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Old 09-24-2016, 09:01 AM   #1
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Portable Generators Revisited... Chime in Please

We have a Jayco Jayflight 26RKS that we really like, we upgraded it with the elite package an the 15,000 BTU AC and Thermal Insulation... and most of the time, we stay at parks with hookups (the Army Corps of Engineers have some great parks here in the Middle Tennessee / KY area) and with our SR. Pass we find them quite a bargain. So Far, we have had a couple of very Minor issues that Jayco has covered under warranty...

Now on to the discussion. We have now been to the Smokey Mountains 2x, each time at Elkmont campground which is all dry camping with no hookups.. Each time we have been in a "Generator zone" and honestly, it has not been bad at all. I've walked the park several times and no doubt the Honda 2000/3000 models are the majority of what we see... a couple of times I"ve found a Yamaha, but no doubt the Honda leads in the numbers. I have to admit, they are quiet and the folks I've spoken to love them.

I don't have any need to run our AC or Microwave but would like to have the opportunity to charge the batteries, run the TV or other small appliances from time to time. But, again, we don't have any need at this time to run the AC.... but buying a 2,000 watt now I could always double up if I think my situation will change down the road.

Also, I did change my single Group 24 battery that the dealer installed last year, I put in 2 Trojan 105 in series and I have to say, I am impressed we were at Elkmont last week for 4 days, took showers, used the Lights in and out of the TT and what ever small loads you get in a TT and at the end of 4 days the LED panel dropped only 1 LED and the battery voltage stayed around 12.2 or 12.1 volts... I did see a drop to 11.9 when using the water pump and taking showers but it always came back up after. So, from a living on Battery I"m good it seems.

One other note, I took our Group 24 battery and keep it charged while at home and when we go camping, I put it in the TT under the table (in a box) and connect cables up to it, with that I run a multi USB charging set up for phones, tablets, blue tooth head sets and the like... I also found a converter that will charge and or run my laptop off of it, believe me, we watch movies at night now using my 17" screen it works great and that is the only uses that battery gets.

So now back to my original question. Portable 2000 watt generators? Which one. I know, Honda, Honda Honda... but I'd say 5 years ago that would be my only choice also. But, I have been reading a lot of reviews on some of the new competition and some of the competition looks pretty darn good... (and some not so). I have read where Westinghouse has a new 2200 IXL I believe and the reviews and videos I've seem seem to be pretty good... lots of info on the Champion line of 2,000-3100 line and even Generac is showing a new 2000 model.

I'd like to see if other folks have made the plunge in to one of the alternatives and what you think.. We probably will use it 1 or 2x a year to go dry camping in the Smokey's but other than that?

Trusts me, this is just to see if others have tried the newer units that have come out in the last couple of years and what they find.. I can find a Honda 2000 for about $1100 pretty easily. and, Yes, I know it will be what most folks have.. but I wanted to step out of the box for a minute and see what others have found that meets their needs for what I would consider a light use ... if one can save 50% and meet my needs I'm not too concerned on the color or name on it.. there has to me some good ones out there in the market to compete by now.

So, by all means chime in... everyone has a say in this one!
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Old 09-24-2016, 09:18 AM   #2
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I have owned a Honda EU2000i for about 5 years. If I was doing all over again today I would buy the Champrion 2800/3100 from Costco.

People seem very happy with it. It's 1/2 price a Honda EU2000. It's an inverter with clean power and quiet. And lastly, like you I don't run an AC much where we camp, but if I could I might camp in more places...the Champion will run my AC.
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Old 09-24-2016, 09:20 AM   #3
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i was going to buy the honda 2000 and then later buy the matched add on if i need it. I went into the yamaha dealership to have a look at what they had to offer. ended up walking out with their 2400 model for not much more than the honda 2000 and it runs my ac no problem. So happy i went with it.

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Old 09-24-2016, 09:22 AM   #4
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Check out the 2000w Powerhorse generators at Northern Tool. Almost 1/2 the price of the Honda. Specs close to Honda and noise level on par with. I have 2 over a year old and still happy with them but I don't use them as much as I thought I would.
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Old 09-24-2016, 09:45 AM   #5
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Buy the Champion dual-fuel generators from Costco.com.
They are on sale through 9/25 for $849 with free shipping, and they also have the Champion Parallel kit for $65.

If you change your mind, want your money back after the camping season, or if you have problems with them take them back, no questions asked.

