Battery thoughts/help! - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-04-2015, 07:38 AM   #15
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
Posts: 1,045
On my old 1990 Suburban I have a small solar panel on the dash and plugged into the cigarette lighter plug (hot all the time) to keep the battery charged.
So far it has worked pretty good at keeping up with the parasitic losses on the system.
The panel is small enough to not boil out the water in the battery and big enough to keep up.
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Old 09-04-2015, 08:00 AM   #16
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Name: Jenny
Trailer: Scamp 13
Tennessee
Posts: 26
So I tested my battery again last night, to make sure my initial readings weren't due to user error, and at 10.0 I do think the battery is dead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
IF you choose the Wizard, you may bypass the Batt. Tender as it will be redundant.
These devices do perform the same function. However, as I understand it, the Wizard connects to the converter itself and helps protect the battery when hooked up to shore power. In other words, the power coming into the battery, by way of the converter, is through the Scamp black electrical plug-in cord. On the other hand, the battery tender connects directly to the battery and gets its power from a 110 outlet using it's own cord (or an extension cord), bypassing the converter and not using the Scamp black electrical plug-in cord. Is this correct?

Thanks again for everyone's input so far!
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Old 09-04-2015, 09:23 AM   #17
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Name: Darral
Trailer: Scamp Standard 13' 2010
Tennessee
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Jenny, you posted some REALLY good questions. I went to Progressive Dynamics' site and couldnt find the answers that I wanted so I called them and talked with a tech.

The Wizard is basically a "gate" when hooked to shore power and you're using DC appliances etc. If it sees a high-amp draw such as the Fantastic fan, lights etc, it will let the converter pass the amount of amps needed (up to whatever your converter is rated- mine is 30A). At this point, the battery is not supplying the power- the converter is.

Once the draw drops off, the Wizard is back into monitoring the battery and will do what it needs to maintain it. If the battery has dropped the voltage, the Wizard make kick the converter into "Boost" mode to bring the battery back...then to "Normal" then finally to "Storage" mode to maintain. But you will NOT hurt anything with the Wizard installed when you're on shore power and camping. This was not clear in the instructions and description of the Wizard on their site.

On the OTHER hand; back to the Battery Tender and Battery Minder. They explicitly tell you to NOT have the charger(s) hooked up when you're drawing from the battery....because unlike the Wizard, it has no source to provide 10-15A etc should you require it from the battery. Not sure what would happen but I wont try it. I HAVE bumped my fan on a time or two and maybe a light when needed just for a few minutes. Never hurt my Tender.

All-in-all, I would say if you're camping 50-75% of the year, you'd be alot better off with the Wizard....and I would purchase one myself. But in my case, the Tender is working for me.

So, you've brought up some interesting questions and had me digging and finding out answers I've wondered about for a long time. Take care.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScamperGirl View Post
So I tested my battery again last night, to make sure my initial readings weren't due to user error, and at 10.0 I do think the battery is dead.



These devices do perform the same function. However, as I understand it, the Wizard connects to the converter itself and helps protect the battery when hooked up to shore power. In other words, the power coming into the battery, by way of the converter, is through the Scamp black electrical plug-in cord. On the other hand, the battery tender connects directly to the battery and gets its power from a 110 outlet using it's own cord (or an extension cord), bypassing the converter and not using the Scamp black electrical plug-in cord. Is this correct?

Thanks again for everyone's input so far!
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:14 PM   #18
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Name: Jenny
Trailer: Scamp 13
Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
Jenny, you posted some REALLY good questions. I went to Progressive Dynamics' site and couldnt find the answers that I wanted so I called them and talked with a tech.
Wow, you certainly went above and beyond to the nth degree! Thanks for all of the valuable info!

Looks like at the very least I should get the Wizard for when I'm camping with hookups, and some type of 'minder' for maintaining a charge during the winter.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
You need to check your trailer and tug wiring and see if it is properly wired to charge the battery while you are traveling down the highway.
In my scenario, when not attached to the TV, none of the lights work. When attached to the 7-pin connection on the TV, the lights work. Are you saying that the lights could work but the battery not be charging (assuming I had a good battery)? Is this something I can test with my new battery tester?

