Another NOOB question about generators/inverters/etc

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MZBuckeye

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Joined
Nov 21, 2006
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10
Location
Cleveland, OH
Okay, so I'm trying to figure out this whole RV thing and I plan to purchase something cheap somewhat soon.  One of the problems I'm running into in my shopping around is that many that I've looked at have no generator.  I'm mostly looking at older class C's.  I need some help understanding exactly what's what when it comes to these things:

Can someone just explain to me what's the deal with generators, inverters, converters, cabin batteries, etc etc.  What do they all do?  What do I need?  Here's what I plan to do with my RV:

Weekend trips, mostly to campgrounds I think.  I've never owned an RV, so I'm not 100% sure, but I plan to hunt out campgrounds.  I don't know much about just setting up shop somewhere random. 

Occasional tailgating at OSU games.    For this, I'd need a television, heat, and water.    This part is making me think I need a generator, but I'm not 100% sure.  Last time I was down there the RV I was on was running on batteries the whole time. 

I will not be fulltiming.  This is just becoming a hobby I want to try.

Is no generator on board a deal-breaker for me?  The guy I tailgated with for Michigan/OSU said I absolutely need a generator, of course he has a HUGE diesel pusher and tons of money.    I would like to take the RV on a long trip here and there, maybe out west or something (I live in Ohio) and I've found a couple cheap-o's which seem sound mechanically, but with no generator.  HELP!
 

Wendy

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May 14, 2005
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Colorado
If you're going to stay in campgrounds, with hookups, then, no, you don't need a generator.

If you plan on camping without hookups then you may or may not need a generator. Just need lights? No generator needed. Watching a lot of TV? You need a generator. Can't cook without a microwave and coffeepot? Generator. It all depends on how much juice you suck up.

Wendy
freezing in Colorado
 

MZBuckeye

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2006
Posts
10
Location
Cleveland, OH
That's what I was afraid of.  Seems I must eliminate any that doesn't have a generator because the RV lots at OSU don't have any hookups and I'll be watching lots of TV down there.  One less thing to worry about is where to get power.  There's no good portable generator solutions is there?  This would be no more than 4 weekends per year, if that.
 

Carl L

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Mar 14, 2005
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7,239
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west Los Angeles
Can someone just explain to me what's the deal with generators, inverters, converters, cabin batteries, etc etc.? ?What do they all do?? ?What do I need?? Here's what I plan to do with my RV:

Generators provide 120VAC power off the grid.? They come in standalone versions and installed versions.? They come in varying wattages:? 1000w, 2000w, 3000w, etc.? ?The kind you want are RV units which are soundproofed -- the contractor units are not and can gain you a lot of hate if you run them in a crowd or CG.? ? A portable 1000w RV style unit will run about $700-800. ?

Converters convert 120VAC to 12VDC to run 12 VDC appliances --- which are most of your appliances on an RV.? ?You should find one installed on your RV.

An inverter is a device to convert 12VDC to 120VAC to run things like TV sets.?

Cabin batteries are usually called house batteries.? They run the DC appliances and lighting in your RV.? They are charged by a converter-charger when hooked up to shore power (CG power)? or by a generator when it is running. (Some folks have solar units to charge them.)? Unlike your? engine-starting, chassis battery, house batteries are deep cycle batteries capable of giving steady long lasting DC power.? ?A small TV can be run off an inverter and house batteries -- for a while.

Occasional tailgating at OSU games. ? ?For this, I'd need a television, heat, and water. ? ?This part is making me think I need a generator, but I'm not 100% sure. ? Last time I was down there the RV I was on was running on batteries the whole time. ?

Heat and water are no problem. ?Your furnace and water pump run off your batteries anyway. ? TV will depend on the number of batteries and their amp-hourage vs the 12VDC draw of your TV set. ? If you like big screens you may want a 1000 W generator around, but my 34" 120VAC LCD wide screen Sony draws only 155w. ? That would be about 12 amps of 12VDC power on an inverter. ? Anyway do the math.

Is no generator on board a deal-breaker for me?

Not really. ? For tailgating, just get a portable RV generator. ?A 1000W unit should be just fine. ? If you want to run an AC unit while boondocking you might want to parallel in another 1000 w unit or buy a 2000w unit. ?The 2000 watters are begining to get a bit hefty tho. ? ?
 

Wendy

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May 14, 2005
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12,535
Location
Colorado
I'm no electricity/generator/power expert (in fact, I have no idea where the juice comes from) but I know a lot of people have small Honda or other brand generators to top off the batteries or watch a bit of TV.

We sold our 1987 Class C motorhome a couple of years ago for $5000 and it had a generator. If that's in your price range, there are plenty of deals like that out there if you are patient and look around. Grab the local Pennysaver and see if there's anything local.

And remember, half the fun is in the search.
Wendy
still freezing in Colorado
 

King

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 30, 2006
Posts
354
Location
MA
I bought a class b without a generator.  I thought it would be nice to have the ability to run the AC if we needed it.  It cost me a little over a thousand to install a used 2800 Onan.  (Most of the wiring was already in place).  So far, we have only used it to run the microwave, but the wife loves it.
Art
 

Will

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2006
Posts
202
Location
Mississippi
I exclusively use hookups, but the guy who had my RV before me used it for Talladega (ie no hookups)

He bought a generator with the wheelkit and just towed it around on the cargo tray on the rear of the RV.  When he sold me the rig, I asked if he would sell the Generator too and he said "no way."  Apparently he likes having the external generator for other uses as well.  For the small amount of TV I watch, my little inverter powers my 12" TV quite well.
 
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