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Old 07-17-2016, 10:41 AM   #1
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Battery recharging questions

We are dry camping in Salt Point State Park on the California coast and I had some questions about our battery charge because this is the first time we will have been without electrical hookups for so long (it'll be a least a week and a half before we get out of here….).
Our AS, a 25-foot 2004 Safari has two solar panels hooked up to a Heliotrope HPV-22B recharging system. We are using the batteries very minimally, mostly for quick showers, but also for some lighting during cooking. The system starts charging as soon as it gets light outside and continues until it gets dark. The charge level never dips below 12 volts (reading 12.51 right now at 8:15 a.m. when it's overcast and nothing electric is turned on except for the fridge). We are going into our third full day here without using an outside electric source. Later today I'm going to hook up the Honda EU2000i generator for two hours of charging for the laptop and some other non-trailer items. But in the meantime I was wondering how long we could go using just the solar panels? If they keep the charge into the 12 volt plus range is that enough, or should I supplement the charging with the generator every two days or so (which is what I did on an earlier dry camping trip)? Also, I'd like to maybe use the furnace occasionally as the temps are rarely getting above the 50s. Is the furnace fan a huge draw on the electrical reserves?
Any suggestions would be welcomed! I'll check back on this thread in the mornings and evenings when I go to the ranger station to use their wifi.
Thanks in advance! This forum is a great resource which I've already used many times to answer questions I've had as a complete AS newbie (this is only our sixth outing)!
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:19 AM   #2
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You sound good to go

#1 You have solar
#2 You have a Jenny
#3 You are conserving power.

Yes, your furnace blower is your biggest draw. You could heat up the trailer before you go to bed, then turn it off. Or turn it to the lowest temp that you stand. The furnace can almost wear down your batts in one night, especially if you start off not topped off.

Too late now but sleeping bags are a good solution.
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:44 PM   #3
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Can I go with the solar panels alone or should I boost every few days with the generator?
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:52 PM   #4
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At 12.5 volts you are about 90% charged. 12.0 volts is considered empty. I have solar panels and don't own a generator. Google "battery voltage charge chart". I'd skip the generator unless your batteries begin to approach 12.0 volts.
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StreaminGeo View Post
Can I go with the solar panels alone or should I boost every few days with the generator?

Only you can determine that based on your usage and solar charging rate. I recently spent two weeks dry camping on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The solar was almost useless due to well shaded campsites. I ran my propane converted Yamaha 2000 several times for two hours late in the afternoon. With the small input from my 100 watt panel that kept my batteries up to safe levels.
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:56 PM   #6
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as a side note:: if you have good sun during the day on the solar panels and they are big enough, ie 2-225 amp hr batteries = 450ish watts of solar needed, and if the system is setup correctly, and if the wires are LARGE enough, then you should NOT need a generator.

check out handy bob solar at https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...andybob-solar/

read, read, read and then read it again. all you want to know about solar from some who is a FULL time solar user.

good luck and happy trails.
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:58 PM   #7
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This chart gives a rough overview:

http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/voltchart1.gif

We always try to keep the batteries above 12.5 if possible, and definitely above 12. The chart linked above is on this page:

http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm

Good luck!

Peter
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Old 07-19-2016, 05:13 PM   #8
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Peter, excellant resource, thank you
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Old 07-21-2016, 09:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
This chart gives a rough overview:

http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/voltchart1.gif

We always try to keep the batteries above 12.5 if possible, and definitely above 12. The chart linked above is on this page:

http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm

Good luck!

Peter
Awesome info...THANKS!
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