Answered

Backup charging options

Posted by Van Lifer

Oct 22, 2018 at 1:50pm

Hi there,

I'm struggling on darker days to keep my battery charged. What are the sorts of back up plans people have? I'm hoping there's something as easy as a little hardware piece to connect from a normal outlet. I get that it is wishful thinking.

Anyone have a similar pain point or better yet, some ideas/setups that address this issue?

Thanks a lot! 

Posted by tattoo

Oct 22, 2018 at 2:26pm

I think your system is to small for your usage....

It would really help if you would tell us what solar system you have and how many watts are you using everyday..... I don't have any back up and I'm 100% off grid......

Posted by Admin

Oct 22, 2018 at 4:28pm


Oct 22, 2018 at 1:50pm Van Lifer said:

Hi there,

I'm struggling on darker days to keep my battery charged. What are the sorts of back up plans people have? I'm hoping there's something as easy as a little hardware piece to connect from a normal outlet. I get that it is wishful thinking.

Anyone have a similar pain point or better yet, some ideas/setups that address this issue?

Thanks a lot! 



Hello, what kind of a system do you have running now? Some options might include expanding your solar setup, getting a backup solar generator or gas generator, perhaps using one of our suitcases to combine with your current system.

-Renogy Team

Posted by bupkis

Oct 22, 2018 at 5:06pm

'easy as a little hardware piece to connect from a normal outlet.'

its called a battery charger, many to choose from. I'd suggest a min 10% of battery capacity, ie if you have 100ah battery you'd want a min of 10A charger. Plug into a 'normal outlet' and connect the alligator clips to the battery. ~10 hrs later your battery should be recharged.

Posted by v10

Oct 22, 2018 at 5:13pm

You need to expand your system to run what you are running but there is an easy way out depending on how often you can get to a place to plug in and fully charge your battery.

Until I put solar up top I plugged into my garage outlets with a battery charger overnight.

Easy wiring set up, I'll take a picture tomorrow. People call it shore power.

With what you are running you are taking power out faster than they can put it back in.

You'll want to get that battery fully charged or you will lose it. I've killed em, I know.





Posted by thevankongs

Oct 22, 2018 at 5:21pm


Oct 22, 2018 at 1:50pm Van Lifer said:



Hi there,

I'm struggling on darker days to keep my battery charged. What are the sorts of back up plans people have? I'm hoping there's something as easy as a little hardware piece to connect from a normal outlet. I get that it is wishful thinking.

Anyone have a similar pain point or better yet, some ideas/setups that address this issue?

Thanks a lot! 


Hey there, fellow van-lifer here.  I feel your pain.  How big is your setup?  We did calculations for our two day usage down to 50% (instead of 3 day usage) and ended up at needing 600ah of batteries in the summer.  In the winter, similar but with different uses.  It's worked out great on days where the third day is sunny, but if it's rainy and cold for three days straight, we rode our batteries down near 50% a little too often for our comfort.  We're also looking into a battery charger but haven't gone down that road yet.

The other thing to consider is what your usage is and if you can cut back anywhere. Can you give us more details about your system and maybe show us your usage calculations?


There are also a lot of people out there with split charge relays so they can charge while they drive.  I haven't gone in depth into how adding that piece affects the layout of your system, and what protects your batteries from overcharge, but that's an option a lot of people seem to like.

Posted by tattoo

Oct 22, 2018 at 6:35pm

I sure hope the OP comes back and lets us know what he has as there are several people here interested in helping him....

Posted by v10

Oct 23, 2018 at 3:16pm

20181023_143550_Burst03.jpg20181023_143348_Burst01.jpg


Attachments:

20181023_143612_Burst02.jpg

Posted by v10

Oct 23, 2018 at 3:51pm

You could definitely use a split charge relay but the right ones are pretty expensive.

Buy a short 12g house extension cord and chop the female end off

Install a metal outlet box with 20A 120V receptacle ( electrical dept at any home store) inside the van and wire the end of your cord into it

Chop the male end off your cord , drill a hole in the floor and feed the cord through and put a marine grade male plug on the other end.

Secure and waterproof the cord and hole of course

Keep that plug tucked away inside your hitch or somewhere safe from the elements.

Now you can plug that outlet into any ones AC power who will let you and have a hot AC plug inside the van to charge your battery with a battery charger.

Carry an extension cord at all times because if you are plugging in AND borrowing a cord you will wear thin on folks quick

Posted by tattoo

Oct 23, 2018 at 3:56pm

^^^^That's a very good idea^^^^^^^^^^^^ I really like the way you have your hidden...

