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Old 12-07-2011, 03:27 PM   #1
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Generator, 2 smaller? Also, solar panel size?

I've decided that I'm going to purchase in this order: generator(s) for 2000W/portable solar set up for laptop/roof-top solar panel to keep batteries topped up.

Question #1: A dealership I talked to suggested getting two 1000W generators, so it's easier for me to lift them, and then chaining them together. Are there any downsides to doing this?

Question #2: how much actual physical space is available on the top of a 19' Safari SE for a solar panel?

TIA for any help!
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:40 PM   #2
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Question #1: A dealership I talked to suggested getting two 1000W generators, so it's easier for me to lift them, and then chaining them together. Are there any downsides to doing this?
The main drawback is cost.

Also, 2000w is not enough to run air conditioning. You may want to do that at some point, in which case you would want a pair of 2000w generators.
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:54 PM   #3
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I think the Honda 1000 weighs 29# and the Honda 2000 weighs 43 #. Not too much difference there. But two 1000's would weigh more than one 2000.

BTW, I have a Honda 1000 and like it very much. It will run anything I want and I don't use AC. it is light, small, and quiet. And yes there may have been times when a 2000 would have been better, but not often.

No real answer to the question, depends on which compromise you might like to take.
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Old 12-07-2011, 04:33 PM   #4
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Thanks! I suspect he was maybe thinking it would be easier for me to lift 30# twice than 45# once? Perhaps I'll think about getting one 2000w, if I can afford it...and move to cooler regions if it gets so hot I need a/c, or make sure I'm hooked up...
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:22 PM   #5
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Generators: How about what we did? We bought one 2000w Honda first — a Companion model with the 30-amp plug + the adapter you need to convert the twist-n-turn 30-amp outlet on the genny to a standard 30-amp female plug ($15-ish) + the parallelling cables ($40-ish) in case a buddy has another 2000w Honda so at least one of us can have AC if needed...(and therebybecome the "party trailer")... Then about a year or 18 mo. later if you still think you need another and want to have AC ability, get the 2nd 2000W (the Regular one)...

Solar Panels: There is really only room for one solar panel on top of your 19" ...it will go in front of the AC...so make that panel count! (Our factory panel is only 53watt...you can do better with an after-market installation.)
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:49 PM   #6
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Hi TB! Yes, I think that's exactly what I'm going to do with the generator. You so smart.

I'm just trying to find out how much room is up there. I like the idea of the very thin ones that have adhesive on the back, not least because no one can see it up there, but 86" long? I'm definitely thinking of 60W or more, though, if it can be managed. (The portable set up is the necessary redundant system, as J is hosed if he can't get online for work, and thinking about it, might come third after all.)

Man. There's a lot of stuff to buy.
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:16 AM   #7
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Some folks subscribe to the notion if you get a big enough generator, you don't need solar...plus, the shadow of the genset blocks the sun most of the time...

Actually, this morning I parked next to our backup generator and HAD to share this photo...
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:27 AM   #8
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Don't forget the 3000 HANDI from Honda - it's a LOT lighter than a regular 3000, but it doesn't have the electric starter. It's the old lawnmower pull thing.

It also has wheels and a handle to drag it around fairly easily. A ramp or long board and it's no big deal to get it back up in the truck bed.

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Old 12-09-2011, 10:30 AM   #9
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Actually, this morning I parked next to our backup generator and HAD to share this photo...
Well, no problem running the a/c there...
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:31 AM   #10
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Don't forget the 3000 HANDI from Honda
I'll go take a look, but I don't know - I'm not really that great at starting lawnmowers...
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:42 AM   #11
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I'll go take a look, but I don't know - I'm not really that great at starting lawnmowers...
The Handi will start easily, but it won;t be as quiet as the 3000i.
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:08 AM   #12
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The problem with those flexible panels is that they require more surface area to produce the same amount of power as a flat panel. I think they are just like the thick film panels. The only plus to thick film panels is that they aren't affected so much by shading. They also don't last as long, they degrade quicker.
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Old 12-09-2011, 01:53 PM   #13
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Don't discount putting a smaller, square-ish panel on top of the AC in addition to one on the roof proper.

We run one Honda 2000i every evening from dark until batteries have reached full charge and/or TV cravings are satisfied. We both use CPAP's every night so one 100 amp deep-cycle is devoted to supplying current to those and another covers lights and circuit boards. It takes two separate chargers about 3 1/2 hours to charge everything.

