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Old 08-07-2012, 10:19 PM   #1
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Generator with Battery On?

Just a question for all the experienced campers out there. May seem simple, but I am trying out my new Airstream and trying to figure it all out before I hit the road. Bought the Honda 2k gen set with companion and they run the ac, thats about it. If I put them on eco, the putter out when the ac comes on. I have them paired but I believe it maxes them out. Not that big a deal.
In order to watch tv running on batteries, I have to hook up one of the 2k gens, battery won't run the tv, at least it won't come on. Question is, do I turn on the battery at the door anytime I am using the camper, generator or plugged in? Does it give some extra power on top of the generator? Is it necessary to turn if off store so that it can charge while the gen is running?
Would appreciate some thoughts on this.
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:44 PM   #2
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You have 2 systems a 12 VDC system that runs from batteries that provides power to lights, and control boards in frig, hot water heater, etc.

You also have a 120VAC systems that comes from shore or generator power and powers air conditioner, hot water in electric mode all house 120V outlets and keeps the batteries charged by the converter.

IF the TV is a 12 VDC (plugs into a cigarette lighter socket) then it should run on batteries however, if it is a 120 VAC TV (plugs into a wall socket) then you will have to have AC power.

Yes, you will need to take it off store when the generator is running or plugged in so the converter will charge the batteries.
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:45 PM   #3
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If you look at the specs on your generators in the Eco mode. I think you will find they are putting out significantly less power.
What is the size of the A/C unit?
Is there an inverter in the trailer? Not a converter, but an inverter.
Is your TV a 120 volt unit that plugs into a standard house hold outlet.
This is a new trailer, so it may be equipped with a transfer switch. Meaning when on generator power, the household outlets are powered directly by the generator.
If you are not on shore power or generator power and don't have an inverter or the inverter is turned off you won't have any power to the receptacle for the TV.
Since my trailer is 38 years old, I don't have anything like a "use/store switch" so I can't comment on it's function in regards to the battery. But it seems pretty straight forward. If you are going to use the house battery. The switch must be in the "use" mode.
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:03 AM   #4
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The "use/store" switch should be in "store" position only when you are actually storing it and it is not plugged into shore power... and do not want to use the 12v power system. It should be in "use" when you are towing, when you are plugged into shore power, and when you are using a generator. This allows the converter to keep the batteries charged.

Your television is most likely a 120v AC device plugged into a regular household outlet in the trailer. 102v outlets only work when you are plugged into shore power or using a generator. IF your rig is equipped with a factory inverter (not all are)...you can turn the inverter on and that will convert 12v battery power to 120v AC power...If you have an inverter, there should be couple of separate outlet marked as inverter outlets...the television can be plugged into those when the inverter is on, and the TV will work. Be sure to monitor your power usage when using the inverter...it can put a drain on your batteries.

If you have two Honda 2000w generators properly paralleled by cables you should have your shore power cord connected to the generators (not the batteries); this shouldl give you ample power to run the AC and anything else you would want to run. A single 2000w generator is not adequate to run the AC by itself. I run ours in parallel on eco even when running the AC and it works fine, but if you have problems, turn off the eco mode (you may have a larger-capacity AC).
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBRich View Post
Your television is most likely a 120v AC device plugged into a regular household outlet in the trailer. 102v outlets only work when you are plugged into shore power or using a generator. IF your rig is equipped with a factory inverter (not all are)...you can turn the inverter on and that will convert 12v battery power to 120v AC power...If you have an inverter, there should be couple of separate outlet marked as inverter outlets...the television can be plugged into those when the inverter is on, and the TV will work. Be sure to monitor your power usage when using the inverter...it can put a drain on your batteries.
A caveat: When you're not using any 110v appliances, turn the inverter OFF. Anything with a built-in clock, such as a microwave, and anything that uses a remote control, like a television, draws power even when turned off. Not much power, but some. If the inverter is turned on when you're not using these appliances, you're still drawing power from the batteries through the inverter.

