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Old 06-01-2008, 03:10 PM   #1
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SUN #616
BobNKaren
Living With 12 Volts

We do a lot of boon docking and I depend on our batteries to run a machine all night for my sleep apnea. I use a pair of deep cycle group 27 batteries with the positive side tied together and have installed 2 heavy duty switches on the ground side to select either one or the other or both. I have a Honda 2000EI generator for the AC power. I found out that neither the on board charging system or the Honda DC charging system would bring up the batteries up in the 4 hour period that most national parks allow for generator running. I got a 3-stage charger that will produce up to 40 amps for charging, it also has levels of 4/10/20/40 amps available for charging. By being able to switch batteries I am able to run on one while charging the other. When I am running the generator the battery doing house battery duty will pick up some of the charge it needs, while the off line battery is charging off the automatic charger. At night when the generator is off I switch batteries and run off the fully charge battery. With this set up I have camped in freezing weather and ran the furnace and my machine all-night and still had battery reserve in the morning.

The batteryís are 5 years old and this season we will see if they still have the capacity for all night use and be able to recover the charge the next day.

As a note, the charging that comes from most of the newer (switching) on board power convert units will not put out enough of a charge to produce some electrolyte circulation in the battery (bubbles) which will cause acid stratification in the battery and can cause a false reading on a hygrometer. On the older linear type power converts if the voltage is too high it can boil the battery dry.

In one of the posts I saw some one had to replace the charging section of the power convert and he chose one of the 3 level charging units. I donít recall if he just bypassed the DC charging section of the power converter with a 3-stage charger or replaced the entire power center. I would opt for the by pass.

Keep on boon docking!

Bob
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Old 06-11-2008, 05:20 PM   #2
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SUN #115
emam
Hey Bob, have you looked into a few solar panels? If you do a fair amount of boondocking or drycamping, then one or two panels should bring up those batteries to full charge during the day time.

I know our 3 panels brings the 4 AGM 6 Volt batteries up no problem.

I think it's been 4 weeks now since we've been plugged in to shore power and we've yet to have to pull one of the Honda's out of the bed of the truck. The batteries are always full and there are plenty of times like today where I'm sitting on the computer playing catch-up for most of the day with the 2000 watt inverter running.

I dont think solar is cost effective for a weekend warrior, but for anyone who does a fair amount of camping, then it pays for itself pretty fast.
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Old 01-24-2009, 06:28 PM   #3
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SUN #292
Honda03842 is an unknown quantity at this point
SOlar Panels

What brand of Solar panels do you have?

Norm Milliard
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Old 01-31-2009, 11:33 AM   #4
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emam
Hey Norm, for any RV Solar setup, I'd recommend AMSolar.

Its a privately owned company, think husband and wife, who are amazing to talk with on the phone and will bend over backwards to answer any of your questions.

They have their solar panels made specifically for them and the panels are lighter and smaller than most of the competitors, yet produce just as much if not more than most of the competition.

Full Disclosure - I have no affiliation with them at all. They just are that nice to work with that I will go out of my way to recommend them to anyone and everyone looking to upgrade to solar.

I konw I've gotten numerous emails from readers of our webiste thanking me for the recommendation and all say they cant believe in this day in age how nice and curtious they were.

ALSO - When we bought our panesl a few years ago, I think we paid around $900 per panel. I was on their site the other day looking to see if they had anything new and noticed that the prices have fallen down to around $600 per panel

I guess as more people use them, the prices continue to drop! Good sign in my book
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Old 05-31-2009, 09:10 PM   #5
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SUN #616
BobNKaren
!2 volt power

Eman
sorry so long on the reply. We now are doing most of our camping in the not so sunny North East. Lot of trees get in the way. I had thought about solar but the numbers looked like we would need 3 panels. I opted for the generator to have a stable supply of power to keep the batteries charged for the C-PAP machine. In my case I felt that solar was out.

On our trip out west we had a stay at Lake Havasu state park with the temps in the 100 plus range and I found out that the Honda 2000EI would carry the air conditioner although I had to switch the fridge to propane.
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Old 09-20-2009, 11:01 PM   #6
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SUN #207
Shelly
charging batteries in the deep dark forest

Bob said "I got a 3-stage charger that will produce up to 40 amps for charging, it also has levels of 4/10/20/40 amps available for charging. "

Where's a good place to get a 3-stage charger? We were out camping in the woods in western WA state where the campgrounds are very shady and noticed that charging batteries via plugging into the trailer or the optional charger that comes with the Honda 2k didn't do the job unless we ran the generator way longer than the rangers/hosts allow.
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:18 AM   #7
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BobNKaren
I got my charger from Wal Mart about 3 years ago it is a Black & Decker Smart Charger model VEC1093DBD made by Vector. I have seen the same unit with the Vector name.
When the current batteries give up the ghost I plan to replace them with 2 six-volt deep cycle batteries. Right now I have a mix of a group 24 and a group 27 that switch around between charging and powering the trailer. I have found that with this charger I can restore the charge in about 4 hours if I use the 40-amp output.
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