Twin electrics

May 20, 2024
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Morning to you all, I’m getting a tow bar fitted soon to my Kia sportage 2017 plate, I’m just wondering if it’s worth having twin electrics fitted????
 
Jan 20, 2023
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As above, plus a 13 pin socket/plug is a better design than the old 7 pin style and doesn't tend to suffer melted pins as the 7 pin can.
 
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Jun 20, 2005
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Morning to you all, I’m getting a tow bar fitted soon to my Kia sportage 2017 plate, I’m just wondering if it’s worth having twin electrics fitted????
If you only going to tow a light weight trailer, open top then the 7 pin 12N will suffice.
A caravan? 13 pin as suggested above
 
Sep 26, 2023
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Morning to you all, I’m getting a tow bar fitted soon to my Kia sportage 2017 plate, I’m just wondering if it’s worth having twin electrics fitted????
100% do not just get single 7 pin. The fridge, battery charge and reverse light are all on the remaining pins. Upto you wether you get twin 7 pin, or 13 pin, they both have the same connections available and can be adapted between. Worth noting that certain cars and towbars (most detachable for example) can only have 1 socket, so you're forced into 13 pin, but the adapters work absolutely perfectly.
 

JRT

May 5, 2024
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Another vote for 13 PIN.

We once had cause to tow a family members caravan van with old style twin plugs with our 13 pin equipped car and the adaptor leads worked perfectly,
 
Apr 18, 2024
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As the rest; if you are towing a trailer then 7 pin is more than enough. Caravan has to be 13pin just in case you need the fridge, reversing lights working , it also keeps the leisure battery topped up whilst being towed.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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As the rest; if you are towing a trailer then 7 pin is more than enough. Caravan has to be 13pin just in case you need the fridge, reversing lights working , it also keeps the leisure battery topped up whilst being towed.
This is what should happen, but increasingly with modern cars to meet emissions and efficiency regulations newer cars are being fitted with "smart" alternators which only produce power when the car or car battery needs it. This can starve any feed to a towed caravan for caravan battery charging or running the fridge.

Its always wise to preecool a fridge with mains or gas power before traveling, and only putting food items in which have been prechilled just before moving off. It can also help to put in a frozen cool block or items that you would want to defrost and be used within 24hours.

Similarly ensure you have fully mains charged your caravan battery before you travel, unless your going to a site with an Electric Hook Up.
 
Apr 18, 2024
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My Dacia Duster has a standard alternator, so it works as it should. I would imagine that if the 'smart' alternator sees that a battery needs charging whether in the car or on a caravan, surely it would still give charge? If not, then as you say, fully charge it before setting off and chill the fridge. I put ice blocks in mine until we get to site, which keeps everything cool enough. A reversing camera is next on our list, the beeping of proximity sensors drives me nuts. We are looking into fitting one soon, as the reversing lights work from the white plug, I was hoping that this might trigger the camera too. The Dacia has a reversing camera, side camera's and a front camera, I was thinking of taking a feed from the rear one.
 
May 7, 2012
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If you have twin plugs on the caravan you are getting and expect it to outlast the car then stick with them. If the car will go last I would get a single 13 pin plug and use a converter. If doing this avoid the very cheap convertors sold on line as they can be very poor quality.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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My Dacia Duster has a standard alternator, so it works as it should. ...
That's wonderful, but the OP who posted the question may have a vehicle with a smart alternator.
...I would imagine that if the 'smart' alternator sees that a battery needs charging whether in the car or on a caravan, surely it would still give charge? If not, then as you say, fully charge it before setting off and chill the fridge. I put ice blocks in mine until we get to site, which keeps everything cool enough....
You might think that would be the case, but it isn't always that simple. Different car manufacturers will have their own methods of determining when the alternator is needed. Some will look at the car battery voltage, and based on its level decide if it needs to be charged or not. You might hope that the low battery in a caravan would also be enough to cause the system to charge, but the reality is the caravan battery is at the end of a long wire, and it may produce enough of a voltage drop when current is flowing to fool the alternator system to think its charged enough, where as it may be well below optimum. A similar scenario can arise with the fridges 12V cooling element, the current it needs (typically (10Amps or so) will create voltage drops along the wires. these voltages may fool the sensing circuits.

There have been several reports in this forum of where smart alternators haven't charged caravan batteries, or run fridges on a journey.
 
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Sep 26, 2023
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As the rest; if you are towing a trailer then 7 pin is more than enough. Caravan has to be 13pin just in case you need the fridge, reversing lights working , it also keeps the leisure battery topped up whilst being towed.
Depends on the caravan, I have a (slightly older) 2001 and the wiring isn't available to charge the battery through the car. It does however power the fridge so that will do me, but not sure how many vans don't have the battery wiring.
 

JRT

May 5, 2024
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I must admit I've never bothered to check if the car charges the leisure battery in our 2018 Swift Challenger whilst on the move. I obviously know the fridge works on 12 V.

Not really an issue though as the solar keeps it topped up and we always use mains on site.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Depends on the caravan, I have a (slightly older) 2001 and the wiring isn't available to charge the battery through the car. It does however power the fridge so that will do me, but not sure how many vans don't have the battery wiring.
What make and model of caravan do you have? Because by 1980 as far as I am aware all UK models had the wiring for both charging the battery and running the fridge. If yous is a UK model I have to assume an owner has modified it from original condition.
 
Sep 26, 2023
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What make and model of caravan do you have? Because by 1980 as far as I am aware all UK models had the wiring for both charging the battery and running the fridge. If yous is a UK model I have to assume an owner has modified it from original condition.
Its a 2001 lunar arriva, all looks original but of course I would never know. I fitted 2 new 7 pins to it last week and the grey cable is only 5 core, not 7, doesn't even have the feeds available.
 
Sep 26, 2023
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I must admit I've never bothered to check if the car charges the leisure battery in our 2018 Swift Challenger whilst on the move. I obviously know the fridge works on 12 V.

Not really an issue though as the solar keeps it topped up and we always use mains on site.
I only know for sure after replacing the 7 pin sockets on mine and finding 5 core cable on the grey. It's not a huge issue because when I'm traveling the fridge runs on 12v and the battery isn't needed, I guess at a push I could of run it off grid and used the car to charge the leisure battery but its hardly the end of the world.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Depends on the caravan, I have a (slightly older) 2001 and the wiring isn't available to charge the battery through the car. It does however power the fridge so that will do me, but not sure how many vans don't have the battery wiring.
You can buy adaptor leads so not an issue if the car has 13 pin.
 

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