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Old 01-18-2015, 03:14 AM   #1
Lou
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Default Camping without hookups?

Marco said something about staying for a week in a provincial park. What do you do to keep your house battery working that long?
We love provincial parks and have never missed having hookups because usually we are travelling or 'wandering' and that renews the battery. Now our daughter wants us to take a week to go camping with them and I sure don't want to run out of battery power to run the water pump! We do have a generator but you can't turn it on before 9am in provincial parks. I am not even sure how long we would have to run it to charge the battery but I bet neighbouring campers wouldn't like it.
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Old 01-18-2015, 11:50 AM   #2
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Default Re: Camping without hookups?

Great topic for discussion Yes, I've said that a few times

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
We'll camp in Provincial Parks or National Parks etc. without any hookups for up to week but I'm pretty sure that's not what you are referring to with the term boondocking.........
A bit more info:

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
Plugging in and hookups are a choice not a requirement. The most time we'd spend with no hookups was one week at a National Park. 2 RV type batteries & propane easily allowed for that in the mild west coast climate. Mid-week we'd drive to the campground dump station to empty tanks. Some years we'd head to town on that same day for a treat or sightseeing. We did that for a few years. It was a choice to only stay a week. No generator in that RV either..............
Right away you see that a week can be split into two halves. We'd have to move the van to empty the waste tanks and get fresh water. Driving the van charges the batteries. They get more charged if we headed into town but even the trip around the park would have put a good bit back into the batteries.

Back then, we spent most of our time outside. All meals, doing the dishes, relaxing etc., all done outside the van. We're pretty sure we did not use the campground showers. Those trips were a while ago so I can't remember every detail.

A "week" may have been 6 nights or even 5 nights some years but the point I was trying to make is that a full 3 days self sufficiency is the multiple as, at least in our van, we had to drive to go empty the tanks and get fresh water anyway.

Here's where we'd go: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...php?f=22&t=616

The van was an '04 Roadtrek. I mention that because that's the year RT started installing the Tripp-lite inverter charger that had 3-stage charging so the batteries were reasonably taken care of and in good shape.

The '04 & '05 Roadtreks didn't have a remote switch to turn the inverter on and off. Here's how I made one: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi....php?f=12&t=20

I mention that because, to save wasting power, you should turn the inverter off when not in use. On the Tripp Lite, without the remote switch, the best practice was to set the switch on the inverter to "charge only" when the inverting function was not needed.

That van had a small 20 watt solar panel that would have contributed some charging of the batteries. Think of it as trickle charging.

I doubt there was any TV reception in that Park so no power used for that.

I most likely had LED lights: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi....php?f=12&t=37

Fridge was on propane.

Time of year was usually September in the Pacific North West. Heating and air conditioning not needed.

We would have had two house batteries.

At night our preference was to read using LED book lights.

I'd use the battery disconnect switch when leaving the RV to go hiking etc.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Getting back to your question:

How many batteries do you have? Are your lights LED?

The fastest way to put a quick charge back into the batteries would be to run the generator and van engine at the same time. Monitoring "Ending Amps" would be helpful info - you'd know when to stop charging. http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...php?f=9&t=3452
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:30 PM   #3
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Default Re: Camping without hookups?

Marko.

1.are you mark or actually marko-or neither.

2. i've never totally understood charging. will an agm battery accept alternato rand generator/shore power at same time? plus solar panel at same
time.
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Camping without hookups?

It's Mark

Short answer: generally speaking, Yes.

That assumes it is setup like a traditional RV. Some newer Roadtreks might not charge using the Onan generator. (Owners of new CS models could tell us if this is correct) Link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/road...7781107047541/

Using both the alternator and the Onan would be more useful if you have more than one battery or if the output from your converter/charger is low. The Onan charges the house battery through the converter/charger. There's a variety of converter chargers in use out there. Output might be 30A in older units and 45A in newer units.

