward again to the battery. Now it runs to a termination box on the tongue, with more direct connections to the brakes and battery.

With a battery near the back, I don't know that I would run the seven-conductor cable all the way there, because brake wiring would then need to return all the way to the front to connect the breakaway switch... maybe that's okay. Anyway, with that much length, I might want bigger wire than even good 7-conductor cable has, because it normally is expected to only run about the length of the tongue.

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...I just bought some 7 conductor cable from the local hitch place. The white/black were 10ga, the blue was 12ga, and the rest were 14.
That combination sounds quite well suited to the function of each conductor.
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Old 06-19-2007, 08:12 PM   #25
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Here's a link to a personal site by a poster on another RV group about installing a battery isolation relay

http://www.neon-john.com/RV/Electrical/rv_...tion_relays.htm
Thanks for the link Pete,
It answered my question of using a solenoid or diode isolator.
Neon-John said:

"One method is to use a diode isolator that consists of two heavy duty diodes mounted to a heat sink. The anodes are connected together and connected to the alternator output terminal. One cathode goes to the chassis battery and the other goes to the house battery.

While the diode isolator works when the OEM electrical system is designed for it, for a variety of reasons it isn't the best solution. A simple heavy duty relay or "solenoid" is the much better and simpler solution."

Roy
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Old 07-24-2007, 07:22 PM   #26
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While the diode isolator works when the OEM electrical system is designed for it, for a variety of reasons it isn't the best solution. A simple heavy duty relay or "solenoid" is the much better and simpler solution.
OK, so I am going to contradict myself. Elsewhere I read that we should avoid solenoids because the contacts can foul by arcing making the solenoid ineffective. Right now, I am leaning towards the Isolator. Any thoughts or discussion?

I thought it best to provide a link in this thread to the thread I started on the wiring diagram to make sure I was wiring things up right since they are related to each other.
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Old 07-25-2007, 02:17 PM   #27
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Elsewhere I read that we should avoid solenoids because the contacts can foul by arcing making the solenoid ineffective. Right now, I am leaning towards the Isolator. Any thoughts or discussion?
A properly selected relay (a.k.a. contactor, a.k.a. solenoid) is one rated for continuous duty (on all the time), not just intermittent use; there are lots available, cheaply. The right one won't have a problem, but the simple diode setup is inherently a problem for charging control. The diode isolator is also a much more invasive modification of the tow vehicle's electrical system. I considered both and my choice was clearly the relay... but everyone has their own reasons, and makes their own decision.
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Old 07-25-2007, 05:26 PM   #28
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One reason a diode isolator isn't good is because there may be a 0.5VDC voltage drop across the diode. That may not seem like much, but look at a Percent Charge vs Voltage Table, subtract half a volt from the full charge and see what your road charge will be limited to even if all your other connections and wiring result in no voltage drop...
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