newbie to forum... looking for a generator

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PalmB1300

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Oct 15, 2012
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i've been looking into camp sites without electric hookup and still want the luxuries. i've been looking into getting a sufficient, quiet inverter generator. i have a 1997 30ft Wilderness travel trailer. any tips on size and brands recommended would be greatly appreciated
 

donn

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What do you want to run, or do with it?  A 1000 watt Honda or Yamaha will recharge the batteries easily.  A 3000 watt Honda or Yamaha will run the AC or microwave.  Where do you want to be?
 

PalmB1300

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i want to be able to run the heat, microwave, coffee pot and lights. i'm more into the winter camping and would be using the comfort stations at the camp grounds. i dont know how long i will have this trailer bc i plan to upgrade to a toy hauler with a generator built in. that being said, i dont think i want to spring for the bigger generator knowing i wont need it forever.
 

donn

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PalmB1300 said:
i want to be able to run the heat, microwave, coffee pot and lights. i'm more into the winter camping and would be using the comfort stations at the camp grounds. i dont know how long i will have this trailer bc i plan to upgrade to a toy hauler with a generator built in. that being said, i dont think i want to spring for the bigger generator knowing i wont need it forever.

Heat is 12 volt and propane powered.  So to run the furnace requires a lot of battery power or running the generator a lot.  Microwave?  Never used it when dry camping and have not missed it.  Rarely use it even on full Hookups.  But to use that alone will require at least a 2000 watt generator.  Coffee pot, get a stove top and use it.  Works much better and cheaper than a generator at 5 AM.  Again, lights are 12 volt and require little power.  So again, exactly what do you REALLY want to run? 
 

4EZDAYS

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If you're not going to be running an A/C... I would suggest a Honda 2000.  I have TWO that I use for various reasons.  They're quiet (47db) and weigh under 50 lbs. so easy to handle and transport... and will run all day on a gallon of gas.  Approved for State and National parks.
Suggest you also buy a security cable and lock.  People like to steal these little buggers when you're not looking.
 

Foto-n-T

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You also didn't mention how much you want to spend and since you are planning on upgrading to a rig with an onboard genset you may be looking for an inexpensive deal, I would recommend against that train of thought.

We have a toyhauler with an onboard 5.5 and we also use a Honda 2000.  The onboard genset has less than 400 hours on it and the Honda has north of 1,700 hours.  Although we have an onboard we use that Honda much more than the onboard simply because it eats a lot less gas.  On a two month boondock this summer in northern Idaho we averaged less than a gallon a day and that included the usage of the onboard for occasional A/C when the temps got up there.

Both Honda and Yamaha now have 2000 generator/inverters and both are top notch in my opinion but you WILL chunk out close to $1,000 for either one.  Consider this an investment simply because even after you upgrade your rig you'll find that the small generator will get used three or four times as much as the onboard.  My personal experience is with Honda but I've got not a thing against the Yamaha.  The only problem I've ever had with the Honda was at around 1,500 hours the auto-throttle linkage got a little sticky and had to be cleaned. I've never actually shot at mine but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the little red devils are bullet proof too.
 

Larry N.

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Consider this an investment simply because even after you upgrade your rig you'll find that the small generator will get used three or four times as much as the onboard.

Even if this doesn't prove to be true, the resale value on the Honda and Yamaha units is pretty good. I resold my Eu2000i for about $700 after about three years of use.
 

PalmB1300

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donn said:
Heat is 12 volt and propane powered.  So to run the furnace requires a lot of battery power or running the generator a lot.  Microwave?  Never used it when dry camping and have not missed it.  Rarely use it even on full Hookups.  But to use that alone will require at least a 2000 watt generator.  Coffee pot, get a stove top and use it.  Works much better and cheaper than a generator at 5 AM.  Again, lights are 12 volt and require little power.  So again, exactly what do you REALLY want to run?

my main concern is the heat... i found out the hard way that running the heat drains the battery quickly. i wanted to run the generator to keep the heat on thru the night
 

PalmB1300

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Foto-n-T said:
You also didn't mention how much you want to spend and since you are planning on upgrading to a rig with an onboard genset you may be looking for an inexpensive deal, I would recommend against that train of thought.

