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Old 01-14-2016, 08:01 PM   #61
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"That's sarcasm but funny."

Well for someone to say:

".........the onboard converter will "maintain" your batteries they are not really designed to really charge them."

is just ridiculious.

As for generators, have a look at the Champion 2000, great generator for the price.
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Old 01-14-2016, 08:47 PM   #62
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Go solar. It is quiet, and very convenient. We have a 21 ss Roo. We love to boondock away from other campers. I bought a flexible 100 watt panel and glued it to the roof with silicone caulking. I did this on my last camper and ended up selling the panel with the camper, because It was too difficult to remove. I read this blog https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...ging-puzzle-2/ and if you slog through it, it tells you everything you need to know. I installed 8 ga. wires from the panel to a fuse box & then to a Morningstar SHS 10 charge controller, then 8 ga. wires to the battery. If you use an oversized controller and you can upgrade the system later if you think you need to. I have the two standard 12v deep cycle batteries that came with the trailer and bought LED replacement bulbs on eBay for less the $40. We can run everything but the AC and Microwave forever without outside power. The entire system cost less than $300. If we wanted to run the microwave, we could probably do short (5 min) runs (using an inverter) with our system, but I donít really need it. We use sleeping bags at night because I hate the noise of the heater going on in the middle of the night. It is still dark when I wake up, and Iíll run the furnace for 30 minutes or so to warm the trailer in the morning. By the time my wife wakes up, the sun is up, and she can run the furnace as long as she wants. The controller shows the battery is charged to 100% before noon (I donít have a good monitor yet, so I really donít know). We have never run it down below 75%, which radically improves battery life. One caveat: We live in New Mexico where the sun always shines. But I find that even with cloud cover for several days, the system works fine for us. Iíve hauled a Honda 2000 along on our first 4 trips, but never used it, and that is just fine with me. In the off season, it takes care of itself, and always keeps the batteries charged. Life is good.


Thanks for the great info on solar. Question, Can a solar charger/panel be connected to the rv batteries without damaging the RV charger/ panel. Is there some diodes or something that will protect the RV side. Seems like it would hurt anything as long as the RV is not connected to shore power or a generator?
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Old 01-14-2016, 09:39 PM   #63
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I would love to get solar but right now I can't afford it, next camper. I have two Honda's 2000i that I carry. DW does not like to boondock I do. DW wins but maybe later on I can talk her into it.


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Old 01-14-2016, 09:51 PM   #64
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Yea, me too. Wife likes the power, ha. Looking at the portable units made by Zamp makes me want to build a portable unit. But then, I'd get back to the camper after a day of outdoors and find it missing. I'm thinking a 100 to 125 watt, 8 amps, would replenish my batteries during the day assuming I'm not in the shade. I really don't want those things on my roof.
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Old 01-14-2016, 10:12 PM   #65
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I have 6 x 100 watt panels on my roof and not a soul but me knows they are there. Every time I tell someone I'm solar, they start looking for them.
I haven't turned on our converter in at least 6 months as the solar system charges better than the converter.
The only reason we even plug into shore power is for ACs. Everything else will run off the batteries or inverter.
You might check with Tractor Supply as to the Champion 3500/4000 gens. They frequently put them on sale for around $300 + wheel kit. I've bought two from them in the past and they all work just fine. They crank on the first or second pull every time.
The way I personally look at gen usage is why get a gen so small it will only run your converter or small charger when for the same price, you can get one that will run everything on board? JMHO
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Old 01-15-2016, 12:12 AM   #66
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This is what I keep telling myself, why spend all that money for a few DB's of silence when you can get twice the power for one third the money.
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Old 01-15-2016, 12:16 AM   #67
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This is what I keep telling myself, why spend all that money for a few DB's of silence when you can get twice the power for one third the money.

Nobody's gonna like an open frame genny !
Just sayin.


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Old 01-15-2016, 09:01 AM   #68
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Yep I agree totally I wouldn't like it next to me either.
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Old 01-15-2016, 04:44 PM   #69
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A good option is a Boliy generator. 3000 watts continuous and 3600 watts surge (at sea level). I got mine for about $1,000 online from bottomlinetrading.com

I've had mine over 4 years and it has been extremely reliable. Maintenance has been to rejet for high altitude, replace spark plug each year, clean the mesh spark arrester, and oil changes every 50 hours or after each camping trip.

