Battery Disconnect: Manual or Auto? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 11-30-2022, 07:24 PM   #1
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Name: Catya
Trailer: Scamp
WI
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Battery Disconnect: Manual or Auto?

Hello,
Come Spring, I will be setting up my 12v stuff.
I seem to be waffling between installing a manual off switch, Blue Sea Systems m-Series Mini On-Off Battery Switch
Or an automatic one: Blue Sea m-LVD Low Voltage Disconnect (which is a lot more expensive).
Opinions from experienced others could help me make a selection.
Note: In case it influences anyone's response, I will have a fancy battery monitor; however, it only monitors. And you have to read it, intentionally.
Thanks,
Catya
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Old 11-30-2022, 09:37 PM   #2
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What is the use case for the battery switch? If it is to disconnect the battery when the trailer is not in use, then you are better off with the manual disconnect. You just need to remember to reconnect it before trying to charge the battery....


If the purpose is to prevent the battery from draining down too far when you are using the trailer, then the fancy automatic disconnect might be what you want. On the other hand, you probably still want to keep track of usage to reduce any surprises when the battery cuts off in mid-use...
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Old 12-01-2022, 01:03 AM   #3
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Georgia
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My current Bigfoot trailer and my previous Winnebago View motor home both used this INTELLITEC 0100055000 Battery Disconnect Relay and its associated control panel with 4 wires running between them.

As you can see, the relay is less than $50. This is the 100 amp relay, more than sufficient for a typical small trailer. If you plan on running inverters and other high draw items, then the 200 amp model, The control panel is an Intellitec® 00-01114-000 - Battery Disconnect Switch Pane

Here is the link to the 100 amp relay kit specifications and install instructions. https://intellitec.com/battery-disconnect-100a/ The install Guide link is at the very bottom left of the page, scroll down to find it.

Complete kit is about $125 or you can buy the pieces for only a little less with a lot of shopping, This relay requires power to throw it either open or closed, but once in position, it stays there by spring pressure. The power to operated it is momentary. Personally I like it, because you can install the switch near the door, so you just reach inside and push it (hence the name "salesmans switch") and then the relay mounts where it needs to be, and you are not running a bunch of heavy cable to and from a manual switch, just to get the switch in a convenient, and accessible location.

Charles
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Old 12-01-2022, 08:18 AM   #4
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I prefer to have a simple manual disconnect that disconnects all loads from the battery so you can be sure their are no parasitic loads to drain your battery when your trailer is not in use (the KISS principal). Many trailers have solinoid type disconnects for convience but these may not elimate all loads such as CO2 or propane detectors, etc, so I would still also want the manual disconnect.--Frank
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Old 12-01-2022, 08:48 AM   #5
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This is mine. And it is very simple. If you want to isolate your battery from any "parasitic" loads that would drain it over an extended lay-up, (like after winterization, etc.) I would just keep it plain and simple. There's no need for all that high-falootin' electronics to waste money on if all you want is a battery isolation switch.
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Old 12-01-2022, 11:02 AM   #6
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The simplest and easiest solution is to pull the fuse. If you have active solar panels, pull that fuse first for disconnection.

Also, a good solar controller should have a settable low voltage cut-off. Even PWM controllers!
Have fun with your build.
Gordon (in Arizona)
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Old 12-01-2022, 11:21 AM   #7
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Washington
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I agree with Frank and Greg.....a simple kill switch at the battery is perfect. Our trailer is stored here on our property.....when winterized.....I have shore power to the trailer.....the battery switch is off.....once a month or so....I turn the switch on for 5 to 6 hrs......keeps the battery charged......my batteries last 5 to 6 yrs. Easy solution.
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Old 12-02-2022, 01:57 PM   #8
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I am going to assume that you mean to protect the tow vehicle battery from running down too far while towing and stopping to park some place.


With my factory tow package it shuts of when the truck is shut off so it is "automatic" in that sense, as well as low voltage.


On my TC , my former Ranger, and my Escapes, I always installed a 30A LED lit switch in view of the driver. I would then shut the switch off when parking for any extended time with the trailer attached.


This is a cheap and effective approach but requires you to Manually switch on/off when needed. If you forget you could run down the TV battery or fail to charge it while underway.


An Isolator on the other hand, protects your stock system and assures that both batteries are charged separately. This could be a factor if you have mixed types of batteries like GlassMat and lead acid.


https://www.etrailer.com/Battery-Cha...nt=30%20-%2060
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Old 12-03-2022, 01:55 AM   #9
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every tow vehicle I've had, admittedly just a couple Fords and a Toyota, the trailer charge power was on a relay, so when you shut the truck off, the the power to the trailer was shut off, so draining tow vehicle battery when parked wasn't an issue.
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Old 12-07-2022, 12:58 PM   #10
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Battery Disconnect

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth EWA View Post
What is the use case for the battery switch? If it is to disconnect the battery when the trailer is not in use, then you are better off with the manual disconnect. You just need to remember to reconnect it before trying to charge the battery.....
I agree with Elizabeth's recommendation and with Frank's KISS approach. Similar to Gregg's disconnect switch at the battery compartment, I installed an anderson type disconnect in the battery compartment.

