Fifth Wheel Charging.

snowbird

Subscriber
I have recently purchased a fifth wheel outfit, but the leisure batteries do not seem to be charged from the donkey. The cart has a huge solar panel on the roof but I would like to have the convenience of charging from the Ford Wildtrak. There are 2 12 volt sockets in the truck, one for the cart lights and one for the electric brakes. Which socket would be best to feed the split charge relay from and what pin should it go on. It is only for the charging relay as the fridge is only 2 way, so would be on gas when on the move.
 

car1966

Subscriber
I have had 2 5 wheels and only had solar on roof and never had a problem with the battery's the solar chargers keeps them top up. Went to Spain in January and never had to charge the battery only stop at 1 campsite to empty and top up with water so never bothered with chàrging from the tug, o just to add Chris likes to watch tv for about 3 hours a night , so heating on and tv lots of watts, she likes her home comforts
 

shovelheadrob

Subscriber
You won't get alot of charge into the batteries through the normal tow sockets, I've got around 350ah of batteries & no solar (yet) so I've added Anderson connectors, one in the bed with 25mm cable to the battery & one on the pin box, again with 25mm cables to the battery bank. Then a heavy duty suzy cable to connect them. It's not a cheap solution but it certainly puts some life back in the batteries while driving.
 

snowbird

Subscriber
At a guess I would estimate the solar panel at around 200/250 watts. When I bought the rig it was used by a fulltimer for about 6 months and only had 1x 120amp Banner battery as he had permanent hookup. I replaced the Banner battery with 2 120amp gel batteries and checked the Banner battery which was all good, so have hooked that up separately to the onboard inverter charging it by a separate feed from a CBE battery to battery charger. I know we have had no sun for over a week but the new batteries are down to 12.5 volts now. I cannot find a battery kill switch anywhere on the trailer, so presume its the radio etc, that is pulling something from the batteries. I will check with the multi-meter tomorrow and see if they have dropped more.. I .was hoping to put some form of relay from the donkey to the kart, but if others think the solar should charge, then I will leave well alone. The only worry I have is that I will shortly be plumbing a diesel heater into the LPG heating system ducting as I know from past experience American heating systems are gas and 12 volt hungry. The diesel heater takes a fair bit of juice on startup, so do not want to finish up with flat batteries and 3 slideouts that wont work.
 

tacr2man

Subscriber
At a guess I would estimate the solar panel at around 200/250 watts. When I bought the rig it was used by a fulltimer for about 6 months and only had 1x 120amp Banner battery as he had permanent hookup. I replaced the Banner battery with 2 120amp gel batteries and checked the Banner battery which was all good, so have hooked that up separately to the onboard inverter charging it by a separate feed from a CBE battery to battery charger. I know we have had no sun for over a week but the new batteries are down to 12.5 volts now. I cannot find a battery kill switch anywhere on the trailer, so presume its the radio etc, that is pulling something from the batteries. I will check with the multi-meter tomorrow and see if they have dropped more.. I .was hoping to put some form of relay from the donkey to the kart, but if others think the solar should charge, then I will leave well alone. The only worry I have is that I will shortly be plumbing a diesel heater into the LPG heating system ducting as I know from past experience American heating systems are gas and 12 volt hungry. The diesel heater takes a fair bit of juice on startup, so do not want to finish up with flat batteries and 3 slideouts that wont work.
Battery to battery chargers will have a slight discharge when connected to donor batteries . as will inverters .
 

snowbird

Subscriber
Battery to battery chargers will have a slight discharge when connected to donor batteries . as will inverters .
Hi pal, would the inverter take a discharge even though it is switched off, and the mains side plug pulled out?. I did try the inverter with my Sensio coffee machine to see if it would run it which would have discharged the inverter battery a little, but that was 5 days ago, I would have expected that to have been put back by now with the solar. The CBE does stop drawing from the donor battery at 12.5 volts,so that could have been the issue.
 

chatter

Subscriber
on a cd/radio unit i had that never turned 'off' i had a rocker switch added to the wiring on it, to turn it off completely then later i added a deadman switch in the battery compartment so nothing on the house side could draw power when not in use but the batteries could still charge from the solar
 

snowbird

Subscriber
on a cd/radio unit i had that never turned 'off' i had a rocker switch added to the wiring on it, to turn it off completely then later i added a deadman switch in the battery compartment so nothing on the house side could draw power when not in use but the batteries could still charge from the solar
I think the way to go is fit a killswitch in the battery compartment. That should cure any discharge problems from the radio. Perhaps also fit one to the inverter. Something like this.
 

shovelheadrob

Subscriber
You'll be surprised at what the CO & LPG detectors use in the way of power, I used to be able to leave the 5'er plugged in at the previous storage place (my work lol!) but now it just sits in a yard, the batteries drop around 0.15v per week with everything turned off (apart from the CO & LPG alarms, the radio/cd on standby & the tracker) I've now run a dedicated supply for the tracker & everything else goes through an isolator, the tracker uses virtually nothing less than 0.4v voltage drop in nearly 4 months including a couple of times going to get stuff in or out of the trailer & operating the slides etc.
 

snowbird

Subscriber
Ok, an update. Two battery isolators fitted yesterday, one to the inverter and one to the trailer positive. feed Both switched off at about 12 midday. Have just been and checked the batteries and they have gone from 12.5 up to 12.65 and thats on a cloudy day with no sun. The CBE battery to battery charger is working fine and cuts in when the main bank reaches 12.7, but at the moment is dormant until the main bank gets back to 12.7. Thanks for the advice regarding the inverter as I was under the impression that if it was turned off it would not pull power.
 
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