Travel Trailer Electrical Upgrades

Some pictures of the install progress so far:



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I'm finally getting around to getting started on the wiring in anticipation of installing the Victron 50A DC-DC charger.

I'm going to run 2 AWG from the passenger battery to an Anderson plug I'll install on the receiver as @01tundra did. I'll also be using 2 AWG from the trailer tongue to the battery bay, and 4 AWG to connect to the charger and the Lynx distributor.

I did complete the other electrical upgrades and they have been working great for the last few weeks. We're currently at a site with full hook ups, but we generally keep the current limit at 0 and let the inverter and solar run everything. We do turn power from the grid back on when we leave in case we need the air to kick on for the dogs.

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I would run a dedicated circuit and get the best performance out of your DC-DC charger, instead of depending on undersized wire both in the truck and trailer.

I ran a dedicated 4 AWG circuit to the back of the truck, ending with a 175A Anderson plug. Ran 4 AWG from the trailer tongue to a power post in the trailer near the DC-DC charger, then dropped to 6 AWG to the charger. I have a Victron Orion 12/12-30 charger and have seen as high as 32A output to the batteries.

The Victron has an automatic engine detect feature, so there's no need for switches. Once the batteries reach 100% SOC, the charger automatically switches to float mode, there's no need to manually control it.

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Question for you if you don't mind.

Did you do the high idle mod to control it with an upfitter? One use case for us would be using the truck to charge the battery bank in the trailer at idle, somewhere that we wouldn't want to or wouldn't be permitted to use the generator.

Attempting to pull current from the alternator at idle seems like it should put the truck in high idle on its own, but I can't find any information on that. Have you ever used your truck in similar circumstances? Bad idea?
 
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Question for you if you don't mind.

Did you do the high idle mod to control it with an upfitter? One use case for us would be using the truck to charge the battery bank in the trailer at idle, somewhere that we wouldn't want to or wouldn't be permitted to use the generator.

Attempting to pull current from the alternator at idle seems like it should put the truck in high idle on its own, but I can't find any information on that. Have you ever used your truck in similar circumstances? Bad idea?
If your Ram has a BMS, run the negative through the loop so the computer knows about the draw and can adjust. Ford has this.
 
Question for you if you don't mind.

Did you do the high idle mod to control it with an upfitter? One use case for us would be using the truck to charge the battery bank in the trailer at idle, somewhere that we wouldn't want to or wouldn't be permitted to use the generator.

Attempting to pull current from the alternator at idle seems like it should put the truck in high idle on its own, but I can't find any information on that. Have you ever used your truck in similar circumstances? Bad idea?
I have not and I'm getting a little over 25A out of my Orion at idle with the headlights on or off.

This is with the smaller standard alternator that comes with the 7.3L.
 
I'm finally getting around to getting started on the wiring in anticipation of installing the Victron 50A DC-DC charger.

I'm going to run 2 AWG from the passenger battery to an Anderson plug I'll install on the receiver as @01tundra did. I'll also be using 2 AWG from the trailer tongue to the battery bay, and 4 AWG to connect to the charger and the Lynx distributor.

I did complete the other electrical upgrades and they have been working great for the last few weeks. We're currently at a site with full hook ups, but we generally keep the current limit at 0 and let the inverter and solar run everything. We do turn power from the grid back on when we leave in case we need the air to kick on for the dogs.

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How many watts of solar is that? I've got panels sitting in my garage waiting to be installed once it's dry. Pretty excited for that convenience.
 
How many watts of solar is that? I've got panels sitting in my garage waiting to be installed once it's dry. Pretty excited for that convenience.
We have 1200 watts on the roof. I also installed a second SCC for our 200 watt suitcase. I sized it for 400 watts in case we want to add more ground solar down the road.

We've been using it almost constantly for several weeks now, and it's awesome. Can't wait to get out west on some BLM land. So far, it's been Harvest Hosts and Cracker Barrels...

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The next thing I'm looking at is whether or not I can use the 50A Victron Orion when it's released. It's non-isolated (no ETA on an isolated version) and I've seen in the past that those aren't really recommended for travel trailers because you want a common chassis ground between the starter and house batteries.

I have a chassis ground in the trailer connected to the Lynx distributor and I'm thinking I should be able to run the ground from the truck battery through a post and to the Lynx. Still researching any issues with that setup.
 
We have 1200 watts on the roof. I also installed a second SCC for our 200 watt suitcase. I sized it for 400 watts in case we want to add more ground solar down the road.

