Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 04-12-2021, 03:40 PM   #1
New Member
 
2020 25' Flying Cloud
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 4
Buncha dumb generator questions

Hi all,

I looked in the forums for these questions but couldn't find answers newer than ~10 years old so asking again. We're getting ready for a long RV trip in Wyoming and Montana and Colorado in various parks where we will have no hookups for up to 7 days in a row. We'll have water and dump stations enough to be fine.

We're deciding on a generator (likely the really quiet Honda inverter, DK model). Here are my questions:

1. What's protocol in parks? I know what hours we CAN run generators at each place, but, do people run generators for an hour or two or keep them on the whole day? Last time I did this was over 20 years ago and I remember them being really loud and obnoxious. My husband says they're not any more, but, what do most of you do? Do you keep them on as long as it's not quiet hours or what? For reference, the park where we will be the longest is the non electrical area of Gros Ventre in Grand Tetons.

2. I think the only power draw I am really concerned about is the refrigerator fan. I'll go showerless and hot waterless and we have plenty of blankets and warm gear to sleep in, and we’ll never camp without electricity where we would need AC, but, is it even possible to only have the generator on for a few hours and have the draw on the battery from the fridge not kill our batteries? What have you all experienced?

3. Do any of you regularly camp without a generator but using the fridge? (Is it possible we don't even need a generator?)

4. What else should we know that I haven't asked?

Thanks in advance for any answers. Excited for this trip!
kelmech is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2021, 03:45 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
1986 31' Sovereign
Miami , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,694
Blog Entries: 13
Most NPS campgrounds have limited generator hours and some areas are no generators at all. The Forest Service seems a little more accommodating with hours usually something like 12 hours a day.

BLM has few, if any, such restrictions.
__________________
Sorta new (usually dirty) Nissan Titan XD (hardly paid for)
Middle-aged Safari SE
Young, lovely bride
Dismissive cat
n2916s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2021, 03:51 PM   #3
New Member
 
2020 25' Flying Cloud
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 4
Hi, I know what the hours are at each place we are going. The questions are more specific. I’d love any answers you have to the 4 questions please!
kelmech is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2021, 04:23 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
B. Cole's Avatar
 
1977 31' Sovereign
Rochester , WASHINGTON
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 631
Ok, I'll take door #4-
Youll be Glamping in what's generally considered the most $$ Bumper Pull trailer available.Why would you want to go showerless+ without heat? This is America!
Buy one of those little Honda 2,200 Starting Watt, or whatever, quiet inverter generators.Gasoline produces more power
.Those Honda's are all the rage with the Airstream power Glamping crowd.
Its running Watts produce around 15 Amps of available power.Thats about what a 3 outlet circuit in your living room at home has available.
So, you get what's called a dog bone, and plug that into your Airstreams 30Amp main shorepower cord.Then plug that into your little Honda.
You' ll have to run the water heater alone, with some lights.You can't run the microwave and water heater at same time, with 15 Amps.
You can only run one high draw appliance at a time.But after your water heater is done, you flip that breaker off, and can plug in a portable electric heater.To stay toasty.And Glamping!
Then, here's door #4.The next time a winter storm hits Texas like this winter,and the power is out for days, you're prepared to retreat to your Airstream, and fire up your generator,while the unprepared/ unwashed general public, slowly chill way down.
I did a thread for that event here, how to turn your Airstream into a survive in style trailer...
Youll thank me later!
__________________
Airstream rodeo clown, it's my turn in the barrel 🤡
B. Cole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2021, 04:29 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
1986 31' Sovereign
Miami , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,694
Blog Entries: 13
Your power needs are greater than you may think. Your refrigerator needs 12V to operate, even in propane mode. The propane detector is always on. Your water pump draws 12VDC. You will need to run your fans on occasion to vent moisture buildup-up.

If you are in Yellowstone, Cedar Breaks, Glacier and other high altitude areas, you can encounter temps in the 30’s on any given morning and the furnace fan gobbles up 12V power. You probably will have lights on occasionally.

