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Old 10-07-2016, 10:31 AM   #1
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Boondocking with dual 6v and generator

I'm new to the forum and new to travel trailers. I have a surveyor 291 bhss on order and am trying to nail down the proper "upgrades" to have done by the dealer before taking delivery. I have searched high and low for info on this and can't seem to come up with anything definitive, and the dealer/salesman I'm working with seems completely ignorant.

My plan is to be able to take my surveyor 291 bhss boondocking during hunting season for roughly 7 days at a time. Where I hunt we have nighttime temps around 20-35 deg f. I have decided on a dual 6v battery setup and have a Honda 2000 gen.

I have a hunting partner with a similar trailer that has complained about his ability to charge the batteries from the generator while boondocking, saying that the longer we are out, the more the batteries become depleted because the genny or converter won't push enough juice in to fully charge the batteries.

So the burning question is: with the stock surveyor converter, dual 6v batteries, and a Honda 2000 genny, will I run into the same issues? Potentially cutting my trip short because I have hopelessly drained the batteries after 4-5 days? Should I look into a converter upgrade? And if yes, what type/size/brand should I go for given my setup. Unfortunately nobody seems to be able to answer this question.

Sorry for the long post
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Old 10-07-2016, 11:08 AM   #2
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I would think you would be good. We go boondocking for 7 to 14 days with 2 12v batteries and have no problem keeping them charged with our Honda eu2000i. We can run the propane heater all night, every night, on battery. We run the gen a few hours in the morning for coffee and news, and then a few hours at night for microwave and TV/movie (avg 5 hrs per day with stock converter) If your friend has a problem staying charged he might look into upgrading the converter. Lots of 3 stagers on the market to pick from. I'm happy with my stock one so can't recommend a different one.
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Old 10-07-2016, 02:02 PM   #3
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I have a dual battery setup with a Honda 2000i and I've had NO problems recharging the batteries through the shore cord.
And that's for the past 10 years.
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Old 10-07-2016, 03:15 PM   #4
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Boondocking with dual 6v and generator

Just depends how warm you want it in your trailer. We (DW) are power hogs and run down 2 12v to about 60% every night with the furnace (she likes it warm). The stock converter would never go into "bulk" mode so it wouldn't charge back to 90% after running my Honda 2000 for 5 hours. Made the switch to a progressive dynamics pd4655 and the world changed. Now you have two 6v so you have many more amps available but that also means you have that much more to charge. So if your converter doesn't go into bulk mode, going to be a long time charging.

Get a 12v meter- lets you know where you are at:

DROKģ Small Digital Volt Temp Multimeter Red/Green LED Panel Voltmeter Fahrenheit Thermometer Multiple Tester 12V/24V Car Battery Voltage Monitor 10-170 ℉ Temperature Testing Meter 2in1 Cigarette Lighter Plug https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SXZERW6..._tka-xbSRW9XWC



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Old 10-07-2016, 03:39 PM   #5
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Just take a battery charger with you. Hook charger direct to the batterys and plug charger into generator??
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Old 10-07-2016, 08:23 PM   #6
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Just take a battery charger with you. Hook charger direct to the batterys and plug charger into generator??
Depends on the independent charger. Most of the less expensive ones won't charge as fast as a good converter. If the converter goes into boost or bulk mode, and holds that to about 90% battery charge, that is as good as you can do without special monitoring.

Converter max output should be about 20-25% of battery capacity for fastest charging. With my dual 6V 232AH batteries, the 35 amp capacity of the converter is a little bit under-sized for fastest charging. But I never see more than 30 amps going into the batteries - and then it drops to 20-25 amps in a few minutes. The charging just tapers off that quickly unless you have a huge battery bank or really depleted batteries.

In my case, the OEM WFCO converter never went into trickle mode, and I suspect it never went into bulk mode (or exited bulk mode early). I replaced it with a Progressive Dynamics, and since then don't have to worry much about battery charging.

