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Old 08-09-2010, 09:38 PM   #1
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Where do you start? First Genny, First Rally

Hey gang. We're gearing up for our first rally at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. We've never boondocked nor used a generator.

We know we have some serious homework, but thought you guys might lead us in the right direction.

We don't use the microwave much if ever, but due to some allergy issues, might have to rely on the AC a bit. The goal is to make it at least a week without traditional hook-ups.

Some details:
Safari 27FB, towing with 2004 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD (3000 might be too heavy in the truck)?
Full-timers, so lots o stuff
Two, "gel" batteries

Questions:
We've been told that two Honda 2000s in parallel would work fine. How does this work? Are we pre-wired? How many gallons of Gas will get you thru a night? So many questions...where to begin? We use a volt meter to monitor our batteries when hooked up. How low can this go before it's time to juice up? There is a battery disconnect switch by the door...never, ever used it. When would we need it?

Thanks in advance for any insight. We've read a bit here, but much is a bit over our heads. Basics would be good...
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Old 08-10-2010, 03:21 PM   #2
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We are in the same boat and are currently price shopping for two Honda EU2000i's (standard and companion). See you at the Balloon Fiesta!

I'm sure the other forum members with lots of boondocking experience with generators will fill us both in...
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Old 08-10-2010, 03:29 PM   #3
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We went to the Balloon Fietsa in '08 with the Airstream group with Lucy, 25FB. We used a pair of Honda 2000's with a 6 gallon feeder tank. The sytem worked great, and we needed the air conditioning quite a bit. Keep in mind that the generators do not put out quite as much juice at higher altitudes.

We have used the 2000's a bunch, and they always work great.

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Old 08-10-2010, 03:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by stowaways View Post
We've been told that two Honda 2000s in parallel would work fine. How does this work? Are we pre-wired?

Thanks in advance for any insight. We've read a bit here, but much is a bit over our heads. Basics would be good...

Honda Parallel Setup

See link above.

You plug in your trailer power cable just like you were at a campground.
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Old 08-10-2010, 04:01 PM   #5
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...You plug in your trailer power cable just like you were at a campground.
nifty.

but no need for this aftermarket plug in stuff now.

see the "companion" model of 2000s which has a built in 30 amp plug for ~100$ more.

((it does require an adapter for rv 30 amp and the parallel cable)
_______

the 3000 honda isn't TOO MUCH weigh for a 3/4 ton truck typically.

but it is hard to MORE around.

the 'handi' version of the 3000 is lighter but u loose the larger fuel tank, remote start and significant SOUND proofing.
_______

u ask WHERE to start and there is a great place, the archive of genset info.

so read some of the 100s of threads on equipping to boondock with a genset,

it's all there in great detail.

cheers
2air'



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Old 08-10-2010, 05:09 PM   #6
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We use two Honda EU2000i's (companion and regular model) when we want to run the A/C. They are a great tandem and meet all of our needs. We'll also be bringing an extra 50 gallons of fresh water.

See you at the Balloon Fiesta.
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:46 PM   #7
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I didn't care to haul two generators as the Hondas are, so spent $1250 on a Yamaha 2400is last month. It has power for my Carrier V 13.5 BTU AC. Weighs 70 lbs. which isn't too bad to carry. Learned last week that if you're going to run the AC all night on low then you do need an external gas tank, which looks to be $179 more. I think that is required on all of these smaller units if you're running all night long. Another point about using a single unit instead of two Hondas. We had to move our trailer last week at midnight after a Police officer said we couldn't stay (we were on Galveston beach in a "Pocket Beach") There was no way to pay the $16 so the officer said no receipt, no stay. We moved 20 miles down to another county where we could camp free on the beach. At 1:00 am, when you are setting up and the mosquitos are everywhere, it's not the time to have to hook up cables. I had that Yamaha out of the car and running in about 2 minutes!
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:13 PM   #8
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Last year at the balloon fiesta, we only needed one Honda 2000 for charging batteries. It was plenty cool for sleeping. In the day, plan to get out and see some of the area instead of sitting in the trailer with the AC on..
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:56 PM   #9
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Mello Mike and Phoenix...can't wait. Counting down the seconds. We're hoping to land on a chase crew somewhere. I hear this is more fun than even taking a ride up. Thanks for the input. I think we're leaning toward the Honda companions as well. Just much to learn.

Mojo ... 2 Air ... rich, clancy and moosetags thanks for the input!

2air ... thanks ...
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:21 PM   #10
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IMHO it is better to go. With two hondas. You can still survey if one gives out, lighter and much better on gas when you just need to run one when there is no A/C. I have a Honda eu 2000 and might pick up a companion before the balloon fest. I love the 2000. It is great for hurricanes. Runs just enough to survive and is e best for gas consumption.