So, a generator is a swell plan. Run it whenever you can Try not to run your batteries below 50% as that will shorten their life.
__________________
Sorta new (usually dirty) Nissan Titan XD (hardly paid for)
Middle-aged Safari SE
Young, lovely bride
Dismissive cat
n2916s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2021, 04:40 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
aftermath's Avatar
 
2006 25' Safari FB SE
Spokane , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,502
Welcome to the forums Kelmech


1. Protocol: I would say run it as little as you can. I run ours just a few hours in the early part of the day. Wife will use the hair dryer and we many times have the furnace kicking in at night. A couple of our favorite spots to boondock allows me to place the gen away from others in the woods. I point it so the exhaust , and most sound, is away from neighbors.


2. I have a much older trailer and can run my fridge on propane. The electrical draw is minimal when on gas. Hot water? Gas too. Taking a shower will use up some electricity to run the pump but, if you conserve and take a navy shower it too is minimal. If it gets cold and the furnace kicks in, the fan will draw your batteries down.


3. We camp without hookups about 30% of the time. Even if we are out for two nights I do like to take the generator. I don't like the idea of drawing batteries down below 12V. So I will run the gen to top thing off. Propane is your friend when dry camping. I can run my fridge, my HW tank and cook meals using my stove top and oven. Newer trailers come with electric only fridges and on demand water heaters with power sources I am not aware of. I think the "market" for new Airstreams is in the full hook up crowds.



4. Perhaps you might want to ask about solar as an additional source for power.


One last thing. Last year we camped with our daughter and her family. I misread the campground information and assumed that we had an electric/water site. Got there, neither electricity or water! Carried water from a close spigot which isn't a big issue for me. On the last day the battery was getting a bit low. I hooked the trailer up to the TV and ran the engine for about an hour. It was in the afternoon, not many people in camp, the truck was quiet and no one seemed to even notice. This is not a very efficient way to charge a battery but it can work in an emergency.



4.
aftermath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2021, 04:57 PM   #7
Rivet Master
 
aftermath's Avatar
 
2006 25' Safari FB SE
Spokane , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,502
OK, have to add two things.


"Don't run your battery below 50%". This is great advice but what does it really mean to a new to trailer towing person? Take a look at this and scroll down to the chart that shows what 50% means to a 12 volt battery.


http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm


AND...get a Honda. I know I will catch flame for this but, they are quiet and they last....a....long....time. I am on my 17th year with mine. Not troubles, no issues and dependable as the day is long. Cousin bought an "off brand" generator, same size, and inverter sytle and even looked the same other than a different color. His went out at the start of the second season. He now has a Honda and has had it for 3 or 4 years now. Paid much less for the first one but after having to lay out more for the second, he got stung. Should have stepped up at the start. My opinion, nothing more.
aftermath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2021, 05:33 PM   #8
Rivet Master
 
Dennis C's Avatar

 
2020 23' International
Evergreen , Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 675
My assumption is that your 2020 Flying Cloud is like my 2020 International, so you’ve got a fridge and hot water heater that can run on propane or electricity. This is a good thing when dry camping. You’ll be able to use your lights quite a bit, as LEDs are very efficient. You won’t be able to use your microwave, your air conditioner, or any high-wattage appliances unless you have a generator.

My philosophy is to run the generator only when needed for a specific purpose (using the air conditioner to cool down the trailer, for example), or for a couple of hours to charge your batteries. There’s really no need to run it all day in most cases.

As mentioned above, you might consider solar panels. I’ve got a modest setup with 180W of solar on the roof and upgraded AGM batteries. This allows me to dry camp for 3 or 4 days without a generator, as long as I have good sun exposure.
__________________
Dennis

2020 International Serenity 23 FB "Sparkle Plenty"
2018 GMC Denali 1500 Crew Cab 4x4
Airstream Club International #2805
Dennis C is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2021, 05:52 PM   #9
2 Rivet Member
 
2015 25' Flying Cloud
Tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 99
I'll throw in my .02 here

1. We run our generator for an hourish in the morning and about an hour and a half at night. We use that time to charge our devices and other high-power activities. We haven't seen anyone who runs their generator ALL day long. Sometimes people will run them for several hours at a time, but it's not usually all day. At least in our experience. As an example we just got back from a weekend trip where we only had the AS batteries and a generator. We used lights as normal and had the furnace set to 60 overnight (it was ~42 outside overnight). Our voltage never dropped below 12.2 with the generator use described above.

