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12v deep cycle batteries: charging via alternator?

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Old 06-02-11, 10:48 AM Thread Starter   #1
KonaKona
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12v deep cycle batteries: charging via alternator?


Right, I've been searching high and low to figure this out, and now I'm at good ol OCF.

Basically, I need to find a way to charge a large (100-200ah) battery via a car alternator. Now I know it can't just be lopped on to the preexisting 12v circuit in the car and all, but I think I'm going to need some sort of voltage regulator going to the deep cycle. Problem is, I have no clue what to get. All I can find is expensive chargers that work from 120v, not 12v. The only alternative seems to be buying a AGM battery for about twice the price just so it doesn't need anything fancy to be charged.

The only other options for charging would be solar panels ($$$) or a generator ($$$$), so... what should I do?

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Old 06-02-11, 11:59 AM   #2
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It can totally just be connected to a car. The alternator will charge it more slowly and be under a bit more stress than if there was only one battery connected, but it'll work fine.

Failing that, you can run an alternator off a lawn mower motor, I built a charger like that.

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Old 06-02-11, 12:54 PM Thread Starter   #3
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Ah, well that makes things a lot easier. I'll probably keep a voltmeter on it to keep track of what voltage is going to it, but it's good to know I won't need to spend a few hundred on voltage regulators.

Time to go spend money!

EDIT: The thanks button is gone, so just pretend I clicked it.

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Old 06-02-11, 01:07 PM   #4
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Any reason why you cannot just get a cheap charger from a local car parts store? Many alternators don't start charging till after a certain RPM, so I would imagine you would be spending more on gas, then just getting a charger and leaving it charging over night.

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Old 06-02-11, 03:44 PM Thread Starter   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpegger View Post
Any reason why you cannot just get a cheap charger from a local car parts store? Many alternators don't start charging till after a certain RPM, so I would imagine you would be spending more on gas, then just getting a charger and leaving it charging over night.
I won't have a wall to plug into most of the time, although I'm already getting a charger for the occasions when I actually do.

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Old 06-02-11, 10:06 PM   #6
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Just make sure that your alternator has the headroom to charge a second battery while powering everything for the car. They're not really meant to charge batteries from anything below about 10% if i remember correctly. (Granted, this was for a alternator for a Hyundai Excel, not a powerful car)

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Old 06-02-11, 10:12 PM   #7
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question... why are you putting a deep cycle batt in a car?

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Old 06-03-11, 08:59 AM Thread Starter   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CompuTamer View Post
Just make sure that your alternator has the headroom to charge a second battery while powering everything for the car. They're not really meant to charge batteries from anything below about 10% if i remember correctly. (Granted, this was for a alternator for a Hyundai Excel, not a powerful car)
I think my van is supposed to have a 78 amp, I have to go take a look. Probably get that done today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nd4spdbh2 View Post
question... why are you putting a deep cycle batt in a car?
Hard to live without electricity, no?

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Old 06-03-11, 12:09 PM   #9
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What is this for, a small boat with an outboard motor?

Do realize that you will need to run your car's engine for hours on end in order to charge that battery. It just does not make much sense.

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Old 06-03-11, 04:03 PM Thread Starter   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottel View Post
What is this for, a small boat with an outboard motor?

Do realize that you will need to run your car's engine for hours on end in order to charge that battery. It just does not make much sense.
A van.

I'll be driving on the highway a good bit so using the alternator to charge won't hurt at all.

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Old 06-03-11, 04:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KonaKona View Post
A van.

I'll be driving on the highway a good bit so using the alternator to charge won't hurt at all.
A van? Are you having trouble with the DC to AC kicking off?

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Old 06-03-11, 04:32 PM   #12
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if its a camper type van i could see the use in a second 12v deep cycle batt that you use when your parked camping for a coupla days. thers no harm in using the alternator to charge it , but like stated make sure you have either 1. a beefy nuf alternator to charge both batts at a time. 2. get a beffier one, or 3, get a second one.