If you're hooked up to shore power or a generator, it doesn't make any difference because then you're not drawing 110vAC power though the inverter anyway; this advice is only when you're using battery power for everything.
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:43 AM   #6
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I need to recheck, but I believe the Honda 2000i generator manual says to turn off the ECO mode when you are running two generators in parallel.
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:41 AM   #7
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Thank you, great answers. I am going to check on that Inverter. I don't think it has that because I have not seen any literature on it. I must have missed the non Eco mode in parallel when I read the Honda manual. I will start turning the battery on whenever I enter. Makes sense on the ECO mode, because I do think I could run the television on wide open with the Hondas, but just didn't want to burn them out. Maybe too conservative on my part. They are expensive little buggers.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:11 AM   #8
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I have a 13,500 BTU air conditioner, and the two Hondas in parallel also run the AC just fine in the ECO mode. They throttle up according to power usage. If we are going to run anything else simultaneously, we turn off the ECO mode.

We don't store our AS, it's always plugged in at home, so there's never been any real need to use the store switch. I recall picking it up from the dealership once after some warranty work, and nothing worked after we got it home. My first thought was that they really screwed something up. Then I discovered the dealership had put it in the store mode.
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:36 PM   #9
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You'll know if you have an inverter. There's a switch/indicator light a few inches to the right of your water/gray/black/battery monitor panel. If you press the switch you'll see a red light turn on. AND, you'll have a separate set of 110v outlets next to your TV(s) as well as a couple of extra 110v outlets that are directly connected to the inverter. They are clearly labeled.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:28 PM   #10
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A caveat: When you're not using any 110v appliances, turn the inverter OFF. Anything with a built-in clock, such as a microwave, and anything that uses a remote control, like a television, draws power even when turned off. Not much power, but some. If the inverter is turned on when you're not using these appliances, you're still drawing power from the batteries through the inverter.

If you're hooked up to shore power or a generator, it doesn't make any difference because then you're not drawing 110vAC power though the inverter anyway; this advice is only when you're using battery power for everything.
All true...thanks for pointing that out, Prot'...I failed to mention that you use the inverter only when you are running on battery power...when on shore or generator power, it's not necessary.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:31 PM   #11
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...>snip<... They are expensive little buggers.
True, but they are worth the cash and they are real workhorses. We have been very pleased with ours.
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:59 AM   #12
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I need to recheck, but I believe the Honda 2000i generator manual says to turn off the ECO mode when you are running two generators in parallel.
My error. The generator manual does not say to turn off the ECO mode when running two generators in parallel.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:58 AM   #13
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Minimarriot -
I simply use a little inverter plugged into the 12v outlet beside our television to power the tv when on batteries. I attached the inverter with velcro behind the tv. Actually, I never bother to change the tv plug back to the 110v outlet, as we don't use the tv that much. You can switch the inverter off if you don't want the vampire power drain when not in use. Here's the inverter that I bought: Amazon.com: Duracell 813-0281-07 100 Watt DC to AC Pocket Power Inverter: Automotive

Unless your airstream has the factory solar option, you likely have a converter, not an inverter for your 12v power center. This provides only a trickle charge to the batteries regardless of your generator size. My aftermarket solar installation does the battery charging for me. If needed, I run my 13,500 a/c on a Yamaha 2400i gen., as I did in your area in July. At the USS Alabama, I parked the Airstream at the perimeter of the 100 parking lot with the a/c running on the generator to provide refuge for a sick spouse while I took the grandkids on the tour of the ship and sub. The Yamaha delivered it's purchase value that day!
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:43 AM   #14
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For your reference, quote from Honda EU200i owners manual:

ECO-THROTTLE SWITCH

The Eco-Throttle system automatically reduces engine speed when all loads are turned off or disconnected. When appliances are turned on or reconnected, the engine returns to the proper speed to power the electrical load.

If high electrical loads are connected simultaneously, turn the Eco-Throttle switch to the OFF position to reduce voltage changes.

When using the DC output, turn the Eco-Throttle switch to the OFF position.
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