Generator Recommendations?

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by andosfauxtos, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    I paid an extra $100 to get a Dual fuel 2000 gen. (Champion) so I would not have to worry about running it for it looong stretches of non-use. I justified getting it because we had had a few PG&E shut downs (had one today!but only 2 of the scheduled 5 hour outage. Just as I took it up to the back deck to plug in the frig (2 hours in), the lights came on! The frig would have been fine for five hours... but I wanted to use it (for the first time after it’s break in and 1st oil change) to justify it’s existence. Lol.

    Especially since I recently got a Grp 31 AGM 105 AH battery for the pup and it should not even get near 50% SOC for our usual 3 day trips.

    PG&E foiled me, but in an OK way this time. :tongue:
     
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  2. theseus

    theseus Centerville, OH

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    @davekro If you hadn’t had the generator, it would have been a 10 hour power outage :huh:
     
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  3. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    So true!
     
  4. davido

    davido Active Member

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    If AC and electric heat aren't a requirement, a generator probably isn't either. For the price of a 2000w generator you can buy 200w worth of solar, which even in inclement weather would provide a sufficient fraction of the 200w for your needs assuming your needs are limited to:

    • Running a 3A furnace blower 1/3rd of the time for ten hours a day: 10A
    • Running LED lights for five hours: 2A
    • Keeping everyone's phones / tablets charged: 4-8A
    • Water pump for 15 minutes a day at 5A/hr: <2A.
    • Water Heater solenoid for 2h/day at 1.5A: 3A
    • A conservatively powered laptop for 2h at 3A/hr: 6A
    That energy budget is 31Ah/day. A 100W solar panel receiving sunlight for five hours a day will replenish about 35AH. ...ok, closer to 30AH after inefficiencies of charging. So a 100W panel would be approximately break-even if it gets five hours of sunlight. In bad weather it may get less, in good weather more. But it's about right for any energy budget under 35A. You can go almost indefinitely.

    If you think you may use more than I've calculated, or if you expect to camp in areas where you get less sunlight, or more bad weather, upsize to a 160W panel, or a pair of 100W panels. With two, I can't imagine you would ever run a deficit for more than a day or so.

    Also with an energy budget as above, I would recommend a minimum of two Group 24 batteries. That's what I've got. One Group 24 would get you a day or two of power with no solar. Two will get you 3-5 days. Add 100W solar with the two batteries, you can easily go a couple weeks. Add two 100W panels, you're good for greatly extended periods unless you have to go through a winter north of 45°.

    On the other hand, you could buy a generator, bring it along with some gas, and run it a couple hours a day to offset the previous day's energy use. It will be noisier and less convenient, but possibly more useful in bad weather. And for sure if you need to run an air conditioner, you'll need a pair of 2000W, or a single 3500W generator.
     
  5. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    Two 12 volt G24's in parallel at best will offer ~ 160 AH @ 20 HR rate, half of which is usable at 50% depletion, two garden variety 6 volt GC-2 in series typically offer ~ 220 AH @ 20HR rate. Will GC-2s fit? - sure, if you have the footprint to fit two 12 volt G24s you have room for two 6 volt GC-2s, the GC-2s are just a bit taller and offer much greater capacity.
     
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  6. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    It turns out that the reasoning I personally used to justify investing in a generator of camping & and occasional PG&E (in No. Calif) power outage usage not quite as valid w/ hindsight. The only time I’d need it camping is If we did a rare week + dry camp trip. We have no AC, have LED lights, and use the heater fan only a little. But hey, maybe we’ll end up running the newly installed Fan-Tastic ceiling vent fan (1.8A L, 2.2a M, 3a H) when inside on warm days w/o amp hour worries on our normal three day trips with our also new Duracell AGM Grp 31 battery.

    Though I am frugal, I would have considered the current version of the Honda (2200?) if had a dual fuel version. I knew for me a generator would mostly be just sitting around not being used for me. Having propane as a fuel source meant: 1) I never needed to think about transporting a smelly gas can. Certainly not in the SUV. would not want the gas smell ‘inside’ the pup and creating a gas can storage area on the outside of the pup was not something I wanted to deal with. For those with a pick up bed or separated front storage box on their pup, carrying gas is ‘less’ of a hassle. 2) I just throw the 50 lb gen. in the SUV (no gas smell). 3) Never need to remember to drain the carb. bowl after ‘x’ months of non use!

    But knowing this generator would see little use, I decided $600 investment vs. double? for a (gas) Honda, was a good choice for me. Even being a self proclaimed tight wad, if I was planning to use a generator on a regular basis, I would have opted for the gold standard ‘first pull’ start and life long reliability of the Honda.

