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Old 07-29-2019, 11:14 AM   #21
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Is the 250w solar roof mounted? is there room for 250 more?

Anderson connectors are the standard for sure. You're not going to have any issues with them in this application outside of dust/dirt build up from lack of use.

I would not rule out the 2000w class generator either.
No matter what happens the 2000w generator will be the most efficient internal combustion engine driven way to charge your batteries. I understand the fuel issues but I really find them to be negligible in reality.

If a 500w of PV array is not adequate I would think you'd almost have to rely on another source of charging frequently.
If you are planning for a worse case scenario then absolutely a set of quality 1/0 jumper cables would be easy, just skip the Anderson connectors all together.
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Old 07-29-2019, 12:10 PM   #22
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Thumbs down "West Coast Adventure" method has a critical typo, and doesn't work very well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tvoneicken View Post
....Also, is anyone using the "15 minutes engine on, 15 minutes engine off" protocol that Andy describes in https://rvlifemag.com/west-coast-adventure/ and can relate how well it works?.
It says:
Quote:
g) Once your trailer battery is down to around 11 volts you need to recharge.
If you wait that long, the batteries are dead (and will never recharge again). I'm sure that he meant to say "around 12 volts". With that said, his "method" doesn't control charge current, except by hoping that the size of the jumper cable, with a lot of resistance, results in sort-of-correct amount of current. But that resistance also creates Voltage Drop, in comparison to the ECU-controlled "12V" Voltage under the hood.

After the "balance the battery voltages" warm up period (15 minutes) is done and you turn on the engine: If the jumper cable is too BIG, you will get too much current (Trojan recommends a 10% charging rate, only 22.5A for both batteries.) If the Jumper cable is too SMALL, the high Voltage Drop doesn't provide enough Voltage (at 22A) to push all the amps.

All of the "Voltage Booster" Products work much better (Renogy, Redarc, and Home-Built). They separate the "power pulling process" from the "Battery Charging process", allowing different Voltage values, and different Current Amounts on the two sides of the Solar Controller subcomponent. Voltage and Current at the batteries is optimized for the batteries.

The "West Coast Adventure" method is unable to optimize either value - it drags down the Tow Vehicle Voltage, hoping the ECU responds correctly (which it will), but current AND voltage at the batteries is limited by characteristics of the jumper cable. Voltage will always be too low. Current? No one really knows, it's a crap-shoot.
- - - -
Slightly off-topic: He put in those periods of "turn off the truck and let it rest, while connected, the turn it back on" to protect the cooling and exhaust systems of lesser vehicles. At low RPM, some cooling systems don't work very well. And, in a truck which is not moving, and doesn't have fast 'wind' blowing on the Catalytic Converter Shield and Mufflers from underneath - everything downstream of the Exhaust Manifold can overheat. But Gen4 and Gen5 4Runners, subjected to long idle times, generally don't have those problems. (I don't know your model year, you didn't say.)
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Old 07-29-2019, 12:17 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarterKraft View Post
Is the 250w solar roof mounted? is there room for 250 more?
It's a 23FB, there's room for some more but not that much. I first thought of adding 100W or 200W of portable panels, but I realized that in the "honey, we're running dead" situations I've experienced none of these would have helped, e.g., due to a streak of totally grey days or dense forest cover.

Quote:
Anderson connectors are the standard for sure. You're not going to have any issues with them in this application outside of dust/dirt build up from lack of use.
Agreed in general. What I'm not so sure about is making and breaking a connection between two batteries due to the arcing. Plus, when handling the connectors my fingers are closer to the action than when using jumper cables...

Quote:
I would not rule out the 2000w class generator either.
No matter what happens the 2000w generator will be the most efficient internal combustion engine driven way to charge your batteries. I understand the fuel issues but I really find them to be negligible in reality.
I have a Yamaha ES2000i. That's what I'm trying to replace. 50lbs+ on the tongue with my TV is not negligible, plus, when I've used it I have been extremely underwhelmed by charging rate due to the parallax converter, but I admit I haven't tried it when the batteries are down to 50% or so. So to make the generator (or an inverter) work it looks like I'd have to invest in another charger as well.

