Coldest night so far, by far…

Temperature bottomed out at 5o F. but was rapidly rising when I got out of bed. That’s unusual behavior, it’s usually coldest as the sun starts to rise, and I was confused until it started to snow. Again.

Still, no complaints. I promised I was going to be tedious in my praise of the Lair’s newfound winter chops and I intend to make good on that promise. A 30o indoor/outdoor (ratio? coefficient? difference.) is magnificent for a handbuilt house on a night like this. I’ll take it.

Wish I could say the same for the batteries. Between the cold and the extended gloom – I never saw my shadow at all yesterday – I’m starting to take comfort in the presence of that generator and wishing I had indulged in the 12-volt charging cable Honda sells for it. Don’t need it because I have a Battery Minder, but it would be more elegant. Never really expected to be contemplating the need for a generator to keep the batteries charged, but the batteries are definitely starting to notice the gloom. And the cold doesn’t help of course, lead/acid batteries aren’t at their best when it’s cold.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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4 Responses to Coldest night so far, by far…

  1. Ben says:

    If I remember correctly, you are far better off with a good battery charger rather than that Honda charging cable. The problem is that the 12 volt outlet delivers a very limited current, where a fast battery charger could funnel most of the generator output straight to your battery.

  2. czechsix says:

    Well, you beat Alaska handily, 27 degrees here. I have to run battery heaters on my truck, along with pan heaters for the engine and trans.

    I wonder if there are any slick methods to help keep the batteries up at a decent temp without sucking too much juice?

  3. Norman says:

    Ben makes a good point; the Honda-imposed limit on the 12V charging system in the 2000 is 8 amps. That’ll work, but it’s a lot more conserving of gasoline to put a real battery charger between the Honda’s 120V output and the batteries and let even a garden variety Schumacher do its 15 amp thing (although, I did notice on Amazon there’s a Schumacher that appears to go to 50 amps for quick charging). Given a large enough battery bank, even 15A is emptying the ocean with a teaspoon.

    Somewhere in the back of my mind I think I remember the trick for using both the 8A 12V circuit in the 2000 AND a “regular” charger plugged into the 120V receptacle, but I’m not sure I remember enough of it to describe it accurately, so if you do that, do it to battery banks that are isolated from each other – that 8A 12V comes out of the inverter, and inverters are expensive enough to not risk hosing one with a backfeed (the Honda 3000s are particularly susceptible to that because several models have electric start and the 12V charging circuit is also used to keep the internal battery charged, and a charger with poor sine wave control and fluctuating voltage on a still-connected EU3000 internal battery will roast the $1,000 inverter.)

    One thing to be aware of is the new “smart” chargers – first, they’re so smart they won’t charge a nearly completely discharged battery because the smart part doesn’t see enough voltage to realize there’s a battery attached so for safety reasons, charger no chargee (doesn’t that make you feel more protected?). There are ways around that, but never mentioned in the instructions – you have to call Customer No-Service to find out the secret, and the technique varies between brands (they keep it secret because if you don’t do it perfectly it damages the charger and sometimes the battery, and besides, only they have the secret decoder ring, so there). Second, the battery charger is so smart that even though you want to charge at its maximum rate because Rommel and the whole damn Wehrmacht is almost over the hill behind you and you need to haul ass out of there, to “protect the battery” it’ll “smartly” regulate the charge to “something safe” which is substantially less than the max charging rate.

  4. Howard says:

    I have two honda 2000 gen sets, one is a co-charger which has one 30 amp twistlock output and no 12 volt. It seems you have to use the 12 volt cord at full engine speed so you can’t use the economy switch. I ruined one set of batteries trying to use a smart charger because it would keep shutting down when the surface was up and at the time we were still commuting on weekends. At this location in Alaska (61.7 north latitude) with 5000 foot mountains five miles south of us we get almost nothing out of the solar panels from November till March so we got a hard wire 45 amp charger that keeps the four golf cart batteries in ok shape running 3 or 4 hours every other day. We do have propane lighting. Five gal of gas about every other week unless I’m doing shop project.

To the stake with the heretic!