    Last time we were camping, there was a large older TT maybe 30 yards away with a generator running that was surprisingly quite. I asked what it was they said Honda inverter gen (3500ish I think). I said: “I appreciate your investment!” [:)C]
     
  7. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    Do note, some people camp where little light is offered which make solar panels ineffective. Not impossible, but a difficult option. Solar showers don't cut it the northern hardwood forests that we camp in... So we bring shower supplies and heat water on the gas stove. All cooking is camp fire or white gas stoves. We'll still use white gas lanterns but they've been delegated to fall trips when days are short, darkness long. For most of the summer, these newer LED lanterns that are really putting out lots of lite for little batteries. Without cell phone charging, television or AC so we don't bring our generator along.....
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
  8. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    If I think there's a possibility I may be camping where there's no power even for only a night, I carry a generator. Last year, I carried a generator over 1800 miles on a multi-state, multi-stop trip and didnt use it once.

    Dead batteries in the morning would be a huge pain. First, my TT has a power jack. Second, it needs charged batteries for the electric break away switch to work.
     
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  9. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    I have too many other things to maintain. Lol. Big generator for the house, ride on mower, chain saws, reguler lawn mower, gas blower, 2 snowblowers, trimers , etc. I dont need another thing to maintain. But i did almost buy a half off floor model inverter generator at lowes yesterday. I had it in the cart. Then remembered all the other crap i have and dont use. If you need it and will use it get it. Me, i want my hook ups.
     
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  10. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    We camp following the KISS format. Most of the places we go have poor or no cell services.
     
  11. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    LOL [LOL] Mid Oct 2015, the weekend after our Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, we camped with several other friends at Pinery Provincial Park on Lake Huron, just as we had done many times before. Colours are normally stunning at that time of year but Sat morning we woke up to this - several inches of heavy, wet snow, large tree limbs and power lines down everywhere, campground roads blocked with debris, and a power outage that lasted 36 hrs. And where was my genset? - back home, tucked away nicely in my workshop as this sudden whiteout, at this time of year, was the last thing I would ever expect. Talk about a DOH moment :oops: - no point in even owning a genset if you're not going to take it with you on every camping trip. :eek:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. DiamondGirl

    DiamondGirl Well-Known Member

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    Grey fox... thanks for sharing. I always bring my Honda EU2200i when dry camping. But maybe I should bring it while camping with hook-ups in case of a power outrage during monsoons & etc.

    As they say in Boy Scouts to “Be Prepared.”

    Happy Camping...[ALPU][PUT]
     
  13. cjm0mmy

    cjm0mmy Member

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    Anyone know if you add a CPAP to this list would the solar still be sufficient? Currently, the only thing we use our battery for is the CPAP and it needs to be recharged every fourth day when we are dry camping. We will be moving up to a small TT so we will probably be adding all of the above list. We will add a second battery, but are wondering if we need to go with the gen or solar would be enough. Thanks.
     
  14. Jimbow

    Jimbow Well-Known Member

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    For about $150 to $200 you can buy a 100W solar setup to recharge your batteries after using your furnace. It would even be easy to mount to the roof of your pup or leave it mobile. Cheaper, no noise. It's really not as complicated as some people make it out to be. Think of the panel as a wall outlet at home supplying power. Think of the controller as your charger then connect to the battery. Easy peasy. Amazon has a Renogy for $200 complete with 30' of wiring and a decent controller. There are also a couple cheaper brands that people have used successfully.
     
  15. A-Ranger12

    A-Ranger12 Active Member

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    I bought a 2000w Champion dual-fuel inverter generator for running the A/C on hot summer days. I figure that while we won't need it that often, there are a few places we are camping that having air conditioning would be nice. We also have solar for places we can park the camper in shade while putting the solar into the sun.

    Dual-fuel is nice because propane burns cleaner than gasoline, and no gas can to worry about.
     
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  16. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    Check your ratings, they usually drop on propane.
     
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  17. Adam H

    Adam H Active Member

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    Answering the original post and subsequent "you need a 2000w genset" posts... no you don't, especially when there is no A/C involved. I bought a 600 watt Yamaha generator 20 years ago for 100.00, this effectively charges my camper batteries and runs other items except the microwave. It's very small and though it is not an inverter type, it's very quiet. So for a camper with no A/C and a 35A charger, it's adequate, small, quiet, light and sips fuel. As a bonus, it is barely enough to run my home fridge in a power outage.
     
  18. A-Ranger12

    A-Ranger12 Active Member

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    You're correct, the ratings do drop 10% on propane. So the 2000w starting/ 1600w running becomes 1800 starting and 1440 running.

    It's enough to run our little 600w A/C while recharging the battery.
     
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  19. andosfauxtos

    andosfauxtos Member

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    Being in NorCal myself, this is also why I am looking for a generator. I'm tired of running around looking for ice before another PG&E shut down.
     
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  20. andosfauxtos

    andosfauxtos Member

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    So, I did end up getting a 2200W/1800W generator/inverter, both for camping and PG&E shutdowns where we live. How long does it typically take to top off the battery charge with the genny? Again, we don't have AC, just lights (LEDs), occasional furnace use, maybe the water pump, leak detector, and that's pretty much it.
     

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