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Old 11-15-2014, 01:40 PM   #1
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Generator

Posing this question(s) to all who have "tackled" this issue;

Since we are now full timers, I'm thinking of adding generator capabilities for those long trips where we may end up dry camping (some federal or state parks) for a day or two or overnight stops (in truck stops or Walmarts).

1 - Have a RV specific generator installed in the 50 amp 5er (ie; Onan GenSet). Cost of unit + install. Pros vs cons of onboard Generator. ( shouda had one installed when I ordered the 5er)

2- One portable generator (ie; 3000/3100 watt Honda or Powerhouse) and where do you store it and has anyone run it while in the front generator bay with hatch doors open of course. (At around 150 lbs, it would be difficult to get it out of the bay to use).

3 - One or two portables (ie; 2000/2100 watt Honda or Powerhouse) at only around 40 lbs each, mush easier to remove from storage bay to run outside.

Any suggestions will be helpful (trying to convince DW, .....and myself, what might be the best option for us).

Thanks
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Old 11-15-2014, 04:45 PM   #2
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Generator

I like the idea of two 2000's because they are lighter and produce more than one 3000. Now I have two Honda's, one I purchased new and one from CL. But I rarely have a need for two. Here is another cost effective unit others have said is a good value and can be paralled:

Champion Power Equipment 73536i 2,000 Watt 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator (CARB Compliant) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0041K09D8..._cH8zub0PZDTVC

You can buy the pair for the same price as one Honda- but ask around on here for reliability.

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Old 11-15-2014, 11:29 PM   #3
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I really like the idea of two 2000's, myself. Lots of pros, including being much more versatile for storage and moving purposes. Plus, if one happens to go down, you already have a spare! To the best of my knowledge, the only time you'll need both of them is for the air conditioner; at least in my experience the 2000 powered everything without much of a hitch. (The "much" refers to the generator sometimes bogging down when the microwave is initially turned on)

As far as which generator, I have a powerhouse as that is what my dealer stocked and have been able to do some comparative testing with Honda and Yamaha units. I would highly recommend the Yamaha or Honda over the powerhouse. "But what about the remote start?" First of all, it's much heavier. Not a problem for a strapping young lad like myself **brushes imaginary dust off shoulder** but my wife wasn't terribly enthusiastic about moving it around. And she is tough! Anyway-remote start. Yeah, it wasn't really that great, as most of the time it would start after a few minutes of cranking (and you would need to open the window to listen to it try to start. After a couple seconds it resets itself and you need to push the start button again until it doesn't start again. Repeat this process for ten minutes) but as soon as the camper switched to shore power the genny would die if left in Eco-mode. I would have to go out and pull-start the thing with Eco-mode turned off, let it warm up for a few, and then I could switch it over. I can only think of one instance where the remote start actually worked, but even that took ten minutes. I just wanted to see if it would actually work. Also, the powerhouse is noticeably louder than the Honda or Yamaha. If you are still stuck on getting one, I'll make you a great deal on a slightly used unit! 😊
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Old 11-16-2014, 12:08 AM   #4
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It's really hard to beat Honda reliability. I recently got the twin EU2000i generators and in testing love them, I'll really test them next week but on paper they're the best of both worlds.

Light. 49 pounds each I can carry both easily (I'm a big guy, but still they're manageable.) to the tree line, or back to store them for safekeeping.

Powerful. 2000 watts surge, 1600 continuous. Parallel gives 3200 continuous or 26.6 amps. Plenty to run the AC and anything else I need. Or if the AC isn't needed I can run the rig off one generator. Several have tested them in comparison with other brands and the Hondas come out on top. Plus they sip fuel, and if I only need one I'm in great shape for days with an extended run tank.

Quiet. You can stand next to one or both and hold a normal conversation.

It's a lot of flexibility in a easily manageable package.
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Old 11-16-2014, 02:22 AM   #5
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The Honda/Yamaha debate will continue, but can't deny that 2 of those little 2000w inverter genny's isn't a really nice setup. Efficient, quiet, reliable, lightweight... 2000w is typically enough for the day to day, but you can always run in parallel to run your A/C. For the day to day it's always nice having a backup genset on hand.

I'm a full time boondocker, and aside from the initial expense, in the 3 years I've been running my 2 Yamaha's I've yet to find a downside.

Well... I take that back... Initially, one thing I really hated about them was the oil point access port. Pain in the rear to get to, the cap is another pain to get open, there's no real way to check the oil level, and there is no way to fill or change the oil without making a mess.

