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Old 03-19-2016, 03:26 PM   #1
Im Bamma
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RV Generators

Hello everyone,

My husband and I own a 2010 keystone bullet 26 rbs and we are looking to purchase a generator for our cross county trip. Any one have any suggestions. Thanks Jo Ann
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Old 03-19-2016, 04:13 PM   #2
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Honda and Yamaha continually lead the pack based on consumer votes in realizability and performance.

Other names that have been known to work well are champion and kipor. Number of other generic brands fall into this category.

Most people would recommend generator with an invertor built in compared to not built in. Invertor generators are more expensive but have cleaner power, those more technical can talk about the insides but long and short many electronics today including some of your camper electronics can be sensitive to power fluctuation. Non inverted generators have been said to blow these types of electronics up and causes issues with converters. Other people have never used one and have no issues.

Size is depending on what you want to run. A 2000 watt will run most small electronics and charge the batteries but not run your AC. If you'd want to run everything a 3000 watt plus is recommended.
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Old 03-19-2016, 04:28 PM   #3
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There have been numerous discussions about "which is the best generator" and other generator-associated topics on the forum. If you use our search feature and type in "generator" you will find enough posts/threads to keep you busy reading for some time.

Many of these posts discuss the pros and cons of various generators and offer suggestions as to recommended types.
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Old 03-19-2016, 04:32 PM   #4
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This is a great resource to read through, a very extensive thread on the subject of generators.

http://www.keystonerv.org/forums/showthread.php?t=24427
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Old 03-19-2016, 06:28 PM   #5
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If you plan to run your AC you will need at least 3000w and depending on the generator brand, maybe more. An EZ Start Capacitor installed in the AC unit will help with that.

I often camp alone for my shooting sport and I have a bad back so I went with two smaller generators which when needed can be hooked in parallel to run my AC. The smaller Yamahas and Hondas are under 40 lbs each while the larger ones are over 125lbs....that made my choice an easy one.
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Old 03-23-2016, 03:14 AM   #6
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If you manually put your fridge on gas and you don't have anything else running on electric a 2000 watt generator will run smaller AC units. According to the math my Honda eu2000 will run the AC unit on my Passport 2200, i have tried it and it works. I checked it with an amp meter and it did not overload the generator. I also checked with and electrician friend and he agreed with my math. I realize there is a spike at startup but only for a split second. I my be missing something but for me I will continue to use my 2000 watt generator.
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Old 03-23-2016, 07:02 AM   #7
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Different brands of generators handle loads and overloads differently, whith Honda handling them better than Yamaha.

Different brands of AC's/age of AC/ambient temoeratures cause different startup conditions.

Especially with an older AC it is difficult to really know how the generator will perform until you try it.

I had a 2400w Yamaha which ran my 13500 AC fine. New Camper and a 15k AC and the generator would not handle it. I Installed a $10 Hard Start Cap and it ran the AC fine

I've since moved to a pair of 2kw Yamahas and I'm happy though during overload I sometimes have issues that I'm pretty sure I wouldnt have had I gone with Hondas'.
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Old 03-23-2016, 09:19 AM   #8
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We usually go to a park with power, but occasionally we dry camp and plan to do so this April at a really nice location at 6,000-7,000'. The gen loses enough power at that altitude requiring a bit of help by turning the water heater and fridge to gas depending on the combined electrical draw. I think this hard start capacitor might be the ticket if we need the AC (which I doubt we will until later in the summer).

BTW, I see that Costco has the Yamaha engine, Smarter Tools 2000W gens in stock again. My two with parallel cable continue to work well. Just did an oil change yesterday.
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Old 03-24-2016, 07:11 AM   #9
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A 2000 Honda will probably run a small ac unit but if you continue to use it you will burn out your ac unit. If you plug a voltmeter into an outlet when the ac is running you will see it doesn't put out enough voltage to safety run the air. Starting and running the ac on low voltage will burn the unit up. A 3000 generator will run a 13.5 ac unit but will not run the bigger 15 ac unit. In my opinion 2 Honda eu2000 generators run parallel are the way to go. Honda's are a little more expensive but we'll worth it. You get what you pay for.
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Old 03-24-2016, 07:35 AM   #10
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A 2000 Honda will probably run a small ac unit but if you continue to use it you will burn out your ac unit. If you plug a voltmeter into an outlet when the ac is running you will see it doesn't put out enough voltage to safety run the air. Starting and running the ac on low voltage will burn the unit up. A 3000 generator will run a 13.5 ac unit but will not run the bigger 15 ac unit. In my opinion 2 Honda eu2000 generators run parallel are the way to go. Honda's are a little more expensive but we'll worth it. You get what you pay for.
And why would a 3,000 watt not run a 15k A/C? Several are doing it with success.
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:27 PM   #11
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Generally, you're right about 3000 watts - but it can be hard to isolate "just" the AC.

One other thing to look out for - be careful buying a generator that has a 240v plug and no 120v @ 30A output. Often, if you just use "one side" of the 240V plug, those are circuit breaker limited and won't get you anywhere near rated output of the generator...
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Old 03-25-2016, 09:35 AM   #12
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I have a Honda eu3000 that I bought new and it will not run the air on the camper we have now or would not run it on our old camper and they are both15k units.
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Old 03-25-2016, 09:42 AM   #13
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I have a Honda eu3000 that I bought new and it will not run the air on the camper we have now or would not run it on our old camper and they are both15k units.
that is kind of surprising to me .....

I have a champion 2800/3100 and it runs a 13500 btu no problem
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Old 03-25-2016, 10:30 AM   #14
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that is kind of surprising to me .....

