I know it’s been asked before...

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 08, 2006 at 23:08
ThreadID: 29488 Views:2689 Replies:8 FollowUps:7
This Thread has been Archived
... but I can’t find it. I think maybe Jimbo perhaps posed the question, although I can’t be sure.

Anyway, here it is... ( again?)...

If you are looking, at staying at one place for duration of camp, irrespective of the length of stay, and you don’t travel anywhere in your vehicle, like... you really do stay put, can you do the following?

Each day, say around 10:00 o’clock, start your vehicle engine, and simply let it idle for say... 2 hours?

On both of my vehicles, I have 3 battery set ups, and a LED Amp Meter, which tells me, that I’m pushing around 15 - 20 amps into the suckers first thing in the morning, like when I’m warming (idling) the 4 x 4 to go for a drive.

So, will the motor overheat? Can’t see why it should, but can it?

What would be the fuel usage at an idle for a couple of hours? Same as a say... 10 - 20 km drive?

I have a small solar set up, but it’s small, and I don’t want to upgrade it. I don’t want to spend dollars on a generator. Will the idle for a couple of hours in the morning do the trick?

Okay, it’s noisy, sort of, but I’m talking about remote camping here, like... away from anyone, by a big margin.

When I look at the capital costs associated with increasing my solar set-up. or a gennie, as well as the problem of carrying them, I’m wondering whether the plain ole’ alternator in our vehicles will do the same thing... charge our batteries up for daily use, whilst sitting still and idling?

I’d much rather part with a few extra dollars for fuel, and use it to allow my engine to idle for a couple of hours a day, than spend lots on stuff I won’t recoup the benefits on.


Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: bombsquad - Sunday, Jan 08, 2006 at 23:25

Sunday, Jan 08, 2006 at 23:25
I don't have the technical knowlege, but some would say you would have to watch glazing the cylinders etc, but i have a few friends who are diesel mechanics and run farms or work in mining. A quote I've heard from both modern and olod school farmers concerning tractors that have been used a lot for say fruit picking or hay carting with loads not much above idle is: "It would sort it out py putting the plough on the back out of it and making it work for a living for a few days to clean it out".

Like I said, I dont have the full knowlege on this, and I wouldnt do it to my engine. I saw in another post recently a few discussions on this subject concerning the Christie generators. It sounds like this would be a good option for you, reasonably cheap (?) and compact. I am thinking of making my own. I know it wont be any where near as clean, compact and professional as the Christie, but I'll put it together for about $50.00. I only really need it for a back-up in case all else fails, as I only run one fridge for a couple of days, but I am usually very isolated and alone.

I'm not really ansering your question here, but merely trying to promt hose that know better!

Cheers Andrew
AnswerID: 147298

Follow Up By: bombsquad - Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 10:21

Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 10:21
Also kne of a bloke who flattened his battery in a remote location and couldnt quite get enough pace up to turn the motor over. He removed 5 of the injectors, started it an ran it for about an hour, stopped it, replaced the injectors and started it. Probably not real good for the engine, but it got him home.
FollowupID: 400677

Reply By: OLDMAGPIE - Sunday, Jan 08, 2006 at 23:46

Sunday, Jan 08, 2006 at 23:46
buy a $100 genny , if thats too much to outlay look for a second hander if thats too much look for a horse on its way to the glue factory &hook it up to a big wheel with brushes on it, if thats too much ask mainey he'll know what to do
AnswerID: 147302

Reply By: Nudenut - Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 07:54

Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 07:54
you need to find out what your alternator will pump out while the engine is idling.....a quick mathematical equation will then give you some guidance

most alternators can pump out more than 50amps...so 2 hrs willl be more than adequate to charge a 80 amp battery...but that is NOT at idle .
AnswerID: 147320

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 18:01

Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 18:01
not at idle Nudie, you know that. And batteries dont take too kindly to a 50amphr charge over 2 hrs each day to top them up, I would say that 2 hrs would do it tho
Time is an illusion produced by the passage of history

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

FollowupID: 400801

Follow Up By: Nudenut - Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 21:35

Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 21:35
yep ...its a quick way to get new batteries...but its cheaper than what the kids pinch from my office...all the aa and 9v that they use in their toys ,that i require to power up the ohm meters, meggar weigh scale, etc etc...all the tools i need for work.......

and the gps, hand held uhf etc etc , ooops did i say that
FollowupID: 400836

Reply By: Dave(NSW) - Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 09:29

Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 09:29
I had to do this at William Creek when rained in for 3 days. was running 40lt fridge as freezer 21lt as fridge each morning just idled engine for a couple of hours to keep batteries toped up.didn't seem to hurt engine & doubt it would glaze up.


Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 147341

Reply By: John L G - Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 12:33

Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 12:33

Ive been keeping batteries charged like that for as long as have been camping and never had a problem.

The knockers will talk about glazing cylinders but I personally think that is nonsense in the time frames you will be doing it. Any supposed glazing will be taken care of after the first work out you give the motor when you leave the area. I certainly have never suffered from glazing.

No;the engine doesn't overheat and it gives you the opportunity to fuss over your pride & joy while its running or do the housework.

I have a few simple rules when camping for periods which seem to work for me.
1. I run the motor for an hour in the late afternoon before cocktails to give it all a top up before the evening.
2 An hour before hitting the swag I turn the fridge up flat out and don't access it again before morning - last drinks please?.
3.Before retiring - turn all power "OFF" including lights,fridge etc
4.In the morning have brekky, clean up and then turn it all back on, tho the radio is ok.
5. Start motor and leave running for an hour or so, once again with fridge on flat out.
6. Shut down motor and return fridge to normal setting for the day.

Its important that when motor is running to use that high charge time to recharge batteries or anything else elecrtical you may wish to play with.

Works for me

John G
AnswerID: 147377

Follow Up By: John L G - Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 13:31

Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 13:31

I should have mentioned I have a hand throttle and usually set revs at about 1000 when charging tghis way.

John G
FollowupID: 400711

Reply By: Sir Diamond - Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 12:36

Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 12:36
i used a $95 gennie over chrissy.
10-12 hrs per tank.
mainly for running the fridge and some batery charging.
and no noisier than having a vehicle idling with a 20 metre lead.
AnswerID: 147379

Follow Up By: kev.h - Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 18:24

Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 18:24
Agree i do the same recon i will save the price of the gennie over time and as a bonus i have a charger if you end up with a flat battery
FollowupID: 400809

Follow Up By: Nudenut - Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 21:36

Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 21:36
cheap duck...95 $ gennie hehehe
FollowupID: 400838

Reply By: MartyB - Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 18:53

Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 18:53
One problem I could see if what if something does go wrong?
Broken fanbelt or radiator hose.
Gauges are useless if you are not watching them.
Worst case senario is you cook the motor while you are not watching it.

AnswerID: 147454

Reply By: Lone Wolf - Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 19:01

Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 19:01
Well, I'll put this one to bed.

My mechanic says to me...

"Don't do it with petrol engines at all, and with a diesel, I'm reluctant."

Something to do with less oil pressure at idle, and close tolerances or something, and engines overheating.

So, there goes plan B...


AnswerID: 147456

Follow Up By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 09:29

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 09:29
Its not like you to be so indicisive? LOL

I often ran old Rosie for an hour before sunset and an hour in the morning at idle to top up the battery.

Same goes for the diesel.

Remember that big trucks stop for a break every now and then and sometimes they are left idling for a while with no apparent detrimental effect.

FollowupID: 400894

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (11)