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Generators, 1 or 2?


oletimer

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We dry camp most of he time, and in all the 5th's we have owned (4) we have had an onboard genset with propane. We have ordered a new 5th without a generator. I decided to do that because with our Teton which is now 13 years old the generator has less than 300 hours on it, and many of those hours are exercise hours. After observing these Hondas the last few years, and how quiet they are, plus our usage, that's what I want. The EU3000IS1A weighs 134#, the EU2000iAPCK has 2 smaller generators that weighs 46# each. I can still handle the 134#, but I'm almost 72, and not getting stronger it seems, and 46# sounds easier than 134#. We would SELDOM need the 2nd generator if ever, and I think one would service our inverter/charger, if the sun didn't shine enough, but we have 800 watts of panels, and the only time we use the AC, is to cool the RV down, then use fans. Most of our dry camping is in the winter, even though we are "on the road" for about 7-10 months, we have hookups from Sept. thru Dec. I do carry a extra gas anyway for our dirt bike, and I don't think the Hondas take much, but wonder about a few things, like pull start verses electric start, etc. Anybody use these generators? Thanks,

 

Dick T

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We had two Honda 2000's with the parallel kit. About the only time we used the two together was if we wanted to run our 15K A/C unit. Other than that, we'd use just one, taking turns using each one. Our did not have the electric start, but that would be a nice feature to have. Their pretty thrifty on fuel use, especially running in economy mode, which would be fine for most uses.

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I'd go with one Honda of the 46# variety. I'm a few years "more experienced" than you are and I assure you that improving your strength and endurance in the coming years is going to be a bigger job than most of us ever commit to. I have been intending to start on a fitness program for.................. Well, suffice it to say that has not happened yet! :huh: If it were me, I'd also get the electric start version. You can easily go back and add the parallel kit and second generator if you need it.

 

And Linda, when you decide to let your second one go cheap, you might have a builtin customer here! :D

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,,,we use the AC, is to cool the RV down, then use fans...

Just realize that one Honda 2000 is very unlikely to run your AC. Another choice would be the Yamaha EF2800IQ Hybrid at 68# that would give you the option of running on gasoline or propane avoiding the stale gas and gumming issues of infrequent use and would run one AC unit.

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We have the Honda 2000 and it does have the power to run everything but the roof A/C. It is a pull start and it usually starts on the first pull. I've never had it not start right away as long as I run it once a month or more. Also it uses less than a gallon of gas for 5-6 hrs. use. The batteries of my RV get fully charged also.

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The Honda inverter generators are a good choice. But they're not the only choice. Yamaha might be just as good of an option. And there are getting to be quite a few "knock-offs" that people seem to have had ok experiences with for a lot less $.

 

Having two smaller generators gives you a "spare" in case something happens to one of them.

 

Good luck!

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Do you have a link to a site for purchaseing the hybrid Yamaha that you recommend?

Did you try the link in my original post? It says they are in stock and have four left. I said it was another choice, I did not say that I recommended it. The OP can investigate all the options and make the best choice for them. As mentioned, there are a number of other generators such as Boliy at 77# that have their supporters.

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Another plug for the Yamaha 2800. I have a Yamaha 3000 and the electric start makes it heavy like the 3000 Honda. I tried to use the 3000 for both our 5er and our houseboat. Lifting the 3000 was just to much so we bought a 2800 pull start. Much lighter and easier in the long run than a heavy 3000 with electric start. Pulling the cord was not that bad as usually it only required once or twice.

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One thing to keep in mind is that high altitude reduces the power a generator can produce. We just returned from a couple of weeks stay at 10,000+ above sea level. We didn't need AC up there but the power loss was very noticeable.

This is true and spark plug fouling can occur if you do not adjust the carburator. The Onan generators use to have a built in altitude adjustment knob on the carburator (don't know if they still do). We had an Onan 2800 in a 2004 Class C and camped at 10,000' using the generator and it worked very well for the 2 weeks we were there.

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Is it the battery or the starter that makes the electric start so heavy? I will probably say the battery. Haven't looked at one for a while but you should be able to remove the 5 to 10 lb battery and make sure the fuel tank is almost empty when moving the larger unit. Might be more work than necessary though.

