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Old 05-12-2014, 08:49 AM   #1
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Inverter/Generator Question

I am in the process of selling my DP and going to a 5th wheel. I have decided on Lifestyle with a residential fridge. It does come with an inverter but it is set up only to power the fridge. I am going to miss the inverter and battery set up in my Endeavor since we dry camp at the races from time to time. The DP had multiple plugs throughout the unit that would run TV's, charge lap top's & cell phones without having to run the generator. To do this in a 5th wheel it is going to mean having to run the generator constantly for small things as TV and recharging phones and computers. It will also mean having to run the large onboard generator to recharge the coach batteries. Obviously when things like the A/C's, microwaves, etc are being used the large onboard gen will be required.

My question is, would it be a smart move to consider for example, the Honda 2000w generator to handle small load task like recharging the batteries, watching TV and recharging small devices? These little Hondas are very light and extremely quite. It also would run on gas rather the more costly propane. It could easily be brought along portable and used just for these small load tasks. I was considering trying to add more batteries and a larger inverter but for $1200 you can buy this small Honda generator to handle these small task.

Does this make since? Plus I think I would find it more comfortable to be running this small quite generator on a rainy day when you might be inside watching TV all day rather than running the 5.5k Onan.

Also, if this makes since would connecting to the small Honda be as simple as converting the shore power plug on the rv down to the size that will plug into this small generator. Am I missing something here as the effort to install a larger inverter, more batteries and have plugs wired into the rv would be much more expensive than simple buying and using the small Honda for only $1200 for these small needs. Confused??

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 05-12-2014, 08:58 AM   #2
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Have you ever considered going solar, I know it is a bigger investment especially when adding the cost of upgrading the inverter but the convenience is hard to beat. We have 480 watt solar on the roof and six 6Volt AGM's on board with 1260Amp/h capacity and the Onan 5500 as backup.

Should have read your post more carefully. What you are planning to do makes perfect sense, the big caveat is the residential fridge. Let's say you have an 80Amp converter that draws roughly 8Amps AC from the generator that leaves you with roughly 12Amps for the fridge that is stretching it a bit, I think.
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Old 05-12-2014, 09:08 AM   #3
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In theory, it all sounds like it would work. I think if my goal was to minimize running the big genny, I might consider going with a few solar panels and a bigger battery bank so that when you do run the genny, the additional batteries will hold more power for you. Then you could get a bigger or second invertor to run the other items, none of which are huge draws.
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Old 05-12-2014, 09:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CincyGus View Post
In theory, it all sounds like it would work. I think if my goal was to minimize running the big genny, I might consider going with a few solar panels and a bigger battery bank so that when you do run the genny, the additional batteries will hold more power for you. Then you could get a bigger or second invertor to run the other items, none of which are huge draws.
I agree, a second pure sine wave inverter for the microwave and tv and a few outlets would be better than upgrading the existing one.
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Old 05-12-2014, 02:17 PM   #5
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Those suggestions make since except that room for additional batteries could be an issue as well as the cost of changing out the inverter and then having inverter plugs wired into the coach. Not to mention making sure that everything is sized properly. The only other draw on the small 2kw Honda would be a TV or small charger. It seems fairly complicated when you start considering more batteries and sizing inverters etc. It just seemed like the inexpensive addition of this light weight and extremely quite generator was too good to be true and therefore left me thinking that maybe I was missing something.

