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Old 03-21-2017, 07:15 PM   #1
Toaster Life
 
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Generator advice for Boondocking

I need some help - we are planning a trip to Big Bend and will be boondocking. We do have a pair of Honda generators, but have always managed to get by without using them. We may need to actually use them this time.

I have the cables to connect them to each other (one straight pin one pin at 45 degree angle) and figure out we could plug in an extension at one end and plug the other end into the trailer to charge like for shore power. Is this the best way to charge out batteries? I realize the power will flow through the trailer's inverter, and that may be our rate limiting step.

My question is can i charge the batteries directly ? or rather should I charge the batteries directly?

Looking to avoid costly mistakes, but having the generators and not using them seems silly. We just want to be able to extend our stay and be comfortable running the furnace or AC if we have too.

Many thanks for all advice received. Don't want to run them too long at any given time - but want to be able to top up the batteries as needed.
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:39 PM   #2
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Do you have an inverter charger? If you do, it will pass the voltage through the inverter to the charger and batteries, and all will be well. If you have an inverter on an isolated circuit, the same, all will be well. We have the same kind of set-up. We have two Honda generators and we usually use just one to charge the batteries. We have a Magnum hybrid inverter in the circuit, but it just passes through the shore power (whether shore power or generator) to run the 120v or charge the batteries.
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Old 03-21-2017, 08:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toasterlife View Post
I need some help - we are planning a trip to Big Bend and will be boondocking. We do have a pair of Honda generators, but have always managed to get by without using them. We may need to actually use them this time.

I have the cables to connect them to each other (one straight pin one pin at 45 degree angle) and figure out we could plug in an extension at one end and plug the other end into the trailer to charge like for shore power. Is this the best way to charge out batteries? I realize the power will flow through the trailer's inverter, and that may be our rate limiting step.

My question is can i charge the batteries directly ? or rather should I charge the batteries directly?

Looking to avoid costly mistakes, but having the generators and not using them seems silly. We just want to be able to extend our stay and be comfortable running the furnace or AC if we have too.

Many thanks for all advice received. Don't want to run them too long at any given time - but want to be able to top up the batteries as needed.
I literally just posted a similar question on another thread regarding using the DC output of the Honda directly to the batteries, vs. using the AC output as "shore power." My question was "which is faster/more efficient?" One honda will put out 13-16 amps at 120V AC; the DC output is 8 amps at 12 V. So the big question is, how many amps does the inverter push out?

In your case, I assume you are talking about running both generators hooked together is because you will want to run your AC...no other reason to do so. If you are just wanting to charge your batteries, using both would just output 16 amps DC instead of 8 amps if one generator was used, and 23-32 amps if used on 120V ac output to the converter. So the question is, what is your converter output compared to the DC output of the generators.

You do realize that if you are using your AC...then you must use the AC output directly to the trailer, and cannot use your AC if the generators are hooked directly to the batteries to simply recharge them...
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Old 03-21-2017, 08:22 PM   #4
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The DC output of the generator is not the same as an intelligent converter or inverter.
IMHO using the 120 volt output to power the trailer is the better option.
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Old 03-21-2017, 08:55 PM   #5
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At this time of year, when you don't need AC out at Big Bend, the easiest thing for you to do is just get the 15A-30A adapter and plug your Airstream into a single generator for a couple hours to charge up the batteries. If you have 2 good batteries and are reasonable in your power usage, you can probably run the generator 3 hours every other day and be fine, but if your state-of-charge drops too fast or you're running a bunch of tech gear off the inverter, you might need to charge 2 hrs every day.
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Old 03-21-2017, 09:05 PM   #6
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On the other thread that I mentioned, I received the following advice from Randy at Best Converter regarding using the direct DC output to charge batteries, vs using the AC output fed to the trailer converter via the shore power cord and a plug adapter. (Actually, since you have both the EU2000 and the Companion, I believe the companion has the 30 amp outlet on it, so you can plug your shore power cord in directly and use that generator to charge your batteries (or run AC appliances while using the generator, or of course BOTH generators to run Air Conditioning). If you are just topping batteries or using a couple appliances such as a coffee maker, I agree with the other poster, one generator is fine. Only need two to run the air conditioner.)

From Randy: "Your EU 2000 will run that converter fine and you will see faster charging using it as a power supply for your converter than using the DC part of the generator. The converter will have the ability to put out ALL of its output. Unless somthing has changed, I'd ignore its DC charging function and use your converter instead. It's a better charge profile anyway."
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Old 03-21-2017, 09:38 PM   #7
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The CONVERTER changes AC to DC..
The INVERTER changes DC to AC...

So, when plugged into shore power or a generator, the AC power flows into the CONVERTER and if one of Randy's converters, will properly charge, intelligently, based upon the battery state...

