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Author Topic: Pros and Cons for having external battery charger or inverter charger?  (Read 4284 times)
happycamperbrat
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« on: November 20, 2010, 07:23:39 AM »

I keep making new threads because this subject has branched off to many avenues, I hope that is okay and doesn't confuse anyone.

I have to get a charger in the next week or so. I want something to maintain or optionally charge my batteries from a dead state. I do need an inverter eventually, but I can live without one for now. I really like solar and ultimately/gradually intend on covering my roof top with solar panels. This is not a conversion I am doing overnight, this is a bus conversion I am willing to be doing for the rest of my life so the panels may take years before I have them up but I do need a charger right away. It would be nice if whatever I buy now would be flexible enough to fit in with my plans later down the road.

Because of the other threads I have, it has come to my attention that I really dont know the pros and cons of using an external charger opposed to having one built into the inverter. So I would appreciate input on the pros and cons. Thank you.

« Last Edit: November 20, 2010, 07:27:07 AM by happycamperbrat » Logged

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TomC
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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2010, 07:26:08 AM »

I have an older Trace 2512 inverter/charger all hard wired in (built in).  It is a smart charger with three stages and adjustment for different battery types and temperature.  I believe it is the only way to go-since you probably want or already have an inverter anyway.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2010, 07:33:43 AM »

Pros for stand alone charger:
Stand alone charger can be moved to any place you need it - pickup, car, garage, tractor, boat, etc. Inverter is typically mounted in the bus.
Stand alone charger will often work on a battery that has no charge, whereas an inverter typically requires some charge on the battery to get started.
Stand alone charger can be used to charge individual bus batteries (12v) if necessary. More difficult (not impossible) to do with an inverter.
You can control manually when to charge or not.

Cons:
A cheap stand alone can be worse than no charger at all on deep cycle batteries. Buy a good 3 stage charger.
Takes up more space in the bay. I don't really consider this a problem, though. I have a small marine type charger that works very well on my generator battery.
You can control manually when to charge or not. (i.e. you can also forget)

Pros for inverter:
Always there and charging when plugged into shore power.
Fully automatic, with the right setup.
120v power.

Cons for inverter:
Expensive to buy.
Expensive to fix.

When you buy an inverter, buy the best you can afford, and the biggest you will need.

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bevans6
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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2010, 07:46:08 AM »

I think Gumpy has it covered.  The thing about an inverter charger, for you at this point in time, is that you aren't quite ready to buy the inverter that you really need, but you need a charger now.  I'll tell you what I did when I was in your exact position and I don't regret it a bit - I bought an intelligent automatic 24 volt, 5 amp charger intended for wheelchair and general use for about $100.  Sure, it takes a week to fully charge the dual 8D batteries, or the 232 AH, 24 volt house bank, but I virtually always have the time.  It's primary use is to maintain the batteries, so it's connected for weeks at a time.

I would get one of those, and leave the larger decisions until you have fleshed out your design, including the unique EV requirements, a little more. 

Brian
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happycamperbrat
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« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2010, 07:48:47 AM »

Well that cinched it! I need a high quality external for right now that will charge my starter batteries and deep cycle flooded. Then later add the inverter/charger. Thank you again!
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« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2010, 03:22:36 PM »

You won't regret it, simpler is always better.
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happycamperbrat
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« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2010, 05:10:04 PM »

I agree this is the best way to go for now, I just gotta figure out which one to buy. 
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« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2010, 05:23:24 PM »

http://www.battery-chargers.com/chgrpic.htm

Anything from the JAC series is really good.  Not cheap but you get what you pay for...
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2010, 06:39:56 PM »

Thank you. With the price of batteries and how tempermental they are, I figure it is best to go with quality here. Used quality is good, but because I want it right away new is going to be the ticket of the day and I get warranty coverage which is always nice  Cheesy
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« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2010, 08:05:15 PM »

