Anyone use a genny along with solar?

#16
By failing to get your lead bank back to true 100% Full frequently enough

AKA PSOC abuse

or depleting it below 50% more than occasionally (god forbid all the way flat)

a quality bank that **could** last 12+ years if coddled, may only last a season or two.

AKA murdered by the owner.

Since the last 4-5 hours of charging - required to get from say 90% to true 100% - is at very low amps, it just isn't worth burning dino juice to do so, only solar or mains unless you're driving all day anyway.

LFP banks do not have this trailing amps issue, nor should they sit at Full.

Firefly Oasis are lead, and should get to Full as often as possible, but are uniquely resistant to PSOC abuse and will last many cycles despite it, as long as you regularly follow their capacity restore procedure.

Hope that helps.
Any recommendations are where to pick up one of those firefly batteries?
 
#17
Those sportsman 1000w generators are the same thing that is re-branded as a ton of different low budget manufactures. Most reviews point out they don't come close to putting out their claimed wattage and reliability isn't the best . . .
For the cost (20% cost of Honda) and my use it is a good gamble. I had good reviews from two people I trust that have had them for over 2 years with good performance. I tested mine to 600W; good enough for my 35A charger, which is it's primary use.

jim
 
#18
Any recommendations are where to pick up one of those firefly batteries?
Yes. If you are stateside, do not deal directly with the Indian company that bought them.

Bruce Schwab @ Ocean Planet is master distributor for NA, will put you on to a dealer.

Note there could be a long backlog waitlist, took me 5 months to get mine.

And $500 per 100AH is too steep for many. Only worth it if you truly can't remedy your PSOC.

Or just buy Deka FLA GCs at $1/AH and just replace more frequently?
 
#20
Yes. If you are stateside, do not deal directly with the Indian company that bought them.

Bruce Schwab @ Ocean Planet is master distributor for NA, will put you on to a dealer.

Note there could be a long backlog waitlist, took me 5 months to get mine.

And $500 per 100AH is too steep for many. Only worth it if you truly can't remedy your PSOC.

Or just buy Deka FLA GCs at $1/AH and just replace more frequently?
Thanks(y)
 
#21
I hadn't looked at generators in awhile so I had to check out the briggs inverter generator. Compared to my favorite Champion Dual Fuel there are some differences.
Briggs 2 year warranty Champion 3 years. Both have excellent service.
Briggs gasoline only Champion propane and gasoline.
Briggs $1,019 Champion $1,074
Briggs 2600 Watts Rated 3,000 Surge Watts Champion 3100 Watts Rated 3400 Surge Watts This is important if you are trying to charge and run AC at same time. Surge Watts are useful during compressor starting
Briggs 90.4 Pounds Champion 95.7 Pounds
Briggs 59 db Champion 59 db

No obvious winner. Hopefully someone will make a Propane conversion kit for the Briggs.
https://www.powerequipmentdirect.com/Briggs-&-Stratton-30545/p13562.html
https://www.powerequipmentdirect.com/Champion-100263/p67309.html
 
#22
Everyone seems to mention Honda generators. While they are great they are expensive for what they are. I haven't checked lately but do not know if they offer off the factory shelf with dual fuel capabilities. I know there are kits to make the conversion BUT. Champion Power Equipment offers quality comparable inverter tech dual fuel ready generators. Having a small generator to bulk charge or use for high demand items makes good sense. Having a dual fuel generator makes even more sense if you use propane.
Champion Inverter Dual Fuel Generators
I opted for a Yamaha Gen/Inverter doing my research the yamaha had twice the life expetancy over the Honda
 
#23
I opted for a Yamaha Gen/Inverter doing my research the yamaha had twice the life expetancy over the Honda
To revive an old thread, I am facing the same issue of struggling to recharge my 2 6v Trojan batteries with my solar. It works flawlessly while I am in Colorado, not so well in W. Montana, and next summer we plan to head to coastal Oregon, Washington, and BC. We initially thought of portable panels to complement those on the roof of our trailer, but I'm not convinced even that will work when we find ourselves in deep shady boondocking. If I went with a small generator like a Honda 1000 or 2200, what is the best method for recharging the batteries? Using the 110 plug on the generator to run a small charger? Seems inefficient? The Honda 2200 has a 12v output for direct battery connection, but offers no charge controller- that seems like trouble. Can current be run through my solar charge controller? I am sure others have tackled the problem.
 