2. See #1. There's no need to run your generator all day unless you're using lots of electricity all day. If that's your thing more power to you.

3. I would absolutely recommend a generator. Maybe you can make things work with just your batteries - but what is the plan if you miscalculated and the batteries die? A week is a long time and the generator gives you flexibility. And who knows, maybe you'll want to run the furnace after all! With a generator to charge your batteries you can warm up. The furnace is a power hog but there are many threads on that you can search through to get an idea of what will work for you.

4. Honda makes a fantastic generator, no doubt about it. The price point is also at the top of the market. If you're a Costco member there is a comparable "off brand" generator that uses a licensed Yamaha engine. We've had a pair of them for two years with zero issues. I've triple checked and Costco confirms they are covered under Costco's lifetime warranty. If they go bad you can drain the oil and gas, and return them for a full refund. They also frequently carry a Generac generator of the same size in stores, but that might be a regional thing.
McStreamy_ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2021, 05:49 AM   #10
2 Rivet Member
 
2018 30' International
Currently Looking...
Southern Pines , North Carolina
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 20
Hard to go wrong with a Honda 2200i. We bought the Genconnex propane version and really like it. Don’t have to carry any gasoline and the unit fits nicely on the back floor of the truck sans gas odors. We use it boondocking to run our 120v dish drawer. But normally that is the only use it sees.

I find 3 90w solar panels keeps our two AGM’s fully topped off 95% of the time day in and day out; but we have a propane frig... But our three 90w panels will normally make 8 amps @12v in the real world which has shade and clouds...
NC-Serenity is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2021, 06:44 AM   #11
Rivet Master
 
blickcd's Avatar
 
1979 31' Sovereign
Milford , Ohio
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 546
Images: 1
Blog Entries: 36
A common dilemma when people with generators stay in a campground with limited hours they can run it, is that they are away all day (when running the generator is usually allowed) and get home late afternoon or early evening and only have a few hours of run time.

Figure out how long it takes you to charge up and plan your days accordingly.
__________________
Christopher

Its a camper, therefore it leaks.
blickcd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2021, 07:05 AM   #12
Rivet Master
 
1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 3,908
Blog Entries: 1
i love Gros Ventre campground. Have done it in the generator section several times. We ran the generator about 3 hours a day either every day or every other day. I have a CPAP but still it has less draw than your fridge. I think you are going to need 2 to 3 hours generator every day.

I sorta look around the campground and at who is camped close and how they are camped and run the generator at what seems the least offiensive times. If there are no tent campers sleeping in close by I might make a run during breakfast and run the microwave and coffee pot too.

It does not matter what size generator to keep the batteries up. The batteries only accept charge slowly when they are in the upper 25%. Basically you will be working the batteries from 85-90% down to 50% charge which gives you about 35 to 40 amp hours capacity. A bigger or huge generator will not change that.

The limitations on generator camping with lead-acid batteries are the slow ability to take a charge and the damage that is done with deep discharge.

First time I tried 2 weeks there we came in with the batteries in poor shape and then did not run the generator enough and I ended up replacing the batteries there. They do carry the deep cycle batteries in stock at NAPA in Jackson hole.

It has been 12 years since we bought our Honda 2000. All the cheaper choices around now were not available then. If I were to replace the Honda today I would buy a Honda 2200. Fortunately I no longer need to consider the cost of a small item. If you do I expect the cheaper ones will be serviceable.

For a camper with a electric only refrigerator I think a lithium battery upgrade would be a useful improvement. A huge initial expense but it gives you double or more of the usable capacity of the lead acid batteries.
Bill M. is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2021, 08:26 AM   #13
New Member
 
2020 25' Flying Cloud
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 4
Smile

Love Bill M's reply! Yeah, my initial idea was "let's just try it without buying a gennie and see if we are OK." We know we can camp at 32 at night with no heat pump or furnace, we've done it before, we just pile on the blankets, we know we can do without AC, and we don't have any appliances like hair dryers or coffee makers to worry about. But just lights and the fridge fan and as pointed out, propane sensor even takes some electricity.