Thanks!
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Old 09-08-2015, 02:15 PM   #19
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Name: Darral
Trailer: Scamp Standard 13' 2010
Tennessee
Posts: 1,443
If you want to leave your Scamp plugged in all the time, with the Wizard, you wont need another "maintainer/charger". That's up to you. You can use one of the 15A adapters if you wanted to plug it in and leave it. I have a 120v plug under my carport.

At this point, it's just a matter of preference for you. I like keeping my plug out of the weather personally...and technically it IS out being under the carport. But again, that's why I use the Battery Tender. Remember though, I only camp 3-4 times a year at 3-5 days at a time max. So therefore, I dont worry about my battery being overcharged by the converter. Besides, my battery is going on 6 yo so I think that is a pretty good track record for my method of madness.

[QUOTE=ScamperGirl;547045]Wow, you certainly went above and beyond to the nth degree! Thanks for all of the valuable info!

Looks like at the very least I should get the Wizard for when I'm camping with hookups, and some type of 'minder' for maintaining a charge during the winter.
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Old 09-08-2015, 03:01 PM   #20
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Name: Jenny
Trailer: Scamp 13
Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
If you want to leave your Scamp plugged in all the time, with the Wizard, you wont need another "maintainer/charger". .
I would love to keep my Scamp at home but alas, my HOA doesn't allow campers in the driveway and I can't store it in the garage (AC unit on top). So, for me, perhaps in between outings but especially in the winter, I'll have to bring the battery home with me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
Besides, my battery is going on 6 yo so I think that is a pretty good track record for my method of madness.
.
You are doing something right! That's why I want to learn what to do before buying a new one!
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Old 09-08-2015, 03:47 PM   #21
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Name: Darral
Trailer: Scamp Standard 13' 2010
Tennessee
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Ahhh...you present yet ANOTHER scenario! Yes, then I would get one of my lil recommended devices...paint a picture of a CHICKEN on it. Then when you're asked how you maintain your battery, simply say, "Well, with a 'chicken Tender'!" Ok...poor joke.

But I see a lil "Battery Tender" (or equal) in your future. Alot of people take their battery out of the RV and bring it into a garage or somewhere out of the extreme cold and keep it charged. I've had mine outside in 5 deg weather without hurting it, but I make sure it's fully charged-- this was pre-Battery Tender.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScamperGirl View Post
I would love to keep my Scamp at home but alas, my HOA doesn't allow campers in the driveway and I can't store it in the garage (AC unit on top). So, for me, perhaps in between outings but especially in the winter, I'll have to bring the battery home with me.



You are doing something right! That's why I want to learn what to do before buying a new one!
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Old 09-08-2015, 10:55 PM   #22
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
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Originally Posted by ScamperGirl View Post
In my scenario, when not attached to the TV, none of the lights work. When attached to the 7-pin connection on the TV, the lights work. Are you saying that the lights could work but the battery not be charging (assuming I had a good battery)? Is this something I can test with my new battery tester?!
Take your battery checker and test the battery in your tug. Write down the voltage. Now start your tug and while running check the tugs battery voltage. Now turn off your tug.write down the running voltage.

now take your meter and check the battery voltage on the trailer battery. Write down the voltage. Now hook up the trailer to your tug and connect the wiring. Now start your tug. Now check the battery voltage at the trailer. Write down the running voltage at the battery in the trailer. Have some one rev the motor some in your tug while you check the battery voltage at the trailer battery again. Write down that voltage.

