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Old 05-21-2012, 06:16 AM   #1
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generator question

Hello forum. I have a little bit of an unusual question for you all. We will be boon docking (of sorts) in our 5th wheel and will have access to shore power, but not 30 or 50 amp power. Of course the shore power will not run my A/C so that leaves me with running the generator to power the A/C. I have a Champion 4000 watt generator that runs great, but obviously it does not have a large fuel tank. My wife and little one will be on the trip and I really want to make sure that the A/C runs at night.

All that being said here is my dilemma. The generator will run for about 4 hours or so with the A/C running constantly. I would rather not have to get up at night every 4 hours to fill the tank on the generator. During the day I don't care, but at night I would like for it to run for awhile. Is there anyway to run an alternate or maybe a gravity fed fuel tank into the generator so that it runs for most of the night? I know, probably a stupid question, but I'm just curious.

2011 Heartland Big Country 3595RE
2005 Ford F350 dually 6.0L Diesel
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:22 PM   #2
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Ordinary 20-amp shore power is enough to run most single RV ACs. And you can probably run it on 15-amp household juice if you be sure to turn off the elec part of all the other electric users in the RV- such as gas/electric water heater, gas/elec refigerator. Switch those to gas only. And don't even think about trying to run the microwave or electric coffee pot or hair dryer or curling iron while the AC is running. You need an adapter that will allow you to plug in your 30-amp RV cord into an ordinary wall plate that has 15 or 20 amp power available. I never leave home without one.

Any attempt to increase the size of the gas tank on the generator sounds extremely risky. Don't do it. If your AC won't run on the available shore power, then resign yourself to either buy a different generator that will last 7 hours, or else get up in the middle of the night and fill up the tank on your current generator.

Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:56 PM   #3
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Depending where you are steying you may not be allowed to run a generator all night.
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:05 PM   #4
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Be sure to check the rules for the campgrounds you intend to stay at. We're currently in a State Forest campground that only allows generator use from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Use outside those hours could result in a fine or being asked to leave.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:19 PM   #5
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Regardless of the generator usage hours, with that Champion you may be asked to leave no matter what if it's at all like the one that was near us dry camping at the Hershery RV Show last Sept, talk about noisey.
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:49 PM   #6
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Well this generator is definitely far louder than the Honda's, but I did come up with a solution to my problem. I disconnected the fuel line coming from the 4 gallon tank on the generator and tied it in directly (with an fuel on/off valve i bought) to a 14 gallon, portable fuel tank. Works like a champ. Won't fix my noise problem but at least I can easily run the genny overnight with no problems.
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:45 PM   #7
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Glad you figured it out, since everyone decided to provide a lecture on generator etiquette instead of answering your question.

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Old 05-28-2012, 07:00 PM   #8
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@Gman- thanks, I appreciate it. I guess I should have clarified in my initial post that we weren't staying at a campground to begin with but on some friends property that didn't have an RV hookup. I only have the generator with me normally for emergencies in case I break down, get stranded or need to use it as a last resort.
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2005 Ford F350 dually 6.0L Diesel
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:43 PM   #9
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Your solution is better than my suggestion, which was a boat motor ( 5G) gas tank, and that valve you installed. Glad you figured it out. I gotta have conditioned air too, asthma.
2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA 1SG, retired;PPA,Good Sam Life member."We the people are the rightful masters of both the Congress and the Courts - not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow men who pervert theConstitution. "Abraham Lincoln"
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Old 05-29-2012, 12:02 PM   #10
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How much shore power do you get where you are going, Standard outlets are 20,30 and 50 amps, 30 is the default for most campsites that provide shore power

20 amp WILL run one A/C provided your batteries are up, you lock the Fridge on Propane and do not turn on the electric side of the water heater. That should holdl you at night.

30 will run one A/C and the converter on most rigs even if batteries are low. also the fridge (Leave the water heater off or on gas)

50 is all you can eat.

As for that Champion, I'd not want to camp next to you if you are using it.

Finally Honda Inverter generators have both fuel pump and a sealed (Air tight if the vent valve is closed) Fuel system.. I have a funny story about failure to open said vent (It don't run well if you do that)

This means they also have an auxulilary "Extended run" fuel tank option. Far as I know (Which is not very far) this ONLY applies to HONDA EF-#000i generators, A pair of 2,000's (One regular one companion with parallel kit) would do you just fine.

They also flatten your pocket book just fine.

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