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Old 07-10-2017, 09:08 AM   #1
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TV charging of AS batteries - what am I missing?

Probably already discussed. But I'll let it fly anyways.

We all have a TV with alternators that are capable of putting out anywhere from 60 to 120 amps or more, while we are driving and a fair amount just at idle or can be fitted with a RPM control to increase output at idle.

Why don't we use the Tow Vehicle Alternator to charge our AS batteries quicker than 7-10 amps or as a surge supply for using the inverter to run the micro wave or hair dryer or other short time load? Or add another new magic light weight auto battery to run everything?

Is it practical to run a large wire and regulator from the alternator to a separate connector to the batteries?

This has probably been discussed before. Please point me to the thread if it has. Thanks.
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:36 AM   #2
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Yes

Others have increased wire size as you suggest to increase charge rate while towing. Thread should show up if you search.
Aside from towing, I think most agree that TV engine is more intrusive than a small suitcase style generator...
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:47 AM   #3
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Several reasons:
The long run of light wire severely limits the amps that go to the battery.

More significantly, the TV voltage regulator senses the TV battery that is fully charged in minutes and limits the voltage so that little charging occurs to the TT battery. If the TV voltage regulator did not work that way it would fry the TV battery in a futile attempt to charge the TT battery.

What you want can be done, I think, but it takes some dedicated circuits for the TT and a large re wiring of the TV. Probably a separate alternator and voltage regulator and heavy wiring to charge the trailer.

A little generator is a nice solution, at least for us.
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:22 AM   #4
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It would be nice to run the refrigeration on 12 volt while towing like on my boat.
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:34 AM   #5
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I've got a 250 amp alternator for my winch and I have a 1000w pure sine inverter in the truck to use for chargin or cookin certain things while driving and then I also got a 12v fridge in the truck.

Airstreams don't come with 3-way fridges like I had in other trailers, so you'd need to use an inverter to run the trailer fridge on electric. I agree that modfyin it all is kinda not worth the hassle cause Bill M is right about what's gotta be done. Solar has worked better for me but the fridge does either need to run on propane during travel or food needs to go in the 12v in the truck.

Have I charged my trailer battery from the truck inverter in a pinch? Yep. But only in an emergency and only twice in all the years I've been towin. Works fine though. Louder than a generator. But easier than carryin one since I use it so rarely in that manner.
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Old 07-11-2017, 11:34 AM   #6
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Roadtrek, the manufacturer of B class vans, has an option for what they call an underhood generator that produces up to 3500 watts. It requires fitting with an auxiliary belt and bracket, readily available from third parties. Some of their vans come with this in lieu of an Onan generator. It does have idle control and can sense when it needs to charge the house batteries. In fact they have what they call Volt Start which senses when the batteries are low and will start the engine and run it to provide enough juice to run even the house AC. Very popular with pet owners. They combine it with the "magic" lightweight batteries (Lithium) to provide quick charging of several hundred amps! No reason you can't do the same with your TV, just takes a little know how. They have configured it for both Sprinters and Chevy vans.

BTW these so called generators are the same equipment used by contractors for heavy load construction tools, and for Handicapped vehicles with lifts. Nothing new here and yes, it is DC power. Just have to run heavy gauge wire, which RT does throughout their vans. They claim it will recharge their lithium packs way faster than solar. No reason you couldn't have the same in your truck along with a connection to an inverter to provide pseudo shore power. Pop a couple of Battleborn packs in a box in the bed, add an inverter and an engine generator and you are good to go!
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Old 07-11-2017, 12:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomzstream View Post
Roadtrek, the manufacturer of B class vans, has an option for what they call an underhood generator that produces up to 3500 watts. It requires fitting with an auxiliary belt and bracket, readily available from third parties. Some of their vans come with this in lieu of an Onan generator. It does have idle control and can sense when it needs to charge the house batteries. In fact they have what they call Volt Start which senses when the batteries are low and will start the engine and run it to provide enough juice to run even the house AC. Very popular with pet owners. They combine it with the "magic" lightweight batteries (Lithium) to provide quick charging of several hundred amps! No reason you can't do the same with your TV, just takes a little know how. They have configured it for both Sprinters and Chevy vans.

