Battery Charging - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-26-2012, 08:57 PM   #1
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Battery Charging

I have a 79 Triple e. Today I unhooked the leads from my battery and plugged the Triple e into shore power. The meter on the two leads read 1.281 volts. When the the shore power is removed, reading is negative.

What I wonder is, why the converter is directing so little power to the battery as I would think the battery would need to see a minimum of 12.5 volts to allow it to charge. I've just bought the Triple e so still doing a lot of investigating. Currently I'm trying to determine if my converter will charge my battery when using shore power. I think the circuitry is there for it or I wouldn't see any power at all on the leads.


Would appreciate if someone could shed a little more light on this as the electrical side isn't one of my strong points.




Ed
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:16 AM   #2
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Hi Ed. Tough to know what's going on without more information. It could be that your converter needs to have the battery connected in order to produce an output. Also I am unclear what the meter is connected to. I would expect to read 12.6 volts or higher on a fully charged battery and above 13 while charging. Raz
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:05 AM   #3
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Battery Charging

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Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
Hi Ed. Tough to know what's going on without more information. It could be that your converter needs to have the battery connected in order to produce an output. Also I am unclear what the meter is connected to. I would expect to read 12.6 volts or higher on a fully charged battery and above 13 while charging. Raz
Hi Raz

Thanks for your comments.

I know, sometimes I dont have a good way with explanations. :-) My current battery has a dead cell. It measures just over 9.3 volts between the posts. Batteries come on sale here August 1st at NAPA so waiting till then to buy a new Deep Cycle.

I had asked at an RV dealership how I could determine if my converter would charge my battery whilst on shore power. The fellow said to remove the leads from the trailer battery and measure the current between the leads whilst plugged into shore power. (I believe the leads run from the battery to the trailer converter) Measuring between the leads at the battery I saw 1.3 volts. What is baffling is that these two leads also provide the 12 volt power to the trailer when the converter is in 12v switched mode. So I'm thinking, when switching to 110 the converter isolates the incoming 12 volt power and then sends a charging current back through the line to the battery. (does this make sense) ?

I agree that maybe the converter needs to see a load in order to push more voltage. (I hope that's the case) :-) This afternoon I am going to try and remove the converter to have a better look at the back of it. I only have a few days before going on the road so I don't want to dismantle too much at this time , lest I make a big headache before departure.


The RV Dealer did pull out a nice Inverter/Converter which he said was a good model and it listed at 250 plus tax. I think that's over kill for me though, as all I'm really looking for is a way to charge my battery from the trailer while plugged into shore power. I have no need for 3 or 4 more circuits etc. so would prefer not to have to change out the converter.

I will come back with more info once I have a better look at the backside of the trailer converter if it's not to difficult to remove it.


Happy Camping,

Ed
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:22 AM   #4
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Are you sure you are reading the meter correctly?
Is it on the right scale, might just be 12.81 volts.
Just a though, use a 12 volt bulb touched to the two wires. One on the bottom and one one the side. Or, a 12 volt tester. If it works you have 12 volts.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:27 AM   #5
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I have a battery charger. It will not produce an output without being connected to a battery. It has to do with the monitoring circuitry inside the charger. My guess is you are experiencing the same thing. I would wait until you have a good battery to test with before replacing the converter. Raz
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:58 AM   #6
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A great item to have on hand is a 12v cigarette lighter type battery meter and stick it into the plug inside your trailer (assuming you have one) and reconnect the battery and then plug the trailer into shore power. That will give you a clearer idea as to whats happening under various load conditions or no load condition. As Raz suggested purchasing a new battery is probable the best first step. If the battery is more than 4 years old it probable isnt going to work all that well for you anyways. Costco also has some pretty good prices on their batteries.
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Old 07-27-2012, 12:22 PM   #7
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... all I'm really looking for is a way to charge my battery from the trailer while plugged into shore power. I have no need for 3 or 4 more circuits etc. so would prefer not to have to change out the converter.
Ed,
When I think I may need to charge the battery (depends on type of trip) I just pack the battery charger from my garage into the trailer. I don't even have a convertor in the boler, I installed a 120 outlet under the front bench for the charger. A single solar panel does the job most the time, for a simple weekend I don't even need that. LED's for lights and a spare portapak to run the fan for the dogs covers it all.
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mszabo View Post
Are you sure you are reading the meter correctly?
Is it on the right scale, might just be 12.81 volts.
Just a though, use a 12 volt bulb touched to the two wires. One on the bottom and one one the side. Or, a 12 volt tester. If it works you have 12 volts.
Pretty sure. I put my 12 volt tester light across it to confirm. No light.

