In mid-June, 2015, we crossed the US/Canadian border headed to Alaska for our third summer up there. While we took the ferry from Prince Rupert, BC to Skagway, AK, getting from the US border to Prince Rupert, BC was a 1,000-mile drive. Then, from Skagway, we drove to Whitehorse, YT, up through Dawson City, YT, the “Top of the World” Highway over to Chicken, AK, down to Tok, AK, and up to Fairbanks (another 800+ miles). My point here is that there is LOTS of boondocking opportunity on the way to and here in Alaska. We definitely take advantage of that.
Normally, we have let our coach battery run down, the autogenstart starts the generator, and charges the battery. My gnerator runs (consistently) 4.2 hours to full (Float) charge and shuts off. As this run sequence takes place, the start/stop times vary (and that’s normal) depending on our usage. Frequently, our generator starts in the middle of the night.
A few weeks ago, we found ourselves in a situation where we could not run the generator during the night. So, I would watch the readings and manually start the generator 2-3 hours before I would go to bed. I made sure that the generator did not run after midnight.
We would be fine all night and it was sometimes early afternoon the next day before the batteries needed recharging. However, if we were driving, we would drive away late morning with a battery partially discharged but it would fully charge with 100-200 miles of driving.
Since we were now doing something a bit different with our generator run time, I checked with the battery manufacturer on my revised run sequence.
What I have been doing is running the generator (start/stopping manually) every evening until the coach battery is fully charged. This lasts all night. What I have found is that I usually only need about 2-2.5 hours of run time to fully charge the battery because it was fully charged when we stopped driving a few hours earlier.
So, I have reduced my generator run time by approximately half. That’s a good thing with Canadian diesel fuel at $4.84/gallon (US equivalent).
Is this shortened run/charge time a problem in any way? The batteries are not running all the way down BUT are being charged all the way up.
The following is verbatim from Lithionics…
When you charge more often, and, from a higher state of charge, you definitely increase the battery life.
- Lithium is the opposite of lead-acid…the more you charge lithium the better.
- With lead-acid, every charge cycle is a chemical reaction and you lose battery life.
So, what you are doing is healthy for the battery!