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Old 09-28-2015, 12:16 PM   #1
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More usage = more questions

Took our 19 out to Aspen to see the leaves change colors. The trip went well; but a few more "learn as you go" questions.

This was a worst case scenario for our 12v power usage. We camped at 10'000' where my wife's Oxygen needs increase, the days are shorter (less solar), the nights colder (furnace), and we camped in the trees (kinda necessary if you're looking at leaves). We pretty much ran the dual 12v batteries from 100% to 60ish every night. Solar would recharge them to 80%. I brought a borrowed Honda EU2000i generator and used it nightly to top things off.

The EU2000i seems overkill, it never really ran faster than idle. Has anyone used a EU1000i? Smaller and quieter seem desirable to me, I will never use it for anything other than a glorified battery charger. Also, using the EU2000i through the WFCO seemed to take an eternity to charge the last 20% (eternity being 2 hrs). Is there a better/faster way to do this? The batteries must be 100% every night (wife is fond of breathing).


When we bought the trailer, I intended for the U-shaped dinette to stay a dinette permanently. The Mrs and my dogs disagree. She's dropping the dinette nightly and using it as a doggy bed. Seems there are 2 pneumatic pedestals that folks are using. Is one preferable to the other? I'm primarily interested in ease of use for my wife.
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:18 PM   #2
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I believe you can purchase a battery charger and plug it into the generator and then directly to the batteries, this will be quicker.
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:20 PM   #3
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I replaced the converter/charge section of the WFCO following this post:
Xantrex Charger Installation and Wiring Upgrades

Or you could use an external battery charger.

A 1000 watt generator can charge the batteries just as fast.
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:33 PM   #4
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I have Honda EU1000i and I just connect to the battery terminals with alligator clips ( came with genset ). I don't use a battery charger. I've also plugged the trailer power cord in to the genset but that is slower to charge.
I don't have definitive performance stats, but it works for me.
However, an EU2000i doesn't weight much more or take up more space and would be more useful in a power-outage at home. Costs more too, however.
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Old 09-28-2015, 01:40 PM   #5
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Sturski...a question,

We haven't been able to dry camp since my wife got put on an oxygen machine. Was told don't sleep without it. We now overnight only at campgrounds with electric hookups because we're fearful running the oxygen machine all night would run down our trailer batteries.

So... I have been giving serious thought to buying my first generator, probably the EU2000i because of reputation. Your primary need for a genny is to re-charge your batteries after a full night of using the oxygen machine? Did I understand your post correctly? This suggests to me my two 6-v batteries will easily survive the draw from an oxygen machine so long as I do a genny-re-charge next morning. Is that your experience? I have no clue what amps our oxygen machine draws.
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Old 09-28-2015, 02:04 PM   #6
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...
I have no clue what amps our oxygen machine draws.
Myron,

Just before you turn it on for the night plug it into your Kill-A-Watt. In the morning hit the KWH/Hour key to get the power used for the night. With that number it is easy to calculate the total overnight power usage. (As I recall you took some measurements earlier which led us to believe Nancy's machine would not make it overnight on batteries.)
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Old 09-28-2015, 02:18 PM   #7
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"...I recall you took some measurements earlier which led us to believe Nancy's machine would not make it overnight on batteries."

Yes that's been my assumption so Sturski's post got my immediate attention. Will-do Kill-a-Watt, paying closer attention.
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Old 09-28-2015, 02:35 PM   #8
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The different manufacturers & models of oxygen concentrators draw different amounts of amps. Even the liters per minute setting can make a difference as does pulse vs continuous setting. Some are available with a 12v power supply, some state they cannot be run on an inverter, others require a pure sine wave inverter. There are so many differences that it is difficult to determine if dry camping is practical.

While they may be expensive, there are portable machines, particularly pulse under 2 liters per minute that can run for 8 hours on their own batteries. If you do a Google search for portable oxygen concentrators, you can see what is available.

