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Old 01-24-2020, 01:37 PM   #21
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Name: Kelly
Trailer: Trails West
Oregon
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It will cost less to install a battery isolator than it will to keep buying new batteries. Best to idiot proof such things as we can all get distracted and forget to do something such as disconnecting a plug.
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:53 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
It will cost less to install a battery isolator than it will to keep buying new batteries. Best to idiot proof such things as we can all get distracted and forget to do something such as disconnecting a plug.
Or buy both... after all the only difference between men and boys...

But would you idiot-proof the tug or the camper (or both)?

Option one is a battery disconnect / isolator wired in the tow vehicle that disconnects the charge line when the ignition switch is off or on accessory position. That is to say when the engine and alternator are off.

Option two is a voltage controlled isolator which can be mounted in the camper as the first thing in series with the charge line.

Option one would protect the tug battery with any trailer but if you switched to a tow vehicle without a battery isolator then you are back to square one.

Option two would protect any tow vehicle's battery from being overly discharged when towing that specific camper, whether it had a isolator built into the tow vehicle or not.

In any event, the voltage controlled isolator is the easier one to install since you dont have to find an ignition hot wire for a relay. It does cost more however. It can be in the trailer or the tow vehicle. If you plan on getting a new tow vehicle soon but keeping the camper, then an isolator in the camper might make more sense. The vehicle seems to be the better choice generally but I wanted to point out there are options.
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:52 PM   #23
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Name: Wil
Trailer: 2010 Casita 17' SD
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Originally Posted by Justus C View Post
I can confirm that our vehicle, a Toyota Highlander with tow package which includes a heavy duty alternator, sends enough juice through the 7-pin to power a 12v compressor fridge and charge the battery.

A compressor refer uses only a fraction of the juice that a absorption type (standard RV) uses. What refer have you got?


I added a compressor refer unit to a 30 foot sailboat icebox and had no problems running the engine to recharge the battery only every other day or so. Sailboats are not known for excessive reserve power or running their engines much. An absorption type would never work under those conditions.



Just to reiterate what others have said, Never, Never, Never run an absorption unit on battery power unless you have an excessively large battery bank. It should be made against the rules to even manufacture such an abominable device. We have the standard 3-way in our Casita and I have considered disabling the 12V heater. One time it was accidentally switched to 12V when the control panel was bumped (hip switched - kinda like butt dialing a cell phone). We caught it before the battery went dead. And, no, we don't have a switch guard on the refer controls. Something else to seriously consider.
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Old 01-24-2020, 09:21 PM   #24
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Name: Jann
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Originally Posted by Lisle View Post
So I've been full time in my Casita 16' since September. I went thru the RV Online University, RV101 class, and read the Casita manual. Nowhere in there did it mention that I should unplug my camper from my tow vehicle overnight. (Or did I miss it?) Turns out this is critical information: My car died while towing the camper on an interstate in 5 o'clock traffic. I had just enough momentum to get car and camper to the shoulder. There I ran my flashers for 2 hrs waiting for a tow, until the car battery was drained to nothing. (Yes, Good Sam kept me waiting.) The local Toyota dealer found a blown fuse but thought that might not be the whole problem, ie. what made the fuse blow? Couldn't find anything else to fix, so off I went. Drove fine for 2 days. Then I stayed in a Walmart parking lot overnight, with the 7 prong connecting the car to the camper, and running a few things on electricity in the camper. In the morning the car was dead. The battery wouldn't hold a charge so I got a new battery. New battery held charge overnight. Again, set off. Drove all day (both car and camper battery should have been fully charged). Spent the night in a Walmart parking lot, with car and camper connected and running electrical stuff in the camper. This morning, car was again dead. Fortunately the tow guy was able to jump start it. And he told me that yes, leaving the car connected to the camper and running electrical stuff in the camper can drain your car's battery. Finally I understand. So be warned, newbies, and disconnect your car from your camper overnight if you're running electrical things in the camper. In this case, it's been cold here, I was running the electric fan on my propane heater, as well as the water pump and the frig on 12V. Cost me $1400 in repair bills and RV campsites while the car was in the shop. Sighhhhh.
For all you newbies. Never ever leave your fridge on 12V when parked with the engine off. The fridge will drain your battery in a hurry. We only put the fridge on 12V when we leave a camping spot and are going to fuel up. That way we don't have to turn off the fridge when we get to the gas station. As soon as we fuel up we pull away from the pumps and put the fridge on propane. Never fuel up with the fridge or anything on that has an igniter or a flame. Gas fumes are very explosive. Most vehicles can't keep the battery charged with the fridge on 12V. My sisters factory installed and my factory installed wiring can't do the job.
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Old 01-24-2020, 09:39 PM   #25
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Name: Lisle
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I have a Highlander Hybrid. The day it died while driving, I had stayed in a Walmart parking lot. So battery could have been close to drained that morning. Only less than an hour, parked 6 hrs and drive 5 mins before it died. Not sure if low charge and an older battery would account for blown fuse? That was a Friday and had to wait til Mon for diagnosis of problem. Fuse came in Tues, picked it up Wed. $600 bill plus 5 night at RV park. Drive it Thus and Fri. Fri night couldn’t find a level spot in Walmart lit and worried about running frig on propane off level. Sat AM car was dead. Diagnosed on Mon, picked it up Tues. $400 bill. And 5 days at first RV park, 4 at second park. That’s how it got to $1400. My car can run 12V frig and charge while driving. Use 120 when hooked up and propane when dry camping on level ground. Well, now I know.
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Old 01-24-2020, 10:13 PM   #26
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British Columbia
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Your fridge doesn't have to be totally level ( unless it is 30 years old ). Recent models are comfortable, if you are comfortable. If you roll out of bed, you should probably shut the fridge down.
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Old 01-25-2020, 07:37 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisle View Post
...couldn’t find a level spot in Walmart lit and worried about running frig on propane off level.
Level operation (not so critical on modern fridges, as Glenn says) applies equally regardless of power source. All three modes use heat to activate the ammonia-based cooling loop. If the cooling loop is too far off-level, crystals form inside and degrade the performance. Effect of off-level operation is essentially the same regardless of whether the heat comes from a 12V element, 120V element, or LP flame.
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Old 01-25-2020, 09:42 AM   #28
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Name: Fredrick
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Yup

