Keeping the power on is crucial, and in many emergencies, that is the first thing to go. So you got smart and grabbed solar batteries with a generator, but can you charge the batteries on a cloudy day? Making power systems compatible is one of the challenges that engineers tackle every time we come up with a new power source. Fortunately, solar has been around for a while. Generators have been around even longer. Resultantly, there are ways to connect the two technologies, so they work together.
You don’t even need a solar generator to pull off this clever hack. I will walk you through the best way to connect your solar batteries to your gas-powered generator so you can charge up. No one should have to sit in the dark when they’re smart enough to have backup power sources. Luckily, you don’t need to worry. With a simple adjustment, you can get all your batteries fully powered up at night.
Can you charge solar batteries with a generator? You can charge your solar batteries with a generator. Unless you have a very advanced generator, you will likely need an inverter to accomplish this task. However, once you have the right parts, the process is as simple as it gets. Quite literally, you can plug in and charge right away with no extra steps.
How To Charge Solar Batteries With a Gas Generator
Did you know that many off-grid solar systems use a generator for backup? Not only can you charge solar batteries this way, but it’s advisable since cloudy days happen. Sadly, some rainy weather can seriously screw up your plans and survival odds. Thus, having that second option in place is crucial. Being ready for when SHTF means having good backup plans.
Sometimes the sun just isn’t going to cut it. Moreover, your system can have other mechanical failures. Fortunately, with the right, simple equipment, you’ll never need to worry about the dark days ahead because your solar batteries will always be ready.
To accomplish this, all you need is a small inverter. This is literally a plug-and-play activity. Connect your inverter to your generator, and then plug in your solar batteries to charge. After that, it is only a matter of time before your batteries are reading full power.
A WEN 56203i Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator can help charge your solar batteries. These lightweight, thirty-nine-pound generators are portable and quiet. Moreover, the efficient fuel shutoff uses up the remaining fuel in the carburetor before shutting down. This helps lengthen the working life of your generator. The dual three-prong 120V receptacles, 12V DC receptacle, and two 5V USB ports allow you to charge almost any kind of cell or device easily. Plus, you get a one-year warranty so that you can give this generator a serious trial without worries. Get yours from Amazon by clicking here.
Why Is My Generator Not Charging Batteries
Although some more complex issues can lead to your generator refusing to charge a battery, luckily, it’s not always a big deal. Turn on your generator, plug in your battery. If everything runs, but the battery doesn’t charge, check your cords and breakers. Most often, you’ll find a tripped circuit.
However, it could also be a broken cord. This can be obvious, easy to spot like a slice or worn area. However, it may also be inside the cord. Sometimes an impact, or folding over time results in frayed wires on the inside. When these wires don’t connect anymore, no power is getting through. You will need a new cord.
Finally, you may not have a large enough generator or a small enough inverter. Generally speaking, your generator should be twice the size of the inverter’s continuous output for proper function.
Why Aren’t My Solar Batteries Charging
Solar batteries that don’t charge when they’re in the sun have a very different issue from those that aren’t charging via a generator. Fortunately, the most common cause is straightforward to identify and fix. Solar batteries often stop working because they are dirty. Sunlight has to reach the cells, or they won’t do their job. Debris and dust are the enemies of solar batteries, so you need to inspect them regularly to prevent buildup from ruining your power source.
Cleaning most solar batteries is extremely simple. Take a lightly dampened cloth, and wipe away anything on the surface of the photovoltaic cell. I strongly recommend choosing a microfiber cloth since they don’t leave behind fabric or paper particles as you clean.
When basic cleaning doesn’t resolve the issue, check your wiring. Even high-quality solar batteries can have a disconnected or rusty wire. If necessary, reattach or replace the wire to connect the battery again. Most often, these two steps are all it takes to repair a faulty solar battery.
It is still a good idea to have a few backup batteries on hand. Unfortunately, the best batteries can still become too worn to use or break in more catastrophic ways. In addition to your solar batteries and generator, keep a few spares. Just as you need gas or replacement parts for the generator, you will need more solar batteries eventually.
How Fast Will Solar Batteries Charge
While charging a solar battery with a generator is very straightforward, the timeframe can be an issue. It’s always best to maintain charged batteries to avoid problems. Depending on how large the batteries in question are, it can take quite a while.
If you plan to charge a whole bank of batteries, you may need to spend a day on charging. Each battery will need to be charged. Thus, it’s a time and fuel-consuming activity. It can take several hours to charge a single battery fully. In general, the larger your battery, the longer this will take. However, a more powerful generator can cut down the time significantly.
According to rvbooks.com, “Most portable generators maintain their rated output for only a few minutes. Their continuous output limit is usually 80% of that claimed. In reality, your 1000 watt generator is an 800-watt generator. That is nevertheless sufficient to power a quality 30-40 amp charger. A generator of that size fully-charges a fully discharged 12 volt 100 amp hour lead-acid, AGM or LiFePO4 battery within 3-4 hours.”
A well-known and trusted Durostar DS4000S Portable Generator from Amazon can quickly and efficiently charge your solar batteries. This durable unit has four-thousand peak watts and three-thousand-three-hundred running watts. Keep your generator working its best with the right tools. You get an owner’s manual, toolset, oil funnel, and sparkplug wrench. Plus, the included voltmeter makes it easy to know how much power you have. Learn more by clicking here.
Can You Charge Solar Batteries Without The Sun
In addition to using a generator to charge solar batteries, you can sometimes use other light sources. Typically, this works best on smaller solar batteries. However, with a bright light source, such as a lamp, you can get enough light to power-up your small solar cells. Similarly, you might be able to charge large solar cells with a floodlight.
You don’t need the ‘sun’ to charge a solar cell. It is merely a matter of getting enough light or an alternate power source plugged into the batteries. Fortunately, even those smaller batteries can often get a charge from your generator and inverter. So long as your solar cell has a plug to charge with, you should be able to use a matching outlet.
For some smaller cells, you may need a converter for the plugs. For example, a portable solar cell phone or laptop charger often has a USB plug. Fortunately, most stores sell simple outlet-to-USB cords for these situations. Still, it is wise to keep a generator with plenty of fuel on hand to recharge those solar batteries as needed.
I recommend an A-iPower 2000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator to keep those cells charged. This model provides sixteen-hundred running watts of clean power. Plus, it has the ‘Low idle’ technology for extended running time. That will come in handy if you ever need to charge an entire solar bank. Plus, the fifty-eight-decibel volume is relatively quiet for low-key recharging. See the excellent Amazon reviews right here.
All too often, the difference between thriving and failure is a slender line. Hence, having the right information is vital. Moreover, the right backup system can save your lights and your life. Always make sure your generator and batteries are cross-compatible.
There’s no reason to worry about your solar batteries if you have a gas generator and an inverter. Keeping things charged is straightforward and relatively quick. So long as your generator is powerful enough to handle the job, then you can keep the fridge and heat running regardless of the forecast. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to have a secondary system in place for when SHTF.
Choose a generator that is two times the size of the output of your inverter for best results. Equally important, however, is to remember to recharge those solar batteries before you need them so they will be available when things go wrong.