Purpose of 6ga hot wire from converter/charger to hitch - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 01-07-2017, 10:42 PM   #1
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Purpose of 6ga hot wire from converter/charger to hitch

Hello, snooping around getting familiar with my Classic 21ft, I noticed a red 6ga from converted/charger leading to a junction box mounted outside and below trailer's front bed area up front. The box has a plastic loom leading to hitch's 7 pin connector.

I know there is a tow vehicle charging line from 7 pin connector to battery that charges battery while towing but a 6 ga for this

Could it be a supply tap for a future motorized jack? hitch area lights ? additional front mounted battery ?

Not complaining as I love it but was surprised to see a 6 ga line.

Anyone know why 6 ga.

Thanks
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Old 01-08-2017, 12:10 PM   #2
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Sent ETI email, will know soon. Nothing broken just want to know why such a high capacity charge line to the battery assuming that is what it is.

Will post answer. Thank you
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Old 01-08-2017, 12:14 PM   #3
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I'm betting that it is the charging circuit line. Toyota used a 10 gauge for the power cable when wiring the Highlander and that is less distance that from the front of a 21 to the batteries. Lots of voltage drop on 12v lines if they are undersized.

Please do let us know what you hear.
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Old 01-08-2017, 12:19 PM   #4
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I agree. The ability of my Tacoma to charge the batteries in my 2014 model Escape 21 is negligible. I bet Escape increased the size of the wire in more recent models. I haven't checked to see if I have this big wire, but I don't remember seeing one.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:22 PM   #5
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It is a long ways from your tugs alternator to the batteries. Voltage preservation is a must for proper and speedy charging. Escape did it right, the tug is probably undersized.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:44 PM   #6
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Escape did it right, the tug is probably undersized.
Russ
Hi Russ, I agree ETI using 6 ga is good design, unfortunately they can not control the wire gauge the vehicle manufacturer installs and its usually inadequate. I will disconnect the Escape 12vdc 6ga charge line from the 7pin connector as it could create a loop when the truck sends 120vac to the trailer's 3 stage battery charger as we drive.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:52 PM   #7
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I will disconnect the Escape 12vdc 6ga charge line from the 7pin connector as it could create a loop when the truck sends 120vac to the trailer's 3 stage battery charger as we drive.
I'm not sure I understand this at all. There is no 120V power or charger/converter involved when connected only to a tow vehicle and it shouldn't require disconnection of any wires if you are setup properly.
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Old 01-08-2017, 10:02 PM   #8
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Correct. I am abandoning tow vehicle 12vdc charging. Will have pure sine inverter duplicate a genset while towing allowing all the benefits of 3 stage charging.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:13 AM   #9
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... I will disconnect the Escape 12vdc 6ga charge line from the 7pin connector as it could create a loop when the truck sends 120vac to the trailer's 3 stage battery charger as we drive.
Not a bad idea. I found out the hard way that a loop can be created when using an inverter to power some ham equipment that was connected to some 12v battery powered equipment. A very expensive lesson in ground loops.

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Old 01-09-2017, 09:41 PM   #10
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Well ... after more research and detailed calcs I have reversed my plan to use an inverter to power the trailer's 120vac charging system while towing only. The allure of easy 14 ga 120v 6amp wiring was enticing but its not as solid and simple as dc to dc charging. Full and intelligent multi-stage charging that automatically isolates the tug and trailer battery and models that have MPPT solar controller built in for use with portable solar while in camp.

There are many such chargers on the market from 10 to 40 amp intelligent muti-stage charging. Am looking at 40 amp charging models requiring much larger charge wires, 2 AWG or 1/0, to minimize voltage drop to less than 1 volt from end to end.

Anyone wanting to use the tow vehicle to charge while on the road and frustrated with just having less effective charge using line from tug battery to trailer battery, this could be your solution if you are up to running a good size charge wire from end to end. In my case the wire and dc to dc charger is larger than normal due to my house battery being 520AH, others can get by with a 20 or 25 amp dc to dc charger.