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Originally Posted by Doug Arthurs View Post
There is an online RV university wow who new. If they don't teach you to unplug when camped overnite then they are not very knowledgeable. If they don't warn you the fridge will suck the charge out of a battery fast then shame on them. What did they teach?
Agreed..the YT vids we watched and the Casita intro stuff we read all said 1. switch to propane for frig if you are not gonna be back to the camper in 30 minutes and 2. unplug the 7 prong to save the Tow vehicle's battery if you are stopped overnite.
That BTW is why you level the trailer an a campsite..the frig needs a level site to work well on propane. Obviously common sense wud indicate that stopping for over 30 minutes requires a level stop area too.

Good thing to have is one of the newer, portable battery packs, which can start a tow vehicle.
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Old 01-25-2020, 03:26 PM   #29
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Name: Wil
Trailer: 2010 Casita 17' SD
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Originally Posted by Lisle View Post
. Fri night couldn’t find a level spot in Walmart lit and worried about running frig on propane off level.

The off level problem with absorption refers is not just with propane. AC and 12v just replace the propane as a heat source and have the same problem.


However, as others have noted, modern absorption refers have pretty much solved that problem. If it's level enough to be comfortable for you it's probably level enough for the refer, unless you like sleeping standing up.
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Old 01-25-2020, 04:13 PM   #30
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[QUOTE=gordon2;766285]Option two is a voltage controlled isolator which can be mounted in the camper as the first thing in series with the charge line.[/END QUOTE]

Gordon, I wasn't aware of this isolator device and like this concept.

Just to be sure I understand how it works works: I think it switches the connection between trailer battery and TV battery on/off based on voltage coming from the TV - ie when the TV is running and providing full voltage from the alternator the isolator closes circuit and connects the two batteries, charging the trailer battery. When the TV is shut off and the voltage on the TV side drops, the device opens the circuit and isolates the batteries, preventing a drain of the TV battery by the trailer. Is this how it functions?

Second question: it gets installed on the trailer in series on the 12v charge wire from the TV (ahead of the battery)?

