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Hello,  I hope this is in correct place to ask this.

I have a very small travel trailer, cheap little Sportsman, and it has a 8,000 BTU air conditioner.

What size generator do I need to run this little 14 ft trailer in the woods and forests?

Do you know of the quietest one and do you know is there specifications on safety concerns in Nat'l parks etc?

The generator will probably stay in the bed of truck [I think]

Thank you for your time and any info.

Snort

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Most of the generator mfg.'s. list the output capability and often what size RV AC it can handle.  What I am hearing first hand from folks who have learned by trial, is that they are often overrated.  For instance, the Honda EU3000i says it handles the 13.5K BTU units but two have told me they struggle under certain conditions.  One switched to the dual Honda EU2000's run in parallel and can now run everything without any issue.  8000 is fairly small and I suspect the EU3000i would work fine.  Another option might be the Yamaha 2400. But, for the same price, you can get two 2000's, have 4000 watts, are much easier to move around, and can also use them separately as needed.

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That sounds like good advice.   We never have used a generator, mostly staying where we can plug in, but now heading to a place in Colorado that we have no place to hook anything up.  It might be a month from now but I'm sure it will require air cond and also heat at night.

Can you tell me what the difference is in a inverter generator, and a generator??  Of course the little TT has an inverter built in....   does it matter what amp the trailer is??? It's 30 amp

Also what is best fuel for generator?  Or dual?

Lots of questions I know but I need armed with some knowledge before I make a mistake in purchasing.   Thanks so very much for the help.

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Well, to be clear, I'm in the info gathering mode like you are.  My decision to go with the dual 2000 units is partly due to forum feedback on my "generator" thread on this forum.  I believe most of the generators have a 30 amp outlet - though some may require an adapter.  One of the responders to my thread brought up the "dual" (gas and propane) fuel option and that certainly would be a great option to have.  I'm going to look into whether the Honda's can be set up that way and what's involved.

Hopefully a few of the forums seasoned pro's will weigh in on your questions.

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22 hours ago, Snort said:

I have a very small travel trailer, cheap little Sportsman, and it has a 8,000 BTU air conditioner.

If you remove the inside cover you should find a data plate that will list the run current. I'd bet that a smaller generator, say 2000 would carry it but the issue will be the starting current for the compressor in the air conditioner as the start current is several times that of the run current.  I too have a Sportsman (19') and have been looking into this issue as I presently own a Honda 200i generator. I have never attempted to use the a/c while running on the generator but if I choose to do so, I am also considering the addition of a Micro Air, Easy Start device to be sure that the starting surge will not cause a problem.

30 minutes ago, Snort said:

Can you tell me what the difference is in a inverter generator, and a generator??  Of course the little TT has an inverter built in....   does it matter what amp the trailer is??? It's 30 amp

There are three major differences between an inverter generator and a portable generator like used by construction crews and such. An inverter-generator uses a DC generator and then uses a built in inverter to supply 120V-AC power to the output. It does this to save fuel and lower the noise level because the construction generator must run at a constant speed in order to produce 60 Hz power that your RV requires. An inverter generator is far more efficient and makes much less noise, but it also costs far more to buy. A construction generator costing $400 will be of similar output to the inverter-generator that costs $1000+. But you will have many unhappy neighbors due to noise if you use the construction type and you many not want to listen to it either.

As to your question of trailer amp rating, that means that your RV has a power cord that can supply no more than 30a of current from any outside power supply, which should be plenty for an RV as small as yours. Your 30a power cord could supply a maximum of 3.6 kW of power. 

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Thanks for the replies!!   Never thought that there was so much to know about generators.

It seems the inverter /gen is the way to go, if I can afford it  Quiet is important. But so is price.

Wish there was just one answer.       The a/c unit will probably be the thing using the most power.  And a microwave, possibly the TV.  That's about all I can think of.

I'll go do some more homework on all this and keep checking back incase somone here has any more input.

Thanks very much for your help.     Cheryl

 

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7 minutes ago, Snort said:

Wish there was just one answer.       The a/c unit will probably be the thing using the most power.  And a microwave, possibly the TV.  That's about all I can think of.

The a/c is the largest power used but the microwave would be next. I highly doubt that you have anything other than the a/c which my little 2kW set would not supply as I know that to be true for our 19' Sportsman. 

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That sounds good, can I ask what you mean by 2kW set?  

Remember I am really dumb here.

So you think just a 2000 or 2400 gen will be OK for the small TT?

Is your gen propane or gas?

