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Old 04-02-2014, 10:57 AM   #1
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How much driving to charge batteries?

I have two house batteries that I am continuously running down. How much driving does it typically take to charge them fully? I usually run them down into the lower 1/4 of what they have but my 5-10 minutes of driving on the freeway isn't doing it?

Looking for an experienced answer, not guessing. thanks!
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:13 AM   #2
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Re: How much driving to charge batteries?

Here's a good place to start, Battery FAQs.

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2167
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:26 AM   #3
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Re: How much driving to charge batteries?

How many amps does your alternator put out? How many amp-hours does you battery bank have? Etc. Varies greatly by your vehicle and setup.
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:43 AM   #4
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Re: How much driving to charge batteries?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BDiddy
I have two house batteries that I am continuously running down. How much driving does it typically take to charge them fully? I usually run them down into the lower 1/4 of what they have but my 5-10 minutes of driving on the freeway isn't doing it?

Looking for an experienced answer, not guessing. thanks!
My experience is that 5-10 minutes on the highway at 60 mph won't recharge my 2 ea. Group 27 battery bank (180 amp-hours). More like a couple of hours.
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Old 04-02-2014, 12:42 PM   #5
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Re: How much driving to charge batteries?

The rule of thumb is that you do not want to discharge your house batteries more than 50%. This is for optimum battery life.

To your question:
You have to think in terms of amps. Say your two house batteries have a capacity of 200 amp-hours. Discharging them to 25% would mean you drained 150 amps out of the batteries and that is what you must replace. Say you have a 70amp alternator ( meaning it can put out 70 amps every hour). Lets assume it takes 20 amps to run your van and its accessories. Engine, heater blower, headlights, radio, etc. That leaves 50 amps (70-20) that can be used to charge your house batteries. So AS A MINIMUM that would require 3 hours of charging. 150 amps to replace with an alternator supplying 50 amps every hour (150/50=3). It would in reality take longer because as the batteries get closer to being full the rate of inflow of amps will decrease.

Bigger alternator....shorter time. Smaller house batteries....shorter time. etc.
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