Fridge on battery while towing - Page 2 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 04-03-2015, 01:31 PM   #11
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Does the size of the alternator on the tow make much difference? I know if you have big wiring, 10 gauge or less, on the tow vehicle it would help, just never understood how alternator size fits in the mix.

It appears that the tow mode on Myron's vehicle kicks up the what? Alternator perhaps? Is that a correct assumption?

On the Escape 21 that run to the batteries from the alternator must be close to 40 feet, the way the crow flies. I believe the charge wire on the female side 7 pin Bargman connector is 10 gauge, I would be surprised if factory installed wire on the tow is that large.
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Old 04-03-2015, 02:09 PM   #12
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About the same distance for the 5.0 TA, don't know what gauge the wires are on the trailer or the truck.

Jim, RML 8555 is 170 watts, RMD 8555 is 170 watts according to the specs at Dometics web site.
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Old 04-03-2015, 02:17 PM   #13
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Wow, 40 feet at low voltage, high current DC is a long way! That gets me thinking....I wonder what gauge wire ETI runs to the 12V element on the fridges. It wouldn't play into battery charging, of course, but it could matter in terms of voltage available at the 12V heating element and related fridge performance.
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Old 04-03-2015, 02:53 PM   #14
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Just read the chapter for towing in my truck owners manual. It says, "...if charging a remote battery press the Tow/Haul Mode button at the end of the shift lever. This will boost the vehicle system voltage and properly charge the battery. A second way to boost the vehicle system... (if you don't have a Tow/Haul Mode) ...is turn on the headlamps."

So governing transmission braking on a grade is not the sole benefit of using the tow/haul mode.
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:03 PM   #15
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Tow/Haul made no difference on the F150, will try the lights when I get a chance.
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
Does the size of the alternator on the tow make much difference? I know if you have big wiring, 10 gauge or less, on the tow vehicle it would help, just never understood how alternator size fits in the mix.
Modern alternators have huge capacity, so it no longer matters to trailer charging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
It appears that the tow mode on Myron's vehicle kicks up the what? Alternator perhaps? Is that a correct assumption?
The regulator - which controls the alternator's operation - is being directed to aim for a higher voltage in tow/haul mode in Myron's Silverado.

For an analogy, it is like cruise control (the regulator) being set to a higher speed (higher voltage) and controlling the engine output (the alternator output) as required to achieve the new target.
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Old 04-03-2015, 10:49 PM   #17
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Jim - I'd like to echo Bob's opinion that another 50W panel won't be enough. I have 195W of roof-mounted panels, and after a day of towing with the fridge on 12V, I can't fully recharge my two 6V batteries the next day, at least at this time of year. If you get a 100W portable panel so you can aim it, you might do better.
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Old 04-04-2015, 10:08 AM   #18
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Mike,
Why doesn't your tow vehicle alternator make up the difference? Bob's numbers indicate a shortage of approximately 2 a/h while hooked up and a surplus of 3 a/h with the solar while hooked up?

With 14 a/h at 100% run time over 12 hours day time means 168 consumed less 120 replaced by alternator or a negative 48 draw down. Same for the night, or about 100 a/h shortage for the dual 6 volts over 24 hours. What solar would I need for 8 hours of sun to replenish that. Plus, I will not be driving 24 hours, when I stop I can switch to propane, so the shortage should be about 1/2 or about 50 a/h. Thus I'd need about 150 watts over 8 hours to make up that difference. These are my calculations and maybe wrong? Any thoughts or ideas?
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Old 04-04-2015, 11:00 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Mike,
Why doesn't your tow vehicle alternator make up the difference?
...
I'm just going from my own experience; I haven't done any calculations. At idle my Tacoma will charge the trailer's batteries at a rate of 400 milliamps, not very much. I don't know how much it charges at highway speeds, say at 2000 rpm, because it would take one person to rev the engine and another to watch the trailer's battery monitor, and I forgot to try this. As the AM Solar people pointed out to me, the alternator is at one end of one vehicle and the trailer batteries are at the other end of it, so that's almost 40 feet of wiring the current has to travel.

My typical travel day involves five hours of towing. The fridge puts a 14 amp draw on the batteries during this period minus the charge from the alternator, which I don't know (see above). The real issue is recharging the batteries afterward with the solar panel(s). The farther you get from the summer solstice the more difficult this becomes with fixed, roof-mounted panels. Last May I didn't notice a problem. But during a trip last fall and on my current trip I definitely notice the difference. If you buy a portable panel that you can aim, a 50W panel might be sufficient, but I would opt for something bigger, just based on my own experience so far.
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Old 04-04-2015, 11:23 AM   #20
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I almost always tow with the fridge on propane. I don't think I have ever tried the fridge on 12V, and cannot imagine a scenario where I would need to do so. With the fridge running on propane, my batteries are in no danger of becoming depleted when travelling, and through the combination of charge wire from the tow vehicle and the solar panels, I normally have full battery power when I get to my destination.
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