I use a combination of 3 ways to recharge my house and aux. batteries.
The first is solar
, but it need not be expensive, especially if you are not taking the entire compliment of kitchen and electronic gadgets with you. I only use lights
, and I run a laptop and a small LCD tv for an hour or two each nite. Thats about it. Not much draw.
I have 3 panels, 1 15 watt one, and 2 smaller 3.5 watt ones. My total investment in the solar
is under 150 bucks, including controller. The larger panel does my house battery
, and on a good sunny day, it keeps it topped off nicely, and even does a good job of replenishment should I run down to 11 or so volts at nite. I have run for over a week on the 15 watt panel without worry. Some of those days were overcast.
The 3.5 watt ones charge my little 20ah gel cells. (One panel per battery) Those are used to run LED light
fixtures, my fantastic endless breeze fan and maybe the laptop. It takes almost nothing to recharge those, and they last a good long time with light
use. These batteries are 100% independant of the house battery.
When these methods don't cut it, I actually hook up my pigtail from the car and charge for 45 mins or so. My engine is far quieter than my gen set, and I have had no complaints about it yet. You will have to do this a few times each day, but it works. And if you think about your car as a giant generator, it makes sense.
Last resort is my genset, and I HAVE used it for short bursts of power, and to recharge when I am the only one in earshot. I bought the genset, a small 1k watt Kipor, mostly for home use, tho it has gone in the trailer too. It takes a good hour or more to bring my house system back up to 12.5 volts if I have run down to under 11 volts. This only happens if I have the heater w/fan going all day.
I can't really use the solar if starting with dead batteries. It will NOT bring them up to snuff quickly. My driving to the site helps quite a bit, but the best is to charge before leaving and use ways to trickle a charge in at the site.
Remember, my needs are simple and I have some items duplicated in both powered and manual versions (Water pumps, heaters) or propane
powered, like my fridge
. When I have electric available, I feel the luxury of using the electric non esential items. When I don't I don't cry or need for thier services.. I have back ups.
If you want to run a coffee maker and AC, you'll need much more poop than I have in mine.