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Old 06-16-2006, 06:56 AM   #15
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Why not just plug in your pig-tail and charge it the you "supposed to"!?
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Old 06-16-2006, 07:24 AM   #16
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Using jumper cables and the truck alternator will produce a high rate of charge. For an occasional trip this might be okay, although the battery life will be shortened due to the rapid charge rate. You will spend a lot on gas idling your truck for several hours to charge the battery... but for a few trips you will still be nowhere near the $900 to buy a Honda generator.

Consider a used, cheap Honda generator. You should be able to find an older 500-1000 watt model for ~$200. When you are ready to upgrade, you can sell it for what you paid for it.
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Old 06-16-2006, 08:41 AM   #17
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So, last year, when the power was out statewide, there were No generators to buy. There was only one gas station within 10 miles in operation, can you say "gas line?" 4 days without power gives you time to experiment.

The first setup was use the pigtail, and as stated earlier, was 6.7 amps. That means whenever the heater kicks in, the house batteries discharged. After 3 hours of pigtail charging the batteries gained 20 % charge. Not enough to run the heater thru the night.

Second setup, turn the truck around, and jumper cable. Toped the batteries up in 2 hours. I figured the charge rate about 30-40 amps/hour. I didn't feel that requiring my 135amp truck generator to produce 25% of it's rated capacity was dangerous or distructive. The lesser of two weavels, and the truck still runs fine.
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Old 06-18-2007, 12:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shacksman
I keep 2 deep cycle batteries in a box on the back of the truck. They can be hooked up to the truck for charging, when out touring around. When back at the trailer they can be pluged in, by way of #4 wire, to the trailer. This has worked for years for us, in campgrounds like Ocala Forest with no electric. We can stay as long as we like and have charged batteries all the time. Much cheaper then solar or generators as we already have the truck.
I'd like to explore this idea a little.

We haven't done a lot of boondocking, but when we have, we've found it difficult to get through a 2 or 3 day weekend "comfortably", with only the single group 27 battery. (It would be difficult to add /fit a second one to our trailer). Maybe I've only had crappy batteries (sears). but I get the impression that our experience isn't far from the norm.

anyway...I don't think we boondock enough to justify the expense of a generator. but it would be nice to have a "backup" battery, "just in case" we run low before the end of a weekend.

so..couple questions:
I keep 2 deep cycle batteries in a box on the back of the truck.

are you just talkin' about any old plywood box, or are these regular battery storage boxes?

They can be hooked up to the truck for charging, when out touring around.

How?

When back at the trailer they can be pluged in, by way of #4 wire, to the trailer.

again, how? through the umbilical? do you have to take the batteries out of the back of the truck? connect them through some sort of jumper to the coach's battery?
I was thinking it would be neat to be able to say...just take a single battery out of the back of the pickup, and lay it down near the trailer tongue, and plug the umbilical into it. but the ubilical's charge line is pretty small. I know, it would take "days" to recharge a fully discharged coach battery w/ the tow vehicle, in large part, because of the size of this wire. But what I have found in the past, when the coach's battery is low, if I plug it into the tow vehicle, everything inside the trailer starts working normally. (lights brighten...modern car stereo doesn't keep shutting itself off when there's a momentary voltage drop, cuz someone switched on a light, etc).

thoughts?
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Old 06-18-2007, 03:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck
I'd like to explore this idea a little.

We haven't done a lot of boondocking, but when we have, we've found it difficult to get through a 2 or 3 day weekend "comfortably", with only the single group 27 battery. (It would be difficult to add /fit a second one to our trailer). Maybe I've only had crappy batteries (sears). but I get the impression that our experience isn't far from the norm.

anyway...I don't think we boondock enough to justify the expense of a generator. but it would be nice to have a "backup" battery, "just in case" we run low before the end of a weekend.

so..couple questions:
I keep 2 deep cycle batteries in a box on the back of the truck.

are you just talkin' about any old plywood box, or are these regular battery storage boxes?

They can be hooked up to the truck for charging, when out touring around.

How?

When back at the trailer they can be pluged in, by way of #4 wire, to the trailer.

again, how? through the umbilical? do you have to take the batteries out of the back of the truck? connect them through some sort of jumper to the coach's battery?
I was thinking it would be neat to be able to say...just take a single battery out of the back of the pickup, and lay it down near the trailer tongue, and plug the umbilical into it. but the ubilical's charge line is pretty small. I know, it would take "days" to recharge a fully discharged coach battery w/ the tow vehicle, in large part, because of the size of this wire. But what I have found in the past, when the coach's battery is low, if I plug it into the tow vehicle, everything inside the trailer starts working normally. (lights brighten...modern car stereo doesn't keep shutting itself off when there's a momentary voltage drop, cuz someone switched on a light, etc).

thoughts?
I know that I'll be shot down here, but here's how it works for me. I use a plastic storage box from Walmart that fits 2 batterys. They are connected together so charge as one and I have about 5' of #4 cable with a blue battery connector from NAPA hooked to them. This rides and stays in the back of the truck. Coming from the truck battery, I ran a #4 cable through a 40 amp fuse and back to the back of the truck. I ran another piece of cable to the truck frame for ground. I put another connector on these cables. Now I can plug them together and keep the batterys in the back charged. I then have a pair of cables that run to the trailer battery with another connector that will plug into the batterys when we are back to the trailer. Sounds complicated but really works quite simply and gives me 2 charged batterys every time we go for a drive.
I know, I know, it's overkill to charge 2 batterys but I don't have to carry around a generator and it will be a long time using up the $1000 in gas to pay for one. (The gen. uses gas too.) Picture is power connector.
I can send more pictures latter if needed.
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Old 06-18-2007, 03:32 PM   #20
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Interesting. So..where is the battery in your trailer? mine is behind the wheel well...way aft. some are mounted up front...

so did you run the cables from the trailer battery so a spot that is accessible up near the a-frame/tongue?

how do you secure the auxilliary battery boxes in the back of the truck, so they don't tip over while driving?
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Old 06-18-2007, 05:44 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck
Interesting. So..where is the battery in your trailer? mine is behind the wheel well...way aft. some are mounted up front...

so did you run the cables from the trailer battery so a spot that is accessible up near the a-frame/tongue?

how do you secure the auxilliary battery boxes in the back of the truck, so they don't tip over while driving?
My plan is to run the cables through a conduit mounted under the trailer to a box on the tounge but now they just lay on the ground when parked. I have a short piece with a connector on the trailer battery so the long run, back to the battery, is a separate piece that plugs in front and back.
The battery box in the truck is stuck in between all the junk I carry. It has no where to go.
(Need pictures yet? )
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:47 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shacksman
...(Need pictures yet? )
Pics are always good!

so...does the cable from the auxilliaries to the coach battery need to be a big honkin' #4 battery cable?

why couldn't you rig up a standard trailer plug, and just use the existing umbilical?
I know, the charge line in the umbilical isn't very big...certainly not as big as a "battery cable".
but in the past, when my coach battery has gotten too low (dim lights; or when trying to use the little 9" ac/dc tv, which just "quits" if there is a momentary dip in voltage...), I've just plugged the umbilical into the truck, and all seems well. I know, you don't want to run a bunch of "stuff" all night long like this, as you may not be able to start your truck in the morning, but..."in a pinch"...). Perhaps this would be ok, as long as you don't have a particularly high amp draw at any one time?
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