We'll buy a Honda gennie and assume if we run it ~2 hours a day we'll be good, and if not, we know where to get a new battery! If anyone else has any ideas keep 'em coming, we've totally done off the grid in a simpler Jayco hybrid trailer easily for 4 days, but this is a different rig.
kelmech is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2021, 08:58 AM   #14
Rivet Master
 
Ray Eklund's Avatar
 
2019 27' International
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Fort Saunders , Wyoming
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,163
My wife, myself and two Blue Heelers travel and camp Off the Grid Boondocked for nearly 4 months in 2020 and more or less this year. Mexico border to the Canadian border. Rocky Mountain travel and no established commercial sites for us. I am OLD and survive every year.

Even roads that most think will get their Airstream dusty and dirty. Ya Hooo it provides lots of beautiful camping.

NO:
- Generator
- Hook Ups
- Established Campsites
- Nothing but Propane AND Solar.

Our 25 Foot had NO battery issues with ONE Costco 100+ watt Solar Panel that we moved around with the Sun when we returned to the campsite. We do not use commercial campsites. The panel costs under $120, on sale $100 and you wire in the included Controller that cuts off power when the batteries are fully charged. AGM Batteries. Lithium Batteries... not needed. Then you need special hardware.

Our current International: Two 80 watt on the roof, one portable Costco portable leaning agains a plastic milk crate, I am conservative and do not need special suitcase units.

NEVER had any need for 120 volt for AC's, TV's. Our minimal power needs do not restrict anything we want to do in the Airstream. I had a Honda. $1000 big mistake believing it would be BETTER than Solar. NO. Hook directly One, better yet TWO 100 watt Costco Solar Panels directly to the batteries (Our current International even has a connection built alongside the battery case.)

NO need for a Generator or TWO unless you are WOKE BLINGING Airstreaming. And for less than $250, no gasoline and write your name on the sides and back if you worry about someone in an other trailer wanting your Solar Panels. They still need the controllers, so they will have to come back and steal those.

Oh yes. The generator people will say RAY is Crazy. Been crazy for 15 years Boondocking and sold my Honda, like new for $800 and never missed it. Do not believe everything you hear. Solar. Read those threads. These guys can Light Up Your Life for several hundred dollars... or Five Thousand... but it works. What a mistake that was... got suckered into believing. It does not charge the batteries enough to make it worth the expense. Solar Panel $120 or TWO.

Whew. Short posts. Ignore them.

If I thought the Generator did what a Solar Panel DOES... I would still own it and kept my thoughts to myself. Well, I tried to this time.
__________________
Human Bean
Ray Eklund is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2021, 09:05 AM   #15
Rivet Master
 
Mollysdad's Avatar

 
2017 26' Flying Cloud
Tampa , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 5,578
Blog Entries: 1
I've never tested the efficiency but I carry a small battery charger, the NoCo Genius 3500. Rather than plug in the trailer to recharge, I'd run the genny to power the battery charger and top off the batteries directly.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Screenshot-2020-08-02-at-21.29.38.jpg
Views:	9
Size:	199.2 KB
ID:	393104  
Mollysdad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2021, 09:26 AM   #16
2 Rivet Member
 
kgottleib's Avatar
 
2021 20' Basecamp
South Easton , MA
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 68
I'm unaware that a 7 pin connector between the trailer and the TV will charge the battery in the trailer.. there are generators created specifically for TV that can be used, but this isn't standard. Did you add some features to your trailer? I'm new and waiting on my basecamp to get built and delivered later this month, but as I said, this is a first for me to hear of this feature
kgottleib is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2021, 09:42 AM   #17
Rivet Master
 
Al and Missy's Avatar
 
2002 30' Classic S/O
Fleming Island , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 4,175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
I've never tested the efficiency but I carry a small battery charger, the NoCo Genius 3500. Rather than plug in the trailer to recharge, I'd run the genny to power the battery charger and top off the batteries directly.

Interested in your thought process here. That charger is 3.5 amps. 10x-12x the time to replace Ah used as compared to your converter. Why not just plug your trailer in to the generator and use the converter to charge the batteries?
__________________
“You cannot reason someone out of a position they have not been reasoned into"
Al, K5TAN and Missy, N4RGO WBCCI 1322
2002 Classic 30 Slideout -S/OS #004
2013 Dodge 2500 Laramie 4x4 Megacab Cummins
Al and Missy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2021, 09:55 AM   #18
Rivet Master
 
Ray Eklund's Avatar
 
2019 27' International
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Fort Saunders , Wyoming
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,163
I did not bring up the 2006 23 foot Safari that had a Factory Installed 60 or 70 watt Solar Panel and AGM batteries.

