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Old 02-01-2012, 03:22 PM   #1
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1978 31' Sovereign
Colorado Springs , Colorado
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Lots of Generator Questions!!

I have purchased a 31' Sovereign Intl. from a gentleman in this community and will be picking that beauty up 2 weeks from tomorrow. I have dealt with power systems on some modern travel trailers but have not got any experience with powering airstream electrical systems. I have several questions:

I own a small (16-1800 watt) generator that is a 2-stroke. It burns virtually no fuel and so I can leave it running alot of the time to power everything I might use and keep the battery charged. It is my understanding that a generator this size should power everything except the A/C unit. Will it run the fan and heat strips in this unit or will I need a bigger generator?

If the A/C is running full tilt in conjunction with lights, stereo, whatever else I might have to run (except the microwave), will a 3500-4000 watt generator run the A/C ok or should I use a bigger generator? Aside from running small stuff, I want to make sure I have plenty of power and want to know what y'all have experienced.

I am also considering a 5 watt solar cell to help keep the battery juiced if the small generator isn't running. Is this enough juice to help with things like keeping the fridge and furnace running?

Any and all input is more than welcome!

Hunter
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:41 PM   #2
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The AC requires ~18 amps to start-up and ~15 amps to sustain; the microwave requires ~15. Your genset should run all else.

Click the following link within Airforums.com and you'll find a good read, including a complete description and photos of my installation on pages 2, 3 and 4 of the post: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...ors-68808.html

Click on the photos and reference the photo file name in the lower left corner of each photo for a description of the photo.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewishw View Post
I own a small (16-1800 watt) generator that is a 2-stroke. It burns virtually no fuel and so I can leave it running alot of the time to power everything I might use and keep the battery charged. It is my understanding that a generator this size should power everything except the A/C unit. Will it run the fan and heat strips in this unit or will I need a bigger generator?
It will run the fan and heat strips, but the preferred approach is to use the furnace unless shore power is available.

Quote:

If the A/C is running full tilt in conjunction with lights, stereo, whatever else I might have to run (except the microwave), will a 3500-4000 watt generator run the A/C ok or should I use a bigger generator? Aside from running small stuff, I want to make sure I have plenty of power and want to know what y'all have experienced.
The community has had excellent results running a single air conditioner from a pair of 2000 watt generators from either Honda or Yamaha, using the parallel cables from the respective manufacturers. Though expensive this setup provides components that are of manageable weight, low noise, and sufficient power to run everything you want. It also provides the alternative of bringing only one generator if you do not need the air conditioning.

Quote:

I am also considering a 5 watt solar cell to help keep the battery juiced if the small generator isn't running. Is this enough juice to help with things like keeping the fridge and furnace running?
5 watts is not enough to overcome the internal discharge of the batteries let alone run anything.

To keep the batteries topped off and run the fridge controller board and the propane detector you should be thinking in the range of 50 to 100 watts.

The furnace blower motor uses around 100 watts while running. Solar setups sized to support the furnace, among other loads, are typically around 300 watts, to allow for the fact that the furnace may run more hours than there are hours of sunlight.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:24 PM   #4
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The size of the heat strip will determine if it will function or not. On my 13.5 LP Carrier the amperage is as follows:

  • 13.5 approximate full-load amps for cooling
  • 15.6 approximate full-load amps when heating with optional heating assembly
The heat strip and fan use more power then cooling.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:43 PM   #5
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Just get a quiet one, whichever way you go, Hunter, or you will have lots of nasty RV people coming to beat on your door

Personally, I've never beaten on a guy's door. But man it IS annoying when you're trying to sleep and it's midnight and the guy beside you has a contractor type generator screaming at 3600rpm all night long...

Most RV types try to go with an inverter type generator, like the Honda EU series. I was in your boat a couple years ago and agonized over it for months. For me it came down to basically Honda vs. Yamaha in the end, and in that argument you can't go wrong either way.

I wound up buying a Honda EU2000i with the intentions of buying a second one and the parallel kit eventually. But so far, I haven't been boondocking in hot weather yet and so haven't needed the second genny, and just the one does it all for us, minus the a/c.

I was going to get an EU3000i, but they weigh something like 160lbs. The 2000i is about 45lbs. The worst thing about the 2000i is that they often grow legs and walk away....if you know what I mean So if you get one, get a nice lock and chain for it.

Some guys do run their a/c with a 2000i. My dad is an electrician and his buddy has a big 5er that he runs the a/c with an EU2000i. But, they put a super big start capacitor in the a/c unit. So the small genny charges up teh big capacitor which gives it the oomph to turn the compressor over, and then the 2000 screaming can keep the a/c going at run amperage, which is less than start amperage. But, the opinion on here of most is that 2000 watts is not enough to run the a/c. I have never tried it on mine; I run a 15,000btu Carrier. So until I get a second 2000i, I will do without a/c when boondocking.

Now, I am looking to get three new Fantastic Vents for my coach soon....but that's a different thread

See you on the road,
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:14 PM   #6
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info in blue beret

there is some interesting generator Q&A in the latest Blue Beret Mag.
It will help you decide.
I thought I had the right decision; mounted a honda eu3000 on the tongue of my trailer. First time I used the AC this past summer while in a group, one of the vocal participants in our Caravan complained loudly about my usage thereof.
At this point I am evaluating everything: should you have a trailer? should you have a gen? should you go with someone who may complain, or be a lone wolf? At this point, the trailer is gone. I am looking for a replacement, but no luck so far. The more I think on this, the more I am happy with no trailer....
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:39 PM   #7
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Hunter, We tried a Honda 3000 to run our 15,000 btu LP Carrier and if the compressor happened to "quick cycle" the 3000 would overload and stop. The shop we bought the H-3000 from upon our return hooked up a amp meter between the 3000 and the trailer to see what amperages were stalling the 3000, and the best it could was 28 amps.

