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Old 12-16-2012, 07:15 PM   #1
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Need help with power when boondocking for newbies

So we just got a 50 amp fifth wheel and are confused as to how to get our power issues worked out.

Currently we have a Honda 2000 generator (without the 30 amp camper plug) and have been running things fine but have no plugs at night and by morning our battery is dead.

We don't use our AC and the fridge is on propane. We would like to be able to run our heat, lights, tv, water pump, and have working plugs, and possibly our electric fireplace at night on battery. And the same things plus microwave and hot water heater during the day. Not all at the same time.

My question is what inverter do we need to get and what is the best way to have enough power during the day and at night when our generator is off (during quiet time)?

Should we sell the generator we have and get the one with the camper plug for day time? What inverter do we get? How many batteries do we need? Can I charge them by hooking up to the generators as usual or do I need to directly connect the batteries to the generator? I'm in AZ so solar is even an option as well.

I have read a few threads about the subject and have become even more confused with all the technical terms and such. Anyone with knowledge of this that can explain it in simplified terms please help!
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:36 PM   #2
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2000W Inverter. 4 6vollt batteries. Solar panels . Google all things about connecting . BOBS page on solar is a good one. If you are handy the process is very easy.
Just a couple of things to get u on the right trac....
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:38 PM   #3
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:41 PM   #4
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If you search for my username, kellyjlipp, in the forums you will find a paper I posted about solar on your RV. Your problem is easy and hard to solve. The other reply indicated that HandyBob would be a good google search for you as he is the expert on battery charging. It is probably true that you cannot do everything you want with batteries or a generator. Particularly running your fireplace. But you can live a very satisfying life on your batteries with a little work. Private email me if you want more details or ideas. I have installed very good solar systems on two RVs (HandyBob helped with one and I did the other) so have a fairly good idea how.

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Old 12-18-2012, 03:40 AM   #5
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It sounds like you want to use a lot of power, so add 4 6v golf cart batteries and possibly get a Yamaha ef2400ishc generator to run your large converter/battery charger to recharge the batteries during the day. Or invest another $3000 or so in a solar/inverter system.

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Old 12-18-2012, 07:04 AM   #6
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Time for home work Deep Cycle Battery FAQ
RV Electrical
spreadsheet you can download
This is complex and you need to monitor what goes into and comes out of your battery, If you have drained them they may already be damaged.

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Old 12-21-2012, 09:08 AM   #7
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All that solar stuff is complicated and not necessary for your needs. The required batteries are extremely heavy. The entire setup is expensive. So consider the following before you commit to spending the big bucks for a solar system.

If you have only one RV battery, you need at least one more deep cycle battery, tied together parallel so they still produce 12 volts.

Buy a second Honda EU2000i generator, but this time buy the "Companion" model that includes the 30-amp plug.
Honda EU2000i-COMPANION Generator WiseSales.com

Plus buy the Honda "parallel" cord kit that connects the two generators together. BTW, the genuine Honda parallel kit to tie two EU200i generators together is not cheap. But it works great. Unless you know a heck of a lot about electricity, I wouldn't try to "get by" with a less expensive setup.
http://www.wisesales.com/honda-eu200...cable-kit.html

You'll also need a short 50-amp to 30-amp converter cord so you can plug the RV 50-amp power cable into the 30-amp receptacle on the Companion. 50-amp systems in RVs can vary, but most of them are wired to that everything but the second AC unit will work when plugged into a 30-amp source.

When you want to charge the RV batteries, plus maybe run light electrical-drag things such as your furnace, run only the Companion generator with the RV power cord plugged into the 30-amp outlet. If you want to also run microwave oven, coffee pots, hair dryer, toaster, or maybe one AC, then plug the two EU2000i generators together parallel to produce up to 3,200 watts continuous power.

3,200 watts is certainly nowhere near as powerful as when you're plugged into 50-amp shore power, or even 30-amp shore power. So you can't do everything at once. But it's enough to run one AC unit plus lights and other very-low draw things at the same time.

