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Old 10-19-2018, 10:22 AM   #1
robertwy
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Charging battery while driving

I thought my battery would trickle charge while driving from the tow truck with the battery off. I recently had it in for some warranty work and the service rep told me the battery disconnect had to be "on".

Let me define battery disconnect "on"/"off" as I use it:
"On" to me means the battery is making connection
"Off" to me means it is turned off and 12V isn't available except for items that are direct wired such as the propane detector.

So my question is; should it be "On" or "Off" to charge the battery as I drive?
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:47 AM   #2
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The battery disconnect needs to be in the on position to charge the battery or battery's when hook up to the TV. In the on position you can't pull the red key out!
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Old 10-19-2018, 11:01 AM   #3
robertwy
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Thanks. I'll do it that way from now on.
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Old 10-19-2018, 11:13 AM   #4
robertwy
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One other question I just thought of. Does the same logic apply to charging the battery when on shore power? Does the battery have to be on?
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Old 10-19-2018, 11:25 AM   #5
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Yes it does! You will find that even on shore power with the key out a lot of your 12 volt stuff wont work inside your Rig.
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Old 10-19-2018, 11:34 AM   #6
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Bob as usual is exactly right but the wording can be confusing. Battery disconnect on would imply battery is disconnected. Battery connected on/off would to me made better sense.
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Old 10-19-2018, 11:44 AM   #7
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Your wright the best way to look at it! If you can pull key out you have no 12 volts. If you can't pull the key you have 12 volt's.
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Old 10-19-2018, 01:33 PM   #8
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I have owned 2 rigs with the battery disconnect switch. I have never turned the switch on either unit. I have done all kinds of electrical work on both units, on the 12 volt and 120 volt systems. I always disconnect the battery and unplug from shore power prier to doing any work. I can not think of any good reason why the switch is there in the first place since there are several items that are wired directly to the battery anyway. Maybe some think that by turning the switch off while there unit is in storage prevents the battery from draining down ? I have never had to store one and never will (or I will not camp anymore). All mine have stayed hooked up to shore power 24/7

I guess what I'm saying is I just don't get the need for anyone to ever change the position of that switch just because I have not had to do it.
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Old 10-19-2018, 02:19 PM   #9
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I typically always leave the switch to where the battery power is off. However now, as a result of this thread, I'll turn it on when I want to charge the battery, whether traveling down the road or parked with shore power.

Of course, I have always stayed at a place that has shore power. I have turned the battery on while stopped for a brief period so I can turn on some lights in order to find something inside the trailer.
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:34 PM   #10
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If your camper is stored plugged into shore power 24/7 and you have electric hook ups where ever you camp, and of course it is tethered to the truck while towing, there is NO reason to ever touch that battery disconnect switch. It serves no purpose turning it off.
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Old 10-20-2018, 01:23 AM   #11
Lenny K
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I use the disconnect when I'm equalizing the batteries. I equalize at 16 volts and I prefer not to have that much high voltage running through my LED lights and other 12 volt components.
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Old 10-20-2018, 08:46 AM   #12
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I have a tendency to tweak names a bit. Convenience Center renamed Inconvenience Center Center after seeing galley dump valve under a slide on the 379RD. The Disconnect switch is really the Switch of Confusion. It really does not disconnect the battery as an isolation switch, but many people do not find that out until after they have fully drained their battery and shortened its life.

Given the amount of systems that still are powered up when it is off, it could also be called the Kinda Sorta Drive Newbies Crazy Red Thingamabob Battery Slayer Key Switch
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Old 10-20-2018, 08:54 AM   #13
robertwy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffba View Post
I have a tendency to tweak names a bit. Convenience Center renamed Inconvenience Center Center after seeing galley dump valve under a slide on the 379RD. The Disconnect switch is really the Switch of Confusion. It really does not disconnect the battery as an isolation switch, but many people do not find that out until after they have fully drained their battery and shortened its life.

