What's Up With the Generators?

Discussion in 'Campground Etiquette' started by Jaybirdypb, May 31, 2013.

  1. CamL48

    CamL48 New Member

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    That's not how panels work. True that P=IV, but the panels are rated at the maximum levels. The voltage for the panel ratings is not 12V. It's usually between 17 and 18V. So, a 100W panel won't get you 8.333 amps. A 100 W panel will get you 5.6-5.9 Amps. Big difference.

    So, 5.8*.75*6 = 26 amps per day ... more than 30% lower than your math. Always look at the specs and you'll see the max voltage and the max amp-hour rating. That max-amp hour rating will NOT change ... it is what it is.

    Another way of thinking about it. 100W panel at 17.5V has a max amp-hr rating of 5.7. Therefore, under the normal 12V system, that panel really functions like a (12*5.7) 68.4W panel. I is fixed in the P=IV equation, not the P or V.

    I believe the same faulty assumptions exist in UT's claim of a 90W panel putting out 7.5 Amp-hours (90/12=7.5).

    In CO, you either visit a handful of state parks that have power, or you get a generator. I don't own or use one, but it's not as simple as "why don't you just go to a CG with power?" There are very few. I've had my bad generator experiences, but I understand why they exist. Tough to see much of CO without a generator.

    People who take a holier-than-though approach to what the camping experience ought to be are delusional. We're all different people with different needs and expectations. Camping is a continuum and, as others have suggested, some would scoff at the use of a PUP the same as others here have scoffed at people who camp with a blender.

    You can fight all you want to keep NPs electricity-free and that's fine with me ... but don't complain when you hear the generator fire up while you're camping there. Be careful what you ask for. As others have intimated, that 30A cord is nearly silent.

    And, as much as people like to claim otherwise, I hear those "whisper quiet" Honda and Yamahas just fine in my campsite ... if only the audience were as convinced as the owners that these things cannot be heard beyond 50 feet.

    Good luck.
     
  2. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    Here is the vendor's info on my solar setup. I appears that I did make the mistake of just dividing 90 by 12 to get 7.5 without accounting for other factors. Mine produces 30-40 amp hours per day in full sun.

    Built in 3 stage PWM charge controller with bulk, absorption, and float modes.
    Produces 30-40 amp/hours per day in full sun*.
    5.2 amp operating current* (approx)
    17.2V max operating voltage
    14.4V peak charge voltage (temp compensated)
    13.8V float mode
    Compatible with Lead-acid, Gel, or AGM type batteries
    Indicator lights confirm proper operation
    Adjustable, telescoping tilt legs
    16′ connection cord standard, 25′ extensions available
    4 different battery adatpers included with every unit
    Padded aluminum storage case
    Panels fold for easy storage inside case
    Dimensions panels folded: 27″x22″x3.5″, 25 lbs.
    Dimensions panels open: 43″x27″x1.5″
    Dimensions of metal case: 28″x24.5″x5.3″ 12lbs.
    Total weight (panels inside case): 37 lbs
    Shipping weight: 41lbs.

    (*Actual amp/hours produced and output amperage may vary depending on atmospheric conditions including: Temperature, humidity, altitude, pollution, cloud cover, fog, rain and other precipitation, dust, and dirt on the solar panels’ surface. The figures shown are an average and can vary considerably either up or down)


    As far as my 1,000-watt Yamaha is concerned, I have tested it with my own ears and under most conditions can't hear it beyond the bounds of my campsite which, in most of the places I camp, is about 100 feet from the generator. If I'm camped by running water that noise washes the genny noise out in a shorter distance.
     
  3. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    My ears are not as old as others!

    For panels, use the Isc as a good estimate of the panels amp output at battery volatage, yes it drops some above 14 volts. An IV curve is good too.

    Now for how much solar isolation on a give day, I like to use this
    http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/old_data/nsrdb/1961-1990/redbook/atlas/

    pick avg, min or max, month of year and panel orientatio, I use flat or horizontal flat plate, 'view the map', this results in kWh/m^2, the same the panel's wattage is rated.

    or Try the live solar data nearest your camping experience
    http://www.nrel.gov/midc/
    history also.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. West Coast Canuck

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

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    I am guilty of running a gen.....only to charge my battery as well as the portable battery pak for my cpap machine (classified as a medical device) which does permit me to run my generator outside the permitted run hours. It is a fairly quiet invertor generator but I will be upgrading to a Honda 3000 which is supposed to be even quieter for next year. I still run the generator sparingly though.....even though I am permitted to run longer....ii have tto charge every other day.
     
  5. Sushidog

    Sushidog Active Member

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    If you want the quietest genny, get the electric start Honda EU3000is, not the EU3000i Handi (which is much louder). The heavier electric start model is the quietest generator I've ever not heard. [:D]

    Chip
     
  6. steved

    steved New Member

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    Again, you're trying to optimize the minimum charging system.

    I would much rather have a larger system than I needed to charge adequately on the poor days and to ensure I had no issues fully recharging on good days. Personally, I wouldn't go under 500 watts if I was into boondocking for any length of time.
     
  7. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    ...and I thought my 100 watts was overkill. IIRC, my panels weighed 39 lbs. If that's true, 500 watts would weigh 195 lbs. No thanks.
     
  8. steved

    steved New Member

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    What are you using for panels...my 140 watt only weighed 11 pounds IIRC??? I could easily carry four of them by myself.
     
  9. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    My setup weighs 37 pounds inside the metal travel case. The panels are 25 pounds and the case is 12 pounds. One of the reasons I bought this set is the way it was built, with a sturdy metal frame around each panel, the backing material, the attached controller, etc.
     
