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Battery

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  #1  
Old 04-23-2011, 07:38 AM
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Default Battery

Hello, I have a question about battery power; I have my travel trailer hooked up to electric at a permanent campsite. Do I need to have my 12 volt battery hooked up also?
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  #2  
Old 04-23-2011, 08:44 AM
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Default battery power

Unless you have disconnected the battery cables from the batteries you are hooked up and the inverter/charger will keep your batteries charged. Since your lights are 12 volt they will work no matter whether you are hooked up to ''shore power'' or running off your batteries. If I understand are you asking if you should disconnect the batteries while running shore power it depends on how long you will be there. If for a week or so and your batteries are fully charged you could disconnect them but it's a good idea, I think, to check them from time to time. Hope that helps.

Last edited by Gerry; 04-23-2011 at 08:51 AM.
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  #3  
Old 04-23-2011, 10:08 AM
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let me rephrase... took battery out for winter. We have perm. site and are hooked up to electric. Not planning on moving camper. Do I need to put battery back in or can I simply work off of regular electric that we are hooked up to?
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  #4  
Old 04-23-2011, 12:23 PM
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The battery is not required in your case. The 12v power requirements for your rig are provided by the "converter" (calling it an inverter charger was not quite correct but I understand what Dreamtraveler was trying to describe). This converter is the component that when connected to the 30amp or 50amp power source, converts this incoming power to 12v for those devices that are 12v like the overhead lights and the controller boards for the fridge and furnace. When using your trailer connected to shore power the 12v lights and smaller requirements can be powered by the converter.

However, the biggest issue with this requirement is the amperage. When using slideouts and landing legs or something else with a 12v motor, these 12v components use up a lot of amperage normally provided by a 12v battery. The converter may struggle trying to supply this. I heard reports of converter failures and have often wondered if this is why (folks remove batteries and then repeatedly use their converters for this purpose, but I don't know for sure). Can anyone comment further?

If you plan to relocate the trailer, I'd strongly recommend you reinstall the 12v battery so it helps provide the amperage needed to operate these systems. Hopefully you are using a "smart charger/conditioner device" on your battery while in storage to keep it as fresh as possible. Don't forget to check the water level in the battery unless it's maintenance free.

Note about converters: When connected to shore power and the converter is providing 12v to the rig, if the battery is installed the converter will recharge the battery as it is being used. Some converters do not use a smart charger. This means overcharging can occur and this is bad for the battery. Check out your converter and choose the best options for your configuration. Some converters allow an aftermarket smart charger to be installed in the converter to provide this feature. This is not installed automatically to save cost. Some trailer owners know how to treat their batteries without the smart charger so the manufacturers leave it up to the respective owners to decide what they want to do. After all, it's the customers money used for these decisions.
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Last edited by artmart; 04-23-2011 at 12:27 PM.
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  #5  
Old 04-24-2011, 07:43 AM
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I don't know the reason, but my slides won't operate with out the battery installed. My battery uninstalled itself back about 6 yrs ago. It blew up. I had to take the battery out of the boat, and put it in to get the slides in. We were hooked up to shore power.
I took my battery out for the winter and put it back in, after they turned the electric back on.
There are a few permanent campers, up at the park, without batteries in them. If you elect to reinstall it, check the water level every now and again.
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Last edited by dogbone; 04-24-2011 at 07:50 AM.
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  #6  
Old 04-24-2011, 12:37 PM
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dogbone, the reason is that the converter probably cannot provide enough amperage with 12 V and because of this some trailer manufacturers only provide a connection for the slides and landing gear only to a 12V battery. This is one way for them to assure that us owners install and use a 12v battery for this purpose. When the trailer battery is low (or defective as what just happened to me recently), I also use the tow vehicles connector so it gets battery usage that way. I don't think this is a good idea all the time because I'm not so sure the connector's wire gauge will tolerate it for very long.

My trailer's converter is pretty powerful so I've been known to use that too.

I do now monitor the battery water level closely and keep them charge/conditioned with a Battery minder. There are better devices out there too.

But for the original post about running your trailer on site with only shore power, there's no problem for a static RV.
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  #7  
Old 04-25-2011, 07:32 AM
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I kinda figured that after reading your previous post.
We were camping up at the St Lawrence River, getting ready to leave, when I heard an explosion. I figured it was the battery after I checked with my wife, inside. I had to hose down everything inside the front hatch and the front hatch area. I was heading out to get a new battery, when I thought about just taking the boat battery. I didn't think about plugging in the truck. I just figured it needed the battery to complete the circuit.
Live and learn.
Most of the people up at the park, without batteries, don't have slideouts. I must have one of the smart chargers. I haven't had a battery issue since I replaced the one that blew. That was in 2006. Now that I said that watch what happens.
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Last edited by dogbone; 04-25-2011 at 07:37 AM.
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  #8  
Old 04-25-2011, 11:19 AM
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Maybe your converter does NOT have a smart charger causing the battery to be overcharged and causing an explosion if the water level dropped too low because of it.

I examined my converter on my rig - it has a connector and open spot where it should have been. Knowing this I use a battery disconnect to isolate the batteries from the trailer and then connect a battery minder (smart charger and conditioner) to keep the batteries properly charged. I'll add that I store my rig on my driveway, connected to a 15A outlet in the garage and this provides power to the rig and the Battery Minder. Every 3 weeks I go out to the rig to clean off spider webs, inflate the tires and refill water in the batteries.

One of the two batteries finally died (that one always gave me the most trouble) after 5 years and the remaining one is still going strong. When that one goes away I will convert to 6v (for better performance - discharges slower, recharges faster). I'll start with two connected in series (6v+6v = 12v), then connect to the trailer. If I am so inclined I might even add two more 6v (another 12v) connected in parallel to the other two which would provide much more performance and power than two 12v batteries. This is a very common and successful solution.

Gotta watch those batteries.... always so much to learn, ain't it?
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