..Operating a genverter based power is not difficult, and really isn’t technical. In our home, our kids knew how to read the meter, and start the generator since they were about 11 years old. The real key to operating the system correctly, is to have and understand the metering between the batteries and the charging system.
When the system starts off with fully charged batteries, you have power in what I call “silent mode”. You can have lights and other creature comforts without using any gas, since the inverter is converting the stored battery power into normal home AC.
You may have certain large loads that may not be appropriate during this time because they would drain the stored energy quickly. In our home these are items like the dishwasher, the well pump, and Jackie’s favorite electric iron.
Having a device or meter that measures power flowing into or out of the battery bank is very important. With the meter counting the Amp-Hours or “juice” flowing out of the battery bank, it is easy to see when we’ve used 30-40% of the total capacity. When this level is reached, its time to make sure we start charging in a serious way by starting up our generator charging source.
free power mode
After charging a short while, it becomes free power time, since the generator is not fully loaded with the task of battery charging. This is the time to run those big loads mentioned above. We call it free, because for the most part, this extra power not used in charging will be lost! As batteries get some charge, they accept less current and more generator power potential is lost. The most expensive part of charging it getting the batteries over that last 10% of charge. Many times we stop before then, but not always as explained below.
Deep cycle batteries have a wear out mechanism that occurs when they stay below 75% charge for any length of time. It is called sulfating, and is covered in detail elsewhere on www.genverters.com. Its ironic, that batteries last the longest if you never discharge them, that is, use them! This third mode of genverter operation is used to keep the batteries healthy and to extend their life.
During normal operation, we like to do what is called an equalize charge for our lead acid batteries. It is a small investment that will help the battery bank last extra years. The charging system is run and the voltage is permitted to go to a higher than normal voltage for a few hours. For example on a 12V battery bank, we let it go up to 14.5V and watch the electrolyte in the batteries bubble some. This helps break up the sulfation that occurs during normal operation. This operation does take extra fuel, but is a good long term investment
Sometimes it is possible if we leave a few days in the summer, to let our solar charging and solar controller to automatically do the equalize charge for us!
Basic genverter operation can be broken up into 3 modes; silent mode, free power mode, and maintence mode. Your power consumption at any time should match the genveter mode. Having and monitoring your charging meter will help determine how your system should be operated at any given time.
Do you have any questions about genverter operations? Do you like the idea of “free power mode”? Tell us about it below in the comments!