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Old 12-11-2015, 03:54 PM   #1
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Battery disconnect and wiring

I took my 2015 Rockwood 8310SS in for warranty service this week, and during the discussion the service technician told me a few things that were new to me. I'd like to hear more from other owners.

I live near Seattle, WA, and our winters are mild, with a low temperature of 20 degrees for some days, but an average year-round temperature of 50 degrees. We use our trailer as a guest house for family during the winter for short stays during the holidays and birthdays, and I like it for occasional use for meetings with church members, so I leave the shore power connected to a 30-amp disconnect I installed from our house and run electric heaters in it full time for freeze protection.

1. He said the trailer wiring wasn't rated for constant use, and that if I wanted to run electric heaters for long periods of time I should run a separate extension cord into the trailer and connect the heaters to it and not to the trailer power.

2. He said I should disconnect the trailer batteries (or check them frequently if there are removable caps) when connected to shore power for any length of time because the batteries recharge when on power and they might boil dry. As far as I know, there is no battery disconnect on my Rockwood. If this is good practice, I'll have to install one.

Looking for input from fellow travelers.
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Old 12-11-2015, 04:32 PM   #2
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Wow I've never hear this before, what happens to the wiring does it disintegrate and catch fire? He made a valid point regarding the batteries.
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Old 12-11-2015, 04:49 PM   #3
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We live our trailer full time and the wiring has not been a problem (we run an electric heater plus a dehumidifier.) As for the battery he is correct.
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Old 12-11-2015, 05:09 PM   #4
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That service tech is full of it!
We also live in Western Washington and keep ours plugged in all winter.
Have been doing this all of the 9 years we've owned it.
I did install a battery disconnect switch but that's generally for when it sits without shore power.
Have NEVER needed to take out the batteries, since I keep them charged up. Your Rockwood has a 3 stage converter/charger, so It shouldn't overcharge unless it goes bad.
Mine has been working perfectly for over 9 years.
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Old 12-11-2015, 06:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikendan View Post
That service tech is full of it!
We also live in Western Washington and keep ours plugged in all winter.
Have been doing this all of the 9 years we've owned it.
I did install a battery disconnect switch but that's generally for when it sits without shore power.
Have NEVER needed to take out the batteries, since I keep them charged up. Your Rockwood has a 3 stage converter/charger, so It shouldn't overcharge unless it goes bad.
Mine has been working perfectly for over 9 years.
x2, you have no worries. With a 3 stage converter/charger your battery charger cycles on & off, it's not always charging. As for the wiring, hogwash.
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Old 12-11-2015, 08:03 PM   #6
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Agree on the wiring - the needed wire gauge to a 120V outlet is the same at a campground as at home. A 15A circuit needs 14 gauge wire, a 20 amp circuit needs 12 gauge wire. Modern wire has the date of manufacture as well as the gauge printed on the insulation.

As far as the battery goes, most converters will trickle charge correctly, and you would have no worries. However, there are enough reports in forums of batteries being overcharged by converters that I would check my batteries at first until I was sure the converter was working correctly.

After being fully charged (about 24 hours at most), the battery voltage with the converter attached should be around 13.2V. Anything over 13.6V is overcharging your batteries. The other check is to pull the cell caps and visually check the water level. I would check every 2 weeks for the 1st month, and then check monthly for about 3 months. If the cell water level remains correct after several months, you have no worries - the trickle charge mode is working correctly. If you have to add water because it's boiling off, then your converter is not trickle-charging correctly. A disconnect switch is always a good thing to have anyway.

In my personal case, I put a disconnect in and the batteries remain disconnected until a night or two before a trip or use of the camper in the garage, at which time I turn the batteries back on and plug the camper in. Disconnected batteries will hold their charge without issue for a couple of months. I have not monitored my battery water since the batteries were installed in September - I need to do so.

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Old 12-12-2015, 01:23 PM   #7
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Mount this right on top of your battery box. You will need a short positive cable with it.

TRAC OUTDOOR PRODUCTS Battery On/Off Switch

Model # 17104845 | Mfg # T10150
$18.99
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Old 12-12-2015, 01:45 PM   #8
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There is basically no electrical code difference for TTs or RVs vs stick homes. All of the electrical fittings are rated the same as in your house. I would really question if a "tech" at your service center was even an electrician.

As far as your converter is concerned, as others have said, it should charge and then go into a maintenance mode. Good idea to check the water occasionally, but I wouldn't give it too much thought.
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Old 12-14-2015, 08:36 AM   #9
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No need to disconnect batteries on shore power. You should have a disconnect switch. I used one of these http://www.amazon.com/Post-Battery-M...connect+switch The discipline is to remember to engage the switch before towing. The batteries are necessary for the break away brake function.
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Old 12-17-2015, 11:27 PM   #10
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I have never heard anything about wiring not rated for continues use. Trailers are wired with the components as houses. The thing is that plug in heaters are for temporary use, the cords tend to heat up with time if they are under capacity for the space. I have been to many house fire cause by auxiliary heaters that where trying to heat house. I use to work for an electrical contractor and we did a lot of conversion of plugged 240 volt space heaters to direct wired because of insurance inspections. They wanted the plugs removed and wired in a junction box. If it was my trailer i would see if i could install a permanent heater off the circuit breaker panel if there is place for another breaker. This would be safer for long term heating of your unit. I thought the new converters where designed to not boil the batteries because of the multiple charge cycles with float charge .
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