Charging while towing

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Re: Charging while towing

Postby capnTelescope » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:44 pm

@Dean -- Holy smokes! That is a serious TV. Does it get miles per gallon or gallons per mile? What do you metric people call gas mileage, gas kilometerage? :)

bdosborn wrote:You know, I charge while driving all the time.

Even at night? :lol: On the plus side, you don't even have to be driving. :thumbsup: This is the Cadillac way to go, IMO.

bdosborn wrote:Of course I'm only about 16% efficient, does that mean I win?

Since you don't suck any juice from the TV, you're more like 116%. I think you win the Most Efficient category, hands down. :applause:

ntsqd wrote:By using a Voltage Sensing Relay or Automatic Charge Relay...

... If you know such things exist and how to hook it up and where to get them. Maybe you could write this up and show us a schematic so someone who's interested could do it? I nominate this for the Most Highest Tech Solution. :applause:
I'll burn that bridge when I come to it.

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Re: Charging while towing

Postby bdosborn » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:11 pm

ntsqd wrote: using a Voltage Sensing Relay or Automatic Charge Relay...


... If you know such things exist and how to hook it up and where to get them. Maybe you could write this up and show us a schematic so someone who's interested could do it? I nominate this for the Most Highest Tech Solution. :applause:


Just go back to page 8 of this thread. :D

Here's a thread where I posted some wiring diagrams:

Yandina Battery Combiner
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Re: Charging while towing

Postby ntsqd » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:42 pm

capnTelescope wrote:
ntsqd wrote:By using a Voltage Sensing Relay or Automatic Charge Relay...

... If you know such things exist and how to hook it up and where to get them. Maybe you could write this up and show us a schematic so someone who's interested could do it? I nominate this for the Most Highest Tech Solution. :applause:


I don't know that they're all that high tech. They're certainly not complicated to install.
A couple links to ACR's/VSR's,
BEP Marine VSR's:
http://www.delcity.net/store/Voltage-Sensing-Relays/p_801489
Blue Sea ACR:
http://www.bluesea.com/products/category/Automatic_Charging_Relays
In either case I would recommend the dual sense version if solar is present and if the TV & TD are going to stay connected. The reason being that if/when the solar has brought the TD battery to full charge and there's more day to go it can then also bring the TV battery(ies) up should they need it. Otherwise the single sense version is most appropriate.

For basic service the wiring it simple. A wire in from the charge source and wire out to the battery, plus a small ground wire for voltage reference. Don't forget to include the necessary breakers. The first link above is a good source for a lot of low voltage electrical supplies.
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Re: Charging while towing

Postby rick e » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:47 pm

Way to much information here for me. I read through most of the pages without nodding off. I am premature to be concerned about this but it has been in the back of my mind and recently discussed elsewhere.
My HHR has the battery in the back which is convenient. My plan has been to find a connector, preferably a 2-flat. Run about a 10 wire from the battery through the connector to the battery on the tongue of the tear. Not much distance there. This thread has told me I need a 30amp fuse near both batteries.
Am I missing anything? A switch maybe? Can I accomplish the charge with smaller gauge wire?
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Re: Charging while towing

Postby capnTelescope » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:29 pm

bdosborn wrote:Just go back to page 8 of this thread.

and
ntsqd wrote:A couple links to ACR's/VSR's,


Both reference applications that combine batteries. Now, if you are ok with charging your deep cycle battery directly from an automotive system, then you are fine. If, as in my case, you want to use an AGM deep cycle battery and you want the correct charging method for that battery, the combiner strategy is a no go. Because I will have an intelligent charger/maintainer permanently installed in my Tear anyway, why not take advantage of it while on the road?

I've said before, we have different goals. The goals require different approaches. Costs are similar, unless you plan on not buying a charger. I'm giving up some efficiency for charge cycle. Y'all are giving up charge cycle for efficiency.
I'll burn that bridge when I come to it.

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Re: Charging while towing

Postby capnTelescope » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:44 pm

Hi, Rick. Welcome aboard. I think you will find it's a great bunch of people here.

rick e wrote:Am I missing anything? A switch maybe? Can I accomplish the charge with smaller gauge wire?