We have a toyhauler with an onboard 5.5 and we also use a Honda 2000.  The onboard genset has less than 400 hours on it and the Honda has north of 1,700 hours.  Although we have an onboard we use that Honda much more than the onboard simply because it eats a lot less gas.  On a two month boondock this summer in northern Idaho we averaged less than a gallon a day and that included the usage of the onboard for occasional A/C when the temps got up there.

Both Honda and Yamaha now have 2000 generator/inverters and both are top notch in my opinion but you WILL chunk out close to $1,000 for either one.  Consider this an investment simply because even after you upgrade your rig you'll find that the small generator will get used three or four times as much as the onboard.  My personal experience is with Honda but I've got not a thing against the Yamaha.  The only problem I've ever had with the Honda was at around 1,500 hours the auto-throttle linkage got a little sticky and had to be cleaned. I've never actually shot at mine but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the little red devils are bullet proof too.

thanks for the info... i was looking at both the honda and yamaha 2000's just trying to decide ifthey were enough power
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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my main concern is the heat... i found out the hard way that running the heat drains the battery quickly. i wanted to run the generator to keep the heat on thru the night

It's a whole lot cheaper to add  some batteries than a generator! But if staying for more than a day or two, you still have to charge the batteries anyway.

If you can do without the microwave (or it is a small one, under 1000 watts), th 1000 watt inverter-generator will handle your needs nicely. Honda and Yanmaha are the best quality brands, but you can get them with brand names like Honeywell, Generac,  Suburu and Hyundai. And off-brand names such as Boliy, Eastern Tool, Power America, etc. The off-brands are a lot cheaper, but heaven help if you need parts or service.

As has been mentioned, the resale value of a brand name inverter generator is excellent.
 

Bob Buchanan

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PalmB1300 said:
my main concern is the heat... i found out the hard way that running the heat drains the battery quickly. i wanted to run the generator to keep the heat on thru the night

Running a genset all night to supply heat is not a good idea, IMO. I've mentioned in several threads the idea of an electric pad (not a blanket). The outside temps lately in the Sacramento area have been in the mid 40's - and I haven't had need to use the furnace at all. I turn the pad on for about 20 minutes initially - then cut it back once I am in bed. It seems to use about 4-6amps when the thermostat turns it on. So I use no propane and no DC to run the furnace. If the temps are below freezing, my RV is not there to begin with.

I have a 5000 Onan built in genset that will power "everything" at one time including 2 A/C. However, it burns about .6gal per hour. In CA, that's now around $250/hr. I also have a i2000EU Honda that runs for about 6 or 7 hours on a little over a gallon (the tank size).

So when boondocking, I use the Honda, and don't boondock if I need the A/C. The Honda will run my computers and 40A 3 stage charger. However, when I run the Microwave, I must turn off the charger or it will choke. And even almost by itself, it is obviously pushing the limit of the Honda if anything else is turned on.

Yes, Yamaha's are nice too - and they have a gas gauge that the Honda is lacking. And, yes, they are both hot items in the community of thieves needing extra dollars. The good news is the reason they are a hot item is that the resale "is" high as others have mentioned. A security chain or cable is a joke to the thieves. They come with heavy duty cutters that go through those like hot butter. I have 2 5/8" inch cables that I use - plus have covered the handle with an anti thief deal to keep them from simply cutting through to remove the cable. Another advantage of the Yamaha is that is blue vs. a bright red that is easily spotted.

Earlier this spring a fellow parked beside another RV a bit down from me - that had a 2000 with a 1/2" cable. The cable also ran through their 5 gallon gas can as well. The nex AM he got up bright and early, walked around his RV with his cable cutters, cut the cable, placed the 2000 -- and the 5 gallons of gas in a compartment in his rig and split. No one was up early enough to get a license number.

As others have mentioned, if you really examine your essential needs, you could probably get by with a Honda 1000 genset. What I see a lot of in the boondocking world now are the 1000's just running most all day vs. building a large battery bank and adequate charger to keep them up as well as an inverter. A gallon of gas will keep that puppy running just short of forever - almost. And they are super quiet. If like me, if I can't have a microwave I would most likely starve - so, as Gary mentions, if I had to I would just buy a smaller one that the 1000 would run.
 

