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Old 12-20-2018, 11:17 PM   #1
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Default Proper use of generator

I recently bought a new Inverter/Generator and plan to use it now and then but I have a question.

Suppose I have camped for a few days on battery power only and now I need to charge up the battery.

Is it best to just plug the trailer into the generator and let the trailer's "system" take care of everything? Or is it better to hook the generator directly to the battery?

Which is faster, safer, better, or what ever.

Mine is a 2200 Watt job. It is an Igen 2200. Hope I don't regret forking out the extra for a Honda.


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Old 12-21-2018, 07:12 AM   #2
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My two cents is that if the generator came with the cables to hook up directly to a 12-volt battery and charge-that would be the way to go. Most likely the fastest. But running the generator, then plugging the camper in to the generator, you're having your generator supply 110-volt AC power to the camper, in turn, the camper's inverter would then be inverting the 110-volt power to 12-volt power to charge the battery. BUT-hooking up the camper to the generator, would also supply you the 110-volt power to run the microwave, a coffee maker, etc., all while hooked to the generator. This principle also applies to users that run a generator to power 110-volt camper outlets in order to charge batteries (cell phone, tablet, computer, etc.) For older campers, best bet is to get a switch plate with the USB outlet and pull directly from your 12-volt source. Hope that all makes sense-if I'm wrong, someone in this forum will help correct the information.

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Old 12-21-2018, 09:37 AM   #3
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As runner said if you have a 12V output on the generator that would probably be the fastest way to charge the battery. If you only have 120V output then you'd have to plug in a battery charger to do the job. In which case there probably isn't much difference in doing that versus using your trailer converter to charge the battery. Plus you'd have to carry the extra battery charger as well.

As far as safety goes, I don't see any difference in either method. And as for better, since either way works it's really up for you to decide what works better for you.
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Old 12-22-2018, 11:54 AM   #4
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The Honda gens have an accessory 'battery charger cable set' that plugs directly into the gen to charge the
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Old 12-23-2018, 12:40 PM   #5
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Someone asked whether it is worth carrying a charger in addition to plugging the generator into the converter. For me, the answer is yes -- I have two batteries. One charges off the converter, and I can use the separate charger to charge the other battery.

I've rarely had to do this, but once in a while, I do.
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Old 12-23-2018, 01:49 PM   #6
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I looked up the generator you mentioned. Igen 2200, made by Westinghouse. That model does not have battery charging capabilities. The only DC output is a pair of 5 Volt USB connectors. Maybe you were going to use an external 12 Volt battery charger powered by the generator? If so, I would plug in the trailer and the battery charger to the generator. That would have the convertor charger working along with the external charger, giving you the fastest charge. Also you would have 120 Volts available, using the least amount of fuel possible.
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:56 AM   #7
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Default Proper use of generator

Couple of things to consider are the type of converter you have and the type of battery or batteries you've installed.

Are your house batteries starting/cranking batteries or deep cycle? Are they wet cell, gel cell, or AGM? Gel cell and some AGM batteries require a special charging cycle so how you charge them depends on what you have.

Some newer converters have smart charging so they can deliver the 3-step, regulated charging. Worthy of note is that it can take up to 24 hours to charge using a smart charger.

AFAICT, my '09 Funfinder Xtra has a standard, fast charger so I prefer not to charge the batteries through the system and have installed a cutoff switch to isolate them when I'm hooked to shore or generator power. (I have two, deep-cycle, wet cell, golf cart batteries and two Champion 2000W inverter-generators with a parallel kit for when we need to run the a/c.)

Here's a decent "Battery Basics" guide.
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:55 PM   #8
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One important thing to consider...the 12 volt outlet on a generato0r may not have any intelligence for properly charging a battery and not overcharging it, which will ruin a battery. I either use the camper's system and just plug the camper into the generator or I will use a smart charger plugged into the 120 vac outlet on the generator to charge the batteries directly. Most of the time I use the camper to charge the batteries because I am also using the microwave, portable electric heater, and watching tv for hours. (as well as charging my toothbrush!!!)

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