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Old 07-07-2016, 01:07 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by John Hilley View Post
An automotive electrical shop may be able to alter your existing alternator or provide you with an adjustable voltage output. It is possible on some to convert from internal to external adjustable voltage regulator.
John
I checked this out at your excellent suggestion--this seems to be a burning issue with the people who have gigantic music systems in their cars, they modify their alternators to put out a higher voltage. I guess typical alternators are designed to put out something like 16v natively and are regulated down under normal conditions, and this can be hacked to achieve higher voltages in some cases.

Doing this myself seemed to be very daunting, especially with the internally regulated alternators used on GMC trucks of my era, beyond my skill level, I could try to find somebody to do this for me, and there may even be plug-n-play options, e.g.

GM Modules

However, to achieve the 14.8 volts that the Trojan batteries seek, I would have to put ~15.3 volts out of the alternator, accounting for transmission losses in my 6 gauge wire. I would be afraid of frying all of the electrical components in the truck at this voltage.
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:20 PM   #16
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I believe he has a truck mounted camper, so no need to run a line to the camper. It can be hard wired. I believe that the amount of time to run the truck engine to complete a full charge is some what impractical. I think a small inverter generator would be the best solution.
John, and others who have offered help

Truck mounted camper, correct. Yes, this effort also corresponds to an increased need for amps to run a BIPAP machine (CPAP on steroids) for 8 hours every night, chewing up about 70 amp hours of capacity, far more than in the past. Add in power used on the heater, fans, TV etc and I am going to need to replace ~100 AH per night.

So the generator + charger seems to be necessary. However, the suggested 2000 watt generator seems to be overkill, as it produces about 2x the power needed to charge the batteries at the 20% rate, which is about the maximum rate for these deep cycle batteries (the manufacturer actually recommends no more than 13%).The 1000 watt Honda would appear to be a good match, although I see it costs almost the same as the 2000 watt generator. Much lighter, however.

Expensive new batteries, charger, generator--time to sell some blood!
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:25 PM   #17
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If your using a diode type seperator, the engine battery is controling the alt. output, not the lower voltage house battery.

There is a better mousetrap. Its called a combiner. "Yandina.com" or "Cyrix", among others make them.

Yandina has a lot of info, in the FAQ section, on their site.
I have a relay type battery separator, not a diode. So I think the alternator sees the low voltage of the discharged house batteries when the truck is running.
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:53 PM   #18
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The 1000 watt Honda would appear to be a good match, although I see it costs almost the same as the 2000 watt generator. Much lighter, however.
Personally, I would go Honda, Yamaha, Champion, or Generac. If you can live on 800 watts continuous power, here is one that is not expensive at $319 (to purchase, but I have no idea if they are reliable or run efficiently):
https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...2907_200402907

There is also a website that you can buy generators (almost all Generac if my memory serves) that Costco for some reason can't sell again, I think they were quality problem returns and get refurbished, then sold, but I can't remember the site address or name.

Since you like to get way out in the woods like I do, I can't recommend solar, which would do a fine job of charging if you had a clear view of the sky all day, and be silent.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:13 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by cv4wheeler View Post
John, and others who have offered help



Truck mounted camper, correct. Yes, this effort also corresponds to an increased need for amps to run a BIPAP machine (CPAP on steroids) for 8 hours every night, chewing up about 70 amp hours of capacity, far more than in the past. Add in power used on the heater, fans, TV etc and I am going to need to replace ~100 AH per night.



So the generator + charger seems to be necessary. However, the suggested 2000 watt generator seems to be overkill, as it produces about 2x the power needed to charge the batteries at the 20% rate, which is about the maximum rate for these deep cycle batteries (the manufacturer actually recommends no more than 13%).The 1000 watt Honda would appear to be a good match, although I see it costs almost the same as the 2000 watt generator. Much lighter, however.

Get a lifeline brand AGM deep cycle battery. They can be charged at much higher rates than flooded wet cells, and are true deep cycle batteries. If you need 100AH then buy at least 200AH.....as you don't want to discharge a battery below 50% depth of charge.

I would buy the 2000 watt generator, as like you say there isn't much difference in price,
and running at half its capacity will make it quieter and live longer than a 1000 watt unit that runs at full throttle all the time.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:38 PM   #20
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Personally, I would go Honda, Yamaha, Champion, or Generac. If you can live on 800 watts continuous power, here is one that is not expensive at $319 (to purchase, but I have no idea if they are reliable or run efficiently):
https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...2907_200402907

There is also a website that you can buy generators (almost all Generac if my memory serves) that Costco for some reason can't sell again, I think they were quality problem returns and get refurbished, then sold, but I can't remember the site address or name.

