Another - GENERATOR USAGE thread - my take after a trip out - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-16-2019, 09:36 AM   #1
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Another - GENERATOR USAGE thread - my take after a trip out

Hi All,

I have read all the arguments of generator usage, noise, etc! But I wanted to give my perspective after what I would call our first real trip out needing the generator!

So we go to John Bryan State Park Ohio (lovely place!) for a 3 night stay. There are no sights with electric available, and none have full hookups. For that matter, the park only has pit toilets and NO shower house!

Well what the hell, lets give generator usage a shot! Our camper is ALL ELECTRIC. Ok, so as our trip gets closer we monitor the weather, and the forecast held true - Friday and Saturday night is was getting down to 35*F

So anyway as we pull in, we find our site to be not private at all. There are peeps on all 4 sides of us. A lot of those peeps were tent camping!

Anyway, as I fire up the "quiet Honda e2000", I find it purrs along fine. Its very quiet. BUT - as soon as I turn on anything with any amp draw (microwave, HEATER, water heater) it revs up SO LOUD!. It is what I will consider rude to other campers at this point, and can be heard many sites away. I dont care what they say about the quite Hondas, they are NOT QUIET when reved up, period!

So we end up running the gen for 1 hour each morning, waiting till 9:30, and just using it to get a little HEAT in the camper (it was low 40's in the egg - we froze to death 2 nights in a row!), heat up water for showers, and a quick bowl of oatmeal in the microwave. I felt bad that whole hour - but everybody seemed to take it in stride as I am sure they were cursing under their breath.

SO - heres my "opinion" on generator usage. Running a quite Honda to recharge a battery, that's probably fine if you have a half way remote campsite because it will not be heard much if at all. Running almost wide open to get ELECTRIC water heater, heater, or microwave that require full on power now - ITS NOISY AND RUDE, unless you are so far away from others.

Thats my take from an ALL ELECTRIC camper owner who was all excited to use our quiet generator. From now on, we will ONLY use the generator for summer boon-docking to charge the batteries (it really is quiet at low rpm eco mode), or if we are so far out there we are field camping or such. But if we need heat, we MUST have an electric campsite.

It was a great test! We still love our EggCamper and since we are not retired, we are only talking 1-2 weekends in October where it is an issue - so we will just make sure we have electric sites during October - then we are good to go! The next RV will have gas heat and water heater - then I will run SOLAR and use the genny as backup just to charge the batteries ONLY!
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:39 AM   #2
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This is why I won't have a camper without propane, and don't rely on any high wattage electrical stuff. Stove, hot water, furnace are all propane, so is the fridge. I can dry camp for a week+ if I'm careful with my water usage.
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:47 AM   #3
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I Agree!

But I do want to say we are on 3 years now with the ALL ELECTRIC camper, and this is the first time we had an issue. If one wants to use Electric Hook Ups in colder weather - your good to go!

Even boondocking for long weekends in warmer weather has been no issue for us.

But if you NEED HEAT - you need to be plugged in (or be out in the back 40 acres)!!

Once we retire - we want to be able to have flexibility of unexpected cold nights (maybe high altitude?) so therefor if road tripping the entire US on a whim, propane heat is a must!
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Old 10-16-2019, 10:06 AM   #4
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This is one reason many parks have generator hours, basically daylight only. As you found, a quiet generator is not so quiet once it’s under load.

+100 propane for the win.
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Old 10-16-2019, 10:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Joe & Cherie View Post
I Agree!



But I do want to say we are on 3 years now with the ALL ELECTRIC camper, and this is the first time we had an issue. If one wants to use Electric Hook Ups in colder weather - your good to go!



Even boondocking for long weekends in warmer weather has been no issue for us.



But if you NEED HEAT - you need to be plugged in (or be out in the back 40 acres)!!



Once we retire - we want to be able to have flexibility of unexpected cold nights (maybe high altitude?) so therefor if road tripping the entire US on a whim, propane heat is a must!