Quote:
If a 500w of PV array is not adequate I would think you'd almost have to rely on another source of charging frequently.
This is not for frequent use. What we have works great 99% of the time. I'm looking for a backup solution that is not too expensive and doesn't involve a lot of installation work.

Quote:
If you are planning for a worse case scenario then absolutely a set of quality 1/0 jumper cables would be easy, just skip the Anderson connectors all together.
Yes, I was hoping to hear from someone who regularly uses that. I'm hesitant from a safely perspective. One situation where I had to use the generator is in one of the overflow campgrounds near Yosemite (along Lee Vining creek). The solar was insufficient due to tree cover, narrow valley and cloud cover (I believe I only had 100W at the time also). There were lots of kids running and biking around, not sure how good I would have felt about having jumper cables hooked up for an hour or two given the relative fragility of the jumper cable grip.

Looks like I have to intentionally discharge my batteries at home and test the jumper cable thing out to see what charge rates I can get and how the TV battery takes it.
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Old 07-29-2019, 12:26 PM   #24
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Quote:
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Sigh, looks like some people don't read the original post and simply hit the reply button with some 10 paragraph long canned message
That 10 paragraph message was written specifically for you, with great effort. I have now addressed the "West Coast Adventure" method as well, describing possible issues with over-cabling or under-cabling between vehicles. I agree, that there seems to be reading problem. I'll leave the Thread alone now. Feel free to PM any time you like.
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Old 07-29-2019, 12:36 PM   #25
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we use a victron isolator that isolates the TV from the AS. it allows TV to charge to AS, but no back flow
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Old 07-29-2019, 12:55 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickst29 View Post
It says: If you wait that long, the batteries are dead (and will never recharge again). I'm sure that he meant to say "around 12 volts".
11V open circuit is indeed pretty dead, good catch.

Quote:
With that said, his "method" doesn't control charge current, except by hoping that the size of the jumper cable, with a lot of resistance, results in sort-of-correct amount of current. But that resistance also creates Voltage Drop, in comparison to the ECU-controlled "12V" Voltage under the hood.

After the "balance the battery voltages" warm up period (15 minutes) is done and you turn on the engine: If the jumper cable is too BIG, you will get too much current (Trojan recommends a 10% charging rate, only 22.5A for both batteries.) If the Jumper cable is too SMALL, the high Voltage Drop doesn't provide enough Voltage (at 22A) to push all the amps.
I had not seen the "10%-13% of C-20" figure from Trojan, that's a good point. Turns out to be closer to 30A for the T-105's (225Ah * 13% = 29.25A) and the user guide (where I found the mention) has a "*: If charging time is limited contact Trojan Technical Support for assistance." whatever that means...

I wonder what the net effect of too-high charge currents is. I suspect mostly boiling off?

Did you actually try the jumper cable method and look at the currents you get?

Quote:
All of the "Voltage Booster" Products work much better (Renogy, Redarc, and Home-Built). They separate the "power pulling process" from the "Battery Charging process", allowing different Voltage values, and different Current Amounts on the two sides of the Solar Controller subcomponent. Voltage and Current at the batteries is optimized for the batteries.
Given the 13% max recommended charge rate I would have to agree. I thought I could put 50A into the T-105's without much harm. Sigh.

Quote:
But Gen4 and Gen5 4Runners, subjected to long idle times, generally don't have those problems. (I don't know your model year, you didn't say.)
Thanks for stating that, I have a 2004 (Gen4) V8 model.
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Old 07-29-2019, 01:42 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickst29 View Post
Bargman "Trailer Battery Charge"
Just checking: that's a brand-name for the standard 7-conductor cable between TV and TT? Or is it a special product?

I appreciate the detail in your post. Thanks for not mentioning the perils of idling diesel engines ;-)...

Quote:
But the Renogy contains a (cheap) PWM controller, and (SWAG) runs only 85-90% efficient when charging batteries.
[...]
The Redarc devices are lot more expensive, but CAN run with connected Solar Panels at the same time they are pulling power from the TV. They also contain MPPT controllers, providing higher efficiency and generating only 1/3 - 1/2 as much heat.
[...]
But you already have Solar Panels, and a Solar Charger. If it's a good one (MPPT), then I recommend that you connect the Bargman "12V Battery Charge" into a Regulated Output "Boost" Converter (either 10-17VDC input to 24V regulated output, or 10-17VDC input to 36V regulated output) and also buy a 5-pin automotive Relay. It's not complicated, but you need to read carefully:
I do not believe that MPPT is useful for the TV->TT charging situation, only for solar panels. With a DC-DC boost converter it could be harmful by actively trying to overload the converter...

