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Dry Camping/Battery Charging Questions

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  #76  
Old 11-12-2017, 04:14 PM
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Given that under-hood alternator temperatures are relatively constant while under-way, do you feel that a temperature-compensated regulator would be of any real benefit for us to consider?

I could see it's value under circumstances where the temperature is less constant, like a small outdoor DC powerplant. Are you referring to automotive alternators?

Pop
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Old 11-12-2017, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by SDcrewzer View Post
Therein lies the problem: float voltage is lower than absorption voltage. Alternators are convenient tools for more-or-less charging RV batteries when traveling. However, whenever possible at home or at camp, I've always used a three- or four-stage TC-charger (plug-in or solar) to properly charge and equalize my RV's lead-acid batteries. Regards, Jim / crewzer
It's been a while since I did a test but as I recall it was obvious the classic "dumb" chargers are just about perfect size for the standard automotive start battery. Where people run into problems is in warmer weather and they forget to unhook it. Oops.

In winter weather though on the 6 amp setting it would eventually spool up to 14.5 to 15.2 and had a nice plateau at absorption level and then equalization if desired. It just takes a little while. The 2 amp setting was about 13.5 to 13.8 as I recall. They had this stuff figured out a hundred years ago. I can see what they did, most people need a battery charger in wintertime so that's when they get purchased and used overnight. (Maybe they should have done a little maintenance when it was still warm out.) The important thing is to size the charger (amperage) to the battery ampere hour capacity. Too small or too large both have problems.
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  #78  
Old 11-12-2017, 08:10 PM
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I have another battery question......

I winterized my trailer a couple weeks ago, which only entailed draining the fresh water tank, filling the lines with antifreeze and pulling the anode rod and replacing it with a brass plug. After reading another thread here somebody mentioned part of their winterizing included disconnected the house battery from the trailer. Is it in good practice to disconnect the batteries or is it okay to leave them connected while shore power is available?

I have my trailer sitting in the back yard of the house and have it plugged into a 30A RV box installed on the house. Do I need to disconnect the battery or will the on-board converter keep the battery where it needs to be?
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:58 AM
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Main thing is that it is charged. At 100% a battery will not freeze until -49F below zero or somesuch. But, a dead battery will freeze at +20F, battery is then junk.
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:13 AM
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The on-board charger should tend the battery through the winter, but you will want to monitor water level if it is a flooded cell battery. Make sure it is OK when you park it and check it in January to make sure it didn't boil off. Older batteries will cook off water faster than a newer one.


If you disconnect the battery and you expect lots of freezing temps where you live, consider pulling the battery and stowing it somewhere warmer.
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Old 11-13-2017, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpringerPop View Post
Given that under-hood alternator temperatures are relatively constant while under-way, do you feel that a temperature-compensated regulator would be of any real benefit for us to consider?

I could see it's value under circumstances where the temperature is less constant, like a small outdoor DC powerplant. Are you referring to automotive alternators?

Pop
I suspect that underhood temps are fairly constant under "seasonal" circumstances. For example, I would expect for summer underhood temps to be relatively high when towing and running the A/C, but winter temps to be lower, even while towing.

The Balmar regulators seem to include some cool features, including the ability to connect optional temp sensors to the alternator and battery bank(s). They are popular for marine applications; I don't know about automotive.

I retired three years ago and some of my "organic mental files" have faded. I finally remembered that Power Stream makes some interesting-looking battery-input DC-DC multi-stage battery chargers.

I also remember how I configured my last RV's battery charging architecture. I disconnected the house batteries from the tow vehicle charging circuit, which was then used exclusively for running the three-way fridge while underway. The batteries were charged from the PV array (~300W, IIRC) on top of the RV via a smart PWM charger. This worked very well.

Regards,
Jim / crewzer
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  #82  
Old 11-13-2017, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedster9 View Post
Main thing is that it is charged. At 100% a battery will not freeze until -49F below zero or somesuch. But, a dead battery will freeze at +20F, battery is then junk.

Jim / crewzer
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  #83  
Old 11-13-2017, 04:38 PM
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...The important thing is to size the charger (amperage) to the battery ampere hour capacity. Too small or too large both have problems.
Yeah, my recollection is to use a charger with a charge current in the C/5 to C/20 range, with C/10 being "ideal", where C = rated battery bank ampacity. For example use a 10A charger to charge a 100 Ah battery.

For those in need a little light reading, Trojan Battery offers a very good Battery User's Guide, primarily for deep cycle batteries.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
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  #84  
Old 11-13-2017, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDcrewzer View Post
For those in need a little light reading, Trojan Battery offers a very good Battery User's Guide, primarily for deep cycle batteries.
And, for those that want a LOT of HEAVY reading, there's always:

Battery Information Table of Contents, Basic to Advanced

Good luck!

Pop
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  #85  
Old 11-13-2017, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpringerPop View Post
And, for those that want a LOT of HEAVY reading, there's always:

Battery Information Table of Contents, Basic to Advanced

Good luck!

Pop
I went through some of that a few weeks ago. Way more info than I can remember, but it's interesting reading.
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  #86  
Old 11-14-2017, 11:11 AM
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And, for those that want a LOT of HEAVY reading, there's always:

Battery Information Table of Contents, Basic to Advanced

Good luck!

Pop
I'll have to take a fresh look at BU's updated site. I wasn't particularly impressed with the old one (5+ years ago?).

Thx,
Jim / crewzer
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