Here is a link to my post on another forum with details & pictures (including winter storage and approach to charging).
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Old 12-07-2022, 01:45 PM   #11
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As wired from the factory on my Escape, and other trailers I've seen, the battery disconnect switch disconnects the battery from the power converter, and from all trailer loads EXCEPT the propane detector, and the solar panel, if supplied. The trailer loads will still run on the power converter, if you have shore power.
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Old 12-07-2022, 02:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
As wired from the factory on my Escape, and other trailers I've seen, the battery disconnect switch disconnects the battery from the power converter, and from all trailer loads EXCEPT the propane detector, and the solar panel, if supplied. The trailer loads will still run on the power converter, if you have shore power.
Interesting.....

In the approach that Greg and I have implemented in our Casita trailers, opening the switch or opening the anderson disconnect removes the battery from **ALL** trailer loads.

And, yes, of the switch is open or the anderson disconnect is open, when the trailer is on shore power, everything will work from the power converter with the exception that the battery will not be charged. If the switch or anderson connector are closed and the trailer is on shore power everything will work including charging the battery (from the converter).

In the case of solar, it depends on how you wire the connection between the controller and the battery. In my implementation, opening the anderson disconnect also disconnects my solar controller. So, if I a not on shore power and I expect to use solar to charge the battery, I insure that the anderson disconnect is closed.
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Old 12-07-2022, 09:49 PM   #13
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Name: Michelle
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Not being all that bright when it comes to electricity (hey..I'm a biologist), I wonder about the battery isolation switch as shown in Casita Greg's picture. We're always warned to disconnect the camper from the tow vehicle if we're on the road somewhere and going to be parked for a length of time. That's a pain in the patoot to me because it means we usually have to do a light check, so in the past, we've just kept our stops while traveling to a less than half an hour. Would this battery isolation switch mean that all we'd need do is turn it closed while we're parked? Meaning, it isolates the camper battery from that of the truck? Of course the problem there is I better hope to remember to open it before we drive off.
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Old 12-07-2022, 09:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meadowlark View Post
Not being all that bright when it comes to electricity (hey..I'm a biologist), I wonder about the battery isolation switch as shown in Casita Greg's picture. We're always warned to disconnect the camper from the tow vehicle if we're on the road somewhere and going to be parked for a length of time. That's a pain in the patoot to me because it means we usually have to do a light check, so in the past, we've just kept our stops while traveling to a less than half an hour. Would this battery isolation switch mean that all we'd need do is turn it closed while we're parked? Meaning, it isolates the camper battery from that of the truck? Of course the problem there is I better hope to remember to open it before we drive off.
Fords and Toyotas at least have an isolation relay, the power to the trailer plug is shut off when you shut off the engine. I understand dodge/ram's don't have this, and I don't know about Chevy's.
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Old 12-07-2022, 11:19 PM   #15
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The factory 7 way plug on my '03 Dodge RAM 2500 goes cold when you turn the ignition off. It doesn't drain the truck batteries at all if left connected.

I'm not seeing the need for an automatic disconnect, however I do favor the remote disconnect unless it just happens to be convenient to put the battery switch in the circuit without running a bunch of wire.

Charles
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Old 12-07-2022, 11:59 PM   #16
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on my escape, at least, I am not sure where the tow vehicle power went into the system relative to the battery switch. The way its wired /now/ the tow vehicle power goes into an Orion TR 12/18 which boosts the voltage to charge my lithiums, but in reality, I probably could have just left the tow vehicle power completely disconnected, I get more power from my solar most of the time.
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Old 12-08-2022, 07:38 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meadowlark View Post
Not being all that bright when it comes to electricity (hey..I'm a biologist), I wonder about the battery isolation switch as shown in Casita Greg's picture. We're always warned to disconnect the camper from the tow vehicle if we're on the road somewhere and going to be parked for a length of time. That's a pain in the patoot to me because it means we usually have to do a light check, so in the past, we've just kept our stops while traveling to a less than half an hour. Would this battery isolation switch mean that all we'd need do is turn it closed while we're parked? Meaning, it isolates the camper battery from that of the truck? Of course the problem there is I better hope to remember to open it before we drive off.
I don't use it, not even for winter "lay-up". Even at home I keep it on. It's only there for some special occaision which would just make it a lot simpler to isolate it if I needed to. I have a PD 4645 converter, and I keep it on year-around 24/7/365. And I never travel with it off underway either, because the "break-away" trailer disconnect brakes are dependent on power from the trailer battery as well.

That said, my older Nissan Frontier does not have an ignition controlled shut-off to kill power to the trailer plug, so I have to literally go out and unplug my Bargman plug from the truck to keep from draining my trucks' starting battery overnight. My wifes much newer Chevy Silverado automatically cuts power to the trailer plug on the back bumper when the ignition is turned off.
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