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Old 01-01-2009, 02:02 PM   #1
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Trickle charger on portable generator - bad battery?


I have to keep my portable generator on a trickle charger or the battery goes dead. It can take a few weeks, but it is always a problem at the worst time (we lost power for three hours on Christmas Eve and the battery on the generator was dead!).

I hate to pay the expense of running the trickle charger all the time, not to mention the not-so-green aspects of using juice all the time. We've had the generator for two years and this Christmas would have been the first time we used it. Most of the time, it just sits there.

I'm considering a solar powered charger. But before I spring for one, I'm wondering if this is a sign of a bad battery or perhaps some short or load that's draining the battery? Could I simply disconnect the battery to keep it from discharging?

I see solar powered trickle chargers in 1, 1.5, and 5 watt sizes. Which would you buy?

Thanks,
Tim

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Old 01-01-2009, 03:12 PM   #2
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Trickle charger on portable generator - bad battery?


Yes remve the battery from where it is and keep it in a warm location. If kept in the cold it won't die but the chemical reaction will be slowed and therefore you will get less volts and cranking amps.

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Old 01-01-2009, 04:48 PM   #3
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Trickle charger on portable generator - bad battery?


Actually I grew up in the Central Canada and we had battery blankets to plug in and keep our batteries warm in mid winter. Freezing temps will kill a battery if ongoing expsoure is severe enough. On a cold morning a car plugged in all nite with a severely chilled battery wouldnt start, but a car
with a battery blanket would start fine if the block heater was plugged in for 15-20 minutes. The initial cranking drained the battery pretty fast at -50 and the gas was not mixing easily so if the car did not fire fast you were staying home.
To be fair we had nites of -50 , but a battery left alone in a cold enough climate will drain down pretty quick. Unlike your car battery which gets recharged every time you start the car.
So battery blanket versus trickle charger versus indoor storage you need to protect it somehow.
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Old 01-01-2009, 05:24 PM   #4
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Trickle charger on portable generator - bad battery?


Most serious standby generators have battery chargers on them, if they are used in conjunction with an ATS battery power is normaly used to power the controller while the genset is not running. You can disconnect the battery to keep it charged, but then you have to go out and hook it up in the dark. A floating charger shouldent cost more than a dollar a month to operate, I have one on my lawn mower and my motorcycle.
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Old 01-01-2009, 07:28 PM   #5
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Trickle charger on portable generator - bad battery?


Thanks all. I guess since I was hoping I could disconnect the battery and leave it right in the housing of the generator, and since I don't have a battery blanket, I'll stick with using the trickle charger I do have. I still might consider a solar version instead.

Thanks,
Tim
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Old 01-01-2009, 07:46 PM   #6
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Trickle charger on portable generator - bad battery?


Some battery types self-discharge faster than others.

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