Generators ?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by dippingatoe, Apr 19, 2015.

  1. dippingatoe

    dippingatoe Read Only Funster

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    I have been reading the other threads on this with interest.

    I am physically not able to move around much, so generally feel the cold more than most. My mobility scooter needs to be charged, and though I never watch TV I do like to use my laptop and also get on the internet - so my laptop needs charging, and (so far) I have not been able to source a 12 volt charger for it - hence it has to be charged via the inverter, which I know is an inefficient way of using my battery power.

    I have 2 x 110 watt solar panels, but my heating is blown air gas, and when parked up for a while I do seem to need to use the generator. Normally I am on electric hookup at a campsite, or parked up somewhere that my generator won't annoy others, but of course this is not possible at a rally.

    Everyone seems to manage their needs easily, but could someone give me exact details of their set-up so I could make the necessary adjustments. I posted on the other thread but so far no replies to my specific query.
     
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  2. Mattyjwr

    Mattyjwr Funster Life Member

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    It may help if you specify your total simultaneous energy requirements - Realistically, how much power are you likely to need at once?

    Re: devices, there are experts on here that can give you more guidance but the more money spent, the better the quality of power you will get (fewer spikes etc) and the quieter it will be.
     
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  3. Theonlysue

    Theonlysue Funster Life Member

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    Hi, I have 260w solar, and 2 X 80A batteries. Not a problem in summer, but in winter the blown air uses a bit.
    I keep the heating on a constant temp in the day, as if the van gets cold, it's uses more electric to heat.
    My laptop I plug into a 1kw inverter. As for the chair, you may have to use a Genny for that. I'm sure someone else can enlighten.
    No one minds a Genny on, especially for a chair.
    It just seems to be when they are started very early and left on all day, and you can't understand why. Even worse when they go out from their unit, to get away from the noise lol
    You seem to have good solar, what size leisure batteries, and are the solar and batteries working well?
     
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  4. laird of Dunstan

    laird of Dunstan Funster Life Member

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    I for one would not object to a disabled person running their genny , I think that its a matter of timing , if someone runs a genney outside of sociable hours then that can lead to annoyance.

    What size of battery bank do you have? is there capacity for increasing it , also do you have a 12v socket for charging your laptop ? an inverter uses up power ,by having a direct 12v charger this would cut down on wasted power
     
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  5. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

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    We have 3 x 110 ah batteries kept charged with a 110W solar panel. For emergency use, we have a 1KW inverter generator. But, we don't tend to stay in one place for long, rarely have EHU and have never attended a rally.
    All our interior lights are LED's, we don't have a tv, but we do charge 2 phones ( via USB connectors in the van) and a Laptop using the inventor. Mrs A will insist on using a hairdryer now and again.
    Last December, we managed 3 days without moving ( we only had 2 batteries and a 30W solar panel then and not much sunshine) then we had to put the generator on, but we were parked on our driveway whilst refurbing our house in France till we got the mains power connected.
    We also have blown air heating run on gas, but the blower uses electricity, so when its cold outside, the blower is on a lot, I guess this takes a lot of power out of the batteries.
    The only alternative to running a generator without going on EHU is to ensure you have enough battery power to keep you going, of course that may mean checking the batteries you have are still working efficiently or increase the number or size of batteries you have.
    There is probably a mathematical equation you can use to work out your power needs, but I don't know it!
    Allan
     
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  6. Mattyjwr

    Mattyjwr Funster Life Member

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    You may find that increasing the battery capacity is the best way to start as lugging a generator in and out of a van might not be easy.
     
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  7. dippingatoe

    dippingatoe Read Only Funster

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    I am not really much good at 'electrickery' though I am trying to get better and understand more. Basically I try to be sensible, and watch the batteries then start the generator (or more recently the engine - which being petrol is quite quiet, and having tried both methods seems to do a better job of charging the batteries and more quickly) -I am shortly having a proper meter thing installed so I can tell which is doing what and when and how the batteries are performing.

    The scooter is fitted with 2 x 12 volt heavy duty batteries, so they will take quite a bit, and although I now have a system that re-charges them as I drive along, it still needs a good long journey to really charge them up. Even on hookup if they were flat (which they rarely are) it would take 7 hours or so to fully charge.

    The inverter produces I think about 3 amps which is fine for the one plug which runs the laptop -which probably takes 30 or 40 mins to fully charge (sorry never really timed it as explained I don't normally need to worry)
     
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  8. TheDogMan

    TheDogMan Funster

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    if you are dependant on electric to charge the batteries on a regular basis and parking close to people an Efoy is the only answer
     
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  9. dippingatoe

    dippingatoe Read Only Funster

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    My generator is fixed and starts from the dashboard so is easy for me to use, but is of course noisy for those outside.

