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Old 01-14-2021, 08:54 AM   #1
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Generator Usage

Iíve noticed several new threads on generators which Iíve enjoyed reading. What Iíd like to know however, is how often people actually use their generator. Iíve considered getting one and installing Easy Start in one or both of my A/Cs, but I'm not sure it would be worth it. Most of our camping is done at campsites which have utilities, although weíve enjoyed an occasional night or two boondocking at National Forest campgrounds where we haven't needed AC power. Iíve done a quick search through the forum archives and havenít found this discussion, so Iíd be interested in knowing how people use their generator, where they use it, and whether they thought it was a good addition to their Airstream.

John
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Old 01-14-2021, 09:48 AM   #2
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We carry a generator. I have a CPAP. We use the generator at a couple of sites a few times a year. It is well worth it to me to carry it just in case I want to use it. It has its space in the back of the truck. We have the Easy start and have run the AC with the generator but not often. The Honda generator does not leak so I carry it with a tank full and I carry and empty gas can for if we get into a long term generator site.

We have some pretty bad memories from our first long trip to the west and Alaska without a generator. I was too stupid and at that time too tight to just stop and purchase one. I also did not know how useless a Airstream furnace is without hookups or a generator. But 3 days in Jasper and 3 days in Chicken at 30 degrees in the rain impressed me enough not to leave home on a long excursion without the generator ever again. Not really needing electric hookups opens up a lot of camping sites in some areas.
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Old 01-14-2021, 10:04 AM   #3
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Generator Usage

We carry a 3400 watt Champion dual fuel Inverter generator. Run it only on propane. I rigged it to run off a quick connect from my Airstream propane tanks.

We use it whenever we need to use the air conditioning on the road, like a meal stop where we have to leave our dogs in the trailer while we eat. I run the generator from the truck bed, chained down and use a 12 foot hose to connect to propane system. Works to keep dogs safe and cool while we eat.

Was particularly useful in Texas in September heat...

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Generator actually running the airstream air conditioning. Nice and quiet! Photo is of an initial test of concept.

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Front propane 3/8 inch quick connect I added to the Airstream system.

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Modified generator low pressure regulator that feeds the propane to the Champion inlet connector. Connects to a gray 1/2 inch extension hose.
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Old 01-14-2021, 10:39 AM   #4
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Several personal experiences from this past summer have me convinced that a genny is the way to go. The biggest reason was several camp grounds that had beautiful waterfront sites, but the waterfront sites had no hookups. The sites with hookups were all crammed together and at the back of the campground. We decided to forego electricity to have the better views and access to the water, but a generator would have given us the best of both worlds. Also, while traveling multiple times across the US last year, there were a LOT of free (and legal) sites with no hookups. If you enjoy 120v electricity, the genny will pay for itself in camp site fees in no time!
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Old 01-14-2021, 10:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
We carry a 3400 watt Champion dual fuel Inverter generator. Run it only on propane. I rigged it to run off a quick connect from my Airstream propane tanks.

I have been researching generators for three or four months, and I think this one with an electric start (so I can wire a switch to the dash in my Argosy) is probably what I'll go with.
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:08 AM   #6
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Hi, I mount my Yamaha 2400 generator in the bed of my truck. It's good to have if you get stuck with no hook ups. Even better for running my microwave oven or air condition at rest stops.
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:12 AM   #7
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I have a Honda EU3000is which I love, but I've never actually needed to use it.
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:30 AM   #8
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Hi OP, Remember we are bonndockers. No hookups.

I bring a 2000 Honda generator in summer while I am in the desert for A/C.

I bring a 1000cc Honda for winter when it will be furnace all night weather to recharge batteries during the day.

Even so I probably bring a genny about half the time and rely on solar the rest of the time.
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Old 01-14-2021, 02:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidjedi View Post
Several personal experiences from this past summer have me convinced that a genny is the way to go. The biggest reason was several camp grounds that had beautiful waterfront sites, but the waterfront sites had no hookups. The sites with hookups were all crammed together and at the back of the campground. We decided to forego electricity to have the better views and access to the water, but a generator would have given us the best of both worlds. Also, while traveling multiple times across the US last year, there were a LOT of free (and legal) sites with no hookups. If you enjoy 120v electricity, the genny will pay for itself in camp site fees in no time!
Compelling argument, except would the campground have allowed you to run the generator whenever you want, or did they have quiet hours?
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Old 01-14-2021, 03:51 PM   #10
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Do you have a standby generator for the home? I guess that doesnít apply for a condo or apt but Iím a home owner and Iíve used my EU3000 several times at home during outages. Running the fridge a fan and TV made it decent.