Wolf Pack Fan

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I think someone mentioned that their Honda throttle linkage got a little sticky after some time.  Maybe that occurred because Honda draws fresh air in from the bottom.  Yamaha air intake is on the side.  They're both awesome machines.  The best of the best in my opinion.  I just chose the Yamaha.  If you get a Honda be sure it's not sitting directly on the dirt without a board, mat or something under it to prevent drawing in dust/dirt.
 

Foto-n-T

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Our Honda 2000 basically runs everything in the rig with the exception of the A/C, inclucing the microwave & electric hot water heater although not at the same time of course.  I've looked at the Yamaha and the specs appear to be identical to the Honda as far as output is concerned and I wouldn't hesitate to buy one although given the service my Honda has given me I'd probably just buy another one if this one ever dies.

The auto-throttle linkage issue I had was basically due to this thing having a ton of hours on it and it had never even had the cover off of it.  It was actually quite easy to fix and I could have done it without removing the outer shell but I was in an experimenting mood that day and wanted to fully disassemble the carb as well for PM.  I do use a couple of Linx blocks under it when it's in use more to provide a suitable air flow than prevent dirt from gettinng pulled in.

I will say that what ever you buy you really should get an hour meter on it as well.  Originally I used an induction type that ran on a battery and picked up the impulse from the spark plug but it wasn't water proof and it died after about 1,200 hours.  I've since installed a hard wired 12v hour meter that is waterproof, this one is wired from the 12v output on the front of the generator and zip tied to the handle.  Without an hour meter you'll only be guessing at how long this thing has run before you do service on it and changing the oil every 100 hours is probably one of the reasons mine has managed to hang on for almost 2,000 hours.
 

PalmB1300

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thanks for all the feedback... i believe i have narrowed it down to just picking the honda or yamaha
 

Foto-n-T

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Congrats and I think you're going to like it, A LOT!!

Very seriously though I would install an hour meter on it so you can keep track of the service intervals.  The link below is to the waterproof one that I recently installed to replace my old one.  The Honda lasted longer than the induction hour meter probably because it wasn't waterproof/resistant.

http://www.amazon.com/Hour-Meter-Boat-Truck-Tractor/dp/B001E3PAF2/ref=sr_1_1?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1350824937&sr=1-1&keywords=12v+hour+meter+waterproof
 

Bob Buchanan

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Foto-n-T said:
Congrats and I think you're going to like it, A LOT!!

Very seriously though I would install an hour meter on it so you can keep track of the service intervals.  The link below is to the waterproof one that I recently installed to replace my old one.  The Honda lasted longer than the induction hour meter probably because it wasn't waterproof/resistant.

The new Honda's (1000, 2000, and some 3000's) have an hour meter built in via one of the console lights. It records hours in 100 hour intervals up to 500. I came across this when I purchased mine late last fall. HERE is a link I posted on an earlier thread originally posted in another forum.

If anyone looks into buying a used Honda, they should check to see it has the feature and if it does, check to see how many hours it has on it prior to buying.
 

warsw

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Central Oregon
PalmB1300 said:
cant wait for my yamaha 2000 to get here!
Good choice. I have a Yamaha 2000 and it does work very well. The only negative I have had with this generator is that it is very sensitive to altitude.

I live at 4600 ft and at that altitude it runs pretty well but I do a lot of camping at 6000 ft and at that altitude it is starting to run very rich and runs a little ruff. At 6000 ft it takes a little more time to come off low idle and eventually it will start to plug up the spark arrester.

I used it once in Colorado at the Rocky Mountain NP at 8900 ft and it would hardly run at all. My nephew had a 2000 watt Champion, which he paid half what I did, and it ran great. To say the least I was a little embarrassed.

What I ended up doing was installing the next size smaller main jet, which cleared it up completely for the higher altitudes. Now if I do any camping at sea level I will need to reinstall the original jet or it might run too lean.

I don't know if some of the other generators are like this but this is the first one I have owned that has reacted this much to altitude.
 

Foto-n-T

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warsw said:
The only negative I have had with this generator is that it is very sensitive to altitude.

I'm really kind of surprised by this.  We routinely run ours at altitudes ranging from sea level to 9k and I've never noticed any difference.  My onboard genset has an altitude adjustment on it and every once in a while I actually remember to change it but even that one has never given me any problems.  I'm wondering if it's more of a "break-in" issue with the Yamaha, any idea how many hours you've got on it?
 

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