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Author Topic: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER  (Read 49227 times)

LCP

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GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« on: April 10, 2005, 08:25:57 PM »
I have a 25' travel trailer and am considering buying a 2000 watt Honda generator to use when power is not available to run the tv, etc. and to charge the 12 volt batteries. Please answer the following:
- Is this a good idea?
- IS 2000 watts a good size?
- Is Honda a good choice and are there other good brands?
- My plan is to plug the camper power cord into the generator.

Any help would be appreciated and thanks. LCP

Tom

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2005, 09:01:05 PM »
Many folks use a portable generator to power their trailer. Honda has always had a reputation for being one of the quietest generators, which would be welcomed by your neighbors. The size of generator should be determined based on the load you plan to put on it, but 2,000 watts sounds more than adequate for the needs you expressed.

I'm sure other have experience with other brands that they'll share with you.

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Ron

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2005, 09:09:57 PM »
The advantage the Honda has is it can be paralled with another Honda with their paralle kit if needed.  Yamaha Gensets are quiet too.
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Karl

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2005, 09:50:17 PM »
There's a simple procedure for paralleling almost any two generators. Requires a heavy duty relay and a coupe of 110V light bulbs. If anyone's interested, I'll post the procedure and a wiring diagram.
Karl (Cheesehead) Kolbus   Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy cow ...what a ride!"

Ron

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2005, 09:55:53 PM »
Your procedure is probably more economical than the Honda parall kit. ;D
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2005, 09:49:02 AM »
A Honda is a good choice, but if you only want to run a few things like the tv and charge batteries, one of the smaller 1000 watt models will do nicely and are much easier to store and handle. Ultra-quiet too.  You only need 2000 watts (or more) for big power consumers like an a/c or convection microwave. 
Gary
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Lou Schneider

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2005, 11:34:27 PM »
Honda's paralleling kit is nothing more than two sets of plugs.  The "paralleling" sockets are wired across the normal AC plug.  You can make the same cable using a pair of standard 20 amp plugs.   The advantage to using Honda's kit is the plugs they supply remain mostly shielded if they come out of their socket.   The prongs on a standard plug will be exposed and hot if it slips out of a generator socket. 


It's not necessary to phase lock two Honda EU series generator.  Their inverters automatically self-syncronize when they're connected in parallel.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2005, 11:39:31 PM by Lou »

John From Detroit

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2005, 05:28:38 AM »
A Honda is a good choice, but if you only want to run a few things like the tv and charge batteries, one of the smaller 1000 watt models will do nicely and are much easier to store and handle. Ultra-quiet too.  You only need 2000 watts (or more) for big power consumers like an a/c or convection microwave. 

I ran a window AC (A small one, 2nd smallest Sears Sells) a television a VCR and some other stuff off a 1KW Genrac back in 2003  Was kind of impressed with the fact it could power the AC.  It can also run an office size 'fridge, but not a house size unit.

Re: Honda v/s other makes... Honda makes DC generators with inverters, Other companies make AC generators,  This is a 2 edged sword,, Edge 1 is that should you ever decide on doubling the power, Honda Parrallel Cable kit is inexpensive and the inverters self-sync  A very nice system

The other edge is a double, Much higher cost, Much higher plus I'm not sure how smooth the waveform (important for televisions and the like) is.  I suspect, given Honda's rep, that it is very good, but I've never hooked up the old 'scope (And my 'scope is very old, at least 30 years)  Woudl like to one day though.
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JoeinTex

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2005, 09:00:49 PM »
Interesting discussion.  When I was shopping last summer, the Honda dealer I was talking with told me that they stopped selling the parallel kit for technical reasons. I'd swear he said there were issues with the phase synchronization (?) the very thing that several of you have said is automatic. 

Also, someone mentioned that you need to understand your load needs.  I agree.  A/c probably produces the highest peak load - at startup - of the 'critical' appliances that you might need.  You can live without the microwave.  I contacted my manufaturer to get the detailed electrical load information.  My conclusion was that the 2000 was undersized for a 1500 BTU A/C.  Yes, I heard of people for whom it worked, but I think they are pushing their luck.
Joe and Kim,
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Ron

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2005, 09:31:15 PM »
  When I was shopping last summer, the Honda dealer I was talking with told me that they stopped selling the parallel kit for technical reasons. I'd swear he said there were issues with the phase synchronization (?) the very thing that several of you have said is automatic. 