It's a good idea to have a switch or relay to electrically disconnect your Tow Vehicle (TV doesn't mean "television" around here) from the trailer when the car is turned off. The likeliest consequences of not disconnecting include having 2 dead batteries in the morning, and/or reduced battery life.

I think the general consensus around here is that 10 gauge is minimum.

As for charging while towing, there are more ways than one, and partisans on all sides. :noyes:

Good luck sorting all this out. We're here to help or confuse.
I'll burn that bridge when I come to it.

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Re: Charging while towing

Postby rick e » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:10 pm

Thanks cap'n, You are right of course about the switch, I was trying to avoid running any wires to the front but I guess I can install a continous selonoid in there.
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Re: Charging while towing

Postby ntsqd » Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:56 am

rick e wrote:Way to much information here for me. I read through most of the pages without nodding off. I am premature to be concerned about this but it has been in the back of my mind and recently discussed elsewhere.
My HHR has the battery in the back which is convenient. My plan has been to find a connector, preferably a 2-flat. Run about a 10 wire from the battery through the connector to the battery on the tongue of the tear. Not much distance there. This thread has told me I need a 30amp fuse near both batteries.
Am I missing anything? A switch maybe? Can I accomplish the charge with smaller gauge wire?

Rick, The ACR/VSR's that I linked above can be that switch for you. They turn on when the alternator starts to charge, and they turn off when the alternator quits charging. That removes the human factor. Personally I would put it on the TD rather than on the TV. That way any TV with with the charge connector will work and you only have one semi-expensive component instead of one on every TV or you don't have to move it if/when the TV changes.
As to the charge connector, I have seen the flat rubber two conductor polarized plugs in 10ga., but they're not all that common. Might have a look at the line of the Anderson Power products. I think a link or two was previously posted in this thread. IMO they are the better choice for the current levels involved.

capnTelescope wrote:
bdosborn wrote:Just go back to page 8 of this thread.

and
ntsqd wrote:A couple links to ACR's/VSR's,


Both reference applications that combine batteries. Now, if you are ok with charging your deep cycle battery directly from an automotive system, then you are fine. If, as in my case, you want to use an AGM deep cycle battery and you want the correct charging method for that battery, the combiner strategy is a no go. Because I will have an intelligent charger/maintainer permanently installed in my Tear anyway, why not take advantage of it while on the road?

I've said before, we have different goals. The goals require different approaches. Costs are similar, unless you plan on not buying a charger. I'm giving up some efficiency for charge cycle. Y'all are giving up charge cycle for efficiency.

As I've said here before, the alternator is the bully on the block. So long as the alternator is charging it dominates the dissimilar battery relationship and does not allow the destructive "see-saw" charge/discharge cycle to happen. Once it stops charging the ACR or VSR "uncombines" the batteries and doesn't allow the destructive "see-saw" cycle to happen either.
Combining the batteries to charge them does mean that you get a "one size fits all" charge regimen. Could this potentially result in a shorter battery life for one or the other if they are different chemistries? Absolutely, but you're down in the noise i.e. you're splitting hairs. If you had 1000's of dollars invested in multiple battery banks then it might pay off over the long run, but so far the only systems that I've found with more than one charging regimen are those on blue water boats where there is a dedicated alternator for the starting batteries and another, separate, dedicated alternator for the house batteries. It is true that the marine regulators (cubic $$$) can be set for different battery chemistries, however I have found nothing designed to switch these back and forth as the bank being charged (starting vs. house) is switched. They always go the multiple, dedicated alternators route if that is the need.

Time spent charging on the road vs. time spent charging/maintaining at home means that I see no pay-off in trying to implement multi-step charging while on the road. The total cost/total benefit doesn't balance right because of the time variable. My TV puts me in a somewhat unique position in that I could exploit one of the multi-step marine regulators with very little effort and I've considered it. The >$250 entry fee just doesn't seem worth it. With two AGM starting batteries and two 6V Trojan's on-board the TV I'm likely the most prime candidate to try this. I'd love to do it, but I just don't see it paying off. It makes much more sense for me to put solar on the TV and use a solar regulator with multi-step charging to charge one or both sets of batteries. For the cost of the marine regulator I can install a 100W panel and dedicated controller for the house Trojan's, and a smaller panel and dedicated controller for the starting batteries.
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Re: Charging while towing

Postby bdosborn » Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:09 pm

capnTelescope wrote:Both reference applications that combine batteries. Now, if you are ok with charging your deep cycle battery directly from an automotive system, then you are fine. If, as in my case, you want to use an AGM deep cycle battery and you want the correct charging method for that battery, the combiner strategy is a no go. Because I will have an intelligent charger/maintainer permanently installed in my Tear anyway, why not take advantage of it while on the road?


