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Old 06-11-2010, 12:47 PM   #1
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EU2000i running in truck bed

We don't have a generator yet but I plan to pick one up on our next US trip where they are substantially less expensive than here in Canada!

One of the things I would like to use it for is to provide power during overnight "Flying J" stops on our annual winter trek South - I'm always afraid of running our batteries flat if I use the furnace too much!


What I am wondering is whether there is any problem running the Honda in teh back our our truck which has a Leer cap on it. I would leave the vent windows open and ensure that the exhaust is pointing well away from anything combustible!

Thoughts?

Something else I wondered about. Since the Honda has 12vDC output as well as 1110AC, if you want to use it to charge batteries, is it best to go directly off the 12v terminals or better to use a smart battery charger running off the Honda's 110 VAC output?

Thanks for any comment/advice!

Brian
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Old 06-11-2010, 01:00 PM   #2
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Brian,
We were at a rally last year and I saw a neat generator rig in the back of a truck. The owner had cut a hole in the roof of the truck cap and mounted a fantastic fan in the cap directly over where he had his generator. This provided plenty of air circulation to keep the fumes out of the back of the truck and kept the generator cool.
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Old 06-11-2010, 01:08 PM   #3
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Hmmm, Interesting option! I'd rather avoid that though as our Leer cap is pretty much brand new!

Also, we would normally be using the generator on the ground - and just for short periods. We only stop in Flying J's for one or two nights when on the road and I was just a bit concerned about losing it if it was too visible - even with a cable lock! I imagine that are quite desirable little beasts!


Thanks though, I'll keep that option in mind!


Brian
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Old 06-11-2010, 01:16 PM   #4
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I've run my Yam. 2400 in my truck bed from time to time, but always worry about the rejected heat output beng "trapped" and overheating the genny (under rated load, your genny's got to put out >2000 watts worth of heat, right? ... basic thermodynamics (and given engine and generator inefficiency, clearly a lot more than that) ... but think of a total of 20 100 watt bulbs running in your truck bed) ... so personally, I wouldn't do it all night. To be fair, you probably wouldn't run your generator that hard just to keep the batteries charged up ... unless you decided you needed to run the microwave or an electric coffee pot, or a hair dryer ... hmmmm.

And back when I had but a single battery, I never ran even one battery down more than halfway, running furnace all night in near-zero weather, much less now that I've got multiple batteries. Get out your voltmeter and check your battery state occasionally on one of those overnights - these trailers, even with furnace running, don't draw that much current.

As to battery charging, I'd either just plug the trailer in, so as to use the trailer's converter, or else go the charger route if youw ant to recharge boat / truck batteries, etc. I like to use the charger becuase a.) it puts out - at least initially - a much higher voltage more suitable for bulk charging; b.) probably (need to read the manuals on this) puts out a higher current that's probably better for bulk charging (need to read your battery manual also); and c.) has a taper and float cahrge so it won't cook the batteries if left on too long. I think my 12v. generator outlet is basically useless, unless I'm somewhere without one of my trusty battery cahrgers ... and I've never been in such a place.
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Old 06-13-2010, 02:59 PM   #5
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I agree that you should just plug in your rig to charge your batteries. Next choice would be to charge the battery using a battery charger, not the 12v output from your genny.

Also note that you cannot use both your 120v output and your 12v at the same time.

Another note: your batteries should get you through the night when you run your furnace, especially if you turn the thermostat down to a cool level.

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Old 06-13-2010, 05:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by pmclemore View Post
I agree that you should just plug in your rig to charge your batteries. Next choice would be to charge the battery using a battery charger, not the 12v output from your genny.

Also note that you cannot use both your 120v output and your 12v at the same time.

Another note: your batteries should get you through the night when you run your furnace, especially if you turn the thermostat down to a cool level.

Pat
I figured it might be better to use the 110 from the gennie along with a charger rather than use teh 12v output as it would not taper off.

But to your point about just plugging in the trailer and relying on the charger built into the convertor, is that charger capable of charging at a decent rate?

I have run the furnace overnight before and done what you suggest - turn the thermostat down to about 45F so it doesn't run too much. I unplug the truck so it cannot run down the truck batteries and as you say, so far, our trailer batteries have survived the night under these conditions. I would like the generator though so I can safely run the furnace at a warmer setting and not be concerned don't need to be so concerned about the possibility of flat batteries. Would also allow use of the microwave etc.


