choosing the right charger, help?

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CBHunter
CBHunter Solar Expert Posts: 39
What do you guys think of this charger. I would use it with the genny.....

http://www.iotaengineering.com/dls55.htm

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  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,478 admin
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    Re: choosing the right charger, help?

    A couple of observations--

    Iota is supposed to be a very good company/product. Get the IQ smart charger accessory.

    I am not sure the Iota is Power Factor corrected or not... PFC is the new thing with chargers (and electronics in general)--bascially, if you have been reading here about CFL's, Power Factor, and AC wave forms... PFC for the AC input of devices allows the Generator/Inverter to operate much more efficiently.

    For example, if you have a small genset--you can run a larger battery charger if it has PFC because it draws less current than a non-PFC unit would (not power, just current--it's an AC voltage/currnent thing).

    If you are off-grid running a genset--the typcal generator should be loaded to ~50% or more of rated load for fuel efficient operation (a Honda eu2000i and a few other inverter/geneorators can run pretty fuel efficiently down to 25% load). A PFC corrected charger will allow you to run a larger charger / smaller genset (and more fuel efficiently).

    If you are on utility power, and or will be running the genset for other loads (vacuum, washing, shop, etc.)--then PFC may not be as big an issue.

    Also, I really like charge controllers that have Remote Battery Temperature Sensors... Pretty much required to properly charge a battery bank (and fully charge it) if the battery and charge controller are not in the same temperature environment.

    Xantrexs made a very good charger line called the "TC" or True Charge. And they are coming out with an updated product called the TC2 line. Our Host, NAWS, has been listing the new product features for a few months now--but the chargers themselves appear to have been delayed. You will have to contract NAWS directly to see what they may have available at this time.

    If I recall correctly, Tony/Icarus uses the TC 20 (20 amp) charger with a Honda eu1000i (900 watt inverter generator).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Brock
    Brock Solar Expert Posts: 639 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: choosing the right charger, help?

    I really like the iota chargers, very robust and durable. I have never heard of one burning out.

    As Bill alluded to they do have a variable power factor. In other words it pulls about 900w and about 1200 va. The bad thing about them is they vary in PF as they charge ramping up and down. Not a big deal if you have a genset sized 2000+ watts or utility power. I have an iota 54 volt 15 amp as a backup charger beside the genset. I used to have a 1200w Xantrax mod sine wave inverter that I would connect to an idling car and then run the iota from that. As the iota would surge up and down it would sometimes trip out the inverter. I have since upgraded to an 1800w version and it doesn't trip out anymore.

    But the Iota’s are VERY forgiving. I believe they can even take DC on the input side and anywhere from 80v to 140v with a rock solid steady output.
    3kw solar PV, 4 LiFePO4 100a, xw 6048, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Tesla 3, Leaf, Volt, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: choosing the right charger, help?

    As was suggested,, I love the TC series from Xantrex. They are one of the few (if not the only) charger that will put out full output from a cheap generator.

    I know that my TC 20 running on the Honda EU 1000 puts out it's full 20 amps with the genny idling along. The TC 40 would not run on the eu 1000 however. It runs just fine on a 1800 watt honda conventional genny.

    I wrote to Xantrex and here is their answer:

    (0.80 efficiency x 0.63 power factor)
    1150 VA is the power required by Truecharge during bulk charge.
    Although Truecharge will still operate down to 90 VAC input, the drawbacks to an undersized generator are:
    - The TRUECHARGE cannot provide the full bulk current of 43A, therefore it will take longer to charge deeply discharged batteries.
    - If the generator operates at it's maximum output for a prolonged period it may overheat the generator before the TRUECHARGE goes into the lower power absorption charge.
    - We recommend you use at least an 1200W continuous duty generator, and we recommend a 12A AC source in the manual. An alternate solution would be to use the lower power TRUECHARGE 20.

    I've had 4 of them over the years,, and with the temperature sensor they seem to work perfectly.

    Tony
  • CBHunter
    CBHunter Solar Expert Posts: 39
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    Re: choosing the right charger, help?

    Thanks everyone for your replies. I will shop around and let you know what I purchased.
    BTW my genny is a Kohler 3500 watts. So PFC may not be a big issue.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,478 admin
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    Re: choosing the right charger, help?

    Depending on how much you run your genset and the price of fuel at your location (and over the upcoming years)--I would suggest that you log the kWhrs out vs gallons burned with your generator...

    A good (smaller) gasoline generator can output around 5-6 kWhrs per gallon of fuel. But, if you run run at only a fraction of the nameplate rating--the kWhrs/gallon goes way down. The Honda eu2000i will output ~5.4 kWhrs/gallon down to 400 watt loads--really cool.

    A kill-a-watt meter or two may do in a pinch (There is a battery backed Kill-A-Watt meter which, I believe, will keep the readings even if the AC power is turned off--although the AC power needs to be on to read the LCD meter)--or see if you can purchase a kWhr meter (or used utility meter) to wire into the Genset's output.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: choosing the right charger, help?
    icarus wrote: »
    I've had 4 of them over the years,, and with the temperature sensor they seem to work perfectly. Tony

    Are you using 4 at a time, or did you give them away, and buy a new one ?
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: choosing the right charger, help?

    Mike,

    I have two on line now,, on two separate battery banks. (TC 20) I keep one TC 20 in reserve. I'm a sucker for having spares. It comes from my real remote days when we could get anything quickly (or cheaply). It tends to drive my wife crazy,, since these days even I can get almost everything in a few days with Fed Ex/Purolator/UPS etc.

    I Sent the TC 40 off to Eric (Westbranch) for him to use on his cabin system. The TC 40 wouldn't run on my EU 1000,, thought I thought it would when I bought it.

    Tony