I have a Bogart SC-2030 solar charger and you'd have to pry it from my dead hands to change it :-). Sounds like I have two primary options: DC-DC boost cvt into the solar charger and Renogy 20A DCC install into the trailer.

The SC-2030 supposedly can deliver 30A into the batteries and I didn't see how to limit that (I'm sure there is indirectly, need to contact them). Do you have a DC-DC boost converter you would recommend? I'm actually wondering whether such a configuration (DC-DC boost into solar charger) can be stable (unless specifically engineered for that purpose) given the switching nature of the beasts. Have you done it?
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Old 07-29-2019, 01:59 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvoneicken View Post
11V open circuit is indeed pretty dead, good catch.



I had not seen the "10%-13% of C-20" figure from Trojan, that's a good point. Turns out to be closer to 30A for the T-105's (225Ah * 13% = 29.25A) and the user guide (where I found the mention) has a "*: If charging time is limited contact Trojan Technical Support for assistance." whatever that means...

I wonder what the net effect of too-high charge currents is. I suspect mostly boiling off?

Did you actually try the jumper cable method and look at the currents you get?



Given the 13% max recommended charge rate I would have to agree. I thought I could put 50A into the T-105's without much harm. Sigh.



Thanks for stating that, I have a 2004 (Gen4) V8 model.
I did this once the opposite direction, my truck battery was severly drained and I used the trailer batteries to jump the truck.

Out of curiosity I checked the amps, at first there were 25.??amps which after about 5 minutes dropped to 14.?? amps for the next 10 minutes that I left the jumper cables hooked up.


Thanks
Matti
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:04 PM   #29
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Thanks for more details. No 'Homebuilt' for you!

First, let me immediately apologize for my kinda snarky comment http://www.airforums.com/forums/f37/...ml#post2270425, (I would delete if I could.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by tvoneicken View Post
Just checking: that's a brand-name for the standard 7-conductor cable between TV and TT? Or is it a special product?
That's the brand name for the 7-pin connector.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tvoneicken View Post
I appreciate the detail in your post. Thanks for not mentioning the perils of idling diesel engines ;-)...

I do not believe that MPPT is useful for the TV->TT charging situation, only for solar panels. With a DC-DC boost converter it could be harmful by actively trying to overload the converter...

I have a Bogart SC-2030 solar charger and you'd have to pry it from my dead hands to change it :-). Sounds like I have two primary options: DC-DC boost cvt into the solar charger and Renogy 20A DCC install into the trailer.

The SC-2030 supposedly can deliver 30A into the batteries and I didn't see how to limit that (I'm sure there is indirectly, need to contact them). Do you have a DC-DC boost converter you would recommend? I'm actually wondering whether such a configuration (DC-DC boost into solar charger) can be stable (unless specifically engineered for that purpose) given the switching nature of the beasts. Have you done it?
Per previous posts, yes. I (and some other people) use the Homebuilt "Boost first, then into an MPPT Solar Charger I already have" scheme on every trip we take. My typical usage is for camping under trees, but we also use it on the road (450 watts from the 4Runner "beats" 360 watts from my panels, even under perfect sunlight.) I've been using it since 2015.

Your Bogart Controller is pretty good PWM, but the difference from MPPT) is critical in this particular usage, and the lack of a programmable current limit is a showstopper.

When using a PWM controller, you can "think" of dividing the output power from your Panels into two portions. The portion of power being offered" above the battery charging Voltage is left unused (wasted in the panels), while the portion of Panel power being offered at or below the battery charging Voltage is sent to the batteries.

That's not exactly how they work, but it's a pretty close and easy-to- use approximation.
- - - - -

Gory Details:
Actually, at the "beginning", good PWM chargers will connect the panels continously, and pull higher current (at lower Voltages) than the I(mp) value. They don't pull full rated maximum Panel Power, because the Voltage is too low, but they take in everything which the panels will deliver at that low voltage. This is called "Direct Connect" mode.

