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Old 03-06-2018, 03:45 PM   #1
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gas generator/inverter choice

We have a 16' Wolfpup and use elect. sparingly. A/C above 80deg. at night, propane for fridge and heater, use 32" TV about 3 hrs. at night. We have 2 24F batteries. Would like to use gas inverter only during day to charge batteries and run on them at night.
My question is how much wattage should I go for, 2000W, 3200W, etc.?
Also any feedback about brands. Firman and Predator are cheapest. Champion is in between, and Honda is the most expensive. All have models around same dB level.
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Old 03-06-2018, 04:14 PM   #2
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We have a 16' Wolfpup and use elect. sparingly. A/C above 80deg. at night, propane for fridge and heater, use 32" TV about 3 hrs. at night. We have 2 24F batteries. Would like to use gas inverter only during day to charge batteries and run on them at night.
My question is how much wattage should I go for, 2000W, 3200W, etc.?
Also any feedback about brands. Firman and Predator are cheapest. Champion is in between, and Honda is the most expensive. All have models around same dB level.
Grit... your questions are valid and folks often wonder what will work.
The problem is each case is different depending on point of use, load expectations, gas or propane, etc. so what is good for me, may not work for you.

Also, this topic is discussed (in these forums) daily and your same question(s) have been asked probably hundreds of times with thousands of opinions.

Do a search of the forum and read up on different brands of generators and wattage requirements.

If you still have questions and can't sort something out, a more specific question(s) may get you far better answers.
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Old 03-08-2018, 10:26 AM   #3
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I bought the firman 3300. Donít use it much, more of a backup if power was out or the occasional boondock. Itís been very good and was a great price. Not quite as whisper quiet as a Honda but still very quiet. Will run our ac is the main thing.
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Old 03-08-2018, 10:49 AM   #4
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I got a Champion 3300W inverter. Works very well and is super quiet.
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:16 AM   #5
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It sounds like for your usage, a 2000 or 3000 watt generator should work. The 2000W will basically be maxed out with the A/C without much left over to run anything else, like the battery charger.

With my camper and my Honda 2000, I have a 15k A/C unit and could run just that and I literally had to turn off all of the other breakers in the electrical panel. I had to choose between A/C and charging the batteries. It was annoying and I ended up buying a second Honda 2000 to parallel them together. I was warned here on the forum but wondered how bad it could be.

The 3000W generator will run an A/C and charge your batteries. Or maybe use an electric device for cooking (microwave and InstantPot for us).

For TV use, you can get by with a fairly small inverter. We use a 1000W inverter but I back feed the camper and make all of my outlets hot. There's not a whole lot of power management with the kids and grandma. Apparently the toaster and my wife's curling iron were both used (separately, fortunately!).

For brands- I haven't done a ton of reading, but the Predator and Champions seem to get pretty good reviews. I opted to pay the premium for the Honda because I'm not handy at all and wanted to know there were authorized service centers anywhere I go. I don't recall hearing anything about the Firman.

The last thing I'll mention, to me with boondocking, an accurate battery monitor is very important. It'll tell you how long you need to run the generator and give you a true look at the state of battery charge. The one I opted for was the Victron BMV-702 w/ a bluetooth dongle; they make a 712 that has it built-in but it wasn't available everywhere when I bought last October.
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grit View Post
We have a 16' Wolfpup and use elect. sparingly. A/C above 80deg. at night, propane for fridge and heater, use 32" TV about 3 hrs. at night. We have 2 24F batteries. Would like to use gas inverter only during day to charge batteries and run on them at night.
My question is how much wattage should I go for, 2000W, 3200W, etc.?
Also any feedback about brands. Firman and Predator are cheapest. Champion is in between, and Honda is the most expensive. All have models around same dB level.
2000 Watt is borderline for AC and will not be enough if you're planning to charge the batteries at the same time or do something else. Look for a generator in the 3000 Watt range instead, also some manufacturers list the noise level x feet from the unit while others measure y feet away.

