Clarification on battery charging

340driver340driver Registered Users Posts: 11
I have been trying (rookie) to design a solar system that I will be installing on a box van conversion, and I may be missing a piece of the puzzle. I am a little confused about how the batteries will be charged and through which components. I am clear about the solar panels providing power to the controller and then to the batteries. My questions are related to the other sources of power.

1) alternator? Is it routed through the same controller prior to the batteries?
2) shore power? When plugged in, do I require a seperate battery charger?
3) generator? Is it handled the same way as the shore power?

I realize that are simplistic, but I have never owned an RV before and I have not picked up the one I am buying and have not had the opportunity to trace wires to see how it all integrates together.

Also, it currently has a very small inverter and I will be replacing that. If I do require a battery charger, any insite and opinions on inverter/charger combos would be appreciated.

Thanks very much for your help
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Comments

  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging
    340driver wrote: »
    I have been trying (rookie) to design a solar system that I will be installing on a box van conversion, and I may be missing a piece of the puzzle. I am a little confused about how the batteries will be charged and through which components. I am clear about the solar panels providing power to the controller and then to the batteries. My questions are related to the other sources of power.

    1) alternator? Is it routed through the same controller prior to the batteries?
    2) shore power? When plugged in, do I require a seperate battery charger?
    3) generator? Is it handled the same way as the shore power?

    I realize that are simplistic, but I have never owned an RV before and I have not picked up the one I am buying and have not had the opportunity to trace wires to see how it all integrates together.

    Also, it currently has a very small inverter and I will be replacing that. If I do require a battery charger, any insite and opinions on inverter/charger combos would be appreciated.

    Thanks very much for your help

    Here are some quick starter answers until you know more about what you are actually getting:

    A. Start by getting a good idea of what your actual electrical loads will be while you are operating. Without that you will end up with a mismatched (too large or too small) system and wasted money. Use a Kill-a-Watt meter for AC appliances and also find out whether there are already 12 volt loads (lights, pumps, etc.) in the unit. If you can change the system over to 24 volts instead of 12 there will be a lot of advantages. But it may not be possible to do that while using any of what is already installed.

    B. The one component you are almost certain to need to upgrade will be the battery or batteries. But until you know what space you have to put them in and know what your load requirement is, you will not be able to go anywhere along this line.

    C. Your existing system may be what is called a power convertor, which contains both and inverter to produce AC and a Charger to produce DC to the batteries when shore power is available.

    Now to your questions:

    1. Your alternator can contribute to charging the batteries. Since there will be no voltage to spare from it, you will connect it almost directly to the batteries. But you will need a switch or diode assembly to keep the house system from pulling down your starting battery unless you mount a second alternator. Also the alternator will not be able to do a full charge of your house batteries, just getting them up to 80% or so unless you drive for hours. You can get an idea of some different ways to combine the two batteries and the alternator at Smartgauge. Their products may not be right for you, but the technical information at this site is excellent, including a lot of info on incoporating shore power into your battery system.

    2. Unless you rely on an existing "power converter" combination unit (which does not do a good job of battery charging), you will have to have a transfer switch and a good AC input charger as part of the system. Some (more expensive) off-grid inverters include the transfer switch and the battery charge function in a much better design than a typical RV power convertor. There are serious concerns about grounding and ground to neutral bonding if you get a modified square wave (MSW) inverter and also need to use shore power. That is covered very well in other threads on the forum.

    3. Yes. Just make sure that there is no way to accidentally connect the shore power and generator or the generator and the inverter output at the same time. Also you may have similar grounding and bonding issues to those for you shore power connection, as mentioned above.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,706 admin
    Re: Clarification on battery charging
    340driver wrote: »
    I have been trying (rookie) to design a solar system that I will be installing on a box van conversion, and I may be missing a piece of the puzzle. I am a little confused about how the batteries will be charged and through which components. I am clear about the solar panels providing power to the controller and then to the batteries. My questions are related to the other sources of power.

    More or less, each charging source connects directly to your house battery bank. You can parallel charging sources (within limits) without too much issue (proper fusing/breakers, battery isolators, charge controllers, etc.).
    1) alternator? Is it routed through the same controller prior to the batteries?

