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Old 05-09-2018, 01:44 PM   #1
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powering questions

stuck in-between using a generator or going solar any one else have this issue and what kinda generators are being mounted to the buses and where
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Old 05-09-2018, 02:16 PM   #2
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No need to be either-or.

Unlike batts in a bank, no harm in incrementally adding more panels later.

The small quiet sub 2kW inverter gennies, coupled with the right size mains charger can compensate for poor solar conditions with an hour or two run in the early morning

Then the remaining solar day has a better chance of finishing the long tail at low amps getting you to 100% Full

which is required for bank longevity.

As you add more solar and adjust your usage patterns you'll need to run the genny fewer hours per week.
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Old 05-09-2018, 03:50 PM   #3
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stuck in-between using a generator or going solar any one else have this issue and what kinda generators are being mounted to the buses and where
It all depends on your mission and what YOU want.

Myself - I strongly dislike noise so a generator is not my favorite piece of equipment. Solar is silent and silence is golden when sitting in a spectacular boondocking spot!! (my opinion) So, I created my electrical system to make me happy.

Some here apparently love generator noise, feeding fuel into it, and paying for maintenance. That's ok too (but I won't be parked anywhere near them).

Of course, there are some "less noisy" generators and even ways to mitigate the noise. I don't know of a way to mitigate the cost of the fuel that goes into them.

One important point, if boondocking a lot, a generator is generally a fairly poor way to charge batteries to 100% SOC (due to the slow charge rate). But lots of variables behind that.
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Old 05-09-2018, 05:17 PM   #4
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Some rigs burn too much energy for solar to work.

The quiet gennies make less noise than most aircon units.

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if boondocking a lot, a generator is generally a fairly poor way to charge batteries to 100% SOC (due to the slow charge rate).
Actually there is no practical way to use any fossil fuel source to get to 100%, except a good alternator setup for those driving 5+ hours a day.

So even if 90% of your energy budget AH/day comes from dino juice, you **still** need some solar to handle that long tail, as I described above.

If using a lead bank, and motivated to make it last as long as possible.

LFP banks never need to get to 100% Full, and in fact sitting there **hurts** their longevity. But super expensive and steep learning curve.
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Old 05-09-2018, 05:57 PM   #5
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Speaking of boondocking, if more then one camper/bus/rv is in the same location, then it is my opinion that gennies should not be used at all by anyone, unless you really must then make sure others are not getting gassed out. Not only the noise, but carbon monoxide piosening from other peoples gennies. I have had to ask others who were gassing me out to turn off there gennies for fear of not waking up again. I am not a fearful person, however there are limits. So out there all by yourself make noise and smoke. Otherwise lets try not to gas anyone out please.
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Old 05-09-2018, 06:27 PM   #6
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I'm of the opinion that even with a great solar set up one should have a generator.

The more money you put in your solar the less you will have to run it. I'm positive if I don't have a generator for backup the sun will stop shining just to screw me
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Old 05-09-2018, 07:54 PM   #7
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One important point, if boondocking a lot, a generator is generally a fairly poor way to charge batteries to 100% SOC (due to the slow charge rate). But lots of variables behind that.
This can be wholly true or partly true depending on how you use the generator.

Most small-ish inverter generators have a battery charging 12V output usually restricted to about 8 amps. Do not use this feature.

Instead, use the 120V output to feed your shore-power connector, then the entire output of the generator will be available to charge the batteries via your inverter/charger or other three-stage charger.
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:12 PM   #8
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Yes the DC output is pretty useless.

A 2kVA genny should power a 60A charger just fine.

Best is to get a charger that lets you de-rate the current demanded to give flexibility, other loads running at the same time, a poor mains circuit, or running the genny in Eco mode.
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