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Old 04-20-2016, 12:47 PM   #1
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using a battery charger with generator

I have 1 12v coach battery under the hood, with no space for expansion there. in another thread I explained how over 4 nights using the furnace and running the generator 4 hrs a day(provincial park rules are 9-11am and 6-8pm gen times), the battery didnt make it through the 5th night.

of coarse the options are many as far as making a new battery space somewhere and adding another 12v or two 6v. I don't know the ah of the current coach battery that was new last august, I call the company that sells/brands them locally.

so the furnace fan is a big draw, but we will cold weather camp alot. and always dry camping, except for some rare occasions. I prefer not to use a small fueled heater, ideally I get a set up where my total ah is sufficient to only use 50% through a cold night and charge back up in the day. all light is switched over to LEDs, and we often use electric candles and the like as light sources at night.

so my first move was was suggested by a mechanic I work with, to boost the battery charging while I'm running the generator. getting a full house battery in a shorter time, I believe my system charging is 15 amps.

like this
https://www.amazon.ca/Multi-12-Volt-...ords=ctek+7002

I figure a charger is a good thing to have anyways, and will save hours on the generator even if I expand my battery system. so my question is, does anybody have any experience with using a battery charger while running the generator?
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Old 04-20-2016, 01:16 PM   #2
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That charger has a 7 amp limit. So it will take a long time to charge a drained battery. You would be better off with something like this...
https://www.amazon.ca/Schumacher-SC-...attery+charger

And yes using a battery charger hooked directly from the generator to the battery will most likely charge your battery faster as long as it has sufficient charge capacity.

Another option would be to upgrade your converter to something programmable that will charge your battery faster.
PowerMax PM4B-45 (45 Amp 4-Stage Converter/Charger)

That is just an example. You will have to find something compatible with your power center. Try to look for something that has a charge voltage as close to 14.8 volts as possible. Most will be around 14.4 volts. Higher voltage will charge faster.

Do you have room to upgrade to a group 27 battery? That will get you a bit more capacity as well.

Cheers
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Old 04-20-2016, 01:45 PM   #3
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One of these is also a great addition if you camp without shore power a lot. Best mod we have made to our trailer!

TriMetric Model Descriptions, Present and Past - Bogart Engineering
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Old 04-20-2016, 05:51 PM   #4
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I have a Xantrex 40-20-10 amp charger, and when using it, my batteries charge much quicker than with the trailer's converter. I do disconnect the battery positive lead (remove the fuse) when using the Xantrex.

And if you are going to buy a charger, get one that has an equalization feature. With that, you can recondition the batteries from time to time, which is recommended for longer life and better performance. Equalization mode desulfates the plates in the battery.
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Old 04-21-2016, 05:22 AM   #5
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4 hours gen time is only 60 amps with the battery charger you are looking at.. I would look at a larger one... or go solar..
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Old 04-21-2016, 08:48 AM   #6
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hey thanks for the reply's. thanks for pointing out the low amp output on that one. the schumacher one you linked goes up to 30 amps, or the next higher ctek (us 25000) does 25A. Ctek has a very strong reputation (almost twice the price as well), so those 2 are the best options it looks like. I have been reading that the voltage "pushing" the amps is also important, I know the ctek is 14.4v but I can't find what the Schumacher is.

I am also considering the trimetric monitor, that looks like a good idea no matter how my set up. thanks for the pointers Subaru.

SmokerBill you disconnect the rvs charging? would using both generator and charger cause heat issues? or overcharging? wouldn't both systems stop charging once 13 to 14v is reached?

eventually I will probably change/add batteries and have some solar as well. just learning now
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Old 04-21-2016, 09:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacZulu View Post
...SmokerBill you disconnect the rvs charging? would using both generator and charger cause heat issues? or overcharging? wouldn't both systems stop charging once 13 to 14v is reached?...
If you have two separate charging systems, the one with the higher output would confuse the other into shutting down to its lower output mode. Probably not a problem with an external charger of higher output than the RV converter, but there could be a point when the battery is getting closer to full charge that both charging systems could be fighting it out, cycling in and out of a lower charging mode. That's probably not good for a charger.

For instance, when leaving the RV converter attached to the batteries when the stand-alone charger is hooked up and turned on, the RV converter would sense higher voltage/amperage available to the batteries, not "knowing" it's sensing the charger output. The RV converter output would drop to maintenance mode. It's possible that as the batteries get closer to full charge, and the output of the stand-alone charger drops, that the RV converter would sense the drop of voltage/amperage and kick on to a higher output mode, which could then cause the stand-alone charger mode to drop. This back and forth between charging units might happen several times.