Vehicle factory solution is to run wire tug to trailer. However that will not properly charge your battery to its fullest no matter how many hours you drive. The problem is exacerbated by the smart controllers vehicle manufacturers have implemented after 2006 which lowers alternator output voltage to only meet the vehicle's requirements and that usually means not enough potential to drive a proper bulk charging stage, never mind the large voltage drop between the alternator and the trailer's battery. You can thank the small wiring for that.

The inverter solution also works and used by many as I discovered but too many devices in the mix that adds complexity, overall inefficiency and cost. Dc to dc chargers automatically isolate the batteries at each end with built in isolation.

For the smaller chargers CTek makes a 20 amp unit.
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:49 PM   #11
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I think I'm missing something in this. With our 2008 Tacoma and 2010 17B, our dual 6v batteries were almost always fully charged if we towed for even a few hours, although we seldom drained them lower than about 70% charge remaining. Santiago, you mention a change in 2006, so our Tacoma should have smart controlled you mentioned. What am I missing?
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:02 PM   #12
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Hi Eric,

When I decided to look at a more simple charging route I did a lot of reading on the subject.
The alternator does not deliver one constant voltage. newer vehicle models are good at controlling output to better suit the needs of the vehicle's demands. Partly for emissions, partly for mileage. The trailer's needs does not count. Now you can see that most all batteries need around 14.8v to bulk charge. You don't know when, if or for how long the alternator will deliver 14.8v or near there. You need a higher voltage to drive the charge. What a vehicle is delivering is quite variable and subject to change from year to year, model to model, etc. Add to this the sizeable voltage drop going from tug to trailer battery and the "driving" force is lessened.

I absolutely believe the battery will charge but not the way it would with a proper charger driving three stages of charging.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:05 PM   #13
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Understand, thanks
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:02 PM   #14
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Well ... after more research and detailed calcs I have reversed my plan to use an inverter to power the trailer's 120vac charging system while towing only. The allure of easy 14 ga 120v 6amp wiring was enticing but its not as solid and simple as dc to dc charging. Full and intelligent multi-stage charging that automatically isolates the tug and trailer battery and models that have MPPT solar controller built in for use with portable solar while in camp.

There are many such chargers on the market from 10 to 40 amp intelligent muti-stage charging. Am looking at 40 amp charging models requiring much larger charge wires, 2 AWG or 1/0, to minimize voltage drop to less than 1 volt from end to end.

Anyone wanting to use the tow vehicle to charge while on the road and frustrated with just having less effective charge using line from tug battery to trailer battery, this could be your solution if you are up to running a good size charge wire from end to end. In my case the wire and dc to dc charger is larger than normal due to my house battery being 520AH, others can get by with a 20 or 25 amp dc to dc charger.

Vehicle factory solution is to run wire tug to trailer. However that will not properly charge your battery to its fullest no matter how many hours you drive. The problem is exacerbated by the smart controllers vehicle manufacturers have implemented after 2006 which lowers alternator output voltage to only meet the vehicle's requirements and that usually means not enough potential to drive a proper bulk charging stage, never mind the large voltage drop between the alternator and the trailer's battery. You can thank the small wiring for that.

The inverter solution also works and used by many as I discovered but too many devices in the mix that adds complexity, overall inefficiency and cost. Dc to dc chargers automatically isolate the batteries at each end with built in isolation.

For the smaller chargers CTek makes a 20 amp unit.
Supposedly, the CTek is a terrible MPPT, according to:

CTek 250 dual - strange behaviour - Page 2 - Caravaners Forum
Dual battery system

I plan to use the 25 amp Redarc BCDC1225-LV unit, made and sold in Australia, but you can ship it to the USA. It's an MPPT that you can use as a solar controller which should also improve the power gathered from the solar panels.