I am sure they were still available in January 2005 at QZ.  Fact they had two Gebsets connected together at the Honda display.
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Karl

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2005, 08:39:53 AM »
Quote
A/c probably produces the highest peak load - at startup - of the 'critical' appliances that you might need.  You can live without the microwave.  I contacted my manufaturer to get the detailed electrical load information.  My conclusion was that the 2000 was undersized for a 1500 BTU A/C.

No question that a/c units and microwave ovens draw the must power from your generator(actually alternator) and/or inverter, but that's not the end of the problem. Inductive loads like motors and transformers, cause the current to lag the voltage by what is called the phase angle. Thus, when you have the current peaking at a different point in time than the voltage, the average power available from the device supplying power may not be enough to operate your inductive loads at their maximum. Purely resistave loads like space heaters do not introduce this kind of problem. One solution, often used by industrial facilities, is to install special capacitors because a capacative load will cause voltage to lag current, and cancel out the effects of the inductive load. I don't know if this is feasible for RV's, but will check it out and report back.   
Karl (Cheesehead) Kolbus   Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy cow ...what a ride!"

Dave R

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2005, 08:31:35 AM »
We chose a Honda 1000. Our reasoning was that the 2000 would not power our A/C (15500 btu) so
the 1000 would do everything else we needed and would take up less space and weight anc cost. If it
gets hot enough to need the A/C we either go where it is cooler or someplace we can plug in. Our
5ver came prewired for a generator, it takes an Onan 4100 I think that is the correct one and if we went
to the Honda 3000 it would only be minimal for everything including the A/C and would be too heavy to
be setting in and out of the bay. I suppose if the Onan could be permantly mounted the Honda could
also, but not as easily and would take up more room than the Onan. Anyway this was our convolute
reasoning for choosing the Honda 1000.

Dave in NC
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joelmyer

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2005, 09:06:21 AM »
Like Dave, we went for the Yamahi 1000i (functional equivalent of the Honda)

I our first year of RV'ing with the 5th wheel we've dry camped twice.  Quartzsite and an unplanned night in a state park overflow.  We survived the overnighter on the battery that came with the 5th wheel.  For extended stays like Qz you obviously need a generator. With the cost, size & weight of the 1000i it's foolish not to have one.  You just don't do ac, micro or electric coffee pot when dry camping.

I put the Charge Wizard on my power comverter and the 1000i gets the batteries back up in a couple of hours.  We ran it about 2 hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.  A small inverter let us run laptop, TV and TIVO when the generator was running.

That said, I really wanted the 2800i but it's too heavy to move around and I didn't have room for a perment mount.
Joel (W4JNM) and Camille, GA

dave54

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2005, 11:14:40 AM »
I have 2 Honda 2000's.  Parallel they can run the A/C plus any other device at the same time except for the microwave (can't microwave and A/C at the same time).  A single 2000 will not run the A/C, but may run a microwave depending on its power draw.


bobkaron

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2005, 03:43:56 PM »
Just checked the Honda website at http://www.hondapowerequipment.com/genwat.asp and they list the power needed for certain appliances.   They say a 10,000 btu A/C needs 1500w and 2200 to start. a Frig needs 700 and 2200 to start.
Does that mean that To run the fridge, even though it only needs 700, i would still need a 2500-3000 watt unit?
So basically a 1000 does nothing buy the lights tv and the water heater basically, correct?


Bob

joelmyer

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2005, 06:34:11 AM »

So basically a 1000 does nothing buy the lights tv and the water heater basically, correct?


Bob

Bob,

I haven't tried it but the water heater might be pushing it.  Basically a 1000 recharges your batteries so you can dry camp for longer than your battreries will last.  My essentials like TV, TiVo and PC run on an inverter from the batteries.  I can run the Generator for a couple of hours in the morning and a couple in the evening and keep the batteries charged.  Water heater & refrig run on propane.

If A/C & microwave while camping without hookups are your essentials, then you need a 2.x KW. 

A 2.x KW costs more, is bigger & heavier.  My 1 KW lives in the tool box of the truck and is pretty easy to haul out for the occasional times I need it.  I didn't have room for anything bigger.
Joel (W4JNM) and Camille, GA

bobkaron

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2005, 11:52:21 AM »
This might sound like a newbie question, but i am so here it is...If on a TT the frig and water heater runs on propain then is there a pilot light that must be on? i assume? So this is something else to think about when storing the TT and something to be lit when using it? We just purchased our TT, but did not even pick it up yet. we will get out walk through on the June 8th.

