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preston-y

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My wife and I just got ridd of our tent and bought our first 5th wheel.We have been campining in full hook-up resorts but we know we are going to be boondocking alot.We know that we will be needing agenerator for our power needs.We are not sure of what size we will need to be comfortable.Our 5th wheel is a 34 footer with 2 a/c units, microwave , elec. fire place and 3 slides.We are on a budget.Any ideas ? thanks

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I use a Honda 2000i for just low power requirements such as topping up the batteries and running the microwave and watching tv. These things could be run off of a solar array and battery bank as well but I dont have those yet. For AC use and prolonged use of more electrical things we fire up the big diesel gen. The Honda is used the most though and if you are not planning on running the ACs while boondocking the 2000 watt Honda is plenty. Plus it will run for around 8 hrs on a tank of gas.

 

On edit...I would not run the electric fireplace too much while boondocking either.

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You need to prioritize the equipment items you wish/need to operate off the generator. Your trailer has a 50a plug which means it was designed to safely run all appliances/equipment. That means it has up to 12kw power available from the electric pedestal in an rv park. In real everyday operation you use much less. That's good because a 12kw generator is big, very heavy and expensive. However, if you want to run both acs all the time and still be able to run the microwave and other appliances (ie. coffee maker and toaster) you will need around 5,5 to 6kw from your generator. Many rigs your size come with Onan 5500s, cost is about $5,000 installed. If you don't want to spend that much you can get two little Honda 2000s (one must be a Companion version) for about $2,000 that are capable of continuous output together of up to about 3.5kw, enough to run both acs, but not much else at the same time. Besides the cost/weight/size advantage to the two Homdas, you can save fuel by running only one when your electric needs are low.

 

Just my opinion from 35 years of rv experience, 14 years full timing.

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We have a Honda 3000 generator that works well for one A/C unit plus lights and converter use. I personally feel that a generator is not the place to try and cheap out. Honda and Yamaha make quality, quiet gennys but they are not the cheapest units out there. I am happy with my Honda 3000 and a friend is happy with 2 paralleled Honda 2000's. It will be much more expensive to gen up to run 2 A/C units but comfort is hard to put a price tag on. The variable speed on the inverter generators is wonderful....they match engine speed/power output to the load and save fuel, genny wear and tear and keep the noise down. You are wise to ask about generators before buying one based solely on cost. Let us know what you decide on and how it works out for you. Happy camping, Charlie

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First let me welcome you to the Escapees forums and also to the RV Club! We are truly happy to have you join us here and look forward to a long relationship! Since you are located in Tucson, you might want to join us at the fair grounds for the next Escapade.

While there is some good advice already here, I would caution you about the generator sets which are commonly sold by stores like Lowe's & Home Depot. Those are contractor style generators and work fine to operate a power tool or welder but they are very noisy and the power supplied is of poor quality for electronic devices and RVs. I know that you are on a budget, but be very careful about getting the wrong generator.

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As long as you have no generator you have options other than one big, expensive generator to power two air conditioners and the rest of your electrical devices.

 

Solar panels are very cheap right now and while it might cost a little more than a generator to install enough solar (and batteries and inverter) to run two air conditioners but if you aren't going to need air conditioners then it's entirely likely that you can do solar on a budget.

 

I have 640 watts on the roof of my 36' motor home and I'd have more if I could squeeze more up there. The panels themselves are practically the cheapest part of the equation. I am under $1500 for my entire solar installation including a relatively expensive (but very good) Midnite Solar Classic 150 charge controller. With a little careful shopping you should be able to get a decent pure-sine-wave inverter for under $500 that will run microwaves, coffee pots, etc. And there are inverters that can load-share power between a generator and a solar system that might make adding just one 2kw generator to the mix sufficient to get you by even with A/C.

 

You probably have more room on your 5er for panels than I do. If you can do it yourself you can make your boondocking depend more on how long you can go between dumping tanks and taking on water than on your power needs.

 

 

WDR

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Here is the one I would select if buying today.

