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Old 06-06-2017, 10:11 PM   #1
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Portable Generator Hook-Up

Being new to dry camping, I have a question I hope you can assist me with. I have a new 24' Jayco trailer with a slide-out. I will be dry camping for 4-5 days this week. I purchased a Yamaha 2000W generator and am not sure of the appropriate way to charge up my two batteries on a daily basis. Do I go directly to the batteries or plug my RV chord directly into the generator. Also, do I need an adapter or a battery charged attached. Thank you in advance for any assistance.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:29 PM   #2
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Plug your 120V shore plug into your generator as you would at home. Start the generator when needed and let your RV's existing converter manage the charging of your RV batteries. If your generator does not have a 30amp RV socket then you will need an adapter to step you 30A service plug down to a normal plug.

https://www.amazon.com/Camco-55223-1...WNA7W0GMDPYH13
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Old 06-07-2017, 07:18 AM   #3
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Generator

Thank you very much. I was hoping that was he correct way. Again, thank you for your quick response.
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Old 06-07-2017, 07:34 AM   #4
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If you're at a public campground, be sure to pay attention to any "generator hours" they may have. No one wants to listen to generators all day and all night.
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Old 06-07-2017, 08:22 AM   #5
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Old 06-07-2017, 08:38 AM   #6
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Just throwing this out there as it is another thing to consider.

I will say that I dry camp quite a bit. We plug the 30A "shore power" into the generator. This will charge the camper as well as run my fridge on electric for a while helping extend my propane tanks. I also have a 3K gen so I can run my AC for a bit if it is in the peak heat time of day.

However.... Lets say you are mainly running everything off 12V. While it is true that hooking up the traditional way of plugging the camper into 120V will charge the battery through the converter will charge the battery. It does it really slow. It is just a trickle charger. This is fine if you are planning on running the generator for a while and have plenty of fuel for your stay. However lets say you are trying to minimize fuel used so you don't have to run to town and are running everything off 12V (no AC or other 110V appliances) for and extended trip. You may find that you have to run the generator less by charging the battery direct from the generator rather than relying on the converter to do so. Personally I don't do it this way because we normally are running 110V appliances from time to time for instance during food prep. If you didn't do that though you could maybe run the gen for a couple hours every couple days with a direct charger and stretch out your fuel. While a lot of generators have a 12V output I don't know what the Amp rating is on this and it likely differs but you could run a 110V charger plugged into the generator.

Just throwing this out as another option. I would say most people just plug in to the normal cord and let the converter do the work but there are scenarios where a dedicated charger may be more efficient if that is all you are doing with the gen. A good example is if you are out and about all day fishing, hiking or whatever when the approved generator time was. I don't like running the gen unless I am there. Then you get back to camp and only have an hour or two in order to try and get as much juice back into the battery before quiet time. Well the converter won't be able to pump very much in. Not compared to a couple hours on a charger.
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Old 06-07-2017, 10:03 AM   #7
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Generator

Thank you for the additional option. Probably won't run it more than three hours a day. Great to have options. Again, thanx.
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:37 PM   #8
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Good choice. We have the Yamaha 3000 and it is really is quiet. So quiet that while camped next to a stream with the windows open we couldn't hear the generator over the sound of the running water. Outside, by the time we walked out to the camp road you couldn't hear it at all, specially when it's in power saver mode. Of course each site is different and YMMV.

I needed to get the twist-lock generator to 30amp adapter to be able to plug my shore power into the generator. I agree that it charges very slowly that way. But it does charge. We got the generator primarily for boondocking and still being able to microwave and run the a/c. I'll take the advice about switching the fridge over to electric to conserve LP. I overlooked that. In a small trailer like our hummingbird resource management is a real balancing act.

Being a belt and suspenders guy, I also got the Go Power solar panel and I have to say that does a much better job bringing the battery up to 100% change than the generator.

However, on extremely cloudy days my Yamaha came with a 12v plug (slanted tines) with alligator clips to allow me to charge the battery directly. Next time out I may try a comparison of the various methods.


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Old 06-07-2017, 12:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sennister View Post
Just throwing this out there as it is another thing to consider.

I will say that I dry camp quite a bit. We plug the 30A "shore power" into the generator. This will charge the camper as well as run my fridge on electric for a while helping extend my propane tanks. I also have a 3K gen so I can run my AC for a bit if it is in the peak heat time of day.

