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Old 01-13-2016, 01:21 PM   #21
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Charging

I inherited a little 2hp generator that drives a 12 volt alternator via a v belt. No 110 but puts out over 20 amps of 12 and I installed a 7 pin plug so I can just plug the trailer connector in and charge away. Not sure were my father got it but he was cheap so I doubt it cost much and since it's only 2hp it's quiet and cheap to run.
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Old 01-13-2016, 01:41 PM   #22
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I run generator and put a harbor freight big charger on that has 3 modes 1 trickle 2 10 a and one that could start your car.
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Old 01-13-2016, 02:58 PM   #23
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If it weren't for the CPAP, you would find it considerably cheaper, a lot quieter, and less fuss and mess to just add battery capacity for a one week dry camp/boondock. The trick in calculating battery capacity is to know your daily usage in AH.


If you can drive your daily usage down to 30AH or less, just carrying a battery bank of 450 (225 useable) AH will take care of you. Four 6V 232AH golf cart batteries from Costco cost $300 (including tax), and gives you 464AH.


A caution - water and holding tank capacities, as well as food storage, may also limit your boondocking endurance.


just a thought in a different direction
Fred W
2104 Rockwood A122 A-frame with two 6V 232AH Costco golf cart batteries - 4 nights dry camping with heater running 50% during night.
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Old 01-13-2016, 03:12 PM   #24
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If you have a pair of 12V batteries ...they are usually group 24, 27 or 31...and the largest (31) will typically provide around 110 amp hours...so you have at most 220 amp hours in your batteries and around 160 with the group 24's.
You can PUT BACK in bulk charge around 20% of the rated amp hours of the bank.... so between 32 and 44 amps is the MAX charger size you need...having a bigger one will not charge you faster....but having a smaller one WILL make you run the genny a lot longer.
Now...you never want to go beyond about 50% discharge so you will need to charge and replenish between 80 and 110 amp hours when you recharge.
Using a 45 amp charger and a need to replenish 110 amp hours in a group 31 battery would seen to take around 2.5 hours then ....except it doesn't. It will take about twice as long to fully recharge the battery than you would calculate due to increased charge resistance as the battery gets over 80% charged.

So hopefully you already have a charger that supplies the optimum amps for your battery bank. just plug your coach power into your generator 110V socket and let the charger do its' work ... remembering that it will be very unusual if your batteries can be fully recharged in less than about 4-6 hours of run time daily AND that if you don't fully recharge and you discharge below 50% regularly you will be cutting your battery life cycles way short.
If you are planning on doing a lot of boondocking then you really should get a true battery monitor that can tell you EACH of the things above...amp hours used, amp hours remaining, amp hours replenished and actual state of charge...and more. These run around $150 bucks and pay for themselves...Trimetric and Victron make em and if you search for those names here...you'll see a bunch more stuff.
Good luck.
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Old 01-13-2016, 03:51 PM   #25
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Thanks for all the info. I'm going to do a little of both recommendations, I think, Increase my battery bank to 3 or possibly 4 batteries. Purchase a 2K generator for coffee, microwave and charging.

Any suggestions on generators, I saw Northern Powerhouse today for about $600. It's 52 db and seems pretty nice, any thoughts on this one? Or bite the bullet and get the Honda.
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Old 01-13-2016, 04:50 PM   #26
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It is hard to beat the quailty of a Champion 2000 for the price.
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- 200 Watts Solar/MPPT Controller - 230 AH Battery Bank - 600 watt PSW Inverter - (2) 2000 watt Inverter Generators - LED Lighting - Boon Docking 99% of the time.
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Old 01-13-2016, 05:08 PM   #27
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charging while boondocking

