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Old 05-14-2017, 03:06 PM   #1
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Question Newbies here---have a quick question.

We are new to the travel trailer scene. Literally just bought a 2003 Sunline Solaris T2499 (yesterday!). Does the auxiliary battery near the trailer hitch charge while we're driving? The seller told us it charges as we have to hook the plug to our trailer hitch on the truck, but so far I haven't seen anything indicating this in the owner's manual.
Thanks in advance for any help anyone here can provide!
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Old 05-14-2017, 05:32 PM   #2
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Yes, and beware: a dead camper battery will drain your tow vehicle battery if plugged in and your vehicle isn't running.
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Old 05-14-2017, 06:09 PM   #3
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Oh, wow! Thanks, Tim! I think we won't be taking any chances on our maiden voyage. Traveling about 865 miles. Need things to go as smoothly as possible.
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Old 05-14-2017, 07:00 PM   #4
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Hi,

Yes, the truck will charge the camper battery but few things need to be in place for this to happen.

1. The truck is running depending on brand. Some trucks are wired from the 7 wire plug direct to the truck battery and in this case, the truck does not have to be running. This is the kind that Tim pointed you too that can drain the truck if the ignition is not on. Others, have a relay in the charge line to the trailer. On these kinds, the ignition needs to be on to charge the battery. This type disconnects the charging when the truck is off so you do not drain your battery. From what I know, many Ford trucks and Toyota trucks have the relay. GM's, many are wired direct to the battery. I do not know if every truck in those brands have the relay or not, I just know many of those I listed do.

2. If your camper has a battery disconnect switch on the frame of the camper up by the battery, that must be on for the truck or the camper to charge the battery.

3. There is a fuse in the battery charging line on the camper that must not be blown in order for the battery to charge from the truck. Along with this, most trucks have a fuse in the battery charging line and it too, must not be blown.

If you want to test that battery is in fact charging from the truck, make sure the shore line 120VAC plug is not plugged in while do this test.

Let the camper battery sit overnight without the camper plugged into shore power. This drains any surface charge on the battery and leaves it at it's resting state.

Start the truck and hook up the camper like you would tow down the road.

Using a volt meter on the camper battery, do a voltage test. The battery voltage should be up at 13.25 volts or higher if the truck is charging it.

If you do not have a volt meter, you can do a different test. Let me know and I will type that out. Also let me know if you have a battery disconnect switch.

Good luck on your trip and hope this helps

John
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Old 05-14-2017, 07:58 PM   #5
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Thanks, John.
My husband has a volt meter, so he'll be able to test it.
We're hitting the road this Saturday, and I'm sure he will be going through everything before we start out. We believe in preventative care rather than having to figure out how to deal with a problem that could have easily been avoided. =) I'm starting to get some anxiety already, both good and bad excitement.
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Old 05-14-2017, 08:12 PM   #6
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OK, good. If you need more help, let us know.

Have a good trip.

John
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Old 05-14-2017, 08:27 PM   #7
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Thanks, John!
I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge with me!
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:51 PM   #8
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Much better answer than mine, thanks John!

Adding to the GM part of what you said, I know a 2005 Chevy Tahoe will charge the camper battery even when ignition is off. I used to unplug it when getting gas, which meant checking the brake lights again after re-connecting.

Best of luck with your new camper, enjoy the trip!
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:17 AM   #9
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The 7 pin connector on your TV may or may not have 12 volt charge wire most modern TV with a tow package have a charge connection. If you open the little door the charge pin will be at 1 o'clock try it with both the key on and off and see what you get for voltage that way you will know if you need to unplug it when parked and if it will charge plugged in. Frankly it's kind of dumb to have it stay on but--
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:52 PM   #10
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We have a 2000 Ford Excursion with a tow package. I think the best bet would be to just unplug it once parked. But I'm sure we will check just so we know for future reference. Looking forward to the day this all becomes second nature to us. I'm sure we'll find out within the next week or two how steep the learning curve is!
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:06 PM   #11
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Well generally one backs into a space and then the TV is in the way so it does get disconnected but it be nice to know if you could leave it plugged in just in case.
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