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Old 10-31-2009, 08:33 AM   #1
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Advice on purchasing a generator

We have a 1991 Excella 29' and would like to camp in some of the National Parks. I am looking for the appropriate size generator to run the water pump, ref. and possibly a heater. Really need advice on what size generator, and how to calculate what appliances can run and when.

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Old 10-31-2009, 08:36 AM   #2
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The water pump (12 volt) and fridge (120 volt) are small draw items. What type of heater are you planning to operate?


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Old 10-31-2009, 08:39 AM   #3
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I'm partial to the Honda EU2000i generator. They are small, light, quiet, and good on fuel. They will run about everything in your trailer (except the a/c), just not all at once.
The biggest consumers of power will be the microwave (800-1200 watts), a hair dryer (up to 1500 watts), and an electric heater (600-2000 watts).
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:04 AM   #4
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Indeed, it's hard to beat the Honda 2000 watt Genny - we've used ours for years - it's reliable, quiet, and sips fuel...

I have a 100 ft, 10/3 gage extension cable so I can place the genny away from the AS when the situation permits, and you can't even hear it running! I use one of those heavy cable locking devices to secure the genny to some strong point to help prevent it from 'growing' legs...and we normally put the genny back inside our TV if we're away from camp for any time...

This is such a popular genny, it's too bad AS doesn't have an option for providing an external storage compartment geared to this genny's exact size so you could just 'whip it out' and fire it up for some quick AC power out there in the boonies...
Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:10 AM   #5
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First you have to decide if you will ever expect to use the AC on the generator.

If so you will need at least 3000 watts. That can be by putting 2 of the Honda 2000 in parallel, which is a common favorite, or one 3000 watt unit.

If you are never going to use the AC then a 2000 watt unit will be fine.

I carry a small 1000 watt Honda for battery rechage and have an Olympic catalytic gas heater and run the frig on gas when off the grid. A good set of batteries should last you several days.
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:41 AM   #6
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ditto to all other replies

I like Air conditioning, and my TV is enclosed, plus I already owned a Honda EU3000, so I mounted it on the tongue of the trailer. I knew I would be boondocking, so a gen was a must. The electric start and low noise of the eu3000 is a plus. There is a new model of the 3000 out, it is lighter, and has wheels-pull start (hondas have never been a problem pull starting) but ya still need somewhere to put it. also, gas cans have to be taken with ye. I placed a fuel cell under the gen on my tongue. there is a thread on this mod in the gen section.
the 2000 is where you want to be if you do not plan on air conditioning much.
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:45 AM   #7
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We have a Honda 2000. It won't run the microwave and the espresso maker at the same time, so we don't run the microwave and espresso maker at the same time. No big deal.

If we ever decide that we want to run the A/C when dry camping I will get another Honda 2000 and the parallel kit to connect them. Getting a larger, heavier, noisier, thirstier generator is not my cup of tea.

Works great. Would buy it again.
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Old 10-31-2009, 11:07 AM   #8
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go RED or BLUE...

Originally Posted by H2K View Post
...Really need advice on what size generator, and how to calculate what appliances can run and when...
hi hank

more threads on genset choices here than models of streams and gensets COMBINED.

and going WAY BACK to the early years when gensets were crank started and ran on coal fires and steam...

but ALL u really need 2 read is right here...

and AFTER choosing the eu2000i COMPANION model,

u might want a hermetically sealed storage box...

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 10-31-2009, 11:11 AM   #9
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If all you're running is water pump and furnace and a few lights (especially if you conver to LED bulbs!) you can easily run on solar (if you've got sunny sites) for at least several days with only two standard-size batteries.

If you just want to recharge those batteries every so often, etc., a 1000w generator is sufficient.

If you want to run a 1500w electric heater, microwave, an electric coffee pot, a larger television, etc., you're gonna' either need shore power or a 2000w plus generator - and remember that most developed campgrounds won't allow overnight generator usage ... so no overnight 1500w heater either unless you're on shore power. At least some (many? most? all?) U.S. National Parks prohibit generator use between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

If you want to run your air conditioner and some / all of those things listed above, you need a larger generator. I've got a Yamaha 2400 and it runs my a/c just fine, but not other major appliances at the same time. It might not run yours, depending upon the current demands of your a/c. If it's a higher draw a/c and you want to run it, you may need a 3,000 watt generator.