The EU2000i (not the Companion but the one you already have) also has a 12-volt "battery charge" outlet that is probably much faster than the battery charge circuit in your power supply/fuse box for charging discharged RV batteries. You'll need special cables that Honda sells to hook the generator battery charge outlets directly to the battery posts on the RV batteries. So if all you want to do is charge the RV batteries, then use that special charging circuit instead of plugging into the entire electrical system of the RV.
http://www.wisesales.com/honda-dc-ch...al-clamps.html
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:55 AM   #8
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I will respectfully disagree with Smokey. With out monitoring what power you are using you are going into this blind and there are two aspects to this conservation, you are not at home and power is finite, conservation, using LED lights turning things off, not using appliance that use resistance heat... are part of the equation to do this well you have to monitor power going into and coming out of the battery(s) and the way you do that is with a Bogart Engineering Trimetric or Victron battery monitor. The other aspect is how you put power back in and the charging tap from the generator is not going to do a good job of charging as it is a single stage 12A (from the Honda) and you will likely over charge (boil) or under charge, and how would you know with out monitoring.
There is a reason for the three or four stage charger/converter and that is preserving the life of your battery.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:57 AM   #9
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Thank you for all you help! I think I might look into getting the Honda 2000i and sell the 200 because I don't think I will need to use all that power at once then I'll get an extra battery to not have to run the generator all the time.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:53 AM   #10
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Shadow... I have read the boondocking articles and Battery charging written by Bob and recommended earlier in this thread and it seems to reflect things you are saying but I am having a very hard time translating it into what I should actually be doing and or using? I would like to use the current generator I have and or sell it and get the 2000i but I don't think going solar is an option for me right now financially and also due to weather conditions in some of the areas we travel to.

I understand I need a way to test the battery's to make sure they are charged and I am to believe I need 4 6V batteries instead of 12V and I know I need a more efficient way to charge them then the converter in my FW. I also need an inverter and a way to hook this all up in a manner that makes it easy to use.

So I think i am understanding what needs to happen but how to do this or what types or brands or anything more specific then what I listed above is highly confusing to me...
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Old 12-23-2012, 07:26 AM   #11
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We dont boondock a lot, but when we do we are camping. And always in weather that does not require heating and cooling.
Coleman outdoors for light, coffee and cooking, Weber for BBQ, etc.
So, mostly propane. 2 deep cycle batts and a bit of gen time is all we need. .
We camped for decades. It is still fun, ya know?
Just sayin...
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:17 AM   #12
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If we were camping I'm sure my needs would be different, however are coming up on our eighth year full time on the road. We are currently getting our first FW after many years with a three year old, two dogs, and a cat living out of a tent, mini van, conversion van, travel trailer, and we now finally have a FW so I am hoping to be able to use my appliances and such hopefully
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:21 AM   #13
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We own a large teardrop trailer (kind of an oxymoron) and much of our camping is in areas with no power. I designed the trailer with serious boondocking in mind, water filters so we can pull water from lakes ad streams, but we did not stint on comforts TV with sat reciever XM radio, shower, grill. However all of the lights are LED the heater is an Eberspacher diesel and the refrigerator a Waeco. This is all run with a 185W high voltage solar panel and I have a 140W Unisolar flex panel that can be put out in the sun if needed, (it hasn't yet). It is great to be in silence.
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:09 AM   #14
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I agree with Smoky. The EU2000i Companion combo is the way to go. And Wise Sales has the cheapest prices anywhere. Other than used of course. I would also suggest a dual fuel setup. LINK

Or you could buy a EU3000iS or EU6500iS. That gets a bit pricy though. I personally have an EU2000i and an EU65000iS. All EU series generators are inverters that supply clean consistent power. No need to worry about surges or spikes. The pros of the EU2000i is that it uses almost no fuel and is quiet enough that it can be used during quite times. We use one during races and put it under the table. You can carry on a conversation at normal levels 3ft from the running generator. The cons are that it won't power everything you have at once.
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