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Old 07-28-2014, 04:59 PM   #1
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I have several questions about the trailer I just bought:
1. It's a "Towlite" brand - is that the same as "Hi-Lo"?
2. When I plug in the camper to an outlet, does that over-ride the battery automatically? Or it there a "switch"? Here's why I ask. We went camping last Friday. I plugged the camper in immediately. After four hours, the lights went off. The AC still ran. I had to hook jumper cables and charge the battery again. Why did the lights go out/battery die when it's plugged in?
3. Fridge does not work on electric or battery. It works on propane only. Any suggestions?
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:21 PM   #2
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I have an 88 model and there is no switch to change from DC to AC. It has an inverter under the sofa that runs all the lights on 12-volt power when 110 is hooked up. The newer models have a switch near the raise/lower toggle from my understanding that changes the settings from 12 volt to 110. If the fridge is a 3 way, it should have a button on the front that changes from gas/battery/AC power. Should be indicator lights to tell which setting you are on. Someone with a newer model can probably elaborate more on the master switch on newer models.
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:15 AM   #3
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Default thanks, Misfit!

I will probably have more questions as I continue "exploring" - fun!
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevcrow1 View Post
I have several questions about the trailer I just bought:
1. It's a "Towlite" brand - is that the same as "Hi-Lo"?
2. When I plug in the camper to an outlet, does that over-ride the battery automatically? Or it there a "switch"? Here's why I ask. We went camping last Friday. I plugged the camper in immediately. After four hours, the lights went off. The AC still ran. I had to hook jumper cables and charge the battery again. Why did the lights go out/battery die when it's plugged in?
3. Fridge does not work on electric or battery. It works on propane only. Any suggestions?
Welcome to the forum. What is your year and model number? Hi-Lo had the Classic and Towlite models. Did you hear the inverter kick on at any time while the trailer was plugged in? Fridge take a while to cool when plugged in.
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:55 PM   #5
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Thanks for your reply!

I have a 1994 17' Towlite. I don't know the model number. I bought the camper from an older couple that didn't give me much info about the camper. Let's just say I've done a lot of exploring - but I am enjoying it!

I found out that my camper has a built in battery charger. I didn't realize that I had that circuit breaker off when the camper battery went dead last Friday night. So, I guess as long as the camper in plugged in, I need to keep that circuit breaker on for the battery to run lights, etc. Does that sound right?

I did fiddle with the fridge. It does work - just very slow to cool.

Another question for you... The battery is only a year-old. I made sure the lights, pump switch, fridge, and radio are off. The battery is still running down. Any advice?
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Old 07-29-2014, 01:35 PM   #6
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Hi Kev - welcome to the funhouse!

I had a problem with my trailer battery draining with everything off and finally figured out it was due to a CD/DVD/TV/FM device that had been installed connected directly to the battery through an inline fuse. It was always pulling a small amount of current, maybe about 50 mA, even when off. Over the span of a few weeks, the battery would be completely dead.

I fixed the problem by installing an inline switch to the power line that I could turn off to completely isolate it from the battery when it was not in use.

You may have a similar problem. You can find out if you have a drain by connecting an Ammeter in series between one of the battery cables and the post it was connected to. If you see current flow, you have a constant drain.

Then, the problem is to discover what is always "on", and pulling the power. You can trip all circuit breakers and pull all fuses to see if the drain continues. If not, reset them one at a time until the drain resumes. If there is still a drain with all fuses and CBs off, you have a "hot" circuit to something, like I had.

Even if the battery is fairly new, it could still be defective. Is it receiving charging power when you are plugged into AC? If it is, you will see 13.2-13.4 Volts across the terminals if you apply a voltmeter's leads to them. If you see something like 12.4 V or less, the battery is NOT being charged. A fully charged battery in good shape should show 12.7 V across the terminals with no other load on it.

The refrigerators in RVs ARE very slow to cool down. The trick is to always start it at least one full day before you set out on a trip. I plug my trailer into my house power for this task, and cool it on AC power. Then, I try to fill it completely with food that is already cold or frozen before I switch it to DC for traveling.

Hope this helps. If you need clarification, just ask.

- Jack
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Old 07-30-2014, 03:17 PM   #7
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You mentioned that the battery had gone completely dead at some point. That may have ruined it. It would be good to take the battery out and have it tested at a knowledgeable battery shop. If it is shot, get a deep cycle battery which works best. You never want to run the battery below 50% charge which is about 12 volts, or it will reduce the battery's life.
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