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Old 06-22-2012, 09:43 AM   #1
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Question need help with generator question

I have an 1988 Class C Ford Royal Motor home. Want to add a generator so we can run the AC etc. What size would I need. Does it need to be
an inverted generator

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Old 06-22-2012, 09:56 AM   #2
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My coach has a 5500W genny, and runs 2 ACs no problem. Not sure what an inverted generator is, but sounds like you'd have to stand on your head to change the oil.

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Old 06-22-2012, 09:59 AM   #3
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We have 5.5k but run 2 AC's. Don't skimp if possible. Give yourself some head room to allow other appliances like microwave which pull almost 1k.
2011 Itasca Suncruiser, Jeep Grand Cherokee toad
MSgt retired USAF 1988, AA retired 2005
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Old 06-22-2012, 05:58 PM   #4
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You are letting yourself in for a big job if you want to build one in. You need to arrange a fuel line, exhaust system that won't leak into the interior, and air flow for cooling the generator as well as combustion. If external (a portable generator) or just hung on the back, it's a lot easier.

A single rv a/c typically draws 11-14 amps, depending on model and size. That's 1350-1700 watts. But the a/c also draws about 50% more amps whenever the compressor cycles on, so you need at least a 50% extra margin on the generator peak watt rating (the continuous rating can be closer to the a/c normal running wattage). Plus you will probably have a few other things running - at least the battery charging system.

It doesn't need to be an inverter generator but they are quieter in most uses.
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:31 PM   #5
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X2 on everything Gary had to say, but I will add a few thoughts.

With respect to the inverter generators, not only are they lots quieter, but when lightly loaded, they use only a fraction of the fuel. At 1/4 load, some will run 10 hours on a gallon of gas. Another advantage is that their sine wave output is better for sensitive electronics. The one down side is price.

You might be able to run your AC with a 2000 watt genny, but it will be close. You might find that it would work at sea level but not at a 5000' elevation. A 3000 watt unit would be a better choice. Alternately, with (some) inverter generators, there are parallel kits that allow you to hook two of them together. With two 2000 watt units, you could run one for light loads or both when needed for heavy loads. An additional advantage of doing that is if one needs repairs, you still have the other.

The (alleged) best of the inverter gennys are the Honda and the Yamaha. Both are fairly expensive. For the price of a 2000 W Honda, you can probably get two 2000 W units and a parallel kit of a less well known brand. One that you might look at is the Champion 73536i or 73531i. It has specs almost identical to the Honda, including the same 53 dba noise rating. I prefer the Champion to some of the other (not big two) brands because they have a large dealer network so if needed, parts and repairs are readily available.

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Old 06-25-2012, 07:57 PM   #6
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i have an 1985 midas class c 26 footer it came with a 4000 watt honda in the right rear ran everything just fine the a/c micro wave and the a/c to dc converter all at once the fuel consumption was about 1/2 gallon per hour it ran off the rear tank and i run the coach off the front tank so i could keep track of fuel usage.
i run a 5500 watt quite a bit and the bigger you get the more fuel you use get just the size you need to comfortably handle your electrical load but going too big isn't better.
but be careful of the way they rate generators a 4000 watt surge may only have a running rating of 3500 watts which would be cutting it close.
you want the running watts to match your needs and the surge watts to give you the cushion when big loads kick in
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:35 PM   #7
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I totally agree with what Gary and J Birder stated. I'm not sure what you'r budget is for the project. A pair of Honda's or Yamaha's around the 2000 watt range is going to run in the neighborhood of $2000. They're both bridgeable with the proper cable. Not sure of the price on the Champions, but I'd guess half or a little less.

Chinese made Champion versus Japanese H or Y. Your choice on that one. EPA compliance period for most chinese is around 125 hours, 250 for H, and 500 for Y. Doesn't necessarily mean that's how long they'll last, just that the EPA certifies that they'll meet EPA requirements for polution for that long. Some folks believe the number translates to build quality and closeness of tolerences on the engine build, the heart of the generator.

I'm also not sure if you or anyone else have physical limitations. Storing, removing and toting a couple of generators for some can be a challenge. If this is the situation, refer to Gary's post about fuel lines, exhaust system etc.

Regarding the size of the generator needed. Tally up all your watts for ac units, microwave, lights electronics and do the math. A pair of 2000's will give you around 3200-3600 continuous with peaks of around 4000, so those ac compressors have enough when they kick in. And the final piece. Every 5000 btu's of ac will use 500-650 watts of electricity.

Hope this is helpful information, or at least gives you more things to think about so you're happy with the decision you make.
Harley Ultra Classic (Geezer Glide) Rider, Retired US Army Paratrooper, fisherman, shooter. Proud to have served, proud of those that still do, or have done so with pride.
2005 National Dolphin 34'
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:42 PM   #8
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Watts = Amps x Volts
If your RV takes 30 amps and it AC so 120 volts:
3600 = 30 x 120

Volts Watts Amps Converter Tool Calculator

Also look at run time, sound dbs, if it have a camper plug....
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:44 PM   #9
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Watch our for hitch weight/ back tire axle weight.
Hubby bought one to mount on the rear bumper or the trailer tongue when we pull that. I was concerned about how large it was and how heavy. he weighed it... yup... too much for the hitch rating, etc. so we are going to have to sell that and he bought another last night which will get here Monday and he will put it on.

Martha (AKA RVM45), Bob, and Bess the Border collie
22'Honey Sportscruiser on a 1988 Ford Econoline.
Sometimes towing a powered Parachute.
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