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Old 09-24-2016, 11:30 AM   #6
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This ?? seems to come up every few months and it shouldn't escape notice that the Gold Standard that all generators are measured against is the Honda 2000. The Yahama 2000 [about the same price] has gotten similar ratings from users. This all has been the same for almost a decade. There is a reason and Honda's [and Yahama} are the best. There are those who seem to like the Champions that cost less, but at the end of the day the proof is what you see when you walk around a "no hook-up" campground. Campers are drawn to what works and what they can depend on to do what it is advertised to do. Honda doesn't have to advertise the Honda inverters, the little red things at your neighbor's campsites does it for them.
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Old 09-24-2016, 11:59 AM   #7
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Thanks for the input so far I do appreciate folks chiming in... I have no quarrel with saying that the Honda and Yamaha has been the standard for years and that all of the folks that I have talked to that have them love them, No argument there. I also know that there has been great strides by other manufactures to get in to the game and the generators they shoot for is the Honda or Yamaha... Believe me, I've wondered if I should just go ahead and bite the bullet myself on one of the two units..

Because I don't think I'd use the AC I kind of stayed looking at the smaller 2000 watt units, it woud just be easier for me to handle a 45 lb unit verses a 80 -100 lb unit... ( I carry 50 lb feed bags in and out of the barn quite often so I know what I can handle) and if the need arises I'd be glad to just add a second unit.

All the reading I have done says the 3,000 watt units will power the 13,500 btu AC units with out any issues... but when you go to the 15,000 btu unit that changes, even with changing out the starting capacitor i've seen varring reports. But, with 2ea 2,000 watt units I would hope the combined output of about 3200 watt would handle it. I"m not ready to step up right now just for the AC though. Weight and size seem to be a focus for me.

I have read many reviews and seen quite a bit on Youtube on the Champion line and they seem to be quite popular... Costco does carry them but right now does not show the 2,000 watt unit as being avaialb.. I have to go down to Costco next week and I will take a look at what they have here locally.. About a year ago they were selling lot of the "Smarter Tools" genset, but they no longer offer it.. so that means either they got to many back or they could not get the deal they wanted to offer them in the stores again. I did read that about 6 weeks ago Costco had the 3100 on sale for $499 but I missed that one, it may have been the best deal out there... but it's gone so not to worry....

So, I guess my purpose to post all this is to see what the next generation of buyers are looking at... in 10 years, that walk around the campground may be a different story...but, time will tell. Honda has a strong dealer agreement that sticks with the price and no discounts... so, that means even the resale units are up theri in cost that is even more than what the new Champion would be.... I want to buy new.. Warranty is important. I'm not sure if Costco adds the additional year warranty to the manufacturers warranty like they do on their electronics or not... but that would be something to consider. It would be nice if you could buy the Honda or Yamaha at Costco at their discount schedules, but I don't think either Honda or Yamaha wants to erode their market prices so I doubt you will see them doing that... Too bad!

So, keep adding to the thread, I know there are others that are looking at the same issue.. of do I buy a lower cost alternative to the Honda or Yamaha... my guess even the hard core Name Brand would be interested in exploring the options..
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Old 09-24-2016, 12:32 PM   #8
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I have a 3000 watt Honda that is 11 years old but weighs 145 lb. Getting to heavy for this old man!! I bought a 2000 watt Champion 3 years ago for charging batteries and minor electric use. Bought a 2800/3100 Champion last year when we know we have to run the AC. The Honda is bullet proof but heavy. I can honestly say that the Champions both are very good and capable generators. I was truthfully looking for problems with them but that has not been the case.
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Old 09-24-2016, 12:55 PM   #9
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We have a Champion 2000w inverter generator. I bought it last year at Menards on sale for $498. So far, this has been an excellent little generator and very quiet. 2000w peak and 1700w continuous I think. And at 47lbs I can handle it pretty easily and they run in parallel. I can't speak for it's longevity only having it for a year but it usually starts first pull after I turn on the fuel. I run the carb dry after each use. I follow the maintenance guidelines and hopefully it'll last for awhile.
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Old 09-24-2016, 01:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Higgy View Post
i was going to buy the honda 2000 and then later buy the matched add on if i need it. I went into the yamaha dealership to have a look at what they had to offer. ended up walking out with their 2400 model for not much more than the honda 2000 and it runs my ac no problem. So happy i went with it.

https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/ge...ter-ef2400ishc
I'd agree. If you have a 13.5k BTU unit, get the Yamaha.
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Old 09-24-2016, 04:36 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bassdogs View Post
This ?? seems to come up every few months and it shouldn't escape notice that the Gold Standard that all generators are measured against is the Honda 2000. The Yahama 2000 [about the same price] has gotten similar ratings from users. This all has been the same for almost a decade. There is a reason and Honda's [and Yahama} are the best. There are those who seem to like the Champions that cost less, but at the end of the day the proof is what you see when you walk around a "no hook-up" campground. Campers are drawn to what works and what they can depend on to do what it is advertised to do. Honda doesn't have to advertise the Honda inverters, the little red things at your neighbor's campsites does it for them.
What you say is true - a lot of people have Hondas.
But there may be other reasons that so many people have Hondas.
  • They have been available for a long time
  • Until recently, there weren't that many other good choices, and
  • They last a long time
So people who bought Hondas may have bought them a while ago, when there weren't a lot of options and Hondas clearly were and still are the best, but also VERY expensive. They have no need to buy another generator if they already have one that works well. Why would they buy something else when they already have filled their need?