Posted by v10

Oct 23, 2018 at 4:04pm

20181023_143713.jpgOf course you will need to bring a + and a - wire from the battery into the van and set it up so you can safely put the charger on them.


I like these but you could go alot smaller. Your local RV shop can supply you with what you would want to use for the connector

Posted by v10

Oct 23, 2018 at 4:06pm

Thanks Tattoo

Necessity is the mother of invention

Posted by v10

Oct 23, 2018 at 4:50pm

Also while charging with the battery charger on shore power, anything you would normally be running off your AC inverter can be plugged into the other outlet and run off of the same shore power source.

Posted by Van Lifer

Oct 23, 2018 at 4:56pm

Wow thanks a lot for some great ideas! This is my set up.

Renogy --
Battery: AGM12-200 (only one battery)
Inverter: 1000W pure-sine wave inverter
Controller: Voyager 12 volt 20 amp
Solar panels: 3 - 100W flexi panels

The things running off of it are two Fantastic Vents (10 speed), small fridge, water pump (used very little, basically just for washing hands and water for dogs), then a power strip for charging devices like one phone, one tablet, and a hotspot when needed (normally charge them at the office or while driving).

I'd love to do something like Solar Advocate's hidden plug!

Posted by grumpy

Oct 23, 2018 at 4:59pm

v10 Avatar

Oct 23, 2018 at 3:51pm v10 said:

You could definitely use a split charge relay but the right ones are pretty expensive.

Buy a short 12g house extension cord and chop the female end off

Install a metal outlet box with 20A 120V receptacle ( electrical dept at any home store) inside the van and wire the end of your cord into it

Chop the male end off your cord , drill a hole in the floor and feed the cord through and put a marine grade male plug on the other end.

Secure and waterproof the cord and hole of course

Keep that plug tucked away inside your hitch or somewhere safe from the elements.

Now you can plug that outlet into any ones AC power who will let you and have a hot AC plug inside the van to charge your battery with a battery charger.

Carry an extension cord at all times because if you are plugging in AND borrowing a cord you will wear thin on folks quick


Did something similar, Only I decided on 50 amp service and used two extension cord ends and the 50 amp RV power plug, this way I can also plug into my inverter and send 120 to the full load

Attachments:

110 split.jpg


Posted by v10

Oct 23, 2018 at 5:18pm

Excellent idea Grumpy.

Van lifer if you are running that fridge off the inverter, that is what is kicking your butt.



Posted by tattoo

Oct 23, 2018 at 5:27pm

v10 Avatar

Oct 23, 2018 at 5:18pm v10 said:

Excellent idea Grumpy.

Van lifer if you are running that fridge off the inverter, that is what is kicking your butt.




Are you suggesting he should go with a 12v fridge?

Posted by tattoo

Oct 23, 2018 at 5:32pm


Oct 23, 2018 at 4:56pm Van Lifer said:




Wow thanks a lot for some great ideas! This is my set up.

Renogy --
Battery: AGM12-200 (only one battery)
Inverter: 1000W pure-sine wave inverter
Controller: Voyager 12 volt 20 amp
Solar panels: 3 - 100W flexi panels

The things running off of it are two Fantastic Vents (10 speed), small fridge, water pump (used very little, basically just for washing hands and water for dogs), then a power strip for charging devices like one phone, one tablet, and a hotspot when needed (normally charge them at the office or while driving).
 


I think you need another battery, {Damn those are expensive batteries} a 500w inverter a larger CC, 2 more panels and a Kill-A-watt meter so you will know exactly how many watts your using each day......

Posted by playersz28

Oct 24, 2018 at 5:50am

grumpy Avatar

Oct 23, 2018 at 4:59pm grumpy said:

Did something similar, Only I decided on 50 amp service and used two extension cord ends and the 50 amp RV power plug, this way I can also plug into my inverter and send 120 to the full load


That one looks a tad dangerous. :)But then again my auto transfer switch has a failed contactor so I jumpered it. That means when I'm on the inverter the shore receptacle for the 50A cord that's on the outside of the trailer is hot.

Posted by Van Lifer

Oct 24, 2018 at 7:10am

So then does anyone have step by step instructions to what they did to accept shore power? I think I'm going to go with that. I only really have space for one more panel on my van roof and I'd rather not get a second battery, don't really have the space.

Posted by bupkis

Oct 24, 2018 at 7:29am

plug in cord to 120v power source, run cord to van, hook battery charger to battery and plug into cord/power strip/multi-outlet.

Any AC gadget can be plugged into cord/power strip/multi-outlet.

