Running 13500 BTU A/C With Honda 2200i

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jamoody

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Jun 21, 2019
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I've investigated here and elsewhere the possibility of running my 13500 BTU air conditioner using a single Honda 2200i generator. Most reports recommended using a hard-start capacitor which I don't currently have. I thought I'd just give it a try and to my surprise the compressor kicked on, though it did take around 5 seconds, and started cooling without the generator overload light coming on.

The generator specs are marginal for this A/C but are within limits:
* Honda 2200i, 2200W starting, 1800W running
* Dometic Airxcel 48253c969 (aka Mach 3), 13500 BTU,1650W-1900W depending on conditions.

In case these A/C details makes sense to anyone:
1650W - Cooling A.R.I. Standard Conditioning 80? F.DB/67? F.WB Indoor, 95? F.DB Outdoor at 115VAC
1900W - Cooling A.R.I. Standard Conditioning 95? F.DB/71? F.WB Indoor, 115? F.DB Outdoor at 103.5VAC

When needed, I plan to run the A/C only at night so outside temperature is assumed to be 80F or below. Assume all appliances are off, including refrigerator on gas, and battery fully charged (so no power converter draw).

My question is - if there is a repeated overload condition will this hurt either the generator or the A/C compressor, or will it just not cool?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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If the a/c compressor successfully starts up, there is no overload.  If it tries but can't start, then it suffers an overload and is briefly exposed to high amp loads. Not long, but you wouldn't want that to happen too often.

On the generator side, the Honda 2200 has excellent built-in protection from overload, i.e. more amp demand than it can reliably deliver. It will shut itself down before it can come to harm. However, that shut down appears to the a/c as a sudden loss of 120v power, and that is also stressful to the a/c.  Again, something to be avoided as much as is practical.
 

Lou Schneider

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Mar 14, 2005
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jamoody said:
I thought I'd just give it a try and to my surprise the compressor kicked on, though it did take around 5 seconds, and started cooling without the generator overload light coming on.

(...)

My question is - if there is a repeated overload condition will this hurt either the generator or the A/C compressor, or will it just not cool?

If the compressor is struggling for 5 seconds to start, that's a significant overload on the compressor motor.  Startup mode draws a LOT of power, but with a stiff power supply it's only drawing that current for less than a second.

At 5 seconds, that's 5 -10 times longer than normal drawing that heavy current.  That's adding just that more heat and stress to the compressor motor.

In short, yes it may work but it's likely doing so at the expense of the long term life of your A/C's compressor.
 

solarman

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Feb 8, 2018
Posts
618
Location
Texas
a soft starter will significantly reduce the initial peak load ( locked rotor amps ) and the stress on the generator.

there are two well known units, one is the "hyper engineering sure start" and the other is the "Micro air easy start"

i use one on mine and it's night and day difference in starting..
 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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5,858
Location
SW Louisiana
You should also be aware that compressor amp load increases as ambient temperature (head pressure) increases, so just because it worked today where you are, does not mean it will work on the hottest day of hte year where you may be traveling to.
 
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