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Old 01-12-2014, 03:22 PM   #1
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Charging batteries from Lexus GX 460?

The Lexus GX 460 has a two prong plug in the back. My kids has used it for charging their devices. One of the things I want to use my to be found AS is to attend a music festival in the summer. I don't have a generator and would love to be able to boondock without dragging along a generator. It's a three overnight deal and the air would likely be running for a few hours during the day. I would not mind running the car for a few hours during the day if it could avoid needing to get a generator.

So I guess this is a multipart question

- can I charge off of the car's plug at idle
- is there enough juice to run the air conditioner on the batteries if the car plug is hooked up.

Only specs I could find on the plug says it is 115 volt, but not the amp on the circuit. It's not grounded (somewhat obviously )

I don't yet have an AS but an looking for an older unit 25 feet or less and assume that I will be doing some work, including replacing the univolt and installing fresh batteries.

Thanks for the help as I figure out what I will need to do once I find my AS beyond likely new axles, tires and lots of gaskets.

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Old 01-12-2014, 05:41 PM   #2
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So your Lexus is equipped with an inverter that can run light electronics. Check the specs in your owner's manual to see what amperage it is rated for - probably just an amp or two. To run an a/c unit requires much more - probably 10-12 amps. To run your a/c you need a hefty 120v source. Even if you installed an inverter large enough to run the 120v a/c from your 12v batteries, it would deplete them very quickly, and your car's alternator will never keep up. Without a 120v plug in where you are camping, you'll need a generator if you want to have a/c, microwave, coffee maker, or if your refrig runs off of 120v.

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Old 01-12-2014, 06:01 PM   #3
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Most 115VAC plugs in cars and trucks only provide a few hundred Watts of power (perhaps, around 2-5 amps) for small accessories, like phone chargers, DVD players, etc. This outlet will NOT power your Airstream's air conditioner, which needs over 15 (probably around 16-20) amps of 115VAC. To run an air conditioner, you will need one or more RV generators.

If the weather is mild and (day/night) temperatures are around 86/65 degrees, you might be able to get by with only FantasticFans; especially, since you will probably be out enjoying the music festival during the heat of the day. However, if record high temperatures are encountered, you may be very uncomfortable during the day. Note: The air conditioner runs off of 115VAC, and it is not connected to the 12VDC circuit (i.e., the batteries) in your Airstream.

Regarding charging your trailer batteries using the 115VAC accessory plug in your Lexus (and a 115VAC battery charger), this will not work. While this is possible in theory, you will overload and possibly damage the inverter in your Lexus. At the very least, you will probably burn out the fuse or pop the circuit breaker.

You can charge your Airstream's batteries using the trailer umbilical; but your TV's alternator is designed only to top-off a very slightly discharged automotive battery, not two, heavily-discharged, deep-cycle marine/RV batteries. Recharging your Airstream batteries using your Lexus will take many hours every day, if you use a lot of 12VDC power at night. However, if you limit your 12VDC, you may be able to stretch the batteries for several days without recharging. Note: Heavy use of FantasticFans will probably require daily recharging.

You may wish to check on renting a generator (or two) for a few days. We looked at Honda EU2000i's at a rental shop before we purchased two (one standard, and one companion). However, summer temperatures in the desert southwest are much higher than in Ohio.
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:35 PM   #4
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Thanks. Very helpful, particularly like the idea of renting a generator instead of buying one. This would allow a more compact higher quality one.
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:19 AM   #5
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If you can, two rental Honda's EU2000i's run in parallel will work the A/C and your other items, one will run everything except for the A/C.

Don't make the mistake and burn out your A/C compressor with a small generator that places too much stress on the A/C compressor upon startup.
John "JFScheck" Scheck
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Old 01-14-2014, 06:10 AM   #6
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Thanks. Will factor in a generator or two in my plan.

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