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Old 01-05-2003, 11:07 AM   #1
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1982 34' Limited
Tidewater , Virginia
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Red face Generators . . . again?

Hi (now) fellow Airstreamers as I have just purchased my first Airstream; a '78 31' rear twin, center bath. Took us quite a while to find this floor plan as we want to build a queen bedroon in the back and I didn't want to relocate a rear bath. Now for the generator comments:

I have been reading about Honda's EU2000 genset et al, and was about to purchase one when I decided to do some serious research into generators in general. What I found was the inverter models provide very clean power and are generally very noise free (electrically speaking) compared to a typical generator. The general consensus on the board is that to run A/C something greater than 2K watts are necessary to run it without overstressing the genset. One area that I am sensitive to is generator weight and the EU2000 is perfect at 46#, however it is too small for any real a/c use. The EU3000 has the juice to do the job but at 134# too heavy. So there was my conundrum: I wanted an inverter generator that provided more than 2000K (max) and it had to weigh less than 100#. Two EU2000s would fit the bill, but at a cost of nearly $1800, too steep for my needs.

My solution? A Yamaha EF2800i inverter generator weighing in at 64# and producing a noise ranging from a low of 57dB to 65dB at full load. Price $1175.00 delivered. The following URL might be of help when researching generators:

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Old 01-05-2003, 11:33 AM   #2
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Interesting unit

The rated AC output 2500Watts.

2500W/120V = 20.8A

Duo-Therm recommends 2500W generator for 1 unit

Sounds like it would power the AC- no problem.


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Old 01-05-2003, 12:51 PM   #3
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Depends on the AC. My Duo-Therm paperwork recommends a 3500W generator. It's about 15A continuous and 19+A at start. This recommendation recognizes that other items like the refrigerator and converter can also be continously drawing generator power, as much as 6-8A, that generator power decreases with altitude, and that you don't want to operate a generator continously at more than about 80% of its continous capacity if you want long life from it.

Duo-Therm DOES have a high-efficiency unit that only draws 10A continuous, and both can simultaneously operate on a 30A hookup even with the converter running. A friend of mine has a pair of these on a 30A Winnebago, but I don't think Airstream uses them.

This common 3500W recommendation is one reason Yamaha has recently one-upped the Honda EU3000 (2800W continuous) with an almost identical model (EF3000iSEB) that can use its starting battery to surge to 3500W, rather than only 3000W.

Keep in mind that naturally aspirated (non supercharged) engine power falls off with altitude. Carbureted engines are even worse than EFI engines at altitude because the mixture goes too rich and power also falls off from that. The rule of thumb with portable generators is that you lose 3.5% for every 1,000' above sea level.

Using that, a 20.8A continuous EF2800i is down to about 16.4A at 6000', and can only surge to about 18.4A there, where a pair of EU2000s at 26.6A continuous would only be down to 21A at 6000' and could surge to 26.3A at that altitude. Quite a difference! You get what you pay for.

I was interested in the EF2800i when it first came out, but didn't like several things about it. One, it weighs 83 lbs fueled where the EU2000s are only 55 lbs each fueled. Two, its gas cap vent doesn't shut off, so if you have to tilt it to get it into a compartment, etc, it dribbles gas. Three, it's 7db louder than a PAIR of EU2000s, meaning it has to be located about 50% further away to be as quiet. And finally, an owner of one of these told me he had to unplug the converter when in the mountains, or the AC would start slowly (not good for its health).
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Old 01-05-2003, 01:01 PM   #4
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The main question I would have is what AC unit is on top of the trailer now. Is it the original Armstrong, or a replacement? The Duo Therm that Roadkingmoe has described as on his friend's winnie are available, Coleman makes one too, that have a low start draw and a lower running draw. If that is not what you have you may just cause an early death to the one you have.

Just a little food for thought......
Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 01-05-2003, 01:05 PM   #5
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Good point

I forgot, not all Ac's are equal. Mine is as follows:

compressor 9.5A
fan motor 3.1A

That's why they commend the 2500W generator.

Sorry for any misleading thoughts.

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Old 03-18-2008, 06:24 PM   #6
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Just offered purchased a Biggs and Stratton Generator Pro 4000 which we plan to use when we go to a large family hunting ranch in Texas with no house or electric within miles; however did not realize it the plug I on it is a 120 Volt AC, 30 amp Locking Receptacle, which has three female flat plugs and Airstream plug is standard 2 two flat and one round. Northern Tool sells a converter to convert an L5-30 Receptacle to RV Receptacle. Anyone know if this is what I need.
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:36 PM   #7
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NEMA Plug and Receptacle Chart

Here is a chart for RV to genny conversion adaptors. I believe all gennys need an adaptor of some sort for an RV plug in. If you are not satisfied with this chart there are others on that site. I believe for you need a L5-30R

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