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Along those lines. A friend called and was having a problem. He bought a Champion 3100w inverter generator (<$1K) for his new BP with a 13.5k Dometic AC. When he turned on the AC the generator went into overload and shut down. He couldn't figure out if it was the AC (which ran on house electricity) or the generator. He hauled the generator to my house and we hooked it up to my RV which has 15k Dometic AC's. I turned off everything (fridge etc) and we hooked up the generator. First problem was I have the Progressive EMS-50 hardwired in. It immediately showed a ground neutral fault and would not turn on. A quick look at the wiring showed it had the normal generator setup where the ground and neutral are not connected. It also showed the 30A receptacle on the generator and the 20A receptacle had the grounds and neutrals common but not tied together. I made a ground/neutral plug for the 20A receptacle and the EMS was happy. It showed the RV was drawing 4A of current (battery charger?). I turned on the 15k AC and the generator grunted and went right on working. The EMS showed 14A of current with the AC running. All is well and the generator was happily running the AC. He didn't want to power up other stuff the see what it could handle so we stopped there. The generator was fine, it was his new AC that had a problem. While under load we stood beside the generator (sitting on the tailgate of his PU) and talked and the noise level was not objectionable. Since the generator has electric start and a remote starter it seemed like a nice package for the price and had no problems with a 15k AC.

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I looked up the Easy Start thing.....what size would I need  [if I need one?]

I forgot there is also a small refrig/freezer.

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Thanks avvidclif,   I understood about 20% of all that but bottom line I did figure out.

I'm just wondering if it is a good idea to get something that is capable of hooking to another, just in case of overload or perhaps another TT that is bigger?

I doubt we will switch trailers, this one is small but does what we want plus you can park it anywhere. Even with two large dogs it is livable, if you watch your step!

This is a big adjustiment for us , we had a big 5th wheel Alumascape that we pulled with Peterbuilt semi and it was near impossible to find a place to park the darn thing, so we went way opposite with this little one, and 1500 Silverado.

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1 hour ago, Snort said:

I looked up the Easy Start thing.....what size would I need  [if I need one?

All that you need is the smallest one, at $299.

Quote

Product FAQs:

Will EasyStart allow me to run my 13.5K, 15K, or 16K compressor on a Honda EU2000i?

Yes, we have many satisfied EasyStart customers using this Honda generator with all brands of rooftop air conditioners. EasyStart runs these compressors even with the generator in ECO mode.

 

 

1 hour ago, Snort said:

I'm just wondering if it is a good idea to get something that is capable of hooking to another, just in case of overload or perhaps another TT that is bigger?

If you choose to go with the Easy Start, then I suggest you buy only one and make that the Honda 200i or possibly the Yamaha of that same type.With either one of these, you can later buy a second one and a parallel kit if you should choose to get more power supply. 

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I'm beginning to understand and learning a lot, thanks!

One more question...will matter what altitude we are at?

Probably be 10,000 or higher. Sometimes near Vail or Breckenridge

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Yes, the higher the altitude the lower the power out. Under those circumstances I would go with a min of 3k. That will leave overhead for the altitude. Probably won't need it since I doubt you will need the AC. It's always better to have more than you need and not need it than to wish for more.

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2 hours ago, Snort said:

...will matter what altitude we are at? Probably be 10,000 or higher. Sometimes near Vail or Breckenridge...

2 hours ago, avvidclif said:

...Yes, the higher the altitude the lower the power out. Under those circumstances I would go with a min of 3k...

 

Another issue with altitude is that the too rich mixture will fowl spark plugs. The Onan 2800 genset that was in our previous Class C had an altitude adjustment that seemed to work great at various elevations from sea level to 11,000'. Unfortunately, I think they are one of the most expensive gensets on the market.

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6 hours ago, freestoneangler said:

...I'm going to look into whether the Honda's can be set up that way and what's involved...

US Carburetion has kits for Honda generators. They use to sell Yamahas already converted, its hard to tell from the website whether they still do. Propane Carbs also sells conversion kits for the Honda generators. Champion has some dual fuel inverter generator models.

Edited by trailertraveler

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3 minutes ago, freestoneangler said:

...do those that use surge protectors during normal power service connection also use these on their generators?...

Some of the surge protector/EMS systems will not pass the power from some of the small generators that do not have the ground and neutral bonded. Others will pass the current but display an error code. There are some folks that recommend making a plug with the ground and neutral connected and inserting that in one of the generators outlets. Yamaha recommends against doing this on their small generators that do not have the ground and neutral bonded. My old surge guard  was one that would pass the power and display an error code. I used it all the time with no problem. The replacement when it failed will not pass the power so I now use the generator without it.