A quick trip to ebay solved that though. You can find screw in oil filler tubes and a knurled knob oil cap with a built in dipstick. NOW I have no complaints. :-)
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Old 11-16-2014, 05:33 AM   #6
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Don't forget a lot of state and federal parks have noise restrictions for generators so picking a quiet one will keep you out of trouble with the warden.
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Old 11-16-2014, 07:09 AM   #7
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Was looking at twin 2000's here but they are not legal or sold in Canada. Now looking at the EU3000IS Honda. It is 23.3 amps vs 26 amps for twin 2000I Honda. It has a large fuel tank and one box. I can use a ramp to put it the back of the truck and use it there when needed. The twin 2000's needs and extended run tank to last the night and the Champion which I was looking at doesn't have extended run option running out mid way through the night.
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B and B View Post
The twin 2000's needs and extended run tank to last the night
I don't know if that is always true. Mind you I have never run one all night, but I run my furnace off one before so I know that a furnace will run fine in eco-mode.. and I know I can get around 10 hours of run time with a single fill in eco-mode. From that, I would hazard to guess one should be able to run typical loads throughout the night on a single tanks.

Of course.. if you are talking about running your A/C on twins all night.. that a different story. Probably would only get 4-5 hours then.

Extended run tanks aren't too hard to throw together. Including the tank and hardware I put together a dual extended run tank for about $70.

That's with all the bells and whistles.. in line fuel filter, bulb pump, shut off valves, marine grade locking fuel connectors.

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Old 11-16-2014, 09:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yarome View Post
The Honda/Yamaha debate will continue, but can't deny that 2 of those little 2000w inverter genny's isn't a really nice setup. Efficient, quiet, reliable, lightweight... 2000w is typically enough for the day to day, but you can always run in parallel to run your A/C. For the day to day it's always nice having a backup genset on hand.

I'm a full time boondocker, and aside from the initial expense, in the 3 years I've been running my 2 Yamaha's I've yet to find a downside.

Well... I take that back... Initially, one thing I really hated about them was the oil point access port. Pain in the rear to get to, the cap is another pain to get open, there's no real way to check the oil level, and there is no way to fill or change the oil without making a mess.

A quick trip to ebay solved that though. You can find screw in oil filler tubes and a knurled knob oil cap with a built in dipstick. NOW I have no complaints. :-)
You're right. I used my Yam for the HS band show to run 2400 watts of smoke machines. The other bend roadies couldn't believe how quiet and powerful it is. In fact one of them bought one a week or so ago.

You are right about the oil change mess...I took the panels off to get better access to clean the mess and clean the air filter. But, on the bright side, I only have to do it once a year.
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Old 11-16-2014, 02:34 PM   #10
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Thanks guys.......keep the comments coming. Lots of stories and scenarios will help alot.
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Old 11-16-2014, 09:12 PM   #11
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I started off with a Yamaha EF2400is. Just light enough to move around for one person (short distances) but the tank always lasted me exactly 8 hours, not quite enough on days I wanted to sleep in. I was also worried about getting enough power from it for future trips to 8000+ feet in the Rockies (at 8000 feet you lose almost 25% of the engine and electrical power, more if you don't re-jet it).

I considered the twin Hondas, the thought of using one when needed, having a built-in backup, and easily moving them around were pluses. However, I wanted 10+ hours of runtime w/o putting together an external tank, and the lighter generators meant it would be easier for them to be stolen.

I ended up with the Honda EU3000is. Too heavy to be moved around, so harder for it to walk off. No issues last summer at high altitudes. And it lasts longer than our longest stop at truck stops, over 12 hours. I ran the majority of our house as a test and it wasn't done when I stopped it at 21 hours.
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:02 AM   #12
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We elected to go with the Onan 5.5 LP model and dealer installed it in front cargo hold of our 2008 Cardinal. Didn't want to deal with fumes and extra cans associated with gasoline. It is wired with on/off and op-hours meter next to the inside control panel. Portion of underbelly cut out so oil drain is simple and easy access and air flow for cooling.
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:58 AM   #13
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Hi, Does anybody know anything about the Lifan 5500 watt inverter? I am looking at it and it looks pretty good for what I need. I just do not know the name. I will not be using it a lot I just want an inverter that is quiet and does not cost an arm and a leg. Thank you
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:06 AM   #14
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Started off with Champion 4000 and have never used it for trailer....use it to run chain saw and blower at times...and once a year hook it to camper to make sure it works...
Keep in back of truck bed under foldable cover....start first of second pull and has plenty of power.....not too loud for me.....they all get noisy when you are using high load on them....so was good deal for me at the price....it takes two 25 ft power cords to reach the trailer plug, but does not seem to affect current flow or amount.
Run it right in the back of the truck but do have 8 ft bed so it is not under trailer and exhaust deflects up and over side of truck away from trailer....has never been issue.
Good luck....
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Old 12-06-2014, 09:47 AM   #15
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Had a Honda 6500 inverter. Super quiet and powered everything. Pain loading and unloading. Had an Onan mounted in the front storage compartment of the new 5er. Can run it while travelling.
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:39 PM   #16
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We use a Honda 3000 handi and love it. Has all the power we need but is light enough for one person to lift and move. It does give up some fuel capacity and electric start but I'm good with that as its so much lighter. My only concern was whether it would make it all night with the A/C on and it does easily.
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