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Old 10-24-2020, 04:54 PM   #1
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Charging TT from tow vehicle

I've learned a good bit by reading some of the past posts about charging TT batteries while towing but now I have a couple of questions that I have not seen definite answers to.


Equipment: 2007 Ford F150 XLT, 5.4L, 2WD, Coachmen Clipper 16B TT.


I've added (1) 180W solar panel (not permanently mounted, portable) with a Morningstar controller and a 600W Inverter to use with a television and DVD player when needed. We do a good bit of dry camping and are VERY conservative with our power usage. The solar system is NOT normally hooked up while we are traveling to campgrounds if they are less than 200 miles away. (I hook up the portable solar panel once we arrive.)



I found today that the relay (R05) for charging the battery in a towed trailer was not installed in my truck at the factory even though it came with the Ford frame-mounted trailer hitch and 7-pin and 4-pin connectors in place.


Questions:
(1) What might be any disadvantages of installing the relay in the truck to enable charging the TT batteries by the truck alternator if the solar panel is NOT hooked up?


(2) If I purchase the relay (probably a Ford-only item) and install it to enable the truck to send charging current to the TT for LONG excursions will it hurt to charge with both the solar panel and charge controller as well as the truck alternator at the same time? (I suspect my solar panel and Morningstar controller actually put out more current than the truck alternator does.)


(Again, NORMALLY the solar panel will NOT be hooked up but there are occasional exceptions when we do longer times on the road. For those trips I mount the panel on the tonneau cover on the truck bed and have cables that run to the solar controller in the TT. It worked well recently on a 6-week tour around the US visiting National Parks. I had NOT purchased and installed that relay, R05 at that time.)


Thanks for your input.
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Old 10-24-2020, 06:14 PM   #2
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The power output from the vehicle is usually minimal. Another member here installed a dc to dc converter and gets a constant 20 amps to the batteries while towing.
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Old 10-24-2020, 08:11 PM   #3
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The proper relay should be available fro other than Ford, I installed one at one time and don’t recall it as being anything special. Your 180watt solar panel would to a maximum of 15 amps, your truck should be able to revise that much charging current so I really see no downside to installing the relay. It would eliminate the messing around with setting up the solar panel when towing.
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Old 11-01-2020, 03:05 PM   #4
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I did purchase the relay from my local Ford dealer yesterday, ~$4.50. I now have 12VDC going to the camper and it is charging at about 13.6 VDC when running at ~1800 RPM (testing at high idle in my yard).


I checked my 180W solar panel and it is rated at 9.26A "Operating Current". I had already upgraded the camper to (2) 6VDC Duracell golf cart batteries connected in series.



Questions:
1 - What amperage would the factory original alternator be putting out?



2 - What are the chances that charging the batteries from the truck alternator will over-work the alternator and cause early failure. I would normally start with a fully charged system but if on a multi-day or multi-week outing the batteries could be down a good bit every day or two while boon docking.


Thanks for your input.
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