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Old 08-16-2016, 07:37 AM   #11
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I was told by a mechanic that it's a good idea to have a battery, especially with E-brakes.
It has to do with providing a buffer between the trailer and the vehicle's alternator so that there is less demand on the vehicle charging system. He also recommended a cutoff switch to isolate the battery from E-brakes when not in tow.
Does this ring true with anyone with more expertise than me?
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Old 08-16-2016, 07:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dune23 View Post
I was told by a mechanic that it's a good idea to have a battery, especially with E-brakes.
It has to do with providing a buffer between the trailer and the vehicle's alternator so that there is less demand on the vehicle charging system. He also recommended a cutoff switch to isolate the battery from E-brakes when not in tow.
Does this ring true with anyone with more expertise than me?
You MUST have a battery for the trailer brakes. It's the law. It has nothing to do with a buffer or demand on the vehicle charging system. The mechanic that told you this is not well versed in electrical systems.

The ONLY switch that should exist between the battery and the trailer brakes is the break-away switch. No fuse, no cut-off switch. This is a safety item. You do not want to introduce points of failure.
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Old 08-18-2016, 08:24 AM   #13
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A fold-down with surge brakes doesn't need a battery if you always camp with shore power. The converter converts shore power to 12vDC to power the lights and run the furnace fan if so equipped which is why a battery isn't needed. That's also why batteries were an option on fold-downs and not always supplied by the dealers.

A/C was not an option from the factory in 1992. They were all dealer installed. Adding an A/C unit requires upgrading to a 30amp power cord for the trailer, a 20amp power cord to be wired directly to the A/C and some other electrical conversions/additions in the trailer (including and additional 110V circuit breaker box). If you have the 20amp converter you don't need a new one because of the additional breaker box. I believe the shore power went into the new box and then to the converter and A/C through separate breakers. I don't remember if the A/C cord ran down the inside or outside of the tent but I would bet that someone on this forum with electrical knowledge will be able to tell you how to bypass doing electrical work inside the trailer and just plug the A/C directly into the power post. I would recommend some sort of surge protection if you go this route though.
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Old 08-18-2016, 01:42 PM   #14
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Now that I consider what he said...I believe he meant an isolator to buffer the alternator from charging the vehicle battery at the same time as the trailer batteries. I'll ask him when I see him again.
Yes...of course the breakaway needs the little battery for that purpose. That one is often mounted in the A-frame. Hopefully...I'll never need to use THAT thing!
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Old 08-21-2016, 08:16 PM   #15
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Hello, 5thGenTexan.

I'm not sure if this information is what you're looking for or not. Eventually, I got what I needed. As I mentioned, the converter that was in my popup originally included 3 DC circuits with fuzes, a circuit breaker for the 110 volt circuit, and an on-board GFCI outlet. When the unit began to fail, I assumed I'd be able to find something functionally identical. What I ended up finding was not the same, but it was close enough. I got a WFCO Ultra III 30 Amp Power Center - 8700 Series.

The first thing I needed was information. While trying to find a replacement part, although the products I was looking at on the internet were, in fact, appropriate for me, I couldn't actually determine that. We always camp in places with electrical hook-up, and I really had no other need for a battery. However, nearly all of the product specifications that I saw were focusing on how well they charged the battery - I couldn't actually determine clearly if they provided the AC & DC things I needed. So I finally ended up going to a brick-and-mortar store (a fair distance from my house).

The guy at the store knew the answers to my questions. (1) No, I did not need a battery just to make the electrical system happy. (2) The new converters don't actually provide an on-board AC outlet, but no big deal. (3) He asked if I had A/C -- no, but it is a possible future addition. (And a few other details) Based on that, he recommended the 30 amp AC / 25 amp DC model.

Also, the new one has room for 2 AC circuit breakers, but they aren't included. So he sold me what I needed for that as well.

I'm sure I paid more than online. And if I had been able to get the information I needed online, I may not have selected this specific brand. (In fact, I have since found some poor reviews on this model). But it's fine, the guidance was worth a lot to me.

Physically, it fit pretty well - only slight modification to the original opening. Regarding the wiring, I had taken a video as I disconnected the old one, and that helped a lot as I wired the new one. And since my old unit had a GFCI outlet on board, but the new one has no AC outlet, I merely replaced the first outlet in the circuit with a GFCI.

When I powered it up, it worked perfectly. The new one is all new technology -- much lighter than the old. And it is quiet -- no hum at all. When I turn on enough lights to consume some level of amps, a quiet cooling fan starts up.

So far, so good. We haven't actually gone camping yet.

Good luck.
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