    No--Normally, you would use a "battery isolator" (relay, diode in a box, DC to DC battery charger) that only allows energy flow from the vehicle to the house battery when the motor is running.

    DC relay is quick and dirty. Diode blocking reduces voltage to the battery bank (and can discharge the vehicle battery if the house battery is taken dead). And the DC to DC battery charger works well, but can be more expensive.
    2) shore power? When plugged in, do I require a separate battery charger?

    In the simple case... Yes. AC power to Battery Charger. DC out to battery bank for recharging. You have to be careful that your AC battery charger is not powered by the AC inverter from the battery bank (i.e., battery bank powers inverter which power AC battery charger which charges DC battery bank--Just a waste of energy).

    A Transfer switch can be used to isolate the AC battery charger (when in shore power, AC battery charger gets power. when in off grid power, AC charger does not get AC power).
    3) generator? Is it handled the same way as the shore power?

    You would use a second transfer switch to do the same thing with an on-board AC generator.
    I realize that are simplistic, but I have never owned an RV before and I have not picked up the one I am buying and have not had the opportunity to trace wires to see how it all integrates together.

    It can get more complex--There are AC inverters which have an internal transfer switch. You just connect AC shore power on the input, and the AC Inverter will supply AC Power and DC charging current to the various points as needed. A few AC inverters can have both shore power and generator power (AC1/AC2) inputs.
    Also, it currently has a very small inverter and I will be replacing that. If I do require a battery charger, any insight and opinions on inverter/charger combos would be appreciated.

    You have to be very careful about adding a big old AC inverter.... They are relatively cheap--But can waste from 6 to 20 to 40 watts or more depending on inverter size and design.

    Also, many times the limits of the battery bank will make trying to draw lots of power from an AC inverter impossible--or possibly damaging to the battery bank.

    Measuring/estimating your AC loads (watts, peak watts) and hours of day of use will go a long way in helping you to size the battery bank, charging sources, and AC inverter. A Kill-a-Watt type meter can be a big help.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • 340driver340driver Registered Users Posts: 11
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    The current electrical system needs to be completed. Right now, you can plug in the rv and all outlets and lights are powered. What I need to do is set it up so that when I plug in (shore power or generator), it not only powers everthing, but charges my batteries as well. Keeping in mind that I don't much room to work with, do you have any suggestions on components that will accomplish this? I can't afford the top-of-the-line and also don't want to sacrifice on safety and reliability. Thanks
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    As was said, somewhere in the system you have a " Power Converter " ( Battery Charger of sorts ) it takes your Shore Power and Generator and converts it to 12 DC to run your 12 V items and charge your House Batteries. Not knowing anything about your system and what you are trying to do, makes it hard to advise you.

    You said it already has a Inverter, we need to know it's size and what it powers. Everything " ON " the inverter always flows through the inverter, that generally means you are limited to 30 Amps. In a RV you can go over that, but you have to remember that you won't be able to " Run " everything at once. Next you have to consider the size of the battery bank if you only have room for a couple batteries, then there is no reason to size everything for a large bank.

    Generally you have a Shore Power Cord ( 30 amp or 50 amp ) that goes to a power selector ( Rotary Switch or Lockout Breaker ) to select the power source. From there you have a breaker panel that is split into inverter powered Items and non inverter items. You also have a 12V DC panel, they could be separate or all on one panel.

    So, it could be all you need is a couple Solar panels and a Charge Controller and your in business. If you change the Inverter, a lot depends on how it's wired and the size of the wire. Again, it depends on what you plan to power with it.