I have a champion 2800/3100 and it runs a 13500 btu no problem
Nellie -
I believe spicercars was referring to a 15K unit not a 13500 BTU unit.
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Old 03-25-2016, 11:56 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by spicercars View Post
I have a Honda eu3000 that I bought new and it will not run the air on the camper we have now or would not run it on our old camper and they are both15k units.
There are two "Honda 3000" generator models. The EU3000i Handi is rated at 2600 watts (21.7 amps) and the EU3000iS is rated at 2800 watts (23.3 amps).

Depending on the "draw" from the converter, refrigerator and other items in the trailer, it's very possible that neither would have enough power to "sustain" the RV "and" the Air Conditioner.

Dometic recommends a "minimum of 3500 watts "continuous" power to operate one of their air conditioners (I believe that includes the other trailer power requirements as well) and 5000 watts to operate two of their air conditioners.

We've had a fairly extensive thread discussion about powering a single air conditioner on a "standard 110 volt outlet" while parked in the yard. If you consider that a "standard 20 amp outlet" has essentially the same power output as the "Honda 3000" generator, it's fairly easy to envision that it won't do a "good job" of powering an RV and operating the air conditioner, especially on a hot day.

When looking at the specs on the Dometic 13.5 and 15K BTU A/C's, the 13.5 requires about 14.9 amps to operate while the 15K uses about 15.3 amps. It does take a bit more to "start" either model, but when in operation, there's not very much difference in electrical requirements.

If you've got a Honda 3000 that produces 21.7 or 23.3 amps and you're using 5 amps to run your converter, 1 amp to run the refrigerator, you've only got 15.7 amps to run the A/C. It may start it OK the first time, but you'll find that on a hot day, restarting the A/C may cause the generator to overload.

There are some people who "swear" they have no problems running their trailer AND air conditioner on a single Honda 2000 watt generator. I'm not going to say it "can't happen" (they say it does) but I'd definitely wonder just how long their single generator would last before it "burned itself up" trying to power that much requirement.

There's a reason Dometic recommends 3500 watts minimum sustained power for a single RV air conditioner.
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:54 PM   #16
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Nellie -
I believe spicercars was referring to a 15K unit not a 13500 BTU unit.
Yes but the champion 2800/3100 is rated to run a 15000 btu AC right out of the manual and if you look at Costco.com champion advertises it as such. That's why I'm surprised the cats meow 3000 Honda won't ??
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Old 03-25-2016, 07:45 PM   #17
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Yes but the champion 2800/3100 is rated to run a 15000 btu AC right out of the manual and if you look at Costco.com champion advertises it as such. That's why I'm surprised the cats meow 3000 Honda won't ??
The Champion is rated at 2800 watts "continuous output". The 15K A/C requires 15.3 amps (1836 watts) "continuous" to operate. It requires more than that to "restart the compressor" during operation. The Champion (and the Honda) will handle that load without issue.

The "rub" comes from plugging in the trailer to the generator. Immediately upon doing that, the converter "saps" about 750 watts of power before you even turn on the A/C. If anything else is running, refrigerator on AC, water heater, TV, lights, etc, you can see how easy it would be to get up to the Honda's 2600 watt rating... It's "only 200 watts to go" with the Champion.

So, yes, the generator manual says it will run a 15K A/C, and it will. It's all the "other stuff that's turned on" that causes the issue....
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Old 03-25-2016, 09:26 PM   #18
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The Champion is rated at 2800 watts "continuous output". The 15K A/C requires 15.3 amps (1836 watts) "continuous" to operate. It requires more than that to "restart the compressor" during operation. The Champion (and the Honda) will handle that load without issue.

The "rub" comes from plugging in the trailer to the generator. Immediately upon doing that, the converter "saps" about 750 watts of power before you even turn on the A/C. If anything else is running, refrigerator on AC, water heater, TV, lights, etc, you can see how easy it would be to get up to the Honda's 2600 watt rating... It's "only 200 watts to go" with the Champion.

So, yes, the generator manual says it will run a 15K A/C, and it will. It's all the "other stuff that's turned on" that causes the issue....
I have the Champion and it will run my trailer... fridge in the outdoor kitchen, inside fridge on auto, converter and the 15K BTU AC unit.

The first time I used it camping, I did not even think about any other items, except for the water heater, which I left on gas... the inside fridge was on auto, the outside fridge was plugged in and the converter is always on.

I cranked up the Champion, let it stabilize, flipped the main breaker on and after the Progressive EMS clicked I set the thermostat to AC. The AC fan started immediately and after a bit the compressor kicked in... the Champion grabbed a gear and everything was fine... I monitored power consumption and voltage on the Progressive EMS remote display and everything was within spec.

We were dry camping, outside of Big Bend NP and it was pretty warm (hence the demand for AC).

I believe the EMS would have shut things down if the voltage was too low?

As always... YMMV

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Old 03-26-2016, 04:35 AM   #19
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Depending on the particular AC unit and the condition of its starting curcuit one might even experience issues where once there wern't any.

I had a brand new 15K unit which would not run on either my 2400w Yamaha or my pair of 2000w since the Yamahas can have issues maintaining an instantaneous overload condition.

I installed this $12 part and my issues went away. As a matter of fact when I removed the AC cover, the wiring diagram even included it as optional.

Hard Start Cap
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Old 03-26-2016, 04:37 AM   #20
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I believe the EMS would have shut things down if the voltage was too low?

As always... YMMV

-Brian
Yes, the EMS would and im my case did. As stated above it was resolved with the Hard Start Cap.
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