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Old 08-10-2016, 03:54 AM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Damon Daybreak 3211
State: England
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THOR #719
Battery Charging from Onboard Generator

We have a 2011 Damon Daybreak 3211 with an Onan 5.5 Generator fitted. Trying wild camping next week (boon docking to you guys I think) for the first time. Anyone have any idea how long we need to run the generator to keep the house battery charged? I suspect that all we will be running off the battery is the lighting and water pump. Thanks for any advice. By the way we are over here in the UK.
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Old 08-10-2016, 04:22 AM   #2
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THOR #3382
Generator Battery Charging

I have a meter on my house batteries that tells me via digital readout the voltage remaining. At 12 volts remaining, I can recharge my batteries to 100% in 4 hours, WITHOUT the AC running.

Many coaches have a built in generator auto start, that will auto start the generator based on voltage remaining, or temperature in Motorhome. It then runs a preset time, or until batteries are charged.
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Old 08-10-2016, 03:16 PM   #3
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THOR #4366
Depends on the batteries. But typical from 50% discharged is around 5 hours with a smart charger for use. Faster if we isolate the batteries and use the smart charger on one and the converter for the other.
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Old 08-10-2016, 07:31 PM   #4
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THOR #719
Thanks for the info. We don't have an auto start on the generator, manual switch on and off for us.
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Old 08-11-2016, 08:30 AM   #5
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THOR #556
I have a 2012 Daybreak. Running the generator about one hour a day does it for me. Remember the electronics in the reefer is running 24/7. Use a volt meter everyday until you get an idea how much generator time is really needed.
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Old 08-11-2016, 03:22 PM   #6
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THOR #4466
We've boondocked for two weeks at a time. The generator is run no more than two hours a day, maybe a bit more if we want to use the microwave. We use small battery operated lanterns with leds instead of rv lighting. We try to conserve battery power for the fridge and furnace fan at night. Also, instead of using the battery powered water pump we keep plastic gallon jugs filled with water for various uses, including flushing the toilet. Instead of homey sheets and blankets we throw a couple of sleeping bags on the beds and turn the thermostat down to fifty. Boiling water for my drip pot coffee takes the edge off the chill in our 25 footer first thing in the morning. We used to be a tent campers.
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Old 08-11-2016, 08:31 PM   #7
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THOR #719
Thank you for all the advice, now have a better idea of using the generator. This is our first real attempt at wild camping / boon docking. We are out for twenty four days so it will be a bit of a learning curve as we are normally hooked up to a mains electrical supply. Looking forward to it.
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Old 08-11-2016, 09:24 PM   #8
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THOR #2121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blodwyn Pig View Post
We have a 2011 Damon Daybreak 3211 with an Onan 5.5 Generator fitted. ....cut....
When comparing to others, I'd make sure that your converter is of similar rating, otherwise the data may not apply closely. It may also help to compare similar battery capacities.

Having a larger generator (5.5 vs 4.0) may not help when charging rate is limited by converter. Obviously if you can recharge at 100 Amps the generator won't have to run as long as if charging is limited to 50 Amps, etc.

If boon-docking often, I'd look at converter and battery capacity as areas for possible upgrade. Just food for thought.
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Old 08-11-2016, 11:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blodwyn Pig View Post
Thank you for all the advice, now have a better idea of using the generator. This is our first real attempt at wild camping / boon docking. We are out for twenty four days so it will be a bit of a learning curve as we are normally hooked up to a mains electrical supply. Looking forward to it.
I'm envious. Have a great time and tell us all about it on your return.
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Old 08-12-2016, 12:47 AM   #10
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Here is a more technical reply.

Your battery charging speed depends on how far your battery is discharged and how much current your converter is pushing thru your battery.

Obviously, if your battery is not very discharged, it will charge faster than one which is fully discharged.

The other factor is determined by your converter. Many manufacturers install an inexpensive single stage converter that charges at 13.6v or so and that limits the charging current to about 5 Amps. It also can cause the water to evaporate when the battery is fully charged.

Much better is a "smart" charger. (not a brand name). A smart charger senses the battery's state of charge and sets the charging voltage accordingly. a deeply discharged battery will be charged at about 14.2v, depending on the generator brand. The charging current can be in the 30-60 Amp range, depending on the battery and converter. Once the battery becomes somewhat charged the charging voltage drops to about 13.8v, as I recall. Once it is fully charged the voltage drops to 13.2v, which is much easier on the battery than the 13.6v mentioned above.

I think most of the replies above are for a smart charger.
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