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Old 11-12-2014, 01:56 PM   #1
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Boondocking and generator

Wife and I are planning on staying in a Few national parks next summer so we bought a generator. Got it last night and it made me think of a few questions.

i bought a 1700w/2000w Champion from Cabelas. Do i hook up to the battery to charge it or do i plug the camper into the generator? any pros or cons?
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Old 11-12-2014, 02:19 PM   #2
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As a recent newbie I asked this same question not long ago.
We also use the NPS campgrounds a lot as well as Forest Service CG's. Same issue, no hook ups
Plug your TT directly into the generator. Your TT is equipped with a converter that will more efficiently charge the batteries (more amps) while also providing A/C power to the coach. We found running the generator for just a couple hours during the afternoon (minimum disturbance to others) we could keep the batteries topped off. Others can give you more detail on which appliances require how much power etc. But for us simple campers this has worked out really well.
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:34 PM   #3
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X2 On both counts. Shore power cord into your gen and be courteous. Generally speaking, 11-4 are the best hours to run your genny.
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:38 PM   #4
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This will help.


Ps don't expect to run your
a/c unit.

Your looking at about 14 amps out of that gennie.



https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...H2HtEQG-Vneu3w

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Old 11-12-2014, 04:01 PM   #5
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thanks for the info on how to hook it up. The information on the hours to use the generator make sense, but I was reading the campground and found the below statement.

Please be considerate of your fellow campers. Quiet
hours are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Generators may
be run only between 7:30-10 a.m. and 4-8:30 p.m.
Generators are not allowed in the D and E Loops.


Hopefully wont need AC in June at 8500 feet, but I am trying to get DW to consider a second parallel generator.
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Old 11-12-2014, 05:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mountndream View Post
thanks for the info on how to hook it up. The information on the hours to use the generator make sense, but I was reading the campground and found the below statement.

Please be considerate of your fellow campers. Quiet
hours are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Generators may
be run only between 7:30-10 a.m. and 4-8:30 p.m.
Generators are not allowed in the D and E Loops.


Hopefully wont need AC in June at 8500 feet, but I am trying to get DW to consider a second parallel generator.
Looks like you're headed for the Rocky Mountains! Good choice
NPS and Forest Service CG's have similar rules but can vary from place to place.
Most will have a CG host who will pleasantly let you know the rules for that specific campground. For example, Zion's Watchman CG does not allow generators.
It's really easy and mostly just common sense and consideration.
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Old 01-03-2015, 04:54 PM   #7
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Champion Generator

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Originally Posted by Mountndream View Post
Wife and I are planning on staying in a Few national parks next summer so we bought a generator. Got it last night and it made me think of a few questions.

i bought a 1700w/2000w Champion from Cabelas. Do i hook up to the battery to charge it or do i plug the camper into the generator? any pros or cons?
We live off-grid full time, and our travel trailer is a 30 amp with a 110V plug.
The generator is made for a TT, at least for the 30 amp sized ones, and runs everything aboard our trailer including the A/C, TV, etc. It isn't much more than yours. If you haven't used yours yet, you may want to trade it for an upgrade. (Tractor Supply have the best prices on them).

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Old 01-05-2015, 01:39 PM   #8
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got the second generator to run in parallel and the parallel kit. Got a great price through Cabales since they sent me some nice coupons and the generators were on sale.

So, do i charge my batteries faster using both generators in parallel or am I just wasting gas? I plan on using two 12v batteries if that info is needed
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Old 01-05-2015, 02:03 PM   #9
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got the second generator to run in parallel and the parallel kit. Got a great price through Cabales since they sent me some nice coupons and the generators were on sale.

So, do i charge my batteries faster using both generators in parallel or am I just wasting gas? I plan on using two 12v batteries if that info is needed
If you are going directly from the generator to the batteries via the 12v connector on the generator, it probably produces something like 10A per generator. Running two generators will be faster.

If you are plugging the generator into your converter on the RV at the 110vac/30a port, your converter's charge profile is what's at play. It could charge at up to 30 or 40A, but might be very conservative on how long it stays in bulk mode. Overall, it might take a little longer. In this case, there is no need to run two generators unless your AC loads reach the capacity of a single unit (such as when using air conditioner). A 40A charger draws less than 600 watts, so a single generator is adequate.

The best option is to get a high end 4-stage battery charger (or really high-end converter) that is matched to the size of your bank. A good quality charger, even if it's lower amperage than your converter, might charge more quickly than the converter because it might stay in bulk mode longer. But let's say you get a 30A charger. That's going to consume less than 500 watts, so a single generator is adequate, and running a second generator will only burn more gas.

As long as your total load (also considering start-up surges) is within the limits of a single generator, no need to run the second. Charging is unlikely to exceed the limits of even the most feeble generators. It's running the air conditioner that sucks the juice.
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:25 PM   #10
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Be advised that the furnace takes about 7 amps when it is running. Even if it's cold it won't likely have to run all the time, but if you heat some all day and night, it will add up to a lot of amp-hours. Considering other loads such as lights and the refrigerator control board, you may only be getting 10 amps of power into the batteries. It could take a lot of hours to fully recharge the batteries. During our first long trip we were away from the national park campground most of the day and could only run the generator about an hour. Our coach batteries ran down at 10 pm the second night, leaving us with no heat. Keep an eye on your furnace usage and plan to run your generator enough.