    Really in all circumstances other than a rally I am fine and don't have any problems and in fact have only been to two. One was last summer which was okay, but I did go to a meeting not long ago, it was quite cold and I felt most uncomfortable about having to start the genny. I could manage during the day as the sun put a bit of warmth into the van, plus helped with the solar, but at night I was struggling.

    What I tried to do was give it a good run just after the sun went down to top everything up, then another quick blast at about 9.30 while I hoped most were in the pub, to try and keep me going though the night, but it was touch and go by the morning with the batteries pretty flat and of course I didn't want to start making a noise too early. Thankfully although it was cold it was sunny, so once the sun was up the solar kept me okay then, but if it had been wet it might have been a different story.

    I am intending to get more batteries, but there is not space where the current ones are, so adaptations will have to be made, plus I understand it is best to have all the batteries the same age, and as these are currently working okay I did not want to replace them just at present.
     
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  10. dippingatoe

    dippingatoe Read Only Funster

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    What is an Efoy ? :confused:
     
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  11. Langtoftlad

    Langtoftlad Funster Life Member

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    I'm Efoy curious too.
    How long do you need to run your generator in order to recharge your mobility scooter batteries?
    I don't think anyone particularly objects to the running of a genny when necessary, just at inconsiderate hours.
    I'd have thought at a show, show opening hours (9-5, perhaps 10-4?) would be "reasonable", but that's just my take on reasonable.
    As for your laptop, have you thought of a tablet (iPad) which can be charged via usb/12v. Of course it may not be suitable for your use - but it could be a compromise when not on hook up?
     
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  12. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    I am also agog waiting for efoy replies, my understanding is that it a small built in ethanol or similar fuelled device, virtually silent that monitors the state of your 12V batteries and runs when needed to keep them topped up, not sure on how much the fuel costs or lasts or where you get from etc

    I am also intrigued about the 12V laptop charger options, I have a little (300W) inverter that I plug into a 12V socket to get 240V, ample to charge laptop, but I know it draws about 4A from my 12V when charging, so on guidance from here I bought from Maplins a 12V device that charges the laptop without needing the inverter, but as my laptop needs 19V it must still do something and still takes 3A from my 12V when connected, so hardly worth the trouble of buying, or have I missed the point somewhere

    Useful, positive generator thread on the back of the other negative issues being raised, although I am in the ban them camp (y)
     
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  13. thehutchies

    thehutchies Funster

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  14. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    Only ever seen one. Belonged to @funflair ,martyr who I'm sure would be able to tell you what he thinks of them... basically a fuel cell powered by something like methanol and produces power silently. ..but at a price...They were not cheap last time I looked...
    Ta andy
     
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  15. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    I used to like you :LOL:
     
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  16. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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  17. Peter & Elaine

    Peter & Elaine Funster

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    http://www.efoy-go.com

    Good but not cheap

    I think with your attitude and awareness for others a quick explanation and you should be ok with your genny
    You can park next to me and Elaine anytime if you can stand the snoring we sound like a couple of kippors
     
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  18. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    So about 5 grand for something that will produce 8 amps...
    That's not fitted as you said and doesn't include the cost of fuel..
    I'll stick with my Genny. . Use it as a power source at other times as well and been handy during a couple of prolonged power cuts at home
    Ta andy
     
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  19. Theonlysue

    Theonlysue Funster Life Member

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    Hi, you haven't said what your leisure batteries are?
    It's well worth checking if your solars and batteries are at their best.
     
  20. dippingatoe

    dippingatoe Read Only Funster

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    Yes hopefully I am getting the gizmo to show me what it going on - and it may well be fitted by the end of this coming week so I will start getting a better grip on things. Electricity is something I find very hard to get my head round.

    The solar panels do a reasonable job if the weather is good, but even those would not keep up Some research has shown that my blown air heating will use between 5 and 10 amps per hour, and if the weather is cold I definitely need to run it.

    I do want to increase my battery bank, but as I have had them looked at and told they were okay, plus they are holding their charge reasonably I don't want to bin them - but I want to buy all new at the same time - not mix ages.

    But all this has spurred on research which has proved useful - as I say I rarely have a problem in normal circumstances, as I move about quite a lot plus hook up is available.

    As I am hoping to cross the channel later this year it may be as well to get everything sorted beforehand :)
     
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