We've been using it almost constantly for several weeks now, and it's awesome. Can't wait to get out west on some BLM land. So far, it's been Harvest Hosts and Cracker Barrels...

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That's awesome. That's what I've got waiting to go on my trailer. Wouldn't the 30a DCDC charger be enough with all that solar?
 
That's awesome. That's what I've got waiting to go on my trailer. Wouldn't the 30a DCDC charger be enough with all that solar?
Most of the time, just the solar is enough, especially if we add another 200 watts and can use the ground arrays for a total of 1600 watts. Our battery bank's SOC has generally dropped to around 60-65% over night, and we're typically charged back up before noon.

But, there are some use cases for the alternator being the primary charging source. We camp in a lot of state and national parks where the canopy won't allow for solar charging, and generator use is restricted or prohibited. 100A charging should be able to top up our batteries with typical use in an hour or so. We also sometimes do three or four Harvest Host stays in a row, sometimes with only an hour of driving between them.

This stay is a good example...we were on our third night and had another stay at a winery near the Finger Lakes. Our battery bank was depleted and our solar was giving us almost nothing. We ended up breaking out the generator because it was permitted, but that won't always be the case.

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I will say that this was before we had the rooftop solar, but we were very conservative with our power over those four days. We just had a string of days with no production.

There's also just the fact that I like new toys, and my wife said I could go all out on this system, so that's what I'm doing. :LOL:
 
The next thing I'm looking at is whether or not I can use the 50A Victron Orion when it's released. It's non-isolated (no ETA on an isolated version) and I've seen in the past that those aren't really recommended for travel trailers because you want a common chassis ground between the starter and house batteries.

I have a chassis ground in the trailer connected to the Lynx distributor and I'm thinking I should be able to run the ground from the truck battery through a post and to the Lynx. Still researching any issues with that setup.
That should work fine.

I have an isolated Orion, but that's because I purchased it prior to them releasing the non-isolated version.

From what I understand, the isolated is primarily geared toward marine applications where there's no "chassis" to ground to and the non-isolated are perfectly fine for RV/travel trailer applications.

I know people who have travel trailers and are running the non-isolated version without any issues.

The nice thing about the new 50XS is that the input current from the truck can be adjusted between 1A and 50A in 0.1A increments.
 
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Most of the time, just the solar is enough, especially if we add another 200 watts and can use the ground arrays for a total of 1600 watts. Our battery bank's SOC has generally dropped to around 60-65% over night, and we're typically charged back up before noon.

But, there are some use cases for the alternator being the primary charging source. We camp in a lot of state and national parks where the canopy won't allow for solar charging, and generator use is restricted or prohibited. 100A charging should be able to top up our batteries with typical use in an hour or so. We also sometimes do three or four Harvest Host stays in a row, sometimes with only an hour of driving between them.

This stay is a good example...we were on our third night and had another stay at a winery near the Finger Lakes. Our battery bank was depleted and our solar was giving us almost nothing. We ended up breaking out the generator because it was permitted, but that won't always be the case.

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I will say that this was before we had the rooftop solar, but we were very conservative with our power over those four days. We just had a string of days with no production.

There's also just the fact that I like new toys, and my wife said I could go all out on this system, so that's what I'm doing. :LOL:
I can dig it! I had to run my generator last weekend to top off our batteries quite a bit. We were being pretty careless with our energy use though.
 
That should work fine.

I have an isolated Orion, but that's because I purchased it prior to them releasing the non-isolated version.

From what I understand, the isolated is primarily geared toward marine applications where there's no "chassis" to ground to and the non-isolated are perfectly fine for RV/travel trailer applications.

I know people who have travel trailers and are running the non-isolated version without any issues.

The nice thing about the new 50XS is that the input current from the truck can be adjusted between 1A and 50A in 0.1A increments.

Yeah, after looking into it, I think I'll use a 150A bus bar to connect the ground for the truck battery, the Lynx, and both chargers. I have things planned out and ordered...now just need to get my hands on a pair of the chargers.
 
I am learning a lot here in this thread and I plan to mirror some of it for our new camper we are bringing home later this week. I plan to boon dock with it a lot and I plan to upgrade to lithium batteries and solar on the roof here pretty soon (currently has 100ah AGM) to keep me going without having to run the generator all the time. I do have a 200w solar suitcase to help keep things topped off as well, but like some here have experienced, you can't always rely on solar.
 
