Monday, October 12, 2015

More power to the RV relationship

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We agree with you and love our solar power setup. However, we are seldom hooked to the grid. On occasion we will get too many overcast days to keep our batteries topped off. When that happens it takes us a long time to recoup even if we plug in.

My husband wants to spend over three hundred dollars for a 35 amp golf cart battery charger. He says it will enable him to quickly recharge our 4--6volt golf cart batteries when we use the generator or plug into the grid. This situation only occurs a couple times a year as we are usually in a sunny clime.

The disagreement is this: I think we should invest those 300+ dollars into more solar panels or more battery storage. My husband is a great guy and knows a lot more than I do about these things. I don’t want to come across as a know-it-all.

Am I missing something, or am I a common sense genius?
--Powerplay in Pahrump

Dear PP:
Don’t pooh-pooh your ideas just because you might be stepping on your husbands expertise.You are getting the “love of power” confused with the “power of love.” The great thing of having a partnership relationship is input.

This question involves many different decisions-- budget, investment, solution and agreement to mention a few. I can’t make the decision for you. You both are on the right track.

A cheap, 10 amp car battery charger is not going to do you much good when your battery bank drops significantly. Most RV converters act as a trickle charger. The fact that you say it takes a long time to recoup suggests your converter fits this category.

In defense of your common sense idea, I would have to agree. If I were going to invest the money, I would rather have panels that were paying me back year-round, than a charger getting me out of trouble a couple times a year. However, adding panels and batteries can be challenging if you do not have the space.

If the two of you decide that the charger is a better option you do not necessarily have to buy new. Using Craigslist in the different locals you travel into will most likely score one that is used in good condition.

I just did a quick Ebay search and saw two at just over a hundred bucks.

If you only deal with this low battery problem a couple times a year, it tells me there is no abuse of power in your household. I think the same can be said for your relationship.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink


keeperusa said...

On the charger side...the charger should be rated to deliver 20% of the battery banks 20hr. amp/hour capacity for efficient charging.
So...if you have 4 6V batts and a capacity of around 400+ amp need a charger/converter that can deliver 80+ amps of current...and it should be a 3 stage charger...not the old "dumb ones" that are often sold on EBay. My guess is that in this case the existing charger is Way undersized for the size of the battery bank BUT putting a 100% charge on a badly depleted bank will take at least 6-8 hours with the RIGHT size charger. Oh yeah...don't spend for more than 20% capacity...that is as much current as a flooded cell battery can take. Both Progressive and Iota make good chargers in all size ranges.

Seann said...

Ya blew it shrink... he does not need a golf cart battery charger.. what he needs is something like this..

the batteries are series/parallel to give 12 volts

jean said...

You are kind and sweet, yes, Dr Shrink.
Gaila is a lucky lady! xxx Jean