It's the theory I go by, and anyway, I read it on the internet somewhere so it must be true. LOL
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Old 04-21-2016, 04:45 PM   #8
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thanks SmokerBill. your theory seems very plausible, and makes me think about Subaru's suggestion of upgrading to a smart convertor.
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Old 04-21-2016, 05:28 PM   #9
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ok I am still researching, from the given link above in Subaru's post I found this one

PowerMax PM4B-100 (100 Amp 4-Stage Converter/Charger)

it's a 100amps, and uses 14.6v in boost mode, best PD unit I could find is 14.4v. then I read this from another forum
"that looks like a low end model (not a bad price). I would assume a 100amp charger only provides about 1200watts of AC power. Hardly enough to run a single heater, or a single cooktop, maybe just house lighting and laptops. If you really want to boondock, I would spend some money on a good 2500-4k watt inverter system like Outback or Victron. It will cost you 2k (plus batteries) but you will not have to worry about replacing equipment in the middle of the desert and for the most part you will have support from the manufacturer.

I have a low end (500$) sterling 2500w model. It simply charges batteries, inverts and has pass through for when I'm hooked up to the pole or genny running. None of the super duper features but we don't run much more than lights and computers when we boondock and run the genny for cooking breakfast and charging and the gas grill cooks dinnner. Our battery bank is enemic right now (about 200 amp hours) and we are hoping to bump up to something a little better in the future.

Our inverter has a desulfation cycle as well. You just change the dial to desulfate and it runs. There are a bunch of details in the manual as to what it does and for how long but I haven't used it yet. Our inverter was the nicer inverter for the low end models and we needed something quick and easy and so far I've been happy with it."

so I'm wondering is the unit i linked an add on to my system or a replacement to one I have? the quote I posted confused me abit
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Old 04-21-2016, 06:16 PM   #10
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Keep in mind the smart mode chargers that put out 14.4vdc 13.6VDC and 13.2VDC will get demanded from the battery being charged to only produce around 17DC AMPS to 20DC AMPS per battery in the battery bank...

If you have two batteries you will need the charger unit that has a 40AMP DC capacity...

When the battery gets hit with 14.4VDC it will only demand 17-20AMPS DC current... Same goes with solar panel system. Doing this will charge a typical deep cycle battery from its 50% charge state to its 90% charge state in a three hour time frame... More batteries in the battery bank need more DC current available...

The only to get the battery to demand more DC current is to raise the charging DC Voltage higher. However doing this the manufacturers have found you start running the risk of boiling out your battery fluids and getting the battery cases hot.

I use a PD9260C smart mode 60AMP DC battery charger running directly off my 2KW Generator and when I start my 14.4VDC charge I immediately see 53 DC AMPS or so being demanded from the PD9260C. This will then start tappering back and after around one hour time it will be down to the 8DC AMP level. Then after two hours of this rate of charging it will then drop back to 13.6VDC charging DC Volatage and conitune this for around another one hours time..

Then I get my three batteries in my battery bank returned to their 90% charge state...

This is what I see when camping off the power grid.

When I finally add solar panels I will most likely have to run my 2KW generator for one hour first to get past the high DC Current demand of the 53 AMPS DC Current. I don't enough room on my POPUP roof to support more than two 120WATT Panels and then one 240WATT panel across the rear. Each 120WATT panel will give me around 5-6 MAPS of DC current and the 240WATT Panel will give me around 10-11AMPS DC current when in HIGH SUN.

After the DC AMPS demand tappers back to the 8AMP level then Then I can shut down my generator and let my solar panels continue to charge my three batteries while in the high sun to get to the 90% charge state. Each of the three batteries will be dividing up the somewhere near 20AMPS DC the solar panels will be providing... I will have several hours to get what I need before the high sun goes down in this case...

In my case if I don't always start my day/nigh run off my batteries at a 90% charge state I will not make it through the night whith al the things I am running and usually we are not allowed to run our generator until 8AM each morning dure to local generator run times restrictions in place...

This is our daily procedure when camping off the power grid here on the East side of the USA...

This may vary somewhat from day to day but this is what I sort of expect each day... So far we are starting each day/night run with 90% charge state batteries using the generator for three hours starting at 8AM each morning...

Roy Ken
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