Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Truck Campers: DC operation of fridge
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Saskhunter

Shellbrook , Saskatchewan

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Posted: 08/16/19 09:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am new to RVs and notice while driving my truck does not charge my Northern Lite truck camper battery. Is this normal? Within 4 hours the fridge kills my RV deep cycle Battery.
Is it ok to travel using the gas for the fridge?

enblethen

Moses Lake, WA

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Posted: 08/16/19 09:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What truck do you have?
Some need to have fuse installed, some need to have wire terminated to get power to camper or trailer connector.
Yes, most people run on propane for refer while on the road. Remmeber it still takes 12 volts DC for many refers control.


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Old-Biscuit

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Posted: 08/16/19 09:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

YES it is OK yo use propane while traveling...........one caution isto turn fridge OFF when fueling

As for camper battery NOT charging from truck...
Does your camper use a 4, 6 or 7 pin umbilical cord to plug into truck

Have to have a 'charge line' from truck to camper

Also check truck fuse box and see if a fuse/relay has to be installed for truck sytsem to charge camper battery


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work2much

Jackson Ca

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Posted: 08/16/19 09:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your truck may be charging the camper but the discharge rate from the fridge will be higher than the alternator charging so it may seem as though your truck is not charging when it is.

Try running the fridge on gas next trip and see if you get a charge. The charge through the 7 pin harness is a small trickle charge so don't expect a short drive to result in a big difference.


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Saskhunter

Shellbrook , Saskatchewan

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Posted: 08/16/19 09:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My Truck is a 2015 Chev duramax Diesel 2500.
I have a 7 pin cord I believe.
I will check my fuse box on the truck for sure.
Will adding a solar panel really help with the on board battery charge?
We just returned for a first trip with the camper and put on over 7,000 kms. Included Saskatchewan,Alberta,British Columbia,Yukon and Alaska. We loved the camper and am excited to go on another trip.
Thanks to all for you help

Photomike

Southern Alberta or where the camper is parked!

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Posted: 08/16/19 09:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Check the voltage at the camper battery when the truck is off, then start the truck and check. If the voltage goes up you are charging. If not then you are not. (Don't plug in 110 for this test).

On my truck it needed a fuse so that the circuit became live. $2 and I had a pack of them.

Never run the fridge on 12V for any length of time. I would use 110 to cool it off at home, switch to propane when I pulled out of the driveway and off propane when I got back in the driveway from the trip. Most campgrounds I stayed at did not have power. Yes off when refueling as well.


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Kayteg1

California > Nevada

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Posted: 08/16/19 10:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The charge wire, even it usually is #10 size goes several loops before reaching camper battery, so the wire resistance plays the role.
We do have tens of topics how members who want better charging - run heavier wires either using Lance plug, or HD designated plugs.
Also beware that 12V fridge elements usually have much lower output, than 120V or propane outputs, so even when you solve the charging issue, the fridge will not perform the best with this option.





enblethen

Moses Lake, WA

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Posted: 08/16/19 11:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Chevs in most cases need to have charge line terminated in the under hood fuse/relay box. Driver's side fender well. Check owner's manual. Chev also on some puts a dummy fuse in the location for charge line.
Note that if you have a three way refer, the 12 volt system for the element will discharge the battery fairly rapidly.

DWeikert

York, PA

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Posted: 08/16/19 12:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not sure if your 2015 looks the same, but here's a quick video about hooking up the +12v wire and fuse to the trailer harness. This wire is not connected from the factory.

Youtube Silverado trailer power wiring.

Keep in mind that this will keep +12v on the trailer harness at all times, even with the key off, so you could end up discharging the truck battery while using the camper. The solution there is to isolate this 12v with a isolation solenoid that only activates with the switch on.

Even after hooking this up the wiring probably isn't large enough to charge the camper battery while also supplying power for the DC fridge. The more current flowing through the wire, the less voltage will be at the camper's battery. With no other (major) loads the wire is sufficient since as the battery gets closer to full charge the current through the wire will decrease and the voltage at the battery will increase. If there's another load drawing significant current you'll never get full voltage to the battery.

Solar will definitely help since it will be charging the battery all the time, not just when the truck is running. Assuming your solar is putting out enough to power whatever loads you have and still have enough left to charge the battery.


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Saskhunter

Shellbrook , Saskatchewan

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Posted: 08/16/19 02:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks to everyone, I have learned a lot about my trailer today.

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