Everyone I have ever encountered who has Honda or Yamaha generators in the 1,000-3,000 watt sizes are generally quite happy with them; they're quiet, start with a single pull, don't use too much fuel, are convertible to propane (so you don't have to lug around annyoing and possibly dangerous gasoline supplies - after all, you've already got propane with you!).

Good luck - and take your time with the decision ... these machines last a long time. There are a bunch of sites out there that list common household appliances and their wattage draws, and so can help you add up what draws are likely to be part of your trailer life - thus leading you to the right size generator.
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Old 10-31-2009, 11:31 AM   #10

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Have used both the Yamaha 1000 and the Honda 2000, both very good units, stay with the name brands and pick your size carefully and you won't go rong.
"Any nation that can survive what we have lately in the way of government, is on the high road to permanent glory."
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Old 10-31-2009, 11:40 AM   #11
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We carry a Honda Eu1000i with us on most trips. We don't use a lot of power, but we only have a single battery. We don't have a microwave or a Television, but my wife has a low watt hair dryer that will work with the 1000. We camp in places where we do not need the Air Conditioner. The 1000 works well for us and it only weighs 26 pounds.


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Old 10-31-2009, 11:44 AM   #12
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I've had my gen longer than Christine. It's a 3500w and the noise level is 67db. When I ever get to replace it, I'm going Honda, their noise level is right around 62db. I can run roof air, coffee pot and two tv's easily. Even at 67db, I can't hear it inside. I don't run it all the time, usually about an hour in the morning, and a few hours in the evening. Solar is something I'm exploring right now as well.

.....and my wife DOES bring her 1800 watt hair

Good Luck,

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Old 10-31-2009, 12:02 PM   #13
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

We have two of the Honda 2000's. We have used them quite a bit. They are great units. If we're not running the air conditioner, we use one. If we run the air or heat pump, we use both in tandem.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:16 PM   #14
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Forgot entirely about the air conditioner-probably because of the current chilly weather in Ohio. Thanks to everyone for the advice. You guys are a great support team.

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Old 10-31-2009, 12:25 PM   #15
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My generator is a champion 4000 watt with 3500 running watts. I use it only a few times a year when we go to our property. The noise is 68 DP when running. I usually run it at night, or if it is very hot outside. The noise level is tolerable and when you have the air running you cannot hear it at all. It is not very light with a weight of 100lbs, but I got it on sale for $269.00 (new) and it works well. I can run the air, TV, lights almost anything when we are camping. I could not justify the cost of one of those Honda generators on my budget.

I think if you are not camping close to anybody they are great for power. When I work on the property I do not hear it. I only hear it when I am close to the trailer. I would not use it in a congested campsite.

Brian & Adrienne
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:38 PM   #16
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Hope this helps. Click on it if your eyes are as bad as mine.
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Old 10-31-2009, 04:44 PM   #17
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Most National Parks and Monuments have the 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM generator restriction, although we've encountered some that allow as little as 4 hours. Some also have a limited area of campsites that allow generators.

You have to be prepared to run on battery power, and recharge when you can.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:53 AM   #18
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We do the same as Brian. We only use it when we go to our property where we normally don't see another soul for the entire period we are there.

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Old 11-01-2009, 12:48 PM   #19
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I'd sort of echo the others on here....I read these boards, agonized a lot, and bought a Honda EU2000i. I've been totally happy with it! It runs everything except the a/c just fine. Even my wife's 1850 watt hair dryer. I plan to get a second one, and make a mount up on the tongue so that when I get to where I'm going, I can set one of them on each side and have them paralleled together and chained down to prevent them walking off. They're good units.

The one pull thing is a bit of a misnomer....they are one pull to start if you've run it recently. If it's sat for six months, it takes about six pulls They are good medicine.

The Yamaha is probably just as good. I went with the Honda, in the end, because my local dealer (who is also an authorized service center) sold red, and made me a deal better than I could get online. Other than that, if blue is a better deal, I think you'd be fine with it.

Like they said, get 3000 watts if you want to run the a/c. Otherwise, 2000 is fine.

And a side note: I was up at WVU last weekend for homecoming. I had my little Honda purring along quietly and I cut it off at 10:00pm to be courteous. But the goobs on either side of me with their contractor gennies cranked 3600rpm all night long, 6000 watts each, all night long, and 70 db, all night long. I guess if you're used to a Huey hovering beside your bed all night, it's not hard to sleep. I'm not, so it was. Oh well, at least I was courteous.

But in all seriousness, these little Honda's are so quiet you probably could run them all night and never bother a soul.

Take care,
- Jim
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