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 > Camper Battery doesnt charge while going down the road

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ScottG

Bothell Wa.

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Posted: 12/07/21 10:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

cewillis wrote:

theoldwizard1 wrote:


Much simpler and probably more effective is a DC-DC charger.

Modern vehicles vehicles drop the voltage from the alternator to <13.5V shortly after starting. This has is not adequate to charge a house battery. The DC-DC charger boosts that up to the proper charging voltage.


Adequate current transfer is still required in any case -- thus heavy gauge wire.

My alternator - and I suspect all functioning alternators - charges at a voltage determined by the load voltage. While the load voltage is below ~14.3 to 14.4v, the alternator charges at ~14.4 volts. When the load voltage comes up, the alternator drops to the maintenance voltage of ~13.5v. Otherwise, the load (batteries - truck + camper) would never reach full charge.


The OP's truck stays in the 14.X range.

desertratt1

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Posted: 12/07/21 12:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I thank everyone for all the impute. Looks like i need to do some checking. I looked under the hood pulled the fuse/relay cover i have a trailer relay. Not sure how all that works. Camper is off truck i will hook it up start checking things out. I just assumed the truck would charge the battery period. My Dodge is a camper special. I plan on installing a 200 watt solar setup at some point but i considered the truck charging the battery in the camper a given. Like i said will look at all the suggestions to resolve this over weekend. Than will get back and post.

Thanks
Rick

covered wagon

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Posted: 12/07/21 12:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

desertratt1 wrote:

I thank everyone for all the impute. Looks like i need to do some checking. I looked under the hood pulled the fuse/relay cover i have a trailer relay. Not sure how all that works. Camper is off truck i will hook it up start checking things out. I just assumed the truck would charge the battery period. My Dodge is a camper special. I plan on installing a 200 watt solar setup at some point but i considered the truck charging the battery in the camper a given. Like i said will look at all the suggestions to resolve this over weekend. Than will get back and post.

Thanks
Rick


My 02 is a camper special as well. I have my continious duty relay switched so I can let the alternater replenish the starting batts from using the starter, grid heaters and finally seat heaters. Once warmed up and time allowed to charge the truck batts, I switch that on to take care of the two camper batteries. 5 hrs run time brings it up to near full charge on 2 deep cycle 12 volt batts. It works great and run furnace whenever I need, sometimes all night.

That was a good suggestion to make sure your fridge is not set to run 12 volts. I never use the automated setting.

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 12/07/21 01:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

covered wagon wrote:

desertratt1 wrote:

I thank everyone for all the impute. Looks like i need to do some checking. I looked under the hood pulled the fuse/relay cover i have a trailer relay. Not sure how all that works. Camper is off truck i will hook it up start checking things out. I just assumed the truck would charge the battery period. My Dodge is a camper special. I plan on installing a 200 watt solar setup at some point but i considered the truck charging the battery in the camper a given. Like i said will look at all the suggestions to resolve this over weekend. Than will get back and post.

Thanks
Rick


My 02 is a camper special as well. I have my continious duty relay switched so I can let the alternater replenish the starting batts from using the starter, grid heaters and finally seat heaters. Once warmed up and time allowed to charge the truck batts, I switch that on to take care of the two camper batteries. 5 hrs run time brings it up to near full charge on 2 deep cycle 12 volt batts. It works great and run furnace whenever I need, sometimes all night.

That was a good suggestion to make sure your fridge is not set to run 12 volts. I never use the automated setting.


So you switch on the fly and let the truck run "on batteries only" for a while, while sending all the alternator power to the camper batteries?
That is very interesting and outwardly sounds ingenious. Not sure how it would integrate with vehicle systems that monitor SOC of the vehicle start batteries. Pretty cool though!


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stevenal

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Posted: 12/07/21 01:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Where is the receptacle? In the bed, or are you using the OEM trailer connector near the truck's rear bumper.


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adamis

Northern California

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Posted: 12/07/21 06:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Others with more knowledge will likely chime in but here is my two cents... The wire gauge is critical but isn't as critical as some make it out to be. You can pull 30 amps of current from a 22 gauge wire, the question is how long that wire will last before it melts. Also, the voltage is also critical but is not going to define how well your camper charges off the alternator. It is the combination of these two elements that is critical.

Here's the thing, current flows where there is a difference in voltage. Your truck alternator might keep the truck at around 13.3 volts. If your camper battery is at say 12.6 volts you only have .7 volts of potential difference. That's just not going to flow a lot of power from one battery to the other.

This as others have said is where DC to DC chargers earn their keep. There is plenty of amperage that can be pulled from the truck but you need a special circuit that will pull this at a higher current and then use that current to create a higher voltage to the camper battery and thus force more current into it.

There is nothing wrong with upgrading the wiring from the truck, it is the first good step to take. But don't make the mistake and think that upgrading the wire is going to solve your charging woes. You need to invest in a DC to DC charger if you want to be able to get good results charging the camper battery from the truck. And, before the naysayers say "I have never needed a DC to DC charger, my camper charges just fine"... Yes, it will work and for some can work fine in many situations, but it won't be the most effective for situations where you need a lot of power for your camper.


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ScottG

Bothell Wa.

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Posted: 12/07/21 07:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Many posts here do not apply to your 2002 Dodge and others are just wrong in their assumptions and understandings of the charge system.
Proceed carefully.

* This post was edited 12/07/21 07:42pm by ScottG *

mkirsch

Rochester, NY

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Posted: 12/08/21 07:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ScottG wrote:

Many posts here do not apply to your 2002 Dodge and others are just wrong in their assumptions and understandings of the charge system.
Proceed carefully.


So, what does apply, and what does not?

You can't just throw this statement out there and not back it up.


Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

covered wagon

USA

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Posted: 12/08/21 06:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

stevenal wrote:

Where is the receptacle? In the bed, or are you using the OEM trailer connector near the truck's rear bumper.


Im using the trailer connecter near the hitch for the outside lights. then runs toward the front left corner for the camper cord to plug in there to an added recipicle and then to the camper to plug in the camper recepticle. I forgot too, being unfair to everyone here...that my charge wire is coming from the truck batteries (separate) to the forward umbilical cord recepticle. But a huge troublsome problem exists in the wire connections behind the camper factory recepticle. They leave plenty of slack and wire to pull it out and check those connections. Like said before, twice I've seen where they relied on tightening the screw to go thru the wire insulation and not properly stripping the wire. It was amazing to find that also on my new NL camper.

* This post was edited 12/08/21 06:28pm by covered wagon *

covered wagon

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Posted: 12/08/21 06:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mkirsch wrote:

ScottG wrote:

Many posts here do not apply to your 2002 Dodge and others are just wrong in their assumptions and understandings of the charge system.
Proceed carefully.


So, what does apply, and what does not?

You can't just throw this statement out there and not back it up.


Scott picked up on the fact that I am running a seperate charge wire thru a relay controlled by a switch on the dash. Thanks to his statement... I realized I had failed to remember that. I'm also running a number 8 tinned wire which further modifies it from the factory camper special trailer recepticle charge wire.

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