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Old 05-04-2020, 10:03 AM   #1
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Help with generator questions

Hi all, Iím hoping the experienced boondockers in this forum can help me with some generator related questions.

First, some background, our travel trailer is a 2019 Rockwood 2609 BS. Battery power is via two 12 volt batteries. The unit came with one, I added the second. The unit has a 50 amp service with two 15,000 BTU air conditioners which can be run individually or together when connected to shore power. The refrigerator is a Dometic brand which can be run on electric or propane.

Thus far, all our camping has been with shore power only. We pretty much have all the bugs worked out relative to camping when connected to shore power. We would like to begin boondocking, hence my questions.

Generator.....based on research I am definitely going to buy a Honda. When needed we would like to be able to run at least one of the two AC units, the refrigerator, my wifeís CPAP machine and LED lights. I was looking at buying a Honda 2200i and 2200i Companion and running them in parallel. What I like about this is that they are small and way only 48 lbs each which gives me some flexibility in moving and storing. Do you think this would be enough power? If not, next up would be two Honda 3000iís. Would they have sufficient power? If not, then what?

Connectivity......both the 2200i and 3000i units have a 30 amp, but not a 50 amp receptacle. Being new at this Iím confused at how this would work with my travel trailer. I assume I would buy a 50 amp to 30 amp converter for my power cable, connect that to the generator and the other end to the back of my travel trailer where I would normally connect for shore power. Is that correct, or am I missing something? If incorrect, what would I do?

Iíve also read about a ďmicro air easy startĒ and other similar devices. Is this something I would need given my setup? What else do I need to consider?

Thanks in advance for any help or advice you can offer.
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Old 05-04-2020, 10:14 AM   #2
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you simply use a 50a to 30a 'adapter' puck(simple block), or dogbone(corded), either found at wmt or most any other rv supply place.

This gives your coach all the same 120v 'power', but you are limited to the number of maximum output amps of the generator, which would be about 18amps for the smaller Honda, and about 28amps for the larger - which is close to the typical 30amp 'rv park' or 'campground' outlets for the vast majority of RVs.
While you have a 50amp RV, that's not really 'only' 50amps, it's actually 100amps, since it actually uses 240volt power, or TWO 120v hot lines, not just a single 120volt line, like the other 30amp RVs. Your RV's main panel uses both 'sides' of this 240v power, splitting it between 120v breakers on one 'side' of your panel, for an air conditioner, Converter, fridge, and splits the other 'side' to 120v breakers for the other air conditioner, water heater, outlets, etc., for instance.

When you 'adapt' down from 50amp to anything 'less' than that, you are simply limiting the amount of things you can run, ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
If you run a small generator, with a 18amp output, to your coach, you may still be able to run one of your air conditioners, but probably little else, so you have to make sure NOTHING else is drawing power.
If you have a larger 26-30amp output generator, you can easily run the air conditioner and many other things, all at the same time, though probably not BOTH of your roof air conditioners at the same time, since both are 15kw and draw probably 12-15 each when the compressors are running.

For you, the larger Honda unit will probably be more sufficient for your needs if you are contemplating being able to run at least one of the roof air conditioners, along with the Converter/Battery Charger, and the microwave, and a few outlets, at the same time.
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Old 05-04-2020, 10:26 AM   #3
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Keep in mind... a 30a shore power service will successfully power an Air Conditioner, the fridge, the microwave and incidentals as people do it every day for those with 30a R/Vs.

A 30a service is 3600w. (watts)

Two 2200w generators, paralleled will give you even a bit more than a 30a service provides so you won't have any problems running one A/C, the fridge, the microwave and what not.

You certainly can research the soft start for your A/C but you won't need it when paralleling the two generators together because you'll have more wattage than a 30a service provides as I said above. Some folks are trying to run the A/C off ONE 2000w/2200w generator, hence the need for the soft start. You won't be able to run BOTH A/C units though.

As mentioned, a quality 30a to 50a adapter (dogbone) will allow you to plug into a 30a receptacle whether it be on a generator or at a campground.

Since you have already decided on either two Honda 2200w or one Honda 3000w, my advice is buying the pair and parallel them.

With the two, you will get more wattage than the 3000 will provide and you have the portability of two lighter units as you seemed to like. For times you DON'T need A/C, you can take just one.

Yes, you have to fuel two units -vs- one but that is usually a minor consideration.
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Old 05-04-2020, 10:27 AM   #4
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The OP was talking about 2 - 2K Honda's in parallel which would by slightly more the the 1 3K unit. This should be sufficient to run most things.

You may want to consider an inverter or DC adapter / converter for the CPAP so you don't nee to run the generator all night if you don't need the AC over night.

