Keep It Charged
Keep It Charged
Bob, I’d like to offer a comment on your power-drain response in the June edition of Tech Topics. My father experienced the same problem. As an auto electrician forced to retire because of paralysis, I was determined to solve this problem. One major problem is that these chassis are designed for service rigs, not motorhomes. If they were designed properly, the shore power would keep all the batteries (including the engine battery) charged up any time the shore power or generator was being used.
There is a product on the market that fixes this problem very easily. It’s called Trik-L-Start and it robs electricity from one fully charged battery and charges another one without discharging the source battery.
A knife switch or battery isolator will work, but the Trik-L-Start does a much better job—just install and forget. You have to move a knife switch every time you park or take off down the road.
Bob: Tom, the latest version is called the Ultra Trik-L-Start, and it provides up to 5 amps of charging current. The unit diverts current from the house battery–charging source and sends it to the starting battery automatically. That’s the beauty of this product; you don’t have to do anything once it’s installed. It has a built-in regulator that safely limits charge current and drops to trickle current when one or more batteries being used are fully charged. LEDs display charging status and will warn of improper hookup.
It takes only a few minutes to install the Trik-L-Start. The kit comes with terminal clips for temporary usage or crimp-on ring terminals for permanent installation. I prefer the permanent configuration. The unit is compatible with all battery isolators and selector switches and works nicely with solar panels.
The box is filled with epoxy, so it’s weather tight. It sells for $48.95.
The company that makes this product, LSL Products (www.lslproducts.com, 877-257-4655), also offers a unit designed to keep the battery in your dinghy vehicle charged. This comes in handy when forced to keep the ignition switch in the on position while towing or when using auxiliary braking systems. The Toad Charge provides the same 5 amps of charging current as the Trik-L-Start and is connected using a 7-foot wiring cable that can be permanently attached to the tow bar. Detachable terminals are used to connect the dinghy to the motorhome. The kit provides a 40-foot cable for wiring up the motorhome and a 10-footer for wiring the dinghy vehicle. As in the Trik-L-Start, built-in blocking diodes are used to prevent the starting battery discharge. The Toad Charge sells for $86.95.