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Old 07-29-2022, 05:45 AM   #1
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Battery charging when towing

When towing, does the tow vehicle charge the 12V battery(ies)? Have a 2021 Surveyor and having trouble keeping the Norcold 12V fridge out of trouble codes
Thanks
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Old 07-29-2022, 06:07 AM   #2
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I know this is not a great answer, the tow vehicle can trickle charge the batteries. A lot depends on the tow vehicle.

What is your tow vehicle ?

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Old 07-29-2022, 06:32 AM   #3
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Depends on the truck. Mine explains it in the owners manual and it provides power.
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Old 07-29-2022, 06:41 AM   #4
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Depends on the truck. Mine explains it in the owners manual and it provides power.
Exactly.

Some may require installing a fuse or a relay in a socket to "enable" charging.

Also you can check for voltage on the charge connection at the socket on the truck with a meter.
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Old 07-29-2022, 07:09 AM   #5
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Another possibility is use propane while driving. I do that sometimes.

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Old 07-29-2022, 07:16 AM   #6
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Another possibility is use propane while driving. I do that sometimes.

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If it truly is a “Norcold 12V fridge”, it doesn’t have a propane option.
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Old 07-29-2022, 07:27 AM   #7
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You will likely want to either consider solar on the roof or a DC-DC charger, or both.

Between the parasitic draws and the refrigerator your tow vehicle will likely not be able to keep up.
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Old 07-29-2022, 07:54 AM   #8
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Technically yes. Actually, no.

There is terrible line loss on dc wiring.

Your truck likely sends 15 amps per hour back there. However, line loss dramatically cuts that.

We have a blutooth battery monitor. My monitor says the voltage back there in the rv is 13.0. Barely a trickle. Your fridge and parasitic loads likely often needs closer to 10 amps. Therefore the tv does not supply enough.

You need a 200-400 watt solar panel. A dc/dc charger gizmo, Or double or triple the battery capacity. I think you have only 40 dc amps available.

My guess is the rv has the DOT minimum battery designed only to power the trailer brakes. Not a properly sized rv battery. Pretty normal today. Your rv needs to be plugged in daily.

Installing a battery monitor is a good idea. Batteries are now, and have always been, the weak link.
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Old 07-29-2022, 08:50 AM   #9
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I know this is not a great answer, the tow vehicle can trickle charge the batteries. A lot depends on the tow vehicle.

What is your tow vehicle ?

2018 Silverado 5.3L
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Old 07-29-2022, 08:52 AM   #10
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If it truly is a “Norcold 12V fridge”, it doesn’t have a propane option.
2021 Surveyor only comes with 12v/110v fridge
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Old 07-29-2022, 08:54 AM   #11
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Technically yes. Actually, no.

There is terrible line loss on dc wiring.

Your truck likely sends 15 amps per hour back there. However, line loss dramatically cuts that.

We have a blutooth battery monitor. My monitor says the voltage back there in the rv is 13.0. Barely a trickle. Your fridge and parasitic loads likely often needs closer to 10 amps. Therefore the tv does not supply enough.

You need a 200-400 watt solar panel. A dc/dc charger gizmo, Or double or triple the battery capacity. I think you have only 40 dc amps available.

My guess is the rv has the DOT minimum battery designed only to power the trailer brakes. Not a properly sized rv battery. Pretty normal today. Your rv needs to be plugged in daily.

Installing a battery monitor is a good idea. Batteries are now, and have always been, the weak link.
Thanks- could I follow up with you?
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Old 07-29-2022, 09:36 AM   #12
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My 2012 Ram CTD only puts out about 4amps via the 7 pin plug (measured at the shunt).
I opted to install a DC to DC charger that can charge up to 40amps, I have measured it at 35amps at my battery shunt. I do not have solar so opted for the DC to DC to top off my Lifepo4 battery as we drive.
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Old 07-29-2022, 09:46 AM   #13
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buy a digital multi meter

get one that can read 12v AMPS via a clamp



set it to 12v

put negative probe on the frame or the white lead

push probe onto the red charging


turn the vehicle ON but do nor start it
meter reads about 12.6v is GOOD
start the truck ... it should now read around 13 -14v


https://www.ajtnt.com/Info/7-Way-Diagram




after you have gotten it to read 13-14v ....charging at the connection
put probes DIRECTLY on battery posts
it should read the same 13-14v ... it is charging
now put CLAMP around the battery wire you can READ how many amps you are getting into the battery





if it is charging , before replacing anything ....

