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Old 03-19-2007, 06:57 AM   #15
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A small generator will serve your purpose, and some will go for 8 hours on a gallon of gas, but be sure to get a good battery charger to go along with it. The generator will run the battery charger and just about anything else you want to power up while you are burning gas.

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Old 03-19-2007, 04:49 PM   #16
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You didn't say you needed to be... frugal!!

http://www.solareagle.com/homebrew.html is a great site for solar "home-brewed" projects. Look down the list on the left-hand side under "CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS". Go to the "MAIN INDEX" for more stuff.

Like this solar generator which they say will run you about $300 to put together.

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Old 03-19-2007, 07:26 PM   #17
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We had 3 solar panels installed on the roof of our TT which then link to 4 6-volt Batteries which then power a 2000watt inverter.

Granted the system wasnt cheap, we probably spent 6-7 Grand total, but so far we've been able to go for five full days running everything like we would if were plugged into shore power without a blink in the system. I'd like to be able to see if we can go for longer, but 5 days is the longest we've been able to go before we need to restock our fresh water and empty our black/grey tanks.

Since we've had our system installed, I've found out that one small wind turbine will produce 400watts of power and be more than our 3 panels would produce at a full load?! Now if you were going to be staying anywhere you knew you had a steady wind supply, that would be the set up to go with. Then you dont need to bother with a gas/oil/noisy/smelly generator polluting the pristine sound we're all looking for while boondocking.

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Old 03-21-2007, 07:02 AM   #18
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Bob, here is required reading for you!
If you read this and still have questions then this is the place to ask them.

All about Batteries & RV electric systems

Good luck, Glenn.[/QUOTE]

Wonderful info there! Thanks so much!!!
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Old 03-22-2007, 03:24 AM   #19
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Bob, You are very welcome That is what these forums are for!

Best to ya, Glenn.
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Old 03-22-2007, 08:04 AM   #20
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We have a solar panel and generator. I have considered a wind generator, but to get the 400 watts you need close to 20 mph wind and the power drops off fast at lower wind speeds. We usually use the generator 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour at dinner time. Between the solar panel and this our batteries stay charged. One nice thing about the generator, is that it can be used for emergency power at home and also to run power tools away from the house.
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Old 03-23-2007, 12:07 AM   #21
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by BobCaesar:
Oh really! I was thinking a thousand $, which just to charge a battery sounds like a lot!
I'll sure look into the smaller ones.

Thanks for the tip! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

A quick check at Harbour Freight reveals three models in the $199 to $300 range. One is very quiet and compact. Your local Costco/Sams Club may have something similar.


The cheapest Honda EU is almost $700 at Camping world.
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Old 04-12-2007, 09:23 PM   #22
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Cheap generators can be heard for miles when boondocking. It's amazing how far that noise travels. Just because you're not in a campground doesn't mean no one is going to hear it.

If you use your vehicle buy a quality set of jumper cables, charging through your 6 or 7 pin connector will take forever. The gauge of wire too small and way too long. You'd be lucky to get 5 amps clear back to your battery.
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Old 07-10-2007, 02:19 PM   #23
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My wife and I love to boondock (hey, I just learned a new word!). We have done it exclusively for years but I never knew what it was called until joining this forum :-) (Guess I need to "get out" more!)

We have an old 84 28' Itasca. I have one regular cheap 12V battery for the motor's needs and keep in the battery hull a large 12V truck battery that Sams sells to power the house lights. (Just regular cheap auto/truck batteries.) Recharging these without 120V power (after they completely cycle down after 2-3 days) using the factory electrical setup is impossible (i.e. where a heater or other fan, TV set inverter, etc would be used).

As a solution before the fuel price jump but today rather costly, I had installed a 10 gauge wire from engine battery + terminal to the house lights + battery terminal, connected through a 30A breaker toggle switch combo (computer mainframe junk store) and ran that also through a 60A amp meter so I can see how much my house battery is charging when the engine is running. I start the engine, turn on the lights to cause the alternator to pump up the juice, throw the switch on and after charging the battery for 45 minutes to an hour, it gives us just enough power to keep the electronics of the frig (on gas) and the fan in the central heater running through another 40o mountain night.