Normal outings I donít carry it with me.
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Old 01-14-2021, 04:20 PM   #11
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Welcome Aboard👍

The last time we used ours was while dog-showing in 2019.
2020...never.
The last time 'camping' was three seasons ago.
It's one of those....'when you need it you'll be glad you have it items....'kind'a like 4WD.
Disclaimer....We did add Lithium batts and 360w of solar in 2018.
Before the upgrade, while at the lake with 2 AGM's it was usually 1/2hr in the AM while making breakfast, YMMV.

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Old 01-14-2021, 05:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AgBullet View Post
Compelling argument, except would the campground have allowed you to run the generator whenever you want, or did they have quiet hours?
Some had quiet hours (thankfully), but one whole peninsula was specifically for vehicles with generators (no quiet hours).

Edit: My original response was for the place with the waterfront. If you were asking about the other places (free, no hookups), they were all pretty isolated (no one around to bother) with nothing posted regarding generators, but the few RV's I saw in these spots were definitely running generators.
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidjedi View Post
I have been researching generators for three or four months, and I think this one with an electric start (so I can wire a switch to the dash in my Argosy) is probably what I'll go with.
Doing more research... it looks like the biggest roadblock with this idea is the choke. When running on propane, apparently the choke isn't necessary, but running on gasoline requires the choke for starting. I could create an "auto choke" with forced air or a 12v solenoid, but I think the "remote start" version of the generator, though quite a bit more expensive, would be worth the additional cost for this reason.

Also been reading more about the problems with propane and altitude. I live at 6,000 feet and camp at 10,000 on a regular basis, but I don't want to permanently switch to a high altitude propane set up, because I'm also at low altitude on a regular basis. Looking for an easy "on the fly" solution to altitude and propane (though I guess the easiest solution is just using gasoline at higher altitude).
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Old 01-16-2021, 06:44 PM   #14
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The sample size is way too small, but I get the impression some folks get a generator "just in case," but don't actually use it much. Right now my inclination is to rely on the 180W solar panels for the few days we'll actually boondocks next year. Thanks for inputs, more are certainly welcome.
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Old 01-16-2021, 07:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AgBullet View Post
The sample size is way too small, but I get the impression some folks get a generator "just in case," but don't actually use it much. Right now my inclination is to rely on the 180W solar panels for the few days we'll actually boondocks next year. Thanks for inputs, more are certainly welcome.
I am in middle of convert 2400w generator to propane, I only plan to use it when there is no hookup, and too hot to get by without AC - our solar should take care of almost everything except AC.

My generator is very quiet, but no matter how quiet it is, it ruins tranquility in many campsites when it starts.
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Old 01-16-2021, 08:09 PM   #16
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We have a Honda EU3000is. Donít leave home without it. Some trips we, donít use it. Most we do. It is gas powered with a remote start/off. Iíve considered converting it to tri-fuel. Iíve read that the remote is problematic as it wonít shutdown the flow of propane.
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:43 PM   #17
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Generator Usage

I have a honda 2000 converted to propane ďjust in caseĒ. Last year I didnít used it. Previous year used it once or twice maybe. I did lend it to my buddy who was traveling with us in Yellowstone so that was cool.

That being said I have a large solar array and large lithium bank. Iíd probably use it more if I had a marginal boondocking energy system.
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Old 01-16-2021, 11:41 PM   #18
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We tend to travel during the Ďtoo warmí times of year and rarely have hookups available on our overnight stops. I carry a generator because we also have four smallish doggies along. The modified Champion 3400 watt Inverter dual fuel is plenty powerful and easily runs our air conditioning if we need it. Itís quiet enough that it does not disturb anyone in the parking lots near restaurants or other urban locations.
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Old 01-17-2021, 06:38 AM   #19
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My needs are like yours. I carry a small 2000 watt generator hoping that I'll never need it but will have it when and if the situation arrives. I've needed it twice in the 10 years I've carried it. A state park campground lost power for two days on one trip after a storm knocked out power to a large swath of the state. The other time, I camped at a KOA that was full except for overflow parking. Your needs may vary but it's a nice item to have if you have space to carry one.
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