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Re: [RC] LQ HOT chassis and Dead Battery 2 - Truman Prevatt

Hi Roger,

Back in 1997 when I put my first solar panel on a horse trailer the solar industry was a "cottage industry" with a bunch of guys in a garage make the electronics to control the panel charge of the battery and powering the DC electronics. Some of them were good - some didn't know their back end from a hole in the ground. The controller I had in my trailer had a bad diode. It drained the batter to 11 volts and kept it there. When I called outfit that made the controller I got the "president" on the line and he got pretty huffy when I laid out the fact my volt meter told me.

The solar industry is a little better today but I'm still not certain about it's quality control. The first place I would look is the controller in a solar set up. You can buy a inexpensive digital volt meter that plugs into the DC outlet in an LQ trailer that will tell you the DC voltage on the line. With a solar panel when the sun is out you should be reading 13 plus volts ( it will shunt at 14.2 volts to protect the battery). When the sun goes down a fully charged batter should read about 2.1 volts per cell or 12.3 to 12.6 volts for a 12 volt battery. It will drop some as you use electrons from the battery without replacing them when the sun is down.

If it reads 10 something you have a dead (or most likely a shorted ) cell. If you have two batteries in parallel (to increase the current available) a dead cell in one will pull the other one down eventually killing it.

The fun of trouble shooting a LQ electrical system.


Roger Rittenhouse wrote:

Without Solar Panel.
If your battery dies when parked. Make sure ALL circuits are off. Most LQ rigs have a main battery turn off switch. Park the rig, disconnect from the truck, turn off the battery. Test the battery with a DC voltmeter - should read 12.4 to 12.6. Note the reading to xx.xx digits if you use a digital voltmeter.

Turn on the battery switch. Make sure ALL DC appliances are OFF or disconnected. Look at the volt meter. If it reads lower, there is a bleed off leakage. Look for hard wired devices like a gas detector. Pull all the fuses from the 12 fuse panel. Voltage should be the same as the first reading. Install one fuse at a time to find the circuit that is draining the battery.
Look for TV or DVD or SAT units. The refrigerator even when off may cause a slight drain.
Look at the LQ control panel - the tank fluid levels take some current.
Bottom line MOST LQ rigs have live 12vdc circuits all the time. So when parked at home turn off the main switch.

Do not leave the cable plugged into the trailer-truck connector. Some setups go direct to the battery of the truck, this will drain both batteries. Good habit to get into when the truck is parked in camp unplug the cable.


All solar panels should have what is called a reverse current or blocking diode in the solar panel. It prevents the battery current from passing back thought the panel at night and draining the battery. If you have a panel installed without this diode or you do not use a solar battery charge controller you will drain the LQ battery packs. The high cost panels have this diode - cheapos do not. Anything over a 20 watt panel should use a charge controller. My rig has 3 50 watt panels which give about 6 amp of current under full sun, they are very old like 20 years ( old commercial Arco) They should give about 9amp or more. Each panel has a diode and I use a 30 amp charge controller. The commercial solar panels are costly 50 watts about $300.

If you don't have solar and leave the battery switch on so all the electronics stays live, then you should invest in a battery slow charger called a battery minder or float charger. There are many out there - look on ebay. Used mostly for boats. There are cheap ones on ebay for under $20 - not too good, they are for little batteries. You need one that will give out 1 to 5 amps and cut back to trickle pulse charge to just top off the battery. These units will not over charge and cook the battery. They will keep the battery at about 13.2vdc.

I bought one for the truck for $15. A very good unit and just bought another for the LQ. I wanted one to back up the solar when parked at home. I run a power line out to the rig and connect the charger to the battery and plug in. The battery charger in the LQ will over charge the battery. I DO NOT leave my rig plugged in to the main power line all the time. I only plug up the day before to get the refrigerators cooled down

Here is the type of battery unit I use but lower cost ;)

These are are all over the place but real cheap and I have read reports not too reliable

Just have to look around on ebay for a small 1 to 3 amp high quality device

If the battery still will not keep charged or looses its charge in ridecamp, the battery may be shot. The standard class 27 deep cycle battery has a useful life of about 2 years before it starts to go bad. The plates break down from all the vibrations of travel as well as the design. They are not your standard starter battery. If you get 3 years you are doing good. I have used the high dollar Optima gel grid mat battery. I got 5 years out of 3 of them. They are under warranty for 3 years. They hold the charge under load longer and last for many charge cycles. Cost about $90 a piece.
When you use more then one battery as in 2 or 3 - it is normal to connect then in parallel - 12 volts with 2 to 3 times the amp ratings. However the bank of batteries must be the same type size and age. If one battery begins to age - it will drain down the other battery in the bank. One way to prevent this is to have a large high current switch to run one at time. Most are for a 2 battery system. You select nr 1 or nr 2 or ALL. Use ALL to charge them, then when in camp use nr1 until dead the switch to nr2.

With my solar system and good batteries I can go for 3 to 4 days without running the generator as long as we have sun.

That should cover the 12 volt LQ system

Sure is off topic but - it helps us who DONT like to rough it anymore to endure :) I quit roughing it back in 76 when I bought my first motorhome. A homemade conversion of a 1963 IH S1900 chassis with a 16 travel trailer attached to the frame behind the cab.


“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil


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[RC] LQ HOT chassis and Dead Battery 2, Roger Rittenhouse