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Old 03-30-2015, 07:42 PM   #1
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Installing battery disconnect switch

Today I installed a battery disconnect on my Wildwood 29FKBS Travel Trailer. I decided to document the process for others who might be interested. I have attached a pdf slide show. Hope you find it useful. I a visual guy and pictures can literally replace a thousand words. Hope you find it useful. Material costs were a little over $30.00.
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Old 03-30-2015, 08:04 PM   #2
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I put a wing nut on the negative wire post. Cost, 10 cents. I like things simple.
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Old 03-30-2015, 08:19 PM   #3
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I appreciate your sentiment. Simplicity can be a good thing. If your battery is easily accessible, a wing nut will certainly work, but in my set up, getting to the battery terminal is no simple thing. The switch is my solution and for me it works. What I really think is a disconnect switch is something that should be standard on all rvs were battery drain can be a concern. Just another example where manufacturers cut corners.
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Old 03-30-2015, 08:42 PM   #4
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How water/weather resistant is this switch?


Will road grime be able to get in the switch?
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Old 03-30-2015, 09:38 PM   #5
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Battery Disconnect Switch

The switch is a marine switch designed for use on boats. From what I read before purchase, it should be very durable.
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Old 03-30-2015, 09:46 PM   #6
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I put mine inside next to my panel. I can keep mine off and my charge line from the TV and the Breakaway will still work.

http://campinglifewithmatt.blogspot....ct-switch.html
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Old 04-01-2015, 06:53 AM   #7
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I'm assuming that you are storing your rig with the battery in place between uses. That said, have you monitored how well your battery stored it's charge since the disconnect switch was installed? I am new to this and just bought my first camper and was thinking about making this mod and curious about how it will affect my battery for use the next time I take it out. Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-01-2015, 07:32 AM   #8
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Connected the battery has slow drain. Disconnected the battery does not. The switch allows you to easily connect and disconnect the battery. It's that simple.
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Old 04-01-2015, 07:46 AM   #9
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Make sure that sucker is turned on for towing. Those brakes come in handy. I installed a very similar switch along with a second battery. The main purpose was to reset the damn radio in the camper which kept failing (or operating on its own). As I'm almost always on shore power I don't use it that much. I still love having it.
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Old 04-01-2015, 08:15 AM   #10
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Smart idea. The parasite draw from sitting will kill a battery. My disconnect switch will disconnect from the battery but even with the battery switched off the 12 volt hot wire coming in from the 7 pin connector allows power to bypass the switch. When the truck is off it does not supply power. Most breakaway switches are wired directly to the battery post.
I once left my battery switch off when we stopped overnite at a hotel and had forgotten that my refrigerator needed the power to operate the gas coming off and on so my fridge did not operate all night lol. Humbly take that into consideration if you travel using your fridge on gas. Now I am in the habit of switching my battery on as soon as I hitch to go. FYI. There are plenty of people who probably knew that anyway.
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Old 04-01-2015, 08:31 PM   #11
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Good point! One more thing to add to the Departure Check List.
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Old 04-01-2015, 09:24 PM   #12
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ChipBruce.

You asked about a battery disconnect switch and the power it might preserve: Most modern rvs have LP detectors and some kind of entertainment system which will constantly draw current from the battery to keep detecting or to keep the memory settings on your clock. My LP detector draws 100 milliamperes and my entertainment system draws 50 milliamperes. So combined this amounts to 150 ma or 0.15 amps constant draw. Multiply this by 24 hours and you get 3.6 amps draw for every day it sits. A typical RV battery is approx 100 amp hour battery but you don't want to draw a battery past 50 % of its reserve capacity in order to preserve its longevity. So now you have 50 amp hours divided by 3.6 amp draw per day. That battery will last approx 18.3 days if no other loads are placed on it and it's drawn to half of it's rated capacity, longer if you draw it all the way down. It all depends on your parasitic draw and your battery how long it will last. As a very general figure, you can probably go 3 to 4 weeks before it's depleted. I know that will vary from one camper to the next.

