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Old 10-23-2017, 12:25 PM   #1
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Camper battery not charging

While I'm driving I leave my refrigerator on automatic. It works fine until the camper battery goes dead. Ive tried running it on propane but it wont stay lit. after we park and plug in to 30amp it charges up. My question is shouldn't my pickup keep the battery charged? I have a 2003 dodge ram 2500 5.9 diesel.
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Old 10-23-2017, 12:48 PM   #2
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even though you have a 12VDC connection on the TV plug, the gauge of the wire from the alternator to the rear plug may not be large enough to give you a good charging current to the trailer battery... also the TV alternator output capacity is involved and the current usage of your vehicle while just driving...

the fix is to run larger gauge wire so as to avoid the voltage drop inherent in smaller diameter wire... oh and that connection should also be fused with 20 amp fuses... you might also need an upgraded alternator with increased output...

references here
https://www.etrailer.com/question-64598.html

https://www.etrailer.com/question-30687.html
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbcutright View Post
While I'm driving I leave my refrigerator on automatic. It works fine until the camper battery goes dead. Ive tried running it on propane but it wont stay lit. after we park and plug in to 30amp it charges up. My question is shouldn't my pickup keep the battery charged? I have a 2003 dodge ram 2500 5.9 diesel.
Is the battery fully charged before you leave? How old is the battery? Have you load tested the battery? Are there other 12v loads on the system that may be causing undo load?

I approach traveling the same as you...fridge on auto. Hasn't been a problem yet. I do leave my rig plugged in when at home and I check the battery electrolyte level and terminal status occasionally.

Wish I had more answers but hopefully the answers to these questions will lead to the solution.
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:26 PM   #4
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To see if the battery is even charging, measure the voltage at the camper battery without the trailer harness hooked up and then start the TV, connect the harness and measure the voltage.
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:44 PM   #5
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Neighbor at Bamaganza had resetable breaker (in battery storage compartment) tripped that connected truck 12 vdc to camper battery.
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Old 10-23-2017, 02:15 PM   #6
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First off:
Get yourself a voltmeter and keep a close eye of your trailer battery voltage. Do not drop below 50% of the charge capacity of the battery, which is 12.0V. Going below this significantly reduces the life of your battery. There are charts on the internet that shows battery voltage vs charge percentage.

Second:
Being able to maintain or charge the capacity from your tow vehicle depends on a few factors, mainly your alternator capacity, the voltage your alternator is putting out, and the wire gauge of your 12V and ground to the trailer seven pin plug. Most tow vehicle/trailer combinations will be able to maintain a battery that is fully charged to start with and be able to run the fridge on 12V. However most of the time, if your battery is partially or fully discharged, you won't be able to get any appreciable charge on the trailer battery while towing and running the fridge at the same time.

With that said, I am able to get a slight charge on the battery while running the fridge on 12V and with a slightly discharged battery. Case in point was this weekend when towing my trailer home after a night of boondocking. I started towing with a battery at 12.4V (80% charge) and the fridge running on 12V. I towed for 1.5 hours and when I got home I immediately turned off the fridge (it was colder than when I started) and disconnected the trailer plug from the tow vehicle. An hour later I winterized my trailer and had to run the water pump for a few minutes. I checked the battery voltage and it was at 12.5V (90% charge). So in essence, I was able to tow my trailer for 1.5 hours, run the fridge on 12V, and charge my trailer battery a bit.
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Old 10-23-2017, 03:43 PM   #7
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It is important that your battery maintain a charge while driving as it also powers the trailer brakes in case of a break away. The fridge power draw is very minimal, you have some other issue as mentioned above.
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Old 10-23-2017, 03:51 PM   #8
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Battery not charging

My ford at first would not charge ant I found it needed to install a relay and a fuse.
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Old 10-23-2017, 03:56 PM   #9
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Check your truck's 7-pin outlet to even see if any power is coming through the charge wire.
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Old 10-23-2017, 04:05 PM   #10
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Depending on the truck it may not. My 2016 f150 will not send voltage until it detects the trailer via the brake light wiring.

Regardless of if it is charging or not you will not get enough current to keep fridge running and battery charged. It's a gamble on if you can run a wire large enough and your alternator puts out enough current to do so unless you know the fridge draw.

I freeze water bottles and put them in the fridge to keep it cool on the road and thaw along the way. Propane if you can keep it lit works as well.
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