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Old 06-02-2021, 02:00 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb750 View Post
how would I be able to use household electricity without an inverter?
Answer, you can't. So you decide what hill you choose to die on -
  • big inverter, runs everything, easy, power hungry.
  • smaller inverter runs some things, other things on DC, requires some thought, less power hungry
  • no inverter, everything is DC, requires more thought and maybe concessions, least power hungry
My laptop would normally operate/charge from 120V but I have a power brick for car operation. So technically it's an "inverter" (20VDC) but it allows operation from 12VDC input. There are monitors that will run from 12V. My router is a linksys and runs from 12V. Most everything else is USB, and 12-5V USB power sockets and adapters are ubiquitous anymore. So depending on what hardware you have, or what you're willing to use, you can go "pure" DC, a hybrid or full AC and choose how efficient you want to be.

Back in my "camping" days I had a spartan solar setup where I ran a 486 laptop with a compact flash card instead of a disk drive. Pretty slow but the thing only drew like 300mA. Where there's a will there's a way...

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Old 06-02-2021, 03:39 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biljol View Post
I would not be using LA one of the first things I would change on any coach. So the switch to lithium would get you charged in a 2-3 hours.

BTW most solar geeks would say lithium and solar goes hand in hand, your fighting a loosing battle with LA and solar too many charge cycles.
Interesting but........... In the interest of THIS thread, the OP is talking about using AGM batteries. I wasn't entering into a philosophical discussion with you only helping the OP understand your comment as it relates to HIS proposed system.....But if you want to talk hypothetical then that's a whole different conversation
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Old 06-02-2021, 06:19 PM   #31
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Interesting but........... In the interest of THIS thread, the OP is talking about using AGM batteries. I wasn't entering into a philosophical discussion with you only helping the OP understand your comment as it relates to HIS proposed system.....But if you want to talk hypothetical then that's a whole different conversation

I agree I was pointing out that I think $ are better spent on lithium than solar. I was trying to address the overall picture of his solution.

IMHO power upgrade regardless of usage should be.

1. lithium I believe more bang for the buck 1200 gets you 400ah of charge that will charge quickly and last much longer than any LA.

2. Small genny (if not wanting to run the big one) once again best bang for the buck for money out energy in.

3. Fuel for the big genny you own same reason as small genny.

4. Solar system, in my opinion this is more of a personal preference $ for $ I think fuel for a genny is better $ spent. Now there are many reasons why others would prefer to put solar higher on the list but IMHO the ROI is not there yet. It may be possible using santan solar panels at 40 for 250 watts but the ROI is a long time coming. This also depends on how you use your coach full-time boondocking the ROI will be faster vs how I use my coach, mine sits in the garage 80% of the year so ROI is very long. So the use of solar is more of an emotional choice rather than logical for most.

In reality there is not right or wrong answer to the OP question we have a good idea of his usage but not of the lifestyle. I don’t remember how much of his time is boondocking (getting old) so solar may be a good option.

His amp hour usage is low and yes you could put up the solar so all you daily usage is solar powered and it may get your batteries to full charge for the overnight but you need to evaluate the cost of the solar vs other power generation and decide what’s best for your lifestyle and beliefs.

I know a couple people have spent 10,000+ on solar just because they don’t want he environment to be harmed from the genny and that’s right for them. They already know they would spend less for the same energy they would have made using a fossil fuel over their ownership of the system but that is their choice.

Ok I am off my soap box for now.
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Old 06-02-2021, 08:08 PM   #32
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Some thoughts. Does your existing inverter properly power your devices?
Many inverters are modified sine wave verses more expensive pure sine wave inverters. Pure sine wave inverters are better for electronics.

The reason for the small generator is it uses less fuel and of course makes less noise. Your large 6500W generator will do the job, but you are not using most of its power and using more fuel.

Solar is nice but only works during peak sunlight hours. And that means not parking in the shade. Solar power is used to charge your battery bank.
Also, do not fall into the classic mistake of confusing solar watts with amps. A typical 600W solar setup will only produce about 20-30 amps during peak sunlight.
Excellent points; expecially as he is using electronics for his work.

And as to peak sunlight - that is a factor of latitude and angle of the panels to the sun.
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Old 06-02-2021, 10:25 PM   #33
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Is a smaller generator worth it?

