Charging while towing

Anything electric, AC or DC

Postby len19070 » Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:10 am

Senior Ninja wrote:Madjack,

I'm planning to add another deepcycle battery to the one I already have to provide power for Field Day in June where I will be using the batteries to power my Ham radios. Can I still charge them from the battery terminals in the car.
Thanks,
Steve


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Is this going to be a permanent thing? Or just a one time deal?

Its not good to add another battery to an existing Permanent system unless they are both the same batteries and the same age.

The age is the hardest thing to match.

With charging there really isn't a problem( alternator size concerns), Even discharging/using them connected isn't that much of a problem...Its when there hooked together and dormant that the equalizing/damage takes place. Using 2 different batteries in the same system you will do damage to the better battery.

A day or two won't hurt but don't leave them connected/dormant to long.

There's an old saying in the RV industry;

If you hook a good battery in with a bad battery, pretty soon you'll have 2 bad batteries.

I would, if its feasible, charge and use each battery independently.

Happy Trails

Len

Happy Trails

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Postby High Desert » Sat Apr 11, 2009 12:24 pm

Good thread. Keeping it safe and simple is the key. :thumbsup:

One other simple addition I have made before is to install a Ford type continuous duty solinoid in the main hot line, under the hood of the tow rig. Power it with a key switched power source, and when the key is off the trailer is automotically disconnected from the tow rig. Not overly complicated and the solinoids are inexpenssive, less than $20 new at most outo parts stores. Handy for those of us that can forget to unplug things :oops:

If you hook a good battery in with a bad battery, pretty soon you'll have 2 bad batteries.

true words, we have the same saying in heavy truck repair :lol:
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Postby KDOG » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:36 pm

Ok it SOUNDS really simple. But for us that are a little skittish can I ask if someone could make a simple list diagram of the simple way in order of what to do first, etc.... just so there isn't any confusion. Cuz I'm confused about the ground wire and does anything come off the negative terminal on the vehicle battery? Does anything hook to the negative on trailer battery? Can I just use a simple connector from a RV store? See I get all worked up over stuff like this.
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Postby wlooper89 » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:29 pm

The negative ground wire should already be at the hitch electric plug unless you are starting out without any trailer electric wiring at the hitch. The negative wire is needed for trailer running lights and is also used for connection to the trailer battery negative post for charging while towing.

The negative wire has white insulation in both the 4-pin and 7-pin trailer wiring. The size of the white wire on the tow vehicle may need to be upgraded if the tow vehicle has flat-4 wiring. In addition to adding a #10 positive wire from the tow vehicle battery, I would consider a heavier negative wire in the tow vehicle to the hitch if necessary when adding battery charging. The white wire provides 12V negative to all the trailer lights as well as for charging the battery.

I hope someone else knows the place where the negative wire for trailer electric is attached on the tow vehicle. Would the hitch itself be okay? Cars and trucks normally use the vehicle frame for battery negative.

My trailer came with a flat 4-wire plug and my Jeep had a 7-pin connector. I got a 7-wire cable like this to make them compatable and add the wiring for trailer battery charging.
http://www.etrailer.com/pc-TEC~H20046.htm

Bill
Last edited by wlooper89 on Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:52 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby High Desert » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:35 pm

wlooper89 wrote:The negative ground wire should already be at the hitch electric plug unless you are starting out without any trailer electric wiring at the hitch. The negative wire is needed for trailer running lights and is also used for connection to the trailer battery negative post for charging while towing. This wire has white insulation in both the 4-pin and 7-pin trailer wiring.

I hope someone else knows the place where the negative wire for trailer electric is attached on the tow vehicle. Would the hitch itself be okay? Cars and trucks normally use the vehicle frame for battery negative.

Bill

either the frame or a frame mounted hitch would make a fine place to attach the ground wire on the TV. Making sure the ground wire has a good solid connection on both the TV and trailer will eliminate many common light and other electrical problems :thumbsup:
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Postby ARKPAT » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:44 pm

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:19 pm Post subject: Reply with quote
Madjack,

I'm planning to add another deep cycle battery to the one I already have to provide power for Field Day in June where I will be using the batteries to power my Ham radios. Can I still charge them from the battery terminals in the car.
Thanks,
Steve


Hmmmm........................looks like I'm not the only one using my trailer that weekend for the same idea. :D ;)

:thumbsup:

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Postby len19070 » Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:14 am

KDOG wrote:Ok it SOUNDS really simple. But for us that are a little skittish can I ask if someone could make a simple list diagram of the simple way in order of what to do first, etc.... just so there isn't any confusion. Cuz I'm confused about the ground wire and does anything come off the negative terminal on the vehicle battery? Does anything hook to the negative on trailer battery? Can I just use a simple connector from a RV store? See I get all worked up over stuff like this.


In my opinion, it is always better to ground directly to the Neg terminal on a battery.

That being said, I very seldom do it.

On your tow vehicle running a grounding wire to the frame/hitch or any other piece of metal on the vehicle is fine. Just be sure to use a good bolt & eyelet. This is carrying half of your 12v needs.

On your Trailer I always try to go to the negative terminal on the battery.

For many reasons #1 is, the battery is usually right there on the tongue.
another reason and this sounds strange but some trailers DON'T ground through the frame???

Yep, I see it 2-3 times a month. But this is something I cure for the customer right away.

I know on my Bear Bones trailers I always run 2 wires to each fixture, ground and hot. all grounds are run to a grounding block that goes right to the Neg on the battery. Then the battery is grounded to the frame.

Kinda like wearing suspenders and a belt.

