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Old 01-22-2015, 08:10 PM   #1
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Batteries and generators

The discussions of batteries and charging them has gotten quite complex. I have a prime Time Tracer TT and 2 Honda 2000 generators. what is the fastest or most efficient way to charge the TT battery? I thought if I plug into the 30 amp receptacle with the tow generators coupled or, even just one, that it would recharge the battery. Have I missed something?
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:27 PM   #2
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If your TT has a 3 or 4 stage converter/charger, you can charge your TT battery to 90% in a few hours on one generator. It takes several more hours, to go from 90 to 100%. If the converter keeps putting full charging voltage to the battery for that last 10%, it would boil the battery dry.

Another option is solar. That's a whole other discussion..
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:37 AM   #3
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Buy an Iota 15.5 volt charger and wire it up to the batteries. Plug the charger into your Honda 2000 and charge from drained to full in 2-3 hours flat. I measure 12.8v on my two Crown 6v batteries when fully charged and rested. The charger/converter in your trailer is crap, they all are... they do more harm to your batteries than good because you never get a true full charge.


My Iota is wired up in the pass through, I used heavy battery cable to the batteries. I plug the charger into one outlet on my Honda 2000 and the shore power into the other which powers the trailer while the battery is charged directly from the Iota. You can leave your built-in converter/charger in place. It doesn't hurt anything. Simple and one of the best upgrades I've done along with my Trimetric.
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Old 01-23-2015, 06:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dagmandt View Post
Buy an Iota 15.5 volt charger and wire it up to the batteries. Plug the charger into your Honda 2000 and charge from drained to full in 2-3 hours flat. I measure 12.8v on my two Crown 6v batteries when fully charged and rested. The charger/converter in your trailer is crap, they all are... they do more harm to your batteries than good because you never get a true full charge.


My Iota is wired up in the pass through, I used heavy battery cable to the batteries. I plug the charger into one outlet on my Honda 2000 and the shore power into the other which powers the trailer while the battery is charged directly from the Iota. You can leave your built-in converter/charger in place. It doesn't hurt anything. Simple and one of the best upgrades I've done along with my Trimetric.
Is there a risk of damaging circuit boards if you hook the batteries to 15.5 volts?
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Old 01-23-2015, 07:24 PM   #5
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The answer depends on your converter,,
Single state iverters, UPGRADE
NOTE: inverter size should be no more than 1/3 the C-20 rating of your battery bank (that is the 20 hour amp hour rate) For example, a pair of Group 27's or 29's can take a 60 amp coverter (I rounded up on one and down on the other) a pair of GC-2's. a 70 amp. and in some parasitic loads and the starting battery, 80 amp. What Damon put i my rig.

If you already have a 3-stage.. One Honda 1000 can run up to aroud 60 amps,, a 2000, over 100 amps of converter.. You do not need the 2nd one for battery charging.

Faster charging is NOT recommended

Plan on a six hour run time.
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Old 01-24-2015, 01:24 PM   #6
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Our battery bank (LFP) charges off solar at up to C/8 in mid-summer, charged on-line through battery charger (only had to do this a few times) at C/6 and off the Honda 1.0 kW (just trialing) at C/10. The charge rate is fairly linear and we charged through absorb from -3kW-hrs in a little over two hours from 1.5 kW extension cord. We only use battery bank now (for 18 months). There is a 1.5 kW battery charger system so our maximum rate of charge is 1.5 kW or C/6,4.

Our son put this in so that we do not have problems with "dirty" power blowing electrical systems. Have posted before that we burned out a m/w in Baja and another in Yucatan. One German couple in Yucatan burned out m/w, a/c, and most everything else since the voltage was varying from around 60 to 180 V.
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by frizzen View Post
Is there a risk of damaging circuit boards if you hook the batteries to 15.5 volts?
You are charging your battery... the rest of the trailer is getting the correct voltage. The charger is hooked directly to your battery terminals. This is the charger you want for a 12v system: http://www.backwoodssolar.com/iota-5...attery-charger

If you want the truth about solar and charging etc... go to https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/

You can charge wet cell deep cycle batteries fairly quickly without any harm at all and 15.5v is completely safe. I'm proof of that. I have two 6v crown wet cell deep cycle batteries which I keep at 12.8v rested full charge. I drain them to 11.6 at times and fully recharge in 3 or less hours. Have done this for two seasons and the batteries are in tip top shape.

