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Old 12-18-2015, 07:07 PM   #1
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Do batteries actually charge while driving?

I have a 2011 f250 with dual alternators.

I tow a 2010 25 fb sig series.


Do batteries actually charge while I drive down the road with the above scenario?

Thanks.
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Old 12-18-2015, 07:13 PM   #2
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Yes, but not as efficiently as through your converter/charger.
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Old 12-18-2015, 07:33 PM   #3
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Check the truck fuse box.

Quote:
Originally Posted by THEPILL View Post
I have a 2011 f250 with dual alternators.
I tow a 2010 25 fb sig series.
Do batteries actually charge while I drive down the road with the above scenario? Thanks.
Two things you need to check. There probably is a fuse missing in the fuse box under the hood. This fuse needs to be installed in order to energize the (way undersized) charge line to the trailer.

In the same fuse box you will find a relay socket that needs a relay installed in order to operate the tail lights on the trailer.

For some reason, Ford does not install the necessary towing equipment at the factory. To make matters worse, the fuse and relay are in different locations on different years and models.

If you are serious about charging the trailer batteries while underway, do a voltage drop calculation with the existing wiring, and then give serious thought to increasing the wire gauge of the charge line.

Be careful if you have AGM batteries, as the input voltage coming from the alternator may be too high for the AGM trailer bank.
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Old 12-18-2015, 07:34 PM   #4
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Yes they do. The charge rate may be slower but we find after a good 4 hours of driving, or batteries are ready for the night.

David
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Old 12-18-2015, 08:31 PM   #5
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Each tow vehicle is different, but typically you get about 7 to 10 amp hours via the tow vehicle umbilical. That's not really much when you consider that a 2000 watt generator will easily get you 65 amp hours.
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Old 12-18-2015, 11:25 PM   #6
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Each tow vehicle is different, but typically you get about 7 to 10 amp hours via the tow vehicle umbilical. That's not really much when you consider that a 2000 watt generator will easily get you 65 amp hours.
In actuality probably not nearly that high (65 AH) due to the rate that batteries will accept charge current. But it will be a lot higher than from the umbilical cord and tow vehicle.

I have made measurements on charge with a PD 9260 (60 amp) three stage charger filling a set of about 50% charged 6 volt golf cart batteries in series (12 volt system). For maybe 15 minutes the charge rate was in the range of 55 amps, but then quickly tapered off to 40 amps after about 20 minutes, then to a more steady 30 amps after about 35 minutes. Neither the charger nor the batteries will sustain a charge rate of 65 amps before automatically tapering off.

Just a clarification, not a criticism.
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Old 12-19-2015, 01:25 PM   #7
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Yes, just make sure that the specific terminal for charging has been set up by Ford. The next time you go into Ford for service have them check and make sure that your system is set up for charging trailer batteries. Might take them 2 minutes to check for you.
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:26 PM   #8
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Ours do not charge much at all when driving (2500 Doidge). Last summer we spent 3 days driving all day and 3 nights camping without hookups. The batteries were almost gone when we got home. I have a meter and the batteries usually read the same voltage after driving as when we started. We do not use a lot of juice, but I do use a CPAP unit at night so I have to watch it. I was going to have to run the generator if we had stopped for the last night instead of pushing on home.
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:27 PM   #9
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A lot will depend on the size of the charging line. If it is too small the voltage drop for any reasonable current flow will negate the available amps as the charge voltage at the trailer may be less than the voltage in the trailer batteries. I installed a 10 gauge stranded line directly off a fuse on the Truck battery, and I think it may in fact be too light for any real practical charging. I have a 70 watt solar panel so the battery is usually topped up and I can't speak to direct experience..
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:29 PM   #10
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Yes you can charge the coach batteries if the trailer package was set up. Most tow vehicles don't have big enough wire to charge very fast though. I'd hope to use at least #10 wire all the way to the batteries but the umbilical cord wire probably only has #14 wire in it and will restrict the charging. To get the full use of the trucks charging ability you should have #8 or even #6 wire to the batteries but that is something custom made and only needed if you want to charge the batteries on short drives or in camp. Leland
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Old 12-19-2015, 08:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
In actuality probably not nearly that high (65 AH) due to the rate that batteries will accept charge current. But it will be a lot higher than from the umbilical cord and tow vehicle.

I have made measurements on charge with a PD 9260 (60 amp) three stage charger filling a set of about 50% charged 6 volt golf cart batteries in series (12 volt system). For maybe 15 minutes the charge rate was in the range of 55 amps, but then quickly tapered off to 40 amps after about 20 minutes, then to a more steady 30 amps after about 35 minutes. Neither the charger nor the batteries will sustain a charge rate of 65 amps before automatically tapering off.

Just a clarification, not a criticism.
IDROBA, I have a Magnum Hybrid Inverter Charger and can set the charge rate as I want. At a 60% charge rate which seems to work best, my LFP's do take about 65 AH from my 2000 watt Yamaha. I don't know what the stock charger or AGMs installed by Airstream would do since I yanked them the moment I became serious about cutting the cord.
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Old 12-19-2015, 08:48 PM   #12
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I just completed a lithium install and was re-wiring the Airstream's main junction, one of the tests was to make sure the truck was still sending power back. It sends back 7 amps.

Oddly enough it seems to be a direct connection. When I disconnected the battery bank, the Airstream still had power, and I realized it was still plugged into the truck. That doesn't seem like a good idea to me.
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Old 12-20-2015, 04:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post
I just completed a lithium install and was re-wiring the Airstream's main junction, one of the tests was to make sure the truck was still sending power back. It sends back 7 amps.

Oddly enough it seems to be a direct connection. When I disconnected the battery bank, the Airstream still had power, and I realized it was still plugged into the truck. That doesn't seem like a good idea to me.
Wouldn't it be a good idea if one had trailer battery problems, and needed some emergency power from the tow vehicle? What is the downside to this in your opinion? Thanks.

BTW amazing lithium install -- inspiring for our future boondocking dreams -- and great photos you have posted on the front door view thread.

Thanks,

Peter
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Old 12-20-2015, 09:38 AM   #14
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Wouldn't it be a good idea if one had trailer battery problems, and needed some emergency power from the tow vehicle? What is the downside to this in your opinion? Thanks.
Yes and No.

I could see it being a problem if you're staying hooked up and you have battery problems like I had. And you've already drained the house batteries and now you're running down the vehicle.
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