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Old 05-20-2020, 04:43 PM   #1
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Size of generator

Hello,

What size generator do I REALLY need for a Bambi 19 with a 13500 btu AC? Airstream and Dometic say 3500 watts but donít specify if itís running or starting. I donít know much about trailers or generators (just getting started) Iím guessing itís starting watts? I saw a great deal on 3400/3100 Champion but wasnít sure if this is enough for my trailers AC, fridge and a few small things. Some people have said I donít need this much power, but I also read that running the AC on a lower power source is bad for the unit.

Thanks,

Jeff
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:48 PM   #2
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If you want to run everything all at once on AC via a generator without a worry (fridge, Air conditioner, TV, charge batteries, etc..), you will need a 3500w (or so) or two 2000w generators running in parallel mode (4000w total) for your trailer.

If you just want to run your air conditioner, and are Ok running other items like the fridge on LP or 12v, then you can get away with a single small 2200w Yamaha or Honda generator with a micro air easy start installed up top on the air conditioner. They Easy Start reduces AC compressor startup loads by about 70% and won't stall out the little generator on startup. Many here use it - its great.

Hope that helps.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:52 PM   #3
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Yes thanks! When you say 3500 watts is this starting watts? Would a 3500 starting watts with a 3000 running be ok?
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:02 PM   #4
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Your air conditioner will kick up quite the load on startup, but the 3500 watt generator can handle it. So can a 3,000 watt (assuming you don't have a dozen other things running in the trailer like the microwave, electric kettle, hair dryer, etc., when you try to start the air conditioner ).

Running steady state your 13.5k Air conditioner will use about 1600 watts on a hot day - so that leaves a bunch of additional power from the generator to run the fridge and other appliances.
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:53 PM   #5
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I use a champion 3400 watt dual fuel inverter generator on propane only. Starts and runs my single air conditioner just fine, even in Texas heat...

I havenít installed a MicroAir EasyStart yet, but I can run the generator on economy mode and it barely grunts when the air conditioner starts. The easy start will make it less noisy on A/C compressor starts for sure.

Itís a fairly heavy generator but leaving gasoline out of it makes it possible for this old Phart to get it in and out of the truck bed. When I can, I run it on the tailgate on an extension hose and quick disconnect off the Airstream regulator. See my posts in the ďWhich generatorĒ thread for all the gory details.
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:31 PM   #6
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2nd for the Champion 3400 Dual-Fuel

Iíll second rmkrum on the Champion 3400 Dual-Fuel. We also have one that can run our 15K AC or the smaller unit individually. Youíll lose some power on propane vs. gasoline but I tested on propane and it handled it fine. NOTE: Altitude will also de-rate any generatorís output so be aware of that. Champion sent me a high-altitude carb jet free. Theyíre customer service is very responsive.

Good luck!
Jeff
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffmc306 View Post
Iíll second rmkrum on the Champion 3400 Dual-Fuel. We also have one that can run our 15K AC or the smaller unit individually. Youíll lose some power on propane vs. gasoline but I tested on propane and it handled it fine. NOTE: Altitude will also de-rate any generatorís output so be aware of that. Champion sent me a high-altitude carb jet free. Theyíre customer service is very responsive.



Good luck!

Jeff


Looks like you have yours rigged to a quick connect on the Airstream as well..
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:08 PM   #8
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Champion 3500 Dual Fuel Gen

I will throw in my vote for the Champion 3500/3150 Duel Fuel electric start 30 AMP RV plug equipped genset. Love ours as it powers our 2019 FC 25' RBT with no problems. We only use propane so no gas can to worry about. Great Genset.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
Looks like you have yours rigged to a quick connect on the Airstream as well..
Good eye Rich!

Yes, there was a ďhow toĒ forum thread on whatís needed to connect the Champion directly to the low pressure port on the Airstream. In fact Championís Customer Support produced a document with some of the photos from the AS forum post!
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:44 AM   #10
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I'm in the camp of "Bigger is better".
A 13.5 A/C in a Bambi draws the same power that a 13.5 A/C in a Classic draws.
Saving a few hundred $$ down the road won't seem that important.
But always thinking, "Can I run the microwave now while the A/C is on" will get aggravating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffmc306 View Post
I’ll second rmkrum on the Champion 3400 Dual-Fuel. We also have one that can run our 15K AC or the smaller unit individually.
You win the award for the most connections to power! Generator > 30 amp ext > dogbone > surge pro. > power cable?
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:59 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
You win the award for the most connections to power! Generator > 30 amp ext > dogbone > surge pro. > power cable?
You like that? Did you notice the grounding plug in the generator’s 110V socket to trick the generator’s floating ground so the Progressive EMS would work?

Kidding aside, it was a driveway “bench test” to see if the generator would run each AC unit. Some don’t bother with the EMS when on generator but we ran into a low-voltage situation in a state park that tripped the EMS. I think it’s good insurance even when on an inverter genset.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:02 AM   #12
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Size of generator

Interesting, Jeff.

Wonder if they used some of mine? The modification works really well. Even with my air conditioner running full blast in Texas heat the Champion barely gets much above above idle. Iíll have to look at their website for the document.

I used a 3/8Ē quick connect with a shutoff valve and 1/2Ē hose assemblies to be sure the generator would have plenty of propane flow at full throttle. I did not have a quick connect from the factory. Others did use the 1/4Ē fitting that Airstream put on recent models.

I did modify the generator to include an engine hour meter powered by a couple loops of wire around the spark plug lead, and a permanent wiring harness with a fuse and SAE plug for connecting the battery charger while it is in storage. Had to drill a few holes. I also added a 2-way bubble level on top so I can be sure the generator wonít trip the low oil sensor too soon if itís not sitting right.

One fun thing I found out was you have to shut off the gas valve by my quick connect to stop the generator when running on propane. Sounds more like a safety feature than a bug. Switching it off on the panel does nothing, it just happily keeps running.

Plan for the next modification is to find a spot for a voltmeter and ammeter somewhere on the generator control panel and connect to the output of the inverter, but that will take major work.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
Interesting, Jeff.

Wonder if they used some of mine? The modification works really well. Even with my air conditioner running full blast in Texas heat the Champion barely gets much above above idle. Iíll have to look at their website for the document.
Rich, yes they did use yours! I saved the email and converted to a PDF (see attached) and just noticed ďrmkrumĒ in the text. Itís been so long I couldnít remember who contributed to the thread and Amazon list.

Thanks again for sharing that originally! And, I like your ideas about adding a volt and amp meter to the generator. It fits with your title ďDept. of OverkillĒ
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:06 PM   #14
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Size of generator

The pictures are someone elseís.

My comment is about using yellow Teflon tape for propane connections. I also commented on using a connection with a shutoff valve. This gets you a 1/4 inch quick connect like current Airstream quick connect setups.

I donít remember who started that list. But yeah, have to keep up with the overkill! My setup will get me over 20 feet away from the generator.
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:45 PM   #15
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Size of generator

Hereís what my 3/8 size quick connect looks like:

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And the adapter to connect it to my low pressure regulator.

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Lot of stuff in the way, sorry. I added a shutoff valve in the supply line to make it easy to shut off propane in an emergency without fumbling with the tank cover latches.
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