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Old 12-14-2014, 07:04 PM   #1
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Newbie Breakaway and Tongue Question

The PO of the '79 Sovereign removed the 2 front battery boxes and put a single plastic battery box on top of a make-shift aluminum box (that houses the burnt up univolt).

We are taking both boxes off -- moving and combining all the electrical into one unit to be located in the closet, along with a battery bank.

So my question is--Can the breakaway and tongue jack be successfully run off a small 12 volt battery such as a 12-15 amp hour scooter battery?
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:51 PM   #2
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The voltage would be correct. Both the brakes and jack are high amperage devices. In the world called perfect you would never need to operate the brakes in that manner. I bet those brakes draw 3 amps per wheel. I wouldn't want the test to be on the road. And I don't think your scooter battery will be sufficient for long term use on the jack.

Why don't you run cable from where you locate the battery? nay older AS had the battery in the back of the trailer. Use 4 gauge wire and you could be set with one less battery.

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Old 12-15-2014, 08:05 AM   #3
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This is done all the time on non-camping trailers to ensure breakaway operation. Probably a batt a bit bigger....like a garden tractor would be better. The breakaway only has to operate for a couple of minutes or so during a "situation".

For the jack, if a capacity problem arises, could always be situated by pulling the TV forward a few inches, leave the umbilical hooked, and then level the trailer.

Obviously, operating anything for any time while dry camping, including propane detector, fridge (if modern), etc. would be pretty much out of the question except maybe on an overnight.
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Old 12-15-2014, 08:28 AM   #4
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It is not a good idea to locate lead acid batteries inside the trailer. There are sealed batteries that you could use.

As for the jack and breakaway system if you do have high capacity batteries on board you can just run a wire from them to the tongue. Considering distance I would suggest at least a # 10 wire.
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Old 12-15-2014, 08:33 AM   #5
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The 70's Airstreams had the battery in the back behind the curb side rear wheel in a vented compartment. The tongue jack and break away switch tapped onto the battery charge wire in the front. Nothing new about this.
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Old 12-15-2014, 08:50 AM   #6
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One solution may be to buy a breakaway switch with its own battery pack, and go to a manual jack. Jim
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Old 12-15-2014, 01:19 PM   #7
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Thank you all for the responses.

Do we need to run separate sets of wires to the front for each device or can one set of wires be run and then split to each device?
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Old 12-15-2014, 01:38 PM   #8
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Thank you all for the responses.

Do we need to run separate sets of wires to the front for each device or can one set of wires be run and then split to each device?
Again, you do not have to "run wires" to the front. There is already a 12 volt circuit there, it's the charge line that the tow vehicle hooks to, to charge the trailer battery. Tap into that to power the jack and the breakaway switch.

I would install a large self restoring circuit breaker on this line at the trailer battery for safety.
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Old 12-15-2014, 01:46 PM   #9
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Yes the charge line from the TV is in the umbilical cord and will have 12 volts on it even when the tv is disconnected but I would not rely on that smaller wire to run the jack or brakes.

I would run a #10 wire forward and split it to feed the jack and brakes. That way you will have a safety factor built in. You should fuse the wire at the battery end for 30 amps and consider fusing the jack, after the split for 20 amps.

If by chance the 30 amp fuse ever blew, due to a shorted wire, the fact that the jack would not work would tell you
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Old 12-15-2014, 03:47 PM   #10
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What everyone else said. They answered so thoroughly I don't have anything to add. Cargo trailers and car hauling trailers have a small battery just for the break away brake controller.
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Old 12-15-2014, 07:19 PM   #11
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A battery with sufficient amps to actuate and hold located at the hitch would work. It could be wired or charged manually. I have pulled 10 Yard gooseneck dump trailers, 30 ft flatbeds and car haulers that used a stand alone battery. You must never forget to regularly service it. At least on the day before the hitch fails......
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Old 12-16-2014, 07:47 AM   #12
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A battery with sufficient amps to actuate and hold located at the hitch would work. It could be wired or charged manually. I have pulled 10 Yard gooseneck dump trailers, 30 ft flatbeds and car haulers that used a stand alone battery. You must never forget to regularly service it. At least on the day before the hitch fails......
And the benefit to having TWO batteries to take care of, maintain, and replace periodically that would not add battery capacity for the trailer would be?????
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Old 12-16-2014, 06:17 PM   #13
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Thank you all again for the reply's and suggestions.

HowieE, in researching through other threads. I wanted to say thanks for the idea of placing the 7-way cord through the coupler lock-pin to keep it from getting tangled up in the hitch.
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:43 AM   #14
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And the benefit to having TWO batteries to take care of, maintain, and replace periodically that would not add battery capacity for the trailer would be?????
It was suggested as an option to his many workable solutions. Flexibility when arriving at a decision point sometimes involves compromise. In the end it is all about safety and peace of mind. I prefer the stock set up. Not broken? Don't fix it. Merry Christmas!!!
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