What your measurements should see tug battery 12.5 to 12.75 volts. Tug running 13.5 to 14 volts. Trailer battery your 10 volts. Trailer battery hooked up to running tug over 13 volts. Trailer battery with engine running revved up some closer to 14 volts. If you don't get close to these voltage you will not charge your battery while your towing. If you do this test with the fridge on at 12 volts while you drive and can't maintain battery voltage over 12.7 volts wit the engine running then you are also draining your battery while driving.
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Old 09-09-2015, 11:45 PM   #23
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Name: Fallon
Trailer: Shopping
Colorado
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A battery tender & smart converter will be redundant. A 3 or 4 stage converter will do the same trickle charging when the battery is full thing your battery tender will and do bulk charging when needed. An older dumb converter that just puts out a set voltage all the time will either under or over charge your battery depending on the voltage it is set to.

Also, you are fine using power when using a battery minder. Think of your battery like a big storage tank or swimming pol. The battery tender would be filling it with a garden hose & using power (fan, light, etc.) would be draining it with another hose at the same time. Water (charge) level will fluctuate a bit depending on the capacity of your battery tender & load you are using, but it will work fine with light RV type loads. Trying to start a car on a dead battery with a battery tender wouldnt be a good idea though.

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Old 09-10-2015, 08:54 AM   #24
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Name: John Michael
Trailer: Scamp 13
Madison, Wisconsin
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I watch my single group 29 battery's condition with a digatal volt meter mounted next to the water pump switch. It is charged via tow vehicle and solar panel, and rarely from the charge wizard controled converter since I seldom plug in. My charge line from the tv is fused with no relay, though I always unplug the 7 wire connection when camped. During long term storage in my garage (purpose built 10 foot door) the shore power is unplugged and I use a battery minder. On trips I often run the frig on 12 volts while towing and this requires immediate switch over when stopped for the day. All lights are LED. The furnace is the only significant electrical draw. When not using it the battery will go for at least a week before it hits 50% charge without any charging. If the sun shines with no tree canopy the battery is fully charged each mid afternoon, much earlier in Summer. During cloudy cold weather stationary camping the battery hits 50% on day 3 or 4 almost entirely due to furnace draw.
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Old 09-10-2015, 09:25 AM   #25
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Name: Jenny
Trailer: Scamp 13
Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
What your measurements should see tug battery 12.5 to 12.75 volts. Tug running 13.5 to 14 volts. Trailer battery your 10 volts. Trailer battery hooked up to running tug over 13 volts. Trailer battery with engine running revved up some closer to 14 volts. If you don't get close to these voltage you will not charge your battery while your towing. If you do this test with the fridge on at 12 volts while you drive and can't maintain battery voltage over 12.7 volts wit the engine running then you are also draining your battery while driving.
Thanks so much! I'll try to get to my storage facility this weekend to get these benchmarks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fallon View Post
An older dumb converter that just puts out a set voltage all the time will either under or over charge your battery depending on the voltage it is set to.

Also, you are fine using power when using a battery minder. Think of your battery like a big storage tank or swimming pol. The battery tender would be filling it with a garden hose & using power (fan, light, etc.) would be draining it with another hose at the same time. Water (charge) level will fluctuate a bit depending on the capacity of your battery tender & load you are using, but it will work fine with light RV type loads.
I have an older 'dumb' converter. Let's say I purchase a battery minder only and attach it to my battery. When my Scamp is plugged in to shore power, will the battery minder help maintain the battery even as the dumb converter tries to under/over charge the battery? Does the battery minder need to also be plugged in or will it work with the shore power coming through the dumb converter? Or in this scenario, would I still need the Wizard to prevent under/over charge by the dumb converter when plugged into shore power and the battery minder - plugged into an outlet at home - for when the battery is stored in my garage?

I do a lot of summer camping in the South and shore power is a necessity for the air conditioner!
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Old 09-10-2015, 09:54 AM   #26
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Trailer: 2017 Scamp 16 Deluxe
Missouri
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Battery thoughts/help!

Jenny,

I read through this very quickly and may have missed the answers to the following questions.

Does the battery charge up to something more than 10v when connected to 110v "shore power"? Test it immediately after powering with 110v for several hours.

Does the battery charge up when hooked to tow vehicle 12v for a while (I.e. driving down the road)?

