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Old 07-12-2019, 06:12 AM   #1
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Generator size and number of deep cycles?

Edit to title: DEEP CYCLE..... not drop cycle. I can not seem to edit my title.

I'm not an electrician. I hate electricity once you leave the end user/consumer side of it.

Harbor Freight offers 2 units in quite inverter generators, a 3500 way for $699 with coupon and a 2000 watt for $449.

Obviously, I like the $449 price the most. But will that run my AC unit and keep my Apex Ultra Lite 289TBSS running along at a primitive camp site?

Also, the trailer is coming with a single deep cycle battery. I can't imagine that being overly useful.... Should I run to Rural King and grab 2 more of the $49 deep cycle that they have? I'm thinking that I can stack 3 together and batteries really shouldn't be an issue for a couple days or more?
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:38 AM   #2
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We have a Honda EU3000IS generator with our 35' 5er that has 2 A/C units along with all the other normal stuff (e.g. microwave, TVs, etc). The generator will handle a single A/C unit (one is 15k BTU) but not both. And even when one is running, we have to be conservative with usage elsewhere (e.g. microwave, etc).

Personally I think a 2000 would be too small for your A/C unit and other items. 3500 should handle it well.

Lastly when it comes to generators, check out the dB rating. Some of them can be quite loud. We bought our Honda because we wanted/needed something quiet....and it is at just 50-57 dB. With it being so quiet, we can run in whenever and wherever (no worries about noise restrictions).
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:10 AM   #3
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We have a Honda EU3000IS generator with our 35' 5er that has 2 A/C units along with all the other normal stuff (e.g. microwave, TVs, etc). The generator will handle a single A/C unit (one is 15k BTU) but not both. And even when one is running, we have to be conservative with usage elsewhere (e.g. microwave, etc).



Personally I think a 2000 would be too small for your A/C unit and other items. 3500 should handle it well.



Lastly when it comes to generators, check out the dB rating. Some of them can be quite loud. We bought our Honda because we wanted/needed something quiet....and it is at just 50-57 dB. With it being so quiet, we can run in whenever and wherever (no worries about noise restrictions).
The Harbor Freight predator is also 57db. I've already searched out reviews and found really only great reviews, some owners saying that they are over 3,000 hours and running along just fine. The predator engine line from HF is reviewed very favorably and often compared to Honda engines being that it is a Honda clone engine.

https://www.harborfreight.com/3500-W...tor-63584.html
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:15 AM   #4
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The 2000 will be too small to reliably run the AC. If nothing else is running ( converter off) and the AC has been off for a while ( no pressure head) it will start and run, but this is not a real life situation.
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:55 AM   #5
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The Harbor Freight predator is also 57db. I've already searched out reviews and found really only great reviews, some owners saying that they are over 3,000 hours and running along just fine. The predator engine line from HF is reviewed very favorably and often compared to Honda engines being that it is a Honda clone engine.

https://www.harborfreight.com/3500-W...tor-63584.html
Good looking generator. I can see it being quiet with the enclosure and all.
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:31 AM   #6
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If you install a Microair soft start the 2K should run your A/C. Not a chance without it. Most of the 13.5 A/Cs draw in the 10-17 AMP while running, but the startup surge can be very high. Your would have to be careful with any other loads. Microwave and electric hot water heater would probably trip the overload protection on the generator. Curling irons, coffee pots, electric griddle/skillet probably would too.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:04 AM   #7
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Careful when purchasing "deep cycle" batteries. RV's typically come with dual use "boat" batteries that are not true deep cycle. At $49 dollars, I can guarantee what you are looking at is not what you want. Amp/hours are what you are looking for and campers usually either go with 2 12V in parallel or 2 6V in series which will get you around 215 amp/hours of which you can use about half until recharging is required. Costco carries the 6V "golf cart" batteries and Batteries Plus has all types. Look to spend around $100/battery. Lots of threads on batteries if you do a search.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:14 AM   #8
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I started with a single Honda 2000. No soft start for the A/C. No nothing. Just the rig, the generator, and the family holed up at a port-o-pot lot dealing with some s**t.

