Damaged the battery charger - Fiberglass RV

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Old 10-11-2007, 06:01 PM   #1
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Trailer: 2001 Casita 17 ft Freedom Deluxe / 2006 Toyota Sienna
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Connected the battery charger to the wrong terminal on the van battery, which had the net result of shorting out the charger. How did I manage such a dumb thing? Heavy black wires were connected to both the (+) and the (-) terminals, covering the polarity markings on the battery. There were also smaller wires connected to the battery, a white one and a black one. So, I reasoned, connect the battery charger black wire to the engine block (-), and the battery charger red to the battery terminal with the white wire (+). Plug in the charger and charge away. It did, for a few seconds. OOPS

It was determined, the smaller wires supplied the trailer. Trailer wiring: black is (+), white is (-). Vehicle wiring: black is (-), red is (+). Wouldn't standardized color coding be nice.

Learn from my error: Double check polarity.

The happy ending: I called Schumacher Electric Corp. to see how much it would cost to repair the charger. They asked if it was less than five years old: yes. Send it for repairs. I asked: "Even if it was my fault?" Yes, they would repair it.

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Old 10-11-2007, 07:40 PM   #2
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Just a note -- Some of the electronic chargers have built-in protection against polarity reversal.

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Old 10-11-2007, 11:12 PM   #3
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Trailer: 2001 Casita 17 ft Freedom Deluxe / 2006 Toyota Sienna
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You are correct. Unfortuantely, the incorrect connections I made resulted in a direct short, over loading the charger.
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Old 10-12-2007, 11:30 AM   #4
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Pete is absolutely correct. Most of todays good chargers have a no fault check and will not power up if connected wrong.

Here is even a bigger problem: If a battery is connected to another battery or battery like device (Charger) that does not have a connected wrong check, you run the risk of burning out a diode in the alternator or the voltage regulator.

If your battery in the vehicle starts to run down for no reason at all, this may have happened. I would not worry about it until the vehicle will not start or the battery seams to be low. If that happens, many repair facilities will test it for nothing. Sears, advance Auto are a couple that come to mind.
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