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Old 06-09-2014, 10:54 AM   #1
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Adapter for battery cable?

We are rehabbing our 1980 International 31' trailer and are in need of help with our battery. (or lack thereof...) When we brought our trailer home, it did not have a battery, so I have been researching the forum for advice/suggestions on type and brand. Since our single battery box in located inside the trailer with an access door to the front, we were going to measure it to be sure our new battery fits. However (which seems to be the case more frequently) the battery cable from the fuse box into the battery box has a strange end on it. It does not have the usual connections to attach to a post (as on a car battery), but one male pin, one female connection enclosed in a rather narrow plug. I can post a photo later, my apologies for not thinking of that earlier.
Do we need an adapter from this connection to the posts on our new battery??
Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I am driving my husband crazy.
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:33 AM   #2
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Most new deep cycle batteries do not have posts like a car. They have threaded inserts and bolts. You should have someone local remove the existing connectors and replace them with enclosed lug ends with the appropriate size hole.

You also might consider having your cables replaced with a larger gauge that is made of class K welding cable, which is extremely flexible and easy to replace.
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:50 AM   #3
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The trailers made by AS in that era used a special plug in connection so the battery could be pre wired and plugged into the trailer. What you have is just the trailer end of the plug system, not the battery end.

I don't know if those plugs and terminals are available anymore, they were kind of special to AS. A dealer, or Andy at Inland RV might be able to tell you.

If not, you will need to remove the plug end, and either run new heavy wires to the interior connection panel, or splice new wires to the wires going to the old plug.
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:16 PM   #4
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Battery Cable Photo

And here is the plug photo...
Thanks for your help, we'll touch base with Andy at Inland RV, or work through replacing our cables.
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Old 06-09-2014, 10:29 PM   #5
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Yes, that is what I remember on my '78 25' AS. Since it is another point of resistance, and it is 34 years old, I would not try too hard to get a matching terminal. AS abandoned that system and as I recall, corrosion as well as cost was the reason. New solid cables may be still the best way to go.
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:50 PM   #6
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What you have is factory original. You can replace it with a set of these. Make sure to check the amperage rating and wire gauge before ordering.
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Old 06-10-2014, 04:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drboyd View Post
What you have is factory original. You can replace it with a set of these. Make sure to check the amperage rating and wire gauge before ordering.
DrBoyd - Thanks for the link! Since I am electrically challenged (that is usually my husband's area), do you have any recommendations for where I could find the cables that would go from the battery to this connection? Thanks so much - we thought we were making great progress with our trailer and now between this and reconfiguring the new LPG regulator (two projects we THOUGHT would be quick!) I'm pulling my hair out.
Thanks, again!
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:21 AM   #8
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idroba has good advice for you. Get rid of that connection. Best is to run new wires from interior connection to the battery. Old corroded conections and splices cost you battery life.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rhino33 View Post
DrBoyd - Thanks for the link! Since I am electrically challenged (that is usually my husband's area), do you have any recommendations for where I could find the cables that would go from the battery to this connection? Thanks so much - we thought we were making great progress with our trailer and now between this and reconfiguring the new LPG regulator (two projects we THOUGHT would be quick!) I'm pulling my hair out.
Thanks, again!
Ummm... this is beginning to sound kinda like you might be over your comfort level with heavy gauge electrical stuff. You can either use 4AWG stranded THHN from the hardware store, or bulk battery cable from the auto parts store. They'll work equally well. The issue will be securing the cable ends to the battery terminal and the connector. They need to be crimped - and crimped hard! - and it's not a crimp you're gonna make with the pair of pliers in the kitchen junk drawer.

But if stuff like this makes you pull your hair out on account of the trailer, my heartfelt advice to you is to buy a wig; this is only the beginning.

My trailer is only two years older than yours, and I won't discourage you with my list of stuff that's needed to be fixed or replaced.

Just relax and enjoy the journey!
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Old 06-10-2014, 03:09 PM   #10
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I have to laugh on that one - I'm already dye my hair to hide the gray, but soon I won't have any left to dye!!
I wish, wish, wish we had attacked the battery before replacing the floor section by the battery box - but if wishes were horses, then I would need a farm. We'll take a another look at things again tonight, as I agree that replacement would be better in the long run. Thank you so much for the info on the wiring, it really helps.
I'm sure I'll have more questions tonight or tomorrow!
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Old 06-10-2014, 03:14 PM   #11
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If we were to replace our inside battery box with an outside (mounted on the tongue) battery box, would it be easier to run the new cables? Since we are thinking of adding solar cells to boondock, wouldn't it also give us more flexibility to add a second battery if needed?
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Old 06-11-2014, 01:13 AM   #12
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I'm assuming that your battery box faces the front of the trailer, like mine, and the door opens behind the propane tanks.

First of all, there's no problem replacing the wires just because the floor is in. In mine, the floor actually holds up the battery box. Just loosen the two cable clamps, pull the old wires out, shove the new wires through, and away you go.

Second, you can add another battery box on the street side of the trailer. That's what I did. Silver Trailer Supply (ODMart and Inland would too, I'm sure) has the plastic boxes, as well as the door, frame, and supporting cables. I used stainless steel sheet metal screws to hold the stuff together, and two or three shims glued under the box.

You'll also find (most likely) empty terminals on your fuse block that are labeled for battery #2, both positive and negative.

If you're easily amused, you can also laugh at my DIY solar installation here.
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Old 06-11-2014, 04:52 AM   #13
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After rechecking our box last night, you are correct in that our cables do not go through the floor. (Thankfully!) I can take off the face plate to the fuse box and would then just have to snake the cables from the top of the battery box into the fuse box, which is not a far distance at all.

This is sounding much easier than we originally thought, so I'll try to stop at a few places tonight or tomorrow for the cables, battery and end clamps.

And thank you so much for the second box option - I think we would rather do that than install a box behind the propane tanks. It would be easy to do now, as we have not yet replaced the gaucho so the front is easily accessible. (and I will definitely check your solar installation!)

Thank you so much!
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:15 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Rhino33 View Post
After rechecking our box last night, you are correct in that our cables do not go through the floor. (Thankfully!) I can take off the face plate to the fuse box and would then just have to snake the cables from the top of the battery box into the fuse box, which is not a far distance at all.

This is sounding much easier than we originally thought, so I'll try to stop at a few places tonight or tomorrow for the cables, battery and end clamps.
<snip>
It really isn't difficult - or I wouldn't have been able to do it! The little cable seals where the wire goes into the box might be tough to open up, but it's not impossible at all.

This will be a good time to think about what kind of battery you want. The choice is between AGM (long life, high capacity, high price) and deep cycle marine (opposite on all those things). Either one will work, it's just a matter of budget and choice. I went with marine deep cycle, on the basis that they'll last a year or so until I have more time to use the trailer.

The marine deep cycle batteries are about $75 each at Costco. A search on battery threads here will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about batteries.

Another thing you do want to do is to replace the old Univolt with an intelligent converter. It'll be much easier on your batteries and give you a better charge as well.
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