Suggestions for a generator?

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by Rachel LeCureux, Aug 17, 2017.

  1. Rachel LeCureux

    Rachel LeCureux New Member

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    Hi all!
    I'm fairly new to this, and I'm needing a little help with ideas on hauling a generator around.
    I try to do research on my own and I'm usually pretty good at problem solving unless A) it isn't my area of expertise or B) I've hit a wall and both of those factors are the case here right now!
    I thought I had made a decision, went to Harbor Freight and I picked up the Predator 4000w for $289 (I had a coupon) because it wasn't much louder than the inverter generator they has, and was less than half the price! Then I grabbed a steel hitch mounted cargo rack that comes apart in the middle, and was intending to have a friend weld it onto the tongue, one side to hold the generator, and the other to hold a metal storage box of some type, the likes of which you might find on an ATV. I measured the floor model to make sure it fit inside perfectly. It sure did. Yesterday I went and picked up my trailer, not feeling well BTW (I have a chronic illness) and drove it about 40 minutes down the mountain to my friends house to have him do this welding work for me. He gets everything ready to do the welding, and I say "Hey let's take the generator out and be certain it fits, before we do all this". He rolls his eyes but complies. What do ya know...its about FOUR INCHES LARGER in diameter than the floor model and comes nowhere near fitting inside.
    So we put everything back in my car, and I get to thinking I just don't like the placement of the generator there anyway. I mean, I was gonna build a silencer box for it, but having it right under the bunk is not only loud but seems dangerous to me.
    I walk with a cane most days so I can't move. 100+ lb generator off that rack during setup, abd it's just me and my 11 year old son camping. Also, if I'm backing the trailer in somewhere (still not so great at that) and I make a sharp turn I'm nervous about clipping that rack anyway.
    So, I gotta figure some else out. I'm back to square one, and there are so many factors that it doesn't make it an easy one.
    1) I'm not sure how often I will dry camp and actually use a generator, so spending an obscene amount of money on one just sounds...well... obscene.
    2) My TV is a car with a hatchback, at this moment, (I'm thinking of trading it in) and we'll have luggage as well, a few duffel bags. Maybe a grocery bag or two. Not a lot of room for a big generator.
    3) I really wanted a generator powerful enough to power my air conditioning as well as other camper essentials, which I did the math, that was about 3000-3500w.
    4) I want to be able to load and unload it from wherever it is on my own, and having a chronic illness (chronic pain to be exact) lifting a 100lb generator and moving it around isn't possible.

    I've seen smaller 2000w parallel Predator inverter generators with RV bridges that would power basically everything, but would wind up costing me around $900. About twice what I wanted to spend, but 2 small generators and a bridge would be easy to fit places, easier to move, but harder on the pocketbook. I'm just hoping some genius here has done something brilliant and can give me a few pointers. I don't know where else I could mount this big 4000w generator I have (I have not yet returned it) and I'm no longer comfortable with having that tongue rack like I had planned. As you can see in my profile pic, my PUP is tiny, and so is the tongue.
     
  2. arthuruscg

    arthuruscg Active Member

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    Pretty much, to get small, light and not be noisy enough to wake the dead, you got to pay up.

    The small inverter generators by the major companties (honda, yamaha, Generac, ect) are going to be better in every measurable detail then anything from Harbor Fright. I get some things from there, but the noise their generators put out are crazy and there is no way you could be sleeping over top one of them.
     
  3. Rachel LeCureux

    Rachel LeCureux New Member

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    They're actually not too bad. 61 db. The Honda is 59 db. I have the side by side comparison in front of me. This is for the 2000w.
     
  4. NMroamer

    NMroamer Well-Known Member

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    You will need two of them to run the AC. That is alot of maintenance if you use them much. I used to maintain them when I was working, it is alot of work.
     
  5. Johnny727

    Johnny727 New Member

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    Keep in mind that in increase of 3 db doubles the noise level. The difference between 59 and 61 db is 60% louder. It's not a relative scale.
     
  6. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    You may want to listen to any unit you are considered, ran at idle speed, plus at normal operating speed. Plus start it and pick the unit up. Things you will do after you've purchased it. We've owned a Honda 2000iou (whatever its called) for years. It did cost a bit more, but it is a keeper.
     
  7. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    I have had my EU20001 Inverter Generator since 2006 I think it was... A very good investment in those early days. I got mine from a company called MAYBERRY...

    We camp OFF-GRID for the most part so my 2KW EU2000i is secured in my tail gate corner of my covered and locked truck bed. Very easy to plug my POPUP trailer shore power cable into it located here. I just pull the generator out on the dropped tail gate when using it...

    [​IMG]

    My game plan for camping off-grid was to beef up my batteries and change out high current interior lights for LEDs etc...