Leading up to that point, I asked the same thing. I think it was TitanMike who said, “it’ll run it, but you’ll hate it because it can’t run anything else.”

In reality started the A/C most of the time *if* I had all of the other breakers off in the camper.

If you looked at the generator, the “overload light” would temporarily light up. It was short enough that the generator didn’t trip. But, reading the owner’s manual says this is hard on the generator. I do believe an EasyStart would be helpful in this case.

But, at the end of the day- the running A/C is taking up almost all of the available amps of the generator. The most important thing you won’t be able to run is the converter/battery charger. While running A/C, you’ll be using battery power for lights and fans and whatnot. It’s not until you shut off the A/C will you finally be able to charge the batteries.

IMO, get the 3000W generator or get a pair of 2000s. A single 2000 isn’t enough to comfortably run what you may need to.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:29 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by wharfrat48 View Post
Careful when purchasing "deep cycle" batteries. RV's typically come with dual use "boat" batteries that are not true deep cycle. At $49 dollars, I can guarantee what you are looking at is not what you want. Amp/hours are what you are looking for and campers usually either go with 2 12V in parallel or 2 6V in series which will get you around 215 amp/hours of which you can use about half until recharging is required. Costco carries the 6V "golf cart" batteries and Batteries Plus has all types. Look to spend around $100/battery. Lots of threads on batteries if you do a search.
So is this RV/Marine battery not what your talking about?

https://www.ruralking.com/battery-24...cle-400cca-150

Or this smaller/cheaper "Marine" but not called out as RV one what your saying to stay away from?
https://www.ruralking.com/battery-525-cca-24-starting

Then the more expensive AGM RV/Marine option, would this be in the recommended type of battery.... Or the bad type of battery?
https://www.ruralking.com/battery-auto-agm-rk-agm24dp
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:48 AM   #10
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The Harbor Freight predator is also 57db. I've already searched out reviews and found really only great reviews, some owners saying that they are over 3,000 hours and running along just fine. The predator engine line from HF is reviewed very favorably and often compared to Honda engines being that it is a Honda clone engine.

https://www.harborfreight.com/3500-W...tor-63584.html
It is NOT a Honda clone. It is compared to a Honda, but so is every generator, as Honda is the gold standard.
It may seem cheap, but you get what you pay for.
If a Honda is out of your range, buy a Champion.
Also, take everyone's advice and buy two 2000s or one large enough to run your A/C AND some other stuff at the same time.
Two batteries and a generator is enough for boondocking.
Good luck and have fun!
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:03 AM   #11
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You are going to get a bunch of opinions about generator brands and there have been literally thousands of posts on "best generator" on this site so I won't get into that. A search will give you days worth of reading for you to make YOUR decision.

A single 2000w generator won't do what you want without major compromise to what else you can run while on generator.

Get at least a 3000-3500w generator or two that you can parallel to get in that ballpark.

As for the battery... if your 12v demands are not all that high, it is very possible a single battery may get you through the day/night, along with running the generator during the recommended hours.

During the months we don't need the furnace (HUGE battery hog) we often can get through the day/night on a single battery (I have a selector switch and run off one at a time) with charging the battery during the day using the generator.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:06 AM   #12
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Also, I have an article on generators. It can help with sizing, brands, and safety:
Learn to RV - Generators
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:11 AM   #13
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The Harbor Freight predator is also 57db. I've already searched out reviews and found really only great reviews, some owners saying that they are over 3,000 hours and running along just fine. The predator engine line from HF is reviewed very favorably and often compared to Honda engines being that it is a Honda clone engine.

https://www.harborfreight.com/3500-W...tor-63584.html
X2 On the Predator ...we have 4 in the family now
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:15 AM   #14
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Also, I have an article on generators. It can help with sizing, brands, and safety:
Learn to RV - Generators
That's a GREAT article! Just enough good info w/o drowning you in details.
Thanks for sharing!
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:49 AM   #15
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That's a GREAT article! Just enough good info w/o drowning you in details.
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for the kind words! I welcome any suggestions for improvements.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:15 AM   #16
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A 13.5K BTU generator can demand up to 2,750 W on start up, and perhaps more. So, you either need to support that or get a soft-start cap to help.

