Considerations when buying a generator - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-12-2018, 09:04 PM   #21
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Name: Michael
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Consider your power needs. I have two generators. Both are Hondas. I have a 1000watt, small, portable, low fuel consumption, quiet unit for back country use to supplement my solar panels and a much larger unit as a backup should my hydro power go out at home.
These units are application specific and not interchangeable. In this case, one size doesn't fit all.
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:06 AM   #22
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On YouTube, check out the channel "Long long Honeymoon". He does video reviews of many small inverter generators for RVing.

Here's a bigger one he likes:
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Old 12-13-2018, 12:46 PM   #23
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I have a 2000, with solar I no longer take it along with the trailer but do use it at home. I can run the furnace and either the fridge or freezer and lamp. so it's okay for home use, ideal would be 3000 or bigger but I'd not want to haul it around when camping. kind of the trade off, weight and $ vs ease of use. for me, portability won out for camping. the 2200 would be even better.

A couple things to add, the way the fuel system works on the Honda you can add an extended run tank. I made one for at home use. With it I have 6 gallons, enough to run for 2-3 days.

When camping I only used the genny to recharge the batteries, the 1 gallon tank would last me a week. I carried an empty 1 gallon jug, would fill it if needed to refill the genny. Carrying the can empty saved me worrying about it.

I too kept the unit in the truck bed and ran it from there, once I learned to do so. Cut down on the noise level and saved me lifting it out.

Heard the Honda 3000 one time, that was one nice quiet unit. If the weight doesn't bother you it would be worth considering. I have no knowledge of brands other then Honda, 13 years ago it or the Yamaha were what one would buy.

I don't summer camp so running the air conditioner wasn't a factor.
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:17 PM   #24
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I have one of the older style Champion generators. Noisy as heck, but starts easy (pull cord) is powerful enough to run the fridge, freezer, lights, etc. in the house. Would never take it out camping! People would kill me!!

I have a Briggs and Stratton inverter generator, 3000. It is not as quite as a Honda, but close. I can lift it in and out of my truck, which is quite high since it is 4X4.
Haven't really used it much, but does start easy.
Specifically wanted it so I could run A/C in the little trailer, if needed.
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:16 AM   #25
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I have a Harbor Freight 2500 watt inverter generator and I have been happy with it and it performs as well as the Hondas we have at work. I have previously discussed the differences and how to make the Predator 2500 quieter.
If I were to buy another generator for home use I would want a dual fuel 6500 watt inverter generator with 240 or 120 volt output.
This would be to be able to run the A/C and head and most of my house in case fo loss of power.
I looked at the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 like this:

Unfortunately this one has very bad reviews and is rated as one of the worst available.
It has some good ideas, however like the alternator integrated in the motor etc.
Too bad is is not a very good unit! The Price is from $1000 + but a grand for a bad generator is no bargain.
Also if using for an RV with 50 amp service while this generator will work it is basically two inverters one for each phase and when hooked up into a true 50 amp system that divides the 240 into two 120 volts circuits the power on each one or more correctly either one may be more than that side of the generator will provide. Some people who bought this one had problems powering their larger RV A/C units from this generator. It would work OK if a true 240 power load were placed where it would share the load across the two inverters.
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Old 12-14-2018, 03:41 PM   #26
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I have a very nice 2000 watt Yamaha. But it now gets left at home. Even a "quiet" generator is very annoying and I have found that I can charge the trailer batteries better by running jumper cables from the truck to the trailer batteries and just idling the truck. This charges faster, quieter, doesn't require me to bring the generator or gas for the generator. My 3000 watt inverter runs anything the generator will, and more. The inverter will also run AC loads for short periods without charging the batteries. So, if you just want to warm something up in the microwave, for instance, you don't need to start the generator to do it. Then there is the solar factor. Done carefully, there should be no need at all for a generator.

Also, you don't need an inverter generator. They are nice, but conventional generators work fine too. They just have to run at a constant 3600 RPM, where an inverter generator can idle down with light loads. I have a 5500 watt conventional generator that runs the house and everything I've hooked up to it, just fine. I used to use one on my boat as well and it ran the VCR, sound system, the battery charger, the computer and everything it was asked to do within it's wattage range.
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Old 12-19-2018, 11:51 AM   #27
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I never use a generator camping as it goes against why I head out. But living in Interior Alaska power outages are not uncommon any season (5 days is my longest) and I have to recommend the Generac Wheelhouse 5500 (surge to 6870) I bought 18 years ago. Maintenance is easy, 5 gallon tank lasts 10 hrs or so and I can run all the necessary systems in my house and still watch tv or check the internet occasionally. Darn thing can be bought for around $700, which is what I bought it for during the 2000 scare.
Get the quiet(er) Honda for camping, as I may be your neighbor and the last thing I want is to hear a loud, invasive engine running while Iím watching the fire.
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Old 12-19-2018, 11:54 AM   #28
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Buying generator

The price is not everything when buying a generator. If looking at something for your requirements ; something in the 3000 watt range may work but only you can make the decision on that requirement. Comparing the Coleman vs a Honda the noise difference can be quite substantial Honda at 50-57 Db vs Coleman at 63 Db can be quite a difference. The difference of 5 Db is not a linear difference but a multiple.
Just one question... What good is a generator if it is too loud and can't be run in a campground or at home for backup due to noise bylaws ? Would make a good boat anchor though !


The other consideration if you plan on running any electronics ; an inverter type generator is almost a must. That's what makes them pricier in the first place. Many high efficiency home furnaces today have complex electronics circuitry running them.
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Old 12-19-2018, 12:27 PM   #29
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The other consideration if you plan on running any electronics ; an inverter type generator is almost a must. That's what makes them pricier in the first place. Many high efficiency home furnaces today have complex electronics circuitry running them.
The advantages of an inverter generator that I know of are: quieter because they can idle down under low loads, a little more fuel efficient because they can idle down and possibly, lighter weight.