What ever you do, we need to get together and have a beer/cab my treat and exchange info. We are new to this also!
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Old 08-11-2010, 06:37 PM   #11
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Not sure if Honda is going to display there again this year but in 2008 they were selling generators at the Fiesta at reduced prices. They even haul it out to your rig, gas it up and fire it up! That worked out really well for one individual running a contractor type generator near the FCU group...
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Old 08-11-2010, 06:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stowaways View Post
Hey gang. We're gearing up for our first rally at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. We've never boondocked nor used a generator...>snip<....We don't use the microwave much if ever, but due to some allergy issues, might have to rely on the AC a bit. The goal is to make it at least a week without traditional hook-ups....>snip<....We've been told that two Honda 2000s in parallel would work fine. How does this work? Are we pre-wired? ...>snip<....There is a battery disconnect switch by the door...never, ever used it. When would we need it? ...>snip<....
Last year was our first Balloon Fiesta...it was a great time...

We have a 2000w Honda. We started with one, and got the Companion as our first. We'll probably get another regular one, though we are trying not to camp where we need AC a lot, but in our part of the country that can be a challenge sometimes... It's nice to know you have the power when/if you need it. We have never been anywhere where we could run a generator all night, so having a run-time sufficient to go through the night hasn't been an issue for us. I could only see being able to do that in a truly off-the grid-out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere boondocking situation....but then if it's THAT hot, as Jimmini says, we're camping in the wrong place! You can get an extended-run external fuel tank if you think you need it. We carry a 5-gal gas container and a 2.5 gal gas container...we use the smaller for filling the generator because it's a lot easier to handle than a 5-gal container when putting gas in the generator.

We got the companion and the parallel cables thinking that if we ever did need to parallel before we had two, someone would have another 2000 to use and whoever gets AC get to be the party trailer! (Right Louis & Sergio??) The Companions are much easier to parallel with a regular Honda than paralleling two regular 2000s because the Companion has a built-it 30-amp plug. You just plug your shore power cord in and you're good to go. (As 2Air points out, an adapter is needed to covert from the twist & lock female plug on the Companion generator to the standard 30-amp male plug on your shore power cord...they are $15-20.)

We never needed AC during the day at the Balloon Fiesta last year, and it was pretty cool at night. We'd juice up the batteries during the day-time hours if we needed to. Much depends on how sunny it is if you have solar, and how much power you consume. We all learn to conserve.

You wouldn't use the battery disconnect switch unless you were storing the unit...that cuts the battery off from the unit's electrical system and you would not have any 12 volt power inside.

Don't be worried about not knowing all the details you might...there will be plenty of folks who will be at the rally who will be able to help out and give you a hand and instructions...just ask. Last year we helped a friend from scratch with her brand new generator...from putting oil in to walking through its operation, care and feeding.

For us the biggest thing at the Balloon Fiesta was having enough fresh water because our fresh water tank is only around 21 gals. You can get a fill-up from a truck if you need...(as well as a "honey truck" to drain your holding tanks if you need it...all for a fee of course)...we took two 7 gal containers of fresh water with us and that got us through. This year we plan to fnd out where mello mike is parked and cozy up next to them since they have all that extra fresh water! Arrive with your fresh tanks full and your holding tanks empty and you should be find for the length of the rally!

Don't worry...you'll be fine...and the beauty of this rally is that you are in the middle of a bunch of Airstreamers who all ready to help take care of each other. It's a great way to do your first boondocking trip.

Looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones! See you there!
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Old 08-16-2010, 10:13 PM   #13
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Dave and Felicia, sounds like a perfect plan! TB, geeze, thanks for the info and the sentiment. That puts us at ease. If I'm reading this correctly, we should get a regular Honda 2000 and a companion which will allow us to run the AC if need be. But if the temps/allergies don't go haywire, we will only need the 2000. Or did I just make that up... Lol
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:19 PM   #14
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We are getting ready to come back out West to the Balloon Fiesta also. I have a '63 Trade Wind, so I am going to add a gray water tank before heading out. I am planning on using one of the new Vantage Trailer Supply's gray tanks that will fit within the belly skin. We just finished a 4 month trip and got by just fine without a gray water tank, but it looks like the Balloon Fiesta might be a challenge without it.

I am also looking to buy a generator, and I'm strongly considering a Yamaha EF2400iSHC. I tow with a Jeep Grand Cherokee, so space is at a premium. One Yamaha is more space efficient than two Honda 2000's.

Am I missing something. Tell me if you think I am making a mistake.... before I purchase.

Thanks
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