There is a simple answer to your problem. Just get a Buddy propane heater and run it off the small bottles that attach to the appliance. Be sure to keep a vent or window open. That is how we boondock in cool weather in our all electric Lil Snoozy.
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Old 10-16-2019, 11:26 AM   #6
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Thank you for your honest and considerate post. Hopefully others will read your story and take it to heart . The county & state parks in my area have banned generators except in the case of medical necessity and I for one am thrilled !!
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Old 10-16-2019, 03:27 PM   #7
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I added propane to our Lil Snoozy along with a Propex furnace and a SMEV cook top, and 160 watts of solar.. A very warm sleeping bag also lets one sleep comfortably in very cold weather. We also have a “quiet” generator that we rarely to never use.
Happy Trails
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Old 10-16-2019, 03:32 PM   #8
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Thank you for posting this. With our Casita, we can go 5-6 nights without power, in fact we need to empty grey water before worrying about the battery. Just bring a camp lantern and transister radio. Propane for fridge, water heater and maybe heater itself, a good sleeping bag and you're set.

We were in Acadia last year where they either have no rules or don't enforce them (not sure). A neighbor ran his Honda gen all day to provide a fan for the dog since dogs are not allowed on trails or beaches. Honda's, while quiet, are obnoxious when on all day. Sadly, it seems a losing issue as people can no longer do without the comforts of home while camping. Thanks for the awareness though and there's nothing wrong with running it for brief periods.
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Old 10-16-2019, 04:48 PM   #9
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Thanks for being so considerate to your fellow campers; I wish others were so nice. One guy in Vally of Fire in Nevada put his generator behind a big rock so he couldn't hear it - it was on our side of the rock with the exhaust pointed right at us.

I agree with the solutions posted by others and will summarize my approach with our "all electric" Lil Snoozy. I have used all of these techniques in this or other trailers.

When you need a little heat to take the chill off at night, light 2 or 3 candles. It creates a nice mood too.

Use a portable propane stove to cook with.

Use a Buddy propane heater with a couple of windows cracked and a CO detector. It has its own low oxygen detector.

For major heat needs, install a propane tank and Propex heater as suggested by Dave and Paula. They are quiet and use little electricity.

Convert to a LiFePO4 battery for your electrical needs. With the right charger it reduces generator run time to 1/3 or 1/4 of lead acid. This is not a cheap or easy conversion - see my post on it.

Carry a long 10 or 12 gauge extension cord and put the generator as far away from everybody as possible.

Carry one or two small pieces of plywood that are taller than the generator and lean them on the generator between it and everybody's camps. Makes a big difference. It also shows that you are trying to be quiet.
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Old 10-16-2019, 06:42 PM   #10
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Generators are not rude, people are. My Yamaha 900W generator with eco mode sips gas and is not very loud. Id agree that it makes noise but so do many other sources found in campgrounds. Id run my generator for a few hours a day to maintain the camper battery and to charge some other batteries we use. I try to place it in my camp area, but it does need to be relatively close to the back end of my trailer. Id never run it close to quite hours, and there is no point to keeping it on most of the day.

I appreciate the desire to impress ones campsite neighbors as expressed by the OP. If the generator is needed, I recommend that it be used. Just follow the rules and maintain some situational awareness.
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:09 PM   #11
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Where did you purchase your Propex heater? Did you install it yourself?
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by charlsara View Post
There is a simple answer to your problem. Just get a Buddy propane heater and run it off the small bottles that attach to the appliance.
We also have an all-electric EggCamper. When its cold and we're boondocking, we sleep on flannel sheets under a pile of blankets. We then light our small propane heater before we get out of bed in the morning to warm up the space, and then keep it running for however long we're inside and its needed. So far this has worked well for us down to a 30F outside temperature. I don't know if this would work in even colder temperatures, as we have not had that opportunity yet.