Brian
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:59 PM   #7
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I've used my Honda generator for years in the back of the Tundra that has a cap. I open the side window, leave the tailgate own and plug a fan into the generator to move the air out of the back of the bed.
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Old 06-14-2010, 07:57 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by wolf146 View Post
I've used my Honda generator for years in the back of the Tundra that has a cap. I open the side window, leave the tailgate own and plug a fan into the generator to move the air out of the back of the bed.
I was hoping that I could get away with just side windows of the cap slightly open. The main reason I wanted to leave the gennie in the truck bed was for added security (so the gennie doesn't "Grow legs!") when we are stopped overnight at a Flying J or similar. We carry a lot of stuff other than the planned generator in the back of the truck, so I wouldn;t want to be leaving the tailgate open overnight!

I would only be running the gennie overnight if temperatures were getting down towards freezing, so I was thinking that overheating teh generator shouldn't be a problem in the truck. Never owned one though, so unsure.

Thanks ........ Broan.
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:13 AM   #9
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The analogy of 20 100 watt light bulbs is incorrect. Incandescent light bulbs are so inefficient that they are really heaters that put out some light. A generator is much more efficient than a light bulb.

If it's cold out, the generator will be subject to the cold too. The main problem is exhaust gasses and cracking a window would disperse them well enough I guess. But once a window is open, it is easy to get into the camper top. Actually is seems easy to break into them anyway unless they've improved the locks since I had one years ago.

If you are only doing this occasionally, and you've had no problems in the past running the furnace, why worry? Or get a solar panel instead to keep the batteries charged. Or run a generator for an hour or so and shut it off and lock it up. Or, don't camp at Flying J's—since you don't do this very often, a cheap campground with electricity only, or even one with only water and electric will cost less than a generator—it'll take many years of paying for a campground to equal the cost of even a 1,000 watt generator.

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Old 06-14-2010, 08:51 AM   #10
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The analogy of 20 100 watt light bulbs is incorrect. Incandescent light bulbs are so inefficient that they are really heaters that put out some light. A generator is much more efficient than a light bulb.

If it's cold out, the generator will be subject to the cold too. The main problem is exhaust gasses and cracking a window would disperse them well enough I guess. But once a window is open, it is easy to get into the camper top. Actually is seems easy to break into them anyway unless they've improved the locks since I had one years ago.

If you are only doing this occasionally, and you've had no problems in the past running the furnace, why worry? Or get a solar panel instead to keep the batteries charged. Or run a generator for an hour or so and shut it off and lock it up. Or, don't camp at Flying J's—since you don't do this very often, a cheap campground with electricity only, or even one with only water and electric will cost less than a generator—it'll take many years of paying for a campground to equal the cost of even a 1,000 watt generator.

Gene
Agree regarding the analogy. I would guess that if a generator is putting out its rated load of 1600 watts of electrical power, it might be putting out something like 4-500 watts of waste energy as heat?

You are probably right that owning a generator isn't economically sensible for me, but I DO like gadgets and the Honda seems such a nice little gadget!

Could have other uses too such as power failures at home, working on our trailer which is in a storage yard with no convenient power etc. (I'm trying hard to rationalize this purchase as you can tell!)

It will give us better options of camping in more comfort at parks with no hookups - such as many Provincial parks & State parks.

Never tried boon docking, but with a generator that becomes more of an option.

I am concerned though about annoying neighbours with a generator.

I am hoping that using the Honda generator only for short periods - breakfast time and around supper time in order to use the microwave & top up the batteries won't disturb people too much.

As for our use of Flying J's, I wouldn't say we "camp" in them, we have certainly used them frequently for quick overnight stops en route since I retired ten years ago and started making longer winter trips.

We do it mainly for convenience when we are putting in long days driving to reach destination - ie trips from our home near Toronto to Tucson or further.

It works very well for us - just pull in and park, no time wasted checking in, no need to unhook anything, supper in the restaurant, not the greatest food, but ok under the circumstances, fill up with fuel early in the am, and back on the road in minutes!

I realize it is not everyone's idea of travel, and indeed, as the years roll by, I get less concerned with travelling long distances in a short time. Nevertheless, I think there'll be Flying J stops in the future for us for a while yet!

I was a little nervous about trying it when it was first recommended to me, but, touch wood, we have never had any sort of problem so far.

The fact that it is also "free" isn't a major factor for me, but I do admit it is a nice plus not to have to pay $30-$50 just for the privilege of parking and sleeping in your own trailer of a few hours!

