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Old 06-18-2015, 05:50 PM   #1
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Dry Camping - Charging via TV

My wife and I just bought a Rockwood 2306 and are headed out next Friday for 4 nights at a dry campground (Aspen Campground on the Mogollon Rim in AZ). We are first time RVers so bear with me.

I will most likely eventually end up with 2 2,000 watt inverter/generators (looking at the Smarter Tools ones at Costco for $599) but I wont be able to go down that road for a bit since I have spent a whole bunch of money on the trailer and other supplies already.

The trailer has two batteries on the tongue.

My question is what the best method to charge the batteries using my TV. I know it will trickle charge off the 7 pin but that it is not very efficient. My truck has a 400 watt 110 plug available. Could I hook up a 6A or 2A battery charger to that and clip into the batteries to charge? Would that be a better way to charge vs the 7 pin?

Any tips/suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks for helping a newbie!
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Old 06-18-2015, 06:13 PM   #2
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I'm thinking your best bet in this case will be to run jumper cables from your tow vehicle (TV) to your camper's battery (ies.) This will give you the most amps from alternator to camper batteries. How long you will need to run the engine depends on how much charge you'll need to force into the batteries. A volt (or multi) meter would be a good tool to have here.

If dry camping is going to be a regular occurence before you can spring for the generator, I'd suggest something like this:

Winch Power Cable | Part No. MTJ-WPC-024

Buy two, run one from the TV's battery to your back bumper, then run the second to your camper's battery. Then you can just plug in and run the TV, and it's the same as using jumper cables, without all the Sparky the Clown entertainment.

Good luck!
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Old 06-18-2015, 06:23 PM   #3
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TV charging with the inverter is not a great long term solution, but you've got that under control. For short term it will work OK. Just remember that it takes a long time to top off the batteries. So charge frequently to keep them from getting too low. And the charger does some pulse charging, so your lights will flicker if the battery is connected.

Another option, depending on your setup, is to take one battery to a gas station with the charger and offer them a few bucks to let you charge it there. DK if that applies to where you are.
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Old 06-18-2015, 06:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taranwanderer View Post
I'm thinking your best bet in this case will be to run jumper cables from your tow vehicle (TV) to your camper's battery (ies.) This will give you the most amps from alternator to camper batteries.
That's about as down'n'dirty as it gets, but I would agree. That would be the most efficient in that situation. It's pretty rough on your alternator and batteries so I wouldn't make a habit of it.

There are a number of "cleaner" ways to charge from your TV, but it wouldn't make much sense to lay out more cash on top of the cost of the generator when you make the plunge.
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Old 06-18-2015, 06:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Pooneil View Post
Another option, depending on your setup, is to take one battery to a gas station with the charger and offer them a few bucks to let you charge it there. DK if that applies to where you are.
I just read that the marina at the nearby lake charges boat batteries for trolling motors. I will have to see if they will charge the TT batteries.
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:15 PM   #6
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If it's doable just buy 1 gen for now. That will run a charger.
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Old 06-18-2015, 10:46 PM   #7
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Have a great time.
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Old 06-19-2015, 12:28 PM   #8
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A solar panel could help a lot
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Old 06-19-2015, 12:50 PM   #9
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If and when You think about buying a Gen think about a Boliy 3600I It will run a 15,000 BTU AC. Cost less that two Honda's and as quiet. Also the newer versions are equip to add a 6 gal extra tank. This will run the Gen for 24 hrs if not running air. Later RJD
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Old 06-19-2015, 12:52 PM   #10
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if you really want to save on your battery go replace all your lights with LED lights, yeah it is a bit pricey depending on how many you have but you won't use near as much battery.

I did this after the first year and being out for 3 nights my 1 battery was almost drained, and I didn't even run the heater. I went out, purchased another battery and over the last 2 summers I have replaced almost all the lights with LED, I started with the main lights I use most. Now, I can go 2 night and still have full reading on my battery sensor.

I have a big test on 4 nights coming up in July and will see how it goes.

All in all, LED is the way to go, they don't drain your battery like the regular lights.
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