Bob Buchanan

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2005, 02:11:01 PM »
Hello LCP:


Any help would be appreciated and thanks. LCP


When I pulled a TT, and then a 5thW, I had a Generac 3600 permanently installed in my pickup. It pulled gas from the PU tank, and started from the PU battery. When needed, I plugged the trailer power cord into the socket that was added to the housing of the Genset. It was done working with Holley Generators in Sacramento. That is THE place to have genset work done if in NCal -- of an size.

The only problem I had was that the 3600 was not large enough when in higher altitudes - and I wanted to pass that info on to you. As a final test "before" we started the install, we set up the genset so I could run all the stuff I wanted to be running at the same time. Primarily that was computer, TV, A/C, and charger. It worked great. The first weekend after the install, I drove to Boomtown in Reno (EL 4700). At that altitude, I was not able do the air and charger at the same time. There is a formula that slips my mind, but it's something like so much less power per each 1000 ft. above 1000 -- or something like that.

Have attached a few pics that you may find interesting. Note that when hooked up, I also had a remote start cable installed. Inside the rig, the genset start switch was custom mounted on one of the wall panels. In the pic showing the hookups, I am parked beside the rig whereas other times I would not even unhook the PU such as an over night stay. Also note the housing that muffled the sound. It was made of the same kinda material trailers are made of that is very strong and very light weight. The inside was lined with sound deadening material. The sound test that Holley does is that you should be able to carry on a normal conversation standing just beside the unit.

Bottom line, unless you are a camper that can get by with minimal power -- go for as much power as possible considering needs and trailer size. For me, a minimum of 4000 is needed - and on my next rig, I will go a step or two higher. But then, I run my business from my rig full time.
Bob (fulltimer - Rocklin, CA residency)
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Len and Jo

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2005, 08:38:23 PM »
Just checked the Honda website at http://www.hondapowerequipment.com/genwat.asp and they list the power needed for certain appliances.   They say a 10,000 btu A/C needs 1500w and 2200 to start. a Frig needs 700 and 2200 to start.
Does that mean that To run the fridge, even though it only needs 700, i would still need a 2500-3000 watt unit?
So basically a 1000 does nothing buy the lights tv and the water heater basically, correct?


Bob

You will need more than the 1000w Honda to run your refrig.  I made that error 2-3 years ago.  Got a 1000w unit for home and everytime refrig turned on it turned off.  Start-up load IS to much.  You must also remember that the Honda "1000w' unit is 1000w MAX. and that its CONTINUES RATING is 900w.  I believe the "2000w" unit has a continues rating of 1800w.  I returned the 1000w unit and got a 2400watt unit.  Have used it when the house power has gone out.  It has run the refrig., freezer, and a few lights and tv all at the same time.  When first bringing the house on line I do start the refrig. first then after a few minutets plug in the freezer.  I don't hit it with everything at once.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2005, 08:47:41 PM by Len and Jo »
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bobkaron

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2005, 06:55:25 PM »
thanks! as with most things, overkill is the way to go. Better to invest in more than you need than to find out its not enough later.  We are picking up out TT June 8th. Can't wait. already been checking out sites within an hour or so we know were to go for nearby trips in the beginning. After going to full hookup sites for a while we will get a generator and try roughing it. :)

Bob

Barb

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2005, 08:01:55 AM »
We have a 3000I in our 5th wheel. We can run AC, Refrid, and TV. We have to turn off the electric water heater. We have friends that have 1000w, and they use it to charge batteries and watch a little TV. They run the refrid. on propane.

 :o Barb
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Karl

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2005, 12:25:16 AM »
Bob,

Quote
the frig and water heater runs on propain then is there a pilot light that must be on? i assume?

Propane water heaters come in two different flavors; one has a standing pilot light, and the other uses an electronic ignitor to start the burner only when needed. Even the ones with the standing pilot use very little propane, but most people prefer not to have to go outside and re-light the pilot every so often. Also, electric heating elements come in various sizes from aout 400 watts up to 1500. If your hot water needs are not excessive, a smaller element is probably adequate, 'tho you may have to wait longer to come up to temp.

