Airstream Forums

Airstream Forums (
-   Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar (
-   -   Generator - gas can size; run from truck bed; general guidance (

Soul Food II 05-29-2014 06:00 AM

Generator - gas can size; run from truck bed; general guidance
I recently purchased a pair of Honda 2000's and will be taking our 1st long trip this summer to Newfoundland. Should I carry extra gas, and if so how much? Any particular type of gas can?

Should I keep them in truck bed when I crank them up, or on the ground close to my 27' airstream? Seems like safer away from truck. Is rain a concern when running?

How long should I run to put say 25% charge on my new batteries? How much impact, if any, whether or not I am running AC thus using both gens?

Any other guidance?

A W Warn 05-29-2014 07:55 AM

I use one Honda 2000 for charging. Though, there is no air conditioning when I do this. I usually charge an hour or two in the morning during breakfast while I use the electric coffee pot (during warm weather) and/or for DW's hair dryer. If needed again in the PM (during cold weather when furnace runs), I try to do it an hour or two during dinner preparation so we can combine charging with running the small appliances we might need. I have changed all interior lights to LED so there is less drain on the battery.

I carry my generator in a plastic storage box inside the truck bed. I bought a 1 gallon gas can that fits inside the box with the generator. If you are going to run 2 generators for the AC, you may need a larger fuel can or go to the gas station more often. I have run 8 hours without running empty. I'm guessing about 1 gallon fuel for each generator every 6-8 hours if you run AC continuously, depending how often the AC cycles on/off due to temperature.

I have run my generator setting in the truck if it is raining, but I do not like to do that. I have opened the awning to protect it during rain also. Some people carry a small tent. Normally I just set the generator on the ground. I carry a bike cable lock that I loop through the handle and around trailer the frame if I'm concerned when I step away from the trailer for a few minutes. I do not leave the generator outside if I leave the trailer for more than a few minutes.

Phoenix 05-29-2014 09:44 AM

Re: Responses to Questions on Honda EU2000i Generator
See responses to your questions, in BLUE TEXT, below:

* Should I carry extra gas, and if so how much? Any particular type of gas can? --

If you boondock for more than 2-3 days at a time, you'll need extra gas. The fuel in the internal tank of a Honda EU2000i will run in ECO mode at low RPM for 6-8 hours.

If both generators run at high RPM (e.g., to power your air conditioner in 100+ degree temperatures), time will be significantly reduced to just a few hours (depends on high-RPM cycle time).

I have a 6-gallon portable marine gas tank similar to this one (ours is no longer in production.): Attwood Fuel Tank -

In mild temperatures (no air conditioner use), and running one generator 2-3 hours a day to recharge batteries from overnight use of FantasticFans, furnace, television, laptop and other electrical devices, we can boondock about two weeks on six gallons of gas. It's also nice to know you have a little emergency fuel for your tow vehicle, if you misjudge the distance to your next fuel stop.

If you run both generators to power your air conditioner 24/7, I suspect this six gallon tank will be empty in a day or two. However, this would probably not be a problem in your northern location. In the southwest desert areas, we avoid camping where extended air conditioner use is necessary; and we figure if we need to run it, we are in the wrong location and need to head for the mountains where it's cooler.

You can purchase "extended run" kits with marine fittings and modified gas caps, to continuously draw fuel from a portable tank. These are a little pricey ($75 to $100+), and will probably be unnecessary for most campers, unless you have a special need to have 115-volt AC power 24/7. However, you can build your own kit from parts for about half that cost.

* Should I keep them in truck bed when I crank them up, or on the ground close to my 27' airstream? Seems like safer away from truck. --

Your choice; both options are used by RVers. I personally prefer to put our generator(s) near the front wheel of our TV, on the passenger side. This location reduces noise and carbon-monoxide fumes by being a little farther away.

We reduce exhaust noise heard inside our Bambi by placing the generator 20-30 feet away and pointing the exhaust pipe away from the trailer. On occasion, we have also used our card table to block the sound. With a FantasticFan running, the generator is barely audible.

* Is rain a concern when running? -- Infrequent spray or a few rain drops are OK, but don't leave generators standing in the pouring rain. I put our generator under the end of the campground picnic table (if there is one), or under a portable card table with a plastic table cloth/tarp, to protect it from getting wet.

* How long should I run to put say 25% charge on my new batteries? -- In most cases, 2-3 hours is sufficient to top off batteries. The amount of discharge (and recharge time) can be significantly reduced by installing LED light bulbs/fixtures (if you do not already have them), and controlling electric use. We usually run our generator for an hour or two during a late breakfast or at lunchtime, and during dinner. This allows use of the microwave and electric coffeemaker, while recharging the batteries. Also, if not boondocking, these times probably have the least (noise) impact on other campers; as they are awake and may be away from their campsite.

