Trailer electrical setup??

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DMill556

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I need help and advice on a electrical system for my trailer. I am wanting to run led light, rock lights, arb fridge, and maybe a coffee maker . Post pics of your trailer electrical set up and guide me on what I need to put this all together a lot of this is over my head when I read about amps, watts, 12 volt, and 24 volts and m lost haha.
 

TOTA

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I was in the same place you are. It gets a little confusing. Keep googling because there are a lot of good resources out there. My setup is very simple. I have a small battery isolator mounted in my truck with a small blue sea fuse panel that I have my cb and arb fridge plug wired to so they are hot all the the time. The fuse panel deal goes to the battery positive post and then ground to the truck. The battery isolator has a long battery cable that runs to the back where I use an Anderson plug to connect it to the trailer. The trailer has a basic marine battery hooked to that Anderson plug. My truck charges it when I'm driving. I have a 12-fuse blue sea fuse panel hooked to the battery and I run my lights and water pump through it. I have an inverter to plug in 110 type stuff but I've never hooked it up because I don't really need it. It's really not hard at all especially if everything is 12 volt (running from a car battery). I got everything I need from amazon.
 
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DMill556

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Ok thanks for
I was in the same place you are. It gets a little confusing. Keep googling because there are a lot of good resources out there. My setup is very simple. I have a small battery isolator mounted in my truck with a small blue sea fuse panel that I have my cb and arb fridge plug wired to so they are hot all the the time. The fuse panel deal goes to the battery positive post and then ground to the truck. The battery isolator has a long battery cable that runs to the back where I use an Anderson plug to connect it to the trailer. The trailer has a basic marine battery hooked to that Anderson plug. My truck charges it when I'm driving. I have a 12-fuse blue sea fuse panel hooked to the battery and I run my lights and water pump through it. I have an inverter to plug in 110 type stuff but I've never hooked it up because I don't really need it. It's really not hard at all especially if everything is 12 volt (running from a car battery). I got everything I need from amazon.
ok thanks for the info, what wattage is your inverter I've looked at them on amazon but wasn't sure which one to get. It would be mainly for charging a laptop and cameras.
 

Bueller

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Ok thanks for

ok thanks for the info, what wattage is your inverter I've looked at them on amazon but wasn't sure which one to get. It would be mainly for charging a laptop and cameras.
Coffee Maker! I want to bring my nespresso with me next time!!!


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1Louder

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You always want an inverter rated at much higher wattage than you expect to use. Otherwise you can run into issues when using peak power. You might consider getting a pure sine wave inverter which does a better job at protecting your electronics. Good inverters are not cheap. My Turtleback trailer has a Xantrex 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter. It allows me to have a small 2 slice toaster. I mean if you're going to glamp you might as well glamo. A friend tried to use a pressure cooker with his and that didn't work. To much power drawer even though the box said 1400 watts.

I am sure there are good sites for more detailed info. If you're just going to use one to charge and not run devices you can get away with a smaller unit.


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The_Just

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Check the reviews on any hardware you buy. We got tangled up in the Xantrex recall. A brand new Xantrex overcharged (killed) the battery bank on my sailboat. It was a very expensive and laborious failure. Sure, they will replace the controller, but not your batteries. I'm looking into Li-ion for the overland rig.

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professorkx

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I'm setting up my trailer right now for electrical. I bought 200 feet of 12 gauge black/white wire for the led light off ebay, which will run all of the LED lights, as well as four 8 inch strip lights for the interior of the boxes and 4 square flood lights for the exterior. I'm running a blue top Optima battery and a fuse box I got from Orielly's. This is an easy setup to build yourself, as red wires go to positive and black wires go to negative, and you want to run fuses to protect your circuits.. The interior lights have built in switches, but I am running the exterior flood lights on a remote that I bought for $14 on ebay. If I hear criters outside during the night (I camp in grizzly country), I hit the remote from inside my tent and get daylight. I'm also running an 82 quart ARB fridge, so will be wiring the plug on a separate fuse. You will want to wire your trailer battery to charge off the vehicle, and maybe add a plug somewhere to charge the battery off a generator.

I will take pictures of my electrical build this weekend and post here to give you an idea of how to build your own electrical.
 

DMill556

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Check the reviews on any hardware you buy. We got tangled up in the Xantrex recall. A brand new Xantrex overcharged (killed) the battery bank on my sailboat. It was a very expensive and laborious failure. Sure, they will replace the controller, but not your batteries. I'm looking into Li-ion for the overland rig.

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Good point, I try to buy once cry once and buy quality when my budget allows.
 

