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Old 09-09-2013, 11:39 AM   #1
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1200W / 15 amp Generator okay to use?

We have the 2014 Surveyor Cadet 192T and just bought a small generator (on sale for $200.00). It won't be that often at all that we will be dry camping (at least the whole family) so I just wanted something small and portable.

The ad for the generator had it down as 1200W / 5-20 amp, but after I got it home, oil added and such, I noticed on the front by the plug that it was 5-15 amp.

I know that even at 20 amp, we would not be able to run the AC (not what we wanted it for), but we mainly needed it for the microwave and my wifes curling iron in the morning.

Will we be okay with a 15 amp generator or will it cause damage?
Also, will the generator charge the battery for the trailer while running?

Thanks for any information, James.
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:58 AM   #2
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Here's some handy info for you.

normal appliance amp draws




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Imo you may not be able to run the microwave especially if the converter is running as you only have about 10 amps available.
Is it 1200 running watts or surge amps?
Look at the thread I posted for you to get an idea.

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Old 09-09-2013, 12:06 PM   #3
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All I can relay to you is that I used a 1000/1200 watt (8+/-amps) genny on my Dutchman 31K for several months while doing some EPA work out in the middle of no where. It did keep the batteries charged for the most part, and I did run my TV/DISH system in the evenings. Probably ran some other low amperage stuff like cell phone chargers, etc...No A/C, or Microwave. I had made up a short cord (6') that plugged into the genny's 110 outlet on one end, and into my trailer's 30 amp receptacle on the other. I did check with the manufacturer before doing this, and they had no problem with it. That was 3 years ago, and I have had no electrical issues before, or after that. Also I found out when talking with the Dutchman people that I could plug into a 50 amp service, but my trailer would only use 30 amps of the 50 amps available.
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Old 09-09-2013, 12:14 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.

I think the 1200 is startup, but then running it drops down to I think 1000W.

I did hook it up for a few minutes to test, then thought after the fact, "I hope I didn't screw things up on the trailer if it is only 15 amp". The microwave did run (heated a cup of water) and you could hear the Gen rev down and up while the microwave was in use.

My main concern is if it will hurt the electical of the trailer using the 15 amp Generator. Most times we will always have power hookups as a family trip, just the odd time when I am playing a music jamboree and camping without hookups that I would need the generator for a short time (maybe bit more if my wife is with me ... and her curling iron).

Thank you for your thoughts, James.
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Old 09-09-2013, 12:17 PM   #5
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Hey thanks for the link Turbs! You even had the curling iron listed LOL
Curling Iron <1 Amp
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Old 09-09-2013, 03:22 PM   #6
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i seriously doubt you'll be able to run the microwave with that small of a generator. all RV microwaves i've seen, need a minimum of a 1800-2000w generator.

pretty much all that yours is good for, is recharging the batteries.
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Old 09-09-2013, 03:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikendan View Post
i seriously doubt you'll be able to run the microwave with that small of a generator. all RV microwaves i've seen, need a minimum of a 1800-2000w generator.

pretty much all that yours is good for, is recharging the batteries.
Thanks Dan. I did do a quick test with it to see, and it did run the microwave, granted just for 20 seconds or so (with a cup or water in the microwave) before I shut off the MW.

My concern is more with doing harm to the trailer with it only being 15 amp. I'm thinking after doing some reading that I won't do harm, just will not be able to run a lot of things at one time, which I am fine with.

James.
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Old 09-09-2013, 04:11 PM   #8
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The answer is somewhat of a grey area. Simple answer is yes it can. Anytime a load exceeds the output of a power source it causes voltage drop. This is a brown out. It can cause the small wiring inside of equipment to exceed it's amperage rating because as voltage decrease load increases to attempt to fill the void in wattage. Generally we trip breakers before this happens. However your generator is of a lower output than would trip a 15A breaker (about 1800W). You microwave is likely (I can't be certain without looking) in the 1000W range for running wattage. This means the generator is maxed out to keep up assuming it can at all.

Long term this could cause damage to the electronic controls and elements of the microwave. If the micro is under the max running watts than you could be okay. Curling iron I wouldn't have the foggiest idea what the wattage is. As another poster said, this is a good generator for running your battery charger on board your rig from. However if you insist upon using it, (AND understand this is risky) turn the breakers off to EVERYTHING else. Your charger and fridge are silent absorbers of wattage and will further escalate the effects of voltage drop.
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:30 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies. I'm thinking of taking it back and either getting a bigger one, or none at all. We wouldn't really use it all that much. But I did have a thought if I decided to keep it. I could always just run a cord from the generator in to the trailer to plug the little things in that my wife wants to use now and then. No real need to run it through the trailer system at all as far as I can see.
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Old 09-10-2013, 09:11 AM   #10
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Just keep in mind that a generator that inexpensive is going to be very noisy so may be quite annoying to any neighbors you have if it's on for long.
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