charging leisure batteries

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New Comer

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[font=system-ui, -apple-system, system-ui,]I'm thinking about putting a isolator or something similar into my van as a way to charge my secondary battery. I would like to ask those who have the experience whether the device out there is reliable. I don't want to have trouble on the road.[/font]
 

B and C

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Most people use a continuous duty solenoid (not a starting solenoid). Run a big (4Ga) cable from the alternator through the solenoid to you house battery with a 150 amp fuse at each end. Ground one side of the actuator and connect the other to a unused ignition switched position in the fuse box under the hood. It will charge every time you drive.
 

highdesertranger

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yes it's worth it. don't rely on it as your only charge source. use quality components. use a solenoid not an isolator. highdesertranger
 

Master Mechanic

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New Comer said:
[font=system-ui, -apple-system, system-ui,]I'm thinking about putting a isolator or something similar into my van as a way to charge my secondary battery. I would like to ask those who have the experience whether the device out there is reliable. I don't want to have trouble on the road.[/font]

van is made to charge that starting battery now u want to charge a deep cycle battery with totally different charge setting. find a high dollar device maybe i would but not with a solenoid.
 

B and C

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The van alternator has enough extra charging capacity to charge a house battery. Just don't idle the engine to charge it. The alternator needs airflow to cool it and this is provided br driving.
 

highdesertranger

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I have been using solenoids to charge house batteries since the 70's.

is it the perfect system? no
will it charge your battery to 100%? no, unless you drive 5-8 hours at highway speed.

the way I see it is, if you are going to be driving anyway you my as well take advantage of the power. what's wrong with that. like I said before don't rely on it as your only charge source.

highdesertranger
 

Elbear1

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The key is not losing so much voltage in the wire run back there that ypure only seeing 5A. My van came wired with 8awg wire and when I finally got a DC amp clamp I was seeing like 13.4v @ 6 amps.

I left the 8awg and put another run of 4awg welding wire now I see about 15 amps generally.

It shouldnt be your only source buts its nice to have. I personally believe in having as many ways to charge as possible; solar, alternator, generator/converter.

Ive had plenty of alternators die on me. So if you have these other means it can save you a huge bill by hooking them to starter battery and limping into next town...for one example.
 

B and C

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Idling an engine to charge your batteries will kill alternators from overheating. My van has almost 150K on the clock and still on the one I got with it. I never idle to charge though.
 

maki2

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it might also depend on your alternator. My Honda Element has a small capacity alternator. It would cost a lot to get a larger capacity on custom made for it and then the fee for installation if I don't DIY that part. Plus of course the cost and labor to install a second solenoid or an isolator.

So I have put a solar panel on top of my car for that "leisure" battery charger and I also carry a small generator. The combined cost of those two items is less than purchasing and installing a larger alternator.
 

New Comer

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Elbear1 said:
The key is not losing so much voltage in the wire run back there that ypure only seeing 5A. My van came wired with 8awg wire and when I finally got a DC amp clamp I was seeing like 13.4v @ 6 amps.

I left the 8awg and put another run of 4awg welding wire now I see about 15 amps generally.

It shouldnt be your only source buts its nice to have. I personally believe in having as many ways to charge as possible; solar, alternator, generator/converter.

Ive had plenty of alternators die on me. So if you have these other means it can save you a huge bill by hooking them to starter battery and limping into next town...for one example.

Would you tell me the reasons your alternators died on you? I am afraid of having alternator problems while on the road.
 

New Comer

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maki2 said:
it might also depend on your alternator. My Honda Element has a small capacity alternator. It would cost a lot to get a larger capacity on custom made for it and then the fee for installation if I don't DIY that part. Plus of course the cost and labor to install a second solenoid or an isolator.

So I have put a solar panel on top of my car for that "leisure" battery charger and I also carry a small generator. The combined cost of those two items is less than purchasing and installing a larger alternator.

My van was built before 2006. I was told that the car built after 2006 have smaller alternator. Is that true? If it is, I guess my van shall have a better chance of charging the leisure battery without a problem. I intend to use DC DC charger anyway. Will this be a good idea?
 

Scout

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New Comer said:
[font=system-ui, -apple-system, system-ui,]I'm thinking about putting a isolator or something similar into my van as a way to charge my secondary battery. I would like to ask those who have the experience whether the device out there is reliable. I don't want to have trouble on the road.[/font]

Like posted above, a continuous duty soleniod. Also there are voltage sensing relays which is what im leaning towards getting . they are more expensive and idk if there are really any advantages but they seem easier to hook up. Not that a solenoid is hard to.
 
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