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Old 07-07-2016, 03:10 AM   #1
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DC to DC House Battery Charging?

I need new house deep cycle batteries and am thinking of getting serious deep cycle units rather than the marine/deep cycle hybrids I have been using. The latter have not served me well, although my lack of attendance to maintenance surely has not helped matters.

I am a backwoods truck camper and in the backwoods, I charge exclusively, and directly, via the alternator on my truck, which is capable of providing about 40 amps of power at 13.4 volts at the house batteries. The alternator puts out power at 14.0 volts, but it is down to 13.4 at the house batteries due to resistance losses.

Anyway, I have found appropriate flooded lead-acid 12v batteries from Trojan (J150s), but note that these require charging at 14.8 volts and will not fully charge at 13.4 (or even 14) volts. Indeed, the batteries will be damaged by charging at 13.4 volts on a regular basis (true, probably, for the batteries I have been using as well). Thus, I would need an electrical device that goes between the batteries and the alternator, to jack the bulk charge voltage up to 14.8 volts and, ideally, to provide three stage, microprocessor controlled charging. No such device is available, as far as I can tell.

OR, I could go with two 6 volt batteries in series, which charge at about 7.35 volts, and would need an electrical device that went between the alternator and batteries and provided appropriately regulated 7.35 volt controlled charging for at least 2 batteries. Again, as far as I can tell, no such product is available.

I do not have solar or a generator, and for practical reasons, these are not good options for me. Are there others in my situation who have cracked the problem?

Thanks!
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Old 07-07-2016, 04:42 AM   #2
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Look into "Sterling" battery to battery chargers.

Along with that, you may need to up-size the gauge of the wire carring the charge. If you go with an independent 8 or 6 gauge wire, you can cut your loss's. Don't forget to upgrade the ground too.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:02 AM   #3
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Using two six volt batteries in series is a fine idea, and highly recommended for house battery. However they charge as a pair and are the same as one 12 volt battery.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:23 AM   #4
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If you're going to spend money on new batteries maybe you should consider at least a portable solar setup. You could use the alternator and when home you could use the portable to properly charge and float your batteries.

Good luck!
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:50 AM   #5
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Not electrically efficient, but one could run an inverter off the truck battery that is being charged by the engine - and then a quality 3 stage converter/battery charger run via the inverter to charge the house batteries.
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:47 AM   #6
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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.
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:21 AM   #7
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There are dual alternator kits avalable for some engines. It still makes it nessessery to use a heavy gauge charging harness.

I do like the inverter powered charger idea. Just run a light gauge extension cord from the truck mounted inverter to a camper mounted charger. Remember to disconnect the original charge line while doing it, so you don't charge the battery that is running the inverter.
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:44 AM   #8
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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.
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:01 PM   #9
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I agree with the previous advice.....get a generator to power a good three stage charger like the two presented here

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Old 07-07-2016, 12:22 PM   #10
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You don't even need 2000 watts. A smaller quiet gennie (you'll drive yourself crazy first with a loud gennie, and if you have any neighbors they'll hate you for the noise) and a good battery charger will be much more efficient and practical for taking proper care of any batteries you put in that camper vs charging with the truck alternator. Even cheaper batteries will be better off this way.
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
Look into "Sterling" battery to battery chargers.

Along with that, you may need to up-size the gauge of the wire carring the charge. If you go with an independent 8 or 6 gauge wire, you can cut your loss's. Don't forget to upgrade the ground too.
Wow Twinboat, the Sterling charger looks to exactly what I have been looking for! How did I not find it in the ~50 Google searches I ran? Not all that expensive either. Thanks!

I did wire the system with 6 guage wire, from the battery to a separator to the house batteries, a run of about 12 feet. This calculates to be a 0.44 volt drop, a little less than I am seeing in actual practice (~0.5-6 volts), perhaps the difference is the separator. I have to look at what I did with the ground, I don't remember off of the top of my head.
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cv4wheeler View Post
perhaps the difference is the separator.
Every component and connection will have some resistance/loss.
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by vsheetz View Post
Not electrically efficient, but one could run an inverter off the truck battery that is being charged by the engine - and then a quality 3 stage converter/battery charger run via the inverter to charge the house batteries.
vsheetz--This had occurred to me, but as you indicate, it is not likely to be efficient and would appear to require some interesting wiring (i.e., I would need somebody's help to figure it out) if I planned to continue to use my inverter when camping to run appliances. Thanks!
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by cv4wheeler View Post
Wow Twinboat, the Sterling charger looks to exactly what I have been looking for! How did I not find it in the ~50 Google searches I ran? Not all that expensive either. Thanks!

I did wire the system with 6 guage wire, from the battery to a separator to the house batteries, a run of about 12 feet. This calculates to be a 0.44 volt drop, a little less than I am seeing in actual practice (~0.5-6 volts), perhaps the difference is the separator. I have to look at what I did with the ground, I don't remember off of the top of my head.
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.
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