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Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

Old 02-06-2003, 10:33 PM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

I just purchased a 1000 watt generator to charge my onboard batteries with the use of a Dual Pro battery charger.Upon plugging the charger to the generator the LED display on the charger started blinking as if something was wrong.I contacted the manufacturer of the charger and they stated that since the unit was solid state I would need to use a Line Conditioner to correct the sine wave so that the unit would operate properly.Has anyone ever experienced this problem or could possibly tell me where to purchase this item.The chargers input is 5.3 amps..Thanks

Pat
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Old 02-07-2003, 05:12 AM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

What brand charger, model number? What brand of generator, model number? Thanks.

"Never enough time to do it right; ALWAYS enough time to do it over." Boston Whaler, "MUMBLER", 24' Outrage (1996), twin 175 HP Evinrude Ocean Pros. Snowball, the cat...
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Old 02-07-2003, 06:13 AM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

with portable generators. The quality of the output power is usually not good enough to run electronic equipment. The voltage and the frequency varies all over the place, which is not liked by electronics. Good enough to run your water pump or refrigerator during a power outage, but not good enough for most electronics.

Take a look at your charger specs. If they give any data about input voltage and frequency range, then you know how good the source power has to be. Give the generator manufacturer a call and ask them what you can do to get the power quality up to the required level. Some portable generator manufacturers offer conditioners matched for their generators, so you may get an answer quickly. I expect you'll probably have to pay in the $100-$150 range for a conditioner.

You said you just purchased the generator....what brand and model? You may be able to return it get one that has better output regulation and not have to mess with a separate box.

My work took me into portable generators a couple of years ago. A lot of manufacturers really overstate the capabilities of their products, so even with specs it is hard to be sure a particular generator (even with a conditioner) will work unless you actually try it. I will say that the Honda EU series had one of the best outputs we tested.
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Old 02-07-2003, 08:07 AM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

I should have been more specific.The Generator is a Model 1000 Generac portable.The charger is the Dual Pro 10 by 10 AMP Made by Charging Systems International.I called Generac wishing to speak with a technician but was told they do not have one and referred me to a service center in my area.When I went to the service center I got the response that I expected. WHAT'S A SINE WAVE?????Any way I did a search on the web last night for line conditioners and found a Trippe-lite 600 watt model for about 70 bucks.Think it would be worth a try?....Thanks for the post

Pat
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Old 02-07-2003, 08:27 AM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

I'm looking to invest in a Honda EU2000 use on overnight canyon trips. I want to just plug it into my shore power input and charge the batteries,run electronics, run the spreaders and other lights.
Is this a good idea
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Old 02-07-2003, 10:35 AM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

fshhrd...ugh, the "G" brand. I'll just say you get what you pay for. Best advice I can offer you is to change the oil regularly, after half the time they recommend (don't go the probable recommended 100 hours).

Right off the bat, a 1000W generator is only going to put out 8.7 amps at 115VAC. That's the most power with a perfect sine wave, which we know you don't have. General rule of thumb to use for generator sizing is 2 times your load. That way, you've got some headroom for things like inrush current and sloppy outputs, etc. You're probably right on the hairy edge right now, and even more so if you introduce the losses from the conditioner. That 600W conditioner is sized right on the edge for your charger input, so needless to say in the real world you won't be running the charger at it's maximum output and capability.

If you can redo this setup I'd go with a 2000W generator and a 1000W conditioner. If you're stuck, so to speak, with existing equipment I'd still go with the 1000W conditioner. That way you're set up with the right conditioner for your charger in case you ever "upgrade" your generator in the future.

Marlintini, don't know the specifics of your setup in terms of total load (you do need to calculate that). I suspect you're underpowered at 2000W, particularly if you want to run all that stuff at tha same time. If you care to post the power requirements for everything I'd be happy to help with the calculations. That's an excellent choice for a generator, and they do make a EU3000 (kinda big, but you can't get power from the air). A couple of things do come to mind about using a "home" portable generator on a boat, though. Noise, for one thing. Next, the shore power connectors probably will not plug directly into the regular 'ole wall style receptacles on the side of the generator. You'll have to figure out some type of adapter or hard wire a shore-type connector to the generator. Also, don't dismiss the problems of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have the space, maybe a bank of house batteries might be an easier way to go.
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Old 02-07-2003, 12:24 PM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

I've got the calculations and connections covered.
They "market" the Honda EU2000 with words like:

"Super Quiet"
"Inverter (Computer Friendly)" implying clean power.

I'm just wondering if they live up to the marketing mumbo jumbo? Any one have first hand experience with this unit?
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Old 02-07-2003, 04:48 PM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

Marlintini-I picked up the Honda 1000 last season, although we haven't used it on an overnight trip we did power up the boat at the dock with it. It ran my onboard battery charger, the 110v tower lights and had all of the electronics on, everything worked OK and the batteries were all getting a charge with the lights all on. We fabricated a plastic milk crate to hold the unit up on the tower,cushioned the box on the bottom with plastic pipe insulation, strapped it down and run the shorepower cable down the tower leg secured with velcro straps. It seems like the unit had power to spare, and it's ultra quiet.

Joe
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Old 02-07-2003, 05:36 PM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

I'm looking at the same situation and will probably wind up with the EU2000 driving a Xantrex 3 bank multi-stage going to 2 Group 27's and 1 Group 31 Deep Cycle (House).

The first step was to carefully calculate the energy demand at anchor, between 6 Halogens, Northstar Combo unit, and pumps... Use caution when adding it up, washdown and livewell pumps can draw more than halogens if running constantly.

