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Old 10-16-2016, 10:07 AM   #11
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Location: Pine, AZ
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Bamagirl, the voltage that is received by the trailer when hooked to the tow vehicle will be very close to the output of the tow vehicle's alternator. Normal charging voltage can be anywhere from 13.5-14.5V. But, voltage is like "pressure" and as more systems demand electricity from the alternator, that pressure is reduced.

In my towing experience, I've seen the alternator voltage as low as 13.6V and as high as 14.0V. I have a meter that measures the actual voltage.

However, it's not voltage that powers your refrigerator, it's Amperage, which is similar to the "volume" of electricity it receives.

The problem with many tow vehicles is that the charging wire back to the trailer is too small to let the needed volume through. So, the refrigerator makes up the shortage by taking the needed Amperage from the trailer battery.

Someone, I believe it was RichR, stated that the refrigerator needs 13 Amps when running on DC current. That's a lot of Amperage and if true, even 10 gauge wire (which is commonly used) is too small. You really need 8 gauge wire (smaller gauge = bigger wire, go figure) to carry that much current over that distance.

So, replacing the tow vehicle charging wire with a heavier gauge is the simple solution to preventing a discharged battery during towing.

- Jack

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Old 10-16-2016, 12:47 PM   #12
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If you're not planning on long days driving, and since you won't be boondocking, you could consider not even running the fridge while towing. Try this to see if it works for you.

1. A couple of days before departure, get the fridge running good and cold on home (shore) power.
2. On the day of departure, load it with stuff that you've already cooled in your home refrigerator/freezer. You can even add frozen bottles or jugs of water or orange juice, etc. to help keep it cold.
3. Turn off the fridge just before you depart.
4. Keep a fridge thermometer in the fridge and monitor temps (but minimize opening the fridge while traveling)
5. When you get to the campground, plug in and shore power will take over.

You can't do this traveling across Death Valley in July for 14 hour days, but you can get several hours out of it without problems.

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Old 10-16-2016, 08:11 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bamagirl View Post
One of the suggestions from you guys is in regards to the TV charging the battery in the camper. We have a 2014 Tundra that has tow package on it. Does anyone have any experience with this TV as to upgrading the wiring, etc.? On the Tundra forums, some say that it pushes 13.8V to the trailer; others say no. Yes, I will test it but realistically, is that enough to run the fridge during traveling and lift the trailer upon arrival? We won't be boondocking, I don't think my mom is ready for that, nor will we be traveling 7-8 hours a day either. I don't want to travel with the LP on. Suggestions? Tips? Experience?
Perhaps, these questions are answered elsewhere or better asked in another area. I'll explore but quick tips anyone?
I don't know about a 2014 Tundra, but I know my 2005 Tundra with factory tow package could not keep the battery charged with the refer running on DC.

Fantastic Wife
2005 Toyota Tundra V-8 4.7L
2705T Tow Lite
1999 21T Tow Lite
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