Charging With A Generator And Slowly Bringing The Batteries Back To Life

A few weeks ago someone got the idea to run something off of the inverter for much longer than they should have. The batteries were run down so low that the solar alone hasn’t been able to get their charge back up. Being the middle of winter, with plenty of days of clouds and rain probably hasn’t helped either.

We’ve been dealing with the low batteries for long enough that I finally caved and got a generator, which I’ve never had on board before, and never thought I would actually need.

Ryobi generator


As I mentioned in my last post there was a problem with the remote for the battery charger. This keeps causing the generator to overload, so there was no way we could use it to charge the batteries. After a few days of waiting for the new remote to come in I got an idea. I can’t charge the batteries, but why not use the generator to reduce the load on the batteries.

So for a few days in the afternoon I fired up the generator and used it to power the fridge. The idea was to do when the sun was out because the solar would be charging the batteries and because this is when the fridge would be running the most. It actually worked…not great, but there was a marginal improvement in the batteries.

Pulling Double Duty

battery monitor
Batteries finally looking happy again

Now that I finally have the new remote and the adapter that I was waiting on I thought my problems would be solved. One of the downsides of the new remote is it only lets you change the power share setting in pretty large increments. 15 amps was too high and still causing the generator to overload, even with the fridge off. The next setting down was 5, which is much lower, but I pretty much had no choice.

This bumped the batteries up even a little more, but not to where I hoped they would be after running a generator for a few hours. Yesterday I got another idea. The fridge doesn’t draw 10 amps. So since the charger is only using 5 amps, why not charge the batteries and run the fridge off the generator at the same time.

Getting Back

Using the generator to run the fridge and charge the batteries for a few hours yesterday, while the solar was also charging them got the batteries up to about 12.9 volts, a big improvement. Then today with just the solar alone they went up to over 13 volts, higher than they’ve been in weeks. I’m going to run the generator again for the next few days to give them a little boost, but I think I finally have healthy batteries again.

2 Responses to Charging With A Generator And Slowly Bringing The Batteries Back To Life

  1. Hi Chris-Love this website, just love it! I want to snorkel with sparky! I enjoyed your post Charging With A Generator, and I must say have had similar experiences (although not on a boat) with having to charge batteries-car,mower, bike etc.
    Very interesting read and I will be back to see what sparky is up to next!

    All the best-Tom

    • Everyone does Tom. That’s how he became the mascot. You bring up a very good point. One of the difficult things to deal with was trying to keep all of the small battery operated devices we have aboard charged, while we were having problems with the house batteries, which is what all of those toys are charged from when you’re sitting at anchor.


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