    The Biggest job you have to educate people that have access to your system of it's capabilities, a Hair Dryer can make you have a bad day....
  • 340driver340driver Registered Users Posts: 11
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    I guess that is the problem with being a "new guy," when asking questions, you are not sure what information is relevant. So, a quick explaination of how I want to use the RV may help. It is a 10" box van conversion. It has been (pretty much) completed on the inside as far as appliances, furniture, etc. It has outlets throughout and some lighting that all are powered by plugging in to shore power. That is all it has at this point. My goal is to be able to live in it for a significant period of time. So, I need to add to what it currently has and make it as self sufficient as possible. It has room for (2) solar panels (280 watts) with the possibility of adding smaller ones (I don't have the RV in my possesion yet, so I can only speak in generalities for now). It also has room for (4) 6 volt batteries. I can easily live within the limitations of the battery capacity (using led lights, propane, etc) but also realize that 280 watts of panels is not going to provide the power to keep the batteries charged. My plan is to hook up to shore power once a week (campground) to top off the batteries. I also will be carrying a generator that I hope will also top off the batteries (I need to research it some more). It does have an inverter that is not hooked up to anything. It is a high quality, either a 300 or 400 amp (I can't remember). I want to replace it with a pure sine 1500 watt, or so, inverter to accomodate the microwave and computer equipment. Any suggestions on a reasonably priced one (that is not too large) would be appreciated. I plan on installing Morningstar MPPT controller and Trimetric display for the solar. I was going to wire the alternator up to assist in charging, but most eveyone feels that it is inefficient and I will be driving as little as possible (no road trips). So, I am left with trying to understand my options (required components, wiring, etc) when it comes to being able to plug into shore power or a generator and being able to charge my batteries. I am aware of the inverter/chargers that are available. Would that take care of my battery charging needs? Any suggestions on quality chargers (or inverter/chargers) would also be appreciated. I can provide more information, if needed, to fully understand what I am trying to accomplish. Thanks
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    I can't get my brain to give you everything at once. Others can give you more on the solar setup and I'll try the inside set up.

    1) You have to decide on the Generator, Is it going to be large enough to power everything like the Shore Power does or will it be used to charge the Batteries and some of the load ?? This makes a difference on the Inverter. For instance. if your going to have a small Honda, then you can go with a inverter that offers Generator Support and share the power, you spend more in some places, but over all you get a much better system. A Outback, GFX Series, Inverter/Charger, GFX1312 ( $900+ Mate $150 or so ) would give a great base for you system with a Honda EU 2000 Generator ($900 ). I would get the Honda Companion model, has a 30 amp receptacle installed, you don't get more power , but's nice to have a twist lock plug rather than 2, 15 amp house plugs.

    You can get the same Inverter in 12 V or 24 V, it's a toss up, depending on how many other things you plan to run on 12v and if you plan on using the alternator off the engine. There is a way with a combiner you can charge @ 12V and use 24 V for the inverter, to me it's more hassle and crap to go wrong.

    http://www.outbackpower.com/pdf/manuals/900-0113-01-00_REV_A.pdf

    2) You can use the same Power Entrance ( Shore & Generator ) to plug into. Put your Battery Converter / Charger ( optional, if you use the inverter charger ) before the Inverter and run everything else thru the Inverter.

    3) Microwaves are a problem with power consumption. We have a " Rule " at our place , if it's over 1 minute, we start the generator. With 4 , GC-2's Batteries you should be in good shape.

    Things you never mentioned.

    Air Conditioning
    Heat
    Hot Water
    Refrigeration (maybe the most Important )

    Tip's, buy or have someone fabricate a Stove Hood and vent it to the outside. You have a small area, you'll smell like what ever you cook. Your Inverter needs to be in a vented and cool place for it to function properly. Vent your batteries properly.
    .
    .
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,163 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    Before going any further , I would suggest you contact the vendor of this RV and get the make/model & specs for the Converter your RV has.
    They should also be able to explain to you just how it is wired. This will go a long way to clarifying to all just what can be done and what to recommend for your application.

    As to batteries & loads you will need the dimensions as there are different sized Golf Cart (GC) batteries, as always the bigger ones ,usually, have more capacity and from what you have said so far you will need bigger ones. To keep the loads down I would consider running your microwave from the genset in the morning, and while this is happening you will also 'bulk' charge your batteries.

    You said: It does have an inverter that is not hooked up to anything. It is a high quality, either a 300 or 400 amp (I can't remember). I want to replace it .....

    I think you mean Watts not amps here. A good 300 - 600W inverter should run all your computer equipment, so before you ditch the one you have test it out (using a fully charged battery) and determine if it works for you... It may surprise you.

