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Toad Charge and Parking Lights

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First of all, I would like to know if anyone uses the Dinghy parking lights while the vehicle is in tow by a Tiffin diesel motorhome.

I like to use the Dinghy Parking Lights to provide increased side lighting/visibility when it's dark or rainy (I try to avoid driving in such conditions with the motorhome/toad).

With my prior toad (2000 Toyota Camry) I would put on the dinghy parking lights when it was dark or rainy, and could drive for 14 hours and never had a problem. A dealer had wired the dinghy for "charging" when in tow - not the "Toad Charge" product.

Now, I have a new vehicle (2014 Subaru Forester), which has "Toad Charge" installed.

The Toad Charge is able to sustain routine charging of the dinghy with no apparent problem, but when I put on the dinghy Parking Lights, the Toad Charge yellow indicator under the Subaru hood starts blinking somewhere around 1 1/2 to 4 hours into the journey.

I'm trying to calculate the wattage used to see if it's Feasible or Not with the new car -- versus discern if it's a problem with how the Toad Charge was installed.

How should I go about testing voltages? The Toad Charge is supposed to deliver up to 10 amps of trickle charge. The Parking Lights take ~ 45 watts.

Subaru Corporate is unable to tell me how much wattage is used when the key of the toad vehicle is in ACC mode.

Thank you.

Pink Arnold

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The term "up to 10 amps" is the real issue.

Just before you hook up and start towing next time, use a digital voltmeter to check voltage at the toad battery-- record it. Then after towing long enough for the indicator to tell you toad battery voltage is low, with the DP engine still on, go back and use a digital voltmeter to check voltage at the toad battery. That will tell you whether the Toad Charge is providing adequate wattage (volts times amps) to keep the battery charged for both auxiliary brake (if electric) and your lights.

If not, start by verifying connections all the way from coach battery to toad battery. Are you tied directly to the coach chassis battery? If not, where?

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wolfe 10,

Thank you for your reply. The dinghy is tied to the coach chassis battery via an umbilical blue cord (7 pin connection at the motorhome to receiving plug at the dinghy). Previously, with dinghy hooked to motorhome, I checked using the digital voltmeter and at the outset, got readings ~ 13.82V at the toad battery. When the indicator light reached the blinking stage, the charging was cycling rhythmically on and off, the voltage was also rhythmically changing from ~ 14V down to as low as 9-ish and repeated in that pattern. The alternating pattern up and down was confusing to me. Of course, the dinghy parking lights were still on at that time. Once I turned them off, within a minute or 2 or 3, the indicator light became solid again. I am unhooked now for the season, but will try checking all the connections when I'm hooked up again. If the Toad Charge can't handle the dinghy parking lights, do you have any thoughts as to what other options might be a good alternative for side lighting?


I will add that when getting the Subaru toad worthy, I had 2 bulbs installed on the rear lighting of the Subaru. Those 2 lights are on when the coach parking lights are on. However, in my opinion, they don't provide adequate visibility, particularly in regards to Side lighting.

Thank you,

Pink Arnold

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With voltage varying as you describe, it sounds like the Toad Charge is cycling rather than providing its full "up to 10 amps).

A simple alternative is to use a simple relay to supply the toad battery.

Fuse at each battery.

From fuse at chassis battery (or place near back of coach with full alternator output voltage) to relay. Ignition hot source to close relay. When ignition on, relay supplies power to the toad.

Total cost under $20.

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