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Old 05-29-2011, 10:29 AM   #1
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Is TV batt isolated from AS house batts?

Please pardon my continuing questions. I do a Search on most of these, but this one didn't seem to work out well.

Thinking about the WDH stuff, I was thinking about what else was going on at that interface beween TV and AS, and wondered if that 7-way trailer harness connector is tied in with the ignition switch on the truck.

Is this how and where the starting battery in the tow vehicle is kept isolated from the discharging house batteries on the Airstream?

this is some place the home handy man could screw up if he wasn't careful, huh.
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Old 05-29-2011, 10:53 AM   #2
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Regarding the battery Isolation, the answer is maybe. I believe Ford uses a relay tied to the ignition switch, Not sure about the others.

In years past diode isolators were common but I don't think they are in common use today.
You can check for the presence of voltage at the TV connector with a meter or test light with the key on and off and without the trailer connected.
In my case I have added a relay and a separate switch to control the charge line which is usually OFF since we have solar.
This became necessary when I was delivering new trailers and frequently every light in them was turned on and they were all running off my battery.

Of course on an overnight stop you can always just unplug the TV cord. If I do this I will wrap the seatbelt around the steering wheel so I have a reminder that there is something I need to do before moving on
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Old 05-29-2011, 12:02 PM   #3
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Gringo, on the Fords, the charge wire is on a relay, and disconnected unless the key is in the on position. My Nissan was like that also, I thought a friends 2010 Chevy is like that, but someone in another thread says his older Chevy is hot all the time. In any case, i wouldn't worry about draining the trailer battery starting the truck. The wire in all these factory tow harnesses are too small to draw much current.
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:06 PM   #4
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I agree - the drawl you pull from the trailer battery if any will be charged back up fairly quickly - and if it was actually drawing power from the Trailer - that wiring would most likely burn itself out so I'm betting by design it's bypassed via diodes or something else...
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:10 PM   #5
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I was more concerned the other way around. I wouldn't want to sit someplace for a day or two and find out that something in the trailer's 12 volt system had completely drained all the batteries, including the truck battery.
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Old 05-29-2011, 04:35 PM   #6
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At least on my '09 GMC, the charge line is "hot" all the time ... I hooked it up that way. So when I park for long and don't unhitch, I always just "unplug" the trailer. Causes me to wonder - and perhaps I ought to check - if I leave the plug in and it's sunny, would my solar panels on the trailer also top off the truck's two batteries, or is there a diode in the circuit somewhere?
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Old 05-29-2011, 05:46 PM   #7
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If it direct connected as is most likely, the trailer panels should charge the truck battery. You should be able to see a voltage increase of a few tenths at the truck battery when you plug the cord in.

I developed an intermittent alternator in South Dakota and used the charge line from the trailer to help me along until I got back to TN.
Wouldn't provide all the charge to stay even but every now and then the alternator would start to work and between the two got home ok
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Old 05-30-2011, 05:31 AM   #8
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ah, so the answer is, if we find ourselves boondocking someplace for a few days, unplug the trailer from the truck. or else when we go to leave we might find ourselves up the proverbial tributary without the proper means of location.

and no way to start the truck.
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Old 05-30-2011, 06:05 AM   #9
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They used to provide a crank to turn the motor over... :-)
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Old 05-30-2011, 06:23 AM   #10
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Depends on your TV. The best way is to check the charge line when the ignition is off. Both of my Fords disconnect the Charge line when the TV is off.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:36 AM   #11
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To be sure.

If you are not sure; there are a few options.
Unplug the TV
Install an isolator switch
Pull the fuse in the charge line.
Of course in all of the above there are things to remember.
I always check the lights on the trailer before leaving home or a camp site.
The seat belt thru the steering wheel is a good idea. I would have to put a "sticky note" on the dash to help me remember why the seat belt was there. LOL
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
The seat belt thru the steering wheel is a good idea. I would have to put a "sticky note" on the dash to help me remember why the seat belt was there. LOL
Good one, and frighteningly close to the truth!
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:57 AM   #13
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you guys use seat belts?
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Old 05-30-2011, 06:53 PM   #14
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A Silver Streak owner to the rescue

Oversized TV to TT Batt Chg
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:04 PM   #15
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There's an idea. Standard marine battery switch. I have LOTS of experience with these.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:58 PM   #16
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my 1988 will draw down the tv starter battery unless the tv has and isolator. the trailer does not have the tv isolation built in.
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:00 PM   #17
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Our original tow vehicle was a 1978 Chevy crewcab pickup. When we bought our 19-foot Bambi in 2005, the Airstream dealer wired the truck for the new connector for the Airstream (the other existing connectors were for older travel trailers and boat trailers and were incompatible with the newer trailer connector). Part of the rewiring under the hood was installing an inline isolation relay for the "hot" line to the trailer. The activation voltage was connected to the ignition, so that the line was only hot when the pickup ignition was turned ON; otherwise, it was disconnected. Our 2008 Tundra came from the factory similarly wired.

However, there are still electrical items in the trailer that will drain the trailer battery, even when the "storage switch" is used. For this reason, I installed a marine battery isolator switch, which completely disconnects the trailer batteries from everything. Our trailer now has two Optima Blue Top marine batteries, which have held a charge for up to six months in storage. Optima advertises that their batteries will hold a charge for up to a year, and I believe that ours would last that long. However, I turn the marine switch ON for 24 hours (overnight) about once a month to allow the converter to charge the trailer batteries. This keeps our batteries ready to go while eliminating the possibility of overcharging, even though our Airstream is connected to 110V continuously.
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