Proof? I have had the same batteries in the Mjolinr for over 4 years...and it works great...but we don't severely discharge the batteries...so, if you 'cycle' your batteries more, your life expectancy of the batteries may not be same as ours. Of course we ALWAYS have the AS plugged in to shore power.
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Old 03-21-2017, 10:48 PM   #8
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To add to the confusion, I offer the following link:


https://www.amazon.com/Honda-32660-8.../dp/B0044U4D2I


What say the electronical gurus to that?
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Old 03-21-2017, 11:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thiel View Post
To add to the confusion, I offer the following link:


https://www.amazon.com/Honda-32660-8.../dp/B0044U4D2I


What say the electronical gurus to that?
The existence of this cable to connect to the low-amperage un-stabilized DC output of the Honda generators doesn't change anything about what's written above. If your converter-charger works roughly as well as it was originally designed to, you'll get better results plugging the trailer's 30A/120V cable into the generator's 120V AC output.
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Old 03-21-2017, 11:02 PM   #10
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Lightweight cable only good for 8 amps, I bet. Basically useless for charging coach batteries. The generator AC output to the 110volt converter/charger is the better route
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Old 03-21-2017, 11:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thiel View Post
To add to the confusion, I offer the following link:


https://www.amazon.com/Honda-32660-8.../dp/B0044U4D2I


What say the electronical gurus to that?
If you have to run the Genset, just run the Converter! a smart converter will properly charge the batteries.. I don't know if the Honda is designed to do what a good converter will do... Seems, tho, it is designed to charge individual batteries because of the battery clamps. This would be useful where you are no where near AC and your car battery croaks... or to recharge a battery for some other purpose.. like a 12VDC camp light..when you are off grid...

I would still run thru the AC plug... I would hate having to drag the batteries out of the AS every time I want to boost the charge.
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Old 03-22-2017, 11:28 AM   #12
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All of the generators I look at (including the Honda 3000 Handi that I have) all have 30 amp plugs. If the trailer (the classic and maybe many of them) come with a 50 amp cable will I still be able to use a adapter and make the generator work?
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Old 03-22-2017, 11:49 AM   #13
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All of the generators I look at (including the Honda 3000 Handi that I have) all have 30 amp plugs. If the trailer (the classic and maybe many of them) come with a 50 amp cable will I still be able to use a adapter and make the generator work?
Yes. You'll still have only 21 amps.
But If it were me (I?) I'd make a 30 amp cable with the generator plug on one end and the 50 amp connection on the other. Dragging out the 50 amp cable just to plug in the genset seems like work.
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Old 03-22-2017, 12:21 PM   #14
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If you plan on boondocking in Big Bend NP you cannot use a generator anywhere in the park. Look on the website under camping permits. Outside the park no worries. When I went ther, didn't bother taking my generator.
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Old 03-22-2017, 12:45 PM   #15
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If you plan on boondocking in Big Bend NP you cannot use a generator anywhere in the park. Look on the website under camping permits. Outside the park no worries. When I went ther, didn't bother taking my generator.
Generators are allowed in 2 of the RV-capable campgrounds in Big Bend, but not in the backcountry/undeveloped areas. From their website:
Generators are permitted in designated areas between 8am–8pm in the Rio Grande Village campground. Generator hours in the Chisos Basin campground are 8am–11am and 5pm–8pm. Idling vehicle engines are considered generators in this regard. No generators are allowed at Cottonwood Campground.
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Old 03-22-2017, 01:10 PM   #16
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[QUOTE=pcskier;...(Actually, since you have both the EU2000 and the Companion, I believe the companion has the 30 amp outlet on it, so you can plug your shore power cord in directly and use that generator to charge your batteries (or run AC appliances while using the generator, or of course BOTH generators to run Air Conditioning). ."[/QUOTE]


The DC charging plug on the generator may eventually charge the batteries, but I tried and after four or five hours decided it was not the right answer and switched to the converter (I changed my Parallax out for a Progressive Dynamics). The Honda 2000i companion requires an adapter to go from three prong circular twist lock to the 30 amp plug on the shore power cord. That is the quickest way I have found. The PD converter has a 'boost' mode that makes it even a little faster.
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Old 03-22-2017, 01:49 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by okstreamer View Post
If you plan on boondocking in Big Bend NP you cannot use a generator anywhere in the park. Look on the website under camping permits. Outside the park no worries. When I went ther, didn't bother taking my generator.
Oops...never mind.
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Old 03-22-2017, 07:24 PM   #18
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Amps, watts, details, details details. One Honda generator, 1-2 hours per day based on your usage will keep you with the basics (furnace, fridge,lights). If you are an energy hog, it will take more. As another poster noted, no generators noted on the "remote" camping sites in Big Bend......I'm still hoping for a remote site down the road......haven't been lucky enough yet!
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