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Old 02-15-2022, 12:39 AM   #1
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Victron dc-dc charger

I have the Victron 12/12-18 dc-dc charger in my new E19 and it is wired to charge my lithium batteries from the TV via the 7-pin plug. My question is how to configure it so it actually does some useful charging. As initially configured by ETI it used power supply mode with 14v output and requiring 14v input, and basically nothing happened. If I leave the 14v output and lower the input cutoff to 12v the it starts charging but the input voltage drops to about 9v and it stops charging due to under voltage on input. My Nissan Frontier wiring harness can not keep up with the current draw. I noticed tho that the Victron manual says that you can set the input voltage cutoff as low as 7v, which I did not try yet but maybe would work for me. I would appreciate any fireback on how this is working for others and what configuration parameters you are using.
Thanks.
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Old 02-15-2022, 05:12 AM   #2
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If it is the 'Smart' version with bluetooth, use VictronConnect on a phone or tablet to set it for battery charger mode, with the lithium profile and it should work great.

mine is taking as crappy as 9-10V out of my tow vehicle by the time it reaches the back of my E21 (I had to disable the engine detect and low voltage shutoff), and boosting it up to 15-16 amps into my LFP batteries at up to 14.2V. I'm still wanting to find out where all those missing volts are going, I know a couple of them are in the corroded trailer connector.
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Old 02-16-2022, 06:30 PM   #3
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Similar problem, input voltage to low

Set to charge mode, Lithium default mode.
Using 7 pin TV plug.

Would start out in boost go 30sec? than go into input voltage to low.Cycle would repeat. Sequoia in idle. Reving engine didnít help. Watch voltage just go up and down. Would like to know why itís doing that. I will try setting the lockout lower to 10.5 like power mode and see what happens. 12.5 is the lithium default .
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Old 02-16-2022, 07:10 PM   #4
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I disabled the lockouts entirely, since my truck shuts the power off when you turn the truck off.

with a somewhat cleaned 7-blade, I'm now seeing 10V at the Orion input, and the trailer battery is seeing 18 amps at 13 or so volts when running off the truck power. this probably means the Orion is pulling 13 volts * 18 amps == 235 watts, 235 watts / 10 volts == ~ 23 amps out of the truck. my truck is fused for 40 amps.
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Old 02-17-2022, 10:17 AM   #5
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I think the wiring harness in my Frontier just has too thin wire, maybe 14 or 16 gauge. I ran a separate 10 gauge wire to power an inverter on my previous trailer to power the absorption frig while driving and that worked well. Trying to power that inverter through the 7 pin never worked, too much voltage drop. I think I’ll have to hook up that extra 10 gauge line to the dc-dc charger in the Escape.
Thanks for the comments.
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Old 02-17-2022, 03:58 PM   #6
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Seems to work.

Per John, I mostly disabled the lockout(9.5V). Disabled engine detect. Set the Absorption to 14.3V and float at 14.1V per Gopower Sun Battery specs. Sequoia at Idle with lights on.

Bulk mode(phase) - no cut off when Lockout set to 9.5 - so lowering it a volt and it worked fine. Quite a current draw at 10 volts, AMPs measured were 30(wow!) on input 20 x 14V? on output at Victron box. So about 300watts both sides.
So is the DCDC charger limiting the volts to drain more amps?

Went in to absorption after 45 min(80% charged). Amps 3-4 early on
Went in to float after 90 more minutes(100%) charged). Did not measure Amps

When you look at their graph in Victron it looks like its operating as designed as far as current and voltage amounts and phases. The graph just shows you what phase your in and hints at what its draws and volts compared to other phases.

TV battery looked happy throughout 13.5V to 13.9V so alternator still charging battery. 12.9V after test , engine off, so battery OK..

I have to do some real world testing to know more. Road trip with drained RV batteries? Triple AAA number handy

So I am good until I smell fire.
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Old 02-17-2022, 05:07 PM   #7
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the input voltage is lower due to resistance in the combined wiring from the alternator, through the vehicles fuse and relay panel, back to the trailer hitch, then through your trailer back to your electrical center.. if your tow vehicle battery is sitting at 14.0V when the engine is running, and you're only seeing 10.0V at the DC-DC, then there is a 4 volt drop. 4 volts/30 amps is about 1/8th of an ohm resistance, thats all it takes to drop 4 volts at 30 amps. I measured about 1.6 volt drop from the trailer hitch to the back of my trailer, so the other 2.4 volts of drop is in my F250 wiring.

and yes, its all about watts. if, like me, you are seeing 18 amps at 13.5V on the OUTPUT, thats 240 watts (volts*amps is watts). to deliver those 240 watts with a 10V input requires 24 amps, 10*24 is also 240 watts. If somehow you could keep the input above 13V, then you'd only need ~ 19 amps of input current. and yes, the more current you draw from the tow vehicle, the bigger the voltage drop.