The risk could be that you make too much current available to the battery if it is very low. As the battery charges the flow of current into the battery tapers off. You could limit the amount of current available initially by using the alternator or the Onan for the first while.

Monitoring the current (amps) flow into the batteries is very useful.
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Old 01-18-2015, 03:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: Camping without hookups?

this is more a problem with the new onan generator brought out in 2012. it's electrical signature is slightly different then it's predecessor. it'seems to cause problems to this generation of inverters/chargers that were calibrated toward to old model.
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Old 01-18-2015, 03:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: Camping without hookups?

There are a few weird little caveats in how the batteries will charge off of multiple sources that are trying to charge them at the same time.

What Marko says is spot on, all will contribute to the charging of the batteries, but how much they all contribute (and if they can contribute at their rated amps) can be rather hard to predict unless they are all running at identical voltage. If your alternator is running at 13.8v, you shore charger at 14.2v and your solar at 14.5v, the lower voltage sources will contribute less than they normally would look like the could from ratings, and the amount will vary with the SOC of your batteries.

I have watched how our multiple sources interact with each other, and I really haven't been able to predict very well what will happen. I do know that it changes with which source is at what voltage, how much max output they have, and how low the batteries are. The charge sources can often also turn themselves down based on what they see from the other sources, based on their design and timer settings.

What is most likely is that the highest amperage source kind of rules things the most, unless the batteries are near full, then the highest voltage source rules.

For instance, if your batteries are way down, so that they are charging at 13.5v in bulk (with the above voltages) you would get full output of all of them added together, I think.

If the batteries were up to 14.5v in absorption, you would only get the output from the solar, or close to it, but your batteries could be well under full.

In between, the highest amperage source, the alternator would hold the voltage at 13.8 once the batteries got there, and the others would contribute to take it higher at various charge rates.

One big thing that could mess folks up is if you highest amperage source is able to get you to a voltage above the other setpoints, those other sources aren't really going to contribute much, once you get to that voltage.

I think this is one of the things that folks are getting a bit confused about by some of the advertising. Folks see a 250 amp alternator, 400 watts of solar, and an 80 amp shore charger (which would also be what you get on generator) and think they will get all that charge rate, all the time. Depending on the setup, they may get it sometimes, or rarely, is probably more accurate. With wet or AGM batteries, that rate will start dropping once you get to absorption voltage (about 80% full) anyway and fall off quickly. That is why it takes much longer to charge the batteries than just AH needed to replace times AH available. Lithium has less of these issues, I would expect, because of the high acceptance rates and the fact that they usually have a single voltage input.

Careful selection of parts can make this much less of an issue. If the solar, shore and alternator are all running at 14.4v, you will get most of the output out of all of them, up to about 80% full batteries, with the only variations being temperature issues changing things between them (alternators change voltage a lot).

As Marko said, knowing the amps going to the batteries (and voltage) is the single most useful information you can readily get to know what is going on with your batteries and charging.
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Old 01-18-2015, 03:27 PM   #7
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Default Re: Camping without hookups?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gerrym51
this is more a problem with the new onan generator brought out in 2012. it's electrical signature is slightly different then it's predecessor. it'seems to cause problems to this generation of inverters/chargers that were calibrated toward to old model.
Woah! This is news. Never occurred to me to test Onan battery charging with the Outback 2400 watt inverter in our new rig. It is true that high-end inverter/chargers have sophisticated power monitoring features, and perhaps that with the default parameters they may reject the Onan output. But, these parameters are generally tunable. I will be unpleasantly surprised if I am unable to teach our Outback to chill out with the Onan input.
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Old 01-18-2015, 03:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: Camping without hookups?

Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti
Quote:
Originally Posted by gerrym51
this is more a problem with the new onan generator brought out in 2012. it's electrical signature is slightly different then it's predecessor. it'seems to cause problems to this generation of inverters/chargers that were calibrated toward to old model.
Woah! This is news. Never occurred to me to test Onan battery charging with the Outback 2400 watt inverter in our new rig. It is true that high-end inverter/chargers have sophisticated power monitoring features, and perhaps that with the default parameters they may reject the Onan output. But, these parameters are generally tunable. I will be unpleasantly surprised if I am unable to teach our Outback to chill out with the Onan input.

wouldn't advanced already solved this issue for you?
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Old 01-18-2015, 03:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: Camping without hookups?

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster
There are a few weird little caveats in how the batteries will charge off of multiple sources that are trying to charge them at the same time.

What Marko says is spot on, all will contribute to the charging of the batteries, but how much they all contribute (and if they can contribute at their rated amps) can be rather hard to predict unless they are all running at identical voltage. If your alternator is running at 13.8v, you shore charger at 14.2v and your solar at 14.5v, the lower voltage sources will contribute less than they normally would look like the could from ratings, and the amount will vary with the SOC of your batteries.

I have watched how our multiple sources interact with each other, and I really haven't been able to predict very well what will happen. I do know that it changes with which source is at what voltage, how much max output they have, and how low the batteries are. The charge sources can often also turn themselves down based on what they see from the other sources, based on their design and timer settings.

What is most likely is that the highest amperage source kind of rules things the most, unless the batteries are near full, then the highest voltage source rules.

For instance, if your batteries are way down, so that they are charging at 13.5v in bulk (with the above voltages) you would get full output of all of them added together, I think.

If the batteries were up to 14.5v in absorption, you would only get the output from the solar, or close to it, but your batteries could be well under full.

In between, the highest amperage source, the alternator would hold the voltage at 13.8 once the batteries got there, and the others would contribute to take it higher at various charge rates.

One big thing that could mess folks up is if you highest amperage source is able to get you to a voltage above the other setpoints, those other sources aren't really going to contribute much, once you get to that voltage.

I think this is one of the things that folks are getting a bit confused about by some of the advertising. Folks see a 250 amp alternator, 400 watts of solar, and an 80 amp shore charger (which would also be what you get on generator) and think they will get all that charge rate, all the time. Depending on the setup, they may get it sometimes, or rarely, is probably more accurate. With wet or AGM batteries, that rate will start dropping once you get to absorption voltage (about 80% full) anyway and fall off quickly. That is why it takes much longer to charge the batteries than just AH needed to replace times AH available. Lithium has less of these issues, I would expect, because of the high acceptance rates and the fact that they usually have a single voltage input.

Careful selection of parts can make this much less of an issue. If the solar, shore and alternator are all running at 14.4v, you will get most of the output out of all of them, up to about 80% full batteries, with the only variations being temperature issues changing things between them (alternators change voltage a lot).

As Marko said, knowing the amps going to the batteries (and voltage) is the single most useful information you can readily get to know what is going on with your batteries and charging.

whats your opinion of this with a tppl-agm which is closer to lithium( i said closer not lithium)?
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: Camping without hookups?

From what I have been able to find, the tppl charges very much like any other AGM battery, with the only questions being maximum and minimum charge rates. In most cases those instances are the extremes, so don't come into play because hardly anyone can supply 1000 amps on the high end, and most alternators and chargers (maybe not solar) are big enough to be over minimum.

The charge profile would be the same a AGM, I think, so the voltage reactions would also be the same. The tppl do require the hold time in absorption, so that area would also behave the same way. I think I even saw somewhere that they gave ending amp recommendations for full charge, but not positive on that.

If I understand the lithium charging stuff correctly, they appear to dump all the sources into a single battery protection/charger that monitors the batteries and turns everything on/off together, at least to the batteries, so that takes care of a lot of limitations I mentioned. I would think the sources may need to be over a certain voltage to work through the system, though. Someone mentioned that is why they prefer a separate alternator for the engine generator.

Bottom line is that I think the tppl and AGM would react similarly in the cases I listed.
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