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Open Roads Forum  >  General RVing Issues

 > Alternators - what are your thoughts?

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cptqueeg

Idaho

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Posted: 08/25/21 06:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Using power generated by an alternator seems to be pretty common while in transit. How do you equip your truck - a single high output, dual alternators, or stock?

Basic needs are pre-heating, or pre-cooling the living space and the fridge while driving. Having a 2nd alternator presumably would allow one to do it all at a fairly low initial price and some sacrifice of mileage.

Tiger4x4RV

Inland Empire, Southern California

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Posted: 08/25/21 07:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My 2006 Tiger CX on a nearly stock Chevy 2500HD 4x4 chassis uses its one heavy-duty alternator (from the snow plow package) to run the engine and other chassis stuff and to charge the coach batteries and to charge whatever else I plug in while the engine is running. It has done a fantastic job at this since the day I bought it new. A couple of years ago, at about 90K miles, I replaced this alternator and the serpentine belt as preventive maintenance. There was nothing wrong with either, but 90K miles... I kept the old belt and alternator as spare parts just in case of disaster somewhere in the backwoods country I love to explore.

My Tiger has neither generator nor solar. Don't compare it to whatever Tiger you see next, because almost no two Tigers are alike.


2006 Tiger CX 4x4, 8.1 L gas V-8, Allison 6-speed


pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 08/25/21 09:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

cptqueeg stock alternators only have a 1/3 duty cycle.

But let's examine a high output--say 150 amps? Well 150 x 14 volts only equals 2100 watts. But there's more! Once the starter battery is recharged the ECM will lower the voltage which lowers the output.

Dual you might have a chance--but that isn't going to be cheap.

My stock alternator is 130 amps. I'll be using a dc to DC charger with it soon--to get adequate charging for my house bank. But I'm only doing a 20 amp unit--because I don't wish to burn out the alternator.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, soon to have SiO2 batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 08/25/21 09:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You can have 1000 amp alternator and be lucky to get 20 amps through the oem wire fused at 40 amps.
My oem alternator does just fine. Some solar on the roof helps too.


2001 F150 SuperCrew
2006 Keystone Springdale 249FWBHLS
675w Solar pictures back up

cptqueeg

Idaho

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Posted: 08/25/21 09:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Need a new truck anyway $380 for a dual alternator - 220A and 170A.

valhalla360

No paticular place.

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Posted: 08/26/21 05:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

cptqueeg wrote:

Using power generated by an alternator seems to be pretty common while in transit. How do you equip your truck - a single high output, dual alternators, or stock?

Basic needs are pre-heating, or pre-cooling the living space and the fridge while driving. Having a 2nd alternator presumably would allow one to do it all at a fairly low initial price and some sacrifice of mileage.


I don't think it's pretty common.

Almost never hear of people running heat or air/con off the trucks 12v system. While operating, the air/con is going to be pulling somewhere around 120amps @ 12v. The wiring and inverter to generate and then get that power back to the trailer and converted to 120v AC is possible but highly impractical.

The furnace is propane powered with just a small amount of 12v power to run the controls and the fan but the fan doesn't consume a lot. Problem is at 60mph, you will have a horrible wind chill effect meaning you will likely burn a ton of propane.

You can run the fridge but usually not a big issue. Most travel in propane mode. If you even have a 12v option (most RV fridges don't), a decent battery with trickle charging from the hitch plug will generally handle the needs for a few hours of driving.

If you have a true 12v fridge, it's only pulling 2-3 amps, so no need to upgrade anything.


Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV


cptqueeg

Idaho

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Posted: 08/26/21 06:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

valhalla360 wrote:

cptqueeg wrote:

Using power generated by an alternator seems to be pretty common while in transit. How do you equip your truck - a single high output, dual alternators, or stock?

Basic needs are pre-heating, or pre-cooling the living space and the fridge while driving. Having a 2nd alternator presumably would allow one to do it all at a fairly low initial price and some sacrifice of mileage.


I don't think it's pretty common.

Almost never hear of people running heat or air/con off the trucks 12v system. While operating, the air/con is going to be pulling somewhere around 120amps @ 12v. The wiring and inverter to generate and then get that power back to the trailer and converted to 120v AC is possible but highly impractical.

The furnace is propane powered with just a small amount of 12v power to run the controls and the fan but the fan doesn't consume a lot. Problem is at 60mph, you will have a horrible wind chill effect meaning you will likely burn a ton of propane.

You can run the fridge but usually not a big issue. Most travel in propane mode. If you even have a 12v option (most RV fridges don't), a decent battery with trickle charging from the hitch plug will generally handle the needs for a few hours of driving.

If you have a true 12v fridge, it's only pulling 2-3 amps, so no need to upgrade anything.



Thank you, I'm obviously over complicating this in an effort to be prepared for situations that probably would never occur, irl.

theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 08/26/21 11:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

cptqueeg wrote:

Using power generated by an alternator seems to be pretty common while in transit. How do you equip your truck - a single high output, dual alternators, or stock?

Basic needs are pre-heating, or pre-cooling the living space and the fridge while driving. Having a 2nd alternator presumably would allow one to do it all at a fairly low initial price and some sacrifice of mileage.

The first question is, how big is your house battery bank ? One 12V marine/RV battery, two 6V golf cart batteries or four 1V LiFePO4 batteries ?

Second, if you are boondocking, is the vehicle charging system a major power source to replenish the battery bank while driving to your next site or do you just want to prevent the bank from discharging more ?

If you just want to prevent discharging while driving and running an inverter, the standard alternator and charge wiring in the 7 pin trailer harness is adequate.

If you are really want to recharge a battery bank, buy a DC-DC charger and install it near the battery bank. It may only output 20A-40A but over 6-10 hours of driving that is a lot.

IMHO, dual alternators are a waste of money because you do not have the proper voltage regulator/charge controller and wiring to send that power to your battery bank.

valhalla360

No paticular place.

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Posted: 08/26/21 11:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

theoldwizard1 wrote:

If you are really want to recharge a battery bank, buy a DC-DC charger and install it near the battery bank. It may only output 20A-40A but over 6-10 hours of driving that is a lot.

IMHO, dual alternators are a waste of money because you do not have the proper voltage regulator/charge controller and wiring to send that power to your battery bank.


Agreed, simpler, cheaper and more flexible to just pick up a quiet 2000w inverter-generator and plug the RV in for an hour or two and let the built in charger take care of business.

If you wind up staying someplace for a week or more, it's easy enough to run the generator for an hour or two during the day to keep the batteries going. (if you want to run the air/con, move up to at least a 3000w unit so you don't have to worry about it starting the compressor....but then you aren't focusing so much on energy )conservation).

cptqueeg

Idaho

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Posted: 08/26/21 12:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The plans for the new build include a DC-DC charger, 2000w inverter, and 2 100Ah LiPo, w 400 w solar. I understand heavy gauge wiring is necessary to get the full benefit out of the alternator generated power.

I have a generator to cover myself when we run into cloudy conditions, shaded campsites and heavy draw. And not even thinking about using the AC w out the generator running. Also plan exclusively on non-electrified campsites.

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