Generators ? (1 Viewer)

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dippingatoe

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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.
 

MattR

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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.
 

Theonlysue

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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?
 

laird of Dunstan

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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
 

Allanm

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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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MattR

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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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dippingatoe

dippingatoe

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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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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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dippingatoe

dippingatoe

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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.
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.
 

Langtoftlad

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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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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)
 

andy63

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http://www.fuelcellsystems.co.uk/shop/SFC_Fuel_Cells.html

somewhere between £4-5K not even fitted at that, might put a few off, but I will do some more research

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
 

Theonlysue

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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.
 
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dippingatoe

dippingatoe

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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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dippingatoe

dippingatoe

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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.
Will find out exactly what the batteries are tomorrow :)
 

funflair

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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.

We have 320 watts of solar which will give 20 amps on a good day and bugger all on a bad day which is why you need a decent battery bank as well, we have 2x80ah Gel batteries just because they came with the van and have not died yet as really I would think more would be better BUT they do run our inverter for microwave coffee machine etc. At Peterborough Thursday to Monday we made 190ah of power either into the batteries or running the fridge when the batteries were full, we have Alde heating so it does not use that much power and we were not in it that much on an evening but we did use the 240volts toys when we were at home, others have said we need to know your useage requirements which is correct but I would guess at double your solar and double the battery bank and you will have a pretty good set up.
 

Sundowners

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Hi
Efoy is a great bit of kit BUT expensive to buy AND feed-----That is why we run our little Honda-----and save the efoy fuel for 'special' occasions.
A couple of batteries (we have 3) and solar pnls will not keep a mobility scooter charged if it is used a lot during the day--(we haven't yet had the chance to try it all in BRIGHT sun)-why we charge it with the Honda. Our van has a small on board charger and I am going to fit a c-tek 25 amp one so that when charging the buggy we can get more into the battery bank at the same time.
Nigel & Pamala
 
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PeteH

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I don't know, If the following is of any Help But, For several years, we ran a Pusher Diesel R-V. Quite Early on I fitted 4 110ah Batteries and 200W of Solar Panels, this ran at 2Kva Inverter. On this "rig" we could just about "do" Americana without using the generator (Thu to Mon). Bearing in mind Americana Is in July, we had long days.

Similarly, I could do a full week long ( I Marshall and set-up) Country Music Festival. Only running the Generator during daytime Hours. My wife`s Mobility Scooter takes about 3 Hours to bring up from "Slow/Flat". And Of course we where in the venue all evening. The current Caravan has only one Battery, and I had to "swap" it on Saturday Last at Peterborough, ( I keep a second battery in the car boot and Charge it if I go off site).

It will be interesting, when the "new" Motor-home arrives in May. (yes I found it at Peterborough!!) SWMBO likes it, So I am back in the fold!!.
Pete

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Lenny HB

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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
Look at your own figures David, that is a saving of 25%, I would have thought well worth while, or looking at it the other way round using the inverter it's another 33%.
 

Lenny HB

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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.
That sounds a lot, as see you have an RV so I take it it's not the Truma Combi.
From an interest point the Truma's are not very power hungry, they take about 5-6amps for the first 15-40 min depending how cold it is once up to temp fan speed drops and consumption is less than one amp.
 

funflair

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@funflair

come on Martin tell us about your efoy, good and or bad :)

Well it does not come into the everyday equation as so far we have never used the EFOY other than when parked up in the shed and getting no solar. They are a clever idea but expensive to buy and quite expensive to run, a bit like an expensive security blanket I think.

Easy to fit though and likewise easy to move from van to van.
 

Sundowners

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the really good thing with them is when set on auto they monitor the battery condition and come on and off as required----all we can hear is a small fan running----can't hear it if any other noise around like radio or TV----could not justify the cost but it was in the van, had intended to sell it but we have got used to having it available.-------We still won't go away without the little Honda though----belt , braces and a bit of string:):rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
Nigel & Pamala

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