 

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Ryobi-2-200-Watt-Green-Gasoline-Powered-Digital-Inverter-Generator-RYI2200/203617901?N=5yc1vZbx9nZ1z0z72o

 

This one is as quiet as a Honda EU2000I and you can get 2 Ryobi's with a parallel kit for about the price of one Honda 2000.

 

I do have the Honda EU2000I Companion and like it very much. I can run an extended fuel tank on mine and don't know if the Ryobi has the capabilities or not. I do know that you can't run an extra tank on the Yamaha's.

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I must be doing it wrong then. :o I run my Yamaha's on a dual feed external tank all the time. :P Granted... there is a little more to it over the Honda's, but very doable.

 

 

Explain your process please, about 3 or 4 years ago I was told it could not be done and a friend tried it and was not successful.

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Explain your process please, about 3 or 4 years ago I was told it could not be done and a friend tried it and was not successful.

 

I know that some folks do have a bit of trouble, but it's not 'that' terribly difficult. I know there are some kits out there where you can actually add a fuel pump internally, but I just use the gravity method.

 

So the equipment... you need the replacement fuel caps, and then fashion a fuel feed hose. I made mine for dual genny's.

 

35389-albums2041-picture12491.jpg

 

The only thing I've noticed that is fairly critical is that the hose lengths from the T connector need to be nearly identical.

 

As far as the process? To run properly, all air must be removed from the genny's tank and fuel lines. I connect the hoses to the gensets with the secondary feed valve closed. I loosen the fuel cap to allow air to escape and charge the line and fuel tank using the bulb pump. Once fuel starts to bubble around the edge of the cap I tighten it quickly to close the system (I've considered adding a shut of valve rather than just loosening the fuel cap. It would be a much 'cleaner' system. Just haven't gotten around to it.).

 

I apply a little pressure on the bulb pump while I open the secondary line valve and repeat the process with the second genset. It's important to keep fuel flowing through the pump until the other genset's tank is full as well.

 

You can imagine that this is much easier if you start with full internal tanks to begin with... or if you are just using a single genny.

 

Then just let em rip.

 

As a note, I DO use 3/8" fuel line. I know many say/use 1/4" or 5/16th's. I don't know it if matters. I wanted to make sure there was adequate flow because I know most folks don't put an inline fuel filter. It's really handy to be able to visually verify fuel flow :P

 

I hope it's more helpful than confusing. LOL

 

Edited: With regard to the fuel caps.. you don't necessarily need replacements. I have seen people modify the air vent on the existing cap to accept the 1/4" fuel adapter (I think there is a youtube for that mod). I did not want to go that route because I wanted to be able to switch back and forth from stand alone and extended tank operation. Just sayin'

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I bought a Boliy 3600PRO in 2008. It has a continous output of 3,000W, surge of 3,300W. It weighs 79# full of fuel and oil. Well, rather than try to remember the specs, here they are: Boliy PRO 3600SI specs This genset is quieter than a Honda 3,000, which has an actual output of 2,600W continous, and weighs much less. Costs about half too.

Mine is pull-start, an electric-start is now available too. Since 08 the only thing I've had to replace was my fault, because I did not drain the carb. while we went to Alaska. The carb was ruined by leaving it sit for 6 months full of todays fuel. I bought a replacement carb from this same website for $39, replaced the old carb. and it's ran fine ever since.

It powered our 15.5K heat pump and our 13.5K heat pump at the same time sitting in our driveway, but I never did that while camping because DW was doing something else that required power, like microwave, ironing, etc.

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I know that some folks do have a bit of trouble, but it's not 'that' terribly difficult. I know there are some kits out there where you can actually add a fuel pump internally, but I just use the gravity method.

 

So the equipment... you need the replacement fuel caps, and then fashion a fuel feed hose. I made mine for dual genny's.

 

35389-albums2041-picture12491.jpg

 

The only thing I've noticed that is fairly critical is that the hose lengths from the T connector need to be nearly identical.