Everything essential in the camper should run on the 12v batter and/or propane and just needs the battery recharges as needed
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Old 05-04-2020, 10:39 AM   #5
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Thank you for the fast and thoughtful replies. So, to Re-cap, I think would prefer to use the two 2000 units in parallel rather than the 3000 unit simply because they are lighter and would be easier for me to move and store. I don’t necessarily need to run both AC units at once. Given that, it sounds like you are saying the two 2000 units will work fine, unless there is a compelling reason to upgrade to the 3000 units?
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Old 05-04-2020, 10:52 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Gbasko View Post
Thank you for the fast and thoughtful replies. So, to Re-cap, I think would prefer to use the two 2000 units in parallel rather than the 3000 unit simply because they are lighter and would be easier for me to move and store. I don’t necessarily need to run both AC units at once. Given that, it sounds like you are saying the two 2000 units will work fine, unless there is a compelling reason to upgrade to the 3000 units?
I will recap what I posted above... the TWO 2200w units in parallel will give you MORE wattage than the single 3000w unit.

Now... I did notice in your last sentence you mentioned 3000 unitS... as in plural... are you considering TWO 3000w units?

I didn't believe that is what you were saying originally???
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Old 05-04-2020, 11:02 AM   #7
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I would consider two 2000’sIn parallel, one 3000, or two 3000’S in parallel depending on what makes the most sense, though my preference would be for the two 2000’s due to weight, provided they will do the job.
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Old 05-04-2020, 11:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Gbasko View Post
I would consider two 2000’sIn parallel, one 3000, or two 3000’S in parallel depending on what makes the most sense, though my preference would be for the two 2000’s due to weight, provided they will do the job.
Just a question for my own curiosity, and somewhat relevant to the OP - can you parallel one 2200i unit and one 3000i unit or do they need to be the same wattage, or do they need to be the exact same unit? (I'm assuming the "parallel accessories" connectors are the same for these units?)
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Old 05-04-2020, 11:50 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by GoneSouth10 View Post
Just a question for my own curiosity, and somewhat relevant to the OP - can you parallel one 2200i unit and one 3000i unit or do they need to be the same wattage, or do they need to be the exact same unit? (I'm assuming the "parallel accessories" connectors are the same for these units?)
I think Honda will tell you they need to be the same wattage but there are videos of parallel operations with multiple wattage honda generators working successfully. I have not seen different brands paralleled.
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Old 05-04-2020, 01:41 PM   #10
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Per what I’ve read from Honda, the two units need to be the same size to be paralleled.
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Old 05-04-2020, 02:00 PM   #11
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My previous house on wheels was a large 40 ft 5th wheel. I used the Honda 2200i and the Companion 2200i. Worked great when I needed air conditioning ( 1 unit at a time) Was able to have micro , tv and satellite system all up and running. At night the CPAP was connected to 12v and ran great. (many CPAP systems have travel cords as an accessory. No sense in using an AC power supply to generate 12v for the machine.)

As stated if you do not need Air conditioning then just powering with the single unit works fine to recharge batteries and a couple of lights. Cord converter 50-30-15 or 50 to 15 needed. DW and I boondock quite often even now. But the current unit has its own genny.

Just threw this out as having done this before.

Have fun! Stay healthy!
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Old 05-04-2020, 02:04 PM   #12
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Generators

My experience is with 2 Honda 2000 i generators and one AC. I believe the 2000 is the same Gen as the 2200, but not sure. One 2000 would not run one AC, so I assume 2 - 2000's wouldn't run 2 AC's. They will allow you, however, to run one AC or a separate electric heater plus, say, a hair drier or electric coffee pot. You need to check out the actual continuous wattage of both the AC's as well as the generators and any other electrical appliances you plan to use.
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Old 05-04-2020, 02:10 PM   #13
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I'll see if I can add a bit here. We have been boondocking for many (20) years. I presently have an old Honda 650 non-inverter, a Cummins-Onan 3200i and a new Honda 2200i. I have owned a Honda 2000i in the past. I have never owned a 15000 BTU A/C so I'm not sure what the starting requirements would be compared to the 13500. Without a soft start I was never able to run my A/C with the 2000. The new 2200 will do that but I still need to put the thermostat in 'fan' position and then once that is running move it to 'cool'. By doing this it will work. For years the 3200i lived in the back of the truck and ran from there. At 150lb. I am not able to gracefully set it on the ground and can't even think about putting it back. Our present set-up includes a cap on the truck and that precludes using the 3200i so along came the 2200i which I can handle but just. I'm 78 next month. I agree with the O/Ps choice of two 2200i for that reason. I will point out that the friends we boondock with that have two 2000s turn off the eco-throttle so that when the A/C kicks in there is no lag time at start up. Easier on the A/C that way. I will also add that with the two 2200i set up you will still find that they are running at or near maximum RPM and with the small on board tanks you will spend a fair bit of time filling them up. Even the Hondas are more noise than I prefer with two of them running full open. That can be alleviated with a long cord if you have enough room. We only use campgrounds when travelling to and from our boondocking spots. Hope you enjoy it.

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Old 05-04-2020, 02:11 PM   #14
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Issues with generators and boondocking.

Neighbors won't put up with a genny running all night. If you are far from neighbors, then it's just you and the gasoline.

You need a 2-way fridge, and run it on propane. In fact, when boondocking, force it to run on propane so it doesn't load the genny every time you start it.

Your CPAP should run on 12 volts. They are power hogs, so be ready to spend a lot of time listening to the generator(s).