I don't think combining AGMs and wet cell batteries is going to affect battery life, if you're just doing it when your driving. That's about 0.1% of total battery life and as mentioned above, you're in the weeds at that point. That's assuming you use your trailer for vacation purposes and you're not driving it every day. I think it's a great idea to use the dedicated RV battery intelligent charger at home as that's where the battery is charged most of the time (at least for me).

I don't think there's anything wrong with the way you're setup, I thought about doing it that way myself. I nixed it as I didn't like the idea of running 120V across the hitch and I was going solar anyways.

I like the marine approach to battery charging; you need at least three sources. We use a lot of energy with the electric fridges so a backup plan is important (I don't like warm beer :beer: ). We can charge from the truck alternator, the PV panels and we have a generator. Tell me thrice...

Here's a post on expedition vehicle electrical systems and reliability that I thought was pretty good:
Hardcore reliability thoughts

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Re: Charging while towing

Postby ntsqd » Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:33 pm

bdosborn wrote:snip....

Here's a post on expedition vehicle electrical systems and reliability that I thought was pretty good:
Hardcore reliability thoughts

FWIW, John "Whatcharterboat" is the man who designed and did all of that electrical work shown in that thread. It was he who through PM's first put me onto looking at blue water marine components for function and reliability. This thread is worth the read even if the application is a bit more extreme than most here will ever plan on.
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Re: Charging while towing

Postby len19070 » Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:30 pm

Page 1 Post.

You can do this several ways, But I use a simple method that has been used on towing rigs for decades with no problems. This is the way an RV dealer will do it
A wire (#10) off of the hot terminal of the battery, to a 30amp fuse/breaker then back to the trailer.
On the tow vehicle side Beef up the ground on the plug to a #10 wire, and on the trailer side extend those hot & ground wires to the trailer battery.
Unplug it when your not towing.


Nitetimes wrote: This tends to get way over complicated around here. I don't believe it's all that difficult to disconnect your plug at night or when you stop for an extended period of time. Like he said, travel trailers have done it that way since....well pretty much since forever and it works!
If you like all the fancy dodads and can wire them in then go for it, if not just run a wire, stick in an inline circuit breaker at each end and just 'pull the plug'. :thumbsup:



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Re: Charging while towing

Postby ntsqd » Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:53 pm

The KISS method works well, right up until I brain-fade and forget. Ask my wife about those. Something relatively simple (cut charge wire, add terminal to each end, connect to studs on box, add 2 box mounting screws, add grounding wire screw) that protects me from myself is a very good thing. It really is that simple. It is $90 though. Just don't ask me to remember to unplug your trailer. I'll have the best intentions and still forget. :oops:
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Re: Charging while towing

Postby bowhuntersd » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:05 am

Found this and snipped it and posted in my gallery. gallery/image.php?album_id=3402&image_id=118187&view=no_count trying to figure out how to write HTML and posting pictures is not easy to me!!
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Re: Charging while towing

Postby ntsqd » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:28 am

Good find for wiring in the ~$20 battery separation solution.

The only thing that I would caution about is the note about having a switch for self jump-starting. That is a bad plan. Neither the conductors, connector, or the constant duty solenoid are able to handle the amount of current that can be present during a jump-start. If the connector used is an Anderson forklift charging connector and the cables are at least 2ga. then the constant duty solenoid will need to be replaced with a Ford type starting solenoid, but those solenoids are not constant duty -they are intermittent duty -so you can't use one for charging.
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Re: Charging while towing

Postby webpager » Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:59 pm

Dang, another post 5 years after the subject started. But I like the idea of charging this way, so I'll add it to the idea file.

Instead of having to remember to connect and disconnect, you could add in a relay. The car starts, the circuit is closed or connected. Turn off the car, the circuit is opened and not pulling from the car's battery.
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