Casita battery charging while driving - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-09-2019, 04:36 PM   #1
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Casita battery charging while driving

I've only had my 2018 Casita for a couple of months but am full timing. Noticed if I had the frig on 12V while driving, the batter would be dead by the end of the day. Posted on this forum and lots of folks said, yes, you won't be able to charge your battery and run the frig at the same time. When I told my RV repair guy this, he said he didn't agree. And then he did some testing which showed the battery wasn't getting charged at all while I was driving, even though the charge was coming out of the 7 prong plug on my tow vehicle. Took him about an hour under the front R corner of the camper to find the problem: seems Casita uses a kind of wire connector which is crimped onto the wire, with two prongs supposed to pierce the insulation and make contact with the metal of the wire. Trouble is, the crimper didn't do the job -- the wire was flattened but the prongs never pierced the insulation -- no contact between prongs and metal wire and no charge to battery. Now it's fixed!!! Charges like a champ!! I'll let you know if it can charge and run the frig, but he says it should. By the way, if you are in NE Virginia, this is the guy to see for repairs: Affordable RV in King George. Wayne and Jeremy both are great -- honest, expert, love RVs. They will take care of you. I met a woman in a campground in Harper's Ferry who recommended them and I'm so glad she did.
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Old 11-09-2019, 06:04 PM   #2
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Every vehicle seems to have a different number of amps available at the seven pin. Some will run the fridge and charge, and some will only slowly charge, but not keep up with the fridge. If yours won't do both, just run the fridge on propane and see if the batteries charge up.
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Old 11-09-2019, 06:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisle View Post
...seems Casita uses a kind of wire connector which is crimped onto the wire, with two prongs supposed to pierce the insulation and make contact with the metal of the wire. Trouble is, the crimper didn't do the job -- the wire was flattened but the prongs never pierced the insulation -...
Sounds like you are talking about a scotch lock type connector.. all too common and not only on Casitas.

I hate them. Very unreliable. But also very often used to save time.

A good butt connector, properly crimped, will be very secure. But they are for joining two wires together, not three (with some exceptions). A good butt connector, properly crimped, is just as good if not better than soldering the wires if you also mechanical secure them in addition.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:00 PM   #4
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Sounds like you are talking about a scotch lock type connector.. all too common and not only on Casitas.

I hate them. Very unreliable. But also very often used to save time.

A good butt connector, properly crimped, will be very secure. But they are for joining two wires together, not three (with some exceptions). A good butt connector, properly crimped, is just as good if not better than soldering the wires if you also mechanical secure them in addition.
I totally agree scotch-locks should never be used outside in the weather. Even inside they are just barely OK.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:49 PM   #5
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I totally agree scotch-locks should never be used outside in the weather. Even inside they are just barely OK.
I have literally installed thousands of Scotchlok #561 tap connectors in my 40 years in the trade . I can count the number of 561 failures on one hand and they were due to improper installation . Where used for their intended purpose and according to their UL listing they save time and work well

1) There is a huge difference between the genuine 3M #561 connectors and the Chinese junk sold on the internet
2) In the trades if you ask for a box of “Scotchloks” you get a box of wirenuts
If you want the tap connectors you ask for 561’s
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:20 PM   #6
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... they save time and work well

1) There is a huge difference between the genuine 3M #561 connectors and the Chinese junk sold on the internet...
Well there it is. We know that they are used to save time, and therefore also save on labor cost. And since cost savings is the driving force, inferior products are usually used when they are cheaper. And the imported stuff is MUCH cheaper. Never-mind that it might be or is inferior.

But I also note that these are not sealed or weather proof, and the entire concept is that they make a break in the insulation, which will allow moisture in. How does that make any sense?

Maybe the 3M #561 does seal from weather and water better than the cheap substitutes.. you know better than I.

I have often coated scotch-locs on the exterior of the camper with liquid electrical tape. That seems to prevent most problems, even with the inferior ones (assuming thety made a good connection to start with).
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:35 PM   #7
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3M #561 are rated / listed for dry locations only
If you’ve ever wired a 100 ft row of fluorescent light fixtures 20 ft in the air you will soon appreciate 3M #561’s
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:44 PM   #8
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If you’ve ever wired a 100 ft row of fluorescent light fixtures 20 ft in the air you will soon appreciate 3M #561’s
No doubt, but that is very different from wiring a small Casita camper.

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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
3M #561 are rated / listed for dry locations only
Well the op said. "under the front R corner of the camper" and I was talking about the connectors that Scamp uses under the floor of the camper, on the outside. So the problem might well also be using the wrong connector type for the location.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:57 PM   #9
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Well there it is. We know that they are used to save time, and therefore also save on labor cost. And since cost savings is the driving force, inferior products are usually used when they are cheaper. And the imported stuff is MUCH cheaper. Never-mind that it might be or is inferior.
Well said.

How infuriating it is to try to trouble shoot a problem and find a bunch of these tapped onto the wires in some hidden location, and then to try to find which one is the problem.

