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 > Battery charging

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CAMPINGPAPAW

RICHMOND, KY

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Posted: 01/22/12 08:31am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a Dodge 2500 cummins with 160 AMP alternator. Can I charge the RV battery with the truck without hooking the up the hitch. Someone said you can't charge the battery because the truck wiring is to small. If that is the case when I head home and my battery is low I need to leave the RV pigtail disconnected. All I need to know is when charging with the pigtail do I need to hookup the hitch. Thanks for the help.

skipnchar

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Posted: 01/22/12 08:36am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I really can't see how it would make any difference. I've charged without hitching with the travel trailer on occasion (pouring down rain and just didn't want to get out and set up the generator). It's usually not the fastest way to charge but depending on your set up is acceptable when it's needed. Of course a 300 HP battery charger will NEVER be efficient but sometimes they're handy.


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everywhere

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Posted: 01/22/12 08:38am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

CAMPINGPAPAW wrote:

All I need to know is when charging with the pigtail do I need to hookup the hitch.


NO

jauguston

Bellingham, WA

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Posted: 01/22/12 08:51am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The only thing having the hitch hooked up might do is improve the ground return path between the two. It would "possibly" act as a larger gauge ground wire from the plug on the back of the TV and the TV alternator. If both the positive AND negative (ground) wires from the alternator to the trailer plug on the back of the TV are heavy enough it would not really make any difference.

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Kirk

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Posted: 01/22/12 12:16pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Unless your RV is wired with no ground lead and depends upon the hitch to complete the return side of the circuit (as some used to do but is rare today) then there is no need for that. You do need to realize that the charging will be very slow however, due to the size of the wire supplying the charge current. Notice the size of the wire in your truck that runs between the alternator and your truck battery. The reason for the heavy wire is to be able to carry more current.

Electrical current is very similar to water in many ways. The voltage is the driving pressure as is pounds/sq. in. with water and amps is a measure of volume, just as gallons/minute is with water. Just as a large hose will carry more water at the same driving pressure, a larger diameter wire will carry more amps. It would charge the RV batteries far more quickly if you hook up a pair of jumpers between the RV battery and the truck battery, because of the capacity of the wire. If you wish to charge the RV battery from the truck in a short time on a frequent basis, it might be worth your time to replace the current wire with a larger one.

If you use the standard size wire found in an RV wire harness it will take at least several hours for the battery to get a significant charge.

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jauguston

Bellingham, WA

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Posted: 01/22/12 01:16pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you are wanting to charge from the TV alternator on a regular basis and are a died in the wool DIY guy like me run a pair of 4 ga welding cables from your TV alternator with a key activated relay to power them when the key is on. Run them all the way to the trailer batteries and put a nice big Anderson Powerpole connector at the back of the TV to connect it. Don't use the charge line in the factory wiring harness at all. The 4ga cable will be expensive but it will darn sure charge your trailer batteries in a short time (-:

Jim

ILcamper50

Illinois

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Posted: 02/03/12 06:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Got my TT in December and I thought I could leave the battery connected to the TT and just go out periodically and keep it charged up by connecting the plug to my truck for 30 mins or so. However I haven't been too good about doing it so I went over to where my TT is stored today and the battery was dead. What is the best way to get the battery recharged? Should I disconnect and take it home and get a Battery Tender? Do I need to check the water in the cells? What should the water look like(level wise)? Do I disconnect the negative then positive or the other way around? Sorry for the dumb questions. Should have just taken it out when I put it in storage. Thank you for the help. Curt


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bikendan

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Posted: 02/03/12 11:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ILcamper50 wrote:

Got my TT in December and I thought I could leave the battery connected to the TT and just go out periodically and keep it charged up by connecting the plug to my truck for 30 mins or so. However I haven't been too good about doing it so I went over to where my TT is stored today and the battery was dead. What is the best way to get the battery recharged? Should I disconnect and take it home and get a Battery Tender? Do I need to check the water in the cells? What should the water look like(level wise)? Do I disconnect the negative then positive or the other way around? Sorry for the dumb questions. Should have just taken it out when I put it in storage. Thank you for the help. Curt


unless your truck was specifically setup to do this, like a second alternator or extra thick charging wire, using your tow vehicle to recharge your battery is a very poor method. many new owners have this misconception.
you'll have to run the engine for hours to make even a dent in recharging.
the only way this works is if you are towing it for 8-10 hours!

all RVs have parasitic power drains. if you don't have hookups or shore power, then you have to use a generator or solar panels.
most of us install a battery disconnect switch so the battery is cut off from the power drains, especially when it's in storage.
you could take it out and keep it on a trickle charger. but that's a hassle when a disconnect switch is so much easier.


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ILcamper50

Illinois

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Posted: 02/05/12 08:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I took the battery out of the TT today. Now I would appreciate some help on the best way to re-charge it. Will a Battery Tender do the trick? Do I need to charge it with a battery charger first and then maintain it with a Tender? Help.
Thank you Curt

Cedarhill

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Posted: 02/06/12 06:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You need to use a large battery charger. The battery tenders only put out an amp or two and will take several days to charge the battery. Also, there are reasons why the charging voltage needs to be somewhat over 14V at times and the battery tenders never get that high. Consequently, your battery will never reach maximum charge. What you need is an intelligent battery charger that senses battery state of charge and applies the correct voltage for that condition.

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