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Old 04-04-2012, 12:01 PM   #1
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Which generator to choose? Ideas?

I have a 1984 Fleetwood Tioga 23' on a Ford Econoline E350 chassis.

The RV did not come with a Generator, but I'm looking to purchase one. I am looking for product recommendations on generators you have purchased for a similar RV.

What should be the amp rating of generator? noise? something not too expensive. Is it a reliable generator. Would it be better to install it on the RV and wire it in? or just carry it around and when needed, pull it out and plug in the RV shore power cable to it?

Thanks for you input.

Jay
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:16 PM   #2
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The first question is do you have AC if so one or two.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wb7auk View Post
The first question is do you have AC if so one or two.
It has one A/C unit on the roof, an LP refrigerator (can also run on electricity), microwave, LP heating, and LP stove.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:47 PM   #4
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A 3,000 to 3,600 watt unit will take care of your needs with a little left over. I like
not running them at full output but just coasting along. As to keeping portable or
doing a install that depends if your unit has a place for it but was not put in or if
you found a place and want to put it in there. The later is the highest cost.
Harbor Freight and like companies sell these units for around 300 to 500 dollars
and are portable units. Honda is the best I have seen for lack of noise but they are
very much higher in cost. The highest cost is one built to fit your unit with all the
electrical stuff as the factory did.

Hope this helps
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wb7auk View Post
A 3,000 to 3,600 watt unit will take care of your needs with a little left over. I like
not running them at full output but just coasting along. As to keeping portable or
doing a install that depends if your unit has a place for it but was not put in or if
you found a place and want to put it in there. The later is the highest cost.
Harbor Freight and like companies sell these units for around 300 to 500 dollars
and are portable units. Honda is the best I have seen for lack of noise but they are
very much higher in cost. The highest cost is one built to fit your unit with all the
electrical stuff as the factory did.

Hope this helps
Thanks for your reply.

Why do you cite to use a generator between 3000 and 3600 watts?

is there some formula or reason for this rating of a generator?

I'm thinking I'll stay away from the install and keep it portable, that way I can use it in other situations. I've search Harbor Freight and generators between 330 and 400 will about work for me.

An installed generator was an option on this model, but the space I can only guess it might have been located is full of blocks and hydraulic jacks.

I also would like this generator to be able to charge the auxiliary batteries (and main batteries) when it is running. No sense in wasting the unused power.

Is there some kit available to connect the portable generator to the auxiliary and main battery charging system?

thanks!
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:21 PM   #6
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The size of the generator depends on what you want to run off it. In your case you
indicated a micro wave, AC and a few other things. Both the AC and micro are the
big users AC 12 to 18 amps, Micro depending on size about 9 to 12 amps. So divide
120 into watts in this case 3000 you get 25amps with a 3600 watt unit you get 30 amps
Most generators have a surge rating that allows for start up demands.
You indicate you will use the generator for other things if that is the case bigger is
better. If it were me I would get a much larger generator say 6 or 7,000 watt one.
They will about run anything you will ever do and the cost is not that much above
the smaller one's. I just looked at Harbor Freight and they are 599.00.
As to charging the batteries if your unit does not already have a charger installed
for use when plugged into shore power there are several that will charge and maintain your batteries , simple to use and easy to install.

Hope this helps
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Old 04-04-2012, 04:56 PM   #7
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Hi John,

Just some well-intentioned advice; the generators you are considering are VERY noisy. If you run one of these in a campground, you will not be popular. Please be sure to check the dB (decibel) noise levels of anything you are considering. You will be surprised at the noise difference between a 3KW portable Honda, and a general purpose item from Harbor Freight, Lowes, or Home Depot (unfortunately, there is also a big price difference). The Cummins Onan, or Generac generators are popular as built-ins, and won't be as quiet as a Honda, but much quieter than a generic portable version.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnjrod View Post
...I'm thinking I'll stay away from the install and keep it portable, that way I can use it in other situations. I've search Harbor Freight and generators between 330 and 400 will about work for me...thanks!
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Schweikle View Post
Hi John,

Just some well-intentioned advice; the generators you are considering are VERY noisy. If you run one of these in a campground, you will not be popular. Please be sure to check the dB (decibel) noise levels of anything you are considering. You will be surprised at the noise difference between a 3KW portable Honda, and a general purpose item from Harbor Freight, Lowes, or Home Depot (unfortunately, there is also a big price difference). The Cummins Onan, or Generac generators are popular as built-ins, and won't be as quiet as a Honda, but much quieter than a generic portable version.
George is right the noise that comes out of some of those units is huge.

