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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Powering a Pickup Camper

I have a 2005 Lance Light pickup camper. The fridge runs on propane and so does the stove and heater. So all I basically need is power for the lights and stereo system. When using lights and stereo for about three hours, the deep cycle RV 12-volt battery gets low and I have to start my diesel pickup to recharge it from the truck's generator (or alternator?). I don't like all that noise and smoke when out elk hunting. My questions are: can I just use an extension chord coming from my 2000 watt gasoline generator and plug directly into the outside power receptacle on my camper for a power source? And will this also recharge my internal deep cycle RV battery or should I use a battery charger and jumper cables for this operation when using the generator? In other words will a regular 120-volt outlet or generator power recharge my RV battery with the power coming thru the Camper's power grid system? Thomas B., (Worland, WY)

Yes, you can simply plug the camper into any 120-volt AC source to power the camper. Whether it charges your auxiliary battery depends on if the camper is equipped with a charging converter or a simple AC-to-DC converter. If it only has a simple converter you can upgrade to a decent charging converter to charge the battery. I could find no info online as to whether it’s a battery charging converter or not. It should state so in the owner’s manual, however.

When using a portable generator, be sure its internal ground connection is intact. You’ll want to have a good safety ground from the AC power source. When you’re plugged into a campground, it too should be a grounded connection. Also be sure the sizing of the extension cord is suitable for the amount of amperage it will be passing. 

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