I am learning a lot here in this thread and I plan to mirror some of it for our new camper we are bringing home later this week. I plan to boon dock with it a lot and I plan to upgrade to lithium batteries and solar on the roof here pretty soon (currently has 100ah AGM) to keep me going without having to run the generator all the time. I do have a 200w solar suitcase to help keep things topped off as well, but like some here have experienced, you can't always rely on solar.
Nice. Any idea what size system you're wanting?

One thing I'd do different if I was starting from scratch is to go with the 270Ah GC3 from Battle Born. I should be able to fit two where I have my four 100Ah installed, and I might even be able to talk my wife into giving up some of the curb side storage for two more...maybe. :LOL:

But, we started out with just two of the 100Ah batteries and the 200W suitcase.

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Forgive the wiring. Our dealer installed two Interstate batteries and I swapped them for these in a Cracker Barrel parking lot using their wiring.

If I do make changes to this system down the road, I'll also probably go 24V, or maybe even 48V.
 
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Nice. Any idea what size system you're wanting?

One thing I'd do different if I was starting from scratch is to go with the 270Ah GC3 from Battle Born. I should be able to fit two where I have my four 100Ah installed, and I might even be able to talk my wife into giving up some of the turn side storage for two more...maybe. :LOL:

But, we started out with just two of the 100Ah batteries and the 200W suitcase.

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Forgive the wiring. Our dealer installed two Interstate batteries and I swapped them for these in a Cracker Barrel parking lot using their wiring.

If I do make changes to this system down the road, I'll also probably go 24V, or maybe even 48V.

I am keeping it simple as it's a smaller trailer and I don't foresee trips longer than 3-4 days, at least not in continual use. 200-300ah is my plan for the batteries, at 90% max discharge rate that would give me a crap ton more longevity than the 50ah I have to work with on my 100ah AGM. I have a RedArc smart battery monitor and a RedArc1500 watt inverter which I plan to go ahead and install with the AGM for the time being. I'll likely go with two 100 watt panels on the roof but I am not in a hurry for that either as this is a fiberglass trailer and I don't want to use HBT or drill holes. I am leaning towards using epoxy bonded hardware for that, it's very popular in the marine/boat industry. For now I'll carry the 200 watt solar suitcase and the Honda 3200 generator for any added off-grid power needs.
 
Nice. Any idea what size system you're wanting?

One thing I'd do different if I was starting from scratch is to go with the 270Ah GC3 from Battle Born. I should be able to fit two where I have my four 100Ah installed, and I might even be able to talk my wife into giving up some of the curb side storage for two more...maybe. :LOL:

But, we started out with just two of the 100Ah batteries and the 200W suitcase.

View attachment 145535

Forgive the wiring. Our dealer installed two Interstate batteries and I swapped them for these in a Cracker Barrel parking lot using their wiring.

If I do make changes to this system down the road, I'll also probably go 24V, or maybe even 48V.


This is the 300Ah lithium battery I am looking at picking up. That said, if I want everything to communicate seamlessly through the app I'll likely have to switch to the Victron Phoenix 12V/1600W 230V Smart Inverter.


 
I am learning a lot here in this thread and I plan to mirror some of it for our new camper we are bringing home later this week. I plan to boon dock with it a lot and I plan to upgrade to lithium batteries and solar on the roof here pretty soon (currently has 100ah AGM) to keep me going without having to run the generator all the time. I do have a 200w solar suitcase to help keep things topped off as well, but like some here have experienced,

Nice. Any idea what size system you're wanting?

One thing I'd do different if I was starting from scratch is to go with the 270Ah GC3 from Battle Born. I should be able to fit two where I have my four 100Ah installed, and I might even be able to talk my wife into giving up some of the curb side storage for two more...maybe. :LOL:

But, we started out with just two of the 100Ah batteries and the 200W suitcase.

View attachment 145535

Forgive the wiring. Our dealer installed two Interstate batteries and I swapped them for these in a Cracker Barrel parking lot using their wiring.

If I do make changes to this system down the road, I'll also probably go 24V, or maybe even 48V.
I went with two of the GC3 batteries and they're great. Heavy, but great.
 
This is the 300Ah lithium battery I am looking at picking up. That said, if I want everything to communicate seamlessly through the app I'll likely have to switch to the Victron Phoenix 12V/1600W 230V Smart Inverter.


I saw the review Will Prowse did for Epoch. Looks like a really good option.
 
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