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Old 11-25-2012, 04:10 PM   #1
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I'm going to get a portable generator, but I don't know which one yet.

It will probably be a 2000W with a second one to be paralled in later. 3000W would be nice if I can afford it and lift it. I would appreciate any comments from generator owners/users in this forum regarding brands, pros and cons, and any other information a first time buyer should know.

One area of concern after looking at some online was the optional wheel kits for pulling the generator into place with a handle. The wheels looked small to the extent they might not roll well through gravel or loose dirt. I would consider another (possibly homemade dolly) arrangement with larger wheels.

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Old 11-25-2012, 05:10 PM   #2
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Most generators with wheels will be too heavy for one person to lift. So if you need to get it into and out of the back of your tow vehicle (pickup) you will need help.
The advantage is that a larger generator will be able to run more things, like your a/c unit, which a 2000 watt won't run. As for the wheels, you won't be hauling the generator very far anyway - remember it can only go as far as your electrical cord and you will need a heavy cord to deliver the power.

Honda and Yamaha are the gold standard for generators. They are reliable, quiet, and are inverter generators, so they deliver clean electricity which is important for running electronics like TV, computers, etc. However, like gold...they are very expensive. They have 1000, 2000 and 3000 watt inverter generators. The 2000i watt ones are pretty portable and one person can lift and carry them. The 3000 ones start getting pretty heavy for one person to handle. These are the two most popular, and their owners say they are well worth the investment.

Champion also has a 2000 watt inverter generator for about 1/2 the price of the Honda or Yamaha. They don't deliver quite the same power (even though they are rated to do so) but for most things on your RV (other than the a/c) they should be adequate. I personally have the Champion and it works well. We are on the lower budget end of camping, so it was a good purchase for us, thus far. The Champion 2000i is also very quiet compared to non-inverter generators.

Powerhouse is the newest low-priced kid on the block. They also have inverter generators and are even less expensive than the Champions. However, there doesn't appear to be a lot of long term experience with them yet so there isn't a lot of on-line coment about their performance and durability. Maybe some others here on the forum have some experience they can relate.

I would advise staying away from the Contractor-grade generators. They are much less expensive and deliver more power than the inverter generators (Champion makes a 4000 watt with a 30 AMP hookup for RVs for around $350-$400) but they are terribly loud. Please consider your neighbors when camping and don't get one of these generators. Some of them claim to be quiet, but remember that the decibel scale is a logorithmic scale - so a few points higher on the scale isn't just a bit louder, it can be twice or 3 times as loud. I think that most folks here can relate stories of having camped next to someone who runs their generator in the evening and night hours...and the up and down droning can drive a neighbor crazy...and angry.

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Old 11-25-2012, 05:20 PM   #3
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Hi dewey02, and thanks for the good information. I'll look seriously at Champion. You made me remember somthing from years ago (before restricted hours). I met a camper who had listened to his neighbors generator all night, and when it quit, their dog started barking because he knew they had woke up. You could have fried an egg on that man's forehead.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:30 PM   #4
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I have a Honda 2000i. It was not purchased for running ac but it allows us to boondock if we want. It also is put to use at home during power failures and for running a blower on our property.

They are pricey but very quiet and dependable.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:34 PM   #5
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Another consideration might be the Yamaha EF2400iSHC.



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Old 11-25-2012, 06:54 PM   #6
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I have a Honda eu2000i as well. Got it used on Craigslist,from a couple getting out of RVing, for $600. There are deals on the Hondas and Yamahas if you be patient and look around. Please don't get a contractor grade...everyone in the campground will appreciate it.

