Portable generator for TT

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starfish

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Will one of these Honda or Yamaha 1000 Watt, light weight, super quiet generators be enough to charge battery, run lights, water pump, and furnace fan?  I don't need to run the AC or Micro.  All opinions are welcome. ;D
 

King

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Yup.  Generally speaking.  The only way to really know would be to discharge the batteries as low as you usually do, then connect to shore power and actually measure the current and turn on the appliances.  You may find that you can do "all of the above" but not all at the same time.  In my case, my converter is so wimpy that it would take days to recharge the batteries.  1000 Watts at 120V equates to 83 Amps at 12V, so if your converter is better than mine, you should be OK.
Art
 

Karl

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Starfish,
I would suggest you go with a 2kW watt generator right from the start. A 1kW will meet the basic needs but, trust me, you will want to use a microwave or coffeemaker, or small a/c at some time or other. A 1kW just won't handle it. A quick look at the Honda website shows the EU1000i (1kW) at $789 and the EU2000i (2kW) at $1079. For less than $300 more, you get twice the power. Both units put out 8 amps of d.c. for charging also, but that's pretty meager and would take a long time to recharge a pair of 220ah golfcart batteries. You should also get a 3-stage converter/charger with a minimum of 40-50 amps output. Both Honda and Yamaha make good units; the Yamaha can be fitted with a remote, keyfob start system - great on those cold, rainy nights!
 

starfish

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Karl said:
You should also get a 3-stage converter/charger with a minimum of 40-50 amps output. Both Honda and Yamaha make good units; the Yamaha can be fitted with a remote, keyfob start system - great on those cold, rainy nights!

The 3-stage converter/charger, is that like a battery charger that you plug into the wall?  I'm pretty sure my TT has a converter/charger.  Or is that an inverter?  Can anyone break it down like I'm a Naval Aviator?  Translation-lots of [email protected]$, not a lot of BRAINS.  ???
 

starfish

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My Trail-Cruiser has a 55 amp converter/charger.  Would I then just plug the 30 amp cord intot he gennie?
 

Karl

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Yes, a 3-stage converter/charger plugs into 120VAC. It is designed to charge your batteries and provide 12V for interior lighting, etc. By 3-stage, we mean it has three levels of charge. Bulk, Acceptance, and Float. It starts out in bulk mode, with heavy current and a steady voltage for the initial stage of charging. When that's done,. it switches over to Acceptance mode which finishes the remainder of the charge at a constant current. When fully charged, or nearly so, it will go into float mode which maintains the battery at its' peak level without overcharging it. Two-stage converters don't have this Float mode and can easily overcharge and eventually destroy your batteries. Yes, you would plug it into the generator for battery charging and for supplying 12V for lighting while the generator is running.

An INVERTER, on the other hand, uses battery power and changes it into 120VAC 60Hz to run appliances like tv's, computers, microwaves - anything that requires 120 volt alternating current. 
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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How do I find out if the converter/charger that came in my trailer is 2 stage or 3 stage?

Tell us the brand and model number. However, chances are slim that it is 3 stage if it is the one that came with the trailer.

I'll go against the grain here and go on record saying there is nothing terribly wrong with a modern, good quality, two stage charger, especially in the smaller power ranges (20-40 amps) and charging one or two 12V batteries. However, if you buy  a good two stage such as a Progressive Dynamics or Iota, you can add the third stage with an optional device called the "charge wizard" for around $30. That's a good investment in extending battery life. Or you can get those brands with the Charge Wizard already integrated.
 

starfish

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Just so I'm straight,  If the converter in my TT is a 3-stage, then I just plug the trailer into the generator, and I'm good to go.  If the converter is a good 2-stage, I get a charge wizard, in lieu of the third stage, and plug that in where?  If I have a crappy 2-stage, I get a good 3-stage and plug it in where?  Do I use it with shore power as well?

I have to run over to the RV storage and see what kind of converter came in the TT.  I'll have the info tomorrow evening.
 

