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Old 07-27-2015, 02:41 PM   #1
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Generator vs. run the truck

Hi - I'm a newbie, and having camped for a dozen nights without electrical hookup, using my pickup to give the batteries a charge for 20 minutes a couple times, I'm wondering whether it's really necessary to have a generator on hand, other than to run the A/C. Does anyone want to advise? Thanks!
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Old 07-27-2015, 02:46 PM   #2
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Cheaper to run a generator, I use honda 2000 watt.
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Old 07-27-2015, 02:50 PM   #3
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Small wire in the trailer light hookup, low charging flow, long time to charge based on how much has been taken out of the batteries. 20 mins probably won't do much. I think the circuit on most trucks is doing about 7-10 amps. 20 minutes would not put much into the batteries.

Generator, AC power to the normal charger in the trailer, much shorter charging time. Should be able to put in 15amps or more depending on size of the generator.
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Old 07-27-2015, 02:53 PM   #4
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With a generator you will get the full output of your converter so your batteries will charge much faster and completely if you run it a while. Running the truck for 20 minutes will most likely not bring them up to full charge. There is a lot of line loss on a long run from the truck to the battery in the camper, you can find charts on just how much loss per foot for various size wire. I doubt you are getting anywhere near the charging amps at the battery that you would get from your converter. OTOH, to run the AC you need a 3K generator but a smaller 2K Honda will do nicely to power the converer to charge your trailer battery and to run appliances one at at time. I went the small generator, though most of my camping is with electric hook up. When I go to my farm, I run the generator a couple of hours each evening on eco mode and it does a fine job.
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Old 07-27-2015, 02:54 PM   #5
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Do you actually use much electrical power? 20 minutes isn't going to be enough time to fully charge your battery from much daily usage even with a 3-stage converter and shore power. Maybe you have a solar panel that's doing some charging during the day as well? Or perhaps you have an old-school fridge like mine (no 12v demand) and don't use the lights and fans much?

On my '75 (zero 12v usage for the fridge, LED lighting on the interior, water pump usage as necessary, no propane detector) I can go about 4 nights when the weather is nice enough to need much fans or furnace. That's on a single Group24 battery. At that point it needs quite a bit of charging to fully replenish the battery.
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Old 07-29-2015, 11:59 AM   #6
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Thanks!
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Old 07-29-2015, 12:02 PM   #7
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Helpful responses.

Thanks so much to all who responded to my generator question. I'll get a Honda 2000 watt - just have to decide on whether it will be the companion or the regular EU 2000i. Thanks again!
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Old 07-29-2015, 12:18 PM   #8
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Thanks so much to all who responded to my generator question. I'll get a Honda 2000 watt - just have to decide on whether it will be the companion or the regular EU 2000i. Thanks again!
Here's something that may help you decide…

A 2kW generator will provide about 16 amps of power. Good for charging your batteries. Just barely adequate for running your A/C as long as you don't run anything else. If you have one 2kW generator already set up for being paired, you can always get a second generator later when the budget permits. It takes 3.6kW to provide 30 amps of 120vAC, and having 4kw means you'd be able to power everything on generator that you could on shore power, with a 10% reserve capacity.
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Old 07-29-2015, 12:20 PM   #9
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If you want to charge with your truck, turn it around and use HD jumper cables from the truck's battery to the trailer's batteries and you will get a lot more charge for the run time of your truck.
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Old 07-31-2015, 06:47 PM   #10
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Generator

I have been camping 28 years with my 1988 Excella, much of it "primitive" camping (no hookups). I purchased a 1000 watt Honda in 2006 and love it. It weighs just 28#, runs for 5-6 hours on .7 gallon of gas, powers my TV while charging the battery and runs the blower on my air conditioner (not cooler!), powers my small coffee maker (no other electrical appliance on at the same time!) Will not power the toaster or microwave. I have had no problems with maintenance on this little jewel. Change the oil frequently and drain the carb. before long storage. Use Stabil in the fuel. Starts on the 3rd pull. Very quiet.
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Old 08-01-2015, 08:05 AM   #11
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If you want to charge with your truck, turn it around and use HD jumper cables from the truck's battery to the trailer's batteries and you will get a lot more charge for the run time of your truck.
This certainly is a viable option. Might even be able to hard wire the truck with some heavy gauge wire and connectors if you were to do this frequently.

Anyone effectively use their TV without a generator long term?
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Old 08-01-2015, 10:19 AM   #12
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I believe the FIRST generator of the Honda EU 2000i is always the Regular. The optional SECOND one is the Companion. The Companion is for applications when the one isn't enough so its the second one.
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Old 08-01-2015, 10:38 AM   #13
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The Honda Twins are actually the same generator, except for the AC receptacles.

The "Companion" simply has a 30 amp receptacle instead of a two 15 amps, to allow the connection of a single 30 amp load.

When using mine for uses other than air conditioning, I alternate between the two to keep total usage roughly equal....


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