So far you are getting great advice regarding charging using a generator. Everyone I know in our annual Elk Camp (5 RV's, 30 day stretch, no close water or dumps) uses a generator, usually the larger Hondas, or the two small Hondas running in parallel.
I use a 3500 generator, so I can run the microwave, charge the batteries and heat up water, all at the same time. We never watch TV out there, so that is not an issue. I can run the wife's hair dryer, but only it with the water heater off.
We also have solar panels, that we don't have mounted, but store in the basement. I put them on top of the roof, and take them down when we pack up. I also clean them once a week with a soft cloth and Windex, since it is quite dusty. If I didn't have to run the hair dryer once in a while, I could avoid using the generator at all. Really. Depending on what unit you buy, you can put enough amps into the batteries with three panels every single day to take you through the night. They start charging as soon as you get enough light.
Once when I was stuck in the lot of a dealer, for two nights, the panels took light from the lot lighting, and charged all night! They have a one-way diode to prevent the batteries from discharging into the panels at night.
You can get cheap panel systems from Harbor Freight, or you can pay more.
Do a little homework before you buy, and you may be pleasantly surprised.
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Old 01-13-2016, 07:07 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
If you have a pair of 12V batteries ...they are usually group 24, 27 or 31...and the largest (31) will typically provide around 110 amp hours...so you have at most 220 amp hours in your batteries and around 160 with the group 24's.
You can PUT BACK in bulk charge around 20% of the rated amp hours of the bank.... so between 32 and 44 amps is the MAX charger size you need...having a bigger one will not charge you faster....but having a smaller one WILL make you run the genny a lot longer.
Now...you never want to go beyond about 50% discharge so you will need to charge and replenish between 80 and 110 amp hours when you recharge.
Using a 45 amp charger and a need to replenish 110 amp hours in a group 31 battery would seen to take around 2.5 hours then ....except it doesn't. It will take about twice as long to fully recharge the battery than you would calculate due to increased charge resistance as the battery gets over 80% charged.

So hopefully you already have a charger that supplies the optimum amps for your battery bank. just plug your coach power into your generator 110V socket and let the charger do its' work ... remembering that it will be very unusual if your batteries can be fully recharged in less than about 4-6 hours of run time daily AND that if you don't fully recharge and you discharge below 50% regularly you will be cutting your battery life cycles way short.
If you are planning on doing a lot of boondocking then you really should get a true battery monitor that can tell you EACH of the things above...amp hours used, amp hours remaining, amp hours replenished and actual state of charge...and more. These run around $150 bucks and pay for themselves...Trimetric and Victron make em and if you search for those names here...you'll see a bunch more stuff.
Good luck.
I looked at the panel today, the RV charger says 55 amps output so I assume most of that would go to charging the batteries if no other major draw from other stuff.
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Old 01-13-2016, 07:09 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hankpac View Post
So far you are getting great advice regarding charging using a generator. Everyone I know in our annual Elk Camp (5 RV's, 30 day stretch, no close water or dumps) uses a generator, usually the larger Hondas, or the two small Hondas running in parallel.
I use a 3500 generator, so I can run the microwave, charge the batteries and heat up water, all at the same time. We never watch TV out there, so that is not an issue. I can run the wife's hair dryer, but only it with the water heater off.
We also have solar panels, that we don't have mounted, but store in the basement. I put them on top of the roof, and take them down when we pack up. I also clean them once a week with a soft cloth and Windex, since it is quite dusty. If I didn't have to run the hair dryer once in a while, I could avoid using the generator at all. Really. Depending on what unit you buy, you can put enough amps into the batteries with three panels every single day to take you through the night. They start charging as soon as you get enough light.
Once when I was stuck in the lot of a dealer, for two nights, the panels took light from the lot lighting, and charged all night! They have a one-way diode to prevent the batteries from discharging into the panels at night.
You can get cheap panel systems from Harbor Freight, or you can pay more.
Do a little homework before you buy, and you may be pleasantly surprised.
thanks for the info. Will your 3500 genset run the AC? Also, do you know what watt is your solar panels? thanks a lot.
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Old 01-13-2016, 07:27 PM   #30
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Too Tall: Charging flooded cell lead-acid batteries is a multi-faceted challenge. There is not a good single answer. The 12V Converter on your camper is not a particularly good battery charger and it will take days or weeks to fully charge your two batteries. If you are determined to charge you batteries with a genset, then you should by a quality 3-stage battery charger to go along with it. The absolute best dissertation on RV battery charging can be viewed at this website. https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...ging-puzzle-2/

Happy Camping,
Jamnut
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