The unit exchanges volts and amps, so it pulls a higher amperage through the source terminal to provide 25 amps to the battery. With a total of 60 feet of AWG 10 wires (20’ for trailer + 12 volts, 20’ for vehicle +12 volts, 20’ for vehicle ground, 0’ for trailer ground since it goes through the frame), I calculated that the unit would pull about 36 amps through the source wire, and waste 17% of the energy delivered as heat. AWG 6 is nice because it would lower the amps needed at the source and reduce heat. I was planning on upgrading to AWG 2 myself, but if it’s already AWG 6 I might leave it. I'm not entirely certain that AWG 10 can handle the heat associated with 36 amps, but on some tables it lists AWG 10 as being able to handle 55 amps for "chassis wiring", so make your own determination as to whether this is a good idea or not. The weak point is probably the 7 pin connector cable as all the cables are bundled together in what looks like a more thermally insulating sheathing.

40 amps delivered to the battery, even with higher gauge wire along the entire length would push the amperage on the vehicle side very high. You're probably looking at having a separate connector other than the 7 pin connector to transfer power. Even with 25 amps I'm a little worried about the 7 pin connector cable.

WARNING: I am not an electrician. I do not know what I am talking about. Do not follow my advice!
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Old 01-12-2017, 09:37 PM   #15
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I plan to use the 25 amp Redarc BCDC1225-LV unit, made and sold in Australia, but you can ship it to the USA.
Hi Paul. Me too !

I know little to nothing on the Ctek but I see it on Amazon all the time.

Am about to place an order for Redarc BCDC 1240 LV ( low voltage model required for variable voltage alternators like most of us have ).

On the original Escape 6 ga charge wire I thought I saw, it turned out to be 8 ga leading to the hitch's 7 pin connector. I will likely use it as the Redarc "blue line" to ignition as its a control wire only. Will see about disconnecting that Dodge factory charge line at the starter battery end. It's a free unused line.

As far as the 40 amp charging line, yes it will be 2 AWG or 1/0 as I don't like line losses. The bumper connection will be weatherproofed Anderson or another quick connect water tight connector. Not the 7 pin connector.

In case it was not clear by Redarc, you can use trailer frame to return earth to the hitch's connector and then either wire earth back to engine bay or use truck frame. The gotcha is that you must not connect to battery negative post. The battery negative should have a shunt to measure amp flow and if you bypass it by going directly to the post the ECU will not know how much current is being used ( to charge trailer as well as starter battery and vehicle services ). Why is this important? With the ECU knowing actual current use it will demand the alternator to put out accordingly. Being a careful old guy, I will likely run ground back and attach to frame close to the shunt so that the trailer charging current is tallied.

I have not seen my truck's shunt but it should exist in one form or another, bottom line is ... do what it takes to count the charging current as the ECU needs to know.

I wish I could use the 1225 ( 25amp charger ) but I have 520 amp-hr boxes to feed so am buying the 40amp charger. As you know the BCDC will protect the starter battery from draining with built in isolation. The solar side of the charger (MPPT) will come in handy if I every get a portable solar panel. I have no solar now, roof or otherwise.

These DC-DC chargers are very popular outside North America from what I have seen. I am sure that just like it took the North American RV industry how many decades to switch from one stage RV chargers, that cooked batteries, to multistage ones, it will take more decades to see DC-DC chargers for "on the go" charging. Multistage chargers charge batteries properly to 100% with the better units monitoring battery temperature with sensor attached to battery and adjust accordingly. Many allow you to customize the charging voltage/amp profile beyond just selecting Wet, AGM, Gel, Calcium and Lithium.

With a large investment in a battery bank, its important to see they get properly charged.

Paul, let me know when you install your 1225 and I will do same.
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:20 PM   #16
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I will likely use it as the Redarc "blue line" to ignition as its a control wire only.

I wish I could use the 1225 ( 25amp charger ) but I have 520 amp-hr boxes to feed so am buying the 40amp charger. As you know the BCDC will protect the starter battery from draining with built in isolation.

Paul, let me know when you install your 1225 and I will do same.
Does your vehicle not disconnect the +12 volt line when it is turned off? Some vehicles don't, but I thought that was rare. If mine didn't, I'd probably install a relay inside the vehicle to do this. If your +12 volt line is turned off with the ignition, you should be able to use just the power line for both power and control.

