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Old 08-31-2016, 02:46 PM   #1
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Battery charging while under way

So, I've been thinking about a process or mod or something for quite some time regarding my battery.

I am thinking about this from the perspective of short over-night "wally world" stays during long road trips.

Since the truck doesn't really offer effective charging, I was thinking about ways to plug my generator into the trailer while under way. Let the on-board smart charger do the work for me and keep my battery topped off and in good condition so I can land at the next stop with a full charge. An added benefit would be that the fridge could run on AC power and save some propane (I'm using the gas anyway right, may as well save the propane).

One option would be to install a hitch receiver attached to the frame at the rear of the trailer and just plug the trailer into the 30A RV port on the genny. My receptacle is on the very rear street-side wall, so the cord run would be very short, and my receptacle is a twist-lock, so I wouldn't worry too much about the plug falling out. Also, the roof ladder is right there in the vicinity, so I could use that for additional support for the cord. Run the generator for a few hours and get the battery charged up while under way. In this scenario, I could even run the AC if I wanted and get the trailer cooled down ahead of my arrival at camp.

Another thought I had was to adapt the 50A plug down to a 20A and run an extension cord attached to the underside of the TT up to the generator in the bed of the truck.

Any thoughts on this? Anyone ever tried running a generator for a TT underway? With the potential for two days on the road this Fall, I worry about running the battery out between overnight stops and stops throughout the day.
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Old 08-31-2016, 05:02 PM   #2
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Battery charging while under way

Two days pulling and only two nights sleeping in the unit while getting to the destination will not flatten the house battery.

You're just using a tiny amount of house lights and a few runs of the water pump.

This sounds like a whole lot of (unnecessary) work. Once you hit Wally World parking lot, run the genny in the pickup bed for an hour. You're fridge only sips propane.


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New England
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Old 08-31-2016, 05:26 PM   #3
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snip..... Once you hit Wally World parking lot, run the genny in the pickup bed for an hour. You're fridge only sips propane.......snip
That's what I would do if there was a concern about battery amp usage.

If the TT still has the OEM RV Marine/Deep Cycle battery, upgrading to a true Deep Cycle battery will provide increased amp capacity.

Another thought would be to incorporate a heavier gauge wire (by-passing the standard 7-pin charge wire) from the TV's engine compartment charging system back to the TT battery. The heavier gauge wire will produce more charging amps at the TT battery then the 7-pin connection.

Just thinking out loud.....

Bob
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Old 08-31-2016, 05:41 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Camper_bob View Post
So, I've been thinking about a process or mod or something for quite some time regarding my battery.

I am thinking about this from the perspective of short over-night "wally world" stays during long road trips.
If you just want to use your TV to charge your TT battery(s), you can do what I did when we towed a TrailManor with a Honda Mini-Van. I ran a 4AWG from the rear 7 pin connector to the battery, where I connected it to a 20Amp breaker. I connected the breaker to the battery. I measured the output to the partially discharged TT battery and it was 14 amps. That was plenty to charge the battery.

You just need to supply a big enough pipe to get the needed charging power to the TT's battery, your alternator will provide the additional amps. I also replaced the wire on the TT's cable also.

Never had a low battery, I am spoiled now with SOLAR... allows me to keep the fridge running on AC while traveling (with the TT's inverter on). DW is happier since we do not use the LP for travel, I guess I am too.

Don
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Old 09-01-2016, 07:12 AM   #5
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For the amount of money and work involved in doing this I think you would be better off with a 80-150 watt solar panel on the roof..
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Old 09-01-2016, 07:45 AM   #6
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My advice is like baily and eagal's....


Several hours of driving will put more than sufficient power into the trailer's battery for a simple overnight.


If you leave your home with a topped up battery (you were plugged into shore power during preparations), you will arrive with a full battery.


As long as you just run lights, water pump and charge the phones, you won't use much electricity on the overnight. 2-3 hours of driving will recover that easily.
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Old 09-01-2016, 08:18 AM   #7
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The more I think about it, the more I see that you guys are right about keeping the battery topped up. I'm just worried that with the furnace running, I'll run the battery down further than my truck will be able to charge it back up. But at the same time, I should be at a park with power the second night, so I can just plug in to shore power there and be GTG.

I think also if I start out with a better battery, that might be a more worthwhile "upgrade". I'm still using the original dual purpose Interstate (that has been completely discharged at least once, and is at least 3 years old) that won't take a full charge. I was planning to replace the battery anyway, but I thought with a generator I could put it off a while longer.

So now I'm thinking I'll skip the generator completely (I don't have one yet) for now. I like the idea of getting more charging amperage with a thicker wire from the engine bay though. That might be something I could do pretty easily and could be more useful under other circumstances as well. I use the truck for hunting too, and there are a lot of things I could do with a nice charging wire at the rear of the truck...

I've got a lot of ideas rattling around in my head, and it helps me sort them out with input from this forum. So thanks for that!
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:21 AM   #8
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From my experience if I have a 50% charge on my battery (12.0V) it takes about 6 hours of driving to fully charge the battery. The key when charging off the TV, is time, usually if I am staying in a Walmart parking lot, it’s a long days drive. So I am not worried about recharging the battery.

I have seen (heard) many times, in a Walmart parking generators connected to the TT. I just recommend parking away from others when doing such.
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Old 09-01-2016, 10:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camper_bob View Post
I think also if I start out with a better battery, that might be a more worthwhile "upgrade". I'm still using the original dual purpose Interstate (that has been completely discharged at least once, and is at least 3 years old) that won't take a full charge.
Just to give you an idea as to how much power your battery has left, take a look at the battery test (using a wind turbine dump load resistor) that I did on my original 85Ah battery that came with the TT 4 years ago. It has never been discharged below 12.0 Volts and has always had a charge on it. I used it for my work bench electrical projects and as a UPS supply for my home office. Even keeping it healthy, its age took a toll on it.

RVing with SOLAR battery Ah test

Since you only use the battery for over night stops, I would just purchase a 12VDC battery that has 100Ah (inexpensive Interstate 100Ah should do the trick), that should get you through the night with no issues. Interstate, Trojan, USBattery all have them. If you are thinking of longer stay overs, then you may want to look at other power sources, SOLAR , generators, more batteries....

The Honda rewire job took an afternoon to install.

Don
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Old 09-01-2016, 12:12 PM   #10
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Plus today's vehicles are not like when I first started driving when alternators were in the 40-63 amp range. Today 150 amps or more are the norm and don't some diesel rigs come with 2 alternators? I have never showed up anywhere without a full charge in my TT with my 145 amp alternator in my TV.
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