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Old 04-15-2019, 11:06 PM   #1
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Battery Charging with a Generator when Boondocking?

I currently have 2 x 6V Golf Cart Batteries and a Honda EU3000IS with my 2014 A-122TH. I would like to understand how everyone is charging there batteries when dry camping? Obviously the less the generator runs the better.

Do I need to get a battery charger? Or can I simply connect the RV to the generator? Any advise would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:16 PM   #2
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Plug the power cord from your trailer into the generator. The converter should have a built in charger that will charge the batteries.
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:19 PM   #3
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Battery charger works fastest for me.
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:34 PM   #4
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12vdc out from your generator is only 12v or slightly more. A charger will charge at a higher voltage and should have more amperage available and would charge faster and more efficiently.
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:07 AM   #5
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Been plugging our trailers into our Honda 2000i for 13 years now and never needed a separate battery charger.
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:20 AM   #6
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Here is the difference, if you use your WFCO 55 amp converter for charging you will probably not see anything past 13.6 volts. Now I have assumed that is what you have. If you upgrade to a progressive 4600, you can use there wizard to increase the voltage to bulk at 14.6 , you will charge alit faster. If you don't want to up grade use a external charger. With the WFCO you will be running your generator a lot longer. Once again I assume yours on board is a WFCO. That is the most popular being installed, but garbage for boondocking...
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:29 AM   #7
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your RV is already designed to charge your House batteries - no need for an additional 'charger' - let the generator provide power to both the Converter in your RV, to charge the batteries, and at the same time use the power to use the microwave, provide power to the electric water heater, if you have one, or air conditioning when it's hot.

generators are actually quite efficient and don't use near as much fuel as you might fear - let it do it's work - enjoy!
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:31 AM   #8
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If you plug the RV into the generator you can both charge the batteries and run items like the microwave or coffee pot. If fridge is set to auto, it will save you some propane. Depending on your 12V use, you may be OK with 2-3 hours in the morning and 2-3 hours in the evening. These can coincide with meal prep.
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:53 AM   #9
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If you plug the RV into the generator you can both charge the batteries and run items like the microwave or coffee pot. If fridge is set to auto, it will save you some propane. Depending on your 12V use, you may be OK with 2-3 hours in the morning and 2-3 hours in the evening. These can coincide with meal prep.
Quick question using the generator to charge the rv battery. I have a battery switch in my trailer. 2018 Forest River Hyper Lite 30HDS. Does the battery switch need to be on to charge the battery. Thanks

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Old 04-16-2019, 08:56 AM   #10
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If you are referring to the battery disconnect. YES. Basically turning the battery disconnect switch off is like disconnecting the battery.
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:03 AM   #11
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If you are referring to the battery disconnect. YES. Basically turning the battery disconnect switch off is like disconnecting the battery.
Yes that is what I was referring to. Thanks for the information. I was camping at the NASCAR race this weekend and my battery died and it also drained my truck battery. Either I didnít have the battery disconnect on or possibly I had the fridge on auto. I have to try everything again in a couple weeks.

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Old 04-16-2019, 09:09 AM   #12
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Some vehicles have a solenoid that will remove power from the aux pin on the Bargman ( 7-pin) connector to prevent the TV battery from draining if left connected. Apparently your TV does not. You need to be mindful to always disconnect the TV when parked for any time.
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:18 AM   #13
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Some vehicles have a solenoid that will remove power from the aux pin on the Bargman ( 7-pin) connector to prevent the TV battery from draining if left connected. Apparently your TV does not. You need to be mindful to always disconnect the TV when parked for any time.
Thanks I will definitely be mindful of that from now on. I appreciate all your input on the forum.

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Old 04-16-2019, 12:48 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by tyoer View Post
I currently have 2 x 6V Golf Cart Batteries and a Honda EU3000IS with my 2014 A-122TH. I would like to understand how everyone is charging there batteries when dry camping? Obviously the less the generator runs the better.

