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Old 06-12-2011, 05:05 PM   #1
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Charging Batteries

My quesiton is related to boondocking for several days on the 12v system. Has anybody calculated to time for the generator to run and bring the battery(s) back up to a full charge? Would there be a difference between the different converters out there on the different models?

Mark
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:45 PM   #2
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Mark,

Difficult question to answer......, depends on the depth of discharge on the battery, whether the converter/charger is a 2 or 3 stage, distance of converter/charger from the 12V battery, gauge of wiring, etc..

Yes, a 3-stage converter would be better than a 2-stage. Many off the grid campers would run a remote battery charger (connected directly to the battery) off their generator resulting in faster charge times.

Bob
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Old 06-12-2011, 10:01 PM   #3
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I know there are theoretical calculations for figuring all that stuff out, but given all the variables I think it is one of those things you just have to test out yourself. If you really want to get into it, grab yourself a DC clamp meter so you can measure how much power is going in and out of the battery - that might help you do some ciphering.
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Old 06-12-2011, 10:27 PM   #4
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Thanks guys! You are right about the variables with the charge status, converter stages, and batteries to charge. I will test this out and get back later this summer.
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Old 06-13-2011, 06:30 AM   #5
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Lots of variables here so i will just comment on what i have and what works for me.

4 6 volt batteries and two iota 45 amp converter chargers, 3 stage charging with the smart controllers.

I run em down to about 50 %, lets say 220 amphours. Fire up the genny for four hours and that brings them usually up to full charge. I get about 90 % charge at 3 hours.

I plan out a routine, usually every morning I run the genny for a couple of hours and then again at dinner time. Thats my routine for middle of the winter up here in Canada, where the furnace is running quite a bit. Never run out of power, and in the summertime where my energy use is less, I could get by running two days off the batteries. But the routine keeps it idiot proof and always ensures I have adequate battery reserve.

Any heavy use appliances like the microwave and coffee maker, washer dryer etc, I always run the genny. My battery system is used only for the furnace and lights and my bedroom tv dvd system which i run a small 1000 watt inverter. I have a remote start stop panel in my fiver to control the genny, so firing up the unit is super easy.

I get perplexed dumb looks on my family faces when I mention energy conservation, so I gave up. They leave lights on, tv's on water taps dripping, the heat at 100 degrees, air conditioning on with the door and windows open. the only members of the family that listen to me and follow the energy conservation line of thought, are the family dogs.

So each system is different as well as family. Some get by with one wore out depleted 12 volt battery and they can make that last 7 days.
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:05 AM   #6
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Coalrig I was just laughing to myself about your conservation plan. I have the same problem with my kids, keeping doors open, not closing the fridge, too many lights on, etc. I bet I could double the time use on the battery if I was by myself!

That sounds like a good system charging your batteries during the day, after all your going to want the hot pot of cofffee in the AM. I'm going to have a meter handy on the next boondocking trip.
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:39 AM   #7
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Leroy

Yup, fire up the genny and make a pot of coffee first thing in the morning, thats a ritual here at my fiver.

I had the big Xantrex system with the nice remote control panel, that could measure the amps I was pulling and how much storage I had etc etc etc. Expensive stuff, and that big Xantrex inverter charger, broke down, no one to repair it, and its heavy so if you have to ship it probably break the bank and end up not being worth it too repair, plus the time in the shop and your left with nothing to charge and run your system.

So I went the idiot proof way, the 1000 watt inverter runs my tv dvd so I can watch the late news with the genny off. Less than a 100 for the inverter and its been running for two plus years now, and I also have a new one sitting there for when the original one fails. Two Iota converter chargers instead of one big one, as they fail too, and I have already replaced both of them, but one will fail and I still have one working till I get a replacement at my liesure and usually off Kijiji at about half the cost of a new unit.

No meters, shunts and associated wiring. No need, just run the genny up to 4 hours per day at a cost of about 5 bucks for fuel. Honda 3000 watt inverter gennys consume average .7 litres per hour. A nice Xantrex remote control panel runs about 300 or so, can burn alot of fuel for that kind of money lol.

I can't wrap my head around solar either. Buddy of mine spent 10k plus on his solar inverter battery system on his fiver, I could do the same thing, but the first thing I do when looking for a spot to dry camp, is look for the shade, kinda defeats the purpose for me. Again too, I can burn alot of fuel compared to a top notch solar system. Heavy power appliances like a washer dryer setup, can't run off of a battery bank/inverter setup effeciently anyways, so were back to the genny again.

All this is imho and what works in my situation, of course good info gathered after some 15 years of fulltiming. Nothing like real world experience for others too to form a opinion for what may work for thier particular situation. And that is what forums such as these, really excel at.
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coalrig View Post
Leroy


I can't wrap my head around solar either. Buddy of mine spent 10k plus on his solar inverter battery system on his fiver, I could do the same thing, but the first thing I do when looking for a spot to dry camp, is look for the shade, kinda defeats the purpose for me. Again too, I can burn alot of fuel compared to a top notch solar system. Heavy power appliances like a washer dryer setup, can't run off of a battery bank/inverter setup effeciently anyways, so were back to the genny again.
No noise... #1 reason for going solar.. I have had my system for 3 years now and it has paid for itself.. IF I cant sleep and want to watch TV at 3 am.. I am bothering NO ONE.. unless of course I have the volume up too high.. but that is just not me..LOL
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