Charging Trailer Battiries

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by LCP1963, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. LCP1963

    LCP1963 New Member

    I have an Airstream trailer with two batteries. I have a Honda generator and would like to know the best way to charge the camper batteries. My three ways are:
    1. Hook 110 volt camper electric line to Honda generator
    2. Using Honda 12 volt side, charge the camper batteries directly.
    3. Using the Honda 12 volt side, hook a battery charger to the Honda generator and use the battery charger to directly charge the camper batteries
    Also:
    1. If I use options 2. or 3. , do I have to disconnect the camper batteries from the camper electrical system while the camper batteries are being directly charged?
    2. How long (Approximately) will each option take to recharge the camper batteries?
    Thanks, LCP
     
  2. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Charging Trailer Battiries

    I charge my RV batteries by plugging my battery charger into my trailer 115V outlet while my generator is running. I don't disconnect my batteries while charging them. Mainly because my onboard generator won't run if the onboard batteries are disconnected. If your batteries are completely discharged, it will take a long time to charge with a battery charger unless you have a quick charge option. My Marine/RV deepcycle charger only charges at 10amps/per hour and both my batteries are in parallel. Takes forever. Charging the batteries direct with the generator is probably quicker.
     
  3. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Charging Trailer Battiries

    Easiest is to plug the trailer into the generator and let the built in charger do its job. Anything to do with the 12 volt output of the generator will take more setup/teardown time, and may not charge as well.

    And then there is option 4 - mount solar panels and let the sun do your charging for you :)
     
  4. s.harrington

    s.harrington Senior Member

    Re: Charging Trailer Battiries

    What kind of converter do you have??? If it is a magnetek and not a 7300 or newer, plugging into the generator and charging from a charger at the same time may do some damage. It may burn out the ballast resister in the converter. If you want a fast charge hook directly to the 12 volt output of the generator. Unless you have a PD9140 with charge wizard or better the Honda will do best.
     
  5. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Charging Trailer Battiries

    Hey s.harrinton, good info to have. I have been charging my 95 HitchHiker with a charger and converter at the same time with no problems, but if I ever get a new 5'er I plan on getting 2 Honda 2000 generators and will charge direct from the generator. My ONON doesn't have a plug to charge direct off of so I try to charge faster with the combo (converter/generator) if I'm not hooked to shore power. My converter charges so slowly it is almost worthless unless plugged into shore power overnight.
     
  6. Troyster

    Troyster New Member

    Re: Charging Trailer Battiries

    I have been giving this some serious thought.

    Does anyone have experience with these?

    How big of a charger do I need, to keep a battery charged? Do they really do the hard work, or are they just supplemental?

    Are they worth the cost? Or are they a novelty?

    Inquiring minds want to know. (so do I).
     
  7. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Re: Charging Trailer Battiries

    There are two types of solar chargers. One type trickle charges your batteries. The other type replaces voltage used. If you want me to check prices, I can do it on Monday, let me know.
     
  8. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Charging Trailer Battiries

    In solar chargers, there are toys and there are the real deal. Toys are small, cheap and generally don't have any control built into them. They can keep a battery with little or no drain charged in most cases, and that's about all that can be said about them. Real solar panels are bigger and much more expensive. GTS can tell you for sure, but I'll estimate that a system which will keep batteries charged and in good shape with a representative current draw for a RV in storage would probably be in the $100 - $200 range, for the panel and controller. Don't forget installation, unless you can do it yourself. I seem to recall there is at least one solar controller available which includes desulfating or perhaps some other form of battery maintenance, which might be useful.

    Beyond just keeping the batteries charged in storage, you can get a 'full' solar system which actually powers some to all of your use of the RV. Bring money; this system will likely run a $1000 or 3 for the max you can put on a RV (limited roof space and limited battery capability - a house system can run over $20K). You won't be able to run the A/C from solar, and probably not the microwave or other big current draw with a RV based system, but you could go quite a while without hookup or generator usage with good energy management and the right weather.
     
  9. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Re: Charging Trailer Battiries

    I looked them up today. The lowest priced panel was about $40.00. Then they jumped to around $100.00, and yes, depending on the power and size, you can spend anything up to a thousand.
     
  10. Troyster

    Troyster New Member

    Re: Charging Trailer Battiries

    OK, now my brain is jumping, (and that is a dangerous thing to see.... )

    I have a vision of a bank of Semi-truck batteries, powering an invertor, Solar panels charging said batteries, and a generator in the back of my truck for emergencies.

    Is this a pipe dream? Can I run my entire trailer off an invertor? Will I need another truck just to carry the batteries I need? Or is this something that anyone else has tried successfully?

    My mind is just racing around iin cirlces here, I see a future of life without the power cord....
    LOL
     
  11. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Charging Trailer Battiries

    There are people who run a whole house off of solar. but a RV is rather smaller. You will be hard pressed to have enough batteries to provide full power, and the roof space is limited and already has vents and antennas and AC units on it. So yes, you can run off of solar and batteries only, with the right weather and appropriate use of power. To do this, you are better with as much native 12v electrics as possible, and only use 120v where you absolutely have to. No A/C, of course; I don't know of any solar system which can run that kind of load. No or limited microwave, they suck power pretty good and besides they seem to hate the 'dirty' waveforms many inverters put out. Lights should be ok within reason, water pump ok. Run the refridgerator on propane. Fans and perhaps a swamp cooler for cooling. The built in propane furnace with electric fan can be run by the better solar/battery setups. Propane for cooking. Small, preferably 12v entertainment devices.

    As you can see, it is possible to live off a solar/battery setup and some people (mostly in fixed houses) do. But it requires constant attention when you use power for anything, and can be expensive to set up. Probably you will better served with a 'partial' setup which augments the other sources of power.
     
  12. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Charging Trailer Battiries

    There are people who run a whole house off of solar. but a RV is rather smaller. You will be hard pressed to have enough batteries to provide full power, and the roof space is limited and already has vents and antennas and AC units on it. So yes, you can run off of solar and batteries only, with the right weather and appropriate use of power. To do this, you are better with as much native 12v electrics as possible, and only use 120v where you absolutely have to. No A/C, of course; I don't know of any solar system which can run that kind of load. No or limited microwave, they suck power pretty good and besides they seem to hate the 'dirty' waveforms many inverters put out. Lights should be ok within reason, water pump ok. Run the refridgerator on propane. Fans and perhaps a swamp cooler for cooling. The built in propane furnace with electric fan can be run by the better solar/battery setups. Propane for cooking. Small, preferably 12v entertainment devices.

    As you can see, it is possible to live off a solar/battery setup and some people (mostly in fixed houses) do. But it requires constant attention when you use power for anything, and can be expensive to set up. Probably you will better served with a 'partial' setup which augments the other sources of power.
     

Share This Page