Generator Question

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desertjim

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We have a Sea Breeze 5th Wheel and it didn't come with a generator.  I want to get one that I can use, preferably a "portable" model and have a couple of questions.  The Generator wouldn't be used much.....just when I get caught on the road and need to spend the night at a truck stop, Wally World or a park with no electricity.

1.  Does the generator have to be an "inverter" type? 

2.  What is the "acceptable" noise level?  I see a lot of generators that might work with readings of 68dbs which aren't even considered
genuine RV generators.  I understand that nothing is as quiet as Hondas.

3.  Any experience with the Kipor?

As to "RV Generatiors", I'm totally a novice, although as a retired contractor, I have used a lot of generators.  I have a big house generator out in the garage, but I don't think folks would like to hear that one crank up in the middle of some nice, quiet night (smile).  It is a Honda, though.

Thanks for any help or advice.

Regards,

Jim

 

Jackliz

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[quote author=desertjim link=topic=3982.msg34911#msg34911 date=1139340444]
We have a Sea Breeze 5th Wheel and it didn't come with a generator.  I want to get one that I can use, preferably a "portable" model and have a couple of questions.  The Generator wouldn't be used much.....just when I get caught on the road and need to spend the night at a truck stop, Wally World or a park with no electricity.

1.  Does the generator have to be an "inverter" type?


Since I am a fulltimer in a motorhome, I will let those who have a 5er answer your questions about a suitable generator for your trailer. BUT you really threw me on that "inverter" type generator? What is that? 

Regards,
Jack

 

Ned

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Jack,

The Onan QD generators, for example, are DC generators that use an inverter to produce the 110VAC output.  Other generators use constant a speed motor and an AC generator.  I don't see any particular advantage of one design over the other in practice.
 

King

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An AC generator has to run at a constant speed, usually 3600 RPM, to keep to the 60 Hz.  Two generators cannot be synchronized to run in parallel.  The Hondas can.  Also a dc generator can run at different speeds, so that at low load levels, the RPM is reduced, producing less noise.  The DB levels are always measured at full load, which almost never occurs.  ( my air conditioner draws 8 A when running, full load is almost 24 A).  A generator designed for RV use has a 12 V starter and runs off the onboard fuel, either gasolene or propane
 

Karl

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Jim,

Just to keep the record straight, most a/c generators for use in RV's run at 1800 rpm and can be paralleled, but this is usually not done for RV use and requires a little additional circuitry and perhaps some manual syncronization. Also, SOME Honda generators - EU1000, EU2000 - can be paralleled; other models would also require additional circuitry. And let's not forget diesel-fueled generators. You didn't say what type engine you had, but it would be nice to do one-stop fueling ;D That said, I personally don't know of anyone who makes a portable diesel unit; maybe someone else does?

Yamaha and other mfg's also make quiet portable generators. Some dealers at Quartzsite demonstrated the Kipor and it was quiet also, but I can't speak for its' reliability. I believe they're fairly new to the market.
 

desertjim

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Thanks for your info, Karl.  I pull the 5th Wheel with an F-350 Diesel Dually.

Yes, it would be nice to have a diesel generator, but I know that's out. 

I'm looking at a low-dollar, low db unit.  As for size, I see no reason to get one that won't run my AC unit.........just in case.  And, basically, the generator will be just that....."just in case".

It won't be installed.  That's why I say a portable model.  I might have just missed a deal on a new KIPOR because I didn't want to drive a thousand miles to get it.

My experience with tools have been that the US Made unit costing 3-5 times as much isn't really as valuable as the off-brand model made in China.  I would imagine that to be true of engines also.

Regards,

Jim

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The inverter types are much quieter and usually lighter than those with a mechanical AC generator. They are quieter because the engine can run at lower speeds and because much of the mechanical noise (vibration) of the rotating AC  generator is eliminated.  And as has been mentioned, the Honda EUx000i series is designed to be paralleled with a wiring harness available from Honda. Just plug it in and go.

A Hondo-powered generator is not the same as a "Honda generator" and of course Honda makes a lot of different gensets for different applications and not all are super-quiet.

You won't be firing up any genset in the middle of the night, unless you enjoy being evicted from parks or having your neighbors pour sand in your crankcase. Quiet hours usually start around 10 or 11 pm and good neighbors start earlier than that. But the quieter the genset is, the more your neighbors will appreciate it.

Do you think you need to run big appliances (e.g. a/c) or will you just be recharging batteries during the day.  Makes a big differenc ein the size of genset needed.
 

King

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Just a note...
All Onan 2500 and 2800 RV gensets run at 3600 RPM according to the spec provided by Onan.
These are the most often original equipment in small RV's.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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A standard design mechanical AC generator has to turn at 1800 RPMs (or a multiple thereof) to produce 60 cycle AC current at 120V. On smaller gensets, the engine typically runs at 3600 (approximate) because they produce more stable output at that speed and the generator shaft is geared down to the required 1800.  Larger block engines are stable (RPM wise) at lower rpms, so they usually run direct at 1800.  I've seen a diesel that ran at 900 and the output shaft was geared up to 1800.  But none of this is cast in stone and you may find different designs in different brands and models.

DC generators aren't RPM dependent, so they run at variable speeds. Inverter-type generators produce AC by electronically nverting DC to AC, thus they are run like a straight DC generator
 

Karl

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Jim,

Was at RV Lifestyles here in Quartzsite this a.m. and asked the repair mgr. some questions about the Kipor - they've been selling them for about 5 months. He admitted some infrequent and minor problems with the smaller units (gas leak, defective circuit breaker) but no problems with the 3.5kW units. He started one up for me and it was very quiet and smooth running. It weighs 135lbs. and uses a - ta da -  Honda engine, so parts (at least for the engine) shouldn't be a concern. It is of the DC Inverter type. Said it will run at full steam for 9 hours one a fill. We think it's a 3-gallon tank, but not sure. Hope this helps. Oh yeah - $1200 for a Kipor 3.5kW vs. $1800 for a Honda 3kW :D
 

desertjim

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Karl said:
Oh yeah - $1200 for a Kipor 3.5kW vs. $1800 for a Honda 3kW :D

Yeah, I know.? And the Champion is only $299 for a 4k model!!? I'm thinking for my limited use I'll probably go with that one and may do a little mod on the exhaust.

I missed a NEW 3.5 Kipor at $900 because I didn't want to drive a thousand miles to get it.? Heck, that ain't no step for a stepper.....especially an RVing stepper <smile>.? My bad!!

Thanks, Karl.? I appreciate the info.

Regards,

Jim
 
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