120 v battery chargers for solar battery bank...

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by parkland, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. parkland
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    parkland Senior Member

    Does anyone know, where you can find a charger, that is meant to mount to a wall, that will charge a giant bank of batteries from 120vac?

    The idea is to charge a bank of batteries, using a 120vac generator. (In the event that solar doesn't provide enough.)
    2000-4000watt.

    I found some small ones, but nothing high capacity. Looking for something that would actually last a lifetime, not junk that overheats and dies and starts fires.
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Look for chargers for forklifts.
     
  3. WestVanHan
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    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

  4. philSweet
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    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    Parkland, what is the voltage of the battery bank, and do you already have the genset? There are several different ways to integrate this into the boat. It is a very common size charger for boats and can be had combined with other gadgets such as inverters. That can save on instrumentation, wiring, and cabinetry if you need both features. Will it also run off shore power? How many separate banks for charging? most will have multiple isolated bank capability.

    The RV units are called dc controllers. They are different from battery chargers in some ways and are intended to run off continuous shore power, supplying the dc circuits in the rv and hopefully not destroying the batteries while doing so. But since they don't manage voltage for the express purpose of charging the batteries, they tend to reduce the life of the batteries quite a bit from what a proper charger could do. With dc controllers, there is a stock standard failure mode. 1. A battery dies, but you don't know this because the controller is still working (at max effort). 2. . . . until it quits because it was running flat out for a couple months. RV'es who have gotten tired of buying $400 controllers have resigned themselves to buying new Walmart batteries every 18 months. Better batteries don't last any longer with a controller.

    To me, when you say you don't want junk, you don't want a kludge either. No dc controllers, no forklift chargers, no golfcart chargers. If your boat has any serious electronics on it, you want a class A RFI rating. Class B is fine if you aren't too serious about your nav/com gear. Class B costs and weighs about half what class A does.

    Here's one with all the bells and whistles. There are many. I'm not shilling for Xantrax or recommending this unit.

    http://www.xantrex.com/power-products/inverter-chargers/freedom-sw-24v.aspx
     
  5. parkland
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    parkland Senior Member

    Elegant solution, but after looking, they are fairly low output. Thanks though.
     
  6. parkland
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    parkland Senior Member


    Thats getting closer, I was in fact browsing though there, but didn't happen to see such a powerful one earlier.
     
  7. parkland
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    parkland Senior Member


    Sorry, this is for a cabin. I figured I'd still ask here, cause it's a solar power system, so is almost identical to what would work on a boat anyways.
    I'm actually fairly smart with solar stuff, but never ran across the need for a 120v charger yet.
    I hate with a passion modules that incorporate multiple rolls all into one single unit, I'd rather have separate devices for every function, unless it's something small like a solar yard light or something.
    I've had the xantrex stuff before, it's really top notch, but I stay away from it because of cost, and I haven't had a reason to ditch the cheaper stuff YET.

    I know what ya mean about the camper batteries, I know a lot of people that tried to use them for solar systems, they don't last that long at all.

    The reason I was looking into this, is that I want to install solar power for a cabin, but also a listeroid generator set to charge up the batteries once in a while.
    If it was a boat, I'd just look into an automotive alternator.
     
  8. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Stumble Senior Member

    In the first post you indicate you want to run this from a 120v generator. In which case you need a battery charger. Which at the maximum needs to be sized to the output of your generator.

    If you want to charge from solar panels then a MPPT controller is more sutable. The size is based on the solar panels not the size of the battery bank.
     
  9. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Taking a different approach, could you run a 12V generator instead?
     
  10. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    Then an RV dc converter would be fine. Class B. A pair of 90 amp jobs should do the trick. You can run all your dc house circuits off the generator while you are charging (via the converter). Just put 2 gallons of gas in the genset and run it until it dies. Do all your power hungry chores with the genset running and then coast on battery power. Get one of them with a battery monitor dongle. I think these support the battery dongle now.

    http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-converters/wfco-converter.htm

    This basically gives you a parallel system. One thing to consider- the acceptance rate for wet lead recharge drops off substantially above 80%. For efficiency reasons, I wouldn't spec the chargers for more than half the rated acceptance at 60% discharge. That way, the genset and chargers are working efficiently all the way up to about 95% charge. Saves money on the initial setup as well. Add in the house DC load so you can run while you charge.

    My 50 amp rv runs off a 50amp converter and 2 24 series batts. My boat runs off solar and with three 27 series batts. The rv bus next door has ten 8D's and a whole closet full of electronics (that can run AC of inverters). I find people tend to overdo it with battery capacity. Schedule loads when you are producing power. Using a few less batteries and replacing them more often ends up costing the same in the long run if everything goes perfectly. But if ever there is a glitch, the smaller bank is cheaper to replace.
     
  11. WestVanHan
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    Phil,thanks for being more specific,I'm too lazy/didn't have the time and with no idea of amp hours/voltage/ etc just was steering him in the direction.

    Was even going to suggest a couple large DC alternators on an engine,but he already seems to have an AC gen set.
     
  12. parkland
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    parkland Senior Member


    Correct, I am looking to find a battery charger that runs on 120v.
    The chargers for the solar panels are totally different, and easy to find.
    I already have several.

    And also correct, I want the charger to be close to the output of the generator, doesn't make sense to run a 3500w generator for a 20 amp charger.
     
  13. parkland
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    parkland Senior Member

    Thought about it, but it seemed like if there was already going to be a 120vac genset, less moving parts is better.
     
  14. parkland
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    parkland Senior Member


    Don't have anything yet; just trying to source everything.
    In the process of purchasing an acreage in BC, and it's empty, as in no power, phone, water etc.
    Plan is to take 2 campers out there, build a roof over top, and build a generator shack this summer. I have a cheap 1000 w 2 stroke gas generator to use temporarily, just to get the generator shack built, and stay in the campers. The 1000 w 100$ generator should be enough to use power tools to build the generator shack. I already have solar panels and batteries and stuff for campers, but this will all be temporary; just somewhere to stay while out there working.
    I've saved a large cash down payment for the property, so I will have to be semi-cheap until later in the summer.

    The plan this spring / summer is to build the generator shack, and get a road built. And set up a camp. Well will be drilled, septic will be approved by then, but maybe just holding tank for now, we'll see.

    After that, next year probably start building a cabin, and I figure it makes sense to have reliable power and water while building that. This place is a solid 18 hours from our current place, so family will be coming, so roughing it without those things isn't gonna happen. Need power for tablets and TV :rolleyes:
     

  15. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    Wells are expensive. Do you get enough rain there to design a collection system that would fill buried tanks? If so with a quality generator you could live off of the grid. How far away is the nearest power?
     
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