    You will need a 2000w gen set to push the microwave, my pref is the Honda Eu2000i also. The 3000i is a bit quieter but bigger than you need or may have space for.

    HTH
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • 340driver340driver Registered Users Posts: 11
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    One of my problems is there will be no "standard" to fall back on. The RV conversion is a DIY project, so the option of calling a dealer to walk me through the process is not available to me. I am trying to provide as much information as I can in order to purchase the "right" equipment.

    If it is not realistic to have a microwave...thats just fine with me. I will live without it.

    The generator that I will have with me is a Honda EU2000i.

    The RV has a propane heater and water heater.

    The air conditioner will be a consideration if I stay in Texas. It will only be run with shore power or generator.

    The inverter is a 300 or 400 watt (sorry about that) , but is modified sine wave. I will test it and see how well it performs.

    I was looking at the size if the inverter/chargers and they may be physically too large to put it where I need to. I may need to get seperate units once I find out the actual dimensions that I will be working with.

    On the charger (or converter; they seem to be used interchangably), what is a solid brand to look at? What size do I need (needing it to be physically small)? Does the transfer switch "automatically" keep you from making a mistake and damaging some of the system components (as opposed to some sort of manual switch)?
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    You can find a small Microwave, 100 Watt, not much power. I like the IOTA Power Converters / Battery Chargers. A DLS-55 with a the separate IQ4 module would run on the Honda and give plenty of AMP's and some power to spare to use while charging for less than $200. I didn't figure a automatic Transfer switch, you don't really need it, you just plug in one or the other, hard to make a mistake.

    Size is something you have to work out.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging
    You can find a small Microwave, 100 Watt, not much power.

    I did a Google search for "100 watt microwave":, and every single result that I got back was for a "1 100": watt (1100 watt) microwave, or else just a typo.
    At a 100 watt power level, things would take ten times as long to cook, so the total energy used would be the same as for a faster-cooking 1000 watt model, except with more heat loss during the cooking process.
    You can find small ~600 watt units though. Called personal desktop microwaves.

    A similar search for "400 watt microwave" produced commercial 2400 watt units and a few 800 watt units that had 400 in their model number. :-)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging
    inetdog wrote: »
    I did a Google search for "100 watt microwave":, and every single result that I got back was for a "1 100": watt (1100 watt) microwave, or else just a typo.
    At a 100 watt power level, things would take ten times as long to cook, so the total energy used would be the same as for a faster-cooking 1000 watt model, except with more heat loss during the cooking process.
    You can find small ~600 watt units though. Called personal desktop microwaves.

    A similar search for "400 watt microwave" produced commercial 2400 watt units and a few 800 watt units that had 400 in their model number. :-)
    lol...your right.... I didn't know how small they made them. Thank You for the education. It's a huge AMP draw, I like to get it over as quick as I can.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging
    lol...your right.... I didn't know how small they made them. Thank You for the education. It's a huge AMP draw, I like to get it over as quick as I can.

    Yes, the main use for the smaller microwaves in an off-grid situation would be for use with small (<1000 watt) inverters.
    I have also seen a picture of a "personal microwave" used for space reasons in a deluxe ice-fishing shack!
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • 340driver340driver Registered Users Posts: 11
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    Thanks fur the suggestions. What is a good rule-of-thumb for choosing the correct size charger? I will have the (4) 6 volt batteries. Assuming I "take care" of the batteries by not discharging them below 50-60%. I would like to plug into shore power once a week to top off the batteries and have that accomplished within 10-12 hours. Also, by having a powerful charger and charging at a rapid pace (10-12 hours), is there any concern with damaging the batteries or is the charger capable of controlling any adverse situations? Thanks
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,163 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    to answer that question correctly you will need to tell us the make and model of battery. There are lots of good chargers but you need to match the 2 for best fit based on the capacity of the battery
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    4, GC-2's @12 V = 440 Amp Hr's +/- , A decent charge rate is 12-15 % of 440 or 66 amps or so. If you pull them to 50 % you'd have to put back 220 Amp Hrs. The first % Bulk Phase ( 50-80% ) in a couple Hrs. The Absorption Phase ( 80-100% ) depends on the Charger algorithm time, say 2 more hrs. You have to remember that you do not get 100% return for what you put in, the conversion 95-90 % or less depending on a lot of factors.