 

Rod

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We (I) debated and researched this same question a few months ago. We don't dry camp that much but will need power for a couple weeks at the NM balloon festival in October, fortunately we shouldn't need AC there. We have a residential fridge, and about 200W of solar with 2 6V batteries. The solar seems to keep up with this the fridge, so I'm hoping we won't need to run the genny too much. Regardless, I toyed with all the same options mentioned above (including the propane option) and finally decided on a single Yamaha 2000W. It's form factor and weight are much less than the 2800 (which may/may not run AC anyway). Electric start would be nice but that's only on 3000's which are comparatively heavy and cost as much as 2 2000's. Even toyed with idea of propane option but finally decided on getting one 2000 now and could always get a second if I needed that later. We chose Yamaha since price was ~$100 less than Honda. Best prices I found were www.yamahagenerators.com

 

Good luck with your decision

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I will throw another dog in the fight. I just purchased a Champion 75537i. It is rated at 3100/2800 watts. Electric start, remote control and it starts and runs my 15,000 btu a/c easily. It weighs just over 100#. So far, I love it. Check it out. I had a Yamaha 2800i that I had problems with and getting service was not as easy as one would think. Food for thought.

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Since other brands have been introduced, I'll recommend what I've used since 2008: http://bottomlinetrading.com/BOLIY.html

The Boliy 3600SI comes in pull-start or electric. When you read the specs page it becomes evident this genset bests all other gensets of the similar size. This unit will power a 15,500 btu air conditioner with ease + microwave oven and ordinary lighting, @ 78# I can lift it into/out of my dually truck myself, I'm also 72.

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Some years ago we bought one of the Honda 3000s for the RV. I quickly found that the 150# was a lot to lug around! I also found that about half the time the battery for the starter was dead and I would have to pull start it which is a harder pull compared to the 2000s. Subsequently we bought two 2000s and the parallel kit and found that much more to my liking, easier to pick up and start and actually had more power than the 3000. Another bonus to owning the 2000s I have since discovered is their usefulness around the house as a power source for things like electric weed eaters, hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, small mowers and limb saws. Electric versions of many of these items are substantially cheaper than the gas powered versions and also don't have the problem of gumming up if left sitting around with old gas/oil in the carburater. Fewer engines to maintain is the bottom line. The 2000 will power such things as a saw, small compressor and nail guns, electric impact wrench and many other useful tools out in the barn or shed that you might have! Just my opinion but I think two 2000s is the way to go. Best Wishes, Jay

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We went with two EU2000's rather than one larger unit due to the weight. Each Honda is a bit over 50# when fueled and I can handle that. Also we can run just one if we do not need the A/C. Parallel them when we need the power to run one A/C.

 

Never a seconds problem from either generator. I keep StaBilt or SeaFoam in the tanks at all times and drain the carbs after each use.

 

Ken

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Thanks for all the comments folks, at least I think "Thanks". I am glad I not the only one to go through this thought process, but now I have more options to consider. Several look good, and I think I have taken the Honda 3000 out of my options for several reasons. Now I have to decide, and that's tuff for me. It's like when Susan has me sometimes (seldom) stop to pick up a can of pork-n-beans, and I find a shelf of about 30 different kinds, and brands. I usually get the wrong one, that's why she seldom has me shop. Not sure if it's always accidental!!!!

 

Dick T

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Can I add a plea from all of us who lke it quiet out in the bush? Please consider a solar set up. We have been boondocking for the last year with 400watt solar set up and have only used a generator twice. BTW generator is a Champion info here

We use 2 190watt Hanwa panels, a Tristar 30amp controller, 2 Rolls S550 batteries and a WINS 3600watt inverter. Total cost is about $1700 and it is totally silent. Also available on demand - I just push a button and the power is on and I dont have to go outside to start the generator. The panels are free standing so I can move them to the right angle to maximize power on cloudy days . in Yuma in winter the batteries are fully charged by noon. No gas to buy, no oil levels to check. No pull starter problems. We have a 32 ft 5er with 4 computers, TV, microwave and a 7qmp electri chain saw, and we dont really watch our power use other than not leaving the inverter on when we dont need power. one more comment on generators. Just finished a 2 week boondock where a friend had the yamaha 3000watt genset and I have to admit it was really quiet. Only problem is it weighs 120LB. I couldnt lift it or the equivalent Honda out of my truck. THe Champion we have is slightly louder but only weighs 75lb and I can manage it. Also costs half what the Yamaha costs.https://www.ecodirect.com is a good source for solar stuff and their telephone support is excellent.