* How much impact, if any, whether or not I am running AC thus using both gens? --

Regarding noise, my opinion is that two generators are barely distinguishable as louder than one, especially from a distance. Unless both generators are visible, most other campers will think you only have one.

Regarding fuel, if you do not need the extra power, there is no advantage to running both generators at the same time. You will just double the fuel burned. However, if you do need extra power, both will probably be running at high-RPM much of the time; and fuel consumption could be 2-4 times that of a single generator under light load.

If possible, I would limit air conditioner use to the few hottest hours of the afternoon/evening, and perhaps look for activities away from the campsite during that period to reduce use even further. As I mentioned before, if you need to run your air conditioner, perhaps you are camped in the wrong location.

* Any other guidance? --

1. Thoroughly read the Honda EU2000i Owners Manual BEFORE initial use.

2. If this is the first use of a new generator, the crankcase may be not have any oil in it. Check engine oil and add, if necessary. (A few years ago, ours were shipped without oil; and I had to add it before using them.)

3. Make sure to turn the ON/OFF switch to the ON/RUN position before cranking (generator will not start in OFF position). It may take numerous pulls for the fuel pump to fill the carburetor for your first use, and after storage. After initial use, generator will usually start with 1-2 pulls (except in extreme weather).

4. Insure vent switch on generator fuel filler cap is set to ON/RUN position. If it is in OFF position, fuel tank won't vent; and it will develop a vacuum, as fuel is used. Then, after a short runtime, the generator will stall from fuel starvation. If this happens, just open the vent and restart the generator (may take a few pulls for the fuel pump to refill the carburetor.)

5. Do NOT refuel a hot generator, due to possibility of a flash fire. Wait until generator exhaust has cooled. Note: Do not stick your finger in a hot exhaust pipe to test the temperature. (And, don't ask how I know...)

6. If generators are unused for more than a couple of months, drain as much fuel as you can from the internal tank and carburetor (see Owners Manual) and run generator dry, until engine stalls. Otherwise, add a fuel stabilizer (e.g., "STA-BIL"; STA-BIL 22211 Fuel Stabilizer, 8 oz: Motor Oil, Transmission Fluid & Car Lubricant : to your fuel.

7. Disregard ground-fault error indications on 3-prong RV plug voltage testers. Honda EU generators are wired slightly different from house wiring and will show an error. Per the Honda EU2000i Owners Manual:

"Honda portable generators have a system ground that connects generator frame components to the ground terminals in the AC output receptacles. The system ground is not connected to the AC neutral wire. If the generator is tested by a receptacle tester, it will not show the same ground circuit condition as for a home receptacle."

8. Lock your generator to your TV, concrete picnic table or large tree; as they are hot items for easy cash and easily stolen.

Airrogant 05-29-2014 10:02 AM

I bought a 1 gallon fuel container that I plan to bring along in addition to what is in the generator's tank.

1 Gallon Fuel Packs : Gasoline Containers :

Len n Jeanne 05-29-2014 10:22 AM

One thing you might do (if you've not, already) is get a separate lock (like a bicycle lock) for your generator/s for inside the back of your truck. Generators are very attractive to thieves. Not only do they "walk away" from campsites, but they can get stolen out of the back of your truck as well. Someone once tried to break into the back of our truck once.

paiceman 05-29-2014 10:58 AM

I purchased metal handles that fit under the plastic handles and then run a Kryptonite cable through both generators and lock them to the tie down in the front of the pick up bed to help prevent the casual thief.

I run them rain or shine and have had no issues. I start out with both gens full of fuel and carry two 2.5 gallon tanks in addition to a full 5 gallon diesel tank just in case we can't find diesel fuel Ultra Low in the back woods.

You will like the Honda's we do, don't use them as often as I thought we would as the batteries will last us three days dry camping.

ghaynes755 05-29-2014 11:44 AM

None of the Honda generators ship with oil. And most times the store where you buy it doesn't tell you this little fact. Start it without oil and lock it up and there is no warranty.

woodfox45 05-29-2014 11:55 AM

A 6 gal. aux. tank is a must if you run both generators to power your AC I ran mine for 12 hrs and only used 3 gallons of gas . There are some on the market that work well .

ghaynes755 05-29-2014 11:59 AM

A quick question about the Microwave. My 2014 has a Samsung combination Microwave and Oven. Finally used just my Eu2000 last weekend. Had the trailer hooked up to the Companion version and it would overload when the Microwave kicked in. That indicates to me either it isn't putting out the rated 2000/1600 watts or that other items in the trailer are pulling power. Likely culprits would be the refrigerator switching over to AC, charger for the batteries. Nothing else was on.