Since you like to get way out in the woods like I do, I can't recommend solar, which would do a fine job of charging if you had a clear view of the sky all day, and be silent.
Yes, 2/3 of the time I am parked under a tree in the Sierras or beyond, so solar would not work. Solar would work in the 1/3 time I am in the Mojave desert though.
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Old 07-08-2016, 06:39 AM   #21
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GM Modules

However, to achieve the 14.8 volts that the Trojan batteries seek, I would have to put ~15.3 volts out of the alternator, accounting for transmission losses in my 6 gauge wire. I would be afraid of frying all of the electrical components in the truck at this voltage.

The electronics in many of our MH's see 15+ volts depending on the temps. The other thing you could do is put larger gauge wires and you'll have less DC voltage drop.
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Old 07-08-2016, 01:04 PM   #22
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The electronics in many of our MH's see 15+ volts depending on the temps. The other thing you could do is put larger gauge wires and you'll have less DC voltage drop.
15 volts, that would be about right for bulk battery charging. Yes, larger wires could recoup, realistically, about 0.2 volt. I have some time today and plan to take a number of readings with my volt meter and clamp-on ammeter.

I took actual measurements, and the new BIPAP machine only really draws about 45 watts, not the 90 watts rated output of the power block. This is actually consistent with what the manufacturer says (when all else fails, read the directions), good that it all agrees. Half the AH I thought it would need then. Then I find out that they offer a direct dc-to-dc power supply for the BIPAP, which mitigates the need to run the big house inverter all night in dc-ac-dc mode. This should save about 10 AH over the current set up.

So net savings 50 AH per night, equal to about 20% of my planned battery banks capacity, not bad for two hours work!
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Old 07-08-2016, 02:46 PM   #23
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I would really look at maybe doing some light modification. They have a piece of equipment out there for lack of a better word a quickdafier I think that's what you call it is on alternatorparts.com. I would install a pair of 6 volt Trojans or something like them in series get your 12 volts. Then add this piece of equipment it is a small modification for your alternator not that box next to your 6 volt batteries and every time you start up a run down the road you are charging your vehicle and also charging the house the house batteries. Not an expert trust me I'm not. But something that you really truly want to look into... Dusty
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Old 07-08-2016, 04:34 PM   #24
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We have a Class A motor home with 5500 watt generator, but use our Honda 2000 watt almost exclusively when boondocking. One reason to go with the 2000 watt Honda is what you can do with the extra power while charging. We use an electric heater or coffee maker while charging.
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Old 07-08-2016, 10:45 PM   #25
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I would really look at maybe doing some light modification. They have a piece of equipment out there for lack of a better word a quickdafier I think that's what you call it is on alternatorparts.com. I would install a pair of 6 volt Trojans or something like them in series get your 12 volts. Then add this piece of equipment it is a small modification for your alternator not that box next to your 6 volt batteries and every time you start up a run down the road you are charging your vehicle and also charging the house the house batteries. Not an expert trust me I'm not. But something that you really truly want to look into... Dusty
Hmmm, interesting, another thing I didn't know about yesterday! More research is needed. Interesting that there are so may approaches to the same problem. Thanks!
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Old 07-08-2016, 10:54 PM   #26
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We have a Class A motor home with 5500 watt generator, but use our Honda 2000 watt almost exclusively when boondocking. One reason to go with the 2000 watt Honda is what you can do with the extra power while charging. We use an electric heater or coffee maker while charging.
My only concern with this is that the generator is relatively heavy at 50 pounds, and getting it into and out of my lifted truck/camper might get to be a bit difficult. Sadly, I am not as strong or nimble as I used to be, and now I need to figure the ravages of age into my purchasing decisions, especially stuff that I intend to use for many years into my dotage. Like I yearn for that manual transmission 435 horsepower V-8 Mustang too, but with my increasingly bad knees, I might just opt for the automatic! Or a 4 cylinder Honda.
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Old 07-10-2016, 11:13 AM   #27
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I I'm just curious. Let us know what you figure out. And what works for you. We all were here.! Including me. Thank you... Dusty
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Old 07-10-2016, 02:29 PM   #28
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I I'm just curious. Let us know what you figure out. And what works for you. We all were here.! Including me. Thank you... Dusty
OK, here is where I am at:

I decided to retest the camper charging system that I have in place (attachment of the camper batteries to the truck battery/alternator via a relay automatic disconnect). I was shocked to find that only 20 amps were being sent to the camper batteries, much less than the 35-40 I measured a few years ago. After several hours of trying to figure it out, I discovered that the replacement battery stud clamps I had put into the camper a year ago were terribly designed, with very little exposed conductive metal (most of the metal was painted and non-conductive), and they were corroded to boot. I fixed all of that and am back charging at 35-40 amps!

