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Old 11-02-2018, 07:29 PM   #1
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Alternate Power & Charging

Greetings, I've realized now I purchased the wrong "Deep Cycle" batteries and will be correcting that this winter.

I'm also upgrading solar charger and I'm going to add a wind powered charger before next season. 90% plus of my camping is boondocking.

What is everyone using for Batteries, Solar and Wind chargers? Note, looking in the lower to mid price range. I have a feeling this is going to get expensive but I need more than a couple of days battery.
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Old 11-02-2018, 07:53 PM   #2
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So I know you asked about solar and wind but you might save yourself a ton of headaches with roof penetrations, routing cables, etc., if you bought a really small capacity gas generator.

Years ago a it was basically Honda or nothing and they were like $1,000 and very reliable but now there are several competitors in that space and you could probably get a small one for a few hundred bucks.

One hour or so on that generator would probably top off the batteries and you donít have to worry about cloudy days or no breeze.

I realize not as environmentally friendly but newer generators are fuel efficient and run really clean, plus they are quiet.

You could keep it in your tow vehicle once you get to a campsite and not worry about theft and run it when you need to.

Anyway, just an idea.
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Old 11-02-2018, 08:18 PM   #3
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What kind of deep cycle did you buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denowen View Post
Greetings, I've realized now I purchased the wrong "Deep Cycle" batteries and will be correcting that this winter.

What is everyone using for Batteries, Solar and Wind chargers? Note, looking in the lower to mid price range. I have a feeling this is going to get expensive but I need more than a couple of days battery.
I used two 30T Gel cell batteries for many years in my "A" frame folding trailer. The 30T's store 100 amp/hr each. They can be fully discharged several times without damage. Gel cells are the most expensive. They were working perfectly when I sold the camper last year.
200 amp/hr is enough for winter camping with propane furnace and led lights for 3 to 5 nights.
I am now using two 30T AGM batteries in my Kodiak Cub. They cost half as much as Gel cells. They are supposed to be ok to totally drain a few times without damage. I have not done that with them yet.
Other people on this site have installed two 6 volt golf cart batteries in series. I don't know the benefits of that arrangement.
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Old 11-02-2018, 08:34 PM   #4
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dsol said, "So I know you asked about solar and wind but you might save yourself a ton of headaches with roof penetrations, routing cables, etc., if you bought a really small capacity gas generator.

Years ago a it was basically Honda or nothing and they were like $1,000 and very reliable but now there are several competitors in that space and you could probably get a small one for a few hundred bucks.

One hour or so on that generator would probably top off the batteries and you donít have to worry about cloudy days or no breeze."

I agree. I have had one of the $1000 Hondas for several years. Easy and convenient. I have rarely needed it for short trips of 5 days or less. My 200 amp/hr deep cycle batteries are more than enough for summer camping in Wisconsin.

However, one hour is not enough to charge the batteries much. My Honda will run for 5 hours on a tank of gas using the TT 40 amp converter as a charger. That will get about an 80% charge. It will take another 5 hours to get to 95%. That is basically the way all lead acid batteries work. This would also be true for charging with wind and solar.
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Old 11-02-2018, 09:30 PM   #5
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A wind generator would be the last option. I had a wind generator for several years in my solar house and found it not to be very effective. Wind, of course is needed but that wind has to be every hour every day for it to really make a difference.
Besides noise from the blades and a substantial pole to mount it on there is the room needed for it to swing into the wind.



Solar is the way to go but it has its drawbacks too. Real deep cycle batteries and a good generator will be money well spent.
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Old 11-02-2018, 09:46 PM   #6
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Best bang for the buck solar wise would be 200 watts of panels and a pair of 6 volt Trojan deep cycle batteries. With a small generator for backup it you hit too many cloudy days. Champion builds a great little generator for the price.

My personal choice would be 400 watts of solar and a pair of Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries. But that gets real expensive real quick.

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Old 11-04-2018, 09:50 PM   #7
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2 Everstart Batteries from Walmart

https://www.google.com/aclk?sa=l&ai=...QQpysIFA&adurl=
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Old 11-04-2018, 09:52 PM   #8
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Yeah, I looked at the LiPo batteries, way too rich form my blood.
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:04 PM   #9
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I have a fairly decent generator but I must have drained the batteries too far as while elk hunting recently after 10+ hours on the generator they were still less than 30%

I've got a battery monitor now as well.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denowen View Post
I have a fairly decent generator but I must have drained the batteries too far as while elk hunting recently after 10+ hours on the generator they were still less than 30%

I've got a battery monitor now as well.
Are you charging them via the RV converter/charger? What kind of voltage reading are you getting while they are charging?

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Old 11-05-2018, 12:56 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Denowen View Post
2 Everstart Batteries from Walmart

https://www.google.com/aclk?sa=l&ai=...QQpysIFA&adurl=
Those are the dual purpose batteries, they work okay, but the true deep cycle batteries like the Trojans are a better choice.

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Old 11-05-2018, 04:56 AM   #12
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I use my generator to run a standard battery charger. After about 5 hours of charging I'd only get to about 60%

When I got home I ran the maintenance mode on the charger and it took about 70 hours per battery to fully charge.

Didn't seem to matter if I ran the 6amp or 20amp mode, they never really charged fully or quickly at camp.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:00 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Those are the dual purpose batteries, they work okay, but the true deep cycle batteries like the Trojans are a better choice.

Aaron

I started out doing it the way my dad did it, found out he didn't know everything I'm learning newer tech and practices.

Thanks for the link to the Trojans...
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:03 PM   #14
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I was looking at adding Solar capability to my rig. In the credible articles I found a couple of "rules of thumb" about battery use for solar (and other off grid use).
1) Deep Draw Flooded cell batteries should not be discharged below 40%. Doing so causes early failure. Some controllers shut off at 50%.
2) 10 hours of substantial solar charging will not fully charge a battery starting at 40%, although it is frequently enough to get through the next night.
3) A deep cycle AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery or a Gel battery can be discharged well below 40% and fully discharging will only cost a little future capacity.
4) Customer reviews on Amazon believe they are getting a substantially full charge on their batteries in 1 hour. (Sorry folks, the laws of physics still apply.)
Conclusion: You get 30% more capacity for the same Amp/Hr rating and battery weight using an AGM or Gel cell battery.
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