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Old 09-05-2016, 03:04 PM   #1
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Generator question

I'm buying a new 5th wheel with 2 A/Cs. I would think I'll need 4000+ watts to run both A/Cs. I've heard if you plug in electronics like laptop, cell phone etc. you want an inverter type generator.

Can you plug the RV into a standard construction type generator (much cheaper) and then plug laptop, cell phone etc. in an outlet inside the RV (NOT into the generator direct) and be safe?
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Old 09-05-2016, 03:08 PM   #2
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Probably not, since the electrical wave will come right on through.
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:17 PM   #3
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No you don't want a construction generator because of the noise. Good way to get shunned by other rv'ers. Anyway what you need are amps as well as watts. Get a Honda - you won't regret it. Not cheap but very efficient on the gas, super quiet, last forever.
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:32 PM   #4
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Champion Inverter Family

I have a 2 A/C 5th wheel also. Most of the time I camp where elec. Hookups are available. But occasionally we drycamp. I find that running one of the A/Cs at a time is fine. During the day we run the bedroom A/C which shares venting wirh the Living Room A/C. At night we switch and run the LivRm one.

I run a Champion 3100 inverter and it has the same specs as the Honda for less than half the price. $799, 84 pounds, 53db. The Champion inverter family also includes a 3400 watt model and a Dual Fuel (gas or propane). 3 years and it still runs like the day it was new.
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:33 PM   #5
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The great value in an inverter type generator is that the inverter system will produce 120VAC at any engine speed... its a delta wound AC generator... like the alternator in your car/truck.. and then its inverted back to 120VAC... so at any speed you get usable AC Power..... the value in the inverter is that the computer on the gen set will increase the engine speed as needed when you need more amperage.... so its always quieter and uses less fuel when the load is low... and changes the RPM as the load increases... wow... did I say it correctly so you can understand.....

Now you need to look at your AC units.. .do they both start at once.... usually an AC unit draws 50% more power during the first 90 seconds of startup as all motor/pump & fans come up to speed.... if this is the case I'm guessing that a 4,000 watt unit won't handle some of your other AC items running and have the (2) AC's start... if they cycle individually... so one starts and than the second one starts... you might get along with the 4,000 watt unit...

Plus you need to check with your wife... mine likes to warm up the curling iron when she runs the hair dryer... each of these are heavy current draws... If you out where it's hot... and she starts those items up... or maybe the Microwave... and your converter is charging the batteries.... I'm going to guess that you'll need to move to at least a 5,000 watt... that's why most class A units have a minimum 6,000 and most have 7,500.. to cover all the items that might need to be on...
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:36 AM   #6
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As far as construction generators, they work the same as almost all built-in RV generators.

You will not burn out electronic stuff, if running properly.

Like constant speed RV generators, they turn the generator end at 3600 RPMs to produce 60 cycle, 120 volt power.

There are some RV, inverter style, variable speed generators but not many.
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:41 AM   #7
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Champion 3100 here. Runs one A.C. and is quiet.
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:59 AM   #8
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I have 2 Yamaha 2000s now with the cable to put them together. That should be good for 1 A/C, just wanted to be able to run 2. NASCAR races are about the only time we camp without at least an electrical plugin. Texas Speedway is first weekend in April and first weekend in November....but we want to go to some of the other tracks over the next few years. So that will put us in the dead of summer.

I've also thought about selling the 2 small ones and getting 1 bigger one to chain on a rack on the back of the 5th wheel, maybe with electric start .

Also a thought...could you start the generator...turn on 1 A/C...and run down the road? If you did that for the last couple of hours on a travel day it wouldn't be so hard to pull the inside temp down at the campsite when boondocking...?
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:09 AM   #9
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If you are buying new, consider having the gen built-in...and you probably need a 5500 watt minimum to be able to run most stuff at the same time.
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wingnut60 View Post
If you are buying new, consider having the gen built-in...and you probably need a 5500 watt minimum to be able to run most stuff at the same time.
We had a 5500 Onan built-in when we had the Cardinal. It was great...but it sure sucked the propane!
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:25 AM   #11
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Yeah, but the convenience of pushing a button and everything works--priceless!
4000w probably won't easily run both ACs, one at a time, sure.
I have never had a problem running anything in my trailer off a standard construction generator, either, when I use one.
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