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Old 06-17-2014, 04:44 PM   #11
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Dealer wired up my hitch last month when I purchased my pup. They ran a wire (fused) to my TV battery and told me this will charge trailer battery and run fridge. The also ran extra wire for future breaks if needed down the road.

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Old 06-17-2014, 04:48 PM   #12
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Overnight will certainly get you all it can. When I dry camp hunting, I bring my 15amp charger and use it with generator a couple hours each evening. 2-3 hours does it that way.
Probably get full charge towing in 5-8 hours depending in system and battery. Imo

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Old 06-17-2014, 07:31 PM   #13
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If towing with a newer GM truck (maybe true for older too, not sure), tow in tow haul or with the headlamps turned on. If you don't, the PCM will see that the vehicle's battery is fully charged after a while and cut the output of the generator. If lights are on, or in tow haul mode, the computer keeps the output of the alternator high.
Not sure about Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, etc. Just learned this and read about it in regard to GM trucks.
And like someone else noted, makes sure the wire is connected and the fuse is installed.
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Old 06-17-2014, 08:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troutstalker View Post
Is there a simple answer to how long it will take to bring the battery back up to charge when plugged into shore power at the house
Lots of misinformation on this topic.

The converter is a 3 stage charger and is designed to run your camper's DC items when connected to shore power; it also will charge the battery provided you are not maxing out the converter's capability (55 amps most likely).

Since it is a 3 stage charger; it is designed to charge your battery from "almost" dead to full charge in stages so it won't harm your battery with too much charge too long. (Note "almost dead" - a dead battery (10 volts or less) may be treated by the converter as a "shorted battery" and the converter will shut down to prevent damage to the converter).

So, assuming your converter does not puke when you power it up; it will charge in stages; BULK through ABSORPTION through FLOAT.

It will BULK charge until the battery is 50% of capacity (about 4 hours); then switch to ABSOPTION (a lower charge rate to prevent battery "boiling" until the battery reaches 80% (about 48 hours); then it will FLOAT (trickle charge) for the last 20% of battery capacity (can take about 3 more days to 100%).

Anyone who says they can fully recharge their battery in less time using the converter does not understand how a converter works.

Using a dedicated "automatic" battery charger will not reduce the charging time because in AUTOMATIC, the charging steps are the same.

You can "take a short cut" by using the manual setting on a dedicated battery charger but you MUST monitor battery temperature and water level during the charge as boiling (gassing through the vents and splashing electrolyte all over the camper's battery box) is almost a certainty after about 50% recovery.
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:01 PM   #15
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ALL automatic dedicated battery chargers will charge the same as the converter installed in my trailer? Doesn't that depend on the charger?

I have charged my batteries on an auto charger, and depending on charge when connected, usually a few hours later it shows fully charged. Letting the batteries rest for about six hours and checking with a voltmeter shows 12.6-.7 volts. And if tested the next day, the reading is almost identical.
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f5moab View Post
ALL automatic dedicated battery chargers will charge the same as the converter installed in my trailer? Doesn't that depend on the charger?

I have charged my batteries on an auto charger, and depending on charge when connected, usually a few hours later it shows fully charged. Letting the batteries rest for about six hours and checking with a voltmeter shows 12.6-.7 volts. And if tested the next day, the reading is almost identical.
ALL might be a bit strong. What the Captain meant to say was multi-stage automatic chargers will charge just like the converter and take several days to fully charge a deep cycle battery from dead.

Obviously if you are more than 50% capacity then you are not starting in BULK and will be charging in absorption which will still require anywhere from 12 hours to several days to push the electrons deep into the lead plates for 100% charge replacement.

Resting a battery for 6 hours is not enough to distribute the surface charge, that is why it is still "acting charged" but will not have it's full complement of electrons. The minimum rest is 12 hours (but no more than 24 hours) disconnected.

Charging Information For Lead Acid Batteries ‚€“ Battery University

While this article is primarily targeted at starting batteries (deep cycle batteries rate only a partial sentence "up to 36–48 hours for large stationary batteries") you can see what I was talking about.

That graph by the way was from the WFCO site.
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Old 06-18-2014, 12:24 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by troutstalker View Post
A quick follow up question -- Is there a simple answer to how long it will take to bring the battery back up to charge when plugged into shore power at the house -- understanding that it not the best way to recharge. I will get a trickle charger to use when I return from maiden voyage, but for now am wondering how much of a charge I will get by hooking the TT to shore power at home?

thanks again for all the great help everyone
Troutstalker...it is quite diffficult to say without you telling us either the model number or the amp rating of your built in converter charger.
Let's assume though that you have a single 12V battery and it is rated at 100 amp hours, (Chances are that you actually have something smaller but the principles hold.)

Deep cycle batteries should be used ONLY until they are "half full" if you want them to last. So you really should only use about 50 amp hours. There are other threads here that tell you how many amps various products typically use so you have some guidance. A true battery monitor costs about $150 bucks and can let you know exactly where you stand at all times. Now...
If you use 1/2 the battery or 50 amp hours...then you need to put 50 back in. If you have a 50 amp charger then it would seen you could just charge for an hour and be done...but unfortunately...batteries will accept fewer and fewer amps as they approach being full. So...you can bulk charge getting full acceptance up to about 80% full. (Your first 30 amp hours in this case.) That will take about 45 minutes with a 50 amp charger. The next 20 amps will take around 2 hours! ...So...I'd guess around 3 hours with a 50 amp charger to refill a 100 amp battery from a 50% discharge.

If you have a 75 amp hour battery (group 24) or a 90 amp hour battery (group 27) which is more likely...you have around 40-45 amps hours till you hit 50% discharged...and therefore LESS to put back into the batteries...so it will take a little less time with that 50 amp charger...maybe 15 minutes less...but you'll be charging more often with the same electrical use.
Obviously...adding another battery of the same size...gives you twice the capacity to use between charging.
Got it?

If you have a true deep cycle wet cell battery and you're camping for a few days in the boonies and don't like the sound of a generator... adding more batteries is the first step. You can also cycle between a 50% and an 80% charge instead of spending the time to get that last 20% in. You DO need to bring the batteries up fully to 100% at least a couple of times a week to avoid shortening the battery life cycles.

One big mistake a lot of people make is assuming their battery can power things for quite a while. They end up murdering their batteries quickly.
Most people understand Watts...so lets say all you wanted to do is run a 100 watt bulb (off your battery with an inverter). Well Watts = Volts x Amps. So in this case... we have 100Watts = 12V x 8 amps (roughtly)

Now lets go back to that large 100amp hour battery we started talking about. You could have NOTHING else on but a 100 watt bulb and 6 hours later it would be time to recharge. 12 hours later and you'd have a dead battery. My computer uses 65 watts... that will give me about 10 hours on a big battery...less on the ones that come with most trailers.
Hopefully that will give you a point of reference about what a single battery will do for you.
Good luck with it all!!
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Old 06-18-2014, 12:26 AM   #18
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Read my last sentence. I also check the batts the next day, and yes, the word 'all' is too inclusive for even a captain!

Third para above, posted by Camardarie, pretty much sums up my experience with charging my batteries, one at a time. I don't drop them below 50%.
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