520 amp-hr of batteries is not an offered configuration as far as I can see. Did you add 2 more batteries?

My trailer is due at the end of March and I may delay installing the Redarc to see if I really need/want it. I'm also getting 2 solar panels on the roof, so I may not need it.
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:46 PM   #17
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I'm also getting 2 solar panels on the roof, so I may not need it.
Hi Paul,

If you are adding roof panels you likely do not need to charge while driving. It depends on how you intend to use your trailer. In my case we like to travel all over and will spend a bit of time on the road so we will charge our battery at 40 amps while towing even if the sun isn't there !

We can boondock five days easily, more days will need a boost from Mr Honda. Normally he won't be needed.

My truck does not disconnect the factory 12v charge line but its a moot point since it will be disconnected anyway. The Redarc BCDC will isolate itself.

I purchased our trailer with a standard 12vdc wet cell battery, 80 AH I think it is. As soon as I finish adding 520 AH AGMs the Escape factory 12v battery and box will be stored in my garage for other uses. When we find ourselves in a place for a long time like a week or more where there is a lot of daily sight seeing excursions staying in a park with AC power I can isolate the batteries with a switch, letting them rest and fill with 12vdc juice from the Xantrex charger while turning the WFCO converter on to supply all of our trailer's DC needs. Normally the converter is off and the batteries do all the work.

I would wait on the Redarc BCDC as you will likely find that the roof solar will do a great job topping up your trailer battery. No sense adding more equipment if you don't have to.
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Old 01-13-2017, 01:12 AM   #18
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Hi Paul,

If you are adding roof panels you likely do not need to charge while driving. It depends on how you intend to use your trailer. In my case we like to travel all over and will spend a bit of time on the road so we will charge our battery at 40 amps while towing even if the sun isn't there !

We can boondock five days easily, more days will need a boost from Mr Honda. Normally he won't be needed.

My truck does not disconnect the factory 12v charge line but its a moot point since it will be disconnected anyway. The Redarc BCDC will isolate itself.

I purchased our trailer with a standard 12vdc wet cell battery, 80 AH I think it is. As soon as I finish adding 520 AH AGMs the Escape factory 12v battery and box will be stored in my garage for other uses. When we find ourselves in a place for a long time like a week or more where there is a lot of daily sight seeing excursions staying in a park with AC power I can isolate the batteries with a switch, letting them rest and fill with 12vdc juice from the Xantrex charger while turning the WFCO converter on to supply all of our trailer's DC needs. Normally the converter is off and the batteries do all the work.

I would wait on the Redarc BCDC as you will likely find that the roof solar will do a great job topping up your trailer battery. No sense adding more equipment if you don't have to.
From 80ah wet to 520ah AGM. Now that's an upgrade!

Sounds like you'll be well setup for a fun set of trips.
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Old 01-13-2017, 01:23 AM   #19
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Now that's an upgrade!
Paul, its the electric refrigerator that needs constant supply of 12vdc. Wife and I are energy frugal and can get by with a headlamp and Coleman one burner stove.
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Old 12-04-2017, 07:42 PM   #20
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Hello, snooping around getting familiar with my Classic 21ft, I noticed a red 6ga from converted/charger leading to a junction box mounted outside and below trailer's front bed area up front. The box has a plastic loom leading to hitch's 7 pin connector.

I know there is a tow vehicle charging line from 7 pin connector to battery that charges battery while towing but a 6 ga for this

Could it be a supply tap for a future motorized jack? hitch area lights ? additional front mounted battery ?

Not complaining as I love it but was surprised to see a 6 ga line.

Anyone know why 6 ga.

Thanks
I think some posters got off track. I'm pretty sure that the big wire is to make sure that you can both charge batteries AND keep a 6 ft^3 fridge going on 12 volts. I don't know what's in a 21'er, but our 5 day old 5.0TA uses 23 amps at 12 volts. FYI, this also means that the TV charge line should be as big or at least nearly so, with a ~30 amp fuse/breaker.. FYI folks, this is girly work for your TV alternator - maybe 15% of it's output...
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