One issue I have seen with converters taking SO long to charge a battery even with a 70 amp-hr Progressive Dynamics converter/charger is wire diameter and length from converter/charger to battery. It was taking me 6 hours to charge my batteries each morning and I realized that was because my converter/charger was in the back of the camper and the batteries were 25 feet up front. At that distance I needed 3/0 cable to have less than 3% voltage drop.

Instead of spending a fortune on cable, simply moving the converter within 2-3 feet of the batteries will greatly speed up your charge time. I think I was losing 1.8V over the distance of too thin cable.
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Old 01-16-2016, 06:56 PM   #70
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This is what I keep telling myself, why spend all that money for a few DB's of silence when you can get twice the power for one third the money.

Sounds good, but......please don't camp anywhere near me. I spent the money to get the quietest geny I could get, so wouldn't bother you.


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Old 01-16-2016, 08:26 PM   #71
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Sounds good, but......please don't camp anywhere near me. I spent the money to get the quietest geny I could get, so wouldn't bother you.


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Read post 68. Same here.
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Old 01-16-2016, 08:35 PM   #72
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This is what I keep telling myself, why spend all that money for a few DB's of silence when you can get twice the power for one third the money.
This depends on where you plan to camp. Most campgrounds, private, Fed and State will limit or prohibit your generator use if they receive noise complaints from other campers.
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Old 01-16-2016, 08:45 PM   #73
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One concern I have is getting parts for some of the china made generators. I've been trying to find leaner jets for some of the 2000 watt quiet generators and the only ones that have high altitude jets is Honda and Yamaha. Even Generac doesn't have them for the 2000 IQ which is a really nice little generator with built in watt meter and gas gauge. I'd really like to be able to make the thing run smooth at 8600'. Looks like I might have to spend more money than anticipated.

So if you going to spend $900 or $1000 for a 50# 2000 watt, do you bite the bullet and buy a EF2400ISHC 75# (same db) Yamaha that will likely run the AC unit?
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Old 01-16-2016, 08:48 PM   #74
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One concern I have is getting parts for some of the china made generators. I've been trying to find leaner jets for some of the 2000 watt quiet generators and the only ones that have high altitude jets is Honda and Yamaha. Even Generac doesn't have them for the 2000 IQ which is a really nice little generator with built in watt meter and gas gauge. I'd really like to be able to make the thing run smooth at 8600'. Looks like I might have to spend more money than anticipated.



So if you going to spend $900 or $1000 for a 50# 2000 watt, do you bite the bullet and buy a EF2400ISHC 75# (same db) Yamaha that will likely run the AC unit?

The exact generator I am looking at!


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Old 01-16-2016, 08:48 PM   #75
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This depends on where you plan to camp. Most campgrounds, private, Fed and State will limit or prohibit your generator use if they receive noise complaints from other campers.
Yes and you have to shut them down at 10 PM. But mostly, I don't want to be the neighbor from hell, ha. I don't want to run it more than I have to. There are times when en-route, I could use something bigger in rest area and truck stops.
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Old 01-16-2016, 08:59 PM   #76
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The exact generator I am looking at!


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Yes, a little heavy but still one person can handle it, it's quiet as the 1600's, about 1335 delivered free, no tax and will likely run the 13,500 AC. Talk me into it!
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Old 01-16-2016, 09:20 PM   #77
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The Champion 3100W is 58 db but only a little over $800. That could be an alternative.
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Old 01-17-2016, 08:25 PM   #78
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Lots of bad info on this forum. I'm perplexed by how many people are uninformed.

Don't let anybody who has never boondocked other than a Walmart parking lot tell you that a factory 13.8 volt converter is ok for dry camping. IT IS NOT.

A factory 13.8 volt converter is ok if you are plugged into campground power in 24-7, a stock single voltage converter will eventually charge a discharged battery but it will take a LONG TIME. You don't have the luxury of running a generator for days to charge 2 Group 27 batteries that went down to 40-50% capacity with heater running all night. A single voltage charger is ok if you camp at campgrounds with power. IT NOT RECOMMENDED if you intend to boondock/dry camp and run the generator as little as possible.

Progessive Dynamics has a battery charge time chart showing charge times of a 125 amp hour battery at different voltages with a battery fully discharged Here is a cut and paste of the written discussion:

The Battery Recharge Curves chart shows the amount of time it took a PD9155 (55-amp) converter set to three different output voltages to recharge a 125 AH (Amp Hour) battery after it was fully discharged to 10.5-volts.
14.4-VOLTS (Boost Mode) – Returned the battery to 90% of full charge in approximately 3-hours. The battery reached full charge in approximately 11 hours.

