Fellow eggers, a little advice on Generators please. - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-27-2012, 02:25 PM   #15
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Being in Louisiana and loving to camp anytime of the year, a genny is a "have to".
There's a big difference in db levels. I like the Honda 2000 the best. My AC is only 5,000 btu so it's more than enough.
Welcome to the site, I'm new to FG campers, too!
It's a great place for information and sharing your love of FG. Lots of good folks in here!
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:12 PM   #16
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I have a Honda 2000i I've been around some of those loud ones and it's a huge difference. Whatever you get make sure that it can handle your AC. I think it takes about twice the power to start the AC or something? In any event my Honda can't handle the AC load.
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Old 01-27-2012, 11:48 PM   #17
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Luckily, my Honda Genny is a 5,000 Watt (peak) unit (4500 running constant watts) with outputs for 30 amp at 120V (plus other 120V outlets that can be used at the same time) or 20 amps of 220V. Since my Bigfoot likes to have 30 Amp available at campgrounds, this is the perfect size, as it can handle everything at once (as well as being a standby power unit for the house if/when needed)
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Old 01-28-2012, 10:26 AM   #18
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How would you feel about camping and sleeping next to a running lawnmower? That's what a cheap generator sounds like.

If you're camping far from other people, you mainly have to please only yourselves and you can run what you like. If the lawnmower-volume engine noise doesn't bug you, I guess you could buy a cheapo model; while inside the trailer you might not hear the genny much over the roar of the AC anyway. Just don't fire it up in a CG or you'll get a lot of dirty looks (and maybe worse).

The Honda 2000 and Yamaha 2400 still sound like an engine, but the volume is more like people talking. Most CGs still restrict the hours that one can use a genny to certain daytime periods, though, so if you're in someplace without electric hookup and it's hot, you might still be sleeping without AC.

I have a 5000 btu AC. My strategy so far has been to avoid heat where possible, and where I can't avoid the heat I get a CG with electric to run the AC. I am not fond of small gas engines. The ethanol in common unleaded gas can mess up a carburetor pretty quickly if one is not religious about draining the tank and all that during periods of non-use.

Kipor makes a quiet genny that's cheaper than the Honda, but I would not recommend it. If it needs service it's hard to get parts for them, I've read.
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:26 AM   #19
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We ran a Honda eU1000i on our sailboat. With that we could run a 5000BTU ac. The controlling factor was that it would run out of gas in about 6 hours! That was OK since it was usually cool by then but you'd wake up soaked in sweat because all the hatches were closed! We found a simple well-placed fan did a better job in assuring a good nights' sleep. Of course, we don't have asthma.
Make sure your fuel will last all night because you'll have to run it all night, or until your neighbors shut it down for ya. ;-)
Alternatively, there are very expensive 12V units for boats that will run on a good sized battery bank.
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Old 01-28-2012, 12:37 PM   #20
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Solar could be an alternative to a generator, if it's done right. The Casita doesn't have much roof real estate, though, so I think you'd have to use freestanding panels set on the ground (but that lets you adjust the angle and direction, even location to avoid shade). Handy Bob has a blog where he talks about his solar setup with 345 watts of panels. The RV Battery Charging Puzzle HandyBob's Blog
An excerpt from his blog page:
"We run our TV, computer, battery chargers for phone, camera, tools, etc., plus coffee maker, microwave, mattress heating pad, toaster, waffle iron, hair dryer, vacuum, power tools such as skill saw, table and miter saws, router, sander, drills, heat shrink gun, soldering iron, etc. You name it. We live a normal life, except that our house is very small. My wife watches TV while she quilts with a sewing machine, using an electric iron to press the seams and I do remodeling & repairs, including building a big deck in 2006, using power tools connected to our rig, at a remote cabin with no electric service (where it rained for three days during construction)."
With the right system, an AC unit might be operated off solar power, either thru an inverter or by use of a 12v boat AC. Handy Bob's system does use 4 6v golf cart batteries, though.

