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Old 11-21-2019, 08:01 AM   #1
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Battery charging with generator

Hi all

Went winter camping and hunting at -15 Celcius or 5 F with our 19 fully insulated. Since the solar was not the ideal option we brought the Honda 1000 ei to supply power to the battery to be able to pass the night warm and cosy.

The controller supply by ETI with our 19 seem to be charging very slowly like if it was like on the maintaining charge. The generator was running like it had almost no charge on the motor. I now that it can run my wife 1500 w hair blower if I switch the blower on 240V (about 750W).

We have only one regular 12 v type 27 deep cycle battery.

What is the problem?

By the way, the heater did ok at 16 C inside for 4 nights running about 5 time and hour for about 5 minutes.

Thanks for your help
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Old 11-21-2019, 10:57 AM   #2
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I always thought the best way to charge a battery with a generator was to plug in a battery charger to the generator and then hook that up to your battery you want to charge.....
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Old 11-21-2019, 10:59 AM   #3
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Without a specific voltage - or at least the reading from the lights on the monitor panel - it's really difficult to know what is going on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hondasaurus View Post
I now that it can run my wife 1500 w hair blower if I switch the blower on 240V (about 750W).
An appliance designed to use 1500 watts on 240 volts will only use about a quarter of that (375 watts) when run on 120 volts, so this isn't as severe a test as you are expecting.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:01 AM   #4
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I always thought the best way to charge a battery with a generator was to plug in a battery charger to the generator and then hook that up to your battery you want to charge.....
Perhaps with the right charger, but the trailer's converter is a battery charger, with 55 amp maximum output. I have three battery chargers in my garage, and none of them have even half that capacity.
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Old 11-21-2019, 01:04 PM   #5
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I have also found that the built in convertor is really an alternate 12v supply and really only trickle charges the battery. It seems to only put out 13.6volts
A real battery charger will put out more voltage and charge the battery faster from the generator. It needs to put out 14.4volts.
You can charge at a higher voltage but you would have to disconnect the battery from the trailer as voltages over 14.4 can break some of the onboard electronics.
I use a very old motomaster canadian tire thing.
Other people on other forums have identified some black and decker models but I found that they are not available anymore.
Or replacing the convertor with a better one.
At one time there was a solar power place that modified a convertor to charge the batteries from a generator and I think they set theirs at 15.6 volts and recommended only 3 hour max charge time using it.
I think that the maximum voltage is what the battery manufacturer lists as the Equalization voltage but with about a 30 to 40 amp capacity.
I only use the 20 amp setting on mine. I only look for returning about 80% of the charge in as little generator running time as possible.
Don't take what I say as gospel, many will argue about this, do some searching thru the internet for what others are doing.
This is a common topic in every trailer or off-grid forum.
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Old 11-21-2019, 01:18 PM   #6
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I haven’t used it yet, but I have one of these. It has manual voltage selection or automatic charging. I have it wired to be able to hook up in place of my solar charge controller. Probably overkill but it can also replace my factory charge controller if needed.
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Old 11-21-2019, 01:36 PM   #7
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I have also found that the built in convertor is really an alternate 12v supply and really only trickle charges the battery. It seems to only put out 13.6volts
A real battery charger will put out more voltage and charge the battery faster from the generator. It needs to put out 14.4volts.
At one time there was a solar power place that modified a convertor to charge the batteries from a generator and I think they set theirs at 15.6 volts and recommended only 3 hour max charge time using it.

The name of the place was “Backwoods Solar “ and they used the IOTA charger I showed above. I think their standard mod was to set it up to charge 14.8, but they would set it for whatever voltage you requested. I don’t see that modification listed on their website anymore. Mine isn’t modified because the modified unit would not work with the smart charger regulator once modified.
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Old 11-21-2019, 01:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Without a specific voltage - or at least the reading from the lights on the monitor panel - it's really difficult to know what is going on.


An appliance designed to use 1500 watts on 240 volts will only use about a quarter of that (375 watts) when run on 120 volts, so this isn't as severe a test as you are expecting.
No the appliance is rated 1500 w on 120 v. If I want it to work with the gen I have to tu on the 240 v setting to make believe it is 750W.
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Old 11-21-2019, 01:58 PM   #9
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Ok I was thinking that a 3 stage converter would do more than tickle charge a battery if that battery was very low in charge.

