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Old 10-23-2020, 09:16 AM   #1
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Generators - useful or not?

We purchased a 32’ Telluride last year and have made several short trips and two long(4 weeks) trips. We always stay in RV parks with full hookups(50 amp) service. This past month in Utah we were almost stuck without a place to stay a I was considering a WalMart lot or even a roadside park. Without a generator I would have no way to keep the batteries (2) charged. Now it would have been doable easy enough by turning off the inverter, keeping the refrigerator closed and using the 12 volt lights. So my questions are these

1. If I had one of the small portable generators, how do I wire it up to charge the batteries since it doesn’t supply 50amp.
2. Would the 20amp outlet do the job or would I need one with 30amp?
3. Which is better gas or propane powered. Refueling gas is quite easy and readily available. Propane, not so much but last longer.

Thanks for your response. I’m sure I’ll have additional questions after hearing your answers.
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Old 10-23-2020, 09:22 AM   #2
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If I had a 50 amp RV, I'd use a portable with a seperate portable charger that has a tapering charge......
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Old 10-23-2020, 09:29 AM   #3
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If all you're doing is charging the batteries and not running anything else a 1,800 watt generator would be fine. If that ran on propane it would probably put out only about 1,600 watt. In a pinch you could probably run a small microwave if you turned off everything else, including the charging circuit for the batteries.

Propane would be preferred most likely because this doesn't sound like something you would use much. You could get by only firing it up every 6 months with propane.

As to connection, I don't know if they make a 50 to 15 dogbone, you might need a 50 to 30 and 30 to 15. Substitute 20 for 15 if your generator has a 20 amp outlet, but with an 1800 watt generator that's really not going to matter.

I recently bought a Champion 2000/2500 surge at Walmart. They also make a propane model. The gas model starts really easy and is very compact and light. This is a link to the smaller dual fuel model--I can't find the link to the 2000/2500 model.

https://www.championpowerequipment.c...fuel-inverter/
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Old 10-23-2020, 09:40 AM   #4
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Without a generator I would have no way to keep the batteries (2) charged. Now it would have been doable easy enough by turning off the inverter, keeping the refrigerator closed and using the 12 volt lights.
Yes, so you had me wondering, although I am fairly new to this.
Other than the AC which I can't use, I could easily go a night with the refrigerator on propane and the 12v lights.
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Old 10-23-2020, 09:50 AM   #5
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Yes, so you had me wondering, although I am fairly new to this.
Other than the AC which I can't use, I could easily go a night with the refrigerator on propane and the 12v lights.
The main power draw on 12 volt, excluding an inverter, would likely be the furnace fan.
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:00 AM   #6
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We normally stay at parks with full hookups but during a recent odd snow storm in Gunnison, Colorado the entire park lost power 7pm to 4am.
I now make sure my generator is always ready just in case.
That said, a small 2000 watt inverter generator would give you AC power for the fridge and other low draw items, and keep your batteries charged.
I got my generator at a local Harbor freight tool store. Very happy with the generator and price.
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:04 AM   #7
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One other advantage to getting a generator is for use at home during power outages.

I have a 3,000 watt tri-fuel generator for home use, but it is heavy and a bit time consuming to set up due to the need to run a hose for natural gas, and also because I run it off an upstairs deck. During a brief power outage, especially one where I don't need to run my furnace, it's much easier to just start the smaller gas generator. It's under 60 pounds compared to almost 200 pounds for the 3,000 watt model. So even though I already have another generator, it's still useful.
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:25 AM   #8
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Some small gennys have a 30 amp plug as well as a seperate battery charging outlet, but I don't believe it's a tapering charge......
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:25 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Goodspike View Post
I recently bought a Champion 2000/2500 surge at Walmart. They also make a propane model. The gas model starts really easy and is very compact and light. This is a link to the smaller dual fuel model--I can't find the link to the 2000/2500 model.

https://www.championpowerequipment.c...fuel-inverter/
That's a nice little unit. The specs say 11 hours run time at 1/4 load on gasoline, and 34 hours on propane. I had to work the math for energy content of gas and LP, and it turns out the 34 hours run time is on a 20 lb cylinder. So at 1/4 load, and using the manufacturers reported run times, it'll go 7.2 hours per gallon of propane, or 1.7 hours per pound.

That's a lot of run time on even a little 20 lb cylinder, let alone an ASME tank under an RV, though that's at only 360W output of course. But it's easy to store, and if using propane, there's no fuel in it while in storage, which I like, and propane doesn't go bad anyway.
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:45 AM   #10
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My thoughts are if your going to get one, at least get one that can run a single AC unit plus must have other devices.

Being from Texas we wouldn't want to spend the night anywhere in the summer without AC.
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Old 10-23-2020, 11:06 AM   #11
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https://www.campingworld.com/champio...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

Of course adding 2 more batteries would cover you for the 12V side for a night easily. They don't need gas and would be recharged at your next FH stay over.
Since I added 400W of solar and 2 more 6V golf cart batteries I have used my gen at all. I have a 200W inverter that covers any 120V needs except the AC.

FYI a 2000W gen won't run the AC and if it does it will be running wide open.
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Old 10-23-2020, 11:40 AM   #12
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Generator is a useful thing but can be one more thing to deal with, hauling it, hauling the fuel, setting it up, hooking it up, listening to it running....

The best bet is a real on board RV generator built in from day one. They are much quieter and more efficient than all these corner cutting adaptations of industrial generators.

I'll never own another RV without an on board genny.
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Old 10-23-2020, 11:45 AM   #13
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We carried a 3100 watt Champion. It saved us twice. Once when the power went out at the park for several hours in 90 degree heat. The ability to run one a/c kept it tolerable. The second time we were stuck in Texas late at night without a campsite. Also 90 degrees. That one a/c again let us get a decent night's sleep in a Lowes parking lot. I carried it in the truck bed and carried a cord extension long enough to reach it. Never had to move it.
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Old 10-23-2020, 11:51 AM   #14
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That's a nice little unit. The specs say 11 hours run time at 1/4 load on gasoline, and 34 hours on propane. I had to work the math for energy content of gas and LP, and it turns out the 34 hours run time is on a 20 lb cylinder. So at 1/4 load, and using the manufacturers reported run times, it'll go 7.2 hours per gallon of propane, or 1.7 hours per pound.

That's a lot of run time on even a little 20 lb cylinder, let alone an ASME tank under an RV, though that's at only 360W output of course.y.
I've only run my 3,000 watt Yamaha once on propane. It's when it was new and I kept the demand under 1,500 watts. We happened to have an extended power outage shortly after it arrived but before my NG hose and all my cabling arrived. It ran for 24 hours on a single 20 pound tank.

At the time I was upset that Fed Ex didn't deliver a component I needed for my cabling, but now I think it was a good thing because it allowed a nice break in period for the generator (not that I often exceed 1,500 watts).
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