Portable generator

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by kokoloco, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. kokoloco

    kokoloco New Member

    I have been thinking of getting a gen for the sole purpose of recharging the RV batteries while dry camping. I have heard that can be done with a 1000 watt gen set. I was thinking of the Honda 1000. Would this recharge the batteries through the onboard inverter if I charged it for about 2 hours every other day or should I get a seperate battery charger (home garage version) and plug it into the generator then clamp it onto one of the batteries? Kinda of a long, conveluted question but........

    Sam
     
  2. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Portable generator

    Welcome to the forum, Sam!

    If you charge through your onboard converter, that means you are powering your whole RV with a 1000 watt generator. Anything that comes on will load down the generator.

    My MH has a battery disconnect switch that separates the batteries from the RV. I have clipped a high capacity boost charger on them in that circumstance with good effect.
     
  3. kokoloco

    kokoloco New Member

    Re: Portable generator

    Thanks for the reply TC. So if I isolate my batteries from the coach(with some sort of quick disconect) and then charge them with a battery charger plugged into the generator I would be OK with 1000 watt unit? What size charger do you use (amps) and what size gen do you drive it with? Do you do both batteries at the same time? Sorry for all the questions but I'd like to get it right the first time. :) Thanks again.

    Sam
     
  4. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Portable generator

    My situation is a little different. I'm isolating my batteries and keeping them charged when I'm NOT using them. I have a special 'burp' charger for that, and I only have 2 x 12v batteries.

    Any good automotive automatic charger will do the job for you (and you won't find one at WalMart.) You'll have to do some research.
     
  5. kokoloco

    kokoloco New Member

    Re: Portable generator

    TC   I have a automotive charger at home and I believe it to be a 4 amp rate.  It operates at .8 amp and 120 volts so the power to run it I believe to be about 100 watts.  Forgive me for saying what you probably already know but it helps me to verify as I go. With that charge rate do you think I will be able to freshen the charge of the batteries every other day with say 2 hours charge each while dry camping?  Another in a long line of questions is;  inverter generator or not.  I can see the advantage of the inverter type if you run computers and TV's  but the cost is about double for the gen set.  Any thoughts on this subject or suggestions on brand names come to mind?  I really appreciate the time you've taken to answer my questions.

    Sam
     
  6. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Portable generator

    "freshen the charge" is not the question. What you want to do is completely recharge, and that's a hard bulls eye to hit! It depends on how low you've drained those batteries, and you shouldn't drain them more than 50% of their capacity.

    A test in your driveway is in order with a volt meter. Drain them down to 10.5 volts, put that charger on them and wait for the voltage to come up and the charge current to come down. Time the discharge and the charge. It's the only real way to know before you buy a generator to do it.

    Also, for the longevity of your batteries, you don't want to recharge them at really high rates either. A 10/12 amp charger would probably be the top end for me.

    I've settled on the Honda inverter generator models. They have the most experience with the electronics. I'm not sure that you have a choice with that 1000 watt model.

    Maybe one of the 'experienced' boondockers will jump in with their battery recharging experience, too.
     
  7. kokoloco

    kokoloco New Member

    Re: Portable generator

    Perhaps "refreshen" was not the right term.  When we dry camp our batteries (2 of em) last about 3 days then it starts showing up with dimmer lights and such.  What I want is a generator/charger setup that I can recharge the batteries while boondocking so that we can stay out for additional time without giving up say the furnace or any other appliance in the coach that is effected by low batteries.  The 10/12 amp charger sounds like a great idea.  Why wait for a slower one to charge, as long as I can drive it with a 1000 watt generator.  I'd have to look at the wattage of the charger to determine that.  You say you've settled on the inverter model, is that because you like the Honda name and reputation or for some other reason?  The non inverter models sure look appealing at half the cost.  Thanks again TC for answering my rambling questions.

    Sam
     
  8. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Portable generator

    Use a 10 amp Marine/deep cycle battery charger and charge direct.
     
  9. kokoloco

    kokoloco New Member

    Re: Portable generator

    Thanks for the imput DL. Sounds like the solution is to direct charge with large amp chargers. What size generator (inverter or not) do you use in your rig? I'm asking everyone I meet the same question to get some idea what one would be best for my application. Thanks again DL.

    Sam
     
  10. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Portable generator

    I have an on-board Onon 4K generator and I charge my 12 V batteries through the converter while the generator is running and also hook up my Marine battery charger direct to the batteries using my outside 115 V AC receptacle (both at the same time). However, having said that, I've heard that it may not work or could be detrimental to your electrical system to run both converter/charger on your batteries at the same time. My advice is just charge direct to the batteries with the generator and don't try to run both the battery charger and run your RV/converter at the same time.

    By the way, If I needed a new generator(s) I would go with 2 Honda portable 2000i generators. When I ordered the on-board Onon generator the only other option was a Colmen portable generator (1995). No good.
     
  11. kokoloco

    kokoloco New Member

    Re: Portable generator

    Well I think I'm going to run a 10 amp battery charger with a 1000 watt generator. It sounds like the perfect solution to charging back up in the boondocks. A couple hours on the batteries isolated from the coach by way of some sort of switch looks like it would be the simplest and probably cheapest way to go. Thanks to all who chimed in and lent your good advice.

    Sam
     

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