I bought the Champion(yellow) generator at Home Depot.com. for this summers hot dry camping trips. I paid $349 for it. For that money I got an easy start, pretty quiet, not too heavy, very handy generator. Really like the RV ready plug in! It easily powers the 13.5k BTU air conditioner and all electrical needs. Well worth the money.
I find the noise is the foremost consideration. The generator that is "quiet" according to the salesman, the placard or your RV buddy wll not be acceptable to sleep with or to your fellow campers. If you run mostly lights, the computer and TV...get a EU1000 honda or its equivalent. if you have to have a microwave you need an EU2000 or its equivalent. If you need rooftop A/C...well...you need more juice...lots of it. EU3000 or more. NOTE that A/C's can draw as little as 450 watts (a tiny portable) or nearly ten times that for two older rooftop units. I have been living off the grid in my El Dorado motorhome for 15 years with a Honda EU1000. I love it. I had an older Onan too, which would run anything I wanted but does not run 8 hours (or more) off of a pint of gas. BTW...I have used rooftop air that required more "start-up" juice than a normal outlet and a 100 foot extension cord could provide. A long extension cord is not always the answer. Some older roof-top air units are incredible inefficient...In any case test test and teast BEFORE you hit camp on a 100 degree humid day. Ouchers... that can be miserable!
my microwave would have a hard time running on just an eu2000, especially since it is also a convection oven and microwave (1300watts) when i start to add anything else like the heat pumps up on top i can run up to 5000watts easily with out even adding up the start up watts for the heat pumps.
your so right test, test, test. but don't forget things that will run in the background like a tv, or a converter(if charging depleted batteries can run 1550watts on newer units), even if they don't use much, it adds up. especially converters, many forget them.
I'm with Jotto on this one. Being as we do about 15,000 miles a year puddle jumping from one Walmart to the next, noise levels are the utmost issue.
I have a little old Yamaha 1000 that isn't as quiet as a Honda but quiet enough it doesn't bother anyone around us and will run the laptops, tv, and keep the battery bank topped off.
I'm eying a Honda next. Likely 2 EU2000's or one 3000. Last I checked the specs, the Honda EU5000 at half load only uses a bit more gas than an EU2000!
the 5000's are hella spendy but I've seen them used as cheap as $1000 on Craigslist....
Here at our dealership (Jody's RV) we recommend a minimum of 4000 watts on most generator loads. Obviously, the AC is the big hog pulling somewhere around 16 - 17 amps under load. More is almost always better but 4000 is usually the minimum.
Here is a link to a neat converter to help you figure out what you need.
Hey Pat- Most trailers have 30AMP load center, that=3600 Watts
30AMP 120 VOLT SERVICE =3600 WATTS (120V X 30AMPS) =3600 WATTS
Google 5000 watt Portable Generators and you will find many to choose from, for any budget, That's what I would use, Just Make sure it's over 3600Watts
Make sure to read the MFG manual on all of your appliances for amp draw
See below for Amp draws and formula :)
Appliance Watts Amps
Air Conditioner 13,500 Btu 1700 14
Air Conditioner 15,000 Btu 1950 16
Blender 300 2.5
Coffeemaker 900 7.5
Computer (desktop) 100 8
Computer (printer) 240 2
Converter (30 amp) 550 4.5
Converter (40 amp) 650 5.5
Converter (75 amp) 1050 8.5
Hair Dryer 1200 10
Iron 1200 10.5
Microwave 450 Watt 900 7.5
Microwave 650 Watt 1,300 10.5
TV 100 0.75
TV Satellite & Receiver 170 1.5
VCR 90 0.75
Washer/Dryer (RV type) 1900 16
Sorry!! I am about to give up!!LOL my excel spread sheet does not want to post! Read the post from left to right: So Air conditioner 13,500 btu runs at 1700 watts and pulls 14.0 amps.
Geez... I will get the hang of it?
First of all, and not to tick off anyone who sells them, a Champion generator is a high-speed, poorly built unit from China that doesn't come remotely close to the quality, dependabilty and quietness of an old Onan, Kohler or first series Generac XP (not the XP they make now). I measured the dB output on my 74 Genrac at 45 - barely a whisper.
It's possible to run that small an A/C with one of the new Onan 2800 Watt units, but you won't have a lot left over for much else when it kicks in. They will easily handle A/C plus a few smaller loads when the starting surge is finished but, thanks to Ohm's Law, the higher the capacity of the generator, the better if you don't want to worry. 3,500 to 5,000 Watts is a good size, and the older sets will operate @ 1,800 RPM. The new portable units are all 3,600 RPM at off-idle operation, which makes them very difficult to silence and very annoying to your fellow campers.
As an aside, I run only the original appliances that came in my 74 Hall GTC, which means no microwave, but the genny will run the A/C along with a coffee maker and still charge the batteries. Besides, microwaves do very interesting things to the food you cook in them, and not necessarily good things.
If you watch craigslist carefully you can pick up an old Onan RV unit in the 4 kW range in the hundreds, not thousands, of Dollars. An added benifit is that most RV's are made to accomodate non-portable units, so you save your back.
Matt, I've got an Onan 6500 in my '78 Winnie and it's loud as hell even with a brand new muffler!
they just weren't made to be very quiet.
NO IDEA where you got a Generac that runs at 45db - MUST BE RARE!
The 6500 is a loud machine, for sure. I sold a number of them in my off-grid wind/solar business and always installed them in super-inslated enclosures. The smaller units are much quieter!
The Generac is a 1974 unit- hard to find parts for, but a great machine - 4 kW prime power rated with 5 k surge.
???? How can you "piggy-back" two generators? As far as I know there is no way to synchronize the outputs to avoid destroying one, or both, units. Remember that AC generators produce 60 cycles/second output, and that the waveforms must be 100% in synch to prevent frying the electronics and/or armatures. Or is this a new development?
Why not just get a single Onan Microlyte 3500?
the honda and yamaha gen sets do not have the same type of set up as regular onans and kholhers, they use inverter technology to produce the same exact output and can be hooked together if designed that way, i'll leave an url below to help