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Old 05-14-2004, 08:37 AM   #1
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Running Honda Generators in Parallel

A quick question from the "electrically challenged!" When I have my two Hondas properly hooked up in parallel, using the 30 amp setup from Gen-Tran, if one of the generators runs out of fuel while I'm running the A/C, will this create a damaging low-voltage situation for the A/C? Will the remaining generator shut down automatically due to the overload? This is a situation that could happen quite commonly. Along that same line of thinking - can you use the 30-amp plug on the Gen-Tran when only running one generator? I have to admit that the only value I can see in this is the ability to keep 110 volt appliances operating (---exclusive of the A/C,) without interruption, when alternately refueling the generators. This ability could certainly maintain peace and quiet if my wife is watching "Law and Order" and I didn't have to switch to a 15 amp plug!
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Old 05-14-2004, 11:25 AM   #2
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This is a ?? for Roadkingmoe- the profit of the parallel!!! His highness of the Honda!

Jonathan
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Old 05-14-2004, 01:37 PM   #3
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I haven't tried shutting off one generator while the AC is running. Whether the remaining generator would continue to run with the AC running with the compressor on, will probably depend on how much other load is on the generator. It will be close. I feel pretty sure that the next time the compressor tried to cycle on, it would overload the remaining generator from the surge. I need to run the generators anyway. Maybe I'll try that if I get a chance this weekend.

Yes, you can run one generator only through the 30A outlet. Although the Hondas have spark suppressors on the exhaust, I'd just have a bad feeling about pouring gasoline into a tank while I'm over it looking down into it, with all those vapors around my face, next to another running engine.

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Old 05-14-2004, 03:46 PM   #4
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Re-fueling

Good point Maurice! That said, since the plugs are of a "female" variety, I wonder if it would do any harm to unplug one generator from the 30 amp adapter while the other one is running??? On the other hand, I'm beginning to think that a full shutdown might be the best solution! There probably won't be many times when I'll run both generators for 4 hours.
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Old 05-14-2004, 05:29 PM   #5
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I assume you guys are talking about running EU2000s in parallel. I'm not aware of any other generator that can be run in parallel. At least these are the ones that are so popular.

This is interesting to me that you guys are talking about running an A/C with them. I had been told by a salesman at the AS dealer this can be done. Then, "Scott", of Backwoods Solar in Idaho told me this can't be done with either parallel 2000s or a 3000. I thought he had to be wrong. He wasn't very helpful or knowledgeable about other things either. But I'm curious how much amperage and wattage a 13,500 btu A/C draws? The Camping World catalog lists Duo-therm A/Cs with as high as 15 amp draw. Would this be the max or does it surge higher? Would you be able to use anything else at the same time the A/C is running?

Another thing I've been wondering about (now that we have an expert chiming in on the topic) is if you can attach a larger gas tank to these generators? I would like to be able to attach the ones like you use on a small boat. Can this be done?
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Old 05-14-2004, 06:10 PM   #6
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When you add the running amps of the compressor and the fan on high, of my 13,500 btu Duo-Therm heat pump, it comes out to 15A, or 1800 watts. There is no "start-up surge" spec, but both the compressor and fan motors are rated at "locked rotor" amps, meaning how much they'd draw if they were jammed and couldn't turn, which isn't very useful.

What is useful knowledge is the fact that the heat pump circuit breaker is rated at 20A (2400W), so the startup surge doesn't go very far beyond that for very long. The required generator size specification of this Duo-Therm heat pump is 3500W, or just under 30A.

What you have to consider is how much other things are drawing from the generator. And among those other things is the converter that's charging the batteries while powering all the 12VDC stuff in use. A Progressive Dynamics converter with Charge Wizard can be outputting as much as 60A at 14.4V, meaning it could theoretically be consuming as much as 1000W (8.3A) of 120VAC at 85% efficiency, if the batteries are seriously discharged, and a LOT of 12VDC lights/appliances are in use.

With batteries charged (almost no output from the converter), I've boiled water in the 1500W input (1000W cooking power) microwave (which also has a surge every time the magentron comes on) with the refrigerator on AC, and the two generators were really revvin' but didn't overload. I never did have the magnetron try to start at the same time the AC compressor was starting, so I don't know if that would overload the Hondas. I doubt it.

