Truck to Trailer Charge-Line Install

June 8, 2004
Filed under Trailer How To

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Q. I have a 2002 Chevrolet truck, and it doesn’t have a charge line. I guess the only way to fix that is to run a wire all the way to the battery. What gauge wire should I use? What size fuse? My camper batteries will charge when they’re plugged in, but isn’t it helpful to get a charge from your truck while you’re driving?

– B.B., Perryville, Missouri

A. A charge line will help keep your battery power topped off while you drive, B.B., and it’s really a must-have part of your system. Alternately, if you always park and camp at full-hookup sites
and don’t run your refrigerator or any other high-drain accessories in your camper on 12-volts DC while driving, a charge line may be unnecessary. However, if it were my rig, yes, I’d install one.

Use at least a 10-gauge wire, preferably even 8- or 6-gauge, and connect it to a 40-amp or higher circuit breaker close to the power source. For complete power wiring details, see the Trailer Life RV
Repair & Maintenance Manual.
– J.J.


Jeff Johnston, TL technical director, started RVing at age 6. During his more than 20 years as a writer/photographer, he has worked for Truckin’ and Four Wheeler magazines before joining TL’s technical staff in 1985. Johnston also has produced an award-winning travel video and TV commercials. Jeff is a consulting editor for Trailer Life and is part of the TL Tech Team. Read more RV Clinic & Performance Q & A’s monthly in the print issue of Trailer Life magazine.

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