So why keep cycling your battery down and charging it back unnecessarily? (That's not aimed at you, just a rhetorical statement in general) It will only weaken the longevity of your battery. A disconnect switch is a low cost solution to insure you have power available when needed PLUS it can prolong the health of your RV battery life if maintained properly. Of course, you could simply buy a wing nut and manually disconnect the cable each time you store it as one user posted. This is the the simplest no investment solution if you don't mind wrestling with those darn nylon battery box hold down straps. I hate the those buckles on the nylon straps. Get a bungee instead and get jackslapped lol ! That's happened no joking, left a huge whelp on my cheek.

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Old 04-01-2015, 09:38 PM   #13
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Zolin, thank you very much. That is very good information and helps a lot. I have been doing even more than just disconnecting at a wing nut and have been fully removing the battery and storing in my garage and hooking up to a trickle charger, alternating with my motorcycle. I guess that I could learn all of this by experience, but when there are people who already know and are willing to share, what a bonus. Thanks again.
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Old 04-01-2015, 10:08 PM   #14
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ChipBruce, sounds like you are doing things right. Your battery probably does not need to come out of the box during camping season, but trickle charged once every 4-6 weeks providing you are not draining it. Your camper probably has a built in battery charger to the 12 volt converter so it will get topped off anytime you are plugged in to 120v shore power. Of course your battery would have to be connected for this to happen. If it is exposed to higher temps, say 90 + it may not be a bad idea to remove it if you are not in shade. If you are vulnerable to theft then that would also be a good idea to remove it. I remove mine in November and float charge it for 24-48 hours every 6-8 weeks till spring. I then will put it back in the battery box installed on the camper and leave it that way till season is over. I have secured covered storage all year so I am in full shade during summer. We camp frequent enough through the 3 seasons that my plugging in the camper to shore power is sufficient to maintain the battery charge. I have a factory installed disconnect switch and use it every time it sits more than 2-3 days unplugged either at home or in storage. Feel fee to ask any more questions you may have. There are plenty of people, including myself who are eager to provide help. Congrats on your wife's upcoming retirement, and enjoy that new season of life together!

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Old 06-07-2015, 09:35 PM   #15
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Great idea! Not sure why there is such a philosophical debate on this, but I see the value. I had a disconnect in my MicroLite from the factory, but when I upgraded to the Salem Hemisphere, it did not come equipped with one. I love the install location! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:51 PM   #16
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Current Draw

Don't forget about the TV signal amp! That sucker draws more juice than you think if you leave it on.
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Old 06-07-2015, 10:07 PM   #17
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I'm curious. I have the same switch and am going to install it soon. Everything I have read say's to install the switch to the negative side of the battery and not the positive. Which would be the better way. Both achieve the same thing. What difference would it make?
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Old 06-08-2015, 04:02 AM   #18
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Installing on the negative side cuts everything, including trailer breakaway and power jack(if equipped). Doing the positive side between the battery and the converter will cut everything in the trailer only.
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:25 PM   #19
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Stansoper, I had the exact same switch in my hand ready to buy it at my local West Marine - I asked what seemed to be a very knowledgeable sales person if the switch was water proof and he said no. He said it should be installed in a somewhat protected location. A little spray here and there would be OK, but not direct rain and splash off behind a car in a rain storm. I put the switch down, did not buy it, and am now back to the drawing board. Did you get different feedback? Thanks for any advice.
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:33 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reuben Sandwich View Post
Stansoper, I had the exact same switch in my hand ready to buy it at my local West Marine - I asked what seemed to be a very knowledgeable sales person if the switch was water proof and he said no. He said it should be installed in a somewhat protected location. A little spray here and there would be OK, but not direct rain and splash off behind a car in a rain storm. I put the switch down, did not buy it, and am now back to the drawing board. Did you get different feedback? Thanks for any advice.
Reuben Sandwich
When you say waterproof, do you mean submergible(under water)?

I'm sure it is weatherproof, which means it can take some moisture and be fine.

Just think, is your battery box waterproof? No.

I mounted mine in the nose compartment.
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