Ed
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:47 PM   #9
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I have a battery charger. It will not produce an output without being connected to a battery. It has to do with the monitoring circuitry inside the charger. My guess is you are experiencing the same thing. I would wait until you have a good battery to test with before replacing the converter. Raz
Think I will take your advice and wait until I get a new battery.

Ed
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:55 PM   #10
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A great item to have on hand is a 12v cigarette lighter type battery meter and stick it into the plug inside your trailer (assuming you have one) and reconnect the battery and then plug the trailer into shore power. That will give you a clearer idea as to whats happening under various load conditions or no load condition. As Raz suggested purchasing a new battery is probable the best first step. If the battery is more than 4 years old it probable isnt going to work all that well for you anyways. Costco also has some pretty good prices on their batteries.
Thanks Carol.

Good ideas for sure. I dont have a plug like that in the Triple e, but I'm thinking about installing a small single plug inverter from Canadian Tire , 150 watts or something like that and run a wire from the battery to it for charging small electronic devices..netbook..phone etc. But definitley going to put things on hold until I have a new battery installed.

Thanks,

Ed
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Old 07-27-2012, 02:04 PM   #11
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Ed,
When I think I may need to charge the battery (depends on type of trip) I just pack the battery charger from my garage into the trailer. I don't even have a convertor in the boler, I installed a 120 outlet under the front bench for the charger. A single solar panel does the job most the time, for a simple weekend I don't even need that. LED's for lights and a spare portapak to run the fan for the dogs covers it all.
Where I am going, I am not sure of what type of power will be available yet. I'm hoping for a place to plug in to shore power. I do have a very good battery charger which I think I will take along with me. A few extra pounds is probably well worth the expense.

Your charger set up sounds interesting. As I understand it. you would energise the outlet from your trailer with a line to shore power. From there you plug in your Charger from home. How did you connect the charger to your battery? Did you run another line with terminals to connect the charger to the battery or did you just run an extension cord to the battery and place the charger near the battery?

Hope these questions dont sound too silly.

Thanks for your time,

Ed
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Old 07-27-2012, 04:12 PM   #12
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I'm thinking about installing a small single plug inverter from Canadian Tire , 150 watts or something like that and run a wire from the battery to it for charging small electronic devices..netbook..phone etc.
Put a 12V outlet somewhere, all the small things can be charged from that. Waste of power to step up and down voltage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SurfsideEd View Post
you would energise the outlet from your trailer with a line to shore power. From there you plug in your Charger from home. How did you connect the charger to your battery? Did you run another line with terminals to connect the charger to the battery or did you just run an extension cord to the battery and place the charger near the battery?
I've done both. Battery box is on the front A frame, 2 heavy wires run to under the front bench. There is a junction I can connect the battery charger to or sometimes I just connect the charger directly to the battery.
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:30 PM   #13
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I'm with Roy on this. If the converter was optional I wouldn't buy one. If mine dies I probably won't fix it. But I don't camp where there is power and I prefer to keep things simple. No large DC loads. For folks that camp where there is power and have high DC demand a converter is essential. Personal preference.
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Old 08-23-2012, 03:26 PM   #14
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A quick Update. Purchased a new battery. New voltage reading 12.72 fully charged. Used the battery mostly for lights and charging small accessories, cell netbook etc. After 10 days of use, voltage reading was 12.43 volts. Approximately 60% charge. As Carol had mentioned, I installed a 12volt socket on the wall of the front bench (fridge side) and what a handy addition this was. I've determined that the small current reading that I had previously read on the meter was most likely transformer leakage from the converter. (Not 100% sure on this though as I'm not an expert in the electrical field). I received a small solar panel (1.8 watts) for my birthday and hooked that up to the battery. On the first day the voltage went from 12.43 to 12.53 volts. It's been several days in the sun now and the voltage of the battery has reached 12.56 and seems to be having a hard time getting back to full charge with the solar panel. Waiting to see how this works out. May have to get a larger panel.

All the best

Ed
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