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Old 05-28-2012, 04:28 PM   #1
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1985 31' Excella
Santa Fe , New Mexico
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Electric jack is great until it's not

Hi all,
This forum is a great resource. I'm just acquired an 85 excella and I'm trying to work out the issues. My main use is as a home base for endurance mountain bike races in the southwest. That usually means I'm camping in a field for a few days--no hookups of any kind.
At the end of my last event, I was trying to hitch up the truck when the batteries died. The jack is electric. I was barely able to slip the ball under the hitch. Yikes.
I've been careful so far, but I'm concerned my kids will leave on every light and suck the batteries dry while I'm on the bike and I won't be able to hitch up after the race. What can I do here? Is this a problem other have encountered?
Thanks!
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:32 PM   #2
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2005 19' Safari
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If you have a generator, you can hook up to shore power. The converter/charger will provide enough juice to use your electric tongue jack. Otherwise, you could use your jumper cables between your tow vehicle and the battery box. However, be careful not to discharge your tow vehicle battery, or you'll have additional problems.

We use a marine battery isolator switch and only use one trailer battery at a time. Then, if it goes dead, we just switch to the other one, which is fully charged.
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:34 PM   #3
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Most (if not all) electric jacks can be operated manualy. It should have come with either a special crank or a socket to use with a ratchet handle.
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:39 PM   #4
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I'll have to look and see where the socket connect might be. There is nothing obvious, but it seemed strange to me that there would be only an electric option.
I also have a generator, but it's heavy and I prefer to leave it at home if it's only a weekend.
Thanks for the advice. I was imagining the call to my wife: "can't hitch up, I guess I 'll just stay out here."
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:43 PM   #5
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On my Safari, I could plug the trailer into the tow vehicle and have elect. To operate the jack, even when the trailer battery was dead. This does not work on all, since they are not all wired alike.
S
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:47 PM   #6
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You should be able to back up close enough to the trailer to plug in the cord to the truck. Run it for a few minutes hooked up that way to put a little charge into the trailer batteries, then the current from the truck and the power from the batteries will allow you to use the electric jack. I am assuming, of course, that you do have a charge line hooked up from the truck to the trailer to charge the batteries while you are towing. If you don't have that connection, have one installed. You don't get a huge charge due to the distances and wire size involved, but you will most likely get 4 to 10 amps from it.
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:54 PM   #7
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1985 31' Excella
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I have no clue about the charge line from the truck to trailer. I did let the batteries die at home and I plugged the cord in the truck and tried to see if it would lift. However, I didn't wait more than a minute and perhaps had I waited I would have had a different result. Is there an obvious way to see if I have a charge line?
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:00 PM   #8
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Look up online the wiring diagram of a 7-pin trailer connector. Use a voltmeter between the + and - terminals of the connector (about at 10 and 4 going around the connector, respectively). If you get 12 volts there with the truck running, then your charge line is connected and working.

I just went through this with my new-to-me trailer and its not-so-new batteries. Simply plugged in the cable into the running tow vehicle, and the jack then worked. No need to wait.

Tom
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:14 PM   #9
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On our 72 when the batteries are dead all we do is get the truck close enough to plug the cord into the truck. Instantly we can run the jack. We do this at least three times a year, and yes the kids will leave the lights on(most often in the bathroom).
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:19 PM   #10
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One of the first things I did when I bought my Safari used was get rid of the electric jack. Jim
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:24 PM   #11
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I removed electric jack. I have enough problems without planning for them.

I installed a Front-Facing Sidewind Crank jack.



Bulldog A-Frame Trailer Jack HB-155010

Works every time . . . in the dark, in the rain, with no battery.

`
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
We use a marine battery isolator switch and only use one trailer battery at a time. Then, if it goes dead, we just switch to the other one, which is fully charged.
Taadaaa; that way you don't have to use the manual handle for the electric jack ... takes many revolutions to effect any vertical movement of the frame ... our electric jack is fused at 30 amps - be sure to have a spare fuse ... tinfoil rap is not recommended. Yes, we have experienced that as well ...
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:54 PM   #13
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... also of the camp that ran into one too many problems with a power jack and removed it for a manual one ..... trouble free since .....



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Old 05-28-2012, 08:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Land Grover View Post
Hi all,
This forum is a great resource. I'm just acquired an 85 excella and I'm trying to work out the issues. My main use is as a home base for endurance mountain bike races in the southwest. That usually means I'm camping in a field for a few days--no hookups of any kind.
At the end of my last event, I was trying to hitch up the truck when the batteries died. The jack is electric. I was barely able to slip the ball under the hitch. Yikes.
I've been careful so far, but I'm concerned my kids will leave on every light and suck the batteries dry while I'm on the bike and I won't be able to hitch up after the race. What can I do here? Is this a problem other have encountered?
Thanks!
If you can hook up the electrical connection to your tow vehicle, you will be able to operate your hitch that way. I've done this on occasion.
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