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Old 08-30-2016, 11:38 PM   #1
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Dry camping and using a slideout

Ok - going to try dry camping for the first time in my TT and I have a rear slide out. I am assuming that as long as I keep the TT plugged into my truck (with the truck running of course) that I will have enough power for the slide out? My concern is after several days I will likely run the battery down a lot but should still be ok as long as I hook up the truck to the trailer before bringing in the slide, right?

Thanks and sorry for the noob power question. I am just not sure if when you are connected to the truck if you are pulling current straight through the harness vs. the harness trying to recharge the battery as the slide is pulling from the battery.
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Old 08-31-2016, 04:50 AM   #2
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I was able to move my slides without the battery hooked up when I was connected to the truck.

You should watch your battery levels. Running them down too far can shorten their life.
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Old 08-31-2016, 06:59 AM   #3
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My concern is after several days I will likely run the battery down a lot but should still be ok as long as I hook up the truck to the trailer before bringing in the slide, right?.
Yes, the TV will supply enough power to operate your slides. After you slide it out, let the TV run for about 5 minutes while you do your other setting up.

When you say, " I will likely run the battery down a lot", caught my eye. The 12Volt battery(s) voltage, should not drop below 12.0 VDC (50% rule). When the battery voltage drops below 12.0 VDC things happen to it internally which slowly affects its performance (Ah, amp hours).. A totally DEAD 12 Volt battery is 10.5VDC (0.0 SG). If your battery is an 84Ah battery (standard RV/Marine battery rating), you can only use 42 Ah.

The battery(s) charging and voltage will look normal 13.2 and 12.6 when charged, but the available Ah deteriorate. If you get 3 days from your battery now, after allowing the voltage to drop below 12.0VDC again and again will eventually cut your time from 3 days to 2 days....

Over time this will hit your pocket book. Without a generator or SOLAR to charge your battery while dry-camping, connect the TT to your TV and run it for a little while in the morning and evening to put a little power back into the battery(s).

Pick up a Digital Voltage Display, something like the one below. They are cheap on Amazon, and will give you an idea as to what your battery status is. The "Idiot" lights that come with the TT are useless.

Here are the results of an actual "BATTERY TEST" that I performed on my original TT batteries, the last line sums it up.

Have a good time,

Don
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ELECTRONICS - 12VDC Voltage Display.jpg  
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Old 08-31-2016, 07:20 AM   #4
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Pick up a 2nd battey to double your capacity or simply to keep as back up. Dry camping with one battery and worse if its the OEM battery that came with your TT, is a problem that will get worse over a very short time.
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:11 AM   #5
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Boondocking is not an issue, just have to learn to be a little more conservative.

With time you will learn how to dry camp, and what tricks you can do to extend your battery life. The first time we went out in the new HTT, we boondocked, 3 day weekend. I explained to the family about conserving power. They were not good about it, and that was what I expected, we were down to 50% power the second night. I connected to the TV and ran the truck for about an hour to get some charge back into the battery. You really need 6+ hours to fully recharge the battery. But it was a learning curve for the family. Now it is no big deal. We can also now go for 3+ days without a power issue, and 5+ days without water issues.

If your TV is running you can move the slideouts, and awning, to minimize the drain on the onboard battery. I often keep electrically hooked up to move these items and then keep the TV running for a little while longer. The slideout motor pulls a lot of amps, and you do not get as many amps from the TV as you can from the on board battery.

With a 2016, you should have LED lights throughout which really helps with power consumption. Turn off any lights that are not needed. One tip, is to turn on the wall switch for the ceiling lights, then go and flip the manual switch at each light. When you need light in a particular area, just turn on that one or two lights. This will save a lot of power. Also minimize the use of your awning strip light, it can pull a lot of power.

If you need to run the furnace; the fan consumes a lot of power, and if it is cold out, you can drain your battery in one day. I recommend turning it on, get it to temp then turn it off. When boondocking during cool months we turn the furnace off at night. Sometimes if we get up to go to the bathroom we will cycle it for a few minutes. Otherwise, when we get up we turn it on, to warm up the HTT.

We now have a second battery. I bring it with us when boondocking more than a 2 day weekend, I haul it in the bed of my TV. If/when I need it I place it next to the HTT, disconnect the used battery and connect up the spare battery. My spare battery does not fit in the existing battery box. If you plan to do this in the future try it at home first as I needed to make wire leads to extend the wire leads down to the ground level.

Happy Boondocking!
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Old 08-31-2016, 10:26 AM   #6
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snip.....The slideout motor pulls a lot of amps, and you do not get as many amps from the TV as you can from the on board battery......snip
I agree, the TV's 7-pin connector at best will provide a maintenance (trickle) charge to the TT battery (limited by wire gauge/length).

If needed, using a set of jumper cables from the TV battery to the TT battery will provide increased amperage for charging the TT battery.

Bob
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Old 08-31-2016, 11:23 AM   #7
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How about a small generator?
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Old 08-31-2016, 11:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by EV4D View Post
Ok - going to try dry camping for the first time in my TT and I have a rear slide out. I am assuming that as long as I keep the TT plugged into my truck (with the truck running of course) that I will have enough power for the slide out? My concern is after several days I will likely run the battery down a lot but should still be ok as long as I hook up the truck to the trailer before bringing in the slide, right?

Thanks and sorry for the noob power question. I am just not sure if when you are connected to the truck if you are pulling current straight through the harness vs. the harness trying to recharge the battery as the slide is pulling from the battery.
You can always just hand crank it in. the jack handle will have the same socket that the rear slide has. Even the "big" TT's and FW slides can be manually operated.

the worst case scenario is that you leave the trailer connected to the truck, and forget that it's connected... now you've got two flat batteries.
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Old 08-31-2016, 12:42 PM   #9
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Before your rely on your TV providing power through the #4 pin, verify that your vehicle is providing power. My Chevy with trailer package has the fuse and all wiring, but the wire is not connected, its wrapped with tape under the master cylinder ready to be connected to the appropriate post.
Make sure you know how to do the manual operation of the slide...
If you have kids, you will run out of power without a generator. They will leave lights on etc. If it is just two adults then you may make it.
I only "dry" camp. I had 2 12V and now have 2 6V. Its important to make sure that the TV amplifier is off, the lights stay off, the water pump is turned off when not actively used etc. But there are constant draws like the CO detector, the fridge electronics, the radio "memory"

You can if needed "jump" your trailer battery if it is dead and you need to pull your slide in, but be careful to the polarity.

If you are planning on always camping outside of RV parks, a generator is a good investment. I have a small 2000w inverter and a 4000 W electric start. Its a trade off between being quiet and the convenience of electric start. (unless of course you spend big bucks)
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Old 08-31-2016, 01:21 PM   #10
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How about a small generator?
That's what we did. Our X213 came with two batteries. Since our first trip was going to be a two-night dry camp and I didn't have any experience to draw on to predict how we'd fare with the batteries, I bought a generator just in case. We never got low enough on battery that we couldn't operate the slide, but it was nice to have a backup source for power in a pinch. I wouldn't bother using the TV because it doesn't really provide enough power to be useful IMO (for charging, at least, it would probably operate the slide and tongue jack just fine).
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