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Old 06-24-2013, 08:59 PM   #1
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Charging a trailer battery

I have a Group 31 AGM battery in my teardrop, and while it's great for my needs (ARB 60L fridge, radio, LED lights), if it's not fully charged before leaving a campsite, it takes forever to charge as gets it's only power via the 7 pin trailer connector while driving. More or less a trickle charge.

I'm thinking about a dedicated 12V power connector between my tow rig and my trailer. Another option might be a DC-DC converter that liftgate trucks use to charge liftgate batteries, but that may be more than I want to tackle at this point.

I'm thinking about a heavy gauge cable routed from one of my tow rig batteries to the back end of my Excursion, terminated in an Anderson Powerpole connector. I would then have a mating Powerpole connector on my teardrop with the cable running to my trailer battery which would be connected while driving.

Any thoughts or experience about doing something like this?


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Old 06-24-2013, 09:55 PM   #2
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Re: Charging a trailer battery

Ever think about running an inverter in the tow vehicle and send 110AC back to the trailer where you have a nice little 3 stage charger set up on the teardrop? Wire would be nothing more than a good extension cord and the plug would be easy. You could even tie into the 110 system if the trailer has one and if it doesn't I'm sure it wouldn't be much to add a house socket somewhere. The vehicle inverter could also serve a small backup inverter in case your trailer already has one.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:12 PM   #3
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Re: Charging a trailer battery

Will have to think about that Dave. I'm not sure converting 12V DC to 110V AC, passing it to the trailer and then having the trailer battery charger convert it back to 12V DC makes sense.

No the trailer does not have an inverter, and yeah it would be useful to have on in the tow rig, so I would consider it.


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Old 06-24-2013, 10:27 PM   #4
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Re: Charging a trailer battery

Stepping up voltage has many pros. Hardly any losses in 110AC for a run from the engine to the trailer, you can use much smaller wire (and cheaper), you can have 110AC in the vehicle or trailer, and a smart charger will top the batteries completely (as compared to an alternator charge) providing a much better charge to the battery extending its life. Of course the inverter might be a little costly and you'll need to find a good 3 stage charger such as one that will produce about 8-10 amps bulk. It would also have to be one that can stay hooked to the battery w/o back drain when not in use.

Then there are these type things but never seen them in action:
http://www.stayncharge.com/products.php?cat=7
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Old 06-25-2013, 01:31 PM   #5
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Re: Charging a trailer battery

Not all smart/multi-stage chargers play well with modified sine wave just an FYI. Just don't throw away the box until you give it a good test, in case you have to exchange it for another brand. Also the non-smart battery charges I've used all buzz while running off the inverter, so that may be a consideration if you're trying to charge it while napping.

I have no problem charging trailer with my 7-way, but the vans supply about 30amps to the plug vs ~10A in the Excursion. I found I could charge my weekend warrior's battery bank faster with the van than with the built-in 120v converter.

I do however use the inverter and usually an array of battery chargers when I'm at the track because that really does get them best charge. And also you can use extension cords.
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Old 06-25-2013, 01:48 PM   #6
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Re: Charging a trailer battery

FWIW, I have a 15A Samlex battery charger.

http://www.samlexamerica.com/products/P ... aspx?pid=6

I checked with their tech support about the recommended position for the dip switches, so as soon as I get home I'll make sur their in the right configuration.

Provided the switches check out OK, I may just run a dedicated 12V line to the back of the Excursion, and a matching dedicated line from the front of the trailer to the battery.


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Old 06-25-2013, 01:51 PM   #7
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Re: Charging a trailer battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
...I have no problem charging trailer with my 7-way, but the vans supply about 30amps to the plug vs ~10A in the Excursion. I found I could charge my weekend warrior's battery bank faster with the van than with the built-in 120v converter...
BTW, that's an intersting tidbit. Find that in the factory service manual?

Is the difference just a heavier gauge wire in the vans, or is it being regulated somewhere?


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Old 06-25-2013, 03:55 PM   #8
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Re: Charging a trailer battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler
Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
...I have no problem charging trailer with my 7-way, but the vans supply about 30amps to the plug vs ~10A in the Excursion. I found I could charge my weekend warrior's battery bank faster with the van than with the built-in 120v converter...
BTW, that's an intersting tidbit. Find that in the factory service manual?

Is the difference just a heavier gauge wire in the vans, or is it being regulated somewhere?


Herb
It the wiring. E-series has 10-ga wire and a 40A maxi-fuse. F-series/Ex has a 15-amp mini-fuse and tiny wiring (18 ga it looks?). I usually end up putting auto-reset breakers in the trucks because the teeny 15A fuse will blow if you plug in a trailer with dead or low battery.
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