Brian
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:04 AM   #11
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I'm always afraid of running our batteries flat if I use the furnace too much!
with 2 grp 27s that are reasonably healthy,

running the furnace for ONE night at 65-68

with OUTSIDE temps at 10-30 degrees F...

is NOT a issue.

just do the amp/hour math and estimate the furnace cycling time.

having done this in da 34 dozens of time even on nights down to near zero...

the batteries are typically no lower that 60% in the am, and rarely at 50-55%.

using many INTERIOR lights or running the television will impact this,

and 10-15 minutes of continuous water pump (shower) is also a big draw...

but those are things are easy to improve

(use candles or swap out some incandescent/florescent bulbs with LEDs, take shorter showers)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
...relying on the charger built into the convertor, is that charger capable of charging at a decent rate?
yes the P-lax C/C supplied with the stream is capable of charging at a "decent" rate that's why they use it...

assuming the electrical supply is decent.

the batteries AND charger supplied n classic models R INTENDED to cover these simple overnight camping needs.

cycling the batteries DOWN to 50-60 is a good thing, followed by a REcharge.
____________

the TV will not recharge adequately during a day of driving simply from the 7 pin,

but running the genset for 2-3 hours (using the 30 rv cord/charger)

((for example while making/eating dinner...or with a hour or so of charging during lunch or daytime REST stops))

will get the batteries up to 85-90% for the bed time furnace use.

1 honda 2000 will do this duty without a sweat

and using a small fan plugged directly into it to help move exhaust,

is a simple creative idea.
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don't underestimate the 'self contained' design of the stream

or over complicate REcharging the electrical, water or lp gas supply.

cheers
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:59 AM   #12
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Agree regarding the analogy. I would guess that if a generator is putting out its rated load of 1600 watts of electrical power, it might be putting out something like 4-500 watts of waste energy as heat?
Hate to be a downer here but this is very wrong. Any gasoline engine is at most 30% efficient and most of them are in the low to mid 20% range. The electrical portion of the generator is better than 90% efficient. Even the most efficient diesel engines used in ships and stationary sources are just a little over 50% efficient
(not counting exhaust waste heat recovery).

So if you're generating 1600 watts of electrical power, you're throwing off about 4500-5000 watts in heat. You want that cap very well ventilated, and I would use fans to help. If you can somehow vent the exhaust directly outside that would be a big help. Roughly half the waste heat from the engine is out the exhaust. In fact on my Yamaha 3000 both the exhaust and the engine cooling waste heat blow out the same side of the generator. I'd sure try to direct this flow outside.
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:17 PM   #13
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Brian, can't argue with the usefulness of a generator, after all we have a 1,000 watt Honda. When boondocking in the fall, we use ours to supplement the solar panel since the sun isn't up as much and the furnace does get used. In the fall in the southwest, it can be very cold or very warm, so we are ready for anything. I'd consider Flying J, but my wife likes hookups. Boondocking is where it is most useful for us. For 2 or 3 days bookdocking, the solar just doesn't keep up by day 2 or 3, so I will run the generator for a hour. A 2,000 watt will enable the use of microwave or toaster but one can live without. A 1,000 watt is iffy for those appliances, though they might work if plugged directly into the generator, more of a hassle than I want.

I like gadgets too.

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Old 06-14-2010, 12:47 PM   #14
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Hate to be a downer here but this is very wrong. Any gasoline engine is at most 30% efficient and most of them are in the low to mid 20% range. The electrical portion of the generator is better than 90% efficient. Even the most efficient diesel engines used in ships and stationary sources are just a little over 50% efficient
(not counting exhaust waste heat recovery).

So if you're generating 1600 watts of electrical power, you're throwing off about 4500-5000 watts in heat. You want that cap very well ventilated, and I would use fans to help. If you can somehow vent the exhaust directly outside that would be a big help. Roughly half the waste heat from the engine is out the exhaust. In fact on my Yamaha 3000 both the exhaust and the engine cooling waste heat blow out the same side of the generator. I'd sure try to direct this flow outside.
Makes sense when I think more about it - I guess I was thinking just of the efficiency of the generator !

I'll probably give it a try in under the truck cap with windows open and everything well clear of the exhaust & monitor things for a while to see what temp. rise I get under the cap.

From what folks are saying, if I run it during the evening getting the trailer good and warm, I should be able to shut it down when we go to bed and go thru the night with the furnace on batteries with no problem. Probably the safest approach!

I could always run it again early in the am for an hour or so before we depart in order to help top up the batteries.

Thanks .......... Brian.
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