However.... Lets say you are mainly running everything off 12V. While it is true that hooking up the traditional way of plugging the camper into 120V will charge the battery through the converter will charge the battery. It does it really slow. It is just a trickle charger. This is fine if you are planning on running the generator for a while and have plenty of fuel for your stay. However lets say you are trying to minimize fuel used so you don't have to run to town and are running everything off 12V (no AC or other 110V appliances) for and extended trip. You may find that you have to run the generator less by charging the battery direct from the generator rather than relying on the converter to do so. Personally I don't do it this way because we normally are running 110V appliances from time to time for instance during food prep. If you didn't do that though you could maybe run the gen for a couple hours every couple days with a direct charger and stretch out your fuel. While a lot of generators have a 12V output I don't know what the Amp rating is on this and it likely differs but you could run a 110V charger plugged into the generator.

Just throwing this out as another option. I would say most people just plug in to the normal cord and let the converter do the work but there are scenarios where a dedicated charger may be more efficient if that is all you are doing with the gen. A good example is if you are out and about all day fishing, hiking or whatever when the approved generator time was. I don't like running the gen unless I am there. Then you get back to camp and only have an hour or two in order to try and get as much juice back into the battery before quiet time. Well the converter won't be able to pump very much in. Not compared to a couple hours on a charger.

Current producton and for the past several years, the coverters use a 2 or 3 stage battery charger.

Check the documentation for your converter. The information will be there.

When I run my 900W genset to top up the battery each afternoon we are boondocking, I can hear the engine load and unload in under 1/2 an hour as the converter drops from BULK CHARGE down to medium and back a few time until it settles on medium.

If the OP ha a 2010 or later RV, the battery charger will be a whole lot more than a trickle charger.
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:52 PM   #10
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If you hit each of your Batteries with 14.4VDC with a 17-20AMP DC Current capacity this will charge your batteries in a three hour generator run time. My SMART MODE PD9260C converter/charger unit has a 60AMP DC Current capability and only draws right at 1000WATS on the AC side of the generator. My 2KW generator will run this PD9260C great with a few watts left over to run a few other 120VAC appliances we might want to have running like the coffee grinder/maker.

Also let the camp ground know you are wanting to use the generator as they may have special camp ground spots for all of the generator users set aside... Keeps all the noise makers in the same side of the camp ground hehe...

We beefed up our converter/charger and changed all of the high DC current incandescent automotive lamps bulbs to LED boards... We run pretty much what we want to have ON from the 6PM to 10PM time frame and only drop our battery banks back to around 50% charge state by 8AM the next morning. This was all planned out...

Then at 8AM we start up the generator when allowed with the trailer shore power cable plugged into it and this will use the on-board converter/charger smart mode charging to bring my 50% depleted (appx 12.0VDC) batteries back up to the 90% charge state (12.6-7VDC). Doing this allows us to do all of this all over again fro the next day/night run off the batteries...

Been doing this since 2009 and it is all pretty much routine now camping off-grid with no electric hookups.

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Old 06-07-2017, 01:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmcdermo View Post
Good choice. We have the Yamaha 3000 and it is really is quiet. So quiet that while camped next to a stream with the windows open we couldn't hear the generator over the sound of the running water. Outside, by the time we walked out to the camp road you couldn't hear it at all, specially when it's in power saver mode. Of course each site is different and YMMV.

I needed to get the twist-lock generator to 30amp adapter to be able to plug my shore power into the generator. I agree that it charges very slowly that way. But it does charge. We got the generator primarily for boondocking and still being able to microwave and run the a/c. I'll take the advice about switching the fridge over to electric to conserve LP. I overlooked that. In a small trailer like our hummingbird resource management is a real balancing act.

Being a belt and suspenders guy, I also got the Go Power solar panel and I have to say that does a much better job bringing the battery up to 100% change than the generator.

However, on extremely cloudy days my Yamaha came with a 12v plug (slanted tines) with alligator clips to allow me to charge the battery directly. Next time out I may try a comparison of the various methods.


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I have never used the 12V output on our 3000is but I just looked at the manual online and it says it is 12v 12A output so assuming it is charging at that rate it should charge the battery pretty quick. It really just said to check the electrolyte specific gravity every hour until it hits the point where it is charged. In doing a quick search on how many amps a converter outputs to charge a battery seemed to be about 3-5 amps. So assuming the generator can put out full 12A to charge (not sure if it can) you would look at charging the battery somewhere in the 2-4 times faster range compared to hooking up to the camper.

As far as the fridge, we just leave ours on auto and check it from time to time to make sure when we are not running the generator that it isn't flashing. Since we run the generator quite a bit it really doesn't matter as much for us on the charging. The converter easily keeps up with our usage. We just have to be sure to bring fuel.

I agree that it is pretty quiet on eco mode. We are camping in an area where there are lots of campers but everyone runs a generator and we all have Yamaha or Honda Inverter generators which are all pretty quiet.
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