    How much gas do you want to use ?? For your generator 8-10 amps @ 120 V is a good draw on it. The Honda will run on the ECO throttle and you'll get about 7 hrs with a IOTA-DLS-55 Amp Charger on a tank of gas. You want to buy a $500 Charger with PFC, you'll do a little better than with a $200 IOTA.

    As I pointed out in another post, you only get what you pay for, on the cheap, you get low cost going in, but lose over the long haul.
  • 340driver340driver Registered Users Posts: 11
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    The batteries are from Sams Club. I believe they are 450 amp-hours and will be wired in series-parallel. I am not sure of the brand name.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,163 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    On the small side there is the Xantrex TC40 and will run with your Eu2000i. there is now a 60A model as well.
    http://www.xantrex.com/power-products/battery-chargers/truecharge-2-2.aspx
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • 340driver340driver Registered Users Posts: 11
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    I have minimal space to mount all of my system components. Basically, there are two cabinets built on the back of the van box and is supported by the bumper. I need to determine what components will be safe to include in the same space with the wet batteries. The gasses are corrosive...but, how corrosive? I need to determine which components I could enclose in the same cabinet (with the batteries) and not be destroyed by the corrosive gasses. Assuming I vent the box and install some sort of computer fan to exhaust the gasses, would either a battery charger or the solar controller be able to survive the corrosive gasses? This is obviously not the optimal design, but as I mentioned before, space is at a premium and I need to utilize the space effectively (shoving 50 lbs of potatoes in a 25 lb sack).
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,163 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    Due to wet weather and security you will want to mount the CC and charger on the wall inside and as close to the battery box. They are not that large and could be placed on the ceiling if you really had to.
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging
    340driver wrote: »
    I have minimal space to mount all of my system components. Basically, there are two cabinets built on the back of the van box and is supported by the bumper. I need to determine what components will be safe to include in the same space with the wet batteries. The gasses are corrosive...but, how corrosive? I need to determine which components I could enclose in the same cabinet (with the batteries) and not be destroyed by the corrosive gasses. Assuming I vent the box and install some sort of computer fan to exhaust the gasses, would either a battery charger or the solar controller be able to survive the corrosive gasses? This is obviously not the optimal design, but as I mentioned before, space is at a premium and I need to utilize the space effectively (shoving 50 lbs of potatoes in a 25 lb sack).
    Depends on how creative you are. I wouldn't want them together unless you can seal the batteries in a vented box of some kind. I have seen them in plastic tubs from walmart that had hose fittings attached to the box and hoses sucking off the fumes with a inline fan. The more you charge the more fumes you'll have, plus you have to service the batteries.
  • 340driver340driver Registered Users Posts: 11
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    Any suggestions on a good quality charger (small) that has PFC (power factor control)? I had to google it.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,163 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    see the link in post 18 and when you get to the Xantrex page there is a link to RVers about battery charging by Gary Bunzer that should help you also... at the bottom of the BOLD text below the picture.
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,706 admin
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    If you want to see the details about selecting "the optimum" AC battery charger to mate with a small (Honda eu2000i in this case) genset, there is this thread:

    Question about battery charger selection with EU2000 generator.


    You can skip 1/2 or 3/4 the way down to find the unit that Steve selected.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging
    340driver wrote:
    Also, it currently has a very small inverter and I will be replacing that. If I do require a battery charger, any insite and opinions on inverter/charger combos would be appreciated.

    Blackcherry's advice (post #7) was to go with an inverter/charger unit. Now you seem headed towards keeping your MSW inverter and buying a standalone battery charger.

    My advice: lose the MSW inverter and buy a pure sine wave inverter. Further advice, buy an inverter/charger. They include transfer switches. In addition to the outback units mentioned previously, Magnum also makes RV inverter/chargers.
    340driver wrote:
    The gasses are corrosive...but, how corrosive?