13.6-VOLTS (Normal Mode) – Required 40-hours to return the battery to 90% of full charge and 78-hours to reach full charge.

13.2-VOLTS (Storage Mode) – Required 60-hours to return the battery to 90% of full charge and 100-hours to reach full charge.
Charge Wizard RV Battery Charging

Running a 13.8 volt single voltage charger SIMPLY WILL NOT WORK for dry camping. Please don't listen to those armchair quarterbacks who have never camped more than 5 feet away from a 30 amp service panel.

Additional advice:

Minimal charger (converter) size should be 1/5 of amperage capacity of your battery bank. I have 400 amp-hrs of battery capacity in my camper and have an 80 amp charger (converter). A little extra capacity wouldn't hurt so you have residual capacity to run the camper's 12v items such as lighting, fan etc..etc..

Generator size-GET A LARGER ONE THAN YOU THINK YOU'LL NEED OR YOU'LL BE SORRY.

(a) If you have a 70 amp charger (converter), you'll need at least 900 watts or more to run that charger (converter) because a charger/converter is not 100% efficient. 70 amp x 12 volts = 840 watts out of the converter but you may probably need 900 or more watts from the generator to get this output from the charger (CONVERTER)

(b) Don't forget that if you only have a 1000 watt generator and your batteries are dead, you may not have any residual generator capacity to power other alternating current items in your camper. Want to charge your batteries using a 70 amp converter, run coffee maker, TV, stereo, etc...etc.. you may be SOL (short on luck).

(c) Don't forget altitude. Planning on camping in Colorado? I camp at 10,000 feet usually and I lose 30% generator capacity at this altitude (3% loss in engine output for every 1000 foot gain in elevation).

Simple rule of thumb is to increase generator capacity by at least 50% of what you think you need. This will cover high altitude camping and give you reserve capacity for when you need it. Read generator labeling very carefully. Many 3000 watt generators are actually much less in continuous output. My generator, has 3000 watt output (at sea level) and 3600 surge capacity. A champion 3100 watt inverter generator is really a 2800 watt generator with 3100 surge capacity.

I've been boondock camping for about 10 years in the back country of Colorado. Yes, I have an axle lift on my camper to get to some of the good spots where 4x4 wheel drive is mandatory. I can stretch out 30 gallons of water for 2 adults and make it last 7-10 days. I once had a "2000" watt (actually 1700 watt) generator and quickly realized there were times it was insufficient especially when running it in the morning to recharge the batteries, running coffee maker, while wife fires up her hair dryer....not good.

Solar power is a great option but don't expect solar to completely replace your generator.

My setup:
3000 watt continuous output Boliy generator
400 amp battery capacity between 2 battery banks (I actually have 3 battery banks but the 3rd bank is only used in an emergency and is separately charged).
400 watts solar with 40 amp MPPT controller
1500 watt pure sine wave inverter with auto-transfer switch (.75 amp/hr idle current draw)
100% LED interior/exterior lighting except for scare lights
Cheap 700 watt backup generator just in case!
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Old 01-18-2016, 01:20 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by Skyliner View Post
Lots of bad info on this forum. I'm perplexed by how many people are uninformed.

Don't let anybody who has never boondocked other than a Walmart parking lot tell you that a factory 13.8 volt converter is ok for dry camping. IT IS NOT.

I agree!

Speaking of which, the OP's rig most likely has a WFCO 8935 or 8945 converter/charger, as do most all of the recent FR trailers/campers. It is a multi-stage unit, not a fixed voltage design as you seem to assume. Of course, without actual info from the OP, you and I can only assume.

From WFCO spec sheet:

The WF-8900 Series has revolutionized RV power centers with its lighter weight, decorative doors and superior features. The WF-8935 model provides 35 amps and a clean, constant 13.6 Vdc nominal output, for reliable operation of electronics and appliances. Automatic three-stage charging extends the life of your battery with output voltage modes of 13.2 Vdc “float” mode, 13.6 Vdc “absorption” mode, and a 14.4 Vdc “bulk” charge mode. The 8900 Series also maintains peace and quiet, as the cooling fan runs only when needed.
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Old 01-18-2016, 01:27 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by Skyliner View Post
Lots of bad info on this forum. I'm perplexed by how many people are uninformed.

