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Old 07-21-2016, 12:33 AM   #1
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passing thought...propane 12v generator?

I've an empty battery box since I converted to lithium (and placed under the bed). It occured to me that it could be interesting to fit a 12 volt propane generator into the battery box. Its sole purpose to charge the batteries. The old battery cables are still there. The box of course is next to the propane.

Has anyone considered/looked into/implemented this?

It's really just a passing thought. Between my new solar panels and the lithium, I'm not certain I would ever actually need a generator.
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Old 07-21-2016, 06:15 PM   #2
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I doubt your generator will have any kind of regulator on the DC output. You could cook your battery with out some way to determine what the charge level.
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Old 07-21-2016, 07:36 PM   #3
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Are 12 volt DC generators even available? I've seen some redneck contraptions on utube.

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Old 07-21-2016, 07:57 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by AstroBruce View Post
Are 12 volt DC generators even available? I've seen some redneck contraptions on utube.

Bruce
Yes. Most have direct output 12 volt DC outlets. My Yamaha came with a 12 volt cable that plugs into the generator and has clips to attach directly to a battery. Check the manufacturer web sites for further information.
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Old 07-22-2016, 12:15 PM   #5
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Yes. Most have direct output 12 volt DC outlets. My Yamaha came with a 12 volt cable that plugs into the generator and has clips to attach directly to a battery. Check the manufacturer web sites for further information.
Yeh, I get that. My 2 Honda eu2000i's Have the DC outlet. Will take about 2 days to charge my batteries at 8.3 amps.

I guess I misunderstood the OP.

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Old 07-22-2016, 12:50 PM   #6
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There isn't much available in propane 12v generators. Let's take a look at what's been available, now and then.

1) In the 1960s Airstream had a propane 12v generator as an option. There are some surviving examples, but it was loud, unreliable, and had low output current. I believe it installed in one of the baggage compartments.

2) As noted upthread the battery charging outputs of various 120v generators could be used. These use gasoline engines, but propane conversions are readily available. In general, again as noted upthread, the power output is extremely modest.

3) It is possible to assemble something using an automotive alternator and a gasoline engine (converted to propane) connected by a belt. The belt drive is necessary because automotive alternators require a fairly high shaft speed to produce much output.

4) There are some commercially available 12v generators that appear to be made up of an automotive alternator, a small gasoline engine, and a gear drive. This reduces size compared to a belt. Prices start at over $1,000. http://www.altendc.com/g1-gasoline-b...g-dc-generator

5) In the recent past there were permanent-magnet 12vdc generators available that used a large diameter, balanced rotor that was bolted to the crankshaft. They were mainly sold for marine use. I can't find any for sale now. By memory, they were fairly reasonably priced and had output of around 50-100 amps.

All of these are large. PV panels have come down in price so much that, today, I'd opt for solar panels first.
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Old 07-23-2016, 10:24 AM   #7
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mixedpuppy: I eliminated the need for house batteries in my 1958 Caravanner total gut and redesign. On the "A" frame I mounted a 3500 watt, 142 pound, gas/propane electric start generator. I keep a full 20 pounder to refill my 20 each 1 pound propane point source bottles. All transported in the cargo bed of my Escalade EXT. Thus I have the option of using the 20 pounder resting on the ground , or for short duration operation on a 1 pounder, or gasoline if I so choose. Likely this will not work for you as you must power a pump, lights, fans, possible frig, TVs and sound systems. etc for longer durations. However, my generator set up will recharge batteries ( up to 20 amp max ), it's own small starter battery, and constant 12 volts while running.
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Old 07-23-2016, 12:40 PM   #8
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Jammer left out option #6 - the often promised fuel cell.

Ran across this site the other day. No price given and we all know what that means.

http://www.wattfuelcell.com/portable...watt-imperium/
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Old 08-22-2016, 12:15 PM   #9
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An excersize bike connected to an ordinary Delco automotive alternator will do this job PLUS keep the wife trim-and-firm.
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Old 08-22-2016, 12:24 PM   #10
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I had a Honda EM500 generator.
We called it the lunch box,
It was small and quiet and had a 12v plug.
I'm sure it could be converted to run on propane and mounted on the tongue behind the propane tanks.
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Jammer left out option #6 - the often promised fuel cell.

Ran across this site the other day. No price given and we all know what that means.

http://www.wattfuelcell.com/portable...watt-imperium/

You had to post it didn't you.......😳. I'm going to have to ask the supplier how much now.......I can't help myself........
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Old 08-22-2016, 08:09 PM   #12
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I think you could fit a 2000w generator up there. Seems like a good idea actually. For the charging though, you'd be better off plugging your 30a cord into the generator with a 15a adapter and letting your converter charge the batteries.
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Old 09-12-2016, 07:40 PM   #13
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passing thought...propane 12v generator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenen42 View Post
Jammer left out option #6 - the often promised fuel cell.

Ran across this site the other day. No price given and we all know what that means.

http://www.wattfuelcell.com/portable...watt-imperium/

The supplier contacted me with the cost, wait for it........$10k to $15k. I know you will all be lined up to buy one maybe two of these but you will have to wait until mid 2017. They are not on sale yet.

Must admit this is probably an almost ideal system when combined with a big battery and solar (if you ignore the cost). It puts out 1000w, runs off propane, weighs 28lbs, is 60% efficient and can apparently heat water also. It can run almost silently as required. It generates CO2 and pure fresh water (top off your fresh water tank...?) as waste products. Maybe in 15 or 20 years they will replace hydronic heating, water heaters and gas powered generators for the serious boondocker. Who knows....
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