True Charge 40+ Charger/Converter
When you spend your time on the road with minimal hookups - or no hookups - maintaining self sufficiency becomes a bigger concern. In our case, our motorhome is used to allow us to remain in contact with clients while we travel - and permit on-the-road completion of consulting assignments.
We have a 6kW genset that will power everything that we use, including the roof air conditioner, without problems. But, for ordinary use we don't need the A/C so we'd rather not run the genset. That's where 12V systems come in. we have two 6V golf car batteries in series in our coach. During the summer this will allow us to boondock for 2 days without running the genset. The problem is time that it takes to recharge the batteries. Using an ordinary recharger takes more than 10 hours to reach an 80% charge. This isn't practical for boondocking. So, we looked for a smart charger.
The Statpower TrueCharge 40+ provides fast recharge to 80% using the genset (or shore power). The charger applies 40 amps to the batteries and monitors the circuit to detect the charge state of the batteries. As the batteries charge, the TrueCharge cycles the charge rate to minimize the charge time.
We mounted the TrueCharge in our electrical compartment. Statpower recommends a vertical mount. I talked with the technical representatives at Statpower to determine that ahorizontal mounting would work at the expense of some efficiency. We've run the charger for a year with no problems at all. I mounted the remote monitoring panel on the kitchen wall - where I can see it easily from the driver's seat or from the seating area.
Things to Consider
1. Our Genset is an Onan that originally included a starter battery and charger for the battery. When GM put the Genset in the rear with a separate house battery that doubled for starting they left the small charger hooked up. The TrueCharge 40+ senses when this charger comes online and turns off the charge circuit (the lights flash in the remote monitor panel). So, there's no charging going on. You MUST disconnect any charging circuits from your Genset.
2. The TrueCharge turns on a fan when the charge current is 20 amps or higher. The fan is quite noisey. However, if you monitor your batteries and charge at appropriate times, you can avoid the noise a night.
3. Operating the batteries closer to a fully discharged state allows you to put more energy back into the batteries in a shorter period of time. This may shorten battery life but reduces the Genset running time for recharging.
4. The TrueCharge 40 is less expensive than the 40+ and charges one battery bank. We chose the 40+ because we will eventually add another separate battery bank and wire the starter battery to the third circuit.
5. All chargers supply a specified maximum current to ALL batteries. So, if you discharge two banks to near depletion, the TrueCharge will split the current between the two banks.
6. The TrueCharge can supply 12V to the coach while recharge is occurring. This load is also part of the 40 AMP maximum. A 16 watt light draws about 1.5 AMPS. You will need to add the draw from all sources to calculate recharge times.