have the battery tested it may not be holding it's charge
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Old 07-29-2022, 10:21 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Aussieguy View Post
buy a digital multi meter

get one that can read 12v AMPS via a clamp



set it to 12v

put negative probe on the frame or the white lead

push probe onto the red charging


turn the vehicle ON but do nor start it
meter reads about 12.6v is GOOD
start the truck ... it should now read around 13 -14v


https://www.ajtnt.com/Info/7-Way-Diagram




after you have gotten it to read 13-14v ....charging at the connection
put probes DIRECTLY on battery posts
it should read the same 13-14v ... it is charging
now put CLAMP around the battery wire you can READ how many amps you are getting into the battery





if it is charging , before replacing anything ....

have the battery tested it may not be holding it's charge
About reading the amps, this will read amps drawn which isn't necessarily the max the tow vehicle can provide. You need to ensure you create quite a bit of draw from the trailer to get to that point. So run the lights, the fans, the fridge, the water pump. Keep adding 12v items until the current doesn't go up, that then is the maximum the tow vehicle can provide. If nothing is running on 12v in the trailer at the time of test and battery is already full it will pull very little current.

Also bear in mind that let's say it provides 10amps of charge to the camper and your fridge at max load consumes 15amps from the camper that doesn't necessarily mean you come up short. This is due to the duty cycle of the fridge as it won't be pulling that 15amps the whole time. This is why it is important to pre chill the fridge and the items in it before departure.

If it then only pulls 2 amps at idle use (compressor not running) you would be fine during a whole day of travel as your usage overall will be less than your provided charge.
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Old 07-29-2022, 10:22 AM   #15
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I installed a Renogy Dc-Dc 60a charger for this exact reason.
I have a 2019 F-150 and yea t only puts out a couple amps while hooked up. And the kicker is ,it will only put out voltage if the truck computer senses motion in the truck. So I had to hook up the 7 pin adaptor and then put it in drive and then press on the brake and back into park. A real PITA.
And it would take hours with everything turned off and the truck running to charge the battery even a little bit.
We have a cannon 12v fridge with no propane option. So keeping the batteries charged is crucial.
Renogy makes great Dc-Dc chargers and they are fairly cheap.
I ran a 2 gauge cable from my battery to the rear of my truck and installed a trailer connector for Anderson connectors.
Works out awesome now that I have direct 12v at the back of my truck. Even made up a set of booster cables with Anderson on the one end so I can boost vehicles at work from the back. Works great.
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Old 07-29-2022, 10:41 AM   #16
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The simplest solution might be another battery. Your battery power obviously doesn't have enough reserve to power the refrigerator while your driving.
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Old 07-29-2022, 11:01 AM   #17
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2021 Surveyor only comes with 12v/110v fridge
I've never seen a 12v/110v fridge. It's probably a 12v ONLY fridge. The only thing the 110v AC does is recharge the batteries.
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Old 07-29-2022, 12:08 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by tomkatb View Post
Technically yes. Actually, no.

There is terrible line loss on dc wiring.

Your truck likely sends 15 amps per hour back there. However, line loss dramatically cuts that.

We have a blutooth battery monitor. My monitor says the voltage back there in the rv is 13.0. Barely a trickle. Your fridge and parasitic loads likely often needs closer to 10 amps. Therefore the tv does not supply enough.

You need a 200-400 watt solar panel. A dc/dc charger gizmo, Or double or triple the battery capacity. I think you have only 40 dc amps available.

My guess is the rv has the DOT minimum battery designed only to power the trailer brakes. Not a properly sized rv battery. Pretty normal today. Your rv needs to be plugged in daily.

Installing a battery monitor is a good idea. Batteries are now, and have always been, the weak link.
100% agreed all around.
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Old 07-29-2022, 12:21 PM   #19
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I've never seen a 12v/110v fridge. It's probably a 12v ONLY fridge. The only thing the 110v AC does is recharge the batteries.
That kind of makes the fridge a 110v fridge too, doesn't it.
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Old 07-29-2022, 12:26 PM   #20
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That kind of makes the fridge a 110v fridge too, doesn't it.
Then the fridge would also be solar powered.
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