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All,

It seems most of the time the loudest perspectives you get on service, of any type, is the bad experiences. It also seems a lot of the company support for a lot of things I've dealt with over the years hasn't been much to mention. Information is limited or suppressed, those engaging in the "support" aren't very knowledgeable, and the list goes on. My perspective has grown over the years to lean on discussion groups, forums, email lists, etc to network with other enthusiasts. This has led to a lot better technical experience in being able to converse about various technical subjects - think vehicle dealer service manager vs being able to have a 1-on-1 discussion with a knowledgeable tech.

Long story short, I was looking for a technical answer without asking a technical question anticipating whoever was answering wouldn't be that technical. So I figured a part scenario, that if available or not, would have given me what I was ultimately after. The reply I got was that there wasn't any other parts that showed under what I was asking about - so that was the answer I needed to answer my technical question, but instead of leaving it there the person that replied gave me several technical details so I had the information I needed to carry on my search elsewhere.

I come from a background of some heady duty technical support and recognize what that reply was. It did not come from someone that didn't know much. Nor did it come from someone who didn't take pride in their job. No, the technical information didn't help me directly. The simple answer I was after - and got - did (again, reversing the philosophy of information looking for an answer to something else without asking). However, I got more than I asked for - and it was excellent information. It was them saying "we don't have what you are looking for, however here are more details that you need to take in to account to carry on your search somewhere else". That was a pretty cool reply!

Given my inquiry with Champion was specifically in relation to parts, I can not vouch for their technical support. However, if their technical support is done with the same philosophy - that those doing the support are knowledgeable and take pride in their work - I would venture a guess it is excellent as well.

For what it is worth, the technical question was about starter batteries. I wanted to see if a lithium battery was available (lithium ion or LiFePO4). The reason for that is they typically require different charge algorithms. So if one was available then the question of the charge algorithm (on either end - generator or battery) would have already been figured out to where there was an already proven compatibility. There was not a lithium option available, so I take that to mean there isn't a solution already there for the charge algorithms. Battery options is the subject of another thread I started recently, so I don't intend to carry on that subject here. The technical information I got in my reply was with respect to wiring harnesses, terminals, and the package size of the battery - nothing I asked for, but again - would have been very helpful if I was less knowledgeable to carry on the search elsewhere.
 

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There was a time in history when you can call up your appliance manufacturer and get immediately connected to an actual engineer or technical practitioner. Nowadays, tech support is obscured in automation, outsourced processes, and other gates which are designed to insulate them from their customers. It's a wicked but unfortunately, necessary system since they only have an X number of really knowledgeable resources to support Y number of customers. Still, it doesn't make it any better for reasonably technical customers.

As someone who works in a company that also provides direct customer IT support, they are trained to be careful in providing any advice or recommendation that is outside what is documented or best practice. This is not to purport an unwillingness to help, but rather, this is to protect ourselves from liability in case the unsanctioned recommendation backfired, even through no fault of us. Stipulations on paper waiving us of responsibility can only do so much. It can help us in court but at the expense of potentially losing the customer forever.

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As far as the battery is concerned, let me summarize what I think based on what you said:

1. Use LFP batteries only. It's safer compared to Li-Ion.... the latter being susceptible to thermal runaways.
2. A proper LFP battery pack should have a BMS that can take a range of charging voltages from the engine or generator. It's the BMS' job to actually provide the charging profile, as well as balance the internal LFP cells. BUT to your point, you'll need to stay within the input voltage ranges of the BMS. If it says it can take 12-15V DC, I wouldn't use it if the engine/generator charger is putting out 16V or higher.
 
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