The generators shouldn't be run over 1600W for more than 1/2 hour continuously. However, they will actually run over 2000W for a few seconds before overloading.

There are a coupla guys over on RV.net that bought spare caps for their generators, took the vent stuff off and sealed a hose nipple in the cap. They ran the hoses down into an external gas tank (I believe one of them was an outboard tank). As long as the Honda tank remains air tight, the falling fuel level in it creates low-pressure in the tank and draws fuel from the external tank.
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Old 05-14-2004, 07:27 PM   #7
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air conditioner running amps

I installed an Electronic Monitoring System in my trailer the other day. One of the very unique aspects of an EMS is that it tell you constantly how many amps you are drawing from "shore power"

After it was installed I turned on the refrigerator and read the amps. I think it was about 10 or 12 amps. I turned that off and turned on the air. At first the air pulled about 20 amps then shortly after the compressor turned on the amps dropped to 15. I now know why when the air is on, the refer is on ac and we turn on the microwave we blow the main circuit. We are drawing more than 30 amps into the trailer.

I think the answer to your question is, what else is running in your trailer, and how many amps are they drawing. Think about it, if the hot water is on electric, the refer is on electric, and the air is on, the generator probably won't make it. If the generator can keep up with 15 amps and only the air is on, you probably are ok until the air conditioning compressor begins to cycle again.

On a side note, I'm very impressed with this EMS. I now know at any time we are connected to shore power what the volts, cycles, and amps we are drawing. I also know if there is an open ground and other things I don't understand. My trailer is also protected from spikes, surges and brown outs.
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Old 05-14-2004, 07:58 PM   #8
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markjoeandall

let me know if you ever see a spike or a surge!

i've been at the power company for quite a while, have seen only one surge. it was caused by an overzelous operater reclosing on a line laying on another lower voltage one! rare but it can happen.

as for spikes, here is another thread...

http://www.airforums.com/forum...ead.php?t=9834

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Old 05-14-2004, 08:13 PM   #9
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Hello Moe.

After going over the various functions of our 19' CCD, I have a pretty good idea of how we will be allocating power to various components of the coach if using a Honda generator:

I know we might have beat this to death, and maybe I am looking for a way to not have to buy two e2000 hondas so here goes:

Our coach has two batterys, which should be fully charged by the time we pull into camp.

We do not have a microwave, coffee maker, or any other major electrical appliance. OK, except the stereo that came with the unit.

We would try to run as few 12volt lights as possible at night. The fridge will be running off LP.

So that just leaves the water pump, which is not on constantly.

So that would just leave the 11K air conditioner.

I promise, it will be the last time I ask, but can I get by with the above situation with just one eu2000 honda power plant, or am I really asking for trouble and going to blow up my AC?

Thanks again for your help. You have tickled the electrodes of many of us on this list!

Jonathan
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Old 05-14-2004, 08:43 PM   #10
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Question This brings up a bunch of questions

I went and checked out the Honda site and found out I was incorrect. ALL the the superquiets, the 1000, 2000 and 3000 are parallel capable. Didn't realize that. You just have to match 1000 to 1000, 2000 to 2000 and so on. It would be great if you could “mix and match” generators in parallel.

I have a question now about running off battery power. When you are using 12V things like lights for instance--BUT you are plugged into shore power (or your shore line is plugged into a genset)--are you drawing 12V off the batteries? Or does it come through the converter straight from the 120V AC bypassing the batteries? I was under the impression when plugged into a 120V line the converter only draws 120V and if the batteries are low from having used the batteries without shore power, or sitting, they will get topped off while you're on shore power.

Another thing I'm wondering is if there is any way to isolate high draw appliances like the A/C, fridge, microwave from lower drawing items like 12V? I'm thinking if you could do that you would be able to keep the batteries charged with a solar panel to run the 12V stuff. It seems like a day's worth of solar charging would get you through the night's 12V needs. At the same time you wouldn't be taking away any power the generator needs to run the higher amp appliances. It could also reduce the size of generator power needed.

If you run the fridge on gas you wouldn't need to use the generator for more than a few hours a day since the A/C would only need to be run during the hottest part of the day which is about 8 hours. If you needed the microwave at night that would take up like 5 minutes of your generator's runtime. I'm also thinking that while you were running the A/C and with the fridge on gas—if you're conservative with your 12V use—you would have your batteries topped off for the night at the end of the day. Is this close to correct?

