A question on what charges what in my BT

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 19:47
ThreadID: 127517 Views:1991 Replies:3 FollowUps:6
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I just returned from a detecting trip in WA.

It rained for four days non stop on my way home and I had very little input from the solar panels.

During that trip, it appeared to me that the battery level was always low (although the fridge ran as usual).

When the van power plug is attached to the car, does it :

- Take over the supply from the battery and power the fridge direct ? If this is the case, do the batteries get charged at the same time ?
- Or, does it charge the battery and the power then runs from the battery to my fridge ?

As you may have guessed, I am an electrical cretin and any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Willie.
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 03:25

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 03:25
Willie,

First you have to ascertain if there is a live wire from the car battery to the trailer connection plug on the rear of the tow vehicle.
This WILL ONLY BE THERE IF YOU HAD IT PUT IN. BTi usually install a power wire from the van batteries to the trailer connection plug, but what happens on the tow vehicle end is up to you.

Steve doesn't like heavy wires because he believes that some tow vehicles can put too high a voltage into the caravan batteries. The wire that BTi used to put in was only about 3 to 4mm and are commonly called 6mm wire because that is the outside diameter of the plastic cover.
A lot of people disagree with that, and like me have run have run heavier gauge wire.

I have 8mm cable from car battery to the caravan batteries. and connect them with an Anderson Plug at the back of the car.
Near the car battery and near the van battery I have 40amp circuit breakers just in case someone causes a short circuit.

If you have a connection like this then when the car is running then charge will come from the alternator and charge up the caravan batteries. In my outfit the van batteries are charged to 13.3 volts while travelling.

In your case there is probably no power coming from the car, so you were just relying on the solar input.

Hope this helps.

Brian
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Follow Up By: Willie - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 19:31

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 19:31
Howdy Brian,

Thanks for all that info. I will get an auto electrician to check the wiring in the car and in the van.

I just thought that the power might be going to the fridge etc without charging the batteries. Is that possible, if there is something wrong with the charger. (the charger is working with the solar panels though)

Willie.
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Follow Up By: Uncle Dodgy - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 22:47

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 22:47
G'day Willie

Be sure to warn the Auto Elec of the type of batteries in your BT, and it is most likely that they would be different from the type of batteries in the town vehicle.

The alternator in the tow vehicle would be set to charge the type of battery in the tow vehicle and that sort of charge rate/voltage could bugger your BT batteries if a different type.

Less risk me thinks to use a 240 volt generator to use the BT mains power charger to top up the batteries in the BT in lousey charging weather.

When you need to get the absolute max from your solar panels, it often pays to check that the panels are clean and not obstructed by loads of dust and/or bird doo doo.

Hope this helps
Cheers
John
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Follow Up By: Uncle Dodgy - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 22:49

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 22:49
OOPS

In the first sentence. "town vehicle" should read tow vehicle.

Cheers
John
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Follow Up By: Willie - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 23:41

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 23:41
Good advice John thanks.

BUT do you have the answer to that question - "I just thought that the power might be going to the fridge etc without charging the batteries. Is that possible, if there is something wrong with the charger. (the charger is working with the solar panels though)"

Thanks ,

Willie.
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Reply By: Col & Diane - Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 00:12

Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 00:12
G'Day Willie,

If the vehicle is connected properly as explained above, the batteries will be getting charged and the fridge will be taking its power from the batteries at the same time. That is if the alternator is outputting, say, 30 amps, this current will be going to the batteries, but at the same time the fridge will be taking out say 5 amps. So at that point in time the batteries will be getting a resultant 25 amps of charge. I think this is what you are asking, and I hope it helps.

How did the detecting go? We started at Hall's Creek and then went to Marble Bar, and then Nullagine. We then made the mistake of going south and hit the wet weather. Presently at Kal and it's hasn't rained since we got here, so things might improve from here on. Heading to Leonora and then Laverton next. Done OK up north. Nothing real big (biggest 17 grams), and have a bit over 6.5 oz thus far.

Regards,

Col

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Follow Up By: Willie - Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 00:49

Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 00:49
Yes Col, you answered my question, thanks.

We spent 10 days north of Leonora on the first GPA Tour and I got 37 bits in the first 8 days and nothing in the last two. Then we went for the first of two 7 day tours at Sandstone. Here I got only 8 pc in 7 days and was getting very frustrated.

Eventually we found that the new power cable I was using (after I crushed my plug in the door on the first tour) was faulty and only giving me large targets. What a bummer - 9 days I detected with a faulty unit and got 8 pc. After I fixed the problem I got 27 pc in the next 6 days. We pulled out of Sandstone a day early because of the rain.

Including the three I found in between the tours, I ended up with 75 pc for 40gm. All small except for one 5gm and one 4.4gm pc. Your 17gm/6.5oz puts me to shame !

I had permission to go on some leases at Cue, but with the rain I pulled up stumps and headed home to Sydney as fast as I could go to avoid divorce.

Good luck when you head out again.

Willie.
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Reply By: Willie - Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 04:37

Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 04:37
Gold from the June WA trip

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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 05:33

Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 05:33
Nice PENNY
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