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Old 06-03-11, 06:25 PM Thread Starter   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archer0915 View Post
A van? Are you having trouble with the DC to AC kicking off?


Quote:
Originally Posted by nd4spdbh2 View Post
if its a camper type van i could see the use in a second 12v deep cycle batt that you use when your parked camping for a coupla days. thers no harm in using the alternator to charge it , but like stated make sure you have either 1. a beefy nuf alternator to charge both batts at a time. 2. get a beffier one, or 3, get a second one.
With any luck I'll find out what's in it this weekend or monday. I'm pretty sure it's a 78 amp though.

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Old 06-03-11, 07:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
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My inverter kicks off when the sound on the mobile theater is kicked up while watching a DVD, both ACs are kicking and I hit the brakes. I have been thinking of adding a batterey above the cab.


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Old 06-03-11, 07:36 PM Thread Starter   #15
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Oh, I haven't tested it yet but I don't think it'll draw more than the inverter can handle. I don't see why the inverter is kicking off because of the power input though, have you ran a voltmeter to the inverter connection to see if it's actually dropping the volts too much? It might just be the inverter itself, we had one that would cut out way before it's rated voltage.

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Old 06-03-11, 07:50 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archer0915 View Post
My inverter kicks off when the sound on the mobile theater is kicked up while watching a DVD, both ACs are kicking and I hit the brakes. I have been thinking of adding a batterey above the cab.

Ha, break lights = straw that broke the camel's back?

Our car has issues with running the AC, the Bright lights, the breaklights, and the radio at the same time. It has a 120amp alternator on a 136HP engine Turning the bright lights on actually bogs the engine down. As does turning the blower up to max.




PS: Can i have your van? Pretty please? That thing looks awesome

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Old 06-03-11, 07:54 PM   #17
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The inverter has a built in sensor that tells it that the batterey is not providing enough i. The sensor is way off though because my batterey powered a lot more than that using other inverters. Easiest thing I guess would be swap out the inverter but it would be useless if I removed it (I mounted and epoxyed it) because it would be destroyed in the process.

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Old 06-03-11, 07:59 PM   #18
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I would recommend that you run your wiring from the Van's battery terminals to your deep cycle battery and have a 100 amp fuse between the two batteries, connected on the positive wire and physically locate the fuse as near to the van's battery terminals as you can. You should be able to buy the fuse and fuse holder cheap at an auto parts supplier.

A deep cycle batter is the same as a regular car battery but it is made to lose more of it's charge without damaging the battery AS MUCH as a regular lead acid. If you totally discharge a brand new car battery and leave around for a few weeks it will be totally dead.

I would also recommend you only start charging the deep cycle after you have been running the van for at least 10 minutes, give the alternator time to charge the van's battery before you throw more stress on it. Also keep in mind that you are putting alot more stress on your charging system. You can expect to replace your van's battery and alternator sooner or more often than usual.


You may want to simply consider buying a small portable generator. I think some of them can also charge deep cycle batteries.

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Old 06-03-11, 08:15 PM   #19
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PS: Can i have your van? Pretty please? That thing looks awesome
Dude this thing rides better than a Caddy and still had acceleration at 100+ I could never part with it. If my wife and I are having a fight there is nutin better for fishing.

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Old 06-06-11, 12:58 PM   #20
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A flooded deep cycle battery has fewer, thicker plates that resist warping when deeply discharged.

A flooded starting battery has lots of thin plates (more surface area) for higher cranking amps.

Most car alternators are not rated continuous duty. However your van one might be.

If you have a continuous duty alternator you want an automatic charging relay such as: http://bluesea.com/category/2/productline/overview/387

If you have an intermittent duty alternator, or if you want to separately regulate the charging of your deep cycle bank you want a DC-DC charger such as:
http://www.xantrex.com/power-product...y-charger.aspx

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