Two things that I didn't see in the above referenced article.

First, when sizing a generator to your needs, you have to stay away from the big bold-faced power rating. That's misleading. If you need 2,000 W to run all your stuff, then a 2,000 W generator will be too small. The big loud number that's advertised is the peak rating and you're more interested in the nominal, continuous rating. For a 2,000 W genny, it's usually around 1,800 W. For a 3,500 W genny, it's usually around 3,200 W.

Second, while it's mentioned qualitatively, I think it's easy and important to factor altitude effects. All normally aspirated engines lose ~3% of power per 1000' over nominal (usually 500').

Let's say that you buy a Champion 3,100 W generator to camp with because it will meet that 2,750 W peak draw from the A/C start-up. Because it's a one-time hit, we can think in terms of peak rating ... the continuous draw of the 13.5K BTU A/C is a paltry 1,250 W.

OK, so when camping at the beach, you're golden. But, you also spend a lot of time at the Mojave desert at 5,000'. 4.5 * 3% = 13.5%. Your 3100 W generator will now give you around 2680 W. Will it run your A/C? Maybe. It's right on that border. Might fire up. Might trip a breaker on the genny.

I camp at 9,500' regularly, sometimes higher. At that point, I'm losing 27% of my generator's power. What size do I need to still hit 2,750W? 2750/.73 = 3,767 W. So, I sort of need a 3,800 W generator to reliably start my A/C at altitude. Yikes!
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:16 AM   #17
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So is this RV/Marine battery not what your talking about?

https://www.ruralking.com/battery-24...cle-400cca-150

Or this smaller/cheaper "Marine" but not called out as RV one what your saying to stay away from?
https://www.ruralking.com/battery-525-cca-24-starting

Then the more expensive AGM RV/Marine option, would this be in the recommended type of battery.... Or the bad type of battery?
https://www.ruralking.com/battery-auto-agm-rk-agm24dp
Those are not true deep cycle - one way you can tell is they have Cold Cranking Amp specs (CCA) these are designed to start an engine and have some reserve capacity- You want to find a spec for Amp/hours. Search Trojan T-105, this is a 6V golf cart battery commonly used for deep cycle RV applications (need two in series to generate 12V)- it has 225amp hours. Of course, your 12V electric requirements will determine what size battery bank you need. If you will always be connected to shore power and/or be running your generator, the single battery that comes with your RV should be fine. If you want to camp for days without your generator or shore power, you would need a larger battery bank. How large depends on your electric usage and ability to recharge your bank (solar/generator/shore power). Search for the "12volt side of life" for some good info.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:32 AM   #18
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I camp at 9,500' regularly, sometimes higher. At that point, I'm losing 27% of my generator's power. What size do I need to still hit 2,750W? 2750/.73 = 3,767 W. So, I sort of need a 3,800 W generator to reliably start my A/C at altitude. Yikes!
Of course, hopefully you would never A/C at 9500'.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:42 AM   #19
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Of course, hopefully you would never A/C at 9500'.
Was just at Mueller State Park at 9,400'. It was 83 and sunny, which put the inside of the trailer in the upper 80s. We had shore power and the A/C felt great.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:48 AM   #20
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Was just at Mueller State Park at 9,400'. It was 83 and sunny, which put the inside of the trailer in the upper 80s. We had shore power and the A/C felt great.
I would never run AC in the 80s. I have a house in lake Tahoe at 6200' and I don't even have an AC in the house. In fact only 1 out of 30 houses in my neighborhood have them.
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