What I want to do is buy a super high output battery charger and plug it in the gen set so I can use the gallon an hour gen instead of the 5 gallon an hour motor. I haven't done that yet and what I was poking around here for was to see if others have conquered finding the best charger for this need (without buying some ultra expensive specialty charger). I was thinking of maybe stripping the guts out of a $60 Cost-Mart heavy duty charger on wheels, mounting it in an empty spot under my frig and finding some magical formula for stepping down the amperage selections (i.e. maybe 200 amp start power for X minutes, 50 amp for Y minutes, then 20 amp setting for Z minutes. I don't want to burn up my batteries but I also
don't want to waste fuel.

Historically I have kept a keen eye on my additional amp meter to see just how long it takes to charge this large truck battery after a week of letting it cycle down to its lowest point and just putting a "top off" charge on it each morning with my special setup. It takes about 6 hours at road speeds to do it.

So what am I saying here, for those others reading yes trust the info here that charging a battery is not so easy as it seems if there is no 120V outlet nearby ;-).

And for those who are an expert at it, what workable formula have you come up with using a large charger and getting the most per gallon of fuel without smoking the batteries?

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Old 07-23-2007, 09:12 AM   #24
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I have a small travel trailer and while I like to camp in out of the way places, I also like to travel around a lot seeing the sites. What I do is carry two batteries. One is on my trailer and the second is on the floor of my truck. When the battery on my trailer gets low I switch it with the one in my truck. I then hook up the used battery to my cigarette lighter. As I travel around sight seeing I am also charging my spare battery. This has worked well for me for several years.
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:23 AM   #25
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Interesting! Two people have now suggested an extra set of batteries - I had not thought of that at all! Thanks - Bob
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:45 AM   #26
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We use a honda 1000 invert gen, because mof the surge protector hard wired in small gens won't entr the alpenlite. Using the 1000 to make power to the 15 amp manual battery charger that has the end changed to fit the front on the trailer like when you plug into your truck. This works very good for our 4 batteries and then the invert make electricity.
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Old 07-31-2007, 01:13 AM   #27
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by BobCaesar:
I should have mentioed we live in rural NW Wyoming (Yellowstone Country)and camp only in remote locations here and in Southern Utah. We often take our horses along so are not often near anyone. Would only run 12v lights, water pump, but sparlingly.

Now I am thinking of the pros & cons of charging TT batteries using jumper cables direct from the tow vehicle battery to the TT batteries. Is that too much, too fast? A generator would be nice, but $?

Thanks for all the great help!!!

Bob </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

If you're not trying to run A/C with it, the little Champion 1200watt/1500Peak generator would work fine for running a good 3 stage battery charge on to recharge your battery bank. It goes for about 6.5-7 hrs on 1.5 gallones of regular gasoline, and is about 65 decibels sound wise. I personally own one that I use to run my A/C and a battery charger on my camper (Little 5000 BTU window unit) and the generator never leaves idle. Its as loud as any honda genny when it leaves it's eco mode, which happens anytime you put a load on it (the honda).
Schucks/Kraken Auto Supply http://www.partsamerica.com Has the one I have for $199.

They also have a 4000 watt unit that has a 30amp plug on it and would have ample power to run a good-sized A/C unit and charge your battieres at the same time, its $299. They come with a State of California Approved Spark Arrestor kit, but the wheel kit for the bigger one you have to buy seperately.

I have personally compared mine to its honda counter part and both are similarly loud, the honda is quieter only when its in econo mode or not under load. The champs put out the same noise level at all times.

However, if you do plan to run more sensitive eletronics, like laptops, etc, a honda would be a better alternative as they use inverter based power vs a standard spun coil generator. A battery charger won't care too much either way as it converts the power down to low voltaged DC.
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:29 PM   #28
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I am just going to toss out my ideas... if we are in a campsite without really close neighbors and are doing something that requires power I will run the genset and then just let it do the charging for a couple hours so it sees some use... if we are in a close camping area we carry a Honda 2000i and just hook that to the shoreline and life is very quiet unless we run the A\C but most times we just open the windows... depending on the tree coverage. The other thing I would suggest is going to 2 6V golf cart batteries they take a bit more to charge but have a much longer life in my experience.... Hope this helps..

I hope whoever has my new truck is taking care of it....

What I have... 30 Foot Thor Wanderer.
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