Adding a Battery

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by rlongfield, Aug 3, 2021.

  1. rlongfield

    rlongfield Member

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    Well we just got back from our first camping trip in our new to us Popup. I must say it was much better than being in a tent.
    We ran into a few snags, First off was the perfectly level setup location so we didn't get to put into use our practice with our Camco curved levelers. We figured this was a great sign for our trip, then realized we forgot pancake syrup and milk, luckily were were just 20 mins from town.
    Then the next morning it rained the entire day. It rained so much that our level trailer was no longer level by the end of the day :) I will say though it was so great to be off the wet ground!

    Now to the real issue, power, well darkness. I didn't realized how dark it would be with a solid roof and smokey vinyl windows. We had camp lanterns around the trailer and it was still dark, even when sunny. When raining it was pretty much night time in the trailer (the site is well treed). This was our second time on this particular site (unpowered), we talked about moving to a powered site next time but we really like this site. So the obvious solution is to add a battery to our popup.

    So I've done some reading on adding a battery and I'm hoping that my convertor (Centurion CS2000) has the ability to have a battery connected to it.
    I had a look last night to see if I could find a battery connector wire as I read some convertors come pre-wired for this hookup. If it's there I don't know what to look for.

    I can snap a few pics of the back side of the convertor if needed but I was hoping that someone might know exactly how to connect a battery to this convertor.

    If a battery cannot be connected to this convertor I'm going to need a lot of help sorting out how to switch the DC circuits between shore and battery power.

    Right now I am content with charging the battery at home as we are only doing short 2-3 night trips but I'd like to add solar charging at some point, and TV charging when I get around to getting a 7 pin connector to use the electric brakes.
     
  2. Grandpa Don

    Grandpa Don Well-Known Member

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    What color and how many wires do you have in the camper connector at the tongue? Wire color can tell a lot some times. And yes, I'd like to see a photo of the back of your convertor. Does the camper have overhead lights?
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2021
  3. rlongfield

    rlongfield Member

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    Looks like I have a 6 pin connector at the tongue. I've attached a photo of the wires at the tongue and the back of the convertor.

    20210803_093801.jpg 20210803_093933.jpg

    Thanks for the help!
     
  4. Grandpa Don

    Grandpa Don Well-Known Member

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    That red wire goes to the battery. It says so right on the back of the converter. The white wire is ground to the converter and to the frame of the camper.
     
  5. rlongfield

    rlongfield Member

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    Well great eyes Grandpa Don! That will teach me to use my glasses, and read the big info sticker :)

    So I assume I connect the red wire to my battery's positive connector and the battery's negative to the trailer frame? Or do I run the battery negative back in and put in a larger negative bus bar?

    Also does it look like the Red wire is connected to a black wire in that picture? I'll have to go back out and take a closer look, but might that be the back wire that goes to the tongue connector? Does this mean that if I put a 6 pin (or 7 with adaptor) that my TV will power the DC circuits in the Popup?
    Do I need to isolate the Popup battery from feeding power back into the TV?
     
  6. Grandpa Don

    Grandpa Don Well-Known Member

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    I have to leave for work right now, so I can't make a lengthy reply at this time. But the White wire is ground. I would think that you could connect it to the white wire on the converter according to the sticker and to Frame. A lot of time if you just connect it to the frame you might get some corrosion in the harness and then the 12 VDC won't work any longer. In some instances some campers use black wires for positive. Regardless of the color, Red is positive on the converter. Over the years my Red wire has become more Pink than Red. More later...
     
  7. rlongfield

    rlongfield Member

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    Well I followed the black wire out of the camper and climbed under it and followed it along until I found these things tucked into the tongue frame. So it would seem this trailer had a battery at some point and the mounting was pulled off or it was wired up but never put into use.

    20210803_163200.jpg

    I'm assuming there should be a cover for the fuse holder?
     
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  8. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Ot should be pre wired allready as it has electric brakes, and it should have a break away switch hook up to the battery and the break lines. If thats a fuse holder it should have a cover but tbh i have no idea what it is.
     
  9. rlongfield

    rlongfield Member

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    I'll have to dig around and see if there is a break away switch, I don't believe there is. It looks a lot like a blade fuse holder and I see that there are fuse holders without covers. Maybe the holder is close enough to hide in the battery box.
     
  10. Grandpa Don

    Grandpa Don Well-Known Member

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    Yes, those look like they belong on a battery. Black on positive and white on negative posts. And yes, there should be at least a 30 Amp fuse in that holder and it should be covered or at least in a battery box.
     
  11. Grandpa Don

    Grandpa Don Well-Known Member

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    If you have a Break-away switch somewhere, it should be mounted on the tongue of the camper and have a small cable lanyard attached to it. The break-away switches may or may not have their own battery pack. Mine does.
     
  12. rlongfield

    rlongfield Member

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    I double checked and the fuse holder is only about 3-4 inches away from the terminal connector, so it will definitely hide in the battery box.
    30 Amp? The holder says 20 Amp but I don't know if it's original or not.
     
  13. rlongfield

    rlongfield Member

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    I checked and I don't see a breakaway anything. I looked at one at the store this evening and it is definitely something that can't be hidden in the tongue frame like the battery wires.
     
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  14. Grandpa Don

    Grandpa Don Well-Known Member

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    20 Amps is probably okay. Depends on how much draw you have in the camper at any one time.
     
  15. rlongfield

    rlongfield Member

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    So I went a visted my mechanically talented friend who welded a pair of angle steel to the tongue of the trailer for a battery mount. I have some grinding to do to soften the 'shin pain testers' and I need to give them a coat of paint (along with the rest of the tongue).
    The plan is to mount 2 batteries eventually which is why there is overhang but that's a future addition.

    20210819_075644.jpg

    Now the question I have is about a Battery switch. I know the propane detector is an always on device, and the light kill switch under the flip down sink cabinet has been disconnected (I assume because it failed) by a previous owner. I've switched my lights to LEDs already, the bulbs that were there were melting the light covers.

    So I'm wondering if I need a battery switch? If so what is my best option? I have one on my boat but it's a bank 1, bank 2, off style, oh and it's massive for some reason.
     
  16. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Its good to have, but first i would fix the galley switch. You dont want stuff on in case you forget. Especially stuff like the furnace. Or a shorted wire that gets crimped in the take down of the camper. The lights are usally run up through the canvas on the outside of the pup and banged around a lot.
     
  17. Grandpa Don

    Grandpa Don Well-Known Member

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    This is the one I have on my Viking. It has "On-Off-Remove" positions. In the Remove position you can take the red knob off of the switch. But I never use that position. You have to push the knob down to change positions. It is fairly small and fits nicely on the tongue of my camper just forward of the batteries. This web page says that it is currently unavailable. But I'm sure you can find it on other pages, or at least something similar.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BSBC2QK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
  18. rlongfield

    rlongfield Member

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    I'll look at the switch and see if I can't sort out why it was disconnected. Other than broken is there a reason it would have been disconnected?
     
  19. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Un-Supported Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Nope. Fuse size is determined by wire size and the current it can carry.
     
  20. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    No clue. People do strange stuff.
     

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