BTW these so called generators are the same equipment used by contractors for heavy load construction tools, and for Handicapped vehicles with lifts. Nothing new here and yes, it is DC power. Just have to run heavy gauge wire, which RT does throughout their vans. They claim it will recharge their lithium packs way faster than solar. No reason you couldn't have the same in your truck along with a connection to an inverter to provide pseudo shore power. Pop a couple of Battleborn packs in a box in the bed, add an inverter and an engine generator and you are good to go!
I think this is a very smart setup. As I mentioned somewhere else, generators will be less and less needed as solar and batteries advance. But a TV is needed and fittin it with the capability to safely provide power from it's engine when needed is a very efficient way of travelin. I always felt it would be smarter to increase the electrical capabilities of the TV over the trailer cause, in my case at least, I'll always have the TV with me.but not necessarily the trailer. And the TV has an ice that will provide power as long as there's gasoline in an emergency.

But beyond an emergency, you gotta drive it once in a while. I don't move my trailer every day, but I do drive my truck nearly every day. If I could charge up a large battery bank with my alternator within an hour or two of drivin, that could give me silent shore power at camp, which could be boosted by my solar. At that point the truck bed becomes a silent lithium generator at camp that should be capable of 3000w.

Im probly not makin sense cause I'm bad at typin but basically that's what I'm aimin at eventually. I have many parts of that setup already but haven't gone all in.
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Old 07-11-2017, 12:53 PM   #8
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I'm thinking the TV alternator is charging the trailer batteries while plugged in and driving?
I'm I right or wrong?
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Old 07-11-2017, 01:27 PM   #9
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Yes m.hony the TV alternator charges the TT batteries through the 7 pin connector but at a very low amperage, not to the full capacity of the alternator or the batteries.
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Old 07-11-2017, 02:49 PM   #10
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Yea, but...
If you leave the house with a full charge because you were plugged in or had use/store in store...
Or if you left the campground after being plugged in to shore power...
Or you are driving for a really long time...
There TV alternator should maintain the coach batteries in any of these scenarios.
It is very important to have the coach batteries charged while traveling so that the brake-away brake system will work if needed...
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Old 07-11-2017, 02:51 PM   #11
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Hi, m.hony.

A lot of us do not start at the house to go campin and we don't always camp with hookups. I haven't used my shore power cord since June 20 and I've been campin that whole time. When you're only drivin a couple hours between campsites, getting a full charge would be nice.

Not useful for everyone. But for some of us.
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Old 07-11-2017, 03:19 PM   #12
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So what do you do?
Solar?
Generator?
There has got to be a way to maintain the batteries so you can use the 12 volt system in the trailer and so your brake-away brake controller will work as intended if needed.
Everyone needs lights when it is dark and everyone need to charge cell phones.
Thinking boondocking must be primarily a western/northwestern US thing where the climate is mild and dry. Too hot and humid here in the south to do without a/c.
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Old 07-11-2017, 04:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m.hony View Post
So what do you do?
Solar?
Generator?
There has got to be a way to maintain the batteries so you can use the 12 volt system in the trailer and so your brake-away brake controller will work as intended if needed.
Everyone needs lights when it is dark and everyone need to charge cell phones.
Thinking boondocking must be primarily a western/northwestern US thing where the climate is mild and dry. Too hot and humid here in the south to do without a/c.
Yep I use solar mainly and it's great. No generator i don't wanna deal with that.

When there is no sun for several days I have an auxillary battery I keep charged and use it to charge the trailer. My solar gives me several amps even on cloudy days. Using my cell.right now to chat with you. And listenin to music on the stereo.

I am from Virginia. Grew up outside Warrenton without a/c and survived. Visited family in Tucson every year in my parents trailer with just a swamp cooler and survived. In Staunton we've got a window a/c in the bedroom and that's it. Not as humid as Mississippi I know. But I have dry camped all over the south. I try to travel with the weather. Sometimes it has been nasty. Usually it is ok.

Today it is thick clouds and 70 degrees in Crested Butte at 9000' and my solar has already boosted my batteries and has em on float. I don't plan on pluggin in anytime soon.

But gettin a good charger from the umbilical would be great, too.

Lots of ways to camp. Ya can take a look around this forum and see lots of folks campin off grid.

Happy campin from the cloudy Colorado Rockies!

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Old 07-11-2017, 05:51 PM   #14
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There are dry camping only campgrounds in Mississippi like Jeff Busby on the Natchez Trace.
You really wouldn't want to camp there in July or August.
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