Quote
They say a 10,000 btu A/C needs 1500w and 2200 to start. a Frig needs 700 and 2200 to start.
Does that mean that To run the fridge, even though it only needs 700, i would still need a 2500-3000 watt unit?

A household type refrigerator uses a compressor which has a heavy starting load, but most RV designed reefers use a constant draw heating element when running on shore power or generator or inverter. That said, they are far less efficient on electricity than when on propane, and your batteries will run down in short order.

Quote
Bottom line, unless you are a camper that can get by with minimal power -- go for as much power as possible considering needs and trailer size.

Fully agree with that. Plus the option of electric start available on larger units can't be over emphasised. Not much fun having to go outside in bad weather to pull on a rope.
Karl (Cheesehead) Kolbus   Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy cow ...what a ride!"

bobkaron

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2005, 05:44:29 PM »
How does a frig use propain to cool? I dont see how that one works. :)

Tom

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2005, 06:22:58 PM »
Here's a simplified explanation of the process.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2007, 12:26:38 PM by Tom »
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Karl

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2005, 06:20:15 PM »
A word of advice: RV (propane) refrigerators need to be fairly level to operate properly. If you run one for an extended period and it's not very level, it can stop working altogether.
Karl (Cheesehead) Kolbus   Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy cow ...what a ride!"

Len and Jo

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #25 on: June 09, 2005, 07:45:36 PM »
Follow-up

We had to go to the storage lot where my late father-in-law stores has 32 foot Airstream.  It was well into the high 80's with high humidity and heavy sun load.  Four of use spent from 11am to 2pm cleaning out the trailer.  We took my Honda 3000 with use to supply power to the trailer.  The Honda is rated for 20A continues.  It worked great.  We ran the A/C, some lights, and a vacuum sweeper without a sign of trouble.  We did have to "cheat" though.  Did not have the right adapter to plug the 120v trailer cable to the 120v generator outlet.  So....using one of my PAINTED RED LIMITED USE double male adapters, we back fed one of the trailer exterior outlets.  We did not try turning on the refrig. to see if the Honda 3000 could also handle that with everything else.  As I said it worked O.K. but I would not want to be camping next door w a window open.  The Honda is a fairly quiet unit but is not the quiet.
Len & Jo
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Berkley, Michigan

hankpac

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2006, 02:38:44 PM »
Don't forget that modern fridges use a circuit board, that draws electricity, even when in  "Propane mode".
I use a small 1200 watt model, run it twice a day for two hours each, and keep batteries charged all month in Elk camp.
We never run the AC, since it pulls so much to startup, but that isn't an issue in the fall, anyway. We also never run the microwave.
The water heater is propane.
We run the water pump for showers only while the gen is running. That is our biggest draw.
There are 12 volt TV/DVD players in 15-17 9nch sizes, so that draw is lessened (even 120 volt tvs run on 12 volts in many cases, with a transformer inside) obtainable through Truck Stops, like Flying J.

John From Detroit

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2006, 02:55:21 PM »
They do not yet show it in their ONLINE catalog but Camping World now has a 30 amp twist-lock (Generator type) to 30 amp RV type adapter  Price was not too bad either.

They also have 15 amp (Standard outlet) to  both 30 and 50 amp Twist Lock Marine type adapters (What most RV's use as inlets if they don't have a fixed cord you pull out)
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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2006, 03:06:28 PM »
I'll second that regarding the fridge still pulling power while on propane.    For the more "modern" versions with an electronic ignition, you need some juice to fire it.  Add in the juice the more modern units use to "monitor" so it knows when to fire.

We never had a problem until recently when we parked our trailer for about a week with just the fridge on.   We came back a week later and it was off, the battery totally dead.  Looks like the deep cycle battery was marginal and at some time during the week it pooped out and the fridge went with it, even though we had plenty of propane.

We've since installed a much better battery monitoring system (other than the little LED battery guage on the wall), as well as having gone to a dual-battery system and added a trickle-charge solar charger to keep the batts topped off.    I don't want any more hot beer when I get to the trailer  :)

WT

dcooper

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Re: GENERATOR FOR TRAVEL TRAILER
« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2006, 08:04:43 PM »
I do a lot of boondocking with my TT and I bought the Honda 2K inverter to charge the battery and to run my wife's hairdryer as well as  the vacumn cleaner on occasion.  Works for me!