#24
when I was building my trailer in the back of my mind was electrical, type of charging system I wanted off grid: battery size, type of battery, whether single battery or running 2 batteries paralle to supply the power for my 12v. gear & equipment. I knew I wanted off grid charging system: solar. I researched a good solar company & found Renogy (which I gave a few phone calls to) & read up on batteries how large & types are the best & would give me a reliable power source & use time.

The 12v. equipment & gear you decide to use will determine power consumption. As for me I run Engel MR40 40 qt. 12v. portable fridge freez which pulls average .7amps to 1.25 amp on fridge (runs on demand) depending on the time of the year. My Endless Breeze Fan on medium pulls 1.2 amp hour (run continuously @ night in the summer while sleeping). My Proplex H2000 tent furnace pulls 1.6 amps hour (runs on demand in the cold winter months @ night while sleeping), I have miscellaneous 12v. gear like my Zodi Hot Shower system that barely pulls any amps do to the short time it runs for showering. These figures of equipment usage is very important & will determine battery use, battery size & type of battery & type off grid charging system (solar).

Solar system I run is Renogy: 2 100 watt portable panels with branch connector, 5 ft 10 agw pigtail between both panels, 30 amp charge controller, 20ft of 10 agw cable & VMax 125 amp hour AGM battery. I like this set up because @ certain times of the year (seasons) I can run as many panels I need, example: in the winter I just run 1 100 watt portable panel were in the warmer months I run both 100 watt portable panels parallel "together. In the winter months & early spring I leave my Engel @ home & replace it with a 70 qt. K2 Roto-molded cooler. For this reason my frozen jugs & ice stays in the cooler longer for days upon days because of the ambient air temperature & the only 12v. gear I run is my tent furnace, my Zodi Shower system & charging a cell phone. I like the portable panels over a stationary panel for the reason I can move my panel\panels to follow the sun to get maximum sun exposure. Having 20ft. of 10 agw cable length to make this possible.

A 100 watt solar panel (good quality) will produce 30 amp hours per day "that's" on a good day. This also can vary during different times of day (over cast) different times of the year with less sun light available in winter months. Running my (2) 100 watt Renogy panels together in spring & summer early fall months parallel the voltage would remain the same but the amperage would increase. This is were my solar system shines. The key is to have more going back into the battery or batteries than you have going out. Much like how a accelerator pedal works on a vehicle. The more you give it the gas the more it uses gas.

It is important IMO that what ever 12v. gear you use & how much gear has the lowest power consumption use as possible to keep your battery life while camping & its life span altogether in good standing. The problem of these lower power use consuming 12v. gear & equipment the cost is more in price. This why it's important to know how low you can discharge your battery before you damage it by over use of its power capacity aka "discharge level" which is 50%. Anything beyond this will shorten your battery life span, not counting your run time on the battery while camping. Example my battery for my adventure trailer is a VMax Tank 125ah AGM battery, usable power is 62.5 amps.

You need a solar system large enough that is capable of putting more back into your battery vs. what you have going out. A single 100watt panel wont do if you run a 12v. fridg\freez & other 12v. gear in the warmer months because of ambient air temperature (warm to hotter temperatures) will cause the fridge to run more often which in this case uses more power & the power consumption will be higher amps per hour than listed on the low side of the owners manual. This also goes for the fact that late fall & winter months we have short day light times which your amps per day are less than 30 amps. Remember that fridge will need to run @ sleep hours too 24 hrs on demand much like your household fridges do. The average portable 12v. fridge will run anywhere between every 15 minutes on the low to normal side (cooler weather) to every 8 minutes or less on the high side (warmer weather) depending geographic's. This will use more power from the battery which will go into the lower side of the 50% discharged level if the solar system isn't large enough to supply the power for recharging the battery supplying a reserve to the battery for night time use while running the fridge during day light hours.