I have an old (circa 1985) 650 watt Honda generator, which I had assumed was too little to do any good for charging the camper batteries. It had not run in a while, and it took a bit of work, but I got it running fine at a constant output of about 440 watts (34 amps). 34 amps, not too bad for $0 spent.

As indicated, I ordered a direct dc-to-dc power supply for my BIPAP machine, which should substantially reduce the nightly demand on the batteries by avoiding the need to run the 1000 watt DC to AC converter I have.

So this is what I am going to do:

1) Buy the Sterling Power Dc-to-DC 50 amp charger to recharge the batteries properly when I am driving around and, in a pinch, when idling in camp.
Sterling Battery-to-Battery Charger - 12V-12V I am assuming that this will work with my 105 amp Delphi 130D alternator, if not, see 3 below. It is possible that this unit will be incompatible with the SurePower battery isolater https://www.waytekwire.com/item/8000...5-200-Battery/ I currently have installed, I have sent Sterling an inquiry about this. Worst case, I just retire the isolator, I think.

2) Buy 2 or maybe 3 new high quality real flooded deep cycle batteries. AGM might be nice, but I have tried these in the past with very poor results, even when charged with a charger designed for AGM batteries. If I go with 6 volt flooded batteries, it can only be 2 of them, as they have to be added 2 at a time, and I don't think I have room for 4 batteries. It is possible to go with 3 12 volt deep cycle batteries, as they can be added in any number. These options offer a range of about 230 to 400 amp hours capacity at the 10 hour discharge rate. Conventional wisdom says go with the 6 volt batteries, but is this really true if the 12 volt batteries are real deep cycle batteries? I have not been able to find all of the information from Trojan that I would need to make a decision. Crown is another choice for batteries, but only their 6 volt batteries would fit in my 12" high compartment (that is, for batteries of adequate capacity), not their 12 volt. The Trojan J150s seem to be the best 12 volt choice http://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/dat...ata_Sheets.pdf Trojan T145s for 6 volt http://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/dat...ata_Sheets.pdf
or Crown GC2H CR-260, Crown Deep Cycle Commercial Battery Handybob recommends the crown batteries over the Trojans--he is either the ultimate information resource or totally insane, not sure which https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com .

3) I would do the above install, and then see what happens to the alternator on the truck. If I judge that the alternator is being overstressed, I would add either one of the external quickdafiers https://alternatorparts.com/quicktif...rectifier.html or just put in a new high output heavy duty alternator, relatively inexpensive and a job I can easily do myself. https://www.dcpowerinc.com/fit/GMC~S...oduct_overview Then I would have the old alternator as a spare, not a bad idea given the places I go to camp.

4 Then I will add a 120 volt to 12 volt charging system. The manufacturer of my camper suggests, and currently installs, the Iota IQ4 chargers, e.g. https://www.amazon.com/DLS-45-AUTOMA.../dp/B0074JVN3S This is likely what I will go with. I am assuming that the "45 amp" charger will do OK on fewer amps, i.e. the 34 amps (3.7 amps 120 v) provided by the generator I have, but I need to confirm this with Iota, if I can get them to respond to my inquiry. I am assuming it would just put out fewer amps to the batteries, but I don't know. I could install a 30A IQ4 charger, but then I would have no head room should I decide to go with a bigger generator. 45 amps is about the highest output I would want if I run ~230 AHs worth of batteries. If I have 400 AH of capacity, I could go with a bigger unit. It is all a compromise, as even slower charging rates would extend the batteries lifetime, but make my life more difficult.

5. Solar would be nice, but given the design of my pop up 4 Wheel camper, it is not really feasible GRANDBY POP-UP (8.0' LONG BED) - Four Wheel Campers | Low Profile, Light Weight, Pop-up Truck Campers . And besides, most of the time I am camping under the forest, and solar would not be of use. Too bad, though. On any other type of rig I would probably put in some solar.

So I need more data from Iota, Sterling, Trojan and Crown before I can make my final choices.

This group has been tremendously helpful, thanks! I will attempt to stay involved both to ask for and give assistance! I will give an update as I get equipment installed.
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