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Can I add a plea from all of us who lke it quiet out in the bush? Please consider a solar set up. We have been boondocking for the last year with 400watt solar set up and have only used a generator twice. BTW generator is a Champion info here

We use 2 190watt Hanwa panels, a Tristar 30amp controller, 2 Rolls S550 batteries and a WINS 3600watt inverter. Total cost is about $1700 and it is totally silent. Also available on demand - I just push a button and the power is on and I dont have to go outside to start the generator. The panels are free standing so I can move them to the right angle to maximize power on cloudy days . in Yuma in winter the batteries are fully charged by noon. No gas to buy, no oil levels to check. No pull starter problems. We have a 32 ft 5er with 4 computers, TV, microwave and a 7qmp electri chain saw, and we dont really watch our power use other than not leaving the inverter on when we dont need power. one more comment on generators. Just finished a 2 week boondock where a friend had the yamaha 3000watt genset and I have to admit it was really quiet. Only problem is it weighs 120LB. I couldnt lift it or the equivalent Honda out of my truck. THe Champion we have is slightly louder but only weighs 75lb and I can manage it. Also costs half what the Yamaha costs.https://www.ecodirect.com is a good source for solar stuff and their telephone support is excellent.

 

Thanks for your comment, we also like it quiet, and ever since we added solar(in 1993), plus the fact that the generators seem to offend some folks, we don't use one much. I am amused sometimes, when many of the folks that are offended by generators, no matter how quiet they are have 2-4 yapping dogs, and don't always pickup after them. We have always used an Onan genset, but after observing the sound level of these new portable generators that are so much quieter plus the fact that we don't use one much, that's what we decided to do. BTW, we have 800watts of panels, a Tristar 60 amp controller, a 3500 watt inverter/charger, 10/6V AGM batteries for 1,100 AHs, and like you, enjoy the fact that it is so handy. BUT, when we get socked in with no sun for several days, and that will happen when we boondock for 4-41/2 months at a time, it is nice to have a backup. Those little Honda 1000s are so quiet, you can hardly hear them from the front of the 5th to the back, plus they only weigh 49#. I might even be able to hide it when we are in a "NO Generator Zone", because no one would know! Just kiddin'. Thanks, Dick T

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Dick T,

 

One more thing to consider. You mention your inverter/charger and I assume you are thinking you will use it to charge your batteries. I don't know which one you have but I have a Magnum 2800 that will put out 125 amps. Unfortunately, my Honda 2000 will not drive the inverter/charger at that charge level. I have to set the load sharing value to no more than 15 amps or the Honda will shut down or pop it's internal protection breaker. About the most I can get out of it is 60-70 amps of charging. And, when it is running wide open like that it is noisy, regardless of what anyone says. My onboard Onan 5500 on the other hand will drive the charger at its full rate and barely sound like it is working at all.

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My setup is similar to Rif's: Onan 5500LP, Honda 2000, Magnum Energy inverter—I agree with everything he said.

Like Dick T, I put very few hours (<250 hours) on our Teton-installed genny and have thought of removing that expensive, large, heavy, inefficient beast that lives in the front of our coach.
That being said, I just can't bring myself to remove it. Despite its negatives, the convenience of pushing a button cannot be dismissed. As boondockers, we sometimes (albeit rarely) find ourselves parked where we need to run the A/C for an hour or so to take the edge off the indoor temperature. As Rif said, it has the ability to quickly bring our AGMs to a comfortable point where the solar—even on a cloudy day—can finish the job.
This begs the question, "Why carry the Honda"? We use our Honda 2000 to supplement our solar during extended, cloudy days during the winter. Though inconvenient to drag out of its storage, the Honda sips fuel and is quiet when running @ <half speed. The only time I'll bother to set it up is when I know we'll be parked in one place for a long time under the conditions mentioned above. Let's face it, 46 pounds gets heavier & heavier every year while pushing a button gets easier and easier.
Mark

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