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Old 01-08-2017, 06:37 PM   #1
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Generator with your pop up.

Hey does anyone use a generator with the pop up? If so how big of a generator, what do you run off of it, and how do you hook it up? I have a 2017 jay sport with an a/c, I have a small generator but I'm curious if it will be enough to run the converter, obviously not the a/c it's a 1200w 1500w peak generator. So let here what you have thanks.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:06 PM   #2
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Lots of people do. If you guys aren't using your 120 volt circuits, just plug it in like shore power. That generator should run your lights, water pump, all the 12 volt stuff fine + charge your battery.

If you are worried about someone turning on the AC by accident, I'd use a genset that small just for battery charging and not 'plug in' to the converter with the popups power cord.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:11 PM   #3
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If I would use it just for the battery should I just purchase a batter charger and connect it to the batter and just charge as needed?
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:38 PM   #4
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That's what we did.

When I upgraded to a larger generator I just plugged into that like it was normal shore power as it could run the AC when needed + charge through the converter, but for the smaller generators like what you are talking about, I would dedicate it to battery charging only, with a decent charger. Let the converter pull off the battery as it will do automatically anyway to power all of your 12 volt stuff, you keep the battery charged with your generator. We used our generator less frequently and it kept the lights and everything 12 volt related on for a weeks at a time. Indefinitely really. Obviously if you want to run the AC or other 120 volt stuff, you'll have to upgrade your approach, but when the 120 volt stuff is 'optional', I want 100% of my generator time going into my batteries. That was just our approach, I'm sure there are other options. When we were in pop up mode, we tried to keep it as simple as possible and honestly, I hated using the generator at all so we only used it to keep our battery topped off. A dedicated charger for that worked well for us.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:44 PM   #5
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I agree with that I hate the thought of using it but there are a few trips a year I'll be boondocking and needing a little heat so the battery charger seem the most simple efficient way. I bet I could even get a decent charger that small and wire it in so I just plug in in and fire up the generator. What size is your new larger generator that runs everything?
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Old 01-08-2017, 08:03 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JSCinci2005 View Post
I agree with that I hate the thought of using it but there are a few trips a year I'll be boondocking and needing a little heat so the battery charger seem the most simple efficient way. I bet I could even get a decent charger that small and wire it in so I just plug in in and fire up the generator. What size is your new larger generator that runs everything?

5500 Watts, but it's loud, heavy, and I rarely use it. I'm buying this one the next time it's on sale.

Champion DUAL-FUEL 2800wt Running / 3100wt Peak Digital Inverter Generator, Electric Start, RV Ready, Parallel Capable, CARB & EPA Certified, Low Decibels

It will run my AC, television, and microwave. if I'm careful (not at the same time), but it runs the entire camper, is dual fuel and costs a bit less than the honda that I wanted first.

We like to boondock a lot and have decided solar is our next investment. I have 200 watts of panels, a good solar charge controller here at the house already waiting for the spring thaw, and new batteries (for greater capacity) on order that are going in, in April. I view the generator as the last leg of our power plan. Ideally, it doesn't get used at all unless the sun doesn't come out for 4 days.

Our power needs could be a little different than yours.. not sure... but we have a requirement for internet, laptop charging, multiple cell phones and tablets and I like to watch a movie once in a while in the evenings. I can work from 'home' whenever I want so our camper has become that home at times and power requirements are the difference between me going fishing 10 minutes after my 8am meeting, or not leaving my brick and stick house at all, so I'm investing in 'boondocking' heavily.

My wife and I were just debating tonight if we should buy another pop-up next, or a 5th wheel... we love our current travel trailer, which is right inbetween those 2, but there are places it can't go that I need to be. If I had the 5th wheel I'd probably sell my home, if I had a new popup, I'd probably camp a lot more than I do now. I think I need 3 campers and a ranch to park them at.
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Old 01-08-2017, 08:08 PM   #7
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That's awesome the majority of my trips are centered around white water kayaking so when boondocking at certain festivals where your not in a campground just kind of the side of the road I really just want my heater the lights and maybe a tv for a bit! So not to big of a demand but that could change and I appreciate all of the advise I may pick your brain some more down the road about the solar power.
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Old 01-08-2017, 08:10 PM   #8
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A dedicated charger to charge our batteries didn't work so well for us.

We were camp hosts for 4 months this summer. We didn't have electric supplied so we used our generator. Over many scenarios, I compared charging our batteries* with our dedicated charger to charging our batteries through our trailer's converter. (* Two, W*mart EverStart Group Size 24 Marine Batteries)

Long story short: Our trailer's charger was capable of supplying more amperage to the batteries without the battery charging voltage going too high.

IMO, a good quality, dedicated battery charger may be better, but an average battery charger, or small battery charger, may not be better.
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Old 01-08-2017, 10:45 PM   #9
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If you do not want to use a microwave or AC your current generator will work fine. The on board charger will charge the battery automatically when the PU is plugged into the generator. Personally if I was connected to the generator I would turn off the circuit breakers for the microwave and AC to ensure they did not overload the generator, if someone accidentally turned them on.
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Old 01-17-2017, 04:38 PM   #10
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pup battery charging

My internal charger has a 15 amp fuse in line, so I can assume the load does not exceed 15 amps. I was thinking of using a 2000w inverter generator. It appears these offer 13-14 amps continuous. If I plug my shore power line in to the generator, will this exceed the capacity of my generator? The 12v loads aside from the charger would be minimal and controllable. With the AC breakers shut off, how much load does the shore power draw?
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Old 01-17-2017, 05:26 PM   #11
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My internal charger has a 15 amp fuse in line, so I can assume the load does not exceed 15 amps. I was thinking of using a 2000w inverter generator. It appears these offer 13-14 amps continuous. If I plug my shore power line in to the generator, will this exceed the capacity of my generator? The 12v loads aside from the charger would be minimal and controllable. With the AC breakers shut off, how much load does the shore power draw?
A generator that can support, or rather pump out 13-14 amps at full load will work fine for your setup. You are really only using your generator to charge the battery right? The main reason I like the idea of using a dedicated battery charger (a GOOD one) is it will charge your batteries fuller, quicker and with less generator time than the built in 'converter / charger' you are working with. It also allows you to equalize your battery(s) when needed.