I thought that by using the larger generator, the batteries would charge faster, thereby requiring less charging time.

Apparently that isn't the case, because as the batteries get closer to being charged, they take fewer amps, right? In which case, may as well go with the smaller generator.

The problem is that the smaller generator is $500.

So, $500 for the generator, $1000 for solar - things are adding up quickly. How many hours of generator time will $1500 in gas get me?

Just a friendly reminder that I live and work full-time in this motorhome. With my water usage, I can boondock for 14 days quite comfortably, so once electricity is solved I'm good to go. Solved for me means no service interruptions. I like solar because it means less noise, and less generator use.
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Old 06-02-2021, 11:09 PM   #34
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Is a smaller generator worth it?

I thought that by using the larger generator, the batteries would charge faster, thereby requiring less charging time.
That is all based on your charger not your generator. Even a 120 amp 12v charger will only use about 10 amp of 120 volt power. This means that your 6500 watt generator puts out over 6 times the amount of power you can even use for charger. My guess is that you have a 60 amp charger at best meaning your 6500 watt generator is over 12 the amount of power you can use.
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Old 06-02-2021, 11:32 PM   #35
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So this is where the small genny comes in

1. they are very quiet running outside you probably will not hear it in the coach

2. You will probably get 8-10 hr of run time on one gallon of fuel.

So let’s assume 3.00 for a gallon of gas, solar is going to cost let’s say 1500.00 but I think it would be more so 1500-500 for the genny and your down to 1k that will buy you 333 gallons of gas so that’s 333 days of running the genny for 8-10 hours.

That’s assuming you need to run it for that long each day. Now you could also get a small genny that runs on propane (would be better anyway) and the number of days goes even higher for your 1000 and you don’t have to mess with filling up the tank you can use your big onboard tank.

In the long run you would be better off IMHO anyway because your big genny will make a lot of power you don’t/can’t use burning more fuel than you need to, and you will need an alternate power source when your solar will not fill the battery’s so even with solar I think you would be ahead.

I know you already got AMG but in the future if you switch to lithium you can charge them in 2-3 hours off the small genny.

We have a residential refrigerator in our unit with 0 power conservation we charge our battery’s in 3 hr once a day for 400 ah. If we conserve our battery’s we charge for 3 hrs every other day and that’s with using the coffee maker and microwave.
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Old 06-03-2021, 01:43 AM   #36
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So this is where the small genny comes in

2. You will probably get 8-10 hr of run time on one gallon of fuel.
.
If your small generator is powering a 10 to 12 amp draw, you need to cut your run time in half.
You can't use the generators brochures best effecency numbers out in the real world.
A battery charger isn't 100 % effecent either. A 70 amp Progressive charger will draw 10.5 amps at full output.
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Old 06-03-2021, 01:47 AM   #37
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I am retired so no need to work on the road, but I did somewhat what you are thinking..I think after reading this post..
With state parks etc probably being reserved to death, I had a plan.
I purchased a Micro-soft start for my A/C...Costco had a swell offer of $100. off an A-1 Yamaha 2300 Gennie for $399...So for a reasonable cost to me I went for it..The A-1 would not power my A/C..My pal next to me loaned me his Honda 2000 and it did it no problem...
Fortunately Costco has an excellent return policy and I got my $432. back..
So....be careful...about what some places advertise, I could have lost my $$$ and got stuck with something I didn't need..
My Winnebago has a 4K Onan but too loud in case I needed A/C in the boonies..
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Old 06-03-2021, 05:17 AM   #38
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So, $500 for the generator, $1000 for solar - things are adding up quickly. How many hours of generator time will $1500 in gas get me?

Just a friendly reminder that I live and work full-time in this motorhome. With my water usage, I can boondock for 14 days quite comfortably, so once electricity is solved I'm good to go. Solved for me means no service interruptions. I like solar because it means less noise, and less generator use.
Before you spend serious bucks on solar, you can spend less than $75 (and a little installation effort) to save more on the consumption side than a100w panel can produce. Install a couple of 12v/usb outlets to power your devices. By eliminating their converter bricks, you eliminate “roundtripping” (dc to ac to dc). Install a disconnect switch on your inverter, which uses power even when n standby mode.

