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Old 05-29-2011, 08:39 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Great Falls Montana
Posts: 8
New Member- Salem 21RD Questions

Glad to find this forum. We just bought a very lightly used 2011 Salem 21RD. My wife loves the floor plan. Am pulling with a 97 Dodge Ram 1500 or soon(brake control install needed) an 08 Chev Avalanche as well.
A couple questions-
1. Does the battery charge when towing or hooked up(plugged in) to tow vehicle? We got the unit home last night after 4 hr trip. Battery so low this am that monitor would not register and no lights would work. Had it plugged in to 110 for about 2 hrs before the electrical system had any life. Looked all over figuring there was a master switch of some sort that needed to be turned on or perhaps some type of bypass or reset that needed attention. Finally lights came on. Iwould have thought with 4 hours of driving that the battery would at least have some charge. Any advice would be welcomed.
2. Will the electrical system operate from current through the plug from the tow vehicle if vehicle running? Should I be considering adding an auxillary Battery? We do camp in Forest Service remotes without power hook ups on frequent basis. Really don't want the expense, weight, noise etc. of portable generator. Again Suggestions welcome.
Thanks for providing this forum service to whomever is the caretakers!

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Old 05-30-2011, 08:24 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Phoenix AZ
Posts: 927
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your camper!

The battery will charge while plugged into the tow vehicle or to shore power, but it will be very slow. Depending on the size of the battery, it could take two or more days to completely charge a dead battery. There is also the possibility the battery is bad and that is the reason it is dead to start with.

Those which dry camp regularly without the use of a generator, generally will prefer to go with 2 or 4 true deep cycle (6-volt) batteries. You will need even number as you have to series pairs of batteries and then parallel the pairs to maintain 12-volts. True deep cycles will generally last longer than the RV/Marines which are common with original purchase..

The Welcome Mat section is generally for people to introduce themselves, so if you don't get many responses to your questions, you might re-post the questions in the "Tech & Repair" section or the "Modifications & Updates" section for better responses.

Happy Camping!


Glenn & Beth (Dad & Mom)
David & Audra (12 year old twins)
2006 Dodge Power Wagon (Adventure & Tow Vehicle)
2006 Rockwood 8281SS (Home away from Home)
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:28 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Camano Island, Washington
Posts: 10,162
don't expect your truck to re-charge the battery. it will only be a small trickle charge at best.
plus have the battery checked out.

and no, the electrical system will not work thru the plug, if the battery is low or dead.
remember, only a trickle charge comes through that plug.
i know, i have a 2007 Avalanche and it doesn't work that way for me.

if you plan on dry camping, which we do, get two 12v deep cycle or 2 6v golf cart batteries.
you say you don't want to lug around a generator, but we are very happy with our 50lb. Honda 2000.
we have a 2 battery setup and can go 4-5 days without recharging, if we're careful and don't use the furnace a lot.
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