I find that some folks will be "under powered" in solar because they are trying to save money on a system. They will blame it on the solar system when in reality the facts are they did not purchase a efficient sizeable solar system to supply enough power to begin with. To run 12v. gear especially off grid disperse camping is to have enough off grid power to supply the battery for a full charge during sun light hours while to run the 12v. gear during the day time hours @ have enough reserve in the battery to supply night time hour use. Again, the reason for this is.............they do not want to spend the money for a proper sized high quality solar system that is efficient for the 12v. gear they are supporting.

The photo is when the wife & I are out late winter early spring dispersed camping using only one of our 100 watt panels. We never had our battery below 10% of the actual total amp hour rating while disperse camping.
060.JPG 002.JPG 003.JPG 006.JPG 037.JPG
 
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#25
The only thing IMO you need a generator for is A/C. Even microwaves run fine off a cheap battery bank and cheap pure sine inverter. A/C is really the only big load that runs on a big duty cycle (hours per day).

I see lots of people (mostly RV folks) who spend a bunch of money on solar and then cheap out on the wiring and the actual system design. Then they think solar doesn't work well.

Plan your solar system with FAT & SHORT wiring runs, a quality controller, and a battery bank with generous Ah, then enjoy the bounteous power reserves and blissful silence for years

Solar/Battery Aircon can be done, but forget about remaining anywhere near budget territory.
 
#26
If I went with a small generator like a Honda 1000 or 2200, what is the best method for recharging the batteries? Using the 110 plug on the generator to run a small charger? Seems inefficient? The Honda 2200 has a 12v output for direct battery connection, but offers no charge controller- that seems like trouble. Can current be run through my solar charge controller? I am sure others have tackled the problem.
Your making this too complicated, hardwire an AC charger/battery tender up.. Appropriately sized with appropriate charging profile for your batteries.. your generator is going to be idling and outputting minimal power either way, efficiency of turning liquid dinosaurs into electricity is poor to begin with.. much bigger than the loss from AC -> DC, and you can charge at rates higher than 10A.. either way with those lead batteries, recharging em with a generator means the generator is running for hours with very little output while its absorbing so just forget about efficiency.. A big reason for having a generator backup for solar is so you can baby an expensive battery bank so it lasts as long as you can get it.. once you start abusing batteries by leaving em partially charged or discharging em too deeply they start shedding life very fast.

then as an added bonus, you can plug in at home or any place that has electricity and get a full, proper charge on your batteries regardless of the lighting conditions..
 
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dwh

Tail-End Charlie
#27
Using the 110 plug on the generator to run a small charger?
No, the best plan is to use the 110 plug to run a BIG charger. A Honda 2000 can easily run a 50a charger.

A good beefy multistage charger like an Iota 45a w/IQ4 brain plugged into the 110 of the gen will do the best job in the least time.

No other charging scheme comes close.

Plus with an inverter gen, the throttle adjusts to load. So as the battery gets full and the charger draws less off the 110, the gen throttles down. Which is good because even with the best charger, absorb takes hours.
 
#28
Some solar controllers are more agnostic others only take panels.

The 12V output on an inverter genny is very low current.

Get a quality high-current mains charger, ideally one that you can derate the amps throughput to use on poor shore circuits or also run other loads.

and tweak the charge profile, custom voltage.

I like Sterling ProCharge Ultra and ProMariner Pronautic P

For a 2000kva gennie maybe 80-100A?
 
#29
And note it takes 5-7 hours charging to get a lead bank back to Full, if you have enough amps.

Only need to do that 2-3 times a week for longevity.

The amps accepted drops after the first couple hours, so turn off the genny and use solar for the rest.
 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
#30
Some solar controllers are more agnostic others only take panels.

The 12V output on an inverter genny is very low current.

Get a quality high-current mains charger, ideally one that you can derate the amps throughput to use on poor shore circuits or also run other loads.

and tweak the charge profile, custom voltage.

I like Sterling ProCharge Ultra and ProMariner Pronautic P

For a 2000kva gennie maybe 80-100A?
Good advice. The Magnum Energy line of inverter/chargers is another option, still, I believe, made in the US.

As others have noted, this shouldn't be hard. You should have a good shore power charger - just plug your generator into that.
 
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