We planned for enough solar panels to not really need to ever plug our van into the grid for power. However there will be times when we will find ourselves in overcast weather for extended periods of time without a way to replenish our power. While we are traveling in Europe, we also need our shore power charging system to be compatible with Europe’s 240-volt AC power grid.
Rather than installing a dedicated converter charger, we opted for the NOCO Genius Portable Smart Battery Chargers. We have both a US model as well as a UK model. The US model is the NOCO Genius G7200 which charges at 7.2 amps per hour. For our 240-volt counterpart, we chose the next size up which is the NOCO Genius G15000UK Smart Charger. That will charge our batteries at 15 amps per hour. These are smart multi-stage batteries chargers that are compatible with many types of batteries including typical flooded lead acid, AGM as well as lithium which will helps to future-proof these purchases in case we decide to switch to lithium later.
Some people have raised concerns about these battery chargers not being able to replenish a large battery bank quickly enough. That might be true for large, expensive lithium systems but it is more than plenty for our simple and flexible system. To put it into perspective, 7.2 amps per hour is roughly how much a 100-watt solar panel can produce at peak capacity. Having this plugged into an outlet and charging is equivalent to having that panel producing at full capacity 24 hours a day. And of course the 15-amp model will more than double that output.
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