Used properly, they can be OK, but used the way they are too often used, not so much. Tracing down a light that would not work, I found a rats nest of them in my Oliver, of all places. Very disappointing.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:59 AM   #10
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While sorting through the wiring on my broke back Casita restoration, I found a connection where one of those little suitcase tee connectors (what I call 'em) had nearly severed the primary wire in two. Just a few strands remained to carry the power downstream of the offending connector.
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Nor Cal Mike View Post
While sorting through the wiring on my broke back Casita restoration, I found a connection where one of those little suitcase tee connectors (what I call 'em) had nearly severed the primary wire in two. Just a few strands remained to carry the power downstream of the offending connector.
Probably the wrong size was used for that particular wire gauge.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:15 AM   #12
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Good reliable product

I have repaired electrical problems for many years and I still rely on good old solder joints where the connection is going to be permanent and to protect the joint properly, I use heat shrink tubing. One trade secret to protect the joint even more is to cover the soldered joint with a layer of silicone before the heat shrink tubing and after over 40 years of repairs, I have yet to have a bad solder joint come back to bite me in the butt.
I have the same trailer battery charging set up and used the solder joint repair in my trailer and to this day, my 1976 Boler works great. Just saying.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:54 AM   #13
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Folks......

Getting back the the initial reason for this thread, which was Lisle's wish to not have her battery dead following a day's travel. She obviously found a conscientious, competent RV tech, who identified the immediate cause of at least a portion of her problem. Good!

But the comment by Raspy is also on the mark. Depending on the wire gauge in your tow vehicle and RV setup, alternator performance, and any resistors along the line, you still may find your RV battery going down if you set the fridge to run on 12v. Many (I'd say most, but I don't have the data) experienced RVrs simply use the propane. I've done it for almost my entire 45 years of trailering. (I do take the time to turn off the fridge propane when refueling...only takes an additional minute overall)

Hope to meet you somewhere down the road.

Frank
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Old 11-10-2019, 02:31 PM   #14
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I have repaired electrical problems for many years and I still rely on good old solder joints ...
The thing about soldering is while it is a great electrical connection, it has almost no mehcanical strength. Which is why I said...

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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
... A good butt connector, properly crimped, is just as good if not better than soldering the wires if you also mechanical secure them in addition.
So if the wires are physically supported so they don't put any stress on the solder joint, then that's fine. If you rely on a soldered joint to hold two loose wires together you will be disappointed.

I know you know that.. its for the ones who are new to wiring practices.
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Old 11-10-2019, 07:03 PM   #15
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Didn't mean to set off a hot discussion about wire connectors, but I did want to point out that this type is used in Casitas and can potentially cause problems. So if you are having a problem getting your battery to charge while towing, it's something to consider and/or suggest to your RV repair guy. And yes, Wayne is a gem, if you're in his area and need him. So far my frig is running on 12V while towing and the battery has enough power to run a few things overnight. I did accidentally run the frig on propane one day (forgot to switch over), and nothing bad happened. Still, it scares me, so I'm happy if the 12V can handle it. Haven't been in hot weather though, which will be more of a test.
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Old 11-11-2019, 09:07 AM   #16
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I've always liked the solder joints for a good connection.
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:10 PM   #17
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IDC connectors are quick and may be fine for signal wires but for any power circuit, if you want a reliable connection interior or exterior to the vehicle, either solder the wires and cover the connection with a sealing material or shrink tubing with an inner melt wall or use an appropriately sized crimped shrink splice.



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Old 11-11-2019, 01:23 PM   #18
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One rarely has any control over where this herd of cats will take a discussion. This has been more on point than most.

I've started using WAGO connectors in place of the "suitcase" splices. I don't have extensive experience with them (WAGO) but they've done the job so far.

A two-fer for a butt connection, a three-fer for a single tap, etc. i.e. every (correctly inserted) wire in the connector is at the same potential.

I don't get any sense that this particular model is in any way weatherproof.

Easy to check for current/voltage after installed with a VOM. Fairly accommodating with repect to wire gauge (12-24 ga if I remember correctly) but you don't jam two wires into a single hole. Use a connector with more holes.

https://www.wago.com/us/wire-splicin...ctor/p/221-413

There is a video on the site that's helpful.

A little pricey (German) but I like that they don't pierce. I'm disinclined to cheap-out on repairs but there are a variety of opinions of what is "reasonable". I expect eventually they'll get ripped off by the Chinese and we'll have to be carefull again...
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:27 PM   #19
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When soldering a wire tap, aren't you supposed to wrap the new wire around the main wire for several wraps, and then solder it? And on top of that, shrink tube it?

I cannot understand how that can be a mechanically weak connection that will just fall apart. It seems like an excellent way to ensure you get full current and a corrosion free splice. I know I can't just pull that type of a splice apart by hand, I've tried to before.
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Old 11-11-2019, 05:29 PM   #20
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I usually test my solder joints by trying to pull them apart.


On another point, has anyone tried the "brush on electrical tape"? I tried it on a boat trailer that regularly goes for a bath. So far so good.
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