A second, parallel unit is deployed in we need AC and are not at a hookup. Frankly it is a noisy and expensive way to be cool, but sometimes circumstances force that choice upon us. Not having mains electricity at either the old farm nor the lake makes the generators an economic choice for us.
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:02 PM   #14
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The 1000 is a nice, trim generator that is easy to handle. The 2000 is a handfull for me. It weighs enough when full of fuel for me to notice. I went with the 2000 because it seemed more cost effective. $850 or so for the 1000, $1000 for the 2000, plus I could add another 2000 if I wanted to use it for airconditoning. I look at the 3000 but it would not fit in our truck bed with the hard bed cover we have. I think the real advantage of the 1000 would be the size and weight if you are trying to pack it in a SUV or in the trailer. I generally just fire the 2000 up on the tailgate and seldom have to lift it.
I am just not into the solar thing yet for camping. I know people who have them to keep the battery charged in storage. I do not boondock a whole lot and when I do I am generally in a gully in the trees.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:38 PM   #15
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I'm planning to give a generator a try. I have a Honda 2500 w/pull start. It does start with 1 pull mostly ( just like my Honda mower ). It is a bit heavy. I can get it into my truck by myself but don't like to. Both of us it is pretty easy. I've not used it yet but will take it on our trip south in Feb. If needed I will run it just long enough to top the batteries off. It's too low of an wattage to run the AC but will do everything but. It should even allow me to use a small electric heater when necessary. I wouldn't have bought one this heavy but the price was RIGHT so it's what I have to work with.
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:16 PM   #16
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Hmmm. A Honda 2500...is that the EP2500? If so, that's an industrial generator as opposed to the quiet invertor series ... and it is very loud... Check this site out... Honda Power Equipment - EP2500CX1 .... click on the "generator sound level comparison" link in the grey box to the left of the page... it's a full 10 dB louder than the Honda EU2000i...
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:23 PM   #17
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Generators: How about what we did? We bought one 2000w Honda first ó a Companion model with the 30-amp plug + the adapter you need to convert the twist-n-turn 30-amp outlet on the genny to a standard 30-amp female plug ($15-ish) + the parallelling cables ($40-ish) in case a buddy has another 2000w Honda so at least one of us can have AC if needed...(and therebybecome the "party trailer")... Then about a year or 18 mo. later if you still think you need another and want to have AC ability, get the 2nd 2000W (the Regular one)...

Solar Panels: There is really only room for one solar panel on top of your 19" ...it will go in front of the AC...so make that panel count! (Our factory panel is only 53watt...you can do better with an after-market installation.)
We purchased the twin Honda 2k gennys. You need >2500W to run the AC, thus the twin Hondas. To this point we haven't had to use both to run the AC. If I had it to do over again I would only buy the one 2K genny and open the windows!!!
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:05 PM   #18
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We really like our Handi inverter. Not too loud and it has enough power to run our AC. Having said that, I still want to get some solar panels installed. I really like the idea of having our batteries recharged silently but will keep the generator for those times when we want to run the AC, the microwave oven, or when the sun decides to hide for a few days...
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:52 PM   #19
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For me, all three are redundant but necessary systems for what I think will be about half the time. I too like the idea of silent battery charging. (The idea of a second smaller panel on top of the a/c - so clever!) I think the idea of one 2000w is good and see how we get along with it (or don't). I might change the order of purchase (again) reading over all of these... *sigh*

There's also the "let's find a coffee shop" plan, too, if all else fails, and what we'll probably use on our inaugural trip...
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:38 PM   #20
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Most of the info I see says we need a 3k gen to run our AC's. I tried it with my 2500 and it worked marginally. If I turned the switch straight to hi it would blow the breaker. If I started on fan then to low and then to high it would run. But, after about 15 min I went to unplug it and the cord and plug were hot. Not melting hot but I suspect it would get there eventually. So, my limited electrical experience tells me to beware. I really don't plan to use it for AC anyway.

And yes TB I believe it's an industrial one. It's not all that loud but I hope not to need it in populated areas. And then, again I hope, to only need it for short periods to keep the batteries up. Haven't used it yet so the first time will begin the expermenting. Not like I need to run it all night to run medical equip. ( Thankfully, at least not yet that is)
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