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Old 12-05-2018, 04:43 PM   #1
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Generator to Charge Clipper 17BH Battery

I have a Clipper 17BH and want to get a a small generator capable of charging the battery in a few hours (2-3). I don't need the generator to run anything else (microwave, air conditioner, refrigerator, etc), just charge the battery. In order to match the generator size I need to know the requirements of the onboard battery charger. Any ideas where/how I find that? My power center is WFCO WF-8735P/8740P but unsure if that charges the battery directly or through some other unit, and in any case I need to know how much amperage/wattage whatever uses while charging. Thanks.
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Old 12-05-2018, 04:50 PM   #2
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if your going to use a generator just to charge the batteries then a separate battery charger would work best and a minimum 1000 watts . that would operate a 6 amp charger maybe 10 amp never tried it with a 10 amp , now depending on how low the battery is 2-3 hours won't be enough .
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Old 12-05-2018, 05:01 PM   #3
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Yep, a 1000w inverter generator or larger will work.
But you'll often find that a 2000w inverter generator costs just a little more. Then you can run everything except the a/c.
Personally I've been a dry camper for 30 years and love my Honda 2000i.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:22 AM   #4
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The WF8735 puts out 35 amps @ 12 VDC, However it doesn't use all that to charge the battery.

I agree with several of the above posts about getting a 2000 watt inverter generator and using it to charge the battery as well as other stuff. Whether you decide to use an external charger is up to you. Personally I'd just let the internal converter/charger charge it.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:23 AM   #5
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As was stated the max output of the 8735P is 35 amps at 12V, or 420 watts. Assuming 15% loss on conversion (normally less than that), max power drawn by the WFCO converter would be 490 watts. Realistically, the WFCO will not put out full power for more than a few minutes.

Even a 600 watt generator would be more than sufficient, as long as you don't run anything else on AC. The advantage of a 600-900 watt generator over a 2K genny is the much lighter weight and smaller space to store, lift, and transport. Also, the smaller generator will use less gas (and costs less to begin with).

If you want to run the A/C or the microwave, in addition to charging the battery you need at least a 2KW generator.

No matter how big a generator you use, you cannot fully recharge a battery discharged down to 50% in less than 6 hours. A deep cycle battery can only be recharged at a max of 20% of its AH capacity, and the charge rate will decrease as the battery charge grows. At about 90% state of charge (SOC), the charge voltage needs to be dropped, and recharging the last 10% of charge takes much longer. To go from 50% SOC to 90% of SOC generally takes 3 hours with a converter that will hold bulk rate to 90% SOC (WFCO does not). To go from 90% SOC to 100% SOC generally takes another 3+ hours, no matter what the converter.

If you replace the WFCO 8735 with a Progressive Dynamics PD4135 (sort of drop-in replacement that I have done on my A-frames), you can actually come pretty close to the 6 hours. The PD converter will charge at the bulk rate up to about 90% state of charge in 3 hours - starting from 50%, and assuming battery bank is 175AH or less.

To get the most of your generator in the 2-3 hours, you need to replace the WFCO, and be able to live with using less than 40% of your battery capacity before starting the generator for a recharge. You will run your battery from 50% SOC (when you start the genny) to 90% SOC (after 3 hours genny run time).

You may also want to consider more battery capacity - a single marine/RV Group 24 battery gives you 40% of 80AH = max of 32AH usable between 3 hour generator runs. Along with replacing the WFCO, I went with 2 Costco/Interstate ($200 total) GC-2 6V batteries. This gives me 50% of 210AH = 105AH before I need to plug in (I don't have a generator).

Hope this helps
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:35 AM   #6
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I have an old, small Honda 800 watt generator that powers my WFCO converter just fine.

As others have said though, you won't recharge your battery in only 2-3 hours of generating time.

I also have a 3500w inverter generator but will often use the 800w when boondocking as it will run almost 12 hours on its tank of fuel. We fire the 800w up and let it run as insurance and it keeps the battery topped off.
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