But later, as the battery Voltage begins to come up and take less current, the Panel output Voltage will increase towards the battery charging Voltage. When the Panel Voltage exceeds the battery charging Voltage at the the maximum Current which the batteries will accept at that Voltage, the Solar Controller moves to PWM mode. It will very rapidily switch the Panel Connection on and off, averaging out (through capacitors, and through the battery bank itself) to a lower Voltage for battery charging.

- - - - -
When the batteries can accept everything the panels can dish out, MPPT basically attempts to suck in all the Amperage which the Panels can create at optimal Voltage V(mp) - but the "converts" the "high-Voltage" portion of that power into More Output Amperage at low Voltage. It's more complicated than PWM.
- - - - -
With either kind of Solar Controller, the Controller can only reduce Voltage, and can never increase it. And a PWM Controller can never increase the output current above the input value,

"Homebuilt" DC-DC boost Converter into your PWM solar charger is almost exactly like installing a 20A Renogy, (It's also PWM device.) But there is one critical difference: YOUR controller isn't limited to 20A maximum output. AFAICT, there is no way to progam a lower limit. Your controller would try to pull more than 30A through the Bargman, and the Bargman can't take it. Without getting a different Solar Controller, 'Homebuilt' is out for you.
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:56 PM   #30
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I was going the Bogart route but the lemmings made me feel inadequate and so I went Victron... (kidding,kidding)

But can't you control the parameters of the SC-2030 when combined with the Tri-Metric battery monitor? I felt like you could but honestly I am not sure now thinking about it?
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Old 07-29-2019, 04:00 PM   #31
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Thankfully, I don't have that problem. My TV (F250 6.7L) has 2 batteries and it also charges the AS while we are connected and driving. When camped, I have both portable solar and also generator if needed. As UB said, a light weight, inexpensive generator can be a wise investment also when there is no sun and you don't have your trailer connected or your TV does not charge your trailer while connected. Remember, some vehicles don't have the "fuse/relay" in them for charging; you have to purchase separate. YMMV
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Old 07-29-2019, 04:22 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvoneicken View Post
It's a 23FB, there's room for some more but not that much. I first thought of adding 100W or 200W of portable panels, but I realized that in the "honey, we're running dead" situations I've experienced none of these would have helped, e.g., due to a streak of totally grey days or dense forest cover.

I understand the thought but also it seems like you are exceeding you storage capacity sometimes daily, likewise you might not have enough Solar to recharge them in less than ideal conditions. Regardless how poor the ouptut is in gray weather or heavy forest a portable set of panels or just more roof top panels could solve the problem. I understand the disdain for portable panels though as I don't care for them only just from a theft/damage/storage during transit standpoint.


Agreed in general. What I'm not so sure about is making and breaking a connection between two batteries due to the arcing. Plus, when handling the connectors my fingers are closer to the action than when using jumper cables...

I didn't specify but the series I prefer is the SB120. It's a good sized connector and has UL listed hotplugging rating at 60 amps. They make "environmental covers" that provide IP64 rating for the connections left on the TV and trailer tongue. Remember these are industrial rated connectors, they aren't RV grade.. They are made to connect high current DC loads through out heavy industry. This will be more labor and cost extensive than jumper cables but will be done right.

I have a Yamaha ES2000i. That's what I'm trying to replace. 50lbs+ on the tongue with my TV is not negligible, plus, when I've used it I have been extremely underwhelmed by charging rate due to the parallax converter, but I admit I haven't tried it when the batteries are down to 50% or so. So to make the generator (or an inverter) work it looks like I'd have to invest in another charger as well.

That's understandable and I can't fault you for wanting to ditch it. In reality if you are underwhelmed by the generator charging I think the TV charging rate could be worse. A boondocker converter or other high power converter might be needed to get the current you desire but as others have said with a 30 amp recommended limit you might want to look at other operating techniques like running off the generator before you need to so the batteries are fully charged going into times of little charging versus waiting until you have depleted them and are still fully awake trying to use power and charge batteries. Obviously lithium solves allot of these time/current shortages but the $$$$ cost is extreme for most.


This is not for frequent use. What we have works great 99% of the time. I'm looking for a backup solution that is not too expensive and doesn't involve a lot of installation work.