Also, don't trust the four battery condition lights on the convenience center. If you run the generator for an hour or so, it will probably should all four lights, implying it is fully charged. Don't believe it. Deep cycle batteries have to be charged slower over a longer period of time than starting batteries like in your car. It takes time for the charge to "soak" into the plates. They will show full voltage soon, but after a while the voltage drops as the charge soaks into the plates.

There's a good discussion on operating the 12 volt system of your coach in the Power and Electrical section of this forum's Library. Look for "12 volt side of life".
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:15 AM   #11
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Be advised that the furnace takes about 7 amps when it is running. Even if it's cold it won't likely have to run all the time.
Probably closer to 10 - 12 amps
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:09 PM   #12
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Probably closer to 10 - 12 amps
Wow, that many?

I don't have a TT. Mine is a Forest River Rockwood Premier 2516G tent trailer. It has a 19000BTU "Suburban" furnace that consumes propane, and 2.7A of 12vdc for the blower.

Yeah, if it's consuming 7-12A, a single G24 battery will go quickly.

A good G24 has 85AH of capacity, of which one should never use more than 43AH to stay around 50% or above. If the furnace runs 1/3rd of the time, at 10A it will burn 3.33A per hour of use. A 10-hour night will consume 33.3AH, leaving you with just under 10AH for other uses. The battery will need to be fully recharged before the next cycle.

A dual bank of batteries would give 85AH of useful capacity, so the daily recharge cycle could be reduced in its duration; instead of bringing the batteries up to 100% each day, you could bring them up to 85% which happens much faster.
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:16 PM   #13
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That's the Genny I'm getting also. Champion Power Equipment 73536i 2,000 Watt 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator. Can't beat the $$$ & very quiet.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:49 PM   #14
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Just a note. If you're running the quiet invertor generators, those typically do not apply to quiet times. They are really quiet and I have never had anyone complain. I've even been to campgrounds were they required quiet generators. I have 2 Honda eu2000 that I run parallel during the day when I need the AC and an occasional microwave at dinner time but then I shut one down at night and run one just for TV etc. if you don't need AC or TV and you're just running them to charge the batteries, I typically run around 5 hours a day but I split it up. Couple hours in the morning and couple early evening. Saves propane too on the fridge.
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:35 PM   #15
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Just a note. If you're running the quiet invertor generators, those typically do not apply to quiet times.
SO NOT TRUE!
i own a Honda 2000 and though very quiet, it isn't silent.
campground rules are rules. just cause someone doesn't complain, doesn't mean you aren't breaking the rules.
those rules apply to even quieter inverter generators.

i know because i ran my Honda past the 8:00pm cutoff time, just to run the microwave for a few minutes and a ranger stopped by and told me i had to turn it off.
there are no special "exemptions" for inverter generators. there are noise level rules though, for the much louder open-frame non-inverter contractor generators.

now if you are truly "boondocking", then you won't have any rangers or neighbors to worry about.
but if you are "dry camping", which means in a developed campground without hookups, then there are almost always quiet hours. usually from 8pm to 8am.
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:32 PM   #16
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SO NOT TRUE!

now if you are truly "boondocking", then you won't have any rangers or neighbors to worry about.
X2.

NOooo No no no.... !! Don't send em out into the boondocks running their gensets!

Folks out here are PARTICULARLY sensitive to folks running genset's outside of "normal" operating hours. There is no written rule, but it's pretty well understood that 9-dusk is acceptable. Folks that are out to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature don't like to hear genset's with their morning coffee or their evening supper. During sleep hours is almost the same as dropping a doogie in the neighbors swimming pool.
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Old 01-28-2015, 12:33 AM   #17
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Just bought this puppy for that very reason! Don't want to hear my noisy ass genny! And I own a fairly quiet one...Lifan 3600, the only reason I bought it was to charge the batteries when boondocking and charge the electric toothbrushes. Hopefully this solar charger will do the trick.

Renogy 100watt Solar Battery Charger
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Old 03-18-2015, 12:29 AM   #18
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Mountndream -- do hope you guys enjoy exploring the national parks and their regions! -- am assuming that when you say "Hopefully wont need AC in June at 8500 feet," that you are heading West, where the higher you go, the more heat from the "convection" sun occurs; having lived in NM and now in AZ and travelled Colorado along with the Rockies range, being out and about is Good where breezes can cool you (be sure to use suntan lotion, even in june), but to a closed box such as an rv, that ol' sun can really heat it up -- enjoy!
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:20 PM   #19
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As a Forest River camper owner I suggest you take it easy on your converter, Mine went out fast. I ordered a new one and I was told Forest River puts in the lowest grade possible. (you will be lucky to get 4 yrs out of it) I upgraded mine and didn`t even bother with the warranty because all`s they want to do is argue with you! Not worth the headache. Talk to RV Best Converter, great ppl. very helpful. For 25.00 more you will get an awesome converter! (and if you have a question, you actually talk to REAL PEOPLE)
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Old 03-26-2015, 09:36 PM   #20
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Not to hijack the thread, and I agree that sometimes a generator is the only solution, but consider solar. +1 for a59cheffy! 100W panel (non folding) w/ charge controller is <$200 on Amazon. That is good for about 7 amps DC where there is good sun. Example: One 105Ah battery (good for 50Ahs @ 50% discharge). We can recharge the battery from a 50% discharged state if we have 7-8 hours of sun, or 4 hours if we have two solar panels, and no no noise at all. We used this arrangement last year (6 weeks on the road) and although we carried a Honda EU2000, we never fired it up.
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