I don't carry a generator, as the batteries will run the 4 amp heater fan on a 50% duty cycle at night for 4 nights (plus other 12V needs) without recharging. That's as long as we stay in any one spot.

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Old 10-07-2016, 08:30 PM   #7
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I've boondocked below freezing for a week with my Honda 2000, just running it a few hours a day to recharge. The generator is fine, it sounds like your friend might have a converter issue.
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Old 10-07-2016, 10:48 PM   #8
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Disconnect the factory converter and install a Progressive Dyanamics one that is mounted within several feet of your battery bank.

The old converter will be an emergency one if the PD one fails (should never happen with a PD one) and the PD converter mounted next to the batteries will charge the batteries much faster.
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Old 10-08-2016, 11:27 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies. Sounds like I might be able to go with the stock converter and be fine, but as others have said it definitely wouldn't hurt to go with an aftermarket one so I can get a bulk charge in quickly. Thinking I'll have it put in while the other mods are being done. So it sounds like with the two 6v a 35 amp progressive dynamics would do the trick?
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Old 10-08-2016, 02:05 PM   #10
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Just take a battery charger with you. Hook charger direct to the batterys and plug charger into generator??
Best solution
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Old 10-08-2016, 02:29 PM   #11
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solar

I would concider for future - get 2 100 watt solar panels and mount them on top so while your out hunting the batteries are charging.. I use my batteries all night with CPAC machine, oxygen concentrator, and approximately 2 hours of lights (LED) and laptop for approx4 hours every evening and have had not problems. If you want to run microwave, coffee pot, or TV then go with 2 more Trojan batteries and 2 more 100 watt panels for total of 260ah batteries and 400 watt solar system.

Hope this gives you something to think about.. Happy Hunting
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Old 10-08-2016, 02:46 PM   #12
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Battery charging from Honda 2000i

I have the identical setup you have.

If your battery does not recharge quickly enough going through the trailers converter, you might try charging directly from the 2000i
to the batteries. The 2000i has a 12 Volt charging circuit accessible from the front panel of the generator. It requires a Honda cable with alligator clips and the connector for the generator end.

Good luck - TacBear
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Old 10-08-2016, 02:47 PM   #13
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bmaggin1

Your advice is what I need. But what type of batteries do you have? I have 2 stock size 27 batteries that I charge with 2000i. They just don't hold up to the lighter demand your talking about.

Thanks
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Old 10-08-2016, 03:57 PM   #14
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I have 2 stock size 27 batteries that I charge with 2000i. They just don't hold up to the lighter demand your talking about.
Are those G27s true deep cycle batteries, or "marine" (dual-purpose)? The latter will have less capacity.
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Old 10-08-2016, 04:51 PM   #15
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Solar Power

The problem with generators is that a battery takes a long time to top of the charge. Unless you run your generator a long time, it won't charge your batteries to their full capacity. A great way to get around this is to hook up a 20 watt solar panel directly to the batteries. Set it out in the sun while you're hunting. You'll be running your generator anyway, but the solar panel will top them off during the day. 10 amps per battery won't overcharge them, so you don't need a charge controller, unless you go with a bigger panel. In the long run, I believe solar is the way to go. I don't take my generator with me anymore. Although with temperatures in the 20's, I might have to take one. I don't like the sound of the furnace, so I shut it off at night and use a warm sleeping bag.
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Old 10-08-2016, 10:26 PM   #16
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Question

Reply to: chriscowles

All I know is their size 27 that was part of the new Forester 2251 SLEC Chevy MH.

I hear people like solar but what power are they delivering? A 200 watt panel just doesn't seem to do much other than LED lights, Parasitic loads and maybe a laptop & cell phone at best.

I would like a system where one can run all of the above & a TV & DVR for maybe 4 hrs in the evening.

I'm also confused about say 100 Amp Hr rated battery. Does that mean 100 or just 80 or 50 Amp Hrs? I have not found a practical source of information on how much energy can be taken before it need to be recharged. I do know if one takes too much it reduces the batteries life.

