What things should be on/off while driving with a camper? (Battery, Propane)

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by insaniak, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. insaniak

    insaniak New Member

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    Should everything be off while driving to a destination about 3 hours away?

    Specifically the on board battery and propane. Is it ok to have the propane on and running the fridge while driving?

    Is it ok to have the battery on while driving or should it always be off? Will it be charged from my own vehicle automatically even while off?

    what about the switch inside the cabin under the vent? There's a switch there where if it is in the middle position it is off and pressed one way activates the battery, what does the other one activate?? Should that be in a specific position while driving?

    What about having the outside battery switch off and the inside battery switch in the position that activates battery power? Would that be ok for driving?
     
  2. skeetercampsintexas

    skeetercampsintexas Active Member

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    I'm not sure about the switch you speak of, but we run with propane on for the fridge, battery going. As for battery charging that depends on your vehicle and if you're equipped with a 7 round plug, and if said plug is even wired to charge a battery. The main consideration for running with propane on is stopping to refuel your vehicle. The last thing anyone needs is a pilot light igniting fuel vapors at a filling station.

    If your battery cutoff switch is off then it makes no difference to any interior switch because that switch will not have incoming power to switch to outgoing sources. If you want this interior switch to be on then your battery cutoff switch must be on as well.
     
  3. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    hi insaniak

    as for the inside 'conv/off/batt' switch inside. I tried to remember to leave it OFF before lower the roof. It allows battery power to be distributed to the lights etc when switched to BATT. Switched to CONV allows the internal converter in the power center to distribute power to the lights etc when the 120v cord is plugged into utility power. These ole converters did not charge the battery.
     
  4. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    All depends on whether you have the ability to not only run your fridge on battery but a means to charge the battery while driving..

    Perfectly safe to run with the propane "on" while driving, larger trailersa like HTT's, TT's 5'ers and MoHo's almost always are running with the propane on running the fridges...

    That said there are certain tunnels and some bridges that require you to turn off the propane as well as ferrys..

    If your trailer has brakes, then you must have the battery "on" for the break-away switch to work if the trailer becomes disconnected from the TV.. If your vehicle has a charge line run, then it will charge the trailer battery while driving..

    If the trailer battery is disconnected ("off") there is no way for it to charge whether driving or plugged in to shore power..

    Unsure of what switch your talking about... Only switch I can think of is the safety disconnect switch, with should be in the up position to make sure that none of the lights can be powered with the top down.. A picture will help confirm if it is the safety switch..

    See above ...
     
  5. insaniak

    insaniak New Member

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    My fridge only runs on Propane, and it connects through a 7 round electrical harness to my vehicle, and it charges while driving. Will it always charge while driving or do any of the switches have to be in a specific position?
     
  6. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Battery cut-off switch has to be "ON" ..
     
  7. insaniak

    insaniak New Member

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    And what about the cabin one? It has a switch that to the left is the external power plug, middle is off, and the right is the battery. Does that have to be in a specific position? Or just the outside switch has to be on to charge the battery?
     
  8. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    Check the voltage at the battery with everything turned off. Should be about 12.6 volts or so. Now hook your plug to your tow vehicle, start the engine, and check the voltage at the trailer battery again. If it's charging, it Should jump it up to at least 13 volts. If it's not, turn on your battery cutoff switch and check it again. If it still isn't, turn on the switch inside, and check voltage again.
     
  9. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    What make and model of trailer are we talking about ??

    Can you post a picture of this switch ??
     
  10. insaniak

    insaniak New Member

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    It's a '98 flagstaff MAC classic 9'

    http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1955tech/2010-03-07_044853_Magnetek__6409.jpg

    The switch in the bottom right area.

    That picture is what mine looks like but it doesn't have any labels like the picture. Mine is all full of stuff packed up ready to go to Moab next weekend.
     
  11. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    That switch ... that switch is for the power source your conveter will use ... in the "CONV" position you'll will need to be plugged in to shore power.. In the "OFF" position your converter is off no power at all and in the "BATT" position is for when your camping without shore power and that will provide power to your overhead lights from the battery..

    While towing you can select it to "OFF" ..
     
  12. insaniak

    insaniak New Member

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    So while towing that can be OFF and the outside 12V switch be ON and that will charge my battery from my car?
     
  13. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    It should... providing your car is wired to charge the battery..

    To make sure follow the advice of campfreak ..

     
  14. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    Some trailers are not wired for it, and some vehicles are not wired for it.
    Checking with a voltmeter is the only way to be sure.
     
  15. bldmtnrider

    bldmtnrider Member

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    Cabin switch OFF unless you are camping. That controls things like the water pump and internal lights and is protection from wearing out the pump and draining your battery while you PUP is in storage.

    Leave your battery hooked up while towing. If you are wired to charge you'll get to the campsite topped off. If you are not wired to charge, then so what, your not going to drain it in a 3 hour trip (unless you left the internal switch ON and the pump is running).

    As far as the propane goes, that one is up to you. Most everyone I know leaves theirs on to run the fridge but my pilot light always blows out while towing. I've also seen enough campers that caught fire on the road that I don't bother with the fridge while towing. My fridge is also somewhat useless so I really don't use it much anyway, and if I do, I just bring along some frozen water jugs to pre-cool the fridge when I get to my destination.
     
  16. bldmtnrider

    bldmtnrider Member

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    Another thing to think of with regards to leaving the propane on, what if you get in a crash or hit some road debris? If someone rear ends you and your hitch fails you could sheer a line or with those lines under the camper I wouldn't want to risk hitting a shredded truck tire and have it take out a propane line.
     

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