DMill556

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Dawsonville, Ga
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I'm setting up my trailer right now for electrical. I bought 200 feet of 12 gauge black/white wire for the led light off ebay, which will run all of the LED lights, as well as four 8 inch strip lights for the interior of the boxes and 4 square flood lights for the exterior. I'm running a blue top Optima battery and a fuse box I got from Orielly's. This is an easy setup to build yourself, as red wires go to positive and black wires go to negative, and you want to run fuses to protect your circuits.. The interior lights have built in switches, but I am running the exterior flood lights on a remote that I bought for $14 on ebay. If I hear criters outside during the night (I camp in grizzly country), I hit the remote from inside my tent and get daylight. I'm also running an 82 quart ARB fridge, so will be wiring the plug on a separate fuse. You will want to wire your trailer battery to charge off the vehicle, and maybe add a plug somewhere to charge the battery off a generator.

I will take pictures of my electrical build this weekend and post here to give you an idea of how to build your own electrical.
Thanks for the input, I'm running a yellow top in the jeep. I didn't know if I needed a red top or blue top in the trailer I haven't read up on the differences yet. Have you considered solar over generator, just curious because I was thinking going with vehicle charge while driving and solar while set up at camp. The pictures will be helpful thanks
 

professorkx

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Started my electrical this weekend. First up, setup the fuse box. I started with a fuse box from Orilleys, and daisy chained power to one side. The idea Here is to have one wire provide power to all fuses. Solder all connections, and use marine heat shrink from harbor freight. Extend the heat shrink past the end if the connection and trim with a razor blade. Use 12 gauge wire at least. I'm just running LED lights, so 12 gauge will work fine. Here are some pictures.20170819_152503.jpg 20170819_155444.jpg 20170819_160725.jpg
 
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professorkx

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I mounted my fuse box in the tongue box next to the battery using adhesive Velcro. Easier to remove and look at the fuses. I also made a ground block out of aluminum and attached to the negative post. Use a rubber grommet when you drill a hole through metal to protect the wire, qnd smear some black silicone on the metal to protect from rust. Wrap all wire in black wire wrap. All of this stuff us available at harbor freight for low cost. Picture of the mounted fuse box and the ground block.20170820_095804.jpg
 

canadianoverlanders

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Our electrical system is this.
I have an Arkpac 730 with a marine battery. When we are on the move it is mounted on top of a Smitybilt security box in the Jeep and plugged in to a 12v socket I ran from the jeep battery to the rear. This charges the Arkpac. Our 37 quart ARB fridge freezer is plugged into the Arkpac.
Once at camp.
The trailer has a RTT. Once set up the Arkpac gets moved inside the tent as does the fridge. LED light bars (x4) get set up. 2 outside under the awning and 2 inside the tent. Very quick and easy set up ..... plug and play with MC4 connectors. The lights get plugged into the Arkpac along with our electronics. With no sun we can run the Arkpac in a remote wilderness camp for 3 days with the fridge plugged in. How ever, I love solar. So I hooked up 2 100 watt solar panels to a 60 watt charge controller. So the panels are wired to the charge controller. From the charge controller it is wired to the Arkpac. It's quick and easy to set up and take down.
This is a crappy pic during set up but I think you can get the picture?

In this pic we were using a Coleman 30amp charge controller it worked, I up graded it to a Comex 60 amp charge controller. I never thought to photo document our camp set up.
We have a couple small trips coming up and a OB meet up end of September. I will try to remember to take some pics or a movie of the set up.
I'm already working on another system for our 2017 Taco we just bought. With the new tech in panels especially the flexible ones I'm building a lighter more portable and compact system for us. I will most likely do up a separate thread.


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Robert Knasel

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I see you are using a ARKPAK, We had one catch on fire on us, so be very careful about using that product. We asked for a refund, and finally received it. Very cheaply made.
 

Contributor II

I see you are using a ARKPAK, We had one catch on fire on us, so be very careful about using that product. We asked for a refund, and finally received it. Very cheaply made.
What specifically caught fire in the ArkPak? The only issue I've ever had is with the 12v accessory plug not making a tight connection in the DC-DC charger so it generated a lot of heat and melted the plug, I try to avoid using accessory plugs like that for anything now as they aren't very good at making a solid connection.
 

Contributor II

I need help and advice on a electrical system for my trailer. I am wanting to run led light, rock lights, arb fridge, and maybe a coffee maker . Post pics of your trailer electrical set up and guide me on what I need to put this all together a lot of this is over my head when I read about amps, watts, 12 volt, and 24 volts and m lost haha.
All of that is pretty easy to tackle, the challenge would be getting an inverter that can handle the power draw of the coffee maker. I have several separate circuits on my Woolly Bear trailer, the factory installed one that powers the lights and some device charging ports inside the galley area off of the marine deep cycle battery mounted in a battery box on the tongue, a separate fused run of 10ga wire from the battery back to power a Dometic fridge that is setup with Andersen connectors so I can easily swap it to a second house battery I keep in an ArkPak in the back of the jeep in case the 100w of solar panels can't keep up with the fridge (cloudy days or if the heat is just too much etc) and I also hooked up mains power so I can plug it in while garaged or at powered sites to run the fridge off of mains power (automatically switches) and plan to also hardwire in a battery charger/maintainer into that as well.

