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Old 06-07-2011, 08:25 PM   #1
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battery not charging while driving

Coming home from our last trip our battery did not charge while driving, either that or the monitor is faulty. My husband has not had time to test it, (vacation over, back to work!) so thought I would just ask if anyone else has run into this and what trouble shooting we might do, where we might start looking to find what might be going on. Everything was hooked up just fine.

thanks

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Old 06-08-2011, 02:20 PM   #2
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Re: battery not charging while driving

If we run the fridge on DC for long periods of time while driving it can result in our batteries not charging up. Especially if we make a stop and forget to turn the fridge off...
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Old 06-08-2011, 03:09 PM   #3
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Re: battery not charging while driving

Totally agree with Cheryls comment--same thing happened to us this last trip--we had anumber of stops on the way home and the battery was pretty darn low when we got home...
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Old 06-08-2011, 07:43 PM   #4
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Re: battery not charging while driving

Duh! Yes, we have always remembered to turn frig off when we stop for lunch, etc.........except this time! Worse, we didn't even remember that we forgot! I read your post, called my husband & asked if he ever turned it off at our long stops - nope! Both forgot. Thank you for the brain jog, I think a post-it note is called for on our next trip!
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Old 06-09-2011, 04:58 PM   #5
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Re: battery not charging while driving

And for that reason (compounded by my way-above-average absentmindedness) I no longer run the fridge on DC.

(The rare exception would be riding on a ferry on a hot day when I knew that my next stop would have an electrical hookup.)
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:31 PM   #6
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Re: battery not charging while driving

You may want to check the fuse in the truck to the trailer. You never know. We will turn on our fridge a day or two before we travel. Then fill it up with food. When travelling we turn the fridge off until we get to our destination.
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:33 PM   #7
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Re: battery not charging while driving

You may want to check the fuse in the truck to the trailer. You never know. We will turn on our fridge a day or two before we travel. Then fill it up with food. When travelling we turn the fridge off until we get to our destination.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:29 PM   #8
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Re: battery not charging while driving

It all depends on the fridge you had installed. The small standard fridge is 3-way, AC, DC and propane. You can run that fridge on DC while under way, but the fridge eats up the charge from the car that would have gone to the batteries. Thus, the batteries are not charged when you arrive. I have the 5 cu. ft. fridge and it runs only on AC or propane, so I shut it off for travel. I holds the cold quite well, especially if you don't open it several times during the trip.

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Old 07-13-2011, 07:17 PM   #9
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Re: battery not charging while driving

It is possible your wiring harness is not wired properly. you must have a separate charging lead to charge the trailer's batteries. Two of my last 4 tow vehicles did not have this lead, although they all had the "factory towing package". A rv place can check your wiring.
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:58 PM   #10
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Re: battery not charging while driving

The problem is, even if your tow is properly wired, the fridge, running on DC during travel, eats up the power that would have charged the batteries.
The solution is not to travel with your fridge running on DC.


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Old 09-04-2012, 05:07 PM   #11
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Re: battery not charging while driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo
The problem is, even if your tow is properly wired, the fridge, running on DC during travel, eats up the power that would have charged the batteries.
The solution is not to travel with your fridge running on DC.


baglo
So am wondering if you start off with fully charged batteries.Will running the fridge on battery take more draw than the vehicle is putting into charge,while you drive.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:53 PM   #12
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Re: battery not charging while driving

Well, here's the problem. If you are boondocking and your batteries are down, there isn't enough output from the vehicle to run the fridge and charge the battery as you head to your next camp. Also, you need a heavier ground wire than would normally be used. I paid an extra $25 for the wiring harness on the vehicle to upgrade the ground ( and then went with the 5 cu. ft. two-way fridge ).

I've found with my fridge, I can just shut it off and as long as you don't keep opening the door, it will still be cold after five hours ( as in the ice cream in the freezer is only somewhat soft ).

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Old 09-04-2012, 07:20 PM   #13
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Re: battery not charging while driving



"So am wondering if you start off with fully charged batteries.Will running the fridge on battery take more draw than the vehicle is putting into charge,while you drive."
Yes, the 3 way refer pulls about 14 a/h and your tow vehicle wiring will probably only allow 3-4 a/h back to the trailer battery so you will have a (-10) negative balance which will eat into your battery reserve. Ideally, with solar adding another plus of maybe 7 during the day you will reduce your draw to 3-4 which should be fine.
Now driving at night creates a whole new set of parameters.
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:41 PM   #14
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Re: battery not charging while driving

Jim,

I knew I should just defer to the expert. Everything I know is just something somebody told me :P

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Old 09-04-2012, 08:30 PM   #15
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Re: battery not charging while driving

Would you need to turn off the fridge if you had a solar charging system running while the tow vehicle was also charging??
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:04 PM   #16
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Re: battery not charging while driving

Hi Baglo,

I was wondering about the "stay cold" performance of your 5cf frig. I am trying to learn from those before me.
What would you say your starting travel temp was and ambient temperature was in degrees F to make it 5 hours?
Down here what seems to be close to hell, the morning low temperature could be 86 degrees F and reach a high of 102
in the afternoon with 60 percent humidity. So getting maximum performance is very important. I had Reace add extra insulation and a 4" / 12vt thermostat controlled exhaust fan at the top vent of my 5cf. They did a great job making sure no heat is trapped above using a baffel. Frig startup is alway during the night before at max cold setting. Under those conditions we alway travel on propane, circulate air inside the frig. and keep a good, large cooler with block ice for the refreshments so the frig door stays shut as much as possible.

For what little time it's run down here so far, it's seems to be keeping stuff cold.

Thanks, David
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:15 PM   #17
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Re: battery not charging while driving

Before I opted for a 1000W generator, I went to a shop that sells solar, generators and batteries ( a respected industrial supplier ). They told me the most effective way ( power output / hr. ) for charging batteries is a generator. I'm sure he was exaggerating, but said that it would take two weeks of solar to do the same as two hours on a generator ( I'm assuming cost for the solar and generator was the same ).
So, I suspect that your solar array wouldn't accomplish much, while running the fridge on battery.

It's not that there is anything wrong with solar. It's that a fridge, running on battery, draws a lot of power.

I opted for the generator, in part, because everything I read about solar was written by people who were really into the technical. Installing all sorts of devices to monitor their panels and power use. Scared me off.

With that, I'll defer to Jim.

baglo


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Old 09-04-2012, 09:22 PM   #18
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Re: battery not charging while driving

I wasn't monitoring temps, but we left Oregon and got home to North Vancouver, BC in five hours with a pint of Tom 'n Jerry in the freezer and it was perfect for serving. I'm guessing temps were 70 F. outside.

We've done 4 hours from Merritt in the summer ( 32 degrees C. ) through the Fraser Valley ( 31 degrees C. ) and home and I enjoyed a nice cold beer while the Old Bag unloaded Toad and did the laundry. Hey....I have to hook up and do all the driving...

We don't have to contend with your temps, so it's a lot easier.

baglo

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Old 09-05-2012, 11:31 AM   #19
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Re: battery not charging while driving

Thanks for the input.Next time out I'll start the fridge the night before and then turn it off while traveling the next day.Generally I only travel 3-4 hours at the most to a destination.Then will put on propane.Probably the best option for me.
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