Then start with one mppt controller, and one 100w solar panel. A good mppt will allow you to hook up more panels later if you decide it’s needed. The panel can be roof mount or portable. A 100w portable panel can produce more power than two roof panels, if you’re willing to chase the sun. If not just start with one roof panel

You’ll find out quickly how many amps you need to replace daily, and then you can decide whether more solar is worth it. This strategy gets you going for less than $500. Don’t scrimp on the mppt if you even think you might add more panels. A 75/15 can handle 400w if panels are wired in series pairs then parallel.
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Old 06-03-2021, 09:09 AM   #39
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I THINK WE'RE REACHING THE END OF THIS JOURNEY

I'm all but convinced on the small generator route. If they really are as quiet as advertised then I'm on board. That would mean no solar and a quiet generator.

I think this is the final question:

Can I use an inverter/generator with the 2x190ah batteries that I have? I can't return them so figure out I should try I would still run the generator during the day but if I have a draw that exceeds what it can put out, hopefully it can draw from the batteries. It will also keep the batteries topped off.
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Old 06-03-2021, 09:43 AM   #40
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You're going to want to use your inverter and batteries no matter what. The discussion here wasn't your storage and loads, it was how to keep them fed. The way it's going to work out is you're going to be running off of batteries some percentage of the time (nights, quiet times), and depending on your usage from time to time you'll be firing off the generator to replenish them. Whether that's for brief periods a few times a day, one long run per day or some combination will depend on your draws and constraints of your location.

From time to time I'll take my 2kW inverter genset camping, even though I have an on board 4kW onan. For just topping off the batteries with this size genset the engine only perceptibly comes up from low "eco" mode and after running it 75 feet out into the woods (locked to a tree...) you can't hear it puttering away at all inside the RV. So if you don't need A/C a "medium" size inexpensive inverter generator can easily check the box. I had an inclination at one point to get a 1kW being smaller and lighter but I borrowed a buddy's a while back, and the 1kW running full bore was noisier than my 2kW in eco mode, so that's the direction I went.

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Old 06-03-2021, 10:30 AM   #41
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I've gone down the same path as you. After boondocking around 75 nights since October here's what I've figured out:

We can last 2-3 days on battery only power (never dropping below 50% of our 550ah capacity.) Our usage is LIGHT (most likely similar to yours.)
- Full time 2x laptop usage (both charge on 12v USB adapters.)
- 5 phones (2x personal phones and 3 x used for hotspots -- again, wired to 12v USB adapters.)
- Wireless router (12v)
- Raspberry Pi (12v)
- Furnace (clearly only needed during the winter but we spent a LOT of time winter boondocking and this was our biggest power sucker.)
- Absorption Fridge (doesn't seem to use much.)
- 12v lighting (all LED)

We only need to turn the inverter on to use the microwave (rare) or the TV (for maybe a couple of hours in the evening.)

I don't mind running the generator (6.5kw) to recharge batteries but it's not always convenient when in urban environments or if you forget to top off during the afternoon (we always try to error on being great neighbors rather than good neighbors.) I much prefer to run the gen while driving to top things up.

We have since learned that in warm weather it's almost completely necessary to run the gen full time to use the AC. Last weekend we were in Nashville and it was mid 80s and quite humid. Even parked in the shade we had to run genset. I don't see a way around this.

We are however still adding 1000 watts of solar. This is mainly just to "automate" as much of our system as possible. It drives me crazy to turn the inverter on in the evening and not have enough power to run the TV. Solar should hopefully prevent it from happening and at less than $1000 in total cost seems like a no-brainer.

I don't see the value in lithium at this point for a Class A. The cost of those batteries is coming down so quickly that I'll retire my AGM in 2-3 years and be able to replace with lithium for a minimal premium.
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Old 06-03-2021, 03:59 PM   #42
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Most likely you can not supplement the inverter power with battery’s unless you have a hybrid inverter this allows you to take all available power from the genny and then pull extra from the battery’s if needed.

What will happen is you will power from the genny when it on and charge the battery with the overage.

So if your using 1000watts and your small genny is or could put out 2000 the extra 1000 goes to the battery’s.

With a hybrid inverter if you need 3000 watts and your genny is only providing 2000 it will get the 1000 from the battery’s.
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