Where is my battery?

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Where is my battery?

Postby Gary T » Sun Jan 22, 2006 7:43 pm

Installed my hitch and wire harness in my HHR today. Took longer to replace some sound proofing foam than it took to wire the car. Good thing I took the advice from Nitetimes (thanks) and wired it myself, save me over a $100.00.
Took just over an hour to put the hidden hitch on, which was a wet messy job! Must have swallowed a 1/2 a gallon of raod salt. Snowed 6 inches so they just pored the salt on the roads!!! Did I say I hate winter!
What I found when putting the harness in was that my battery was in the back of the car, beside the spare tire.
I had looked under the hood for the battery before, couldn't find it and took it that I was just a spaz and was just missing it.
Is this going to make life simpler or more complicated when I want to run a power line/ charge line to my trailer.
Gary T.

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Postby Frank » Sun Jan 22, 2006 7:56 pm

Gary,

Sorry to hear about the salt and snow, since we left Detroit and came to SC (65 today) have really missed it. NOT. :oops: Any who, about the battery, glad you found it, however I may get corrected, but I put the charging wire to the trailer on the starter.

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Postby Gary T » Sun Jan 22, 2006 8:00 pm

I really have no idea where it goes. So it most likely is the starter. I hope thats in the trunk...
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Postby GeorgeTelford » Sun Jan 22, 2006 8:14 pm

Hi Frank

I really hope you mean the alternator not the starter, you should wire from the positive terminal of the battery, make sure you put a fuse near the Vehicle battery AND the Leisure/tear battery.
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Postby Gage » Sun Jan 22, 2006 9:54 pm

I just run a 10 gauge wire between battery positive post with a 30 amp fuse now at each battery. I don't worry about draining the car battery because I unhook when I get to where I'm going.

Have a good day.

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Postby Nitetimes » Mon Jan 23, 2006 1:59 am

Gage got the right idea. 30amp breaker off the battery terminal and wire to the plug. You even get to keep the wires short and save crawling under the car looking for places to tie them. Don't make it any harder than it has to be. I wish more of them would have had the battery in the trunk when I was wiring 5 or 10 a week.
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Postby Frank » Mon Jan 23, 2006 6:51 pm

Sorry folks, yes I messed up, I agree with Gage, the battery, along with a fuse. You need a solinoid, (switch) but if you ALWAYS unhook the tow vehicle when its not running it is not a must. Now for the reason, if you go to the starter or alt. and have a short in the wire going to the trailer and for some reason the fuse is disabled (don't work) it will ruin the alt. Hooking to the battery will give you more safety for your tow vehicle.

Hope this helps.

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Postby Gary T » Mon Jan 23, 2006 8:32 pm

That will make things so much easier.
Just one more question. Any idea what gauge of wire I should run?
I assume that it should be quite thick.
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Postby Nitetimes » Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:05 pm

All you will need is 10ga. wire. You've got a definite advantage there in that you are only running short distances. The standard charging wire on a pickup from the factory is only 10ga and that's from the front.
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Postby Gage » Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:10 pm

Gary T wrote:That will make things so much easier.
Just one more question. Any idea what gauge of wire I should run?
I assume that it should be quite thick.

I ran 10 gauge and the reason I have added a 30 amp fuse at each battery is because on my way to Minden last year my charge wire laid over my exhaust and shorted out and blew the fuse at the battery. That was good but the wire still being hot from the trailer battery, I ended up with a small fire that took out my trailer lights and also some of my interior lights where my wires were taped together. So now if that should happen, both fuses will blow (hopefully). It really is a simple thing to do.

Have a good day.

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Postby GeorgeTelford » Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:26 pm

Hi Gary

Do you use a good 3-4 stage charger at home between trips?

The reason I ask is that if you fully charge at home, then drive with the battery connected to alternator (Via starter battery positive terminal) by the time you arrive you will have lost some charge (up to 35 % depending how long the trip was)


Here is a quote from an engineer (Collyn Rivers) as to why an alternator is a poor charger

an alternator's field is generated by a current flowing through internally rotating wire coils. The stronger that current, the stronger the field, and the greater the alternator's output.

The strength of that field, and hence the alternator's voltage output, is controlled by the voltage regulator. That regulator attempts to maintain the alternator's output at a constant 14.2 14.4 volts regardless of battery charge, or whether or not windscreen wipers, big audio systems, air-conditioning etc., are on or of.

The starter battery has an integral and vital role in this system of control. Whilst that battery does not normally supply current whilst the engine is running, the voltage across it reflects whatever is happening in the electrical system. If, for example, the rear window demister is turned on, the increased load causes battery voltage to fall.

The regulator continuously monitors this voltage, either across the battery or from within the alternator (whilst battery and alternator are connected directly by heavy cable there can be a voltage difference between the two due to losses along that connecting cable).

Knowing. that the system should operate at 14.2.14.4 volts, the regulator adjusts the alternator's output voltage by switching its field on and off at very high speed (Fig. 4.1). Smoothed by the battery, this output appears to the system as a constant voltage.

As noted in Chapter 2, 14.2.14.4 volts output is a compromise. It's high enough to spin the starter motor, but also low enough to prevent overcharging unless the vehicle is driven non-stop for days on end. But that 14.2.14.4 volts output is too low to charge any conventional lead-acid battery beyond 70.75% in any practicable length of time.

Experts in this field are increasingly quoting 65% as a more realistic norm.


That explains why a standard alternator is a poor charger, why the vehicle system will discharge the previously fully charged battery is a little more complex, but briefly if a charged battery is attached to a discharged battery then they try to equalise, so the leisure battery you charge at home is brought down to the level of the starter battery.

One day I'll have to get all this down in one place for easy reference.....
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Postby Gary T » Mon Jan 23, 2006 10:08 pm

So let me try to get my simple mind around this.
If I fully charge my trailer battery at home, dont connect it to the charge wire attached to the vehicle, because when I get to where I'm going I'm going to have approximatly a 65% charge, do to the equalization.
If I am away from a shore power source, I can hook up the charge wire to charge the trailer battery, with the car running of course. But there will be some qualization now just the other way.
So after the initial discharge to most I can hope for is a 65-70% charge in my trailer battery.
I think I can live with that. I will usually only be in my trailer for a few days at a time so shouldn't run into any low power situations, and would only use the charge wire as a last resort.

Thanks for all the help everyone.
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Postby GeorgeTelford » Mon Jan 23, 2006 10:13 pm

Hi Gary

That about sum's it up

George
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Postby bdosborn » Mon Jan 23, 2006 11:07 pm

Gary,

When I camped in Minden last summer I ran off my battery only for three days. After returning home (about an 8 hour trip) I hooked a good battery charger to the trailer battery and it was fully charged. The battery was charged on the trip home via the trucks alternator. I've had very good luck charging my battery with the alternator, it certainly better than nothing when shore power is unavailable (or you forget the extenson cord). :oops:
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Postby GeorgeTelford » Mon Jan 23, 2006 11:42 pm

Hi Bruce

unless you have some kind of special alternator smart regulator, your battery was not fully charged when you returned home, its not actually possible.

I agree its better than nothing (but only just)
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