 

As far as the process? To run properly, all air must be removed from the genny's tank and fuel lines. I connect the hoses to the gensets with the secondary feed valve closed. I loosen the fuel cap to allow air to escape and charge the line and fuel tank using the bulb pump. Once fuel starts to bubble around the edge of the cap I tighten it quickly to close the system (I've considered adding a shut of valve rather than just loosening the fuel cap. It would be a much 'cleaner' system. Just haven't gotten around to it.).

 

I apply a little pressure on the bulb pump while I open the secondary line valve and repeat the process with the second genset. It's important to keep fuel flowing through the pump until the other genset's tank is full as well.

 

You can imagine that this is much easier if you start with full internal tanks to begin with... or if you are just using a single genny.

 

Then just let em rip.

 

As a note, I DO use 3/8" fuel line. I know many say/use 1/4" or 5/16th's. I don't know it if matters. I wanted to make sure there was adequate flow because I know most folks don't put an inline fuel filter. It's really handy to be able to visually verify fuel flow :P

 

I hope it's more helpful than confusing. LOL

 

Edited: With regard to the fuel caps.. you don't necessarily need replacements. I have seen people modify the air vent on the existing cap to accept the 1/4" fuel adapter (I think there is a youtube for that mod). I did not want to go that route because I wanted to be able to switch back and forth from stand alone and extended tank operation. Just sayin'

 

I bought an extra cap for $20.00 modified it to use with my external tank. All I have to do is fill external tank, hook up gas line, open vent on external tank and forget about it for 7 days.

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So do you guys run these portable generators from inside the generator compartment? Or do you run them outside the compartment?

Do NOT run your portable generator inside the gen compartment! If you have the unit vent to the outside it would be OK. But otherwise do NOT run it inside the compartment.

 

I locate my Honda 2000i under the back edge of our rig when using. If we leave the rig I will locate the generator inside the unit -- Don't want it "walking off".

 

I know it is tempting to buy a less expensive unit but all the cheaper units I've seen have had some sort of problem. Honda and Yamaha are the standards. Whatever you do get a truly quiet unit. A noisy generator can ruin an otherwise enjoyable experience. Good luck, Dennis

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So do you guys run these portable generators from inside the generator compartment? Or do you run them outside the compartment?

Absolutely not! Those units are not designed to mount inside an enclosed space and must be outside for both discharge of their exhaust and also for them to get proper ventilation. Placed in a compartment they will overheat if they don't kill the occupants of the RV first from exhaust gas (CO) entering the RV.

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When you use your generator, please be courteous to other RV'ers who are not, or do not, use generators. Even with the Honda 2000, parking within 100 yards of a neighbor who doesn't use a generator is akin to a group of people parking next to you an playing their music loud enough for your to hear it, when what you are looking for is to only hear the sounds of nature.

 

Now if you are using an inexpensive contractor generator, think of it as; a group camping near you, playing loud music, whooping and hollering and in general disrupting everyone around them.

 

Some National Park CG's have generator and no generator areas. I guess in the generator area anything the CG allows is OK. I have heard contractor generators running in those CG's. Even staying in the non-generator area, 200 yards or more away, you still hear it.

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I have the Honda 3000 and had it converted to run on propane. My reason being that I always have propane gas (carry 4 tanks) with me and operating a diesel truck means I don't have to carry gasoline. Also, the propane eliminates the need to drain the old gas and carb issues that can arise. Propane gas never goes bad.

 

Greg

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Absolutely not! Those units are not designed to mount inside an enclosed space and must be outside for both discharge of their exhaust and also for them to get proper ventilation. Placed in a compartment they will overheat if they don't kill the occupants of the RV first from exhaust gas (CO) entering the RV.

Fully agree. I put in a drawer for our Honda 2000 in the space where the old battery box was. At less than 50 pounds I pull the drawer out and the Honda sets completely outside of the rig and under our awning. Also installed an big eye bolt and locking cable with enough slack for the generator to move in and out yet remain secured.

Later,

J

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