My beliving was actually going to charge at a faster rate for some time then topping the battery with title charge when near full like 85%.

The next time the generator I will power a different charger before powering the trailler converter.
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Old 11-21-2019, 04:39 PM   #10
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The WFCO is a crappy charger. As John mentions, you never see the WFCO go into Bulk, 13.6vdc is it. Yes, it takes a long time.

You can consider replacing the charger half of the unit with a better one if you wish, it's an easy swap.
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Old 11-21-2019, 08:27 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by hondasaurus View Post
No the appliance is rated 1500 w on 120 v. If I want it to work with the gen I have to tu on the 240 v setting...
I understand that... but what you have missed is that the power used by the appliance is not simply proportional to the supply voltage. It's just a resistor (plus a fan), and the switch changes the resistor configuration to produce the target 1500 watts on the selected voltage. If that resistor is sized for 1500 watts at 240 volts, then it will take 6.25 amps. Run it in that 240 volt setting on only 120 volts and only 3.1 amps will flow, which is only 375 watts. This isn't important, except that this test load probably isn't having the effect that you are expecting.
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Old 11-22-2019, 02:07 AM   #12
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Check out this previous discussion. Lots of good info there:

Recharging Battery w/Honda 2000i
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Old 11-22-2019, 02:24 AM   #13
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IF I had a generator and I wanted to charge mt RV deep cycle battery, I would bring my smart battery charger. I have done some reading on the stock converter and it's only mediocre at charging the battery. Get a good battery charger with multiple charge rates, conditioning, and auto charge.
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Old 11-22-2019, 07:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug2000 View Post
IF I had a generator and I wanted to charge mt RV deep cycle battery, I would bring my smart battery charger. I have done some reading on the stock converter and it's only mediocre at charging the battery. Get a good battery charger with multiple charge rates, conditioning, and auto charge.
See #2
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:07 AM   #15
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We spent two weeks in the Bighorn Mountains, WY. Our site was way down in the trees so minimal solar. We decided to get a Honda 2200i generator to pump up the batteries. We'll end up in this situation in the future and can run the AC while boondocking.

Fired up the Honda and hooked it up to the trailer. The converter started charging the batteries, but REALLY slowly. Did a little Internet research and found the stock converter from Escape has a really poor charging cycle. This doesn't matter if you're plugged into an electrical bush (hook up), just let it run all night and the batteries are up. But it is a problem if you want to minimize generator use (noise).

I found a converter with much better changing that retrofits the stock one. Installed this and it works considerably better. The upgrade converter for our WAFCO was a PD4655TV, I think from Progressive Dynamics. Models may have changed but I'm sure similar are still available.
Problem solved.
Thanks.
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Old 11-22-2019, 06:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by currinh View Post
We spent two weeks in the Bighorn Mountains, WY. Our site was way down in the trees so minimal solar. We decided to get a Honda 2200i generator to pump up the batteries. We'll end up in this situation in the future and can run the AC while boondocking.

Fired up the Honda and hooked it up to the trailer. The converter started charging the batteries, but REALLY slowly. Did a little Internet research and found the stock converter from Escape has a really poor charging cycle. This doesn't matter if you're plugged into an electrical bush (hook up), just let it run all night and the batteries are up. But it is a problem if you want to minimize generator use (noise).

I found a converter with much better changing that retrofits the stock one. Installed this and it works considerably better. The upgrade converter for our WAFCO was a PD4655TV, I think from Progressive Dynamics. Models may have changed but I'm sure similar are still available.
Problem solved.
Thanks.

Thanks for the input I'll look it up.
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Old 11-22-2019, 07:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by currinh View Post
I found a converter with much better changing that retrofits the stock one. Installed this and it works considerably better. The upgrade converter for our WAFCO was a PD4655TV, I think from Progressive Dynamics. Models may have changed but I'm sure similar are still available. Problem solved.
I did the same and documented it here. The current model is the PD4655LMBA.

Progressive Dynamics 14.8v Charging Rate

PD 4655L MBA WildKat 55 Amp Main Board Assembly for WFCO 8955 or Parallax 7155 (Includes 4600 Remote)
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Old 11-23-2019, 07:56 AM   #18
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Thanks
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