Don't let anybody who has never boondocked other than a Walmart parking lot tell you that a factory 13.8 volt converter is ok for dry camping. IT IS NOT.

A factory 13.8 volt converter is ok if you are plugged into campground power in 24-7, a stock single voltage converter will eventually charge a discharged battery but it will take a LONG TIME. You don't have the luxury of running a generator for days to charge 2 Group 27 batteries that went down to 40-50% capacity with heater running all night. A single voltage charger is ok if you camp at campgrounds with power. IT NOT RECOMMENDED if you intend to boondock/dry camp and run the generator as little as possible.

Progessive Dynamics has a battery charge time chart showing charge times of a 125 amp hour battery at different voltages with a battery fully discharged Here is a cut and paste of the written discussion:

The Battery Recharge Curves chart shows the amount of time it took a PD9155 (55-amp) converter set to three different output voltages to recharge a 125 AH (Amp Hour) battery after it was fully discharged to 10.5-volts.
14.4-VOLTS (Boost Mode) Ė Returned the battery to 90% of full charge in approximately 3-hours. The battery reached full charge in approximately 11 hours.

13.6-VOLTS (Normal Mode) Ė Required 40-hours to return the battery to 90% of full charge and 78-hours to reach full charge.

13.2-VOLTS (Storage Mode) Ė Required 60-hours to return the battery to 90% of full charge and 100-hours to reach full charge.
Charge Wizard RV Battery Charging

Running a 13.8 volt single voltage charger SIMPLY WILL NOT WORK for dry camping. Please don't listen to those armchair quarterbacks who have never camped more than 5 feet away from a 30 amp service panel.

Additional advice:

Minimal charger (converter) size should be 1/5 of amperage capacity of your battery bank. I have 400 amp-hrs of battery capacity in my camper and have an 80 amp charger (converter). A little extra capacity wouldn't hurt so you have residual capacity to run the camper's 12v items such as lighting, fan etc..etc..

Generator size-GET A LARGER ONE THAN YOU THINK YOU'LL NEED OR YOU'LL BE SORRY.

(a) If you have a 70 amp charger (converter), you'll need at least 900 watts or more to run that charger (converter) because a charger/converter is not 100% efficient. 70 amp x 12 volts = 840 watts out of the converter but you may probably need 900 or more watts from the generator to get this output from the charger (CONVERTER)

(b) Don't forget that if you only have a 1000 watt generator and your batteries are dead, you may not have any residual generator capacity to power other alternating current items in your camper. Want to charge your batteries using a 70 amp converter, run coffee maker, TV, stereo, etc...etc.. you may be SOL (short on luck).

(c) Don't forget altitude. Planning on camping in Colorado? I camp at 10,000 feet usually and I lose 30% generator capacity at this altitude (3% loss in engine output for every 1000 foot gain in elevation).

Simple rule of thumb is to increase generator capacity by at least 50% of what you think you need. This will cover high altitude camping and give you reserve capacity for when you need it. Read generator labeling very carefully. Many 3000 watt generators are actually much less in continuous output. My generator, has 3000 watt output (at sea level) and 3600 surge capacity. A champion 3100 watt inverter generator is really a 2800 watt generator with 3100 surge capacity.

I've been boondock camping for about 10 years in the back country of Colorado. Yes, I have an axle lift on my camper to get to some of the good spots where 4x4 wheel drive is mandatory. I can stretch out 30 gallons of water for 2 adults and make it last 7-10 days. I once had a "2000" watt (actually 1700 watt) generator and quickly realized there were times it was insufficient especially when running it in the morning to recharge the batteries, running coffee maker, while wife fires up her hair dryer....not good.

Solar power is a great option but don't expect solar to completely replace your generator.

My setup:
3000 watt continuous output Boliy generator
400 amp battery capacity between 2 battery banks (I actually have 3 battery banks but the 3rd bank is only used in an emergency and is separately charged).
400 watts solar with 40 amp MPPT controller
1500 watt pure sine wave inverter with auto-transfer switch (.75 amp/hr idle current draw)
100% LED interior/exterior lighting except for scare lights
Cheap 700 watt backup generator just in case!
I had a lot of questions and the post didn't happen. not sure why.

Did you install high altitude jets for CO? Or is your generator stock. Also, How do I measure how much my battery is discharged? I hear people say 50% discharge, does that mean 50% voltage? How is 50% measured?

thanks.
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