Battery Chargers

Battery chargers convert 120 volt power from the utility or a generator into a form usable by the batteries. There are two common ways of accomplishing this. The first is a transformer type charger. This type of charger is by far the most common type, with most chargers conforming to this design. They work very well with utility power, but the less expensive ones are very inefficient and can lose performance drastically when operated from a generator. Some generators affect chargers in this way more dramatically than others. (When buying a small generator, ask LOTS of questions…….) In general, generators should be adjusted to produce 125 - 130 volts to provide satisfactory results, and even then don’t count on more than half of the chargers stated capacity. The second type of charger is actually a switching type power supply adapted to charge batteries. These units are typically smaller and more efficient than their transformer based equivalents, and are less affected by generator operation. Switching type chargers, like their transformer laden brethren, should be run at their maximum rated input voltage for best results when operating on generator power.

A typical system with a generator should have a total charging capacity of one tenth the battery size if practical. An example follows: a 1000 amp hr battery bank with a DR1512 inverter (built in 60 amp charger) would require a 40 amp auxiliary charger for an optimal configuration.

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