Know the weight, not everyone is willing/able to load/unload a 140 lbs generator, two smaller generators in series could be an option to save weight and money.
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Old 03-08-2018, 02:02 PM   #7
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I bought two linkable Champions when we bought our toyhauler. First usuage they fried my inverter panel. Trailer was brand new but no warranty due to defective generators. Obviously returned them. After replacing expensive inverter I purchased a Yamaha 3200 with electric start. It also has remote start which is very nice to be able to start generator from inside trailer. Runs my a/c and a few appliances with no issues.
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Old 03-08-2018, 02:16 PM   #8
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I run 2 yamaha's 2000 paralleled for morning usage and or AC and one only to charge battery at other times. For me it boiled down to my heavy 3500 honda (great generator) or the light 49 lb twin generators. either setup powered things fine but I can't lift the Honda into the truck by myself anymore.
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Old 03-16-2018, 06:26 PM   #9
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And weight is a factor, depending on one's physical limitations. A pair of Honda or Yamaha 2000w units are easy to move around and set up, at about 45 lb each, and can be daisy chained for some good power. Paired up they will offer 3200-3400 running watts of power. But it is the most expensive way to go.

Most of the 3000w inverter style units are going to tip the scales over 100 lb. Some more than others. If where you store it and where you move it around is not going to be an issue, it could be the better bang for your buck.

If going large, The Champion 3500 is a good value. It can be had at just over a grand, it weighs in at 100 lb, and there are models that are dual fuel.... gas and propane. 3200 running watts on gas, 2800 running watts on propane, and electric start. Has a dedicated RV style 30a port, so no adaptor needed. If one can get by, the propane use would be the best. No mess and easy setup. Can't run it off the propane port on the trailer though. Not enough flow. It requires its own tank for supply. A 20 lb tank will keep it running at 1/4 load for about 14.5 hrs. A tank of gas at 1/4 load will go about 7.5 hrs. Figure out what would work best for you.

I like the ease and convenience of dual 2000w gen sets. If I don't need both, I can run just one.
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Old 03-16-2018, 08:03 PM   #10
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2 rules in camping: Get the biggest truck you can afford and get the biggest generator you can afford and fit because your future will almost necessitate more tow capacity and electrical power! It is an expensive lesson I learned the hard way.

My first generator, a Boliy, lasted about 7 years or so before a fuel line popped off causing a fuel leak resulting in a fire. I almost replaced it with another Boliy but found a Champion 3400 with electric and remote control start for about the same money as the Bolily.

The Boliy's rated claim of 3000 watts continuous was exaggerated as it had trouble starting my air conditioner at my elevation and higher (I'm at 6800 feet at home). I loved the 68 lb weight and I loved how quiet it was. However, I'm a skeptic of its rated surge and continuous capacity.

My Champion 3400 is INCREDIBLE. It can run my air conditioner at 10,000 feet elevation from ECONO mode without even a hiccup. Want to run the AC and a 1100 watt microwave at the same time: NO PROBLEM.

My only gripe on the Champion is that it is noticeably louder than my Boliy. The db is apparently the same, about 58 db but the tone of the noise coming out of the Champion exhaust travels further and is more noticeable inside the camper. Since I'm solar 90% of the time and only use the Champion when I need a/c it isn't a serious problem but I really don't like the exhaust tone. I may modify the exhaust with an after market muffler this year just for kicks.

I've have heard the Predator generator run and IT IS VERY QUIET and its tone is very acceptable. If the Predator had a remote start feature I would own it today because it is $300 cheaper though warranty isn't as good as the Champion.

With regards to a poster having problems with running two champions together causing damage, I would never test any generator, including a Honda on my camper. I'd test it on something cheap like a heater and check voltages and max capacity before running it on my camper.

Generator engines need a break in at varied load and I do it with heaters and other devices to put the engine thru its paces before using it in the RV.

Good luck in our decision.
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Old 03-17-2018, 10:42 AM   #11
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2000 Watt is borderline for AC and will not be enough if you're planning to charge the batteries at the same time or do something else. Look for a generator in the 3000 Watt range instead, also some manufacturers list the noise level x feet from the unit while others measure y feet away.