We opted for twin Honda 2000''s and purposely "quick cylcing' the Carrier, the 2000's jumped and moaned, flashed their lights but didn't stall out. Placing the same amp meter on the twins showed they coughed out close to 42 amps when quickly manually cycling the compressor off then on. This proved to us in the unusal event the A/C quick cycled, they would continue and keep the Carrier cooling our dogs inside.
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:54 PM   #8
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My favorite choice would be under the fridge, space lined with fiberglass to deaden sound, air would be drawn from a vented door such as what is on the fridge, water heater, furnace. Fuel would be supplied from the propane tanks as there is already an available line and less fuel to carry plus propane in a tank is more stable than a gas tank that build fumes and becomes a double bomb waiting to go off.
As far as usage, it would only be a while intransit thing where it would get used for meals and such and over night stops that is just for sleep purposes and only when the a/c is needed.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:17 PM   #9
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Portable gen-sets are just as obnoxious as our (very quiet) gen-set is. We don't fire ours if we even think someone in the campground will be offended.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:59 PM   #10
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Our experience so far

We're newbies to AS and RVs in general, so my comments are not based on a lifetime of TT camping.

Here is Central CA we camp mainly along the coast and in the Sierras where nights tend to be cool. So far we haven't had much use for the AC. That being the case we get by with a very quiet Yamaha 2kw generator--the quiet model approved for used in FS campgrounds. I upgraded battery capacity to 2 grp 27s and the capacity seems to be enough to last 24 hrs using heat, lights, and not being particularly careful to conserve power.

We use the gen set for 1 to 2 hours around mid day to recharge the batteries and occasionally at other time outside quiet hours to use the microwave or other 110 VAC appliances. Mid day seems to be the least disruptive time to fire it up. Also, because of our AS's panoramic windows, we tend to select sites around the periphery of a campground. That location allows me to place the Yamaha around 20+ feet away from our AS and with the exhaust pointed away from us and other campers. I also have a cable tying it to our TT to discourage its "migration." So far we haven't had any complaints. With the Yamaha that far way from us, its noise is pretty quiet, just a hum in the background. If it were mounted in the TT, we'd be dealing with all the noise and vibration close in.

I've thought about getting a companion Yamaha 2k and a bridge cable to power our AC, but we just haven't needed it so far. I suspect that if I were camping in an area where we needed AC, I'd pop for a campground & site with full hookups rather than running the genset all day/night to keep cool. BTW, all the campgrounds we've stayed in so far prohibit using gensets, regardless of how quiet they, after 8 PM and before 10 AM. So keeping cool through the night using a genset is not an option where we've stayed so far ....
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:35 PM   #11
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Don't listen to complainers

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmarsha View Post
there is some interesting generator Q&A in the latest Blue Beret Mag.
It will help you decide.
I thought I had the right decision; mounted a honda eu3000 on the tongue of my trailer. First time I used the AC this past summer while in a group, one of the vocal participants in our Caravan complained loudly about my usage thereof.
At this point I am evaluating everything: should you have a trailer? should you have a gen? should you go with someone who may complain, or be a lone wolf? At this point, the trailer is gone. I am looking for a replacement, but no luck so far. The more I think on this, the more I am happy with no trailer....
I'm sorry to read of the complaining person. You shouldn't stop camping because someone cried about generator usage.

After 6 years of camping experience with generators, I came to my final position on generator use which is more liberal than when I first started. I simply follow campground rules on allowed hours of usage. I've always used quiet generators, not contractor types. Yet, I've had people tell me to shut off a 1,000kw Yamaha.

I now see no reason to listen to people complaining about my usage when I use proper equipment within allowable hours. Why should someone be able to change usage hours to suit their personal interests?

I hardly ever have anyone complain but now that I have some "seniority" and confidence in camping, I don't feel bad, like I've been rude. If someone thinks that generators should be used according to their personal preferred hours and not what the feds or state say, I just tell them that they should move to a campground that complements their desires.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:49 PM   #12
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Hunter

2 cycle motors are usually loud and thirsty. Sounds like yours may be an exception.
Stick with Honda or Yamaha and you will be fine.

Dan
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:49 AM   #13
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I have a Honda 2500w contractor type generator. I have not yet used it while camping. I have read here and was fully aware that the 2500w set would not properly run the AC but out of curiosity I just had to try it out. At home I turned the AC to high cool and promply threw the breaker. Trying again but this time I started on low fan. Then to high fan and on to cooling modes gradually. It did continue to run and provide cooling. After about 20 min I went to unplug it and although it was still running and cooling the plug was very hot. Not to melting plastic stage but I think that if left much longer it would eventually be there. The moral of the story is that, at least in my case, 2500w is not enough to run the AC. So I satisfied my curiosity about that. I do plan to take it on our trip south later this month but I only plan to use it sparingly during the daytime to keep the batteries up. I don't need to run any full time appliances. I anticipate it will be too loud to run full time even if permissable so I don't plan to. And, the big thing, I don't PLAN to need to run the AC. We'll have to see about that one.

Here's to hoping not to annoy other campers.
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:25 AM   #14
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Thumbs up

I've found that at least the offer an outlet to your neighbors when their setting up tends to lessen the chance conflict, also gives them a heads up that you have a genset and plan to use it.

This offer is usually done with "Fado" in tow, just so they know, plus he Loves everyone and is a GREAT icebreaker.


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