Do I need to get a battery charger? Or can I simply connect the RV to the generator? Any advise would be greatly appreciated!
The problem is that the standard converter on a Forest River A-frame is a WFCO 8735. On the 2 FR A-frames I have owned, the WFCO 8735 did not perform to its own specs. I never caught it going into boost mode (14.4V) or trickle mode (13.2V). The WFCO would stubbornly stay at 13.7 or 13.8V, no matter what. In my case, without a generator, lack of boost mode doesn't hurt much. In your case, the WFCO will prevent the generator from recharging the batteries at a decent rate.

I replaced the WFCO converter in both A-frames with a "drop-in" Progressive Dynamics 4135 converter/distribution panel. The PD 4135 readily uses all 3 charge modes to quickly charge and properly maintain the batteries. I love it - it keeps my Costco/Interstate GC-2 batteries going without much attention from me. Add water about every 6 months, and that's all the battery maintenance I need to do. The downside of the PD 4135 is that you have transfer all the AC and DC circuits over to the new panel - a few hours work. The good part of transferring the circuits is the opportunity to fix poor workmanship in the wiring. I added a DC ground/negative bus bar, and a small bus bar for the misc+ DC circuit while I was in there. I also got rid of the chains of crimp wire "nuts".

With the PD converter, you will recharge your batteries about as fast as they can be charged without a lab setup with temperature monitoring and compensation. Certainly better than most separate, low-end battery chargers.

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Old 04-16-2019, 01:03 PM   #15
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I agree 100% you said it a lot better then me, no way I would use that piece of Cr** WFCO, to charge my batteries when boondocking, I tested mine in my M/H. With the generator on 13.6 with the engine running 14.6 , so for a quick charge it's better for me to run the chassie engine. Or use my charger plugged in when the generators on, don't really care who disagrees. I have tested it. A progressive is in the works with the wizard. The WFCO is fine at a CG being plugged in 24/7, but NOT boondocking.
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:16 PM   #16
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If you plug the RV into the generator you can both charge the batteries and run items like the microwave or coffee pot. If fridge is set to auto, it will save you some propane. Depending on your 12V use, you may be OK with 2-3 hours in the morning and 2-3 hours in the evening. These can coincide with meal prep.
X2. We have a Yamaha 3000 and run it 1-1 1/2 hrs morning and evening ( roughly coinciding with breakfast and dinner). That keeps our dual GRP27 batteries at a rate very rarely below 60%. Our generator runs 8 hrs on a tank of fuel so makes for pretty efficient charging. Also these units are so quiet that when its running itís barely audible from where we keep it in the back of our truck.
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:33 PM   #17
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your RV is already designed to charge your House batteries - no need for an additional 'charger' - let the generator provide power to both the Converter in your RV, to charge the batteries, and at the same time use the power to use the microwave, provide power to the electric water heater, if you have one, or air conditioning when it's hot.

generators are actually quite efficient and don't use near as much fuel as you might fear - let it do it's work - enjoy!
Neither my AC nor Microwave will work with 2000 Gen. .... and of course not off battteries. Been told it would tak 4000 to run these.
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Old 04-16-2019, 02:24 PM   #18
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Neither my AC nor Microwave will work with 2000 Gen. .... and of course not off battteries. Been told it would tak 4000 to run these.
Microwave easily can run off a 2000W generator. I run my microwave off my 2000W inverter all the time.
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Old 04-16-2019, 02:35 PM   #19
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Neither my AC nor Microwave will work with 2000 Gen. .... and of course not off battteries. Been told it would tak 4000 to run these.
You likely won't run a 15k air conditioner on a 2000w generator but most R/V microwaves will do just fine.

Maybe whomever told you that meant both together?
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Old 04-16-2019, 02:53 PM   #20
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you can also buy a 100w portable solar panel and connect directly to battery terminal's to keep batteries full if you prefer not to use a generator for re-charging. We use our generator only in the mourning's
for 15 minutes to make coffee!
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