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Charging battery while driving

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roylewis
(@roylewis)
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Joined: 11 months ago
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Ordered the battery monitor you suggested.  It should arrive tomorrow.  Will investigate and let the thread know my results.

Oh and its a 2016 model (I bought in 2017 as a retirement present for myself).  Did a bunch of trips and then Covid happened. Hoping 2022 is better.  Heading to Portland (from LA) on Monday.

Thanks.


   
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Wildcat
(@wildcat)
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@roylewis. Excellent present to self.  I live only 30 miles from Oregon Coast, and that's where I usually go, although usually north or south from Florence. I've always gone to somewhere in the Northwest, far as Mount Rainier or Steen's Mountain or Hart Mountain or the redwoods.  Hate freeways.  But lucky so far, I guess, with the trailer.  I still camped through covid, it seemed like the safest thing to do with dog.  Hope you have an easy fix.


   
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roylewis
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I received the tester.  Showed me that it is getting power from an external source (alternator symbol) and charging the battery WHILE it's connected to house power (120V).  When I hook it up to my running truck I don't get that its being charged from an alternator symbol.  I tested the power at the truck and its definitely supplying power.  So the power is not getting to the battery from the connector.  I checked the fuses and they are all okay.  This makes sense as I'd not be getting any battery power with a blown fuse.  And checked shutoff switch.  Its okay too.  Just no power going from truck alternator to camper battery.

I'm now up in OR and used my workaround method again for the trip up (extension cord running from back of truck to electric hookup on camper -- I have 120V outlet on my Tacoma).  Still charges the battery THAT way.  But now finding that this three year old battery won't hold enough charge to run the refrigerator for more than a few minutes when I use just camper battery.  Going to replace the battery.

I'll continue to investigate this and post my results (good to bad).


   
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Wildcat
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Very interesting.  That's kind of a bummer using the work-around.  Will be interesting to see what happens.  They say you should not let the battery get down very far.  Many people use solar to keep a fridger going on battery.  I'm always under trees or clouds so have not used solar.  Besides which, i don't sit at a camp site all day, and someone would steal it.  I like the idea of solar attached to top of trailer, but trees drip gunk all the time, including pitch.  Anyway, I have just avoided having any electric appliances to save me trouble which is why I haven't paid attention to fridger problems.  I've considered a spendy fridge for inside the car, but so far have done ok.  Be nice to have ice cream! 


   
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Wildcat
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This chart tells you how your battery is, the first chart.  Supposed to keep it above 50 % to keep the battery healthy.

This post was modified 11 months ago by Wildcat

   
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Wildcat
(@wildcat)
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roylewis
(@roylewis)
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I finally have an update to this issue and can mark it resolved (I think).  I went on another trip north back in March.  Ended up with the same problem; on second night camping my fridge went into power saving mode (meaning the battery was low).  I again rigged up an extension cord to the power and plugged it into my 120V adapter on my truck.  This charged up the battery while I drove.  This was a workaround but I should need to do this.

But I was still bugged by this and decided to figure out the problem today.  I mapped out all the lines and used a Voltmeter to measure the power.  I found my truck supplies power but only when its running.  So Alternator is supplying the power.  It was enough power that it SHOULD be charging my camper battery but apparently wasn't.  I disconnected the battery to see if the power being supplied as making it to the battery and found it wasn't.  In fact, it wasn't leaving my truck.  Checking the connection revealed a poor connection on that power line.  Messing with the connector and suddenly I have power all the ay to the battery.  Reconnected everything and found it to be still working.  It was the connector.

I did purchase the measuring tool suggested on this thread and found it to be very helpful and will be using it in the future to ensure that I have a valid connection.  Also found a much easier way to verify this.

I normally enable my emergency flashers after connecting the camper to my truck to ensure that my tail lights are all working before heading out.  In the future, I will also be using the switch on the camper that disables the battery; if the connector is properly connected I will have power in the camper when the battery is disabled.  No power in camper means bad connection.  Then turn battery enable switch back on so that it charges while I drive.

I will be heading back to Portland in June so I can report back whether I had anymore issues with this.


   
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roylewis
(@roylewis)
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I would like to thank everyone that responded with suggestions (especially the link for the meter).  It reenforced the idea that it SHOULD be working and that there was a problem on my side.  I really should have taken the time to diagnose this issue a long time ago and saved myself a lot of issues on all the trips I made with it not working.

 

Thanks again for the suggestions and helpful comments.


   
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roylewis
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Oh, forgot to add a follow-up comment about my three year old battery not holding a charge.  I had purchased it in Portland on a trip up there (someone stole my old one).  So I went back to the shop where I bought it from to inquire about any warranty.  Nope, only one year warranty.  But they offered to run a diagnostic test on it if I brought it in.  Nice.  When I went to disconnect the battery I found the screw holding the cable on was loose.  Oops.  It wasn't a bad battery, it was a loose connection.  Tightened it back down and power was back to normal.  Had it tested anyway and battery still in good working order.


   
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Wildcat
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@roylewis Well, it's always a relief to get things working properly, glad you got it fixed.  I keep hoping I will continue not to have a problem.  My battery is over six years old.  Just did a short trip on Oregon Coast, and all was well.


   
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roylewis
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@wildcat Where do you camp on the coast?  I'm always looking for new camping sites out there.  Typically have been using a site just north of Florence called: Sutton Campground.  It's a nice campsite but a pain to get to the ocean.  I bring my bike, bike down the road, and hike over the dunes to the water.  Would like a site closer to the water.


   
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Wildcat
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@roylewis There are a few I've camped in on the Oregon coast because I only live 30 miles inland from Florence.  I will go into them in the Camping and RV Parks heading shortly.


   
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