There's a reason it takes me 2 full days to charge my battery when I just plug into shore power... but it only takes a few hours when I use my dedicated charger.

If you don't plan on using your AC (or other alternating current) loads. That generator is all you'll probably need. As I've mentioned in other threads, for me personally, the generator is the last leg of the power system. I don't want to need one at all honestly and if all you are trying to do is keep a reasonable battery bank full, a reasonable solar array will cover you 90+% of the time. Nothing wrong at all with getting the generator first. That's how I went about it too. I just hate having to rely on one so often.

If you have some free time, I stumbled across this blog post a few weeks ago. It gets a little wordy... but it's a great resource for really understanding all of these power related dilemmas. He explains it all a lot better than I probably could. It covers topics that are more geared towards solar setups, but goes into good detail on batteries, generators, why the converter takes so long to charge your battery, etc.

https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...ging-puzzle-2/

When you asked how much load does the shore power draw when you are plugged in, I think what you are really asking is how many WATTS of power is your camper consuming when you are plugged in, and that depends on several factors... i.e. how low is your battery when you plug in? If it's a 3 stage charger which most of them are now, your charger / converter will draw more amps during bulk charging than if your battery is already fairly full. Obviously if you have any AC or DC loads running (TV, whatever) you have to factor in those loads too as your converter is supplying the amps to run all of that stuff, in addition to battery charging. If you can find the documentation for your converter, it should tell you what its max ratings are, but you won't go anywhere near that if you are just charging, and running a few lights. The shore power doesn't create a load... it's the devices you are running in your camper that do that, but I think I understood the question. Not sure if that helped... bottom line is if you are only concerned about battery charging, that generator will work fine. I just wanted to point out a few alternatives that will make you rely on it a lot less.
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Old 01-17-2017, 10:24 PM   #12
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battery charging

Thanks for the advice and the link. In my area of the country, solar is just not a good option, thus the generator question. I looked at solar, but it just wasn't reliable enough for my area. Based on the info in that link, I am looking onto the generator/charger combination. While I am sure the Magnum chargers are top of the line, they are too much of an investment for me. I am looking at the Xantrex 20 amp or 40 amp charger. They appear to be able to select between two stage and three stage charging. If I read the link correctly, the challenge is to get your charger to actually charge to max desired. It looks like they tend to slow the charging rate the closer they get to full charge. I am still not sure how to get to a full charge.
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Old 01-18-2017, 07:45 AM   #13
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We camp all the time off-grid with the idea we will run down our 255AH battery setup to its 50% charge state over night and then connect the shore power cable to our 2KW Honda generator at 8Am each morning when we are allowed to run it.

This takes us around three hours of generator run time to get from the 50% charge state to the 90% charge state using our on-board PD9260C Smart Mode Converter/charger. The PD9260C wants to see around 1000Watts from the 2KW generator which revs it up pretty good in run mode.

This is during breakfast so this is the time we make our grind and brew coffee for the day and a few other things the wife may want to fix up using the electric skillet...

We can do a good 12-14 days of this charging procedure before we have to do a full 100% charge routine on the battery bank which takes around 12 hours or so. Doing the full charge keeps us from doing damage to the batteries. Usually do this at home as most place would not allow me to run my generator this long of time... My generator has about 7 hours run time on one tank of gas...

Been doing this routine pretty regular since 2009 and it works out great for us...

My 2008 batteries are just now dropping back in performance and plans are to build up a new battery bank this year...

I think adding a coupe of solar panels would help us out real good as well. Would still use the generator for the first hour to get past the heavy current demand and when things taper back to 6-8 AMps per battery than a full day of solar panels when in high sun would get them back to their 90% charge state without using the generator... Building up a solar panel bank to produce around 15-20AMPS DC current when in high sun or more would be what I would want to have...

Doing it this way allows us to draw around 20AMPS or so from our battery bank during the 6PM-11PM evening time as well as the usual 24 hour parasitic drains. Get to do just about everything we would want to do except the Air Conditioner and high wattage microwave... Everything else is about the same as we would do at an electric site for the five hour evening run... I carry one of those low wattage white face manual microwave units from LOWES/WALMART that works great for just warming up things...

Been our camping off-grid game plan for a few years now... It does take some planning to get to the point of not worrying about anything... Its all pretty much routine stuff for us now...

Roy Ken
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Old 01-18-2017, 08:36 AM   #14
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battery charger

Thanks for the posting Roy. I am spending the winter cleaning, fixing, and improving my new-to-me trailer. Several people have advised to invest in a good charger to keep the battery up when dry camping. My on board inverter is rated at 35 amps, so the on board ability to recharge is limited. I ran a test to see how long I could run the heater at the lowest setting before the (old) battery started to slip in voltage. Answer: 15 minutes got me to 11 v. I discovered the battery won't hold a charge, so I replaced with a 200 ah battery (in retrospect I am unsure of the wisdom of that, but now it is water under the bridge). A good charger will be a few hundred dollars. Replacing my on board inverter with the same model you have would cost less, and according to the specs, would provide much better charging capabilities and still operate off of 30 amp shore power. Based on your experience, I am weighing the purchase of a good charger versus upgrading the on board charger/inverter. Hopefully some of the smart people on this forum will help me answer this question. Thanks to you all.
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