If you do use a Kill-O-Watt to check the concentrator you have, be sure to run it full length of time you would use it while camping rather than taking a short sample & multiplying the hours. Most of the machines cycle, and the true amp hours can only be determines real time.
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Old 09-28-2015, 02:56 PM   #9
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Will do, Jon, thanks. I just re-read Sturski and notice he does not actually say his wife uses an oxygen concentrator.
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Old 09-28-2015, 03:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
Sturski...a question,

We haven't been able to dry camp since my wife got put on an oxygen machine. Was told don't sleep without it. We now overnight only at campgrounds with electric hookups because we're fearful running the oxygen machine all night would run down our trailer batteries.
My wife uses a Sequal Equinox for sleeping while camping. She runs it at 2 lpm continuous flow at high altitude, 1.5 if lower. It uses 40-45% of my battery capacity overnight on 2lpm, and 30-35% on 1.5. She uses a different machine for hiking, so it gets turned off in the morning.


I've considered running 4x6v batteries; but it doesn't seem necessary. We carry 2 fully charged 24cell batteries as backup, I could run it from the truck, if necessary.

Edited to add:

I had Reace wire a single 12v outlet nearest the battery with 8 gauge wire. The startup surge on the concentrator is pretty significant. Once it is running, it's not too bad.
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Old 09-28-2015, 04:21 PM   #11
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styrski

I see that you have a Toyota Tacoma. On my Tacoma there is a plug in source, in the truck bed, by the passenger side of the tail gate. I plug an extension cord into that outlet and charge my trailer's two 12V batteries by plugging the other end into the trailers power cord.
I found it to be quieter than any gererater on the camp site.
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Old 09-28-2015, 04:27 PM   #12
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It looks like both the honda 1000 and the 2000 can put 8 amps out of the DC charging plug.
That would be the fastest way to charge/top up your batteries.

And I would try a simple set of booster cables off of your tow vehicle. Reason being that the tow vehicle can usually output even more amperage when it is running. Some tow packages have 45 amp alternators.

My handy dandy solar calculator tells me that a 150 watt panel installed flat can only generate 44amp hours per day at this time of the year in Aspen
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Old 09-28-2015, 06:48 PM   #13
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It looks like both the honda 1000 and the 2000 can put 8 amps out of the DC charging plug.
That would be the fastest way to charge/top up your batteries.

And I would try a simple set of booster cables off of your tow vehicle. Reason being that the tow vehicle can usually output even more amperage when it is running. Some tow packages have 45 amp alternators.

My handy dandy solar calculator tells me that a 150 watt panel installed flat can only generate 44amp hours per day at this time of the year in Aspen
In general, you will get more charging current with most 120V battery chargers connected to even a 1000 watt generator than the 8 amps, 12V connection on the Honda inverter generator. Even many converters will do better, although the WFCO used by Escape is an exception.

As to alternators, my RAV4 with tow package has a 150 amp one...
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Old 09-29-2015, 10:00 AM   #14
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On my Tacoma there is a plug in source, in the truck bed, by the passenger side of the tail gate.
That's an option that I do not have on my truck. If I did, it would be 400w

Quote:
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It looks like both the honda 1000 and the 2000 can put 8 amps out of the DC charging plug.
That would be the fastest way to charge/top up your batteries.

And I would try a simple set of booster cables off of your tow vehicle. Reason being that the tow vehicle can usually output even more amperage when it is running. Some tow packages have 45 amp alternators.

My handy dandy solar calculator tells me that a 150 watt panel installed flat can only generate 44amp hours per day at this time of the year in Aspen
Ya, I knew solar wouldn't cut it for this trip and brought along a generator. My Tacoma has the towing package and a 170something watt alternator, though it only puts out 12.6v through the 7 pin plug. I'm going to to buy a 1000w generator and try the 12v connection. I can always buy a 120v battery charger to go with it, if necessary.

