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Old 02-27-2012, 11:26 AM   #1
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best way of charging batteries while dry camping?

Hi all, just took out our "New to us" 2005 winnibego Voyage dry camping for the first time...Question is...is it better to start on board generator to charge house batteries or just fire up the engine?
Interested if engine/alternator would charge quicker?
Thanks LT6215
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:52 AM   #2
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Hi,

Use the generator. It is a small engine with a big electrical charging capacity. Your MH engine is a large engine designed to do a lot more than charge your battery. It will consume a lot more fuel than the generator will, and these days, that's a lot of money.
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:56 AM   #3
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Thanks FullMonte, My thought was that the gen. would be supplying power to a charging unitand would need to run longer vs. alternator charging faster?
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:05 PM   #4
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Not sure about your rig, but our has a 100 watt magnum charger, the genny will charge em but quick.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:06 PM   #5
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I agree with using the generator. Also, some rigs are wired so the alternator charges only the truck batterys, not the coach batterys. If you haven't, you might want to check that out.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:22 PM   #6
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Normally the generator is the best approach. In your case if you still have the original Magnetek 7445 converter, then that unit is not that very well liked. It only has a single stage 13.8VDC output which is known to boil batteries dry. I would recommend you see if it has been upgraded to a more modern 3 stage converter/charger. If not then you should consider doing so.

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Old 02-27-2012, 05:14 PM   #7
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A proper battery charge can take several hours - 8 to 12 hours for a complete and full charge of a well discharged battery.

The genset coupled with a decent charging system - usually a better inverter or converter that does multiple stage charging and is properly rated for the battery bank - will provide optimum recharging.

It's not what the charging system is capable of putting out but rather the proper charge levels that counts. That means not raising the voltage so high that your RV appliances are at risk (i.e. above about 14.4v) and keeping the current to a level that won't overheat the batteries.

Most folks run the genset when they have the heaviest loads. This is usually to prepare breakfast or dinner or an afternoon A/C in hot weather. If they don't stress the battery bank too much, 2 or 3 hours on the genset will keep the battery in reasonable shape. Most gensets can handle a couple of kW for a battery charger plus a microwave or coffee pot.

You should try to make sure that a full 8 - 12 hour proper battery charge is done every week or two and that you provide proper maintenance and sulfation inhibiting techniques when the battery bank is not in use for best battery health and longevity.
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