Karl

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I won't argue with Gary about the two vs. three stage issue because in the 20-40 amp range, overcharging is not likely to be an issue.
If the converter in my TT is a 3-stage, then I just plug the trailer into the generator, and I'm good to go.  If the converter is a good 2-stage, I get a charge wizard, in lieu of the third stage, and plug that in where?  If I have a crappy 2-stage, I get a good 3-stage and plug it in where?  Do I use it with shore power as well?
The converter/charger will plug into either the generator or shore power (whatever you're using at the time) regardless of it being a two-stage or three-stage unit. With certain two-stage units like Gary mentioned, you can add the Charge Wizard to them. Not all units will accept them and, if you have a very old converter/charger, get a new three-stage unit. That's why we need to know what's currently installed.
 

starfish

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Okay, my TT came installed with:  Atwood Mobile Products
                                                Distribution Panel
                                                With Converter/Charger
                                                TP3 SS Model:  55 AMP

Sounds okay to me, but I don't see anything about the number of stages on the manufacturer sheet.
 

Karl

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Starfish,
Those numbers don't bring up anything on a search. Maybe they'll make sense to someone else, but I'd be willing to bet it's only a 2-stage. What kind of battery(ies) do you have installed - automotive, marine, deep cycle flooded cell, agm? What is the ampere hour rating?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I know the type of unit you have - an integrated AC power control center and converter/charger. Unfortunately they are OEM products, designed and sold to RV manufacturers rather than as aftermarket products, so specs are generally not available online. The base design may be customized to the needs of individual trailer manufacturers, so sometimes two similar looking panels are in fact somewhat different in the details of their operation.  It also makes it somewhat more difficult to switch out the converter/charger portion.

If your Trail Cruiser is a fairly late mode, e.g. 2004 or later, it probably has a decent level of technology in the charger, though it is almost surely a two stage. The primary concerns are the amount of charger output (charging amps) and how well that power is regulated. Most late model two stage chargers do a decent job because the electronics necessary to regulate well have become so cheap there is little  reason not to do the job reasonably well. And a 55 amp converter/charger should charge at a decent rate, even if it can only devote half or so of its output to charging. A charge rate of 25-30A is all you are going to want to put into a couple of batteries (200-220 amp hours total) anyway.

Bottom line is that I personally would not worry further about this unless future experience indicates a need for something larger or better. Just put in good batteries and (if flooded cell types) monitor the water in the cells monthly and replenish as needed. I'll bet you do just fine.

If there should be a future need for a better converter/charger, you will have to disconnect the existing converter/charger portion of your power panel from the 12V circuits & battery bank, mount the new converter/charger somewhere convenient, connect its output to the batteries and plug its 120 VAC input power cord into one of the trailer's  120 VAC outlets. Then it gets its power from whatever you have the trailer plugged into, either shore power of genset.  This may be either easy or difficult, depending on just how your rig is currently set up.
 

starfish

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Gary,

Thanks for your input.  My Trail-Cruiser is a 2007, and everything seems to pretty good quality.  I have a single Marine grade battery.  I am going to run it until it just becomes too much trouble.  I'll probably upgrade to a dual AGM type in the future.  I think I am also going to go with the 1000 watt Yamaha genset.  It is listed on their site for $680.  http://www.yamahagenerators.com/ef1000is_pr_1.html
I'm sure I'll find it cheaper than that somewhere.  I don't need the A/C or microwave oven when Boondocking.  I certainly don't need, or have room for an electric coffee maker.  French press is fine with me.  I really just don't want to have to let my brand new pickup sit there and idle all morning to charge the battery. 

By the way, the 1/2 ton Dodge with a Hemi is a great tow vehicle! ;D
 

Jeff

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Starfish:

Even for a light appliance load the 1000 watt gensets are to small. They generate about 900 watts continuous power and your converter/charger will use that up leaving nothing for any load on your trailer. As several others have suggested you will be better served by the 2000/2400 watt systems.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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With the 1000W (peak) genset you will want to keep your fridge and water heater in LPG mode while re-charging batteries.  The 900W (continuous) from the genset equates to about 8 amps @ 120 VAC.  Your 55 amp converter/charger could conceivably suck up as much as 6 amps, leaving only 2 amps from the genset for all other purposes. Generally your converter won't draw quite that much, though. Power draw by the converter will quickly taper off to less than 5A and after an hour of charging should be down in the 1-2A range.

The Yamaha can also direct charge batteries at 8A, but then you lose the charge regulation built into your converter/charger, so I would not recommend that method.  Just plug the trailer into the Yamaha's 120VAC outlet (using a 15A adapter) and leave your appliances in LPG mode until the battery has charged awhile.
 
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