I'm really not unhappy with anything. I've got my wife camping and hiking (some) on Oxygen. By using 2 machines, both capable of 12v, we are doing so fairly safely. I'm just trying to fine tune some things while I have an income.
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Old 09-29-2015, 12:44 PM   #15
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That's an option that I do not have on my truck. If I did, it would be 400w

Ya, I knew solar wouldn't cut it for this trip and brought along a generator. My Tacoma has the towing package and a 170something watt alternator, though it only puts out 12.6v through the 7 pin plug. .
Someone would have to enlighten me on how a 400W inverter could drive a battery charger to more than 3.5amps. Doesn't matter I don't have the inverter anyways.

12.6v is still over 80% charge. Solar can then add to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sturski View Post

I'm just trying to fine tune some things while I have an income.
Amen, I'm with you on that one brother...
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Old 09-29-2015, 01:56 PM   #16
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Someone would have to enlighten me on how a 400W inverter could drive a battery charger to more than 3.5amps. Doesn't matter I don't have the inverter anyways.

12.6v is still over 80% charge. Solar can then add to it.



Amen, I'm with you on that one brother...
400 watts at 120V = 3.3 amps, but you are charging at around 14v or so. Watts is a measurement of power; the same at either voltage, so If the charger was 100% efficient, it would be capable of providing 28.5 amps. It isn't, but it will produce more than 3.3...

This is why a 1000 watt generator is plenty if all you want to do is recharge your batteries. While finding a charger capable of using the full 1000 watts is pricey, and your battery(ies), depending on size & type might not support a 75 amp charge rate, that is what a 1000 watts is capable of supplying at 14 volts.
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Old 09-30-2015, 08:37 AM   #17
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Plugged oxygen concentrator into Kill a watt plugged into wall AC last night. Display results this morning, 10 hours later:
  • 3 KWH
  • 124.5 volts
  • fluctuating 2.60 to 2.89 amps output
  • power factor fluctuating from .79 to .86
Is this right? 1000 x 3 = 3,000/124.5 = 24.09 amps
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Old 09-30-2015, 09:05 AM   #18
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Plugged oxygen concentrator into Kill a watt plugged into wall AC last night. Display results this morning, 10 hours later:
  • 3 KWH
  • 124.5 volts
  • fluctuating 260 to 2.89 amps output
  • power factor fluctuating from .79 to .86
Is this right? 1000 x 3 = 3,000/124.5 = 24.09 amps

it is just the kwh divided by the hours to get the watts
3000 / 10 = 300
and the volts times amps comes up with the same answer
average amps 2.7 * 124 volts is 334 watts
so it must spend more time around 2.6 amps then 2.89.
mathmatically 300 watts / 124 volts = 2.4 amps

These are all with a 124 ac supply and that would probably be a 12v 400watt inverter running all night. So what would the inverter be sucking out of the 12v batteries?

I wonder what the 12volt units are using?
in real life...

The formula that I've seen thrown around is that inverters are 85% efficient and so
300 watts / .85 = 353
and
353 watts / 12volts = 29.4 amps
That would be per hour so the full ten hours would drain 294 amps from the batteries.
More than the capacity of the dual 6v system of 220 amps.
( the other formula that i've seen is
300watts / 12v * 1.1 = 27.5amp
its adding only %10 for inverter losses. )

But I really don't know if a modern day inverter uses what the 'common' formula says.

I'd like to have a trimetric meter installed so that I could measure the same as the Kill-a-Watt but on 12v dc systems.
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Old 09-30-2015, 09:39 AM   #19
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Actually the capacity of the dual 6er's is closer to 1/2 of that total or 110 amps before any damage can occur to the system.
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Old 09-30-2015, 10:12 AM   #20
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While it doesn't improve the picture, a simpler way to do the calculation is to use the Kill-O-Watt's 3KWH for the 10 hour period & use 12V rather than 120 to get a rough idea of battery needs. 3000 / 12 = 250 amp hours. This does not include efficiencies, etc but does point out that with that specific oxygen concentrator even a pair of 6 volt batteries is not going to cut it...
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