My question is the following.. How can I minimize the use of generator to charge the battery? My options seem to be the following
a) use the built in converter.. which may mean having to run the generator for over 10 hours to charge the battery.. waste of fuel
b) use some three stage converter, which still means I'll be using 110V off the generator, and it may still take an hour or two
c) using 12V directly off the generator just for the battery charge?
d) using solar to charge the battery while I am away
Also, it does not appeal to me tinkering the cables in order to charge the battery, unless I can make them easily accessible..
Frankly, the solar option appeals to me the most, as long as the panel is small enough to not attract thieves. I don't even need to screw it on the trailer, just leave it on the roof, given it's stationary. I'd only need the generator when the heat is unbearable to turn on the AC. What sort of panel would someone recommend? If I drain the battery, even if using a panel, what's my best way to quickly charge the battery with a Yamaha 2400W generator?
I've also seen a recommendation to disconnect the battery, in one of my earlier posts.
Only thing working when I am away is an LCD on the radio. Is it worth the effort?
Lastly, is there a good battery meter I should invest in? Is 20%+ battery charge really recommended to be maintained all the time?
Panels I've looked at on Amazon are manufactured by HQRP, but it sounds I may need something self-contained with a charge controller, so I wouldn't need to install additional parts. Panels in 20-50W range can be had for 75-150$.
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Agree with Don. I found out, too, that it took forever to run the generator to charge the battery. Three stage will help but it will still take hours. Just not enough oomph. Solar would be your best bet--but will still only work if you are away long enough to let it do it's job. A small solar system won't keep up with daily use.
The CAN be a very efficient way to charge the battery. How well it works depends on how good the converter's charger is. For what it's worth, deep cycle batteries really don't LIKE to be charged at too high a rate. Recommended no more than 25% of the total amp hours for Trojans. To maximize your batteries life and satisfaction with use, I'd concentrate on a slower rate on a multi-stage charger.
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Looks like can add another Panel later on with a 10A Controller, although don't think I'll need it, unless I start converting 12V to 110V, currently using only lights and pump and radio. No TV, no other appliances.
I found out, too, that it took forever to run the generator to charge the battery. Three stage will help but it will still take hours. Just not enough oomph.
Generators - different generators work differently with different chargers. The inverter generators and older Onans seem to work best with modern switching 3 stage chargers.
Chargers - Get a 3 stage - Progressive Dynamics 9200 Series or Iota if you want a converter. The Black and Decker Vectra is good for a stand alone. You can combine chargers to speed up charging and increase the amp output, but the battery bank capacity limits that somewhat.
Batteries - they fill faster when they are not completely full. They slow down as they charge. If you add another battery to increase your battery bank capacity - while camping, you can run them from 50% to 85% full and the fill time will be much faster than trying to fill a smaller battery bank to 100%. It's also less hard on the batteries to fill a large bank rapidly than a smaller bank. When you get home, you can bring the battery up to 100%.
I just added more battery capacity to speed up the time it takes to replace the amp hours I used with my gen. I also have the option to use multiple chargers for a faster fill rate.