That makes me wonder about something else. If you are plugged into a generator I'm assuming it will charge your batteries if they are low. What happens if you also have a solar panel? Will it charge the batteries as well? My AS has a solar panel. I THINK mine is set up so you have to switch it on and off. I haven't been able to test it yet and when I bought it no one explained how it works. I know this much though--I had the trailer sitting unplugged and the batteries went dead. So the solar panel wasn't charging. But I found a switch right next to the master battery switch that I'm GUESSING you flip on if you are unplugged so the solar panel can keep the batteries charged. If this is the case I'm wondering if I have to have the solar panel switched off if I'm on shore power to avoid frying something.

About the Electric Monitoring System. It sounds very useful and convenient. How much is it? How hard or difficult is it to install? I'm not big on things you have to permanently install and then give it away when you sell. Can you get readings on the draw from your battery? My thinking was to get a clamp-on multimeter. I think you can get readings right off the shore line. I don't know how you would be able to get readings of the draw from your battery. They're cheap enough ($20 to $30) but rather cumbersome to work with. EMS sounds more elegant.

I hope I'm not "hijacking" this thread with my many questions. I've been wondering about this stuff for some time and this thread is helping put words to my questions.
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Old 05-15-2004, 08:10 AM   #11
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Moe, my HVAC brother-in-law informs me that LRA or Locked Rotor Amperage is also the starting current. Some of these can be quite high, but it is only for milliseconds.
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Old 05-15-2004, 09:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazylev
Hello Moe.

After going over the various functions of our 19' CCD, I have a pretty good idea of how we will be allocating power to various components of the coach if using a Honda generator:

I know we might have beat this to death, and maybe I am looking for a way to not have to buy two e2000 hondas so here goes:

Our coach has two batterys, which should be fully charged by the time we pull into camp.

We do not have a microwave, coffee maker, or any other major electrical appliance. OK, except the stereo that came with the unit.

We would try to run as few 12volt lights as possible at night. The fridge will be running off LP.

So that just leaves the water pump, which is not on constantly.

So that would just leave the 11K air conditioner.

I promise, it will be the last time I ask, but can I get by with the above situation with just one eu2000 honda power plant, or am I really asking for trouble and going to blow up my AC?

Thanks again for your help. You have tickled the electrodes of many of us on this list!

Jonathan
Jonathan,
IIRC and I am sure someone will correct me The 11k A/C can be run off one Honda 3000 but not a single 2000, this might be an option for you. It is a heavier unit but would be less costly than the two 2000 option. We will be going with the two 2000 parallel ( try and say that fast) That way in the cooler seasons we only need to take one with us. I am also considering mounting hour meters on both units so they get used pretty equally.

Aaron
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Old 05-15-2004, 04:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazylev
I promise, it will be the last time I ask, but can I get by with the above situation with just one eu2000 honda power plant, or am I really asking for trouble and going to blow up my AC?
Look in your Duo-Therm manual for the running amperage of the compressor and the blower fan, and let me know what it says.
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Old 05-16-2004, 01:22 PM   #14
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Hi Moe.

The manual I have is for two models of the 11K units, Duo-Therm #'s 600312.421 and 600312.321. I'm not sure which one is mine. My coach is 33 miles away, so I'll give you the run down on both 11K units:

Both units 115 VAC 60 Hz 1Ph.

.421 model=
Compressor rated load amps- 10.7
fan motor rated load amps- 3.1
Compressor locked rotor amps- 50.0(whatever the hell that is?)
Fan locked rotor amps- 8.8
Minimum generator- 2.5 KW (for one unit)
Heater amps/watts- 12.7/1530

For the .321 model:

Comprssor rated load amps- 9.5
Fan motor rated load amps- 3.1
Compressor locked rotor amps- 53.0 (whatever the hell that is?)
Fan motor locked rotor amps- 8.8
Min. Generator- 2.5 kw (one unit)
heater amps/watts- 12.7/1530

Given this info, would the eu2000 work? I have read about a Yamaha 2800 unit that is light also, and may work better if I want to invest in one unit.

As ussual, your thoughts are greatly apppreciated, and I hope that we can get to meet someday, so I can see your eyes rolling in person.

Thanks

Jonathan
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