I love using Bargman 7 plugs. First off there made for this sort of stuff. They are designed to hold heavy enough wire to do a proper job. There labeled properly (though not for flat-4 wire, a 7 wire code is not the same as a 4 wire code)

Flat 4

Brown=running
Green= right turn
yellow=left turn
White=Ground

7 way

Green=running
Brown= right turn
Red=left turn
White=ground
Black=hot
Blue=brakes
Yellow=back up lights


BTW the center post is NOT the ground.

Happy Trails

Len
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Postby teardrop_focus » Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:29 am

^ Good post! Thanks!



Auntie M
This is a kit that Susann posted in the Ladies forum.


What else is in the Ladies forum that we don't know about? :thinking:

:lol:

KIDDING.


Great thread you have here... I need to wire my car for my tear, and I'm thinkin' about [Edit: all sorts of crazy things] so a 7-prong it shall be.

:thumbsup:
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Charging Aux. battery

Postby dvendt » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:34 pm

J.C. Whitney sells complete auxiliary battery charging kits. One for $52.99 and one for $57.99 depending on your application. Part #,s are YD141846 and YD129424. ;)
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What I did

Postby dh » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:02 pm

I thik most people look at the issue of an auto shut off backwards. I put it on the TV, not the trailer. Super easy and super cheap. I tapped into the switched power for my radio, and ran a wire with a 2A fuse to the engine compartment. There, I ran it to a relay, and put the relay in line with the hot charge wire. Easy, key is off, so is the charge wire. Cost just over $12, and it works with whatever, or whoevers trailer I pull.
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Postby ARKPAT » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:13 pm

dh
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:02 pm Post subject: What I did
I thik most people look at the issue of an auto shut off backwards. I put it on the TV, not the trailer. Super easy and super cheap. I tapped into the switched power for my radio, and ran a wire with a 2A fuse to the engine compartment. There, I ran it to a relay, and put the relay in line with the hot charge wire. Easy, key is off, so is the charge wire. Cost just over $12, and it works with whatever, or whosoever trailer I pull.


I have used that very setup many years for Auto back-up power switch 12DC radio equipment disconnect from the power supply to the radios. :thumbsup:


:thumbsup:

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Postby Minicamper42 » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:10 pm

If I understand what everyone here is saying, you are going to connect a wire to a second battery to your existing one to charge the trailer battery?...uh, shouldn't you guys be using a battery isolator?...sure the battery will get a charge, but at the same time your turning your cars electrical system into 24 volts!...even if you use a relay and fuses, you can ruin an ECM better known as a computer that runs your engine...I have been doing electrical for many years on both cars and homes...I haven't read anywhere anyone mention a battery isolator...what this thing does is separate both batteries but will charge them separately when needed...even if you have one older and one newer it doesn't matter, that's why they call it an isolator, each battery is independent from the other...if one is older and needs more attention from the alternator, then it will get more charge without damaging the other.

If I am the confused one here, please enlighten me on your reason to just run a hot wire from a second battery and connect it to the alternator so it can be charge...I understand the whole switching thing to separate the two batteries for charging, but why go through all the hassle when you can just bolt in an isolator and forget about it. :thinking:
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Postby len19070 » Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:48 am

Minicamper42 wrote:If I understand what everyone here is saying, you are going to connect a wire to a second battery to your existing one to charge the trailer battery?...uh, shouldn't you guys be using a battery isolator?...sure the battery will get a charge, but at the same time your turning your cars electrical system into 24 volts!...even if you use a relay and fuses, you can ruin an ECM better known as a computer that runs your engine...

If I am the confused one here, please enlighten me on your reason to just run a hot wire from a second battery and connect it to the alternator so it can be charge...I understand the whole switching thing to separate the two batteries for charging, but why go through all the hassle when you can just bolt in an isolator and forget about it. :thinking:


Whoa, whoa there.

There is NO WAY if you run a hot wire from your TV's positive battery terminal back to the positive terminal on the trailer battery (and the same with a ground to ground connection) that you will make 24 volts and burn up things.

You gotta be careful there...this crowd scares easy.

Weather you start the wire from the battery terminal or the alternator, its the same thing the battery is connected to the alternator you can make your tap at one end of the wire or the other.

Is an isolator/relay/solenoid necessary...no, can you put one on if you wish...yes. (I have a solenoid)

Hooking 2 different batteries to a TV's Charge system is fine.

Things, and not necessarily damage can happen to batteries when 2 different batteries of different age, size style etc are connected and are dormant for a long time.

Just unplug the trailer when not towing! And you will have no problems.

Once again let me say that this is no New idea that 4 or 5 of us just came up with.

This is the way an RV dealer would wire a TV.

It is a proven system with Billions of miles on it that has been around since the 40's and it works.

Happy Trails

Len
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Postby Jason and Amanda » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:11 am

Not that I'm trying to steer people away from doing this yourself but it's cheap to have a shop do it. I had a local exhaust shop here put a charging circut on my TV for $60 for parts and labor. That included both fuses and also a relay so that when I turn the ignition off in the TV I am no longer charging the TD battery and do not have to "remember" to unplug the wiring harness on the TD. It's gonna cost you probably $15 to $20 in parts (wiring, fuses, loom to make it pretty, etc) without the relay, and I'm sure the relay is another $10, so I figure I got charged about $30 in labor, might as well let em do it. It would have taken me a couple hours just to figure out how to wire the relay into the alternator correctly, took these guys like 20 minutes to do the whole job.
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Postby Minicamper42 » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:43 pm

I wasn't trying to scare anyone here guys...sorry if it sounded like I was doing so...I guess you guys are the experts here, I myself had never wired a TV in that manor, not without a isolator....I only do it for my own piece of mind and know that some other guy can never cross the two together, cuz the vehicle and TV are both using the same ground....this is just my opinion and even though there are Billions of proven mile, I'll still do it my way.
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