I am very happy with my Honda. Don't boondock in places were we would need AC so that wasn't a serious consideration for us. If that changes we would just get another to parallel them together.
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:48 PM   #7
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I have used 2 euHonda 2000i generators in parallel for 7 or 8 years and are very dependable, easy to use and maintain. I have also used the generators for many other projects. Our AC on a previous Jayco 24 ft. 5th wheel TT drew 11.6 amps at start up and then settled down. One generator could be sufficient unless other appliances are in use at the same time.These generators are made for us retirees, great for dry camping and are light and easy to lift.
Now we have a Skylark FK. I have not figured out what is the best way to transport these two 50 LB. generators now that we have a trailer that has only around a 300+ Lb.rear TT cargo/baggage capacity. Has any one else had this challenge? The rear cargo hold is out of the question.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:12 AM   #8
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I have a Yamaha 3000iSEB as stated in my signature. While this unit is heavy, it can handle everything in the camper in turn. I have it mounted to my bike rack in the rear with straps and chained to the bumper for security. Never have to move it during a trip which is nice. This unit will also run some of my house during power outages which is very nice. Quite is an understatement for these units while under light loads and in econo modes.

The wheels are permanent and do a decent job over grass and firmed ground like wood chips and such. It is electric or pull start which add's to the weight but my wife can start it right up.

The parralell units are very nice with movement and the possibility of only using one for a light trip with low wattage demands. The Honda and Yamaha's have tri fuel conversion kits too if you want to run on propane for no hauling of gas.

I went with the branded product based on longevity and reputation. I did strongly consider off brand Chinese ones while researching but just went for it after careful thought and seeing some in use. Some come with RV plugs some don't and require a simple adapter to use the higher amp outlets.

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Old 11-27-2012, 09:17 AM   #9
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Whatever you do, DO NOT get a Generac ix1600. My wife and I bought one of those for our camper just prior to Hurricane Sandy (we live in NJ). We lost power at home during the storm and I wanted to fire up the unit to watch some TV and have some lights. The dang thing FAILED right out of the box. As soon as we fired it up, the made a loud snapping, crackle, POP and it went directly into overload even through nothing was attached to the unit. We had to bring it to the Generac Dealer for repair and that was 3 weeks ago. Their customer service is terrible.

Also, one last thing. While Generac proudly advertises their generators are made in the USA, this particular model is made in China. If I had known that at the time, I would not have purchased it.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:33 AM   #10
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I always like to bring up the generator use time that may not be available to you whenever you want to run your generator.

Just keep in mind the norm for generator use at most camp grounds is 8AM-10AM and then again 4:30PM to 7:30PM. This doent give you much time to run a generator for running your air conditioner. You will find places that have other generator use time allowed but that is always something that is campground dependent.

This is why alot of users only get a generator to suppliment their camping off the power grid places and beef up their battery system. The game plan is to figure what all you want to run off the batteries and make the battery bank big enough to support that. This will include several items to be updated as well to handle items that draws alot of DC power. Going with smart-mode converter/charger, changing over to LED lights, installing Inverter to run your 120VAC appliances you need to have, etc... You plan for what it takes to make it thru the one day/night camping experience and then at 8AM the next morning you can connect your trailer shore power cable to your "smaller generator" (I do just fine with my 2KW Honda) to allow your on-board smart mode converter/charger to re-charge your battery bank back up to their 90% charge state so that you can do this all over again for the next day/night camping run from the batteries. This of course does allow you to run you air conditioner or high wattage appliances but most everything is fair game if you plan for it.

I run all of my 120VAC and 12VDC toys from my 12VDC 255AH battery bank and we do just fine until 8Am the next morning when allowed to run our generator at most places to re-charge our batteries.

Just passing on food for thought. Everyone that gets a new big ole trailer always wants to get a big generator to go with it only to find out they can't run their generator every place and times they want to due to generator run time restrictions. So most of us do the other thing of beefing up our trailer battery resources to run all of our toys the non-generator way when camping off the power grid.

You will find places that will allow use of your generator to fit your schedules but they are not the norm. The East side of the US seems to have more rules like this then the West side does... Even the Natl Forest areas have rules for generators and even what kind of generator you can use to prevent forest fires.

rules-rules-rules everywhere.

Beef up your battery systems and turn up your nose at the noise rules... Adding solar panels is even better - they dont make any noise either.

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