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Old 11-04-2010, 09:37 PM   #1
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Trailer battery charge module

I have been looking for a alternative for 20 years to the battery isolator. I did not like the idea of placing a device between the vehicle electrical power system. I have used switches and solenoids but it entailed major alteration under the hood. I found last spring a small trailer battery charge control module that is wired between the power from the vehicle to the trailer battery. It can be installed in the vehicle or the trailer. The beauty of a trailer installation is that if for any reason one uses a different vehicle as long as it has a 7 wire connection,it will charge the trailer's battery without any vehicle alternations. The unit is an Atkinson Electronic module TBCM-40A. It will only connect the trailer battery when the voltage from the vehicle's battery has a full charged at 13.9 volts and will disconnect when the vehicle's battery drops below 12.9 volts. It will cycle on and off when the trailer battery is so low that a constant connection may overheat the power wiring. it will stay on full time when the trailer battery voltage has returned to a higher voltage that still needs charging. I installed it on the lit of the junction box under the front seat. I have heard stories of people leaving their trailer connected only to return with a dead vehicle battery unable to start it. I know that manufacturers are installing safeguards now but with the module both would have to fail at the same time. I shutter at the thought of going for a nice long hike in the middle of nowhere only to be stranded there because i forgot to disconnect the trailer.
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:19 AM   #2
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Re: Trailer battery charge module

I had a look at http://atkinsonelectronics.com/list.asp?lt=marrv

It says the Atkinson Electronic module TBCM-40A was designed for connecting an outboard main motor battery to a trolling battery. Rated at 40 amps switching. Would this be heavy enough for your purposes? It does have a low current draw compared to a diode, which seems like a good thing.

Brian
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Old 11-05-2010, 07:07 AM   #3
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Re: Trailer battery charge module

Unless there was a problem causing a big battery drain, or something was left on in the trailer with a huge power draw, would it not take days to draw the trailer batteries down enough where they would cause the tow battery to be drawn down enough that it would not start the vehicle? I know I left my Pilot attached to the trailer for a couple days before, and when I came back it fired up with no problem, and it does not take much to drain down the Pilot battery so it won't start. Heck, I had the stereo paying without it running for just a couple hours once, and it would not start.
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:47 AM   #4
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Re: Trailer battery charge module

My old trailer had a 3 way fridge that would not run on propane while moving due to the wind blowing the flame out. I ran it on 12v whenever I was towing, but it drew about 10 amps so it would kill both the trailer and the tow vehicle battery very quickly if it was accidently left on the 12v setting when stopped for any length of time. I didn't trust myself to remember to unplug the trailer whenever I stopped, so I wired a solenoid into each tow vehicle that I used to avoid getting stranded. I can appreciate how much work this device would have saved. Thank you for pointing it out.
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:05 PM   #5
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Re: Trailer battery charge module

I was always pretty dilegent about disconnecting our Casita with its 12v battery. The bigger worry for me was remembering to re-connect the tow. I once dragged the connect about 30 miles before I realized the trailer wasn't connected.

As the 5.0 does not have a refrigerator with a 12v option, I am less worried about draining the tow's battery when we stop, but I understand your concern.

Dave
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Old 11-05-2010, 04:56 PM   #6
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Re: Trailer battery charge module

I never considered a 12V fridge. That would sure draw down the battery fast, as well as the one on the tow if not isolated.
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Old 11-05-2010, 07:12 PM   #7
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Re: Trailer battery charge module

I rather liked it in the Casita...it allowed us to run on 12v while driving and conserve propane for dry camping.

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