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2 minutes ago, trailertraveler said:

Some of the surge protector/EMS systems will not pass the power from some of the small generators that do not have the ground and neutral bonded. Others will pass the current but display an error code. There are some folks that recommend making a plug with the ground and neutral connected and inserting that in one of the generators outlets. Yamaha recommends against doing this on their small generators that do not have the ground and neutral bonded. My old surge guard  was one that would pass the power and display an error code. I used it all the time with no problem. The replacement when it failed will not pass the power so I now use the generator without it.

Hmm, more little details to consider.  I suppose their is less chance of a generator fouling the house power control unit, as opposed to a utility connection, but don't really know.  Thank you for the information. 

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Just read the Easy Start website... looks like a really great option/addition for using generator power source (thanks Kirk!). Thought I'd add this link about DIY installation which, by all accounts on the customer reviews, looks pretty easy. This provides lots of details about the what, how, and why of the device.  I'm sold!

 

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On ‎8‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 11:33 AM, Kirk Wood said:

All that you need is the smallest one, at $299.

 

If you choose to go with the Easy Start, then I suggest you buy only one and make that the Honda 200i or possibly the Yamaha of that same type.With either one of these, you can later buy a second one and a parallel kit if you should choose to get more power supply. 

Kirk, are you just using a common adapter between one of the generator outlets and the RV's power cord?

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10 hours ago, freestoneangler said:

Kirk, are you just using a common adapter between one of the generator outlets and the RV's power cord?

I am but I have not yet operated the a/c on the generator but have done so several times from a typical 15a outlet from shore power. We spend time at my aunt's farm and have operated our a/c there from an adapter connected to a 15a outlet for as much as a week at a time and in some pretty hot weather. I always keep my portable Surge Guard, line monitor between the RV cord and the outlet's adapter so I know that the start surge is not pulling the voltage down there. What I don't know is the power ratings of our a/c unit and I need to investigate that first. 

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Any issues with error codes on the Surge Guard?  One responder to the other thread you shared stated he gets an error but that everything still works... believe it had to do with the ground set-up.  I'm going to contact Micro-Air today and describe exactly what I have by way of roof ac, coach power controller unit, portable surge protector, and planned generator to see if they have any advice. 

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45 minutes ago, freestoneangler said:

...Any issues with error codes on the Surge Guard?... 

I think it depends on which model you have. Look at the TRC website. The current 30amp Model 34830, will shut off power if there is an open ground. This is a new feature that the Model 34730 did not have. I had a 34730 and it would give an error code when connected to the Yamaha 2400 inverter generator but would pass the power. When it died doing its job in a lightning storm, I replaced it with a 34830 which was all I could find locally at the time, which was over a year ago. The TRC website says that the Model 34730 is discontinued. The 34830 gives an error code when connected to the generator and will not pass the power. The Model 44260 product information says it tests for open ground and indicates it, but says nothing regarding any shutoff features. I have no first hand experience with the Model 44260.

Looking at the Progressive Industries products they mention open ground detection for two models and protection for one. I am guessing that protection means the unit will not pass power. No personal experience with any of these units.

Edited by trailertraveler

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I have the Progressive Industries EMS-PT-30X.  I'll have to see how it plays with Honda inverter generators.

Just spoke with Roger at Micro-Air and his recommendation is that I purchase the Honda 2000's.  Because we live at 5200' elevation and a good portion of our travels will be in the Rocky Mountains, he thinks we need to offset the elevation related power reduction.  He's certain the paired set will have no issue starting our Coleman 13.5k BTU AC. 

The addition of the Easy Start 364 will simply reduce the typical start-up noise (clunk) and also provide the means of starting the AC on one 2000 watt generator should we opt/need to.  The issue with using a 2000 or 2400 watt generator is not only the start up, but the current draw while running.  If for instance the on board power controller switches the house battery tender on while the AC is running, it can overload and shut down.  Same problem can happen if the water pump is activated... the small generators are running so close to their limit, that it does not take much to trip the circuit.  In a nut shell, if we want to be able to run the AC and some other limited amount of house items (lights, water pump, bath fan), we need something more than a 2000 watt unit.

Given that I don't want to try and horse the size/weight of the EU3000i (or like size competitor) onto the cargo storage deck, I'm back to my original plan to but the paired Honda 2000's.  I'm still going to add the Easy Start simply because it will likely eliminate any chance of having the system trip from the spike current load of AC start.

 

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