Soft start on the AC will help you avoid issues if the AC kicks on while the micro is running...and so on. It's a cheap addition to prevent genny overloads.

If you're not in love with the sound of your generator, look into solar.
This kit will add between 80 and 120 amp hours per day to your battery bank in reasonably sunny conditions. If you don't need the AC, and if your fridge is running on propane, you'll be glad you can shut down the genny.
https://smile.amazon.com/WindyNation...8618658&sr=8-8

Batteries suck as energy storage devices. 2 x 5 gallon tanks of propane store as much energy as about 87 sets of 4 x 6 volt golf cart batteries...the "gold standard" for RV battery banks. Yes, there are Lithium/Iron batteries at a kilobuck a pop, but for the paupers among us, 4 x 6 volts are good. You have only 2 x 12 volt batteries, which is less storage capacity than 2 x 6 volt golf cart batteries. Keeping them charged will be easy for that solar array.

Again, if you just love the sound of a generator (or two), go for it, but a little solar and some careful power management can make a trip far more enjoyable. All electric is most definitely NOT the way to go when boondocking.

P.S. If you're traveling with a full fresh water tank, you should investigate how well it's supported. MANY have problems with fresh tanks falling out of the RV. If you've only been to RV parks, you may never have used your fresh tank. Before you put 400+ pounds of water in a plastic tank suspended by tin-foil supports, take a look and reinforce as needed. There are a zillion posts on the subject in the forums.

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Old 05-04-2020, 03:42 PM   #15
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GBASCO, I've tried reading every word, but there are so many good words of advice I may have missed something. Please forgive if I'm repeating.

That being said . . . .

First:
I have a 13,500 AC. My Honda EU2200i will run my AC, but not until it is fully warm and the ECO is turned off so the rpm are at max when the AC is turnd on. I plan to add the Soft Start to my AC, which is cheaper than adding a Companion generator.

Second:
The Honda units are equipped with fuel pumps. This gives you the option to add an external fuel tank (one tank can feed one or even two generators). The external tank is needed if you plan to camp where the AC compressor will run most of the night, such as Texas and other subtropical states. Without the external fuel tank, the fuel will run out before the morning, leaving you warm as you wake up or even in the middle of the night (Fuel Tank Capacity : 0.95 gal. Run Time per Tankful: 3.4hr @ rated load, 8.1 hrs @ 1/4 load). Honda makes a tank and replacement gas caps specifically for this use.
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Old 05-04-2020, 04:40 PM   #16
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Generator

I am aware some folks are extremely sensitive to noise (any noise). Just as some people canít sleep if a firefly goes by the window I feel their pain. Iím one of the blessed who ďcanítĒ sleep without white noise and lights are ok. Blue light blinking the voltage is comforting like a night light to a child, gentle hum of a generator is white noise. When it cuts offóI wake up.
I still understand that it annoys some. I was at a race track next to an open frame generator that did try my patience. 👍👍
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Old 05-04-2020, 04:47 PM   #17
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Thanks again everyone for the additional comments and excellent advice. I read this forum nearly everyday via the daily email I get automatically. I’ve learned much from it. On a usefulness basis it kicks the bejesus out of Facebook.
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Old 05-04-2020, 05:34 PM   #18
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I've run 2 Honda EU2000is for 13 years. Excellent choice. The only time I run both of them is when we need A/C. The rest of the time I run a single one day, the other the next day. I just wish they had a remote start/stop
When running the 15k A/C I leave both units in eco mode and they don't run full out, so noise isn't that different than usual. They are just quiet. We have run the a/c for 24 hours a day at times during the SW summer.
We also have a 6 gallon nurse tank we use (with fuel tank cap adapters) so we never have to add fuel to the generator itself. This setup allows you to run for many days w/o fueling.
Be sure to add Stabil to fuel so you don't have to worry about running the carb dry between uses. In 13 years I never drained the fuel.
Service at least once a year. An easy DIY.
Enjoy your Hondas and Happy RVing!Click image for larger version

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Old 05-04-2020, 05:48 PM   #19
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what you're reading is that everyone has a different view, differing experiences, different needs for 120v power, and even 'camp' differently - everyone is different, no matter 'how' the RVs are the same.

Some will find no need for anything additional to what the RV is already designed and equipped with. They find that 'camping' is just that - with very little 'outside' influence.
Some will see, at least after some travel, that they then 'want' or 'need' certain things that may not be a part of the RV's original equipment. Many will be excited and go out and 'buy' almost everything they've seen others have, whether they actually will 'need' it or not.
Some will buy anything and everything that an RV can possibly use, whether it makes sense for the long-term or not. They carry all this 'stuff' around for every trip, and then never actually use it.

You'll find what works for you after some experience. Don't go and try to 'plan' your whole RV life when you've never experienced it yet. You don't know what you don't know until you don't know it. Those things will expose themselves when you've taken a few trips, especially long trips, and those that include several 'off-grid' overnights.

When you arrive at the RV store afterwards, you'll know what you 'really' need!
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Old 05-04-2020, 07:05 PM   #20
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Perfect advice Mr. Turner.

Paul
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