    For the most part we can do just about every thing we want to do at a camp ground site except no air conditioning or high wattage microwave... Running the propane heater blower is a major draw for us when running it all night long...

    I originally installed four GP24 12V Interstate batteries across the trailer tongue area and right away one of the batteries boiled out it fluids making me replace my single voltage 13.6VDC converter/charger unit. I changed this all out for a modern converter/charger unit that has smart mode charging using multiple DC charging voltages. My remaining three GP24 12V batteries give me a good 255AHs and this got me through each night in flying colors and dropping down the batteries to their 50% charge state (around 12.0VDC each morning)
    [​IMG]

    Now I just plug in my trailer shore power cable and using my PD9260C converter/charger each morning running off my 2KW Generator and i get get back to the 90% charge state in around three hours of generator run time. Some places i goto doesn't allow me to run my generator except at certain times during the day. I will not start my next day/night run off my batteries unless they are at the 90% charge state.

    Been doing routine since late 2008 and my battery bank finally started to not hold their charge state last season. Pretty good service since 2008 i think... I am now in the process of making up anew Battery bank going with two groups of two 6V GC2 batteries in series which will give me a good 440AH Battery capacity...

    My two mounting rails shown above is a perfect place to mount a TORKLIFT 58-inch metal battery case with slide off lid... I need this good location to mount my batteries in the metal box for securing reason. Same goes for the generator in the covered truck bed for my 2KW generator. Being Out of sight works best for my generator...

    Just passing all of this along to perhaps helping you make some decisions on what you may want to do...

    Roy Ken
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    The new 3500 watt inverter generator from harbor freight is getting rave reviews online. I don't need one for the rest of this summer, but I will keep an eye on them for longevity and likely buy one next spring.
     
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  9. Douggro

    Douggro Active Member

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  10. KJ Knowles

    KJ Knowles Member

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    A 3 decibel increase does result in a doubling of the sound intensity in acoustic Watts/square meter. It does not double the perceived loudness due to the way we humans hear. That is generally considered to be a 10 decibel increase for a perception of "twice as loud" to the human ear.

    So while there is absolutely twice as much acoustical energy radiating from a generator that is 3 decibels louder than another, it will not be perceived as twice as loud. A 3 decibel change is considered easily perceived, a 2 decibel change is considered perceivable, and a 1 decibel change is generally unnoticeable (except with pure tones or by people such as musicians, recording engineers and sound technicians who work with sound every day and have trained their perception by doing so).

    By the way, those numbers aren't the only ones you can find. Acousticians and physicists argue about low level hearing perception the way the ancient scholars and philosophers argued about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. (It's 42) [;)] Some believe that a change as high as 5 decibels is required to be easily perceivable.

    This site gets a little "into the weeds" technically, but does a pretty good job of explaining the differences and relationships between volume (loudness), sound pressure, and sound intensity.

    http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-levelchange.htm
     
  11. nhlakes

    nhlakes Well-Known Member

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    Another happy Honda EU2000i owner here. Have had it for maybe 8 years.

    (Have used it most during power outages at home - after a bad storm we once ran it for a couple of days non-stop)
     
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  12. KJ Knowles

    KJ Knowles Member

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    That was outstanding life from your battery bank. Good job taking care of it!

    And, all things being equal, you should do considerably better with the thicker plate 6 volt GC2 batteries you are planning for. Not to mention that with the higher capacity, the typical depth of discharge should be less, thereby also increasing the lifespan. (Assuming you don't start luxuriating in you new found amp-hour riches with 12 volt blenders, shiatsu massage chairs and such. :grin:) That is going to be an impressive energy reserve for a popup!
     
  13. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    The other use for my POPUP battery bank is here at home... I can position my POPUP trailer just about anywhere and run 120VAc 30A Extension cords anywhere for local power outages... I do the same routine here at home of re-charging the next morning with my 2KW Generator... We run the fridge and selected lights as well as HDTV. My room has the router internet and HDTV connections and a 1500WATT UPS setup so I can get this charged back again with 2KW generator pretty easy each day... Keeping the fridge going 24/7 is a priority... If the local HDTV provider is effected I also have great OTA HDTV connection coming from Both Washington DC and Richmond VA... We would lose out on some of the cable stations we watch alot but will have all of the local stations and they in turn provide 24/7 radar channels and alot of old movie channels... Can watch all of the John Wayne movies including Walker Texas Ranger hehe...