I agree about the generator. We have and use one, but it gets fired up as little as possible when others are in earshot; and never at night, even if there are no posted quiet hours. We'd like all campers to enjoy their trip, not just us.
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Old 10-16-2019, 10:37 PM   #13
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Thank you for your honest and considerate post. Hopefully others will read your story and take it to heart . The county & state parks in my area have banned generators except in the case of medical necessity and I for one am thrilled !!
So if I have a valid Medical Pot card or Emo dog does that mean I have a license to annoy?
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:56 AM   #14
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So if I have a valid Medical Pot card or Emo dog does that mean I have a license to annoy?
The rule as stated is that generators are not allowed except if there is a verified medical necessity, there are no sites available with electricity , the park ranger approves and he may assign you a site to avoid conflict with others and the hours of operation maybe limited . I doubt a POT card would comply !

If people wish to run a generator while camping and communing with nature then they should be required to place the generator inside the living quarters of their trailer with the windows / door closed during all hours of operation . IMHO
This would mitigate a lot of the noise and pollution issues
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Old 10-17-2019, 07:28 AM   #15
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As always, noise pollution comes in many flavors.

I've been in sites with nonstop barking dogs. You were not supposed to leave your dog alone, but they went off to kyak in the lake and the minute they were out of sight the dog started barking and continued for hours until they came back into sight. No problem as far as they were concerned, their dog never barked.

Screaming meanie children. I have no children and nor have much use for them.

The neighbors come in, turn on the boom box, and proceed to run it 24/7.

Why are generators any worse than the above? They aren't.
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Old 10-17-2019, 07:54 AM   #16
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As always, noise pollution comes in many flavors.

I've been in sites with nonstop barking dogs. You were not supposed to leave your dog alone, but they went off to kyak in the lake and the minute they were out of sight the dog started barking and continued for hours until they came back into sight. No problem as far as they were concerned, their dog never barked.

Screaming meanie children. I have no children and nor have much use for them.

The neighbors come in, turn on the boom box, and proceed to run it 24/7.

Why are generators any worse than the above? They aren't.
If our parents did not have children , you and I would not exist
I find the sound of children playing rather pleasant , bringing back fond memories of my childhood !
Logically because I object to the noise and the pollution of generators does not equate with me welcoming the sounds coming from barking dogs or boom boxes
Noise pollution is noise pollution , no matter the source
Justify a wrong by saying its no worse than another wrong doesnt work for me
I own a generator , it is parked in my pole barn , my closest neighbors are a mile away and when I do run it , I close the doors on my pole barn to keep the noise contained .
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:15 AM   #17
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Generators can be noisy, especially under load.
I had a guy put his generator behind my trailer instead of his own because he didn't like the noise. When I asked him about this he told me to leave if I didn't like the noise.
I seldom use my generator because of its noise and also fuel consumption.

My fridge, stove, furnace and hot water tank all use propane. I only need battery power for my gas detectors, LED lights and furnace fan. I use two group 27 lead-acid deep cycle batteries which charge completely during the day from my solar panels. The generator is for "just in case". Solar is cheaper in the long run and works well for boondocking in the back country, especially if you spend a week or more there.
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Old 10-17-2019, 11:30 AM   #18
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If our parents did not have children , you and I would not exist
Indeed. I grew out of that phase. Although my mother assured me that I was a pleasant child, as first children often are..

It's all selective bitching to me, even my own comments..
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Old 10-17-2019, 11:47 AM   #19
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Interesting perspectives by all! One big thing I wanted to point besides use or don’t use was the load. A neighbor listening to my Honda 2000 charging my battery is minimal noise pollution (but is is still there). My Honda 2000 with a 1500 watt cube heater plugged in, might as well fire up a chain saw!!! Ha!
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Old 10-17-2019, 12:02 PM   #20
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Was at a campground in Texas when a camper pulled in next to me. one of the first things he did was to pull out his generator and fire it up. This was in the late PM. He ran it al night and ticked off everyone around. No night people in the office to complain to, and he paid no attention to any who complained. Oh, by the way this campground was full hookups. Go figure.
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