Yes, I was hoping to hear from someone who regularly uses that. I'm hesitant from a safely perspective. One situation where I had to use the generator is in one of the overflow campgrounds near Yosemite (along Lee Vining creek). The solar was insufficient due to tree cover, narrow valley and cloud cover (I believe I only had 100W at the time also). There were lots of kids running and biking around, not sure how good I would have felt about having jumper cables hooked up for an hour or two given the relative fragility of the jumper cable grip.

My suggestion would be to position the TV and trailer so there is no path between the two. The connect the cables and ENSURE the hood cannot come to rest on the jumper cable clamps. This might require a scrap of wood to be purpose built with a secure method of attachment to ensure the hood can be left ajar while charging. A mistake here could end up like leaving the awning out where a sudden gust either bends your hood in half or slams it down on some UN-FUSED cables melting your hood, battery, shiny new cables and pride all in a instant...


Looks like I have to intentionally discharge my batteries at home and test the jumper cable thing out to see what charge rates I can get and how the TV battery takes it.
See my replies in red above.
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Old 07-29-2019, 05:25 PM   #33
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I didn't specify but the series I prefer is the SB120. It's a good sized connector and has UL listed hotplugging rating at 60 amps.
I had not seen that model, you're correct, that indeed seems appropriate for the job. Thanks for pointing it out!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarterKraft View Post
That's understandable and I can't fault you for wanting to ditch it. In reality if you are underwhelmed by the generator charging I think the TV charging rate could be worse. A boondocker converter or other high power converter might be needed to get the current you desire but as others have said with a 30 amp recommended limit you might want to look at other operating techniques like running off the generator before you need to so the batteries are fully charged going into times of little charging versus waiting until you have depleted them and are still fully awake trying to use power and charge batteries. Obviously lithium solves allot of these time/current shortages but the $$$$ cost is extreme for most.
I don't think fully charging the batteries using a generator makes sense. That's a lot of hours for very little charge once the batteries get above about 85%. I also don't see the ROI on the lithiums for my type of usage where dipping below 70%-80% is rare. At the rate at which things are going, I would bet that my batteries will die from factors that I can't control, such as road vibration/shocks before they will die from deep discharge cycles, so I've decided to stop worrying about deep discharge :-).
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Old 07-29-2019, 07:06 PM   #34
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Nope, you can't do that with Bogart equipment.

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I was going the Bogart route but the lemmings made me feel inadequate and so I went Victron... (kidding,kidding)

But can't you control the parameters of the SC-2030 when combined with the Tri-Metric battery monitor? I felt like you could but honestly I am not sure now thinking about it?
I've looked at the manuals. The Tri-Metric provides a current limiter in "Finish Mode" via P2 and P3, but it should only be taking effect during the last 5-8% SOC of battery charging (before actual float, while 'absorb' is still happening). Neiither the Trimetric nor the SC-2030 offers a a setting which can be applied in Boost or early-stage absorb mode. The SC-2030 will try to pull in, and then deliver all 30A.If the batteries are willing to take all 30A. (The SC-2030 is simply a switch, pulling up to 30A from the Converter.)


Let me emphasize: That's harmless for "real" solar panels, but it's probably very dangerous for the Bargman cable. Homebuilt through the Bogart is no-go. The Renogy and Redarc act about the same, but apply lower (and more acceptable) 20A or or 25A output limits.
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Old 07-29-2019, 07:41 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by rickst29 View Post
I've looked at the manuals. The Tri-Metric provides a current limiter in "Finish Mode" via P2 and P3, but it should only be taking effect during the last 5-8% SOC of battery charging (before actual float, while 'absorb' is still happening).
Here's the response from Bogart:

"Thanks for your email. It is not possible to limit the current during the bulk charge phase, without a firmware change. And developing a custom firmware for you will not be cost effective. A workaround would be to define a current limited equalization stage using P15 & P21 and manually initiate the equalization step prior to charging with the tow vehicle."

It goes into more details on how to use P15/P21, but reprogramming the SC-2030 each time I want to charge from the TV isn't practical for me.
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Old 07-30-2019, 06:46 AM   #36
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Hi

Put a deeply discharged set of lead acid's on a commercial charger. Not something you get at the hardware store, one that is on wheels and has big heavy cables on it. I likely has a label on it saying "250A" or something like that.