The second was redistribution of almost all accessories to house panel (fed by Gr 31). Besides the primary electronics, I have a backup VHF hard wired to port cranking batt and RayNav GPS hard wired to stbd cranker.

If operating to spec, the EU2000 should be able to provide a clean source with a nominal running time of five hours on a single gas fill.

I'm figuring that in the run offshore, trolling around before dropping the hook or tying up, I'll have a full charge. With the deep-cycle grp 31 I can run the battery against its reserves for several hours before I need to kick off the generator, then begin the recharging right up to dawn.

I've spoken with enough riggers that agree this should be a safe bet.

Depending on whether you want to just run lights or supply enough power to simultaneously recharge, remember the constant W=V*I, so bear in mind that the EU1000 is rated at 900W (7.5A) while the 2000 throws off 1600W (13.3A). Some chargers will need current around 10A to function correctly.

You can also refer to some FAQ's and worksheets to solve this.

Xantrex

Good Luck....
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Old 02-07-2003, 06:22 PM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

I was led to believe that those little Honda's would charge batteries direct, no need to use a/c charger . . . no?

28' Maxcat w/twin Honda 225's
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Old 02-07-2003, 06:40 PM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

Chaps:

You're right, the Hondas have a single DC out which operates at 8A. The hookups are a bit cheesy, are are probably not suitable to attach to a stowed boat battery, without disconnecting it adn leaving it out on deck to charge. The fixed AC charger only needs a short extension to tie it in.
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Old 02-07-2003, 06:43 PM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

Is it better to run the spreader lights and charge the batteries while using the batteries to run the onboard electronics or is it better to go with a shore power hookup and run the lights and electronics with the generator and any leftover current going to recharge the batteries? Does this question make sense?
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Old 02-08-2003, 10:46 AM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

Like tricube said, any answers out there?
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Old 02-08-2003, 02:09 PM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

Thanks Joe... good idea on the milk crate

Tricube brings up a great question.

All the lighting and electronics are running on 12 volts ie. . . the batteries. The generator is supplying 120v to power the 12v charger. As these are all on at the same time... is the charger supplying the 12v power?, or the batteries? which then get recharged when they fall below a certain point. Does this make sense
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Old 02-08-2003, 04:06 PM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

When we set my Honda 1000 up, we tested it, I put a voltmeter on the house battery (it's isolated) and one of the engine batteries while everything was on. As I recall they were both showing above 13.0-13.25 volts. I admit that I am somewhat "electrically challenged", but with the generator off I was only reading about 12.5v, so I assume I'm replacing more juice than I'm taking out. I plan on being very conservative with electrical use on my first overnighter with this set-up, and carrying one of those jump start units just to be on the safe side.

Joe
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Old 02-09-2003, 04:56 AM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

Joe;

When you tested the setup, running the Honda onto the charging system, I'm not certain that any charge is being replenished. The discharge rate may just be slowing for that particular load.

One way to know, if the facilities are available,
would be to run an extension to the dock and determine what the voltage reads are on a 10A ckt, 15, 20. Marinas should have varying ckts for freezers, soda machines, etc.

What sort of charger are you supplying AC to?

---- A most vexing question. Then again you can always sit in the dark, don't use the livewell, don't use the washdown, and don't key the mic. Like myself.


--Mike
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Old 02-09-2003, 06:08 AM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

The Honda 1000 puts out 8 amps dc to charge the battery. That equals around 100 watts (current x Voltage=watts). Its AC output is 1000 watts. It depends on the charger on your boat. Most put out more than 8 amps and would be more efficient than using the generator directly to charge.

Jim
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Old 02-09-2003, 06:27 AM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

I've been using the Honda 1000 for a couple years now on overnights in the canyon. I just plug into the shore power connection with an adaptor and let the generator run all night. It has no problem running everything on the boat at the same time except the AC and microwave.Last year I borrowed the Honda 2000 from work and tried that. It was able to run my AC and microwave also, as long as I shed some of the DC load while using the microwave. This was simply accomplished by turning off the battery charger while using the AC or micro. So I plan on picking up the Honda 2000 this year.
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Old 02-09-2003, 06:41 AM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

I'm not sure that I'm following your post, but this is what we're doing:

1-Engines off, start generator, hook it up the shore power cord, at this point I check the breaker panel voltmeter in the cabin, meter indicates 120V, I've got power.

2-I flip on the breaker for the onboard battery charger, it's a "Charles":
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As I recall the meter on the charger reads between 10-15 amps. So it appears to be charging.

3-I turn on the 120v deck light on the tower, everythings still working OK. Next I turn on the 4"X6" 12V Holagen deck light on the tower. Still got power. Now I turn on electronics, Northstar 952, Furuno 582L, Icom 127 radio.

4- I open the battery box in the engine room, and take a reading with a multimeter, it shows 13.0-13.25V, so I think that I'm charging.

If I'm doing something wrong here please let me know. I always have the option of running one of the deisels all night, but would rather not. Since I don't use the generator for much more than lights, the cost of a built in generator (I've been quoted $5,000) just don't make sense to me, that's an expensive light!

Joe
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Old 02-09-2003, 06:48 AM
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Default Hooking a portable generator to a battery charger problem

Sandpiper61 - We must have been posting at the same time, my intention was to accomplish the exact same thing that you're doing. My Henriques does not have A/C, so that's not an issue for me, my microwave was where the Honda 100 said "No More" and gave me a red indication on the little panel. I may have to look for a microwave that draws less, or no popcorn for the crew.

Joe
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