Vehicle charging for grooming batteries

Hoping to reduce generator run time, we included additional systems to tie the vehicle alternator into the grooming battery charging system.

There are probably competitive products for the Xantrex systems selected.  To be honest, I didn't research alternatives.  I have been very pleased with Xantrex technical support beginning with a lot of pre-sales questions about design, application, and just bringing me up the learning curve of inverter systems.

There are two areas to address when connecting the vehicle charging system to the grooming batteries.  The first is connection, the second is controlling the alternator to charge the grooming batteries efficiently.  Each represents a product, discussed below.


The vehicle charging system should not be connected to the grooming battery at all times.  There are a variety of devices to provide this connection with varying degrees of sophistication.  We chose the Xantrex Pathmaker.  This device is a switch sitting between the vehicle's electrical system and the grooming batteries.  It monitors voltages on both systems, and when the vehicle voltage is high enough, it connects the grooming batteries for a "free" charge.

A "side" benefit is a feature that allows temporary connection of the grooming batteries to the vehicle.  This built-in "jump start" feature is a nice security blanket.


Batteries charge at different rates, depending on how discharged they are and how long they have been charging.  An analogy might be filling a glass of water with a pitcher.  You can pour very quickly into a large empty glass.  As it begins to fill you will pour slower, and as you "top off" the glass you will be pouring at a trickle.

The inverter/charger has this charging intelligence, but the vehicle's electrical system does not.  The vehicle battery is designed to discharge quickly, for starting, and then charge quickly.  To optimize charging the grooming batteries, we added the Xantrex XAR, alternator regulator. 

This device is programmable, allowing configuration for the particular type of battery to be charged, and then provides control of the alternator output to a three level charging system.


We also installed a monitor, Xantrex Link 10, to keep an eye of battery status.  The inverter/charger does some of this automatically.  This was just to enhance the geek factor.