Oh, and if you don't already have one, I highly recommend a battery cut-off switch. Very handy when storing the trailer. You only have to top the battery off every few months if that. It is amazing how quickly the detectors, TV (12v), and other parasitic loads can drain the battery alone.
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:42 AM   #8
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If you are truly going to 11.6 you are killing your batteries. Below 70% charge you are taking cycles of charge away and at 50% is what most use as a recharge point.

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Old 01-25-2015, 11:54 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by AbdRahim View Post
The discussions of batteries and charging them has gotten quite complex. I have a prime Time Tracer TT and 2 Honda 2000 generators. what is the fastest or most efficient way to charge the TT battery? I thought if I plug into the 30 amp receptacle with the tow generators coupled or, even just one, that it would recharge the battery. Have I missed something?
Your rig should charge when towing - or when you plug the genset into the 30 amp connector.

Both of these schemes run through your converter and they are usually pretty poor chargers.

Any old box will put amps into your batts.

Most overcharge, or undercharge and few even bother with a temperature sensor.

The smart expensive ones fill them all the way without overheating or overcharging...

Your best best is to buy a very good multistage charger preferably with a temp sensor sized for your bank - and skip the converters charger whenever possible.


UD
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:51 PM   #10
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dagmandt,

the charger you are recomending is a bulk charger. When the batteries are charged, you need to turn it off. ( Backwoods mentions that ) There are some of us who have battery monitors to keep track of the state of charge, but the weekend camper would be better served by a smart 3 stage charger.

As far as the rest of the trailer not seeing 15.5 volts, that`s just not true. If you leave that charger on, after the batteries are fully charged, you will see 15.5 volts in the trailer.
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Old 01-25-2015, 07:23 PM   #11
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The IOTA charger mentioned in earlier posts does have an optional module that makes it a smart charger that won't over charge. We have been using this charger and extra module for years now in an off the grid Ham radio project. We have close to 8000 Ah at 12 volts.


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Old 01-25-2015, 08:18 PM   #12
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I have the same IOTA 55 amp charger with the module. Been running it since 2008, without a hitch.
The one mentioned earlier had been modified by Backwood solar to output 14.2 or 15.5 volts, with the jumper. They don`t mention the Smart module.
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Old 01-26-2015, 08:54 AM   #13
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dagmandt,

the charger you are recomending is a bulk charger. When the batteries are charged, you need to turn it off. ( Backwoods mentions that ) There are some of us who have battery monitors to keep track of the state of charge, but the weekend camper would be better served by a smart 3 stage charger.

As far as the rest of the trailer not seeing 15.5 volts, that`s just not true. If you leave that charger on, after the batteries are fully charged, you will see 15.5 volts in the trailer.
I wasn't clear in my post. My suggestions are based on a non-solar setup that relies on a generator for occasional charging. I have a battery cut off switch and I only use the charger with the generator to get the batteries up to full charge and use the cut-off switch so the battery is only getting a charge without any drain. In my trailer I don't have any sensitive electronics that would see negative impact from 15.4v if I were to not use the cut-off switch. I should have been more clear on the intended use for this charger...


I use the Iota for bulk charging after about 5 days of boondocking. I use my Honda 2000 to power the Iota and bring my batteries up to about 13v in about 2.5 hours which is about 12.8 resting. I use the 15.4v setting on the Iota. I then get another 5 days or so out of the batteries. While I do this, I have the battery cut-off switched and run the Iota off one plug of the generator and the shore power off the other so my trailer is still powered during charging. I use the built-in converter to maintain the full charge I get with the Iota in other circumstances where I have shore power.
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Old 01-26-2015, 08:56 AM   #14
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If you are truly going to 11.6 you are killing your batteries. Below 70% charge you are taking cycles of charge away and at 50% is what most use as a recharge point.

LEN
That is debatable and dependent on what data you believe and on the quality of your battery. I trust my sources on this topic which claim running WELL below 70% on a quality 6v battery is fine. I have had many discussions with Handy Bob on the topic and my gear. We decided 40% was a conservative figure to use for my batteries. Yep, that means I can use 60% of my charge while being conservative. I know there is always debate on this but I trust him completely and everything has worked exactly like he said it would. Generally I charge after 12v even but have gone as low as 11.6 on occasion. My batteries still charge and rest at 12.8v consistently and I get the same amp hours out of them as I did new. I prefer Crown 6v batteries... very good quality. Some say they are what Trojan used to be. I don't have experience with Trojan personally but know they are good as well from research and talking with experts. I only boondock a few times a year but all the info I have trusted has proven to be correct from my experience. Depending on your gear your mileage may vary
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