    I have been complicating mounting my bigger battery bank in my covered and secure truck bed and can serve both house and camping just fine better... Then just have a couple of batteries for the trailer tongue area... I already have a spare battery in the truck bed now. Sometimes my Ham Radio OPS kills my truck start battery so I always have a quick backup plan to get my truck started again when this happens... Between my three charging areas - 2KW generator/House UPS/Trailer Converter/Charge i should keep all of my batteries charged up rather well. I also would like to add some solar panels on my trailer roof. I can easily add 400WATTS of panels with the space I have open. I would remove the roof air conditioner if I needed more space. Its been a year since I have used it anyway... Probably doesn't work anymore haha... OFF-ROAD camping is always under heavy tree cover. Fans work just fine...

    I do alot of off-road camping associated with my ham radio Emergency COMMS support for a couple of Emergency Operations Plans here for the County. Its fun camping the high country of Virginia doing this...

    Haven't really checked but I suspect alot of this might even be a TAX deduction...

    Roy Ken
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    If you are looking at a new TV's, lets say one is priced at 20K, one at 30 and another is at $40,000. The quality and convenience difference between these varying priced machines will be there. No shock, quality in generators will vary, with there pricing. We payed about $1000 for our little one some years ago and at the time, we could have got another make that produced the same wattage for about $300. And guess what, the more costly machine we got is very, very quiet, well balanced, easy to use and runs like a clock. It has for years and years at construction sites. We never have taken it camping. Point is, don't expect generators with large price differences, to be of the same quality.
     
  15. crackerJack

    crackerJack Well-Known Member

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    My suggestion for a generator is, to not bring it to a campground I am at. Lol. I loathe the sound of a generator when camping.

    I dry camp in the spring and fall. I camp with hookups in the summer, for a/c. I have two 6v US battery 2200 xc's. Plenty of amp hours.

    IMO GC batteries are true deep cycle. 12v batteries, even ones labeled marine/rv deep cycle, are actually multipurpose. They all have cold cranking amps, which my camper doesn't need.
     
  16. Rachel LeCureux

    Rachel LeCureux New Member

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    Yeah, I know you need two. And I really don't see myself using them a lot. Maybe once or twice a year, or in case of inclement weather in the winter. That's why I'm having a hard time justifying the extra money. I usually camp with full hookup however my brother has a PUP and likes to dry camp so I would like a generator for this reason.
    Oh how I wish I had the space for that! On my tongue is one propane tank, one deep cycle battery in a box, and the automatic lift system to lift the PUP. That's it, and there is no more room on the tongue. It's a tiny PUP. I wonder how common it is for people to put a hitch or some type of cargo rack on the back to stow cargo or generators, etc.? But then I would still run into the same issue of having to move a 100lb generator to an alternate location every time I set up, then getting it back on at teardown.
    I absolutely do not. I'm not naive enough to think Harbor Freight has better quality generators than Honda. My point is, I'm on an extremely limited Social Security disability income and I might use the thing twice a year. While some people might be able to afford to drop that kind of money on something they will rarely use without batting an eye, I can't justify it.
    Yes. I almost bought that one, but it was twice the cost and just as heavy. Only a few decibels quieter, and ran 500w slower than the traditional generator. Plus it was larger in size too so wouldn't fit in the cargo rack. That's why I went with what I went with, which, coincidentally didn't work out either.
     
  17. Rachel LeCureux

    Rachel LeCureux New Member

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    For lack of better options, I think I might have to get the Predator parallel kit from Harbor Freight when I go to take this 4000w beast back tomorrow. I just don't know what else to do.
     
  18. Rachel LeCureux

    Rachel LeCureux New Member

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    I've looked at those also and they seem to be pretty popular. IIRC the 3200w was way heavier than I could carry. Those are probably my biggest problems of all, that I don't have anywhere to put it when moving from place to place (like a rack on the trailer or a TV with cargo space like a truck bed) and even if I did I couldn't get it out by myself and move it away from the PUP. I've found several great options for generators, but the ones that suit my needs are all HUGE.
     
  19. Rachel LeCureux

    Rachel LeCureux New Member

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    If I were to use a generator while camping around others I would use an insulated generator box for sure. I'm as considerate as a person in a PUP can be, considering everything going on inside a PUP can be heard just outside it.
     
  20. West Coast Canuck

    West Coast Canuck Jumped to the dark side ......

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    As someone that has gone thru a few generators, I settled on the Champion 3100 inverter gen to run the AC on my TT, I still have my Champion 2000 inverter one when I had my pup that I still use just to charge the battery and I have now purchased a portable folding 120 watt solar panel for reducing the use of my gens as much as possible since we dry camp a majority of the time. Unfortunately weight and space are your enemy with these generators not to mention the gas fumes in the vehicle. I eliminated these issues by getting a pick up truck with a canopy and that way you can leave the generator on the bed at the back of the pick up. On that note, contractor generators are not only noisy, they do not provide clean power to run sensitive electronics. One thing you need to consider is the hitch weight, with your description of what you were intending to do, you are adding about 150+ Additional lbs to the tongue weight which may exceed your rating
     

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