For your coffee maker you would want to inverter as close to the battery as possible and then if need be I'd run the extension on the mains side if you need an outlet elsewhere.

If you want to go with Optima then you would want the blue top for the trailer battery, the red top is primarily a starting battery, the yellow top is a hybrid and the blue top is a deep cycle but I'd go with Odyssey over Optima these days.
 

Robert Knasel

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What specifically caught fire in the ArkPak? The only issue I've ever had is with the 12v accessory plug not making a tight connection in the DC-DC charger so it generated a lot of heat and melted the plug, I try to avoid using accessory plugs like that for anything now as they aren't very good at making a solid connection.
Actually we had the 12V plug also melt. I had forgot about that, The plug that connects the ARKPAK to your vehicle melted. I replaced the plug , thinking it was a fluke and maybe a mismanufactured plug. Then several weeks later during our trip, after being on the road for 8 hours , I smell smoke, then my wife says the back of the FJ is smokey. I pull over immediately and find smoke rolling from the lid compartment under the circuit board. I disconnected everything. This was really strike two. The owner of ARKPAK, said he would send me a new circuit board, and I immediately declined, thinking there is no way I want this garbage in my vehicle. And then after telling him that I did not want to have a fire hazard in my vehicle , he said they had good insurance. That was amazing to hear him state that. So , I do not miss a beat to warn others of this product.
 

Contributor II

Actually we had the 12V plug also melt. I had forgot about that, The plug that connects the ARKPAK to your vehicle melted. I replaced the plug , thinking it was a fluke and maybe a mismanufactured plug. Then several weeks later during our trip, after being on the road for 8 hours , I smell smoke, then my wife says the back of the FJ is smokey. I pull over immediately and find smoke rolling from the lid compartment under the circuit board. I disconnected everything. This was really strike two. The owner of ARKPAK, said he would send me a new circuit board, and I immediately declined, thinking there is no way I want this garbage in my vehicle. And then after telling him that I did not want to have a fire hazard in my vehicle , he said they had good insurance. That was amazing to hear him state that. So , I do not miss a beat to warn others of this product.
I hardwired in the DC-DC charger and since then it hasn't given me an issue, I had tried replacement plugs but they just wouldn't fit in my XJ's auxiliary port well enough and always caused an issue, have never had any issue with the ArkPak itself though so touch wood.
 

Flipper

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You always want an inverter rated at much higher wattage than you expect to use. Otherwise you can run into issues when using peak power. You might consider getting a pure sine wave inverter which does a better job at protecting your electronics. Good inverters are not cheap. My Turtleback trailer has a Xantrex 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter. It allows me to have a small 2 slice toaster. I mean if you're going to glamp you might as well glamo. A friend tried to use a pressure cooker with his and that didn't work. To much power drawer even though the box said 1400 watts.

I am sure there are good sites for more detailed info. If you're just going to use one to charge and not run devices you can get away with a smaller unit.


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A good rule of thumb
You always want an inverter rated at much higher wattage than you expect to use. Otherwise you can run into issues when using peak power. You might consider getting a pure sine wave inverter which does a better job at protecting your electronics. Good inverters are not cheap. My Turtleback trailer has a Xantrex 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter. It allows me to have a small 2 slice toaster. I mean if you're going to glamp you might as well glamo. A friend tried to use a pressure cooker with his and that didn't work. To much power drawer even though the box said 1400 watts.

I am sure there are good sites for more detailed info. If you're just going to use one to charge and not run devices you can get away with a smaller unit.


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A good rule of thumb for wattage is double what the output is. If it is a 600W microwave it is going to take 1200 watts , heating elements are 1:1
 
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canadianoverlanders

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Hey Robert which Arkpac did you have. We have the 730. I did tighten everything down on the inside and also put locktite on all threads due to vibration. Having taken it apart, I don't find issue with its construction, other than some connections were loose and could have potentially caused a short or even a fire. We only use the Arkpac for the fridge when at camp, led lights at night in camp, and charging phones and iPads. It works great so far. We don't use an electric toaster or coffee maker or anything else electric. So far we've had no issue.
Thanks for the heads up. It was purchased to go in the Jeep LJ as a house battery. It is a temporary/portable power set up. For our 2017 Taco I'm building a system that is similar to our homes solar system, but in the end it will just be my own Arkpac.


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