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Generator Choices ?


Kevin H

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We just went through a couple days of severe power issues here in Yellowstone. Hopefully all is in order now. We were without power off and on for two days. The longest was about 5 hours in one stretch.


This got me to thinking about a generator. We are not boondockers so have no idea of our battery use time. We are almost always on shore power. We have one 12 v battery that came with the rig. I am thinking of converting to two 6 volts.


I converted our 12 lights to led. If we were to be powerless I am just concerned with the led lights, furnace, water heater and refer. Other than the furnace, our electrical needs would be minimal, but if we were out for over, say, 12 hours, I think I would like to have a small generator.


Hence my questoin - which generator would you recommend? I am thinking the Honda 1000iu would be sufficient. I don't see us using the AC so that is a non issue.


Solar is not a concern at this time. Solar would not have helped a bit in the current situation as we have not seen sun for the time the power was out and we are under trees. Definitely think a generator fits us better.


What do you think and what suggestions for gens do you have?

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I would recommend the Honda eu2000is. It will power all the stuff you describe and give you enough juice to charge the batteries. It can also be paired at a later date with a second one which will give you enough power to run an air conditioner if you should so desire. I also agree that one 12v battery does not give you much energy cushion. Two 6v batteries would be much better.

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My personal preferences would also be a Honda (or Yamaha if an equivalent is made) Inverter style which also has the capability to connect, sync, and pair up with another similar additional unit if more power was required. Those Honda inverter style are so quiet and so efficient and only work hard enough to match the required load.

 

HOWEVER that being said, I ran across some good reviews of Hyundai (spelling??) small gensets on You Tube or somewhere you may want to check out.

 

I (nor will your neighbors) DO NOT LIKE the loud noisy screaming whining cheap construction site China built units which seem to go bad yet there's like NO parts availability or service.

 

FWIW I like your plan to use two six volt true Deep Cycle Golf Cart style Batteries in series versus say a semi or quasi deep cycle battery like those labeled RV/Marine and sold at Wally World.

 

Heck, if you hang out here enough the gents will have you adding solar panels next lol

 

John T

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I use the Honda 2000i for topping up my batteries when boondocking as we dont have solar yet. A 1000 would work but I like the fact that we can use the microwave and other loads while the batteries are charging. We usually run the gen in the evening just before bedtime and watch tv and such while the gen is running.

We also have the big onboard gen but I feel it is overkill for battery cgarging.

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The Honda 1000 is great for keeping the batteries charged and watching some TV at the same time but it won't do much more than that. The Microwave or even coffee pot may prove too much for it which is very frustrating. Today I'd go for a 2000 too, not that much more cost, weight or size and you can charge your batteries while watching TV and popping some corn.

 

Do plan ahead for when you'll be using it, you do not want to hit it with heavy loads it won't be able to support. Going to your breaker box and putting a bright sticker on each of the breakers you want to be sure are off before firing up the generator is a good idea. Fridge, water heater, air conditioner, electric heater outlets are all good to flip off before they cause problems.

 

If you have a good converter just plugging the rig in will take care of your battery charging, a converter with a charge-wizard like option will be even better. If you have an older converter upgrading or adding a good battery charger is worth considering.

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If you are on a budget, I would go with a 1k generator (little less expensive) and spend the rest on extra batteries (either another 12v or 2+ 6v's). If you aren't planning on running a microwave or AC when power goes down, you could power the rest of your 120v devices (TV, computer, etc) on a couple small inverters off 12v. The furnace fan most likely runs on 12v, and if you have a small battery, you may not have enough juice to get through the night without having to run the generator at some point in the middle of it (depending on how cold it is). A larger battery bank and small generator would be a better pairing in this case, than a larger generator and smaller battery bank.

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The thing is a 2000 isn't all that much bigger and heavier then a 1000, but it gives you so much more expansion capacity and is much easier to resell if ever needed. Its more like the "sweet spot" as far as size and price and resale is concerned. I recommend an Inverter style and here are reviews (I didn't have handy before and just posted on another thread) for Yamaha and Honda and Hyundai.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV-_7ym8jjA

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WWLykLDrBU

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT9G9Ie3nEM

 

John T

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I have a Honda 1000 and like it very much, however, it is not powerful enough to run our 90 amp converter when the batteries are low. Consequently, we have a 25 amp automotive smart charger that we use to charge batteries. It would be more convenient to be able to plug it directly into the main power cord. If your converter is small enough to be powered by the 1000 I would go for it as it is very small and light.

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We have the Honda 1 kW but the 2 kW is not much larger so I would go with the 2 kW if we were to buy one now. We found that the Champion 4 kW we had for years was great (Chinese made).

 

I was with the Army Science Advisor program in Korea in the 1980s and we received a couple of IR tank simulators i.e. it was a panel that would look like a tank nose-on to a FLIR. We gave them to 1/72nd Armored for use. There was a heated section (1 kW Honda generator) on the panel that really made it look like a tank. One of their platoons set this up and got platoon from 2/72nd Armor to engage on manuvers and were "annihilated" by the the other unit according to the umpires.

 

Went up to talk to the officers who used the system to discuss it for after action to give to the folks from the Camouflage Office agt Ft. Devins. Looked at the generator and it had about 750 hours of usage. The battalion staff had used it to heat their coffee pot. They said they would have appreciated a larger generator.

 

Reed and Elaine

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Lots of RVers use the Honda 2000s, singly or in pairs. Very good gens. We regularly dry-camp for 1-2 weeks, and our 2-6volt Trojans will last for 4-5 days. Just about every light in the trailer is LED, that has really helped the battery life. When I notice the batts getting low, I use the Onan to power a Schumacher auto battery charger and use it to charge the batts--much faster than going thru the converter.

My B-I-L tries to charge his 2 12volt batteries with his 3000 Honda--takes much longer than using the auto charger. And his 3000 requires 2 people to load/unload.

Can't go wrong with the Honda inverter 2000 (or Yamaha equiv) with the ability to double up later.

Joe

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