Will the battery take a charge when you open the battery box top and connect the battery to a home charger? (If not, you may have a dead/shorted-out cell and will need a new marine/deep-cycle battery. Floyd gets his at Wal-Mart. Don't get a regular "car" battery.)

Have you checked that the 3-prong cord is plugged into the PDU under the seat?

Have you checked each of the fuses? (IIRC one of the top 2 fuses in mine is the charging circuit.)

I have seen battery charging problems from a bad/blown fuse and from that plug vibrating loose while driving down the road.

Later, I can tell you about solar solutions if you want ....

Good luck! 😊

Ray


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Old 09-11-2015, 09:46 AM   #27
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Name: Jenny
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Does the battery charge up to something more than 10v when connected to 110v "shore power"? Test it immediately after powering with 110v for several hours.
I haven't checked this yet with my new battery tester but I would say no based on past evidence. When I left for Florida the battery worked - i know this because the outside light worked when not connected to the TV or to shore power - but I have no idea of the amount of juice that was in the battery before I left. After camping for a week in Florida, connected to shore power the entire time, my battery didn't work when I arrived home.

Also, we camped the last weekend in August and were connected to shore power the whole time. When we arrived home, the outside light didn't turn on.

Again, this is all speculation as I only recently purchased my battery tester and haven't performed any benchmarks when actually camping.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdickens View Post
Does the battery charge up when hooked to tow vehicle 12v for a while (I.e. driving down the road)?
I had assumed so until the Florida trip. Steve gave me instructions on how to test this which I will report on once tested!


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Originally Posted by rdickens View Post
Will the battery take a charge when you open the battery box top and connect the battery to a home charger? (If not, you may have a dead/shorted-out cell and will need a new marine/deep-cycle battery. Floyd gets his at Wal-Mart. Don't get a regular "car" battery.)
I do not have a home charger at this point. I'm trying to decide between a Charge Wizard attached to the converter, a battery minder attached directly to the battery, or both (wizard to use when connected to shore power; minder to use when battery is stored in my garage)

I'm still trying to understand if the battery minder will protect my battery from under/over charge when the Scamp is connected to shore power through the converter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdickens View Post
Have you checked that the 3-prong cord is plugged into the PDU under the seat?
PDU? Is that the converter? I will double-check this, hopefully this weekend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdickens View Post
Have you checked each of the fuses? (IIRC one of the top 2 fuses in mine is the charging circuit.)
No, I plan to check these fuses this weekend (if I can get to the Scamp)


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Later, I can tell you about solar solutions if you want ....
Thanks Ray, that would be great! Just as soon as I get my battery woes under control...
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Old 09-11-2015, 10:29 AM   #28
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Name: Fallon
Trailer: Shopping
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I do not have a home charger at this point. I'm trying to decide between a Charge Wizard attached to the converter, a battery minder attached directly to the battery, or both (wizard to use when connected to shore power; minder to use when battery is stored in my garage)

I'm still trying to understand if the battery minder will protect my battery from under/over charge when the Scamp is connected to shore power through the converter.

PDU? Is that the converter? I will double-check this, hopefully this weekend.
PDU = Power Distribution Unit. Usually part of a converter.

A smart converter like a PD 4045 is going to be your best way to go (It's always highly recommended around here). It's a 4 stage "smart" charger (what you seem to be calling a charge wizard), a trickle charger or maintainer only has 2 stages, maybe 3. It costs about $200 or so, getting an electrician or RV guy to install it might cost that much again if you aren't electrically inclined. If you aren't electrically inclined, I'd recommend getting a professional to do it as electrical problems can start fires.

It will power your trailer while hooked up at a camp ground, properly charge your battery fully & won't overcharge & boil your battery. If you get the right converter, there is 0 reason to get a battery maintainer or trickle charger, it's just another piece of gear to deal with & will be less capable than a good smart converter.

If you let a battery get below 50% charge it seriously degrades it's performance & lifespan. If it happens several times like it sounds like yours might have, your battery is probably toast or close to it.
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