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Old 04-28-2016, 06:22 PM   #1
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AC use when boondocking

OK, maybe it isn't really boondocking if you are using AC, but I didn't know how or where else to ask the question.

We live in Florida, and have done very little camping when we didn't need or at least really want to use the AC. Winter camping would be great without AC, but spots are hard to find unless you are willing to reserve 11 months in advance. As far as I can tell there are very few places we would go in the Southeast that don't at least have power.

I have a single Honda 2000i which would be useful to keep batteries charged and to run the microwave or coffee maker if we wanted to. For coffee we have a backup burr grinder and french press. For the microwave a dutch oven in the fire ring would suffice.

So my thoughts are that I probably would not get much use out of a second generator to run the AC.

Correct or not? What is your experience?

Thanks,

Al
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Old 04-28-2016, 07:03 PM   #2
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I don't really understand your question. If you want to use your air conditioner you need another 2000 or a bigger generator. If you don't want a/c your current 2000 seems to work for you.
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Old 04-28-2016, 07:05 PM   #3
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Yes, you bring good points up, I bought 2 while I still have income so when the day comes that AC may be a necessity rather than a convenience, I can still get out in the woods.
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Old 04-28-2016, 07:07 PM   #4
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Sure could of used the AC in Key West the week before the state rally. But unfortunately I was dry camping and did not have a generator like all my neighbors. I am in the progress of fixing that with at least a 2400 watt generator. There were a couple of overcast days when the solar could not keep up with fans and basic lights.
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Old 04-28-2016, 07:20 PM   #5
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So where there is a mod to the 2000 watt Honda that will start an AC. I believe they add a capacitor.
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Old 04-28-2016, 07:28 PM   #6
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I don't really understand your question. If you want to use your air conditioner you need another 2000 or a bigger generator. If you don't want a/c your current 2000 seems to work for you.
I understand all that. I am trying to decide if I should buy another generator. What I am asking is for those who camp without access to electricity, do they find that they often want or need AC and do they carry enough generator and fuel to run an AC or wish they did?

A Honda EU2000i under full load will burn a gallon of gas in 4 hours. Actual consumption may be less because the AC unit may not be running all the time, but lets use 1/4 gallon per hour as a benchmark, assuming that one AC unit will be sufficient in the evening, and that one generator will carry it. As an aside, my EU2000i will run a 11,000 BTU Dometic unit.

So for a good 8 hours sleep I would need 2 gallons of gas or just over 3 gallons of propane. A 30 pound propane cylinder has about 7 gallons of propane. So operating a generator from propane would require a 30# tank about every two days, or a 6 gallon marine tank of gasoline hooked to the generator would last about 3 days. Either of these seems impractical, and these numbers would be cut in half if I had to run two generators.

I'm just looking for someone with experience to weigh in on the use of generators to power ACs when shore power is not available. Is it done much? Am I missing something?

Thanks,

Al
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Old 04-28-2016, 08:01 PM   #7
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Living on the west coast I hardly ever use the AC. Having camped many places mostly west of the Rockies, I can count on one hand times I recall when I really wished I had an air conditioner. Of course most of my travel experience is in a popup without AC so maybe this doesnt count.
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Old 04-28-2016, 08:02 PM   #8
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I go old school. Battery fans aimed at my head. I boondock a lot for work and the bambi can get crazy hot, but so far the fan has worked for me.
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Old 04-28-2016, 08:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
I understand all that. I am trying to decide if I should buy another generator. What I am asking is for those who camp without access to electricity, do they find that they often want or need AC and do they carry enough generator and fuel to run an AC or wish they did?
Nope. We move around a lot. But I haven't found myself wanting the A/C yet. And we are one year in now. I am actually probably going to remove the A/C in the next month or so.

If you venture to cooler climates or go with the weather it isn't an issue. But if you are stuck someplace hot, maybe it could be one.

For us though, we thought about this. We never bought a second. And just recently after the lithium upgrade I was debating the 3000 watt hybird with the wife. Becuase it would allow us to run the A/C with the generator.

But we just don't need 3000 watts. Out 600-watt inverter has worked for a year. And we haven't wanted the A/C once. So why go through the cost?

That's where we are at.
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Old 04-28-2016, 08:57 PM   #10
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So where there is a mod to the 2000 watt Honda that will start an AC. I believe they add a capacitor.
The addition of a capacitor (there are already 2 that are part of the engineered design) will not allow you to start the compressor unless it is one hell of a large capacitor!

I have many lithium battery based systems on the road now that use Magnum's MSH-3012M hybrid inverter/charger. Most of these folks carry a single 2000 watt generator that WILL start and run the single roof A/C flawlessly using the Magnum's load support feature.

I can tell you with certainty that while observing the ME-RC remote along with the Blue Sky battery monitor panels, the initial transient jolt that the compressor requires is in excess of 3000 watts. As this is a starting transient, the inverter is fully capable of handling this, as is a standard 20 amp 120VAC circuit or 3000 watt generator, but I would be hard pressed to find a capacitor with the same ability.

And not to mention that an additional capacitor will definitely put a huge strain on the compressor and WILL void the warranty of any new unit.
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:31 PM   #11
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I use my generator to run my air conditioner any time I don't have shore power and the trailer gets uncomfortably warm.

I used it today while temporarily camped out at a WalMart in the Texas panhandle. It made what would have been an uncomfortable nap super refreshing.

Why wouldn't I? I didn't buy a trailer to suffer the elements needlessly.

I use my generator on EVERY trip at some point or another, I don't leave home without it.


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Old 04-29-2016, 07:11 AM   #12
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We have two Honda 2000s. We bought the standard model 11 yrs ago, and bring it on every trip. We bought the companion three years ago, and have yet to use it to run the AC on a trip. I do bring both generators if we are heading into hot conditions, and am sure we will use both in the future, but haven't yet.
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Old 04-29-2016, 11:53 AM   #13
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We usually found that the Fantastic Fan on high pulled enough air thru that sleep was comfortable unless the humidity was really high.

Closing windows but for the ones by the bed intensify the draw in those specific areas.

If you are going to be in elevations of any sort , humidity is usually low and nights are cool, making AC unnecessary.


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Old 04-29-2016, 01:52 PM   #14
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I think the more important question would be what how does your spouse handle the heat and humidity? There's that old saying "Happy wife, happy life".

We camp mostly in RV campgrounds in and around Paso Robles CA where we have 30 amp service and have used the A/C on more than 1 occasion where the temps can get over 100 degrees. We also made a trip out to the Balloon Festival in Albuquerque where we were dry camping and have 2 Honda Eu2000i generators for just such an occasion. With the generators I have a 6 gallon portable fuel container with dual feeds. Only had to use the generators on rare occasions during our time there. Never had to refuel the portable. I've also upgraded the deep cycle batteries to Lifeline AGM 6V's and have three solar panels mounted. 12v fans are also very helpful in circulating the air if not hooked up to shore power.

There is only one time where the single Dometic A/C was not capable of keeping up with the heat. Outside temp was 110+ and the wife parked herself right under the vent for the A/C and still was not being adequately cooled. We moved outside and used fans and a mister system on the awning to help keep cool during that time. The AS can get very warm inside.
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