But it would be interesting to see the sales figures for Champion vs Honda vs Yamaha for the past few years. Perhaps Honda is still the leader with RVers, but I bet Champion has made major inroads.

Just because a lot of people have things doesn't always mean it is the best deal. A lot of people bought beanie babies too. They are probably not buying them now, but I bet a lot of them still have closets full of them. And beanie babies must have been a good product, since they still perform just as well today as they did 15 years ago.
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Old 09-24-2016, 06:06 PM   #12
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I guess I'm the odd one -

I run a Boily Blue RV PRO 3700 remote start with > 100 hrs on it in a couple months. Very light (~70lbs) and quiet. It will start the 13.5 on Eco but I know there's a voltage dip to about 90, so I avoid it. Downside is the 2 gal tank. Time will tell but she's a sweetheart so far.

I also have a Honda EU1000 that was purchased shortly after they were introduced (paid $990 and that was a deal) that also still runs on first pull. This will be used when ac (both days of Florida winter) is not needed.

Regular oil changes, air filter, and 100% gas - the corn goes on the grill with hot butter and ground pepper.
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Old 09-24-2016, 06:47 PM   #13
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As I read the responses from the folks on here I have thumbed thru the various Champion generators and it brings me to another question.. If one buys 2 of the 2000 watt generators how does that affect the Noise level? There have been some good points brought up here and when I think of upping to the 3100 or 3400 my wifes asked how will I load it up in the back of the pickup when we leave :-) I thought, well how about a ramp.. but that's just one more thing to think about. Buying a 2000watt is easy to lift and 95% of the time cover everything I want.. then if for any reason I wanted to run the AC, well just hook up Gen 2 and the adapter kit and fire it up... gets lots of power but am I now dealing with alot more Noise?

As for some of the other comments... I agree, the Honda being the leader of the pack for many years and your right, most folks that have bought them are very pleased with them. The new generators of course have no data, although I have read here and other place of folks still cranking Champions for over 5 years.... that's pretty good for me. I wonder how the components on the lower cost units stack up to the Honda build, Like the inverter circuitry.... my guess that is one of the components that would be an issue, but I have yet to hear of anyone complaining about them dying. I do appreciate folks chiming in and I"ll bet a lot of other folks do as well, this is a question I've seen posted on quite a few forums... and it's always there is the I'll only buy Honda or Yamaha type guys.. and there are others that are willing to take a chance with an alternative for a 50% saving... and if it keeps running.. they win, if they die... well, back to square one... but after the 2 years warranty your on your own no matter what one you buy!
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Old 09-25-2016, 10:15 AM   #14
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I have had two of the champion 2000's and a parallel kit for six years. They are slightly louder running as a pair but once you are 50 yards away its hard to tell the difference. They live in the back of my truck all summer. I always use seafoam in my fuel and run the carbs dry when I'm done using them. They have always started within two or three pulls. I change the oil and clean the exhaust screens annually. They will start my ac at sea level, but will not run it where I live at about 5000 ASL. That's not an issue for me as I don't generally run the ac when dry camping. Price was a large factor in my choice and I have been happy with my purchase.
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Old 09-25-2016, 01:56 PM   #15
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Greenman, thanks for the reply, and glad the Champion is working for you, I am reading quite a few responses and posting on the internet that show the units are really stable. I find it interesting to see there is a lot of units out there competing with the Honda/Yamaha, but honestly, none of them get as much of the write ups as the Champion.

Weight is a factor for me, I'd love 1 unit only to deal with, but I just don't want to deal with the weight they have so I"ll probably buy 2 of the Champions.. and many make a good point that if I am not going to be doing alot of heavy use, I can hook up just 1 to charge batteries and the smaller usuage... But, I'll probably buy 2 and the hook up just in the event I need them. My other reason of course, is having two separate units it means I can have them in the event of a power failure at home.. one for the house, and one for the barn...

Now, I will have to check the prices out for the set up, they are all pretty close price wise.. and since Costco does not have the 2000 available right now, I"ll have to source them somewhere else... we have an almost 10% sales tax in our state which adds up and since I am on my own for repairs I guess mail order is fine... there really isn't any serviceing dealers in my area.