    Actually, they are not corrosive. The sulfuric acid mist that blows through the vent caps (while the battery is gassing) is very corrosive. The solution is to buy Water Miser vent caps. These are NOT the type of cap with a catalyst to recombine H2 and O2. Water miser caps are designed to recapture the corrosive mist. Most vendors (including our host) carry only one size, but if you order from the manufacturer, you can choose from three sizes. The taller the size, the better it works.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    I wonder if anyone understands what Generator Support means in a Outback GFX 1312. This is a no brainer with a Honda EU2000i, It means you get a 1600 watt Generator and a Inverter 1300 watt / Charger (70 Amps) that can work together and supply Output to a single load. That gives you more power on demand, it makes your whole system scalable, It'll give you the opportunity to run loads that were something you use to dream about. How does it work in Real Life ?? I wish someone would tell us. Sometime these features can be flaky in operation.

    Grid/Generator Support

    A system display is required to control this feature. When this feature is enabled, the inverter limits
    the current draw from an AC source, augmenting it with additional current from the batteries when
    necessary. This helps prevent overloading a small AC breaker or generator during short-term use.

    Initially, the AC source current is used for both loads and battery charging. In the MATE system display, the
    ac1/grid limit or ac2/gen limit settings dictate the maximum AC draw. If the AC draw exceeds this setting,
    the inverter reduces its charge rate to give priority to the loads.

    The charge rate will be reduced as much as necessary to support the loads. If the loads equal the
    amperage setting, the charge rate will be zero.

    If the AC loads exceed the amperage setting, the charger will begin operating in reverse. It will take power
    from the batteries and use it to support the incoming AC current.

    One thing about the Honda EU2000I, while It's a wonderful generator, but the ECO throttle does not have a fast enough reaction time to work well with all varying loads. It will cause Inverters to drop out and chargers do the same over and over in a loop until you intervene. The best you can do sometimes it to turn the ECO off and let it get stabilized with the load and then turn it back on and then be careful if there is anything you can control on it's output. It will drive you rats when it keeps kicking out on a Fault when it picks up the load or your Inverter does. This is one reason I have stand alone Chargers on all my installations where a Honda EU 2000 is involved.
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  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    No offense about the Meanwell, I'v looked at the specs several times over the years and the Charging voltage and algorithm is just down right weird. 8 stages or 2 stages and the Voltage is 14.4 Absorb and 13.8 Float. Now you get 60 Amps DC for 12 amps AC input and thats supposed to be PFC. I thought the idea was more amps out for less amps in ??

    The Xanterx True Charge in 60 Amps shows to draw 11.7 amps @ 120 v, again High amp draw. A feature is the ability with the remote ( $90 ) you can control the chargers output, what they don't say it's in 20% increments.

    I just hooked up a IOTA dls-55 to a set of Batteries that were at 12.3 V. I put a amp meter on it, at 55 amps dc it was drawing 8.93 amps @ 120v.

    Granted I do not have the Meanwell or the Xantrex to test, but where does PFC make them any more efficient ??

    I have a Magnum MM1512 I bought to just charge with, it has PFC. It is a 70 amp output. The problem is it spends 50% of it time in a charger cutback mode because of over heating. So instead of 70 amps you get more like 50 amps output most of the time. The point is you can have all the Features in the world, if you don't get the rated output, you don't have much.
  • ShadowcatcherShadowcatcher Solar Expert Posts: 228 ✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    Our situation is some what similar and my recommendations are based on the experience of many RVers
    Progressive Dynamics for a converter https://www.progressivedyn.com/ American made and you do not hear complaints!
    If you want to effectively use the alternator in the van http://www.balmar.net/ has combined solar controllers and or three stage battery chargers that will effectively and correctly charge your battery bank.
    Keep the inverter separate and evaluate your needs, I went with a 300W Morningstar Sure-sine http://www.morningstarcorp.com/en/sure-sine (this was recommended by folks here).
    Our experience we have a 180W panel attached to the roof of our teardrop It is a high voltage panel which feeds a Morningstar MPPT controller and into a 150AH Lifeline AGM I also have a 140W Unisolar flexible panel feeding a Seca controller which I have yet to need as with the 180W and conservation measures (LED lights, computer case fans in place of a fantastic fan, Espar Diesel heater and Waeco refrigerator we have never gotten below 70% SOC even in heavily shaded sites after running TV/DVD for some hours. We do not have a microwave and use a french press for coffee. I did go with a Victron battery monitor as well as the Morningstar RM1 (a bit redundant).
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging

    I have no dog in any Battery Charger, but any you consider you should purchase with your eyes open and look at their Specifications and Operation quirks. Since the Progressive Dynamics was brought up, let's look at it. It's operation may or may not suit you, depends on your system and how it's used. You have to dig through the Marketing talking points. It's not bad, it's different. The one thing they don't say , What is the trigger to decide when the Charger goes into the " Boost Mode " ??, on a inverter this can be important when your using a generator or have a large amp draw in a Inverter. All they say is a " Discharged Battery " If you start your generator and want to do some " Opportunity Charging " will it stay at 13.6 V if the battery voltage is above 12.??. Remember , 90 % of the people that use something do not have a clue how it works and the 10% that do, aren't talking. Asking the Manufacturer, the best answer is " we just build it, we don't use it ".

    1) Max voltage 14.4 V
    2) Every 21 hrs it runs a cycle. ( That effects the cycle life of your batteries ) and charging a already charged battery is not good, does it hurt ??
    3) Any Parasitic Draw will keep it from entering the Storage Mode. ( does it effect something they call the Equalize Mode )
    4) High Amp draw.
    5) No true Absorb Phase , no taper, just a drop to lower voltage that most consider a Float Voltage ( 13.6 V ).

    ""The Charge Wizard is a microprocessor-controlled unit that constantly monitors the RV battery voltage and then selects one of three charging voltages and one of four operating modes to properly re-charge or maintain the RV battery. The addition of the Charge Wizard makes your 9200 Series converter an intelligent battery charger that will safely and rapidly recharge a discharged battery by selecting the Boost Mode (14.4V) of operation. Once the battery reaches 90% of full charge, the Charge Wizard automatically selects the Normal Mode (13.6V) to safely complete the charge. The Storage Mode (13.2V) is automatically selected after 30 hours of non-use of the 12-volt RV electrical systems. The lower charging voltage in the Storage Mode of operation reduces battery gassing and water usage, while maintaining the charge. Every 21 hours when the system is operating in the Storage Mode, the Charge Wizard will automatically switch to the Equalizing Mode of operation. The Equalizing Mode increases the charging voltage up to 14.4 volts for 15 minutes. This increased voltage mixes up the battery electrolyte and prevents battery stratification and the resulting problems of battery sulfation. ""

    PD9260C
    Maximum DC Output Current................60-AMPS
    Maximum Continuous Input Power.........1,000 WATTS
    No Load DC Output Voltage..................13.6 VDC
    No Load Voltage Tolerance...................+/- .3 VDC
    Full Load Output Voltage......................> 12.6 VDC
    Ripple and Noise Voltage....................<100 MV RMS
    Input Voltage Tolerance......................105 - 130 VAC
    Input Voltage Frequency.....................50-60 HZ
    Peak Inrush Current...........................47-AMPS
    Input Current at Rated Power..............˜11.4-AMPS
    Efficiency (Typical)..............................> 80%

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  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging
    The Storage Mode (13.2V) is automatically selected after 30 hours of non-use of the 12-volt RV electrical systems. The lower charging voltage in the Storage Mode of operation reduces battery gassing and water usage, while maintaining the charge. Every 21 hours when the system is operating in the Storage Mode, the Charge Wizard will automatically switch to the Equalizing Mode of operation. The Equalizing Mode increases the charging voltage up to 14.4 volts for 15 minutes. This increased voltage mixes up the battery electrolyte and prevents battery stratification and the resulting problems of battery sulfation. ""

    This is the first time I have seen any suggestion that electrolyte stratification could take place while a battery was sitting idle at a float voltage that should just balance the self-discharge of the battery. Has anybody else seen this phenomenon described?
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Clarification on battery charging
    inetdog wrote: »
    This is the first time I have seen any suggestion that electrolyte stratification could take place while a battery was sitting idle at a float voltage that should just balance the self-discharge of the battery. Has anybody else seen this phenomenon described?

    Float = no bubbling. No bubbling = no mixing. No mixing = stratification.
    So it is possible.
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