If I'm wrong please correct me.
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Old 10-08-2016, 10:47 PM   #17
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Larry,
A general rule of thumb is that you should not discharge a battery below 50% of its capacity. Doing so decreases the batteries lifespan considerably meaning number charge-discharge cycles.

If I was in your shoes, I'd consider two 2 six volt golf cart batteries (premium) from Sams Club. In series giving you 12 volts, you will have 232 amp-hours capacity.

In addition, 200 to 300 watts of solar power panels with a good solar controller should give you 100% charged battery by 2pm each day with good sun.

My RV's solar has over 600 amp-hours of battery capacity in 3 separate battery banks, 400 watts of solar, 1500 watt full sine wave inverter, and a 70 amp hour Progressive Dyanmics converter (charger) in case sun hides for several days-run by a generator. My batteries are typically discharged no more than 30% each day which greatly extends their lifecycle. I'll get another 200 watts of solar next Spring for it which will allow me to use more power when the sun is out and not worry about the batteries reaching 100% before sundown.
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Old 10-08-2016, 11:15 PM   #18
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So if I have 232 AH and can draw up to 50% that would give me 116 AH. 116 AH * 12v = 1392 watts hours assuming no line loss. Would that mean I could draw about 300 watts for 4 hours?

To size a solar then do you take the battery AH say 200 AH & match that to the solar 200 watt panel?

This can get complicated. What if your driving the alternator is charging the house batteries & the solar also is. Once your stopped & the solar is not topping off the batteries the generator is applied. How does all this work as one? It would seem it has to be a complete electronic system.

Thanks for the expertise
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Old 10-08-2016, 11:23 PM   #19
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Larry,
A general rule of thumb is that you should not discharge a battery below 50% of its capacity. Doing so decreases the batteries lifespan considerably meaning number charge-discharge cycles.

If I was in your shoes, I'd consider two 2 six volt golf cart batteries (premium) from Sams Club. In series giving you 12 volts, you will have 232 amp-hours capacity.

In addition, 200 to 300 watts of solar power panels with a good solar controller should give you 100% charged battery by 2pm each day with good sun.

My RV's solar has over 600 amp-hours of battery capacity in 3 separate battery banks, 400 watts of solar, 1500 watt full sine wave inverter, and a 70 amp hour Progressive Dyanmics converter (charger) in case sun hides for several days-run by a generator. My batteries are typically discharged no more than 30% each day which greatly extends their lifecycle. I'll get another 200 watts of solar next Spring for it which will allow me to use more power when the sun is out and not worry about the batteries reaching 100% before sundown.
Good set up, but is it worth all the $$$ you spent on the system? Sounds like Larry already has 2 6v batteries and a generator or plans to buy a generator. He should be good as long as he has a decent converter. My 2 12v Interstate deep cell batteries are now 5 years old, my gennies are 10, and 80℅ of our camping is boondocking. Never run out of battery power and looks to me as though their lifespan is just fine. I would like a solar and inverter system but just can't justify the cost when what I have works so well!!

Larry, I would give what you have a shot, then decide if you need to make changes or not.
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Old 10-08-2016, 11:36 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by larry.mahoney View Post
So if I have 232 AH and can draw up to 50% that would give me 116 AH. 116 AH * 12v = 1392 watts hours assuming no line loss. Would that mean I could draw about 300 watts for 4 hours?

To size a solar then do you take the battery AH say 200 AH & match that to the solar 200 watt panel?

This can get complicated. What if your driving the alternator is charging the house batteries & the solar also is. Once your stopped & the solar is not topping off the batteries the generator is applied. How does all this work as one? It would seem it has to be a complete electronic system.

Thanks for the expertise
It doesn't matter how many batteries you have as to how many solar panels you can install. Obviously, more of each is better. The more solar wattage you have and larger solar controller, the faster your batteries will recharge.
I installed 6 x 100 panels and a 40 amp controller into 4 x 12 vdc batteries and haven't used the converter since as the batteries are refilled everyday.
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