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Old 02-20-2020, 04:14 PM   #1
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Battery Isolator Switch

Somebody please help.
Would this device prevent the trailer battery from draining the TV battery when dry camping?
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Old 02-20-2020, 04:19 PM   #2
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your tow vehicle *should* be isolating itself when the engine is off. every one I've had does so.

simplest is to just unplug the trailer cable from the TV when you're parked.
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Old 02-20-2020, 04:30 PM   #3
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Thank you John, but I have read several posts in which campers claim to get up in the morning to a dead battery in the TV.
Could you tell me the (Standard Option) "battery isolator switch" is for?
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Old 02-20-2020, 04:45 PM   #4
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the battery isolator switch on the Escapes is to disconnect the trailer battery from the trailer electrics so the trailer battery doesn't discharge itself in storage when there's no solar or AC to keep it charged. it has nothing to do with the tow vehicle power.
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Old 02-20-2020, 04:48 PM   #5
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Thank you John, I have a lot to learn.
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Old 02-20-2020, 04:57 PM   #6
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IF your tow vehicle has a 7-blade that has always-on power (I've heard of these, just never experienced them), what you want to do is get a 50-60 amp battery isolator and wire it into the vehicle. these are typically 4 pins. find the power wire that goes from the TV battery to the trailer connector, disconnect it wherever its convenient, and wire the battery to the input on the isolator, wire the trailerr connector to the output of the isolator, connect a solid ground wire to the isolator, and find 'ignition' or 'aux' power (circuit 15 or 15X on european vehicles, dunno what its called on american vehicles) and run a modest gauge wire from that circuit to the control post on the isolator relay.

OH! always disconnect the TV battery before doing this sort of thing, or sparks can fly...

so now, when the tow vehicle engine is off, the trailer will be disconnected by the isolator (its really just a relay). when the tow vehicle is on, then the trailer power is connected.

typical isolator:
https://www.autozone.com/trailer-wir...lator/442641_0

the skinny screw is for the control wire, the fat screws are power input and output (it actually doesn't matter which one is what, its just a switch between them), and the body is ground (be sure to bolt it to something bare metal thats well grounded, but away from the engine and exhaust))
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Old 02-20-2020, 05:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
IF your tow vehicle has a 7-blade that has always-on power (I've heard of these, just never experienced them), what you want to do is get a 50-60 amp battery isolator and wire it into the vehicle. these are typically 4 pins. find the power wire that goes from the TV battery to the trailer connector, disconnect it wherever its convenient, and wire the battery to the input on the isolator, wire the trailerr connector to the output of the isolator, connect a solid ground wire to the isolator, and find 'ignition' or 'aux' power (circuit 15 or 15X on european vehicles, dunno what its called on american vehicles) and run a modest gauge wire from that circuit to the control post on the isolator relay.

OH! always disconnect the TV battery before doing this sort of thing, or sparks can fly...

so now, when the tow vehicle engine is off, the trailer will be disconnected by the isolator (its really just a relay). when the tow vehicle is on, then the trailer power is connected.

typical isolator:
https://www.autozone.com/trailer-wir...lator/442641_0

the skinny screw is for the control wire, the fat screws are power input and output (it actually doesn't matter which one is what, its just a switch between them), and the body is ground (be sure to bolt it to something bare metal thats well grounded, but away from the engine and exhaust))
At least two chevy trucks I've seen do not have isolation relays. My F 150 has one, as did my Tacoma, & I had to add one to my RAV4.
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Old 02-20-2020, 05:20 PM   #8
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At least two chevy trucks I've seen do not have isolation relays. My F 150 has one, as did my Tacoma, & I had to add one to my RAV4.
ah, my experience is mostly fords, and a toyota tacoma, all with factory trailer prep including class III or IV receiver and 7-blades... oh, and a couple Ford based class C RV's (rental)
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Old 02-20-2020, 05:25 PM   #9
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At least two chevy trucks I've seen do not have isolation relays. My F 150 has one, as did my Tacoma, & I had to add one to my RAV4.
As I recall previous discussions of this subject, even GM has an isolation relay now, leaving only Ram as the only deficient trucks.
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Old 02-20-2020, 06:28 PM   #10
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My Ram 1500 is alive all the time, thus the need to disconnect to prevent battery drain...
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Old 02-20-2020, 06:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
the battery isolator switch on the Escapes is to disconnect the trailer battery from the trailer electrics so the trailer battery doesn't discharge itself in storage when there's no solar or AC to keep it charged. it has nothing to do with the tow vehicle power.
And if the above Escape battery isolation switch is in the "off" position, but the trailer still has 12V power, then the power is coming from your tow vehicle.
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Old 02-20-2020, 07:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by M & M View Post
Somebody please help.
Would this device prevent the trailer battery from draining the TV battery when dry camping?
Yes but...
When camping, just unplug the trailer from the vehicle...simple.
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Old 02-20-2020, 07:38 PM   #13
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Our 2018 Highlander is wired with the isolator but the 2012, wired by a usually pretty good shop that had done work for me in the past was not. Several times when parked at my daughters place overnight
I went out and checked whether or not I had unhooked the Tow vehicle wiring about ten o’clock in the evening. Caught it a few times. The new setup on the 2018 is for sure better. A fellow Escape owner gave me his Trailer side, plug holder he had made on a 3D printer and I cable tied it to the jack post. It works so well I use it even when I wouldn’t have to. I’m not sure you can trust the experience of others if the human factor has been “in there” with wiring tools. Like was said, if you trailer isolator switch is off and you still have lights in the trailer you’re bleeding your tow vehicle battery.
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Old 02-20-2020, 09:37 PM   #14
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Thank you guys for all the replies.
I called Subaru and even though the hitcht was installed in their dealership, it happen to be an add-on, therefore no isolator switch in the system. Unplugging the trailer from the TV is not going to be a problem for me. Just wanted to be sure.
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Old 02-20-2020, 09:41 PM   #15
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And if the above Escape battery isolation switch is in the "off" position, but the trailer still has 12V power, then the power is coming from your tow vehicle.
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Thank you Alan, I was thinking along the same line, will try it in mid May.
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Old 02-21-2020, 05:55 AM   #16
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And if the above Escape battery isolation switch is in the "off" position, but the trailer still has 12V power, then the power is coming from your tow vehicle.
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Is this right? Wouldn't power from the tow vehicle follow the same path as power from the batteries back to the distribution panel? If so, then turning the isolator switch "off" would kill power from the tow vehicle as well as the batteries.

