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Old 03-09-2008, 03:58 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2008
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SUN #539
help with generator decision

Hi Everyone. I've got a 2003 model 2499 and I'm looking to do some boondocking. I'm willing to spend some $$$s on a good battery or two, but want to keep them charged. Does anyone know if a 1000 watt Yamaha generator (which would fit in the pass through compartment) would be enough to keep a charge on the batteries for 4-5 days of light use (no AC, only minimal, if any microwave, but using radio and laptop computer)? I would plan to run the genset an hour or so a day? Any other suggestions welcomed. Solar is too expensive and don't want any more holes in my roof! Any suggestions on best deep-cycle batteries also appreciated. Thanks for any help.

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Old 03-09-2008, 05:20 PM   #2
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SUN #105

A 1000 watt generator will be fine for charging your battery but will not be sufficient for the microwave. As most microwaves can use up to 1500 watts you'd be better off with a 2000 watt generator. Depending how much usage your battery gets it may take several hours to fully charge it. I use 2 six volt golf cart batteries and get much more use from them than I did two 12 V deep cell batteries. I find I don't have to charge as often with this setup also.


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Old 03-09-2008, 05:59 PM   #3
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Ditto to Mike's advice. The 1K Yamaha or Honda are fine for maintaining a charge on your batteries. But I think you'll find that you'd need to run it more often than 4-5 days between recharges. That, of course, depends on consumption. And the quality of the charger in your Sunline. The direct 12vdc output of these generators is OK, but not the equal of a high grade, high output battery charger.

The more you boondock, the more 12vdc you use. I do things like swap out the regular bulbs in the interior lights for smaller ones that use less juice. I use candles or oil lamps more, and lights less. I make sure the anti-sweat strip on the trailer's refrigerator is off. I pull the fuse on the porpane leak detector and I pull the fuse for the onboard AM/FM radio system. Both of them draw juice 24/7; the radio even when off.

The Yamaha or Honda 2K generators are the hands-down favorites among most RVer's that I've met, especially those of us who dry camp in the New York State campgrounds that don't have hookups.

Both of these generators have enough output to recharge your batteries and they can handle your microwave oven, or DW's hair dryer, or other similar electrical appliances that are rated above 1,000 watts. the 1K's won't.

They're a little bit bigger than the 1K models, but still light enough that you can easily load them into a trailer or pickup bed.

The only couple I have ever met who is happy with their 1K also have a solar system in addition to their generator and no microwave it their trailer. Everyone else that I personally have ever talked with about generators all recommend the 2K models. And more than a few of them started with 1K and upgraded quickly.

Also, FWIW, my Honda EU-2000 (2k model) has clean enough power to run desktop computers and other sensitive equipment should I need to do that.

One last thought, our generator does double duty as a back-up generator at home in case of power failure. The 2K model lets us keep the refrigerator going, a couple of lights on, and we can even run the TV or the computer. A 1K model would not do much more than run the fridge and maybe one or two lights. Remember that the average home fridge draws a lot more juice on startup than it does just quietly running.

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Old 03-09-2008, 07:48 PM   #4
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Hi Steve

I do not have your total answer, but do have a few things that might help and maybe others can fill in the rest. What I am describing here fits for lead/acid ďwet cellĒ batteries.

Iím partly on way there to the Bondock setup. As time progresses I will get more parts of the system filled in. And yes I was going to start with the gen-set approach first like you are mentioning and then possibly add solar at a later date.

Here is the part I have done. The battery charging/maintenance and battery monitoring part. Your 2003, T2499 most likely might have an American enterprises Model CS6000. Check the number and the last 2 digits. They make an XL version that is a newer in early 2004 and a step up. It would look like this when you open the breaker door on the CS6000.

And it will look like this when you pull the cover.

Point I bring up is the converter, that older model does well at supplying 60 amps of nominal 12 VDC to the TT off of shore power, but as far as battery charging it not the latest technology and it could take a real long time to re-charge the battery pending the battery discharge. Like 8 hours or more on a battery that is deeply discharged. It does not boost the voltage high enough.

Point is how many hours do you want to run the gen-set to recharge? The one hour running you said may not cut it with that older converter. That older charger also will not take the battery to 100% charge, it might take it to ~90 - 95% which insít too bad but not to full charge. It also does not have a desulfation mode with it.

There are a few ways to over the problem.

One option is buy a separate stand alone good battery charger with 3 stage charging and the ability to have desulfation. This will supply good maintenance for your batteries and bring them to 100% and recharge them faster. It will still take time pending how far down the battery is.

2nd option is to can call American Enterprizes and talk to them about the age of your existing convertor and a new 2008 model and confirm the charging time or both. The also have a new 2008 CX6000XL, make sure it is the 2008 model prior to these year it was not 3 stage, and they have 3 stage charging. They claim you can drop that charger into the same foot print as the CX6000.

Here is there web site with phone #ís

However the new 2008 model does not desulfate the battery. Something that should be done if you plan on bondocking to get the best you can from your batteries. You can buy a stand alone battery minder that will desulfate the battery.

Here is one such brand that is temp compensated. I have there battery minder that I use over the winter to keep them toped off and desulfate them.

3rd option: I went the upgrade route on mine to a convertor to a 3 stage charger plus the desulfation mode. See this post.

I upgraded to a Progressive Dynamics PD9260C

Bought it here.

Another heads up is the wattage it takes to run there higher rate chargers. The PD9260C will draw 1000 watts at full charging rate. Which means your 1000 watt gen-set will be at capacity.

Someting else to add is a battery voltage monitor so you do not drain the battery down to deeply before recharging. I added one of these. It has an alarm on it to on that you can set when the voltage gets low and when to recharge. It is best if you do not let the battery go a lot below 50% discharge before recharging for longevity of the battery, Knowing the voltage will tell you when to do this.

Here is there web site:

And where I bought it:

See this site. The 12 volt side of life. It has a lot of use full RV battery and battery charging explanations on it.

As far as batteries, there are a lot of options out there now. For me, I would start at investigating using 2, 6 volt golf cart deep cycle batteries connected in series get the amp/hour ratings up. Or get a few Group 31 batteries. Cost, size and weight all come into play now. I have not made it to the ultra long bondocking battery stage yet so I do not yet have that much to report on it.

Most likely which ever battery setup you end up with will require a rework on the battery holder. The T2499 and most other Sunlines of the new style where set up on Group 24 batteries. Which work well for short trips.

Probably the best 2 cents I can give you is to research into battery charging and what type battery technology you are going to use first. Then get the right charging system for that battery.

And try to sort out the amp/hour capacity of the needs you have. Battery selections starts from there. I happen to have a few group 27 batteries that I will be doing some experimenting with. Iíll see how long I can running lean on just battery and camp, and only draw down to 50% discharge. Again the way we camp. Then switch out to a fresh one. Key is the Volt minder can tell you where you are at.

Hope this helps and good luck

Current Sunlines: 2004 T310SR, 2004 T1950, 2004 T2475, 2007 T2499, 2004 T317SR
Prior Sunlines: 2004 T2499 - Fern Blue
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