Provided 100% of our 12 volt needs. Eight Years... and never need one drop of Gasoline.

Also where do you haul the gasoline in your SUV or the back of your Pickup Truck? You will need the super gasoline container as the fumes will light up your life if you... smoke? Probably not, but a Solar Panel needed only Sunshine and a long cord to be on top of things.

Oh... campsite in the Trees? Camp in the spot no one else wants to camp that has no shade. In Wyoming... sunshine in the upper 70's during the day... 40's at night. Cowboys figured that out in the 1880's.

Oh yes... Still got to have a Generator? Well, get Two if you want AC and Television in DuBois, Wyoming or Yellowstone Park? Frost in the Summers and Sunshine in the Winters.

Solar is for those who are on top of things. Old people I know use a Generator as that is how they always did it. Electric powered lights in their big tent while hunting. Elk Hunting for the City Folk, that is.

Check out the Solar Threads. These guys make me appear to be living in my Airstream Cavern chipping flint tools to carve up a Mammoth kill.

Concerned about Green Power? Fresh Air... while I am not. Not with a Wyoming calm at 20mph. That Green Sticker on the side of YOUR Airstream means nothing when you begin to depend on gasoline and your neighbor with two or three to watch a football game on the 72 inch plasma set.

I see some interest in helping Honda out of a depressed market picking up. Honda is quiet. It is very reliable. It purrs and purrs... but Solar is cheaper and puts power where you need it. Am I a Solar Salesman? No. I was converted when I became... a Neanderthal.
__________________
Human Bean
Ray Eklund is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2021, 10:05 AM   #19
Rivet Master
 
1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 3,908
Blog Entries: 1
"I'm unaware that a 7 pin connector between the trailer and the TV will charge the battery in the trailer."

My Dodge 2500 puts no appreciable charge to the trailer battery in a day of driving. However I am told on this forum that some TV's do add a good bit of charge.

There are DC to DC converters that cost about $125 that you can add to the trailer to charge either through the 7 pin or through an additional heavy wire depending upon the amps you choose. They come in a number of sizes from 8 amp up to whatever size at the high end.

With a Basecamp I think you would be well advised to add a DC to DC converter of an appropriate size and upgrade the converter and battery in the trailer to lithium.
Bill M. is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2021, 10:19 AM   #20
4 Rivet Member
 
pjshier's Avatar

 
2017 27' International
Wasilla , Alaska
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 319
Remote start

sorry if this has been covered but i missed it. We are still new and I tend to over-think the what-ifs, and haven't yet discovered the power consumption sweet spot.

So i have a generator in the bed of the truck with a remote control start/stop. It has been handy after a night of cool temps and the furnace running off of lead acid golf cart batteries which were less than full when we stopped for the night. Set up the night before with an exhaust extension out the back of the truck/cap, I can touch it off while we are getting ready to pack up if the truck charging system and portable solar suitcase put us behind the curve. The remote is especially handy when inclement, and I can shut it off also without getting wet - or dressed for that matter.

Expanded capacity and LiFePo batteries going in this spring, with better vehicle charge capacity. End goal over time is to be able to leave the generator at home or downsize from the Champion 3400. But until then - the remote control feature makes me smile every time i use it.
__________________
2017 Int'l Serenity 27FB
2020 F250 powered by converted solar
pjshier is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
More dumb questions..... chuman70 Waste Systems, Tanks & Totes 16 08-01-2007 06:00 AM
GPS - dumb*** questions Foiled Again Off Topic Forum 8 06-05-2006 06:17 PM
Dumb,dumb, and dumber rebel beck Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 13 04-03-2006 11:11 AM
Dumb Generator Question #2 Dave-O Generators & Solar Power 8 07-10-2003 06:26 AM
??Dumb generator question?? sjptak Generators & Solar Power 22 06-24-2003 05:24 AM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:14 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.