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Old 12-25-2018, 02:26 AM   #1
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Default Generator newbie question?

I currently have a RoadTrek Sprinter that charges the coach batteries with the "underhood generator", plus solar. I'm not familiar with traditional generators.

I'm currently looking at a Leisure Travel Serenity with two 6V coach batteries and a 3.6kw LP Onan. I'm wondering how fast the Onan should charge the two coach batteries? Also, would the engine alternator charge the coach batteries? It does have a 200w solar panel, but I know they take a lot of time to charge. Thanks.
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Old 12-25-2018, 08:25 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Lakesidemn View Post
I currently have a RoadTrek Sprinter that charges the coach batteries with the "underhood generator", plus solar. I'm not familiar with traditional generators.

I'm currently looking at a Leisure Travel Serenity with two 6V coach batteries and a 3.6kw LP Onan. I'm wondering how fast the Onan should charge the two coach batteries? Also, would the engine alternator charge the coach batteries? It does have a 200w solar panel, but I know they take a lot of time to charge. Thanks.
Engine generators will charge coach batteries. An Onan generator is good for when you need to power your A/C or microwave, and will charge the Serenity coach batteries as well. But, unlike lithiums, lead batteries take a long time for that final 5-10% top-up. So a generator is not ideal for charging. We plug in overnight every few days to make sure coach batteries get a full charge. Otherwise, even when driving, they are only 90-95% charged some days. No problem getting through the night, however.

Remember, almost anything you get will have less battery power and inverter capacity than your Roadtrek.
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Old 12-26-2018, 03:01 AM   #3
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Engine generators will charge coach batteries. An Onan generator is good for when you need to power your A/C or microwave, and will charge the Serenity coach batteries as well. But, unlike lithiums, lead batteries take a long time for that final 5-10% top-up. So a generator is not ideal for charging. We plug in overnight every few days to make sure coach batteries get a full charge. Otherwise, even when driving, they are only 90-95% charged some days. No problem getting through the night, however.

Remember, almost anything you get will have less battery power and inverter capacity than your Roadtrek.
I'm going to visit with the LTV sales guy again about this, but do you know if the AC or microwave can operate while the vehicle is running? If you have a Serenity, do they allow the geni to run while the vehicle is running? Thanks!!
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Old 12-27-2018, 02:01 AM   #4
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I'm going to visit with the LTV sales guy again about this, but do you know if the AC or microwave can operate while the vehicle is running? If you have a Serenity, do they allow the geni to run while the vehicle is running? Thanks!!
I do not own a Serenity, but to my knowledge, no RV except those with separate under-hood generators (designed to replace the traditional coach generator) add the capacity to run appliances while driving.

Onan states it is ok to run their generators while driving.

.
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Old 12-27-2018, 01:27 PM   #5
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I do not own a Serenity, but to my knowledge, no RV except those with separate under-hood generators (designed to replace the traditional coach generator) add the capacity to run appliances while driving.

Onan states it is ok to run their generators while driving.

.

Most of the van before the standalone engine generators had 50 or 80 amp circuits from the engine alternator. Unfortunately, the inverters, if they had one, tended to be too small to run much over 500 watts, and they were modified sine wave.



Roadtreks since they went to separators was at 80 amps and that is just short of what it takes to run the Dometic microwave. It definitely will reduce how much you use out of your batteries. You need at least a 1500 watt PSW inverter to reliably run the micro IMO.



The only issue would be if you keep tripping the auto reset breakers in the wiring, which will often cause the inverter to drop out if you have a big enough one to actually supply the microwave.
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Old 12-30-2018, 06:38 PM   #6
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Default Better way to chatge up your coach batteries with the genny

Since the lp genny would take a really long time to fully charge up your coach batteries, here’s my solution....

1. Have easily accessible battery charging terminals linked to your system and installed on the inside of your rig.

2. Buy a small, portable fast charging battery charger.

3. When needing to charge up your coach when boondocking, start the genny, plug in your portable charger, attach the charger’s cables to the new terminals and charge away....

You can also do this on shore power when camped at a park with electric hookups of course.

I did this after I found out from the manufacturer of my rig that the best way to charge my batteries was not via the propane generator as it would take too long to do it that way.

I was told that, without this separate portable battery charger set up, because of the low speed of charging batteries by running power through my coach’s converter, the order of charging effectiveness would be:

1. Driving the rig, 2. Hooking up to shore power, and 3. Using the genny.
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Old 12-31-2018, 04:51 PM   #7
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A friend told me I could run my generator while driving..2004 Pleasure Way..have only run it while parked..just curious..true?
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Old 12-31-2018, 05:05 PM   #8
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Since the lp genny would take a really long time to fully charge up your coach batteries, here’s my solution....

1. Have easily accessible battery charging terminals linked to your system and installed on the inside of your rig.

2. Buy a small, portable fast charging battery charger.

3. When needing to charge up your coach when boondocking, start the genny, plug in your portable charger, attach the charger’s cables to the new terminals and charge away....

You can also do this on shore power when camped at a park with electric hookups of course.

I did this after I found out from the manufacturer of my rig that the best way to charge my batteries was not via the propane generator as it would take too long to do it that way.

I was told that, without this separate portable battery charger set up, because of the low speed of charging batteries by running power through my coach’s converter, the order of charging effectiveness would be:

1. Driving the rig, 2. Hooking up to shore power, and 3. Using the genny.

I guess I don't understand what benefit you get with the "faster" charger, unless you have a very old fixed voltage converter in the van. All this assumes non lithium batteries, however.



The vast majority of the long charging times has to do with the acceptance rate of the lead acid batteries, not the chargers unless they are horribly too small or too low of a voltage. The batteries will start to taper what they will accept by 70-80% SOC, depending on how big the charger and batteries are, and by the time they get full, the batteries will only be accepting .5-3% of the capacity in ah in amps. High end for 20ah of batteries would 6 amps which is pretty small, low end would be 1 amp.


It will take 6+ hours in most cases to go from 50% to full on lead acid batteries, and the charger isn't going to get rid of that time, so that is a long generator run.


What van, charger(s), batteries do you have? How are you keeping track of what your state of charge is?
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Old 12-31-2018, 05:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rowiebowie View Post
Engine generators will charge coach batteries. An Onan generator is good for when you need to power your A/C or microwave, and will charge the Serenity coach batteries as well. But, unlike lithiums, lead batteries take a long time for that final 5-10% top-up. So a generator is not ideal for charging. We plug in overnight every few days to make sure coach batteries get a full charge. Otherwise, even when driving, they are only 90-95% charged some days. No problem getting through the night, however.

Remember, almost anything you get will have less battery power and inverter capacity than your Roadtrek.

What shore charger are you using in your van? I don't recall if you have a battery monitor.
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Old 12-31-2018, 06:19 PM   #10
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Default Buggy webpage wiped out my reply

Tried to reply at length to the questions about using the separate portable battery charger but the buggy forum website wiped out my answer
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