We use a Shauer 2 Amp three stage charger 24 (volt). We live full time, and we do put on 10K a year average. This year we traveled other ways and went nowhere in the bus. Just started it for the first time in 11 months. I use 2 group 31's for the start batts. Anyway the chager is pluged in at all times and the batts are always ready. The batts need no more than average evaporation water added. We use a 9200 Series 12 volt/45 amp three stage for the house batteries, 2 (6 volt) . Again pluged in full time never an issue. I don't have to worry about over charging or whether they are on or off. Simple and works. If I want 110 V, and can't plug in, turn on the generater. it prolly needs the exersize anyway. All batts are Interstate batts.and are going on year 5.
http://www.battery-chargers.com/catalog/page6.pdf  Model JAC0224
http://www.progressivedyn.com/prod_details/charge_wizard.html
Don & Sheila
« Last Edit: November 20, 2010, 08:07:26 PM by skihor » Logged
robertglines1
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« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2010, 05:03:15 AM »

T   just a possible source.I got idea from our bass boat it has 4 batteries(12 volt) and a battery charger it uses is built to serve each battery charge need--amount of charge indivually----has 4 separate sets of wires that attach to each individual battery..it charges to full charge then shuts down automatically again individually.. Bass Pro shop or get lucky and find used one. proof tested for 7yrs now..Bob
« Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 10:05:40 AM by robertglines1 » Logged

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happycamperbrat
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« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2010, 09:01:44 AM »

That sounds like a good idea. I already sent an email off about the JAC charger. But Im in the market for sure.
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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2010, 09:37:17 AM »

By the way, don't let your batteries go dead, from up there someplace in the thread.

Do whatever you need to do to prevent them from doing that.

no less than 50% discharge and full recharge and they live a long life.

Or, buy batteries regularly?

happy coaching!
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happycamperbrat
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« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2010, 10:27:24 AM »

They arent dead, but I dont want to chance it. I havent been able to drive it for a couple weeks now, and it looks like that couple weeks may turn into a couple months which is why I am panicing to get a good charger on there NOW. lol
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« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2010, 11:34:18 AM »

just pull the battery disconnect, or pull the cables off.

happy coaching!
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happycamperbrat
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« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2010, 04:02:23 PM »

I did do that. I always put on the disconnect whenever I park, but Im a big chicken cuz I had some battery issues this last year which "I think" I traced to a bad ground and fixed. But my Napa warranty is up on my starter batteries now and I just want to be super careful. Thank you!
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happycamperbrat
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« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2010, 12:43:54 PM »

I emailed the guy at the JAC link, but he never responded  Sad So I took matters into my own hands  Roll Eyes How about the JAC 2512 for $100.00? Would that be okay for me?
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« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2010, 04:46:03 AM »

I thought you wanted a 24 volt charger.  The JAC2512 is a 12 volt charger.  The JAC2024, or any of their models that end in "24" would do for you, but I think the JAC2024 is a good choice.  If all you need is a 12 volt charger, then there are a million available just about anywhere.  Schumacher is a good brand, available at Walmart.

Brian
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« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2010, 08:00:09 AM »

Yeah, I didnt relize it was 12 volt......... okay, Im back to the drawing board. Thanks!
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« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2010, 10:49:31 AM »

I have been using the BatteryMinder model 24041 for some time with good results - It is a very flexible tender - Check the web for best prices - HTH

http://www.thebatteryminder.com/24vbatteryminder-p-71.html

Also just purchased a Schumacher SE-3000 Fleet Charger 6/12/18/24 Volt through Amazon for only $209 total including shipping and am quite satisfied with it - FWIW
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« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2010, 06:46:48 PM »

Just found this.

Very very good prices.

Anybody know of these products? Not a pure sine wave?

http://www.topsalesdepot.com/poinwinchamo.html?gclid=CMPfjuy-wqUCFUS8KgoddS0sZQ

« Last Edit: November 27, 2010, 06:50:41 PM by Joe Camper » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2010, 07:14:45 PM »

Interesting unit.  It says it is modified sine wave.  Since it uses a separate 120 outlet connection to sense shore/generator power availability, the AC input could not be taken from a normal receptacle powered through the breaker box.  It would need some special outlet that the inverter could not feed.
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« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2010, 06:23:00 AM »

They are just normal import from Far East MSW inverters that have a little charger added on.  The output is (or sure looks like) four 120 VAC plugs, each pair with a circuit breaker, so you wouldn't be able to hard-wire it to your in-bus AC distribution system legally.  My understanding is that permanently installed inverters in mobile homes must be hard wired if they feed an internal distribution system, you can only plug individual items into the plugs.

Brian
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1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
Spicer 8844 4 speed Zen meditation device
Vintage race cars -
1978 Lola T440 Formula Ford
1972 NTM MK-4 B/SR
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