Given the amount of systems that still are powered up when it is off, it could also be called the Kinda Sorta Drive Newbies Crazy Red Thingamabob Battery Slayer Key Switch
Sounds like an appropriate name. I printed that name with my label maker, but it's too long to sick on above the switch. It wraps around the corners.
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Old 10-20-2018, 09:02 AM   #14
jeffba
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I would go with the acronym KSDNCRTBSKS or "Switch serves no useful purpose"
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Old 10-20-2018, 10:26 AM   #15
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The factory installed battery switch is of little to no value except to look good on the showroom floor. In fact, if the owner doesn't fully understand that system, it will cause more harm than good. The best thing to do is remove it all together or at least leave it in the on position. For a true battery disconnect you need to disconnect the battery or, install a quality disconnect directly on the battery cable.
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Old 10-20-2018, 10:38 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffba View Post
I have a tendency to tweak names a bit. Convenience Center renamed Inconvenience Center Center after seeing galley dump valve under a slide on the 379RD. The Disconnect switch is really the Switch of Confusion. It really does not disconnect the battery as an isolation switch, but many people do not find that out until after they have fully drained their battery and shortened its life.

Given the amount of systems that still are powered up when it is off, it could also be called the Kinda Sorta Drive Newbies Crazy Red Thingamabob Battery Slayer Key Switch
Inconvenience center... LMAO!

You have that right. Mine has a battery switch that doesn't disconnect the battery, cable tv connector that is difficult to use, satellite connection that never did work, cable pull tank drain valves that I had to replace (actually re-engineer) and a solar panel plug that is a showroom only selling feature.

On the other hand, the fresh water tank fill valve is nice, and the 12v light works very well.
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Old 10-20-2018, 11:22 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertwy View Post
I thought my battery would trickle charge while driving from the tow truck with the battery off. I recently had it in for some warranty work and the service rep told me the battery disconnect had to be "on".

Let me define battery disconnect "on"/"off" as I use it:
"On" to me means the battery is making connection
"Off" to me means it is turned off and 12V isn't available except for items that are direct wired such as the propane detector.

So my question is; should it be "On" or "Off" to charge the battery as I drive?
I would like to respond to the two questions you posted in this and a subsequent post. First to the above question...The battery "switch" does not have to be in the "on" position to charge your battery when connected to your tow vehicle. If you check pin #4 on your RV plug (at the RV) to ground you will find there is 12V dc there, that tells you there is a direct connection to your battery/ies regardless of the position of the "switch". Try this for yourself.

To your second question regarding charging the battery/ies while connected to shore power, the responses are correct, "switch" must be in the on position to charge. The battery "switch" serves one purpose and that is to isolate the battery from the converter, in doing so no power from the battery goes to the many 12v fuses at the converter, it also prevents the charging of the battery.

There are a couple of items that are not affected by the battery "switch" one being the propane detector so even with the "switch" in the off position there is some drain on the battery. Typically your slides and level up if so equipped will work regardless of the position of the switch.

As to operation of 12v systems when connected to shore power but with the battery "switch" off, you will be able to operate all 12v lights, your fridge (uses 12v for control panel so that it can be operated on propane when not connected to shore power), your furnace and water pump, in other words all 12v fused circuits at your converter because the converter is supplying the 12v rather than the battery. You should not operate your slides or level up without having the battery connected.

It is not difficult to confirm what works and what does not work with respect to the battery "switch" and it might be wise to confirm this with your own unit.

I am in the camp with those who see no reason to use the battery "switch", however I have used it to determine what is and what is not affected by it's position, otherwise it is always on.
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Old 10-20-2018, 01:45 PM   #18
mazboy
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Never have used 'the switch.' Leave it on and if anything, when you leave your trailer disconnect the batteries so EVERYTHING is off.
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Old 10-20-2018, 07:13 PM   #19
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I leave the switch on always. When I leave the trailer for storage I use the battery disconnect that I installed on the negative side if the battery.
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Old 10-20-2018, 07:19 PM   #20
beeje
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Better yet, put a disconnect on either the + or - cable so the rig is absolutely disconnected from the battery (if in storage with no shore power). I put mine on the neg cable.
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