Just wanted to present one more option for you to consider.
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Old 01-28-2012, 12:48 PM   #21
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I have a 95 Watt solar panel installed on my Escape 17B. Combined with LED lighting & a pair of 6V batteries, I've been able to run all my "stuff" except the toaster oven & AC without a generator. That includes a couple of hours per day using a 9 amp laptop, and a cell phone amplifier & router that draw 3 amps. I did end up with the batteries down to 85% after 4 days in the shade at Apgar Campground at Glacier National Park, but if there is sun I'm usually up to 100% by noon. While on my Southwest trip there were a couple of days that were hot enough that I wanted the AC - I just stopped at a campground with hookups. The rest of the time I found the Maxx Fan provided enough air movement to make things comfortable.
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Old 01-28-2012, 01:36 PM   #22
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Michael,

I was easily able to mount 80 watts on the roof of our Scamp. Even with a light weight solar storage system it's possible to run many high wattage short duration items from the inverter, like a coffee pot or hair dryer, things that run a fraction of an hour. The only thing we can't run is probably the Air Conditioner, refrigerator or hot water heater, all high power draw with hours of running town.

Our 80 watts seems to be enough for most everything that's small trailer sized..
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:07 PM   #23
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Norm, I guess I could have been more clear. I meant that there isn't enough roof room for sufficient solar panels to recharge the draw of an AC unit. 300 to 400 watts of panels could handle that, I think, if the whole system is set up correctly. It would take some heavy gauge wiring.

I agree, an 80 watt can do a lot.
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Old 01-28-2012, 05:32 PM   #24
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Energy Usage19 weekz

Mike, Hope I didn't come across too strongly. What I was trying to say is that 80-100 watts is probably enough for a small trailer like mine. If one were to go to 4 batteries (really high tongue weight)I could run an AC unit. It turns out my AC unit draws no more power than my coffee pot, just for a longer time.

I've been keeping track of our Energy usage for the past 10 weeks.

110 VAC Electricity.
Electrically we average 5 kWhrs or about 2 amps of AC an hour.

With 12 hours of sunlight I'd minimally need about 400 watts of panelsn to meet all AC needs. I assume most of the AC goes to refridge and secondarily the hot water tank.

From an environmental point of view that's a lot less than we use at home.

Propane.
We've used about 2/3rds of a 20 pound tank in ten weeks.

Gasoline,
We've averaged about 75 miles a day, including travel towards Seattle and exploring.

We're using an average of 3 gallons a day of gasoline, paying around $10-11 a day for gas.

This provides some information for full time RVers. In our travels we have stayed at one place for 2 weeks and another for a month, in both instances visiting old RV friends. Generally we drive an average of 150 miles when driving between destinations.

Hopefully this provides some cost information.
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:49 PM   #25
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While at my dentist's office last summer I ran across an issue of Trailer Life that evaluated the Honda, Yamaha, and one other brand of 2000 watt inverter generators. They give both the Honda and Yamaha high marks, but thought the Yamaha had a few features that put it ahead of the Honda. I don't remember the details since I had other things on my mind at the time, but it seems that having a fuel gauge was one of the several features they liked on the Yamaha. On another forum someone said that Yamaha has gotten out of the generator business; something that you might want to look into before laying down close to a thousand dollars.
The Champion 2000 watt inverter generator seems to get very good reviews if you're on a limited budget.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:59 PM   #26
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We used Honda generators at work for years . They ran well under load or idle and the oil alert was a great feature. We would start them in the morning , run them all day (10 to12 Hours) day after day with no problems. The lower price generators did not hold up well under continuous load especially in hot weather and cost more to own in the long run.
I visited 5 Wisconsin State Parks last year and all had posted bans against generators . The only exception was for medical reasons ( doctors slip ) and only if no sites with electric were available , the park ranger gave consent,
and the hours when the generator could be operated were limited.
I'm beginning to see limiting my electrical usage , LED lamps and installing solar as a more viable alternative.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:04 PM   #27
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I checked out a Honda Yesterday at a local camping world that just happened to have one that they could run. It was quiet indeed, in fact while it was running in eco mode, and I walked up to it I didn't realize it was already running until I was only a couple of steps away. Running at full load was a little louder, but still reasonable, plus I liked the size of the unit. Two of these would fit into a smaller space, and even cost less than the Honda 3000 watt generator. I think that's going to be my choice...a 2000i, and a companion. $2k total, so not a cheep solution, but I guess us eggers have to pay a premium, and always be cognizant of size and weight!

Thanks for ALL your help!
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:09 PM   #28
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Why would you need 2 units? What size is your a/c?
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