all this from two simple formulas...
Ohms Law -> volts / ohms = amps (and all algebraic equivs like ohms*amps = volts)
Watts Law -> volts * amps = watts (and all equivs, like watts/volts = amps)
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Old 02-17-2022, 07:32 PM   #8
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Thanks. Makes sense. Long time since shop class.
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Old 04-05-2022, 03:00 PM   #9
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John I'm just at the point of trying to figure out why my smart DC-DC charger is not working with my truck. My 2019 F150 is trying to be too smart. This year truck has a fuse for the 7pin 12V but no relay. SW is determining when 12V should go to the 7pin. The F150 must first detect a trailer, then when I apply the brakes for ~3seconds the 12V is enabled. I was able to verify this sequence at my local trailer dealer using his breakout box for the 7pin. My DC-DC charger is still not working and I think it's because of the input voltage lockout and/or engine shutdown detection function. I want to try what you've done. Am I correct that you disabled the Engine Shutdown Detection? What did you set the Input Voltage Lock-out function values to?
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Old 05-27-2022, 09:27 PM   #10
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Somewhat older post I know......but you probably need to lower the allowable input voltage. I had to set mine at 10.5V. Voltage when minimum current is flowing is 13.3V, so a little bit of a voltage drop.
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Old 05-28-2022, 09:27 AM   #11
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I gotta think there's going to be a trickle of people into this thread as newer trailers with the Victron come on-line and people find out that things aren't quite up to the task. In my case I've got a Ram 1500 and the power to the 7-pin in (reportedly) 12 gauge and fused at 30 amps. When I set the Victron to charge mode I have to drop the allowable input voltage to 10.5v. With no load from the charger I see 13.3V from the tow vehicle, but when the charger is enabled my voltage drops down to around 10.7V, and I'm guessing I'm pulling around 21-22 amps. For the wire ampacity charts that I can find they rate 12 gauge at 25 amps, not 30. Seems to me to be right on the edge. Wonder if I have anything to worry about as far as overheating the wiring or not? Definitely seems to be a marginal design from the truck manufacturer, as this is a factory tow package. Maybe I'll change out the 30A for a 25A fuse and see how it goes. At least it will then be fused for what the wire is rated for. If I blow 25A then I'll probably look into beefing up the wiring. And for a top of the line "smart" charger, it's a little disappointing that the Victron can't be adjusted to a lower current draw.
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Old 05-28-2022, 10:06 PM   #12
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I'm using a Victron 12/12-18 as well. The one thing I'd be careful about is the the 7-pin connector.

If the connector is not plugged in all the way, a poor connection could have significant resistance, and pulling 22A that could create enough heat to burn out the 7-pin socket and 7-pin plug.

I haven't seen any issue so far, and I'm being very careful about seating the 7-pin connector.
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Old 05-29-2022, 10:30 AM   #13
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I'm using a Victron 12/12-18 as well. The one thing I'd be careful about is the the 7-pin connector.

If the connector is not plugged in all the way, a poor connection could have significant resistance, and pulling 22A that could create enough heat to burn out the 7-pin socket and 7-pin plug.

I haven't seen any issue so far, and I'm being very careful about seating the 7-pin connector.
Good point on the 7-pin. Might need to add a little conductive grease to minimize corrosion on those contact surfaces.
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Old 05-29-2022, 12:53 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by alanerickson View Post
Somewhat older post I know......but you probably need to lower the allowable input voltage. I had to set mine at 10.5V. Voltage when minimum current is flowing is 13.3V, so a little bit of a voltage drop.

Just FYI... Voltage drop is directly proportional to the current. Formula is resistance times current, and the resistance is fixed by the wiring. In my case at 24 amps on the vehicle side, my drop is about 3.5 volts, so I'm seeing 10.5v or so as input when it's outputting 13.6v at 18 amps... Both 18a at 13.6v and 24a at 10.5v are about 245 watts.
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Old 05-29-2022, 01:09 PM   #15
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Just FYI... Voltage drop is directly proportional to the current. Formula is resistance times current, and the resistance is fixed by the wiring. In my case at 24 amps on the vehicle side, my drop is about 3.5 volts, so I'm seeing 10.5v or so as input when it's outputting 13.6v at 18 amps... Both 18a at 13.6v and 24a at 10.5v are about 245 watts.
Even though you are fused at 40a I wonder what size your wiring is? On my Ram it's fused at 30A and it's supposed to be 12 awg to the 7-pin. I get 13.3V no load at the 7-pin when truck is running and then 10.7V when pulling 18A at charger. Obviously length of wire comes into play but since you have more voltage drop than me I'm wondering if you're also 12 gauge?
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Old 05-29-2022, 03:42 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by alanerickson View Post
Even though you are fused at 40a I wonder what size your wiring is? On my Ram it's fused at 30A and it's supposed to be 12 awg to the 7-pin. I get 13.3V no load at the 7-pin when truck is running and then 10.7V when pulling 18A at charger. Obviously length of wire comes into play but since you have more voltage drop than me I'm wondering if you're also 12 gauge?
I started to measure the drop under load and realized every connector and splice had some drop. I need to get some needle probes so I can back probe connectors.
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Old 05-29-2022, 08:06 PM   #17
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I had to swap my escape provided 18a dc-dc for the 9a version for the Ridgeline. Better than nothing I guess.
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Old 05-29-2022, 09:46 PM   #18
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I had to swap my escape provided 18a dc-dc for the 9a version for the Ridgeline. Better than nothing I guess.
I'm probably going to end up going that way also. It would be tolerable if it was 18 amps on the primary, but 18 amps on the secondary at the higher voltage kicks the amperage up on the tow vehicle to around 21-22 amps continuous. I was looking at the Renogy 10-20A charger. Which one did you end up with that has 9A? Thanks.
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Old 05-29-2022, 09:56 PM   #19
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Victron Energy Orion-Tr IP43 12/12-Volt 9 amp 110-Watt DC-DC Converter, Isolated https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L6H8VKL/

70 bucks
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Old 05-30-2022, 11:06 AM   #20
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Victron Energy Orion-Tr IP43 12/12-Volt 9 amp 110-Watt DC-DC Converter, Isolated https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L6H8VKL/

70 bucks
Thanks for the link. I missed that one in my search.
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