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Old 05-08-2013, 12:11 PM   #1
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Do I Need a Generator?

I have KZ travel trailer (202s) 21'. Has 2 propane tanks (runs frig & water heater), 2x100 watt solar panels & controller (big wires a marine tech put it in for me, perfect job) say pulling about 5 amps. 4000 watt pure sign wave inverter. Lights are LED, have plenty of extra light (lanterns /batteries) LED low power 12 vdc TV, 2 12 volt batteries (one is a spare?). Turn off water pump when heater when not in use. 12vdc fan, (not enough amps for AC). Should I buy a Honda 1kv just in case?
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Old 05-08-2013, 02:59 PM   #2
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Yes - A generator comes in handy for many things.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:25 PM   #3
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My thought is if you think you might need one, chances are you will. However, if you need one just for A/C, a 2K watt generator is likely needed. A 1K watt likely will not have enough surge current even for a small A/C unit.

I do have a friend that has a pop up trailer and he has several large 12V batteries and an inverter. He runs A/C all night long on a single charge. During the day, he will charge the batteries. That may also be something to look into.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:32 PM   #4
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You're getting up to 17 amps from your solar panels. That's more then 50% of a 30Amp connection to shore power.

I think you're fine with just the solars and conservative usage both during the day and at night. Save your money for now until you have a handle on your day-to-day usage. Spend your savings on fuel. You might consider adding another 12V battery OR consider changing the two 12V batts for two 6V. Deep cycle 6V batteries will give you longer life during the charge/discharge cycles you'll be having.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:23 PM   #5
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First step is to get a Trimetric 2025 battery monitor.
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:53 PM   #6
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You're getting up to 17 amps from your solar panels. That's more then 50% of a 30Amp connection to shore power.
He states he has 200 watts of solar. 30 amp shore power is 3600 watts.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:11 PM   #7
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Does the sun shine brightly every day where you camp? Unlikely. Even if it did 200w of panels is not a lot unless you are very frugal with battery usage. BTW I don't think you provided battery info?

Matters not as I think a 1000 genny is a good thing. Unless you intend to run a microwave or air conditioning then 1000 is not enough.
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:00 AM   #8
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First step is to get a Trimetric 2025 battery monitor.
Agree!

And ditto on the 6v golf cart batteries. Sam's and Costco have them for about $80 each.

Generator? what happens if you have a week of cloudy days? Are you going to need A/C? In Florida?
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:29 AM   #9
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Matters not as I think a 1000 genny is a good thing. Unless you intend to run a microwave or air conditioning then 1000 is not enough.
IMHO, unless weight is really critical, a 2000 watt units is a better choice, minimal difference in price, fuel consumption and noise.

For $200 more the EU2000i is a much better deal.
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:00 AM   #10
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You have a very large inverter. We have a 2000 watt inverter and 405 watts of solar. We have three group 29 batteries. We have all LED lighting, don't use the inverter for any large draw devices except wife's hair dryer. We have a 5500 watt generator in the motor home. We use the motor home generator for microwave, electric appliances and AC when necessary. We also have a Honda 2000 generator basically for battery charging. We have a 70 amp converter/charger. I wouldn't be without the Honda. We use the Honda from time to time for smaller appliances. There are less expensive generators with the same capacity. My advice is to get a generator, you won't regret it.
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:05 PM   #11
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He states he has 200 watts of solar. 30 amp shore power is 3600 watts.
Opps, yep, I didn't do the math correctly. But...the 200Watts of solar does supply 17amp at 12V for quick recharging. Problem is if he's inverting and using 120Vac for 17 amps, that's 170amp drawn from the batteries.

But my point is that if he's just using a LCD/LED TV and is careful to use low wattage while boondocking, the solar panel will keep him topped off until he's got a handle on how much genset he needs.
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Old 05-10-2013, 03:38 PM   #12
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Hi Jim, Thanks for the info. I did think after your comment that 4000 watt inverter was a bit much for 200 watts solar, so I re-checked. It's a Xantrex PROwatt SW 2000W true sine wave inverter. Here's a link: Product Review - Xantrex PROwatt SW 2000 Inverter Both of us being ex-Navy I just left it to him, watched and learned some things - he fused it at 30 Amps! (he knocked 20% of price = $485). Have Sunforce 12v 30 Amp Digital Controller. The solar is Ramsond x2 100W Mono-crystalline panels with heavy gauge wire from battery to inverter at least x2 car battery. Have x2 24 12vdc batteries and trickle charger (take the batteries out & home each time too keep them topped off). The LED TV will be run off 12vdc, lights are LED, or lanterns, furnace, frig, water heater will run off propane (2 tanks installed). Only turn on water pump when I need water. Still thinking the Yamaha 2400 might be nice? "IF" it will start 13,500 BTU ac. Yamaha says 'may' but the AC is Coleman-MAX high efficiency I guess? So thinking the Yamaha may not just run the old 13500 window units? Think it will do the job? Amazon.com: Yamaha EF2400iSHC Portable Generator: Patio, Lawn & Garden
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:00 AM   #13
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I believe in this case that Yamaha is hedging their bets and letting you know there are certain circumstances where trying to start a 13,500 BTU A/C might cause trouble with their generator. Or even ruin it.

All you would need do (IMO) is start the AC on 'Lo Cool' instead of 'Max'. Not a problem for the generator. When you want to use the A/C and TV no problem. If you want to watch TV, and warm something up in the MW, and shut off the A/C first, then no problem.

You'll have 20 amp available from the generator and the A/C on low cool will be drawing up to 14Amp (for a non-High efficiency A/C) of that so you'd want to be judicious and stay aware of your loads.

BTW, you can get a 5500 Watt (46 Amp continuous) generator from Harbor Freight (and other places) for under $500. Generators aren't that big of a mystery, aren't that difficult to produce, so personally, I wouldn't pay nearly 3X as much for a name brand. They also have smaller units for less money.
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:15 AM   #14
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The Yamaha is a quality, low noise, light weight dependable generator. it is expensive compared to Harbor Freight and others, but the difference inprice amortized over 5 years isn't much for the difference in quality, weight and noise. I have a Honda EU2000i that I payed $899 for and am glad I went that way.
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