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SophieP 04-01-2016 07:17 AM

Powering slide outs
I have a new bee question.....we park our Rockwood Ultra lite 5th wheel a mile from our home. I'm looking for the easiest way to open the slides. We bought a generator, but it's a bit of a hassle to lug it over if I only have a couple of things to do. Please tell me if I'm correct...If we use just the battery, it will deplete the charge. If we plug into the truck & keep it running, it will maintain the power/charge. My husband is afraid that either method is insufficient power & will damage the slide motors, etc.

dieselguy 04-01-2016 07:43 AM

Your battery will power several cycles of slideout use ... the slide motors are 12VDC and the battery is where the juice to move the slides comes from. True, the truck or generator will recharge the battery as needed (generator) thru the onboard converter, but unless the battery(s) are really low, neither directly powers the slide motors. Unless you just have to ... do not rely on being plugged into your truck to operate your slide(s) when the RV battery is really low ... let it charge a bit first. Slide motors draw a large amount of current and that little 14 gauge power wire on your truck that is charging your battery will probably get a bit hot trying to supply most all the amperage needed to run the slide motor.

5picker 04-01-2016 07:44 AM

If all you plan to do is open the slide(s) the RV battery (without any supplemental charge method) will work for several times before it would deplete the battery to the point of harm.

Using the slides while hooked to the tow vehicle will be sufficient to not have to do anything else.

Now, if you plan to run other things (lights, refrigerator, furnace) you will be limited by the capacity of your battery.

bikendan 04-01-2016 02:11 PM

Just use the battery for power and use the battery disconnect switch after you're done.
Use a multimeter to test battery charge and use generator or truck to recharge as needed.

SophieP 04-02-2016 05:44 AM


Originally Posted by bikendan (Post 1149289)
Just use the battery for power and use the battery disconnect switch after you're done.
Use a multimeter to test battery charge and use generator or truck to recharge as needed.

This is how I thought it would work, but hubby's concerned of damage to motors. A while back we had a Class C & knew less than we know now, pulled it in the driveway, plugged it in and turned on the ac to cool it down so I could clean it. When I plugged in the vacuum, it flipped the breaker in the garage. Shortly after we went camping & the ac would not blow cold. It turned out that it had burned up & had to be replaced......good thing it was still under warranty as the unit was new. This being said, he feels that insufficient power caused the damage & the same could happen to the slide motors if the battery doesn't provide enough power. Lugging the generator over takes both of us & I just want to run over, by myself & putter around.

ScottBrownstein 04-02-2016 06:18 AM

The battery will power the slides fine for a number of open close cycles. They do draw a lot of current but don't run that long. You should be fine. You should have some sort of power monitor and you should just check the batteries to see if they are above 50% when you get to the TT.

dieselguy 04-02-2016 08:57 AM

I can see his concern, but you're comparing apples and oranges. An A/C compressor is more voltage sensitive than a simple 12VDC motor. Virtually thousands of RV'rs rely on their on board battery(s) to run their slides, landing gear, water pumps, lights, fans, fridge controls, water heater ignitor, radios, and TV if it happens to be a 12VDC. The converter is not designed to supply power for high current draws ... it is designed to convert A/C to D/C for battery charging and other low amperage draws. The little 14 gauge charging wire that is in the truck's pigtail for the power cord is not meant for high current draw either, but to simply charge the battery. I will say that some people call on either to overcome a near dead battery situation, but that is a different scenario. Just guessing, I imagine you cold run your slides in and out a couple of dozen times on a fully charged battery. Bottom line here is I fear someone has his mind made up and no conversation from anyone is going to change it. Perhaps a small solar battery maintainer could be used just to slowly add a bit back to your battery(s) between visits. Many fulltimers or long timers leave their slides out for months on end ... why not just leave them out?

depo 04-04-2016 04:23 PM

buy a jumper pack (I leave one in my truck always). I keep it charged and then hook it up to the battery on the camper when doing tasks like this. Then you can bring it back home when done and recharge....

andymil 04-09-2016 02:10 PM

Dieselguy is correct. Running an air conditioner on low voltage (less than 110v) will cook the motor. Low voltage will not damage a 12 volt DC motor unless it is locked (not turning). The low AC voltage problem is why you need to use a heavy (at least 10 gauge) cable when plugged in to shore power. Also keep an extension cable as short as possible.

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