I'd like to see a list of things that people were not able to run from a conventional generator. Not theory, but an actual list of things that would not run. I have never had something not work on a conventional generator. Or anything damaged by generator power. Since we are talking about trailers and camping here, I'm not sure how a home furnace plays into the equation. If one of those did not work it might be because of the floating ground, but that would be the case with any portable generator that was not grounded.
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Old 12-19-2018, 04:06 PM   #30
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generators

I have a Westinghouse 2500 and am totally pleased with it. I use it mostly camping yet more than adequate for emergency home use. And a good price.

https://www.westinghouseportablepowe...ucts/igen2500/
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Old 12-19-2018, 05:13 PM   #31
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I converted my Honda 2000 to propane. Propane doesnít get old in the bottle and it doesnít gum up a carburetor. During a power outage a few years ago, gas was in short supply locally because the power outage affected gas stations. Finding more gas was a real pain. I only kept one 3 gallon gas can because gas does go bad. This container (only part full) ran out quickly while running the house freezer and refrig. With my six propane bottles (barbecue, generator, outside propane heater, backyard fire pit, plus spare) I couldíve run for days. Propane tanks are safer than gas cans and propane engines put out little to no carbon monoxide. CO is a real concern with gas generators. Right before my trailer got totaled in a nasty accident Iíd tapped into the trailer propane line with a quick disconnect for the generator. Bad as the accident was the propane bottles were undamaged; typical gas cans might have leaked or worse.
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Old 12-20-2018, 09:11 AM   #32
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Generator Fuel

Great stuff from the previous posts on the selection of a generator/inverter. However, I don't see anything to answer your question:

How much fuel do you keep with you when traveling and any suggestions around fuel containers/storage?

I would say that the best approach is to carry no fuel but to get one of these and "borrow" fuel from your tow vehicle:
https://www.harborfreight.com/Multi-...ump-63144.html

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Old 12-20-2018, 09:24 AM   #33
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That's an interesting idea! Any downsides?

(Also, thank you everyone for all the great suggestions, ideas, and sharing your experiences.)
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Old 12-20-2018, 09:36 AM   #34
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Buy cheap and expect cheap results.

When NEEDED, a reliable generator is invaluable. Todays modern house appliances are full of Micro-processors. Some or all can be severely damaged by "dirty" power. So the manufacturers have pretty much all started building "Inverter" Gen Sets.

They are considerably more expensive to build than the common Generator.
And yes, in general, the more expensive ones are mostly always better.

After a few days without power, I was asked if I used our Inverter, and how did it do. I thought back and spoke fondly of how it kept us warm, and entertained, and kept the food cold. Did not even think of the prices. And at this moment I can't recall what they cost.

When I pull that rope, turn that key, or push that button, it is because that unit is NEEDED. And I'm willing to pay for that hope!

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Old 12-20-2018, 09:41 AM   #35
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That's an interesting idea! Any downsides?

(Also, thank you everyone for all the great suggestions, ideas, and sharing your experiences.)
It won't work if your tow is a diesel.

That is part of the reason I run jumper cables from the tow to charge the trailer batteries, and avoid the generator for charging. Plus, while charging this way, the inverter will run loads larger than the generator will.
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Old 12-20-2018, 09:48 AM   #36
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That's an interesting idea! Any downsides?

(Also, thank you everyone for all the great suggestions, ideas, and sharing your experiences.)
For me, one negative would be my vehicles usually have ethanol blended gas in the tank but I use only non-ethanol fuel in all my small engines. I do carry a siphon similar to the one referenced for emergencies. As mentioned in my first post, I carry extra gas in five gallon Scepter military fuel cans on our longer trips.
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Old 12-20-2018, 10:14 AM   #37
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Yet another reason for propane generator; two full tanks of propane on a trailer is about 8 gallons of fuel. No siphoning required (some modern vehicles make siphoning very difficult), no ethanol issues, and no dangerous gas containers.
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Old 12-20-2018, 11:03 AM   #38
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Yet another reason for propane generator; two full tanks of propane on a trailer is about 8 gallons of fuel. No siphoning required (some modern vehicles make siphoning very difficult), no ethanol issues, and no dangerous gas containers.
Does your kit eliminate the gas carburetor? Is there a noticeable power loss with propane?
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Old 12-20-2018, 11:47 AM   #39
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NO carburetor! No gummed-up mess. No fuel gone bad. Presumably there may be some small power loss, but I never noticed. Probably more significantly, as I think I've read, generators shouldn't be run at maximum output because it shortens their lifetime. So running a generator at maximum recommended continuous output may be the same for either fuel. Maybe?

I think the carbon monoxide problem is much more serious than most folks realize. We get kind of desensitized to the concern with cars because their most all have catalytic converters that greatly reduce CO output. Not so with small engine devices. A few years back I read a Coast Guard paper telling of deaths attributed to CO from generators. A study showed that near the exhaust pipe of some generators the CO level would be fatal in about one minute. Compare that to propane engines which produces virtually no CO. Factories use propane powered forklifts inside buildings; they could never do that with gas engines.
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Old 12-20-2018, 12:06 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by LarryB. View Post
Great stuff from the previous posts on the selection of a generator/inverter. However, I don't see anything to answer your question:

How much fuel do you keep with you when traveling and any suggestions around fuel containers/storage?

I would say that the best approach is to carry no fuel but to get one of these and "borrow" fuel from your tow vehicle:
https://www.harborfreight.com/Multi-...ump-63144.html

Unfortunately some newer vehicles have been designed to defeat someone siphoning gas like that.
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