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Old 03-17-2006, 03:04 PM   #1
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Battery charging with Honda

After reading about problems with winter storage of a Honda 2000i generator I started feeling uneasy and decided to exercise my two generators. The last time I ran them was in November, 2005. Long story short - they cranked and ran smooth as silk. This is the first part of the story but - I believe that the reason I didn't have a problem is that the Hondas are secured to a platform in the rear of my truck and periodically they get "joustled" around when I take the truck for a spin. Most of the time the truck is also stored in a garage that stays above freezing.

The second part of this tale is that, while exercising the Hondas I decided to charge the Airstream batteries, using one generator at a time. I figured that the AS battery charger probably wouldn't offer much of a load - so I turned on every light in the trailer. Well, after running each generator for an hour I put them away and turned off all the lights in the AS. Now, two weeks later I was checking the power jack and stabilizers (----with "frost heave" I've found that the jacks and stabilizers can unload or load substantially during the winter and spring) and, lo and behold, the trailer batteries were almost dead. I guess that the full load of trailer lights probably exceeded the amperes output of the charger. Like exercising the Hondas, the last time I had the trailer hooked up to the land line was around November. Needless to say, the trailer is now hooked up to the house for the next week or so!
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Old 03-17-2006, 05:26 PM   #2
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Cracker,

I believe that it is recommended to run a gas generator once a month for 30 minutes under load. I would personally do it more often as gasoline can evaporate very quickly from the float bowl of the carb and varnish the plugs and jet....very nasty ! I would also keep Sta-Bil in the gas tank mixed at the proper ratio.
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Old 03-17-2006, 05:56 PM   #3
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Sta-Bil

I normally use Sta-Bil in all of my small power equipment - and with good results. For some reason I overlooked the Honda generators this year but, as noted, it didn't seem to have any effect. Again, I'm wondering if being stored above freezing, plus periodically bouncing around in the truck when I took it for a spin, might have kept varnish from forming around the jets???
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Old 03-17-2006, 08:58 PM   #4
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Depending on the state of your batteries,

two hours probably wasn't enough time to fully charge your batteries. Also, Airstreams, like all RVs, have numerous phantom loads that will drain your batteries. Just a few things to consider.
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Old 03-18-2006, 05:37 AM   #5
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As your battery discharges, it can possibly freeze in winter weather. A discharged battery can freeze at 19F. Your battery may be permanently damaged and not hold a charge regardless of how much you recharge it.
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Old 03-18-2006, 05:43 PM   #6
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Freezing

Yup - I'm well aware of the freezing problem - unfortunately I've been there and done that with the house batteries in my former motorhome! I still had a charge in the AS batteries when I cycled the tongue jack - but not much. I really think that the problem was that I was actually discharging the batteries when I had the Hondas hooked up with all the lights in the trailer on. The charger probably couldn't keep up. Up to that point - November to early March - the batteries had been holding a good charge. I need to brave the cold (20 deg) and go check the charge indicator.
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Old 05-06-2006, 02:33 PM   #7
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Now that the camping season is upon us, and after several outings, we've become very interested in the club activities where power is negligible or non existent. I can't get my wife to go during the summer months(option 1, leave her home) if we can't run the AC. Option 2 is a generator. I'm torn between 2 Honda 2000i's or 1 Honda 3000i. Any suggestions?

Also, I have a small plug in LCD voltmeter that I can read from the trailer door and using a chart I recently cut out of the Blue Beret, I keep track of the battery condition. After reading many threads on batteries (wow, lots of opinions on this subject) when I needed to replace mine, never go below 50% charge. I plug in the first of the month for about a day or two. Been working well for me.
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Old 05-06-2006, 03:05 PM   #8
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Peegreen:
I have two of the Honda 2000 generators. The main factor for me was the weight - the 2000s are light enough to easily pick up and carry. If I had a situation where they could be mounted permanently, I would probably have gone with the 3000.

Another consideration - the 2000 gets better gas 'mileage' - the only thing I need to run both generators for is the air conditioner. A lot of our camping doesn't require the A/C, so we can just take one of the 2000s, it's plenty to run the trailer, and the portable microwave.

I use a separate 3-stage battery charger - I believe it's a much more efficient way to charge the battery than through the charger in the trailer

I also use the Hondas as standby power for the house, for when we loose electricity in the winter (furnace) or summer (refrigerator).
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Old 05-06-2006, 11:00 PM   #9
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Thanks for your input. There are plenty of pros/cons for each argument. Right now I'm thinking a couple of fans behind a bucket 'o ice might do the trick. That whole parallel kit gets me excited though - thinking I'm on a submarine and paralleling the turbine generators with the motor generators and shore power. Well, it is a land yacht.
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Old 05-07-2006, 01:20 AM   #10
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I would go with 2 2000s so you could run 1 when 2 are not needed ,you will always have a backup generator too ,just in case .I love my honda eu2000 what a super little rig .Easy to haul around too.With 2 you can run the a/c .Best of all they are really quiet ,big plus! I would run it a few times a month ,best way to keep it running good.Carburetor jets that small can gum up. I think cracker is correct about having all the lights on while charging the batteries,large draw while charging them.They may have been getting marginal and that just finished them off.

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Old 05-07-2006, 05:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peegreen
Now that the camping season is upon us, and after several outings, we've become very interested in the club activities where power is negligible or non existent. I can't get my wife to go during the summer months(option 1, leave her home) if we can't run the AC. Option 2 is a generator. I'm torn between 2 Honda 2000i's or 1 Honda 3000i. Any suggestions?
Peegreen,

Sometimes Option 1 is not all that bad. Camping by yourself can clear your head and make you feel good. But if you need to have AC, the Hondas are the way to go. I have a 3000 that I keep locked in the truck that runs a 13.5K AC. Two 2000s also work well.
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Old 05-07-2006, 06:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peegreen
Now that the camping season is upon us, and after several outings, we've become very interested in the club activities where power is negligible or non existent. I can't get my wife to go during the summer months(option 1, leave her home) if we can't run the AC. Option 2 is a generator. I'm torn between 2 Honda 2000i's or 1 Honda 3000i. Any suggestions?

Also, I have a small plug in LCD voltmeter that I can read from the trailer door and using a chart I recently cut out of the Blue Beret, I keep track of the battery condition. After reading many threads on batteries (wow, lots of opinions on this subject) when I needed to replace mine, never go below 50% charge. I plug in the first of the month for about a day or two. Been working well for me.
We have tried the 2-2000's, works nice, Light weight for each.
I can tell you that the wife and I can barely move a EU3000. Used one @ Salibury last year.
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Old 05-07-2006, 06:10 AM   #13
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I forgot to mention that I have a wheel kit for the 3000 and a ramp to get it in the truck. That makes the thing much more manageable.
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Old 05-07-2006, 06:39 AM   #14
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Regarding carb gum up or varnish - When exercising your gens it's always a good idea to shut them down by turning off the fuel switch letting the gen stop by simply running out of fuel and thereby not having any fuel left to sit in the carb and varnish up the works over time. Then turn the power switch off so as to not drain the batteries. This has worked for me over the years on small outboard motors and should work just as well for our generators. Just my two cents worth and hope it helps.
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