Know the weight, not everyone is willing/able to load/unload a 140 lbs generator, two smaller generators in series could be an option to save weight and money.
Even the Champion 75531i 3100 watt inverter generator appears to be borderline, as well. I own this generator and it failed to start my Dometic 13,500 BTU A/C. I'm pretty sure the converter was drawing amperage to charge my dual 6 volt batteries, however, I'm still disappointed.
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Old 03-17-2018, 10:53 AM   #12
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I have the Champion 3400 watt inverter and it works great. No issues and powers my trailer and runs the AC just fine.
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Old 03-17-2018, 11:31 AM   #13
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Even the Champion 75531i 3100 watt inverter generator appears to be borderline, as well. I own this generator and it failed to start my Dometic 13,500 BTU A/C. I'm pretty sure the converter was drawing amperage to charge my dual 6 volt batteries, however, I'm still disappointed.
As good of a case for a Micro Air Easy Start on the AC that I have heard.
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Old 03-17-2018, 03:53 PM   #14
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As good of a case for a Micro Air Easy Start on the AC that I have heard.
Thank you...If it happens again, I will look into that. I primarily use the generator to charge the batteries and power the outlets. Once in a while, I will run the A/C, microwave and TV. However, I never try to run the microwave and A/C at the same time. The 3100 never failed to start any of my 13,500 BTU A/Cs before this incident. Next time, I will try to wait until the converter has charged the batteries. This could be why Champion is now offering the 3400 and some stores are no longer selling the 3100. I'm not even sure I could lift the 3400 in the back of my truck.
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Old 03-17-2018, 04:23 PM   #15
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Wow, I just checked the specs of the 3400 (model #100233) on Champion's website and it's 3 pounds lighter than the 3100 (model #75531i). I have no trouble lifting the 3100 in the back of my truck and it's almost 84 pounds dry. So, I could easily lift the 3400 in the back of my truck.
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Old 03-18-2018, 11:26 PM   #16
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I also have a Wolf Pup.
Do yourself a favor and get a Champion. And why oh why be hesitant to run the generator? What's the stigma about running a generator? I have to admit, these and other folks did once have me convinced to get a huge battery bank and inverter to keep from running my generator, but today I'll fire the generator up for two minutes to microwave something or 6 minutes for morning coffee or on occasion let it run on the road all day to keep my freezer up. Why punish yourself avoiding the joy of convenience?...I can get the morning coffee going with the generator key fob while I'm in the sack!

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Old 03-19-2018, 04:39 AM   #17
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Let's all get on the same page so the newbies can learn the proper language.

Generators
Conventional generators have a motor attached to an alternator that produces electricity. The motor must run at a constant speed usually, 3600 rpm to produce the standard frequency of 60 cycle current. If the engine’s rpm fluctuates, so will the frequency of electric output.

Inverters
A traditional inverter is powered by a battery and produces 120v AC in limited wattage. It turns 12V DC power into 120V AC power. No motor involved. commonly used in Motorhomes and high-end 5th wheels.

Inverter Generators
These are motor driven 3-phase generators that output AC current like most traditional generators, but that current is then converted to DC, and then “inverted” back to clean AC power and frequency

They are called “inverter generators” but since people tend to simplify terminology, “inverter generator” often gets clipped, sometimes to “inverter” and sometimes to “generator” which leads to confusion as which one is being discussed. Both terms are commonly used to refer to inverter generators
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Old 03-19-2018, 11:05 AM   #18
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A plus one for the Champion 3500w dual fuel with electric start. Bought mine on sale at CW. The 3500w is supposed to be exclusive to both Cabela's and CW. Since both have regular sales and mail out discount coupons what seems like every week, one can be purchased for right around $1k.

Mine starts immediately and when running in my pickup bed it's barely noticeable when I walk to the front of the truck.

Sure there are smaller, lighter, units one can pair to handle the load but none I know of that will run off propane. That means not only twice as much room is taken up but twice as many units to start and keep full of fuel.
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Old 03-19-2018, 11:11 AM   #19
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A coworker has the Firman. It does everything my Honda will. I feel like someone who owns a Ranger boat....paid too much for a name.
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Old 03-19-2018, 09:18 PM   #20
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I also have a Wolf Pup.
Do yourself a favor and get a Champion. And why oh why be hesitant to run the generator? What's the stigma about running a generator? I have to admit, these and other folks did once have me convinced to get a huge battery bank and inverter to keep from running my generator, but today I'll fire the generator up for two minutes to microwave something or 6 minutes for morning coffee or on occasion let it run on the road all day to keep my freezer up. Why punish yourself avoiding the joy of convenience?...I can get the morning coffee going with the generator key fob while I'm in the sack!

One More Time Around: Wolf Pup - Generator
Works good if one is stopped. Those of us who like to stop in a daily travel session and nuke a quick snack, having the micro on inverter is a lot simpler proposition. Not going to dig out the gen set and hook everything up for that. And there are many AC devices, that having the outlets on an inverter and available 24/7 is a little easier than, again, digging out the gen set to run something.

It all has a lot to do with what one wants and needs. And if one has the right battery setup, a very good solar setup, they might be able to keep the batteries up for days on end without ever firing up the gen set once if off the grid. And all the while still have access to micro, that pot of coffee, TV, .
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