If anyone sees a hole in my theory please correct me. The suggestions mentioned are good ones but when you consider only two or three dry camping weekends per year it just seemed like this might be the easy and less expensive way to go. All other trips would be full hook up set up and therefore would not be an issue. Again after all the research I have done working through this approach just seems to easy.
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Old 05-12-2014, 03:43 PM   #6
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The problem with your plan is that you forget to include the draw from the battery charger in your calculations which will be anywhere between 60 and 90 AMP DC. The Honda produces just under 20 Amp AC current minus 6 to 9 Amp AC draw from the charger/converter leaves you with approximately 10 to 12 usable Amps for the fridge which is barely enough to start it and will leave you with 0 power to spare for anything else.
We were facing the exact same problem and decided to go with the Onan 5500 generator as backup plus three 160 Watt GoPower panels on the roof and six 6 Volt 210 Amp/h AGM batteries. We figured that the savings on the fridge would m/l pay for the solar setup and the battery upgrade and it seems to work, but we just picked up our trailer 3 weeks ago and just had the solar installed a few days ago. I admit additional batteries add a lot of weight.
The dealer supplied deep cycle battery will barely last a single day to power the fridge so upgrading the battery bank is a must anyway.
Maybe you can find room in the generator compartment for more batteries, AGM batteries don't need to be vented and can be installed upside down or sideways.
We were considering a Lifestyle in the fall but at that time they didn't seem to interested in much customization, an inverter upgrade and power to much of the trailer after the fact can get pricey.

It is your decision to make but a 2000 Watt generator will be to small.
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Old 05-12-2014, 04:27 PM   #7
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I like your plan - and I also thought about different scenerio's and think an exterior 2000w high quality Honda generator can only help when boondocking.

You can run TV and charge cell phones and laptops when running just the 2000w generator. It will also charge the house battery.
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Old 05-12-2014, 07:12 PM   #8
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Yup, just plug the shore power cable into the Honda jenny using the appropriate adapters. We do this at ham radio operating events to reduce the noise in the motorhome by using a long heavy gauge extension cord to distance the jenny.
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Old 05-12-2014, 09:21 PM   #9
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Moving from a MH to the fiver gave me the same dilemma. After a year, I added the an Onan propane genny and 2000w Prosine inverter/charger which is quite sophisticated. I also changed out the RV/Marine battery for 6v golf cart batteries. I added a sub-panel to the electric and pulled the runs I wanted powered from the inverter to the sub. Works like a charm. Would do the exact same thing again if redoing it. Use the largest 6v batteries your compartment will hold (I use 2 but do not have standard fridge). Enjoy that Lifestyle - - very nice units. Hope you got upgrades on the suspension and braking. You may want to seriously consider going to an air hitch to improve the ride in the truck and the fiver.

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Old 05-12-2014, 10:37 PM   #10
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Not sure what fridge you will have but if it is a Samsung RF197 French door type, which is a popular choice for rv's, it will only draw about 5 amps on start up and around 2 or less when running. We run ours with a 1000 watt inverter and 2 6 volt batteries and never a problem. If we dry camped, which we never do, my choice would be a couple of the 2000w Hondas (EU2000i and EU2000i Companion) hooked together. This would give you enough juice to run at least one a/c if needed. If I remember correctly when I was looking at this it would be a 30 amp service.
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:10 AM   #11
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We have dry camped for years and always had battery problem while using a generator. Killed the batteries the 3rd or 4th day. Generator needs to run all day to tricle charge the house batteries.
Now with 200 watt of solar panels batteries are 100% by 2 pm every day.
Would not think of an AC fridge and microwave for my setup that cost 1/2 the price of a 2000 watt ?. We kept the 1600 watt genny for rainy days that we have never used since solars.
Wired 2 circuits together that I can Isolate from the main and power them now with a 400 watt inverter.
It does all our needs with all led lights and led tvs.
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:43 AM   #12
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ID:	62717. With the fridge the honda 2000i doesn't sound big enough. But how about this one? This one could do what you want.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:05 AM   #13
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That Dometic sounds nice but the specs from the Dometic website show 50 cycles. Makes me wonder, mistake or really 50 cycles?
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:37 AM   #14
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Thanks for all the good info. Sound as if the 2kw genny may be marginal in size to power everything when you consider the draw from the charger/converter. I believe the residential fridge upgrade from Lifestyle is the Samsung 197. That upgrade includes 2000w Pure-Sine Inverter and three Deka Group 24 AGM batteries just for powering the fridge. No other plugs are provided from the inverter.

Sounds like this might now be as easy and clean of a solution as I had thought. Hopefully the 2000w inverter and 3 AGM batteries will be sufficient to power the fridge when the on board genny is not running.
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