How about checking Craigs List or a Used equipment site for a good used one. I bought a used Honda 2000 for $400 and it runs great.
Just for giggles I looked up Craigs list for L.A. and there are a bunch or them along with a , Like New 3000 Onan for $1,800
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:28 PM   #9
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George and Chuck are right about the noise factor but they sell after market mufflers
to tame them down a lot.
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:14 PM   #10
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Craigs list is a good idea for used generators. However, by living in a area of a major ice storm a few years back, here's a heads up: I learned that some people buy generators and run them hard with no service or oil changes, then sell as low hour units. So, be aware...

I tried to start my roof air conditioner with a Honda 2000, but no success. It takes a 3000. Either of these literally can't be heard from a few yards away. I wish Honda made a RV generator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck 1935 View Post
George is right the noise that comes out of some of those units is huge.

How about checking Craigs List or a Used equipment site for a good used one. I bought a used Honda 2000 for $400 and it runs great.
Just for giggles I looked up Craigs list for L.A. and there are a bunch or them along with a , Like New 3000 Onan for $1,800
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:26 PM   #11
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That is a 30A RV, so if you want to be able to run everything you would on shore power, you need a 30A generator, i.e. 3600 watts (30A x 120v = 3600 watts). But if you would be willing to run the fridge and water heater on propane, you could probably get by with about 2800 watts, which is enough to start the air conditioner. Your a/c needs about 13-14 amps to run, but takes nearer 22-24 amps for a second or two when the compressor first guts in.

Is oyur RV already equipped with a fuel supply for the generator, and exhaust system, and a generator outlet where the shore power cord would plug to the generator output? If not, it probably never had a generator installed (it was an option). If you don't have that stuff, you best bet is to go with a portable system. I highly recommend the Honda or Yamaha inverter-type generators, but they are pricey. You can get less expensive versions of inverter-generators from Honeywell, Kipor or Briggs, etc. Here are some less expensive models...

Inverter Generators | Generators | Northern Tool + Equipment
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:24 PM   #12
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An after market muffler will have very little effect on the noise. Most of the noise from the generator set is mechanical and windage. If you want a good reliable and quiet generator, look at the Honda EU series or the equivalent Yamaha. Check Wise Equipment for the best prices.

Remember that the noise scale, dBa is not linear, it is logarithmic, so a 3 dB increase in noise level is a doubling of the sound pressure. A 6 dB increase is 4 times as much sound energy.

You also have to see at what distance the sound level is measured.

I have a 6.5kW, 13 HP generator fro back up power at the house. I have a pair of Honda EU2000i generators with parallel kit for the RV. There is no doubt that the 6.5 is a lot louder than the Hondas.

For RV use, I would not waste the money on anything other than something like a Honda EU series. The EU 2000i's in parallel will surge to 4 kW for a short time and run extended periods at 3.6 kW. The big plus for Honda is that they have a large dealer network and have been around for a while, so parts are available. Most of the Chines stuff has to be shipped across the country to hopefully get it repaired.

Ken
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:29 PM   #13
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Honda

I had a Honda EM 650. I used it for 10 years and gave to my son. He's had it 10 years and it still runs like new. I replaced the fuel cutoff valve about 12 years ago. By the way, it was used when I got it!

I maintain another Honda, an EM850 that gets used at music festivals. It runs for 6 to 10 hours a day several weekends a year. I change the oil and clean the air filter & spark plug once a year. It's at least 15 years old and has always run like new.

I also have a 2000si. It's only 3 years old. Too new to tell! But it is the quietest of the lot.

On the other hand: at one point we tried an off brand generator for the music festivals. Noisy. Hard to start. Unreliable. Wore out in less than 3 years. Ran very hot and melted it's cheap plastic parts. I won't mention it's (Coleman) name!

I had an Onan in a previous motorhome. It was noisy, hard starting, and high maintenance. The control board had to be replaced before it had 50 hours on it, right after it's warranty period expired.

It is possible to adapt a Honda 3500W to an RV. I've seen a coupe of trailers with them bolted in.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:23 AM   #14
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I have a Champion 3000-4000 watt generator. Cost about $325. I use it mostly for boon-docking due to the fact that even though it is supposed to be a quiet unit it is to loud for campgrounds but perfect for parking lots and like places.
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