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Old 10-26-2017, 04:15 PM   #1
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Solar with alternator feed to battery system

Is there anyone that has ideas, suggestions or actual experience running a lead off the alternator to charge a second battery set up with solar spliced in? Things like where do you store the aux batts and how involved is it for someone not afraid to do their own work but not familiar with electrical systems. I am building out an '06 Quigley E350, but don't want to over extend my abilities if I don't have too. Just put the Aluminess ladder on today and next up is the Ujoint Offroad full length roof rack. Thanks in advance for any assistance. I want to add that I know I have to put in some sort of isolator between the alternator and batteries.
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:57 PM   #2
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...Most of us are running this arrangement.....another batt cable run from starting battery to house battery using a manual switch or battery separator. Solar typically connected to house battery.

There are lots of threads here regarding this, the search button is your friend. Also read the various sticky threads at the top of the electrical section (this Forum).
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:57 PM   #3
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I would venture to say that is exactly what most users here have. Read up on separators. I think its the Blue sea 7622 that everyone uses to connect the alternator to the house bank. And then connect solar thru a solar charge controller to the battery bank.

edit: beaten by seconds!
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Old 10-27-2017, 10:36 AM   #4
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Alternator only?

Thanks for starting this thread and hereís my question... may be dumb, but Iím just starting this electrical stuff, so bear with:

Can I install a couple of house batteries in the rear of my RB, say 200-ish AH and expect to keep them charged via the alternator setup youíve described above? As in, if youíre not ready for solar but want to be able to keep a fridge running while traveling, etc. Seems Iíve read some things about a strain on the alternator (or did I make that up?)

Iíve read all the threads on this stuff but most are pretty sophisticated and donít start with the basics (yep, I have the 12volt bible, but really appreciate the van-specific advice here). I will need to move this forward in small bites and canít afford the time or $$ to go whole hog, tho I would be thrilled to add solar later on. All thoughts appreciated.

P.S: Iím trying to avoid blowing a bunch of money on a portable power pack like the Goal Zero just because I donít know what Iím doing.

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Old 10-27-2017, 10:57 AM   #5
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As long as you move everyday a decent amount, you should be good.

For conversation sake, lets say your fridge operates at 33% duty cycle (8 hours a day), @ 7 amps (about what mine uses).

That means you need 56 amp hours to run the fridge a day. SO with 200 ah of batteries, you can get just about 2 days without charge (shouldn't drain more than 50%).

So, weekend trips or trips that you move every other day, and youll be good.

I usually say a solar panel gives you 5 hours of full output(on sunny days), just to guestimate what you can expect from that. So two 100 watt panels (what a lot of people use) will give you 1000 watt/hours. Which is about 80 amp/hours.

For comparison, a 100 amp alternator can generate that same output in probably just a couple hours of driving.

I think most people focus on solar cuz its new and sexy. But in most use cases a bigger battery bank and a battery separator will suffice.
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Old 10-27-2017, 11:09 AM   #6
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The blueseas 7622 acr is one of the top 5 best additions to my van.
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Old 10-27-2017, 11:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otter View Post

Can I install a couple of house batteries in the rear of my RB, say 200-ish AH and expect to keep them charged via the alternator setup youíve described above? As in, if youíre not ready for solar but want to be able to keep a fridge running while traveling, etc. Seems Iíve read some things about a strain on the alternator (or did I make that up?)

Sure, it can be as simple as sticking a battery back there and connecting it to the van battery with a big fat red battery cable.

Here are a few details....

If you put the battery inside the van consider an AGM type battery...a little more $ but completely sealed, and an AGM battery can be mounted in any orientation.

A regular "flooded" wet cell battery will vent a little hydrogen gas when charging or discharging. You can use these inside but you should vent the cabinet .....preferably to the outside, but lots of folks have wet cells inside without proper venting and haven't blown themselves up.

With a big fat red battery cable connecting the house battery(s) to the starting battery.....you run the risk of discharging your starting battery if you pull lots of power from the house battery partying all night etc. Since they are connected together, both batteries drain.

To solve this you can install a manual switch between the batteries, which can be problematic since you have to remember to connect the batteries while driving and disconnect while camping/partying all night....or use a separator instead that does this automatically...isolators are another option but I would use a separator.....
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Old 10-27-2017, 11:22 AM   #8
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Otter:

I'm running a 4D AGM and use it just for fridge, heater, lights, charging phones. It is plenty of capacity for 2+ days without running the van. You certainly could just keep it charged from alternator but I would suggest having a 120Volt input charger that will properly charge that battery once in a while.

SkyJumper:

Yes, start your whole system around the Blue Sea 7622 and you will be a happy person.
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Old 10-27-2017, 12:11 PM   #9
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I appreciate these replies a lot. You folks are kind. Hard to learn this stuff when youíre starting from scratch and donít want to blow anything up!

I found this video on the Blue Sea 7622, it helped a bunch:

https://youtu.be/s_oKQ_N8_EY


Iíve read all your threads and wish I knew more so I could follow at your pace. Let me say that anytime youíre posting this stuff, thereís gotta be a bunch of newbies like me that would really benefit from more details and more pics. I know it slows you down (weíre supposed to be using these rigs and not just standing around taking pictures, right?), but it sure is cool to come across stuff I can understand and put into practice.

Youíd never know I have a 48volt electric motor system on my boat with 4 big AGMs, an inverter/charger/etc. etc. I just put in last year. When I say I, I mean I paid a bunch of bucks to a marine electrician for the install. Unfortunately, despite reading manuals, I donít have a very sophisticated understanding of how everything works, enough to mess with it or take things apart. So, starting this van is like baby steps and I want to do it safely and right and not have to do it over when I change my mind or want to add something.

So, thanks so much for helping me out.

FLUX: sounds like what I need. Your charger is an inverter/charger, right? I would need to put a shore power input on the van side, yeah?

BOYWONDER: thanks for the simple explanation for a simple system. The boat made me a big fan of AGMs and would definitely go that route. Iím beginning to wonder if I might put them (it) in the under storage compartment Iím having installed, to save space in my RB.

BEMERRITT: These stats are really helpful, thanks.


So, just to confirm: my alternator is fully capable of charging house batteries without screwing anything up? I mustíve dreamt the thing about damaging it...
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Old 10-27-2017, 12:30 PM   #10
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to answer your last question, yes, it is big enough. Every sportsmobile you see on the road employs this technique.

You can also get a bigger alternator or add a second if you have an extremely large load. But most dont.
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