PORTABLE POWER GENERATOR plans FEEDBACK please

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Re: PORTABLE POWER GENERATOR plans FEEDBACK please

Postby Pixie Susan » Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:30 pm

John61CT wrote:That fridge should really be on House, unless you don't mind replacing your starter more frequently.

You get more total capacity merging all deep cycling into one bigger bank, Peukert effect.

Ideally all charge sources go to the one House bank, top off the Starter from there, hardly any charge needed if dedicated to cranking only.

Are you able to self-jumpstart from House if Starter batt died while boondocking?


My main battery used for starting is dual purpose group 31 with 103ah. I can really run the fridge off either setup, but it will primarily run off the dual purpose battery from the engine compartment. I do have the ability to jumpstart from the house batteries using the smart isolator. The accessory panel in my cargo area that I'll be running the fridge from is a dedicated line from the Blue Sea panel in the engine compartment that is not dependent on the ignition. I'll be adding off-roading lights to this fuse block at a later time.

I top off the group 31 with my Noco charger every 3 to 4 weeks to compensate for the alternator not putting out adequate voltage for the agm.



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Re: PORTABLE POWER GENERATOR plans FEEDBACK please

Postby John61CT » Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:44 pm

None of which changes my advice.

The fridge is heavy duty even for true deep cycling. Running off that starter batt, it will need frequent replacing. Your rig your call.

The alt won't come close to maintaining any batt properly unless you're already driving all day.

Solar will help when you get that going, plan to fill all available space.

Meantime what are you doing to supplement the alt between shore charging? Carrying a small gennie?

Norco I think makes dinky garage-style chargers, OK for starter batts, but not much for deep-cycle banks. Is that your only charger? How many amps?

Good thing you can self-jumpstart anyway.
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Re: PORTABLE POWER GENERATOR plans FEEDBACK please

Postby Pixie Susan » Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:05 pm

John61CT wrote:None of which changes my advice.

The fridge is heavy duty even for true deep cycling. Running off that starter batt, it will need frequent replacing. Your rig your call.

The alt won't come close to maintaining any batt properly unless you're already driving all day.

Solar will help when you get that going, plan to fill all available space.

Meantime what are you doing to supplement the alt between shore charging? Carrying a small gennie?

Norco I think makes dinky garage-style chargers, OK for starter batts, but not much for deep-cycle banks. Is that your only charger? How many amps?

Good thing you can self-jumpstart anyway.


I guess I don't understand how the fridge is going to kill a 100AH dual purpose battery so fast. I've been monitoring other off-road folks for years running the same Northstar as their primary battery to run their 12v portable fridges. And mine is the smallest one they make.

I have an inverter generator for times in between. My charger is the Noco G7200. It's 7.2a. So far it's done a good job of reconditioning, charging, maintaining flooded and AGM batteries. I don't have any lithium batteries to try it out on. I would have liked to purchase the G26000 but it was out of my price range.


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Re: PORTABLE POWER GENERATOR plans FEEDBACK please

Postby John61CT » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:48 pm

Northstar makes fine AGM, just be aware that's a cranking batt and won't last long in deep cycling duty.

7A is crazy small for a 100AH bank even if FLA, for quality AGM 30-40A will give a lot more longevity and of course faster charging, especially important in your situation to try to get back to 100% Full every cycle.

Yes you can get by with 100AH if you have ready access to recharging from shore on demand, but depending on temp difference, ventilation etc you will be drawing that batt down by ~50% or more every couple days.
A 200AH bank of true deep cycling would last 5-8 times as many years, and give you a much better cushion against days of no charge or extreme conditions.
So, not saying your setup isn't OK, but not optimum for long-term boondocking.

Getting plenty of solar will help stretch the batt's life a bit, depending on your location conditions.

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Re: PORTABLE POWER GENERATOR plans FEEDBACK please

Postby Pixie Susan » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:08 pm

John61CT wrote:Northstar makes fine AGM, just be aware that's a cranking batt and won't last long in deep cycling duty.

7A is crazy small for a 100AH bank even if FLA, for quality AGM 30-40A will give a lot more longevity and of course faster charging, especially important in your situation to try to get back to 100% Full every cycle.

Yes you can get by with 100AH if you have ready access to recharging from shore on demand, but depending on temp difference, ventilation etc you will be drawing that batt down by ~50% or more every couple days.
A 200AH bank of true deep cycling would last 5-8 times as many years, and give you a much better cushion against days of no charge or extreme conditions.
So, not saying your setup isn't OK, but not optimum for long-term boondocking.

Getting plenty of solar will help stretch the batt's life a bit, depending on your location conditions.

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This is a fun project I'm doing on a small budget. I'd rather learn from my mistakes before sinking any big money into things. It's kind of like the Northstar battery; it's about a $300 battery that I got for $65. A guy bought it at his work from their Northstar distributor and his boat engine blew before he could ever install it. He abandoned that boat project and sold the battery to me. I'm even compromising more on the power gen batteries as I picked up an unused acdelco 230ah battery for $10 yesterday. Granted I won't be able to get another acdelco so I'll have to settle for the Duracell replacement with the same ah and almost identical specs. The setup won't be as efficient as two brand new, identical batteries but I'll end up only spending a total of $120 in batteries vs the $250 I was looking at. If I was boondocking regularly, this setup would be different, but as it stands, it's a fun project to learn on and will hopefully get me by. I really appreciate all the help!!! I've enjoyed researching alone, so it's time to start some assembly.


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Re: PORTABLE POWER GENERATOR plans FEEDBACK please

Postby John61CT » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:26 pm

Sounds great!

"Perfect is the enemy of good"
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PORTABLE POWER GENERATOR plans FEEDBACK please

Postby Pixie Susan » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:06 am

John61CT wrote:Sounds great!

"Perfect is the enemy of good"


@John61CT

What's your thoughts on modified sine vs pure sine inverters. The only item I'm concerned with is my MacBook laptop. I've read some reviews stating it didn't play well with the modified sine. I'm not running any other sensitive equipment.



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Re: PORTABLE POWER GENERATOR plans FEEDBACK please

Postby troubleScottie » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:41 am

Generally sine wave should be used for things with motors in them eg compressors, blenders, AC units, corded power tools. Sine wave inverters are generally "cleaner" electrically. So for fine electronics, it is the way to go.

For running simple electric devices eg lights, phone charger, coffee maker is really does not matter.

Your laptop could/should be wired directly into the DC. Converting DC to AC back to DC ie plugging AC cord of laptop power supply into an inverter is not really efficient. This could/should be applied to anything that is really using DC eg televisions, phone chargers, frigs, fans, pumps, radios. Besides size, why all the DC devices exist.

Some of the above devices are really big draws. It will get pricey to find a powerful enough inverter. More still if you want sine wave for one or more uses. I presume you are not going to have 2 or 3 inverters for different uses.
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Re: PORTABLE POWER GENERATOR plans FEEDBACK please

Postby John61CT » Wed Aug 23, 2017 1:38 pm

Yes get a car adapter designed to charge electronics off 12V.

Best to avoid inverters except where really needed.

Little ones per appliance is usually less expensive, MSW where you can PSW where needed.

Samlex is a good brand for those.

Magnum if you want one big one.

Avoid Xantrex.
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