I'll keep looking and researching but with the input here it seems it is worth a chance, I did notice that if I purchase at Home Depot I can get a 3 year extended warranty (that starts after the Champion warranty ends) for a reasonable price and that may be appealing as well.

Have a great day.
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Old 09-25-2016, 03:47 PM   #16
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Chiming in...I have the 3100 Champion with remote on/off. I love that feature. It's a tad louder than the big Honda but similar to the Honda Handi.

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Old 09-25-2016, 06:14 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by abarkl View Post
Buy the Champion dual-fuel generators from Costco.com.
They are on sale through 9/25 for $849 with free shipping, and they also have the Champion Parallel kit for $65.

If you change your mind, want your money back after the camping season, or if you have problems with them take them back, no questions asked.

Champion DUAL-FUEL 2800wt Running / 3100wt Peak Digital Inverter Generator, Electric Start, RV Ready, Parallel Capable, CARB & EPA Certified, Low Decibels
Appreciate the heads up, I've got one inbound as we speak. Love the propane option, it's just one more layer of redundancy as I always have propane on camper!
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:59 PM   #18
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I'll throw my few pennies into this, since I've been down a similar road. We camp very similar to you. Generally weekends with hookups (at least electric) and then longer trips in the summer, usually at National Parks with no Hookups. We take it easy on power, but run the pump when we want water, and turn lights on when we want light (new rig is all LED), but don't leave things on when not needed.

We've been at Elkmont for a week, 2 years ago. This year was 2 weeks in Glacier!

We bought a Yamaha 2400 several years ago in order to start doing the no hookup campgrounds. I wanted to be able to run the A/C in a pinch (if it was too hot to sleep while overnighting on the road). I preferred to have a single unit, and didn't want to deal with hooking up 2 generators. The 2400 was the smallest generator that I felt that would run the A/C in a single package. My old fifth had a 13.5 A/C and it ran it without issue. We only needed to do this a handful of times.

I had 2 marine deep cycle batteries back then (wasn't smart about batteries yet). Running the generator for an hour or two during the evenings gave me juice back, but now I know I wasn't putting back what I used and batteries were constantly getting lower, but we'd make it through. Converter wasn't so great in the old rig either.

Fast forward to this year. I have the rig in my signature, am smarter about batteries with two Trojan T-105's in the rig. The 2400 originally wouldn't run the 15k A/C in the new rig, but the addition of a Hard Start Capacitor fixed that. Nothing else can be on while the A/C is running, but it runs it. Again - that is only in a pinch when it's too uncomfortable to sleep on the road on our way to the destination.

Here is the part where I might derail you......

Prepping for the trip to Glacier this year, I got to thinking...... When we are in the parks, we do quite a bit of hiking and are away from the trailer quite a bit. In the old camper, we'd kind of have "generator stress" - planning our day around getting back to the campground for generator hours in order to charge up our batteries.

Around this time, I also started reading about solar and the wheels started turning. So in the weeks leading up to the Glacier trip, I bought a 200 watt Solar Starter kit from Renogy for $350. My plan was to use it as a portable kit and not permanently mount it. I figured that I'd give it a try for a year or two, then decide if I wanted to put panels on the roof, or even continue on with the Solar thing. When we got to Glacier, I would set them up, at first I'd lean them on chairs to optimize collection, but by the end of the trip, I was just leaving them flat on the ground and not moving them.

Let me tell you that the whole family really enjoyed the solar side. I liked that it charged whether we were there or not, the kids liked watching the current and voltage they were putting out and what voltage the battery was at (% charge) and the wife just thought we were cool for having solar.

The panels work while you are gone, and every day, I came back to batteries that we at the 95% mark every day. Even at our first site where our site had too much shade. The only time we ran the generator was to use the microwave, or if the wife wanted to blow dry her hair (a rare camping treat). There was just no worrying about power. I couldn't be happier with them. It doesn't mean my generator is being retired, we'll still bring it, but the panels are just another part of my power strategy when camping with no hookups.

You didn't ask about solar, but I would strongly suggest you consider it, especially if you don't have need for running A/C or Microwave. Or maybe consider both. From what you have shared of your camping style, I think it would work well for you if you wanted to go that route.

As for your original question, I would recommend the Yamaha 2400 without hesitation. I really like being able to run the A/C when it is hot. Even 15 minutes of it on a hot day can be really refreshing. I have nothing against the other brands. Champion didn't have inverter generators when I bought my Yamaha. Would be a tougher choice if I did it today. However, with a Yamaha dealer two miles down the road, it may still sway me towards the blue, for the availability of service if I ever needed it.

If you are interested in the Solar, search for posts under my user name and you'll find more details on what I bought and how I have it put together.
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Old 09-25-2016, 07:23 PM   #19
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There have been some good points brought up here and when I think of upping to the 3100 or 3