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Old 11-16-2013, 02:33 AM   #1
Seasoned Camper
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Pine
Posts: 61
M.O.C. #12012
Battery Charging

Ok, this will show you how much I don't know about the electrical portion of my rig but, while running my honda gengerator does this charge my 12v batteries? We did just fine for a few days dry camping mostly off generator then when returning home (about an eight hour drive) my batteries were almost dead upon arrival. I did leave the power switch on to run the frig off LP but that was all that was running.
I was under the impression the vehichle would charge the Monti batteries while in tow.

Thanks for any schooling on this.
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Old 11-16-2013, 02:35 AM   #2
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M.O.C. #13395
Have you checked the battery connection on your TV trailer plug? Some trucks have a fuse that has to be moved for it to be hot.
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Old 11-16-2013, 02:38 AM   #3
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Based on personal experience, the fridge on propane (with the other phantom loads like the remote controller board if you have one, propane detector, etc.) would drain our battery overnight when the rig was not hooked up to shore power. I have added a second 12V battery to assist with this, and manage both batteries with a marine type isolator switch. The generator will charge the battery through the converter, and the truck typically provides a minimal trickle charge. What you are experiencing has been typical in all three of our rigs. It would assist the forum members knowing what model rig you have and you can further receive specific truck information by including this information in you profile signature accessible under profile on the menu at the top of each page.

Bingo and Cathy - Our adventures begin in the hills of WV. We are blessed by our 2014 3850FL Big Sky (previous 2011 3750FL and 2007 3400RL) that we pull with a 2007 Chevy Silverado Classic DRW CC dually.
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Old 11-16-2013, 02:58 AM   #4
Seasoned Camper
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Pine
Posts: 61
M.O.C. #12012
Thanks for the info. I'll look into to the fuse issue. Also we do have a second battery, so it sounds like we need to be sure the batteries are charged with a direct charge from the generator. Thanks for the reminder regardng the profile information Bingo. I just retired two weeks ago and beteween retriement parties and our first extended road trip in our Monti I have not taken care of that as yet. Our next trip will be a 5-6 month'r from AZ to AK beging this April so I better get my ducks in a row.
Thanks for your help.
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Old 11-16-2013, 02:59 AM   #5
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By the way it's a 2005 F350 6.0 and a 2006 RK3000
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Old 11-16-2013, 03:51 AM   #6
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We've never had a problem like that and typically dry camp at least one night on our way places. Are you certain everything else was off? We've dry camped with the furnace going for two nights on fully charged batteries before they went close to dead. Also, are you certain the batteries were fully charged to begin with? Don't go by the lights - they're next to useless. Get a hydrometer and test them. A decent one (not one of those little pocket thingies) costs less than $10. One of my next purchases is going to be a real battery monitor (Trimetric), even though we may not go solar.
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:46 AM   #7
Carl n Susan
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One 12V battery should be enough to run the refer on propane for a week. There is something else running to drag down a fully charged battery overnight. Typically the furnace sucks 12V power if it is used. Add in a bunch of standard 12V lights and a dead battery will result.

A 2006 Montana probably has the IOTA DLS 55 converter. This is *NOT* a smart (multi-stage) converter. With 120V power (either shore power or an attached generator) it will take a long time (8 hours?) to fully charge an almost dead battery. If you are going to be dry camping at all, upgrade to a smart charge converter. One of these will re-charge a battery to 90% in a few hours (or less). The IOTA can be upgraded by adding an IQ4 module. It is a little plugin doodad and it works very well. Google for it and it should be in the $30 ballpark.

A 2005 Ford comes with the fuse and relay in place for the trailer charge circuit. Chevy/GMC do not. Maybe that is why a Ford costs more? The suggestion to check the charge circuit is a good one. We see lots of folks with a blown fuse. The trailer charge line is typically a 20 amp circuit and will generally re-charge a battery (albeit slowly) as you drive down the road.
Carl (n Susan)
There is more to life than fuel mileage.
2012 Montana 3700RL Big Sky Package towed by a 2015 Ford F350 6.7L PSD 4WD CC LWB

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Old 11-16-2013, 06:55 AM   #8
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Another point about generators ... charging batteries with the 12V charge port directly off the generator doesn't charge a battery very quickly. Either modify your converter as mentioned above (if needed) or simply carry a 110V battery charger around and run it off your generator. This will provide a much quicker charge.
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Old 11-16-2013, 11:04 AM   #9
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The television antenna amplifier (in bedroom "walk-in" closet of my 5er) being turned on when rig is on battery power only, is a fairly significant drain on the battery bank that people often forget about. Also check for basement lights left on and forgotten. In hot weather, the reefer fans can draw a lot from the battery as well.

I have run multiple lights (incandescent type) for hours at a time, and furnace for about four hours on 1 battery before it was necessary to charge with generator or plugging in to shore power.
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Old 11-16-2013, 03:59 PM   #10
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M.O.C. #12012
Great stuff!! Thanks again to all. I do believe the stock converter was not doing the job (charging) while on generator power and we started home on weak batteries with the truck alternator not being able to recover the full charge.

I'm deffinately going to replace the converter with a multi-stage and check the black "charge" contection on my power from the Monti to the F350. Thanks again to all...............
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:34 AM   #11
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I read that the furnace is somewhere around 10 amps (maybe 9). And when I boondocked in the mountains it ran about 3/4 of the time. So that is 7 amphours per hour. It gets cold by 8 pm and is still cold at 7 am, so that is 7*11 (at least) amphours. Regular batteries are what, 120AH??? So add in other stuff and I got about 1 day on batteries (I wasn't smart with lights, etc the first time out).
I have yet in 2 attempts lasted more than one day on batteries, but now I have a generator.

Tom and Gail
2013 Mountaineer 362
2012 Silverado 2500
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:09 AM   #12
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My '06 Chevy came with a fake fuse in the spot that would charge the batteries as we drive. Bought the correct 40amp fuse and have had no problems since. They told me it was a safety issue and GM sends them out that way. Fuse from dealer was about $7.
Cheap fix.
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Old 11-22-2013, 03:55 AM   #13
Bill and Jan
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Your refrigerator will be fine with the door closed and turned off. We do not travel with the LP tanks turned on. It's a safety issue with us. We have traveled with temps well over 100 and the refrigerator will only lose a degree or two all day. Some people we know turn the fridge off at night while dry camping.
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