Posted by grumpy

Oct 24, 2018 at 8:42am

playersz28 Avatar

Oct 24, 2018 at 5:50am playersz28 said:

grumpy Avatar

Oct 23, 2018 at 4:59pm grumpy said:

Did something similar, Only I decided on 50 amp service and used two extension cord ends and the 50 amp RV power plug, this way I can also plug into my inverter and send 120 to the full load


That one looks a tad dangerous. :)But then again my auto transfer switch has a failed contactor so I jumpered it. That means when I'm on the inverter the shore receptacle for the 50A cord that's on the outside of the trailer is hot.


Not really, since I can only accept one service at a time, thought about adding a rotary switch so It would automate the switch between utility and inverter but then it would limit my other abilities.

Posted by v10

Oct 24, 2018 at 5:58pm

You can touch either prong, just not both. lol

I wasn't going to suggest a DC fridge. I would suggest to only run it in the van when absolutely necessary.

And shut everything down until the battery has been properly charged

Posted by swampmonster

Nov 4, 2018 at 9:55pm

LOL, there are SO many options!
Mostly, it depends on your vehicle size and type.

I'm running an almost new 31ft class C, so here is what I started with a few months ago stock OEM, and what I have added/modified recently to my Fleetwood Tioga 31W...And I will add that I am a single man that travels alone.

As shipped from Fleetwood stock:

0 solar
2 ea 6V 200 amp flooded house batteries
1 Onan 4000 Watt genset
30 amp shore/genset power connection into a cheap WFCO 8955 converter to operate the RV fully and charge the house batteries.
Bi-directional battery isolater between house and starter batts.

AS recently added/modified:

6 100 watt Eclipse panels
2 Blue Sky 3000i charge controllers in parallel to LifeLine batteries
2 shunts and 2 Trimetric battery bank monitors.
one 2000 watt PSW inverter with transfer switch and smart charger built in
4 LifeLine 225 Amp AGMs for solar bank
2 each Yamaha 2000 watt inverter gensets with parallel cable
1 Iota 45 converter charger with smart IQ4 built in to use as portable charger.
1 progressive Industries 4600 series smart charger converter installed in place of the old WFCO for the house batteries.

Soon to add:

4 more Eclipse 100 watt panels for house batteries
1 600 watt PSW inverter off house batteries.
1 Blue Sky 3000i for house batt solar system.

I am a retired nuc submarine sailor that seeks to get way way off in the boonies for very long periods of time and retain all the creature comforts possible....including in motion sat TV, roof top digital TV, extended wifi, extended cell phone, 70 gallons fresh water, one ton of food, and plenty of tools...SO I insist on a back up for the back ups.

For you guys driving converted vans, first add a top quality constant duty battery isolater solenoid rated for at least 200 amps...Then of course add 30 amp shore power and carry the dog bone adapters....Consider also toting a 2000 watt inverter generator and quality battery charger/converter like the Iota 45 with IQ4.

Posted by tattoo

Nov 5, 2018 at 4:40am

swampmonster Avatar

Nov 4, 2018 at 9:55pm swampmonster said:

LOL, there are SO many options!
Mostly, it depends on your vehicle size and type.

I'm running an almost new 31ft class C, so here is what I started with a few months ago stock OEM, and what I have added/modified recently to my Fleetwood Tioga 31W...And I will add that I am a single man that travels alone.

As shipped from Fleetwood stock:

0 solar
2 ea 6V 200 amp flooded house batteries
1 Onan 4000 Watt genset
30 amp shore/genset power connection into a cheap WFCO 8955 converter to operate the RV fully and charge the house batteries.
Bi-directional battery isolater between house and starter batts.

AS recently added/modified:

6 100 watt Eclipse panels
2 Blue Sky 3000i charge controllers in parallel to LifeLine batteries
2 shunts and 2 Trimetric battery bank monitors.
one 2000 watt PSW inverter with transfer switch and smart charger built in
4 LifeLine 225 Amp AGMs for solar bank
2 each Yamaha 2000 watt inverter gensets with parallel cable
1 Iota 45 converter charger with smart IQ4 built in to use as portable charger.
1 progressive Industries 4600 series smart charger converter installed in place of the old WFCO for the house batteries.

Soon to add:

4 more Eclipse 100 watt panels for house batteries
1 600 watt PSW inverter off house batteries.
1 Blue Sky 3000i for house batt solar system.

I am a retired nuc submarine sailor that seeks to get way way off in the boonies for very long periods of time and retain all the creature comforts possible....including in motion sat TV, roof top digital TV, extended wifi, extended cell phone, 70 gallons fresh water, one ton of food, and plenty of tools...SO I insist on a back up for the back ups.



Man you should be able to get away for years with all of that food and power.... It sounds like an awesome setup...


Do you have anything else that is solar or is this your first endeavor? Either way you've got it going on....

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