  10. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    Shipping wt. 13.4 lbs. x 2. Plus about another 13 lbs for the support rack on the roof.
     
  11. steved

    steved New Member

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    The batteries would be the heaviest part of my setup...again, my 140w panel was around 11 pounds, has a full aluminum frame, and even had a mobile rating (whatever that means)...the aluminum brackets weigh less than half a pound. Now, its on my garage, but I don't see any reason these couldn't be used on the roof of a camper...Sandy didn't remove it from the garage, so driving 60mph down the highway should be OK.

    My reason for using 500 watts of capacity is two fold: at low light conditions, I'll still get some decent output to maintain a charge and at full light I am assured that everything is charged in a minimal amount of time (for those days you only get a couple hours of full sun). No worrying about aiming, clouds, rain, etc. And again, I'm basing what I know off my current setup...which is single 140W panel on a SW facing roof. But I like to err on the side of overkill...would my single 140W panel system work, probably well enough for the weekend camper.
     
  12. BuxCamper

    BuxCamper Member

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    My little 10 W solar panel just about keeps up with the HTT's parasitic power draws. Unless I disconnect the battery from the camper it will not get ahead. All of the camper's lights are now LEDs but the furnace and water pump are the two biggest power users. While not every trip needs the furnace most do use the water pump. I need to make an extension cord for it so I can better chase the sun.

    I do have the Harbor Freight 800 W 2-stroke genny. I've used it once on an extended trip to top off the battery but realized the converter's charger was only a couple of amps. If I have to do that again, I'd bring my external 12 A charger so the time spent charging can be more efficient.
     
  13. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    I don't think so. 2 gc batt's will give you about 200 amp hour at 12v. Since you normally don't want to go below 50% that give you about 100 amps.
     
  14. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    We hate gen's . I have one but never took it camping. We conserve battert an get by with 1 group 31. We have LED lights, an two different catalytic heaters. For mild weather we use a 3k btu coleman heater and colder weather we have a wave-8. In the winter we can go 5 days with out a charge. No noise from a generator.


    I will not camp at a cs if gens are permitted without a drive through. Oh don't run your gen next to me after dark. I get up early and at 6AM after a night of hearing a gen until 10 pm, I have been known to have to clean out the dust out of the pans every 1/2 hour or so until 8 am by banging them together 4 or 5 times. Two frying pans banged together 4 or 5 times bottom to bottom sure get the dust out.
     
  15. Spridle

    Spridle Well-Known Member

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    Our tow vehicle is always on the move. So one of the tricks I have used is to leave the TV connected to the camper at night. That way the TV battery and the camper battery are in parallel. Any pull down on the TV battery is quickly charged the next day through normal running around. We did a four day trip with significant use of heat and never had the camper battery drop below 60%.
     
  16. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    Except that you are repeatedly drawing the TV battery down and then recharging it. The TV battery is a starting battery, not a deep cell, and is not made for this type of treatment.
     
  17. Spridle

    Spridle Well-Known Member

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    That's true but I don't really care. The TV was ordered with an over sized heavy duty battery. Big plates. The minimal drop does absolutely zero harm to it. With the wiring configuration the primary pull is always going to be on the camper battery. I got eight years out of the first battery and probably would have gotten more if it hadn't gotten run down to zero a few times by things getting left on during the work week, not camping.

    I was much harder on batteries in our tent camping days when we used a 12V fridge. Generally 4 days of summer usage. I had a pair of group 31 Interstate Marine/Starting batteries mounted under the van and the TV battery which back then was a cheap piece of junk. Running the van to charge the batteries over the weekend but by the end of the weekend both would be down to zero. Charged them with the van over the next week of driving. At about five years they clearly weren't what they had been but I still got seven years out of them before dumping that whole setup and getting away from the 12V fridge. They were never once hooked up to an actual charger.

    My experience is buy a a basic JCI Marine/Starting battery and beat the hell out of it. Even if I have to change it every four years it's still a drop in the bucket compared to what I spend yearly on camping. I pay attention to charge but based on first hand experience I'm not worried if I get down into the low 40s before giving it a bit of charge from the TV. I will still get my money out of it before it's time to change it.
     
  18. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    I have been thinking about the agm battery only because you beat the hell out of them and they keep on ticking.

    The other thing it looks like you can discharge them further to like 20% and you don't have the same harm. So an agm 130 AH (20 hr) 12v I can use around 100 AMps, where a flooded 12v 130 ah battery you should only use it to 50% using 65 amps. They also accept the charge faster, something like twice as fast But the AGM battery is $175 to $250. Its hard to sell my self not to buy a marine/rv auto store group 31 battery for $100 the next time I need one, and just beat it up.
     
  19. pandpcamper

    pandpcamper Lifetime camper, newer to pup

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    Tent trailer, can you describe that battery that you want in laywoman's terms so that I can give my DH the information. I do the research here and he checks it out. I make the suggestions and he does the work. Well I do the laundry, packing and food shopping/preparing. We're a team! And he pays for my great ideas!
     
  20. IPAman

    IPAman New Member

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    I built a frame lined with mass loaded vinyl around our pool pump. Don't hear the pump anymore. Should work similarly for generators. MLV comes in 4' widths. A 4' tall open top frame with hinges to fold up(or unglued PVC pipe to take apart) and some loops at the bottom for tent stakes should work for a camping situation with a generator as long as it isn't under trees that would reflected the sound waves back down. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=mass+loaded+vinyl+by+the+foot&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Amass+loaded+vinyl+by+the+foot
     

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