As a tangent, I think the term disconnect switch, or isolator switch, is a confusing label. What is off? Or what is "off"? It would be better to label the switch as battery power. Then the trailer has battery power on, or battery power off. Boats label the battery selector switch like this so there isn't confusion.
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Old 02-21-2020, 07:25 AM   #17
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Is this right? Wouldn't power from the tow vehicle follow the same path as power from the batteries back to the distribution panel? If so, then turning the isolator switch "off" would kill power from the tow vehicle as well as the batteries.

I do not think you can disable the electric brakes and exterior lights via the on board disconnect switch for safety reasons.
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Old 02-21-2020, 08:08 AM   #18
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Is this right? Wouldn't power from the tow vehicle follow the same path as power from the batteries back to the distribution panel? If so, then turning the isolator switch "off" would kill power from the tow vehicle as well as the batteries.

As a tangent, I think the term disconnect switch, or isolator switch, is a confusing label. What is off? Or what is "off"? It would be better to label the switch as battery power. Then the trailer has battery power on, or battery power off. Boats label the battery selector switch like this so there isn't confusion.
I would think this is true, that tow vehicle power would connect to the batteries thus the disconnect switch would kill the power from the tow as well. This is no different than solar power distribution too, it goes into the battery and is used from there. Would be nice to know for certain though.

The disconnect switch is no different than a light switch in your house, on for continuity in the circuit, and off for isolation. Label it how you wish, the effect is the same.
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Old 02-21-2020, 08:32 AM   #19
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Is this right? Wouldn't power from the tow vehicle follow the same path as power from the batteries back to the distribution panel? If so, then turning the isolator switch "off" would kill power from the tow vehicle as well as the batteries.
Yes, that is right. The power from the tow vehicle charge line comes in downstream of the battery isolation switch (at least on our trailer). Meaning when plugged into a properly wired tow vehicle it is live and power to the trailer is unaffected by the switch. Easy enough for owners to check on their trailer by ensuring no shore power, hooking up their 7 pin, turning on their tow vehicle and flipping the isolation switch. If any 12V lights stay on in the trailer then obviously the isolation switch is not killing the power from the tow vehicle charge line.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viajante View Post
As a tangent, I think the term disconnect switch, or isolator switch, is a confusing label. What is off? Or what is "off"? It would be better to label the switch as battery power. Then the trailer has battery power on, or battery power off. Boats label the battery selector switch like this so there isn't confusion.
Agreed. See pic. No confusion.

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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I do not think you can disable the electric brakes and exterior lights via the on board disconnect switch for safety reasons.
We are talking about two different things. All the exterior lighting (stop/turn/tail) are wired "straight through". There is no interface with the electrical system in the trailer. The brake line on the 7 pin is also wired straight to the brakes but is also tied into the breakaway switch which is wired to the onboard trailer battery. If the breakaway switch were to be pulled out if the trailer was disconnected from the tow vehicle it relies on the trailer battery to apply the brakes fully. This is why when the trailer is under tow the battery isolation switch must be "ON" or in the position to allow 12V power. This is only for the breakaway functionality and has nothing to do with the normal operation of the brakes. Nothing that one does in the trailer (short of cutting wires) should affect the operation of the exterior lights and normal braking.

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I would think this is true, that tow vehicle power would connect to the batteries thus the disconnect switch would kill the power from the tow as well. This is no different than solar power distribution too, it goes into the battery and is used from there. Would be nice to know for certain though.
No, as stated above (at least on our trailer) the power from the vehicle charge line is connected downstream of the isolation switch. Solar is different. Solar is connected on the battery side of the isolation switch.
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Old 02-21-2020, 08:57 AM   #20
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No, as stated above (at least on our trailer) the power from the vehicle charge line is connected downstream of the isolation switch. Solar is different. Solar is connected on the battery side of the isolation switch.
Thanks for the clarification. I guess given the disconnect switch is intended for storage, and connected to a tow vehicle is definitely not storage, that the connection is after the switch. Good to know.
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