So the question for the group is, are you able to run your 900w or so Microwave with other side stuff on a single EU2000?

A W Warn 05-29-2014 01:12 PM


Originally Posted by ghaynes755 (Post 1461949)
So the question for the group is, are you able to run your 900w or so Microwave with other side stuff on a single EU2000?

I run my microwave using one Honda 2000, with the converter charging the battery and refrigerator running on 120v, without any issues. Though, it does kick up to full throttle. If I use anything else additionally, like the coffee pot or use a hair dryer, it's overloaded.

switz 05-29-2014 01:16 PM

The convection microwave draws 1650 watts which is more than the 1600 watts continuous rating of the 2,000 watt Honda. Anything else running that draws very much power at the same time could cause the generator breaker to trip.

The simple microwave only in our Classic will draw 1350 watts. The Honda could handle that. Running our 800 watt toaster with the furnace running on AC was a full load for our 2,000 watt Honda when we were in the 25FB.

Silver Hawk 05-29-2014 02:00 PM

I run my microwave directly off a inverter hooked directly to my batteries (300 amps). 20001 than only charges the batteries and will not have overload problems - a little less efficient (10%) but no problems or worries.

Condoluminum 05-29-2014 02:22 PM

Two more thoughts...
1. The Power Converter/charger is almost always drawing some power to maintain battery charge or feed any active 12V circuit in the trailer, so you need to expect that 100 Watts or more are going to go to the converter, before feeding microwave oven or other 110V appliances.
2. Back to original question, you should also be aware that any gas cans/containers may be confiscated before you are permitted to board a ferry with the trailer, so plan to empty fuel cans into truck tank or arrive at ferry dock with empty cans.. <Ask me how I know this from our trip to BC...>


ghaynes755 05-29-2014 03:18 PM

I misspoke the standard Microwave is the Sharp R820BK. Specs say Microwave only draw is 1450W. Probably close enough that if the fridge is running on AC there is to much load.

Soul Food II 05-29-2014 09:34 PM

Thanks to all for great feedback, particularly Phoenix for in depth details and to Condoluminum for tip on crossing on ferry into Newfoundland with empty gas cans.

Skater 05-30-2014 09:05 AM


Originally Posted by ghaynes755 (Post 1461943)
None of the Honda generators ship with oil. And most times the store where you buy it doesn't tell you this little fact. Start it without oil and lock it up and there is no warranty.

To be fair, mine had warnings all over the place about this fact - in the box, on the generator, and in the manuals. It would have been hard to miss them. Now if the dealer removed them and claimed it was ready to go, then I'd be irritated...

The safest bet is to check the oil level. Should be doing that anyway.

A W Warn 05-30-2014 09:40 AM

A Honda EU2000i generator will not start if the oil is low. It has an internal low oil level sensor that prevents it. It's well described in the Owners Manual.

Erika_C 06-10-2020 10:12 AM

Honda EB2000i and 2020 Bambi 22ft
Hi all,

I am having the dealer install the Micro air EZ start on my brand new Bambi. Since I am a newbie without a clue of technical electric stuff, can anyone give me an idea of what I can and cannot use while running this? I know I can run the AC but can I plug anything in? Is the microwave out of the question? Does anyone have a similar set up and can they give me any pointers? TIA.

Bill M. 06-10-2020 10:30 AM

You can run either the AC or the microwave, but not both at the same time. No, you cannot run an appliance that draws power like a hair dryer or a coffee maker or something while running the AC. Our trailer is wired with a switch that switches between the AC and the microwave. You cannot run both at the same time even when on shore power. Yours is maybe different.

To the poster that asked about the running the microwave on the gen. Our microwave draws more power than the AC. I have a switch on my power converter. If I turn the power converter off I can run the microwave on the generator. Barely. Been thinking about looking for a microwave that draws less power but I do not know how to evaluate a microwave power draw.

switz 06-11-2020 06:45 AM

On the bottom or side of the microwave is a data plate that states how many watts it is rated for the magnetron. It will also list the amps as well as total watts when the microwave is running.

After installing an easy start, the single airconditioner can be easily started. While that is running, one hopes the battery charger does not come on line as that would be too much load. Anything that is 12Vdc should work just fine like the lights or appliances running on propane.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:23 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.