Third and final question: You referenced a particular brand (JayCorp). Is it one you have had experience with and recommend or is it just a generic reference to illustrate the type of device you are talking about?

many thanks
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Old 01-25-2020, 04:41 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by WDavidG View Post
...
Gordon, I wasn't aware of this isolator device and like this concept.

Just to be sure I understand how it works works: I think it switches the connection between trailer battery and TV battery on/off based on voltage coming from the TV - ie when the TV is running and providing full voltage from the alternator the isolator closes circuit and connects the two batteries, charging the trailer battery. When the TV is shut off and the voltage on the TV side drops, the device opens the circuit and isolates the batteries, preventing a drain of the TV battery by the trailer. Is this how it functions?
I could not have described it better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WDavidG View Post
...
Second question: it gets installed on the trailer in series on the 12v charge wire from the TV (ahead of the battery)?
I would think it would be on the tow vehicle about 98% of the time. But it could be in the trailer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WDavidG View Post
...
Third and final question: You referenced a particular brand (JayCorp). Is it one you have had experience with and recommend or is it just a generic reference to illustrate the type of device you are talking about?
...
Just the first one I saw online. I don't have one at all. Perhaps I should, but my fridge does not have a 12 VDC mode so its not been a problem.
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Old 01-25-2020, 04:50 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
I would think it would be on the tow vehicle about 98% of the time. But it could be in the trailer.
Thanks for the amazingly prompt reply Gordon. In terms of location, I guess anywhere in-line between the two batteries has the same effect whether TV or trailer. As you note, on the TV does have the advantage of working with whatever trailer you happen to be towing. In my case, I tow only one that has a battery so maybe easier to find a mount location on the trailer.

BTW, I don't seem to have figured out the best way to do quotes for replies on this forum. How do you get the concise little quote boxes?
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Old 01-25-2020, 04:58 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
I could not have described it better.



I would think it would be on the tow vehicle about 98% of the time. But it could be in the trailer.



Just the first one I saw online. I don't have one at all. Perhaps I should, but my fridge does not have a 12 VDC mode so its not been a problem.
Hah, maybe I did figure it out. I'll know when I post this. What appears in the reply box as I'm typing is apparently different than what appears on the forum. Sorry for a dumb question!
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:27 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by WDavidG View Post
What appears in the reply box as I'm typing is apparently different than what appears on the forum.

You can also edit the part quoted as long as the brackets are left intact.
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Old 01-25-2020, 09:25 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post

12V electrical should be a whole course of its own. Actually there’s a good primer on this site, “The 12V Side of Life, Parts 1 and 2.” Don’t know if it covers this issue or not.
Unable to find this post using the search function. Anyone have help? sounds like a good read
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Old 01-26-2020, 05:59 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by kipper View Post
Unable to find this post using the search function. Anyone have help? sounds like a good read
I have seen this write-up referred to so many times I almost have the links memorized...

The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
and
The 12volt Side of Life Part 2
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Old 01-26-2020, 07:45 AM   #37
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Name: DYinVA
Trailer: Helio O2
Washington
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As a new owner of a Helio travel trailer, thanks for posting this and I'm glad I came across it before i went on my first overnight trip. I tested the 7 pin plug on my Subaru outback that the dealer installed and indeed it's always hot even with car turned off. You most likely saved me from a dead battery.
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Old 01-26-2020, 11:17 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by novasquid View Post
As a new owner of a Helio travel trailer, thanks for posting this and I'm glad I came across it before i went on my first overnight trip. I tested the 7 pin plug on my Subaru outback that the dealer installed and indeed it's always hot even with car turned off. You most likely saved me from a dead battery.
What a difference from my 2019 F-150. To get the 7 pin plug activated you have to plug in, start the engine, and then shift into drive. It will stay hot until you shut down the truck and wait for the next cycle.
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Old 01-26-2020, 12:25 PM   #39
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Name: Dave
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The guy who designed that for Ford must be a camper and didn’t like having a dead battery for whatever reason once upon a time. It’s a good idea in my opinion.
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Old 01-26-2020, 06:42 PM   #40
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12V Side of Life is actually part of the Escapees RV Online University -- which was very helpful on lots of other issues. The moral of this story for newbies is to go to Youtube and look up the Casita videos, which is what the service guy at Casita told me recently. Wish I'd known that sooner. Always more to learn.
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