Fire up the printout gizmo on it (it should have one) and start plotting the charge current. See what it actually *can* put into the batteries. Note how long it takes to get them back up to full charge. I've done all this and my comments are based on that data ....

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Old 07-30-2019, 10:32 AM   #37
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Lightbulb Reviewing the whole Thread, you appear to have 2 options left.

As you have pointed out, we are EXCLUDING "a bigger, better generator"; we are EXCLUDING "more Solar Panels"; and we are EXCLUDING "complex Home-Built with MPPT".

We are also ignoring lengthy idle times with your 2004 4Runner SUV, because my comparable 2007 has been idled for more than an hour in hot weather, many times, with no ill effects. Doing exactly this job! (It continues to pass emissions testing with flying colors, and still performs great.).
- - -
Option 1: Jumper cables, or equivalent. From a bit of critical information provided by Mattirs in post #28, a jumper cable connection between charged and discharged 12V systems (TV and Truck) will probably not exceed battery limit of ~30A. Your results will depend on the resistance of the cable, the voltage differential between vehicles (at the battery terminals), and the internal resistance of T105 batteries under charge.

Advantage? No new equipment to buy and install. Disadvantage? The charging current is not actually controlled by an electronic limiter, it is only "controlled" by voltage differential and total resistance. I would not be concerned about sparks when using this method, the same sparks occur whenever people use jumper cables between vehicles. (Of course, for maximum safety, make the connection between the "-" clamp and Tow Vehicle frame last.)
- - -
Option 2: Buy and Install the Renogy. It's a pretty easy install. Advantage? Only one thing to connect, and it can't be mis-wired. Tthe Bargman cable connection is also 'remote' from both batteries, making a small spark very far away). Disadvantages: Price, Some installation, and extended run times on the 4Runner (due to 20A maximum output current capability).
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Old 07-30-2019, 05:31 PM   #38
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Just saw this today at Costco in Helena... Includes the adapter/cable for running 2 units if desired. Great price if your looking!
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Old 07-30-2019, 09:28 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickst29 View Post
Option 1: Jumper cables, or equivalent. From a bit of critical information provided by Mattirs in post #28, a jumper cable connection between charged and discharged 12V systems (TV and Truck) will probably not exceed battery limit of ~30A. Your results will depend on the resistance of the cable, the voltage differential between vehicles (at the battery terminals), and the internal resistance of T105 batteries under charge.

Advantage? No new equipment to buy and install. Disadvantage? The charging current is not actually controlled by an electronic limiter, it is only "controlled" by voltage differential and total resistance. I would not be concerned about sparks when using this method, the same sparks occur whenever people use jumper cables between vehicles. (Of course, for maximum safety, make the connection between the "-" clamp and Tow Vehicle frame last.)
- - -
Option 2: Buy and Install the Renogy. It's a pretty easy install. Advantage? Only one thing to connect, and it can't be mis-wired. Tthe Bargman cable connection is also 'remote' from both batteries, making a small spark very far away). Disadvantages: Price, Some installation, and extended run times on the 4Runner (due to 20A maximum output current capability).
Yup! Thanks for the write-up. I'm planning to test the jumper cable method over the coming week and measure the amps going through, and then also just plug in the Bargman cable and measure volts & amps through that. The former will provide some info on how "hot" the charge is, the latter will allow me to approximate amps when using the renogy.

One downside that occurred to me about the jumper cable is that the current will not go through the shut used by the Trimetric battery monitor, so its info about the battery state will be a bit off.
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Old 07-30-2019, 10:23 PM   #40
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Good plan (try jumper cables first).

Quote:
Originally Posted by tvoneicken View Post
....
One downside that occurred to me about the jumper cable is that the current will not go through the shunt used by the Trimetric battery monitor, so its info about the battery state will be a bit off.
Yes, this is a side effect of going directly to the batteries. I don't know how easy it is to re-set the "current battery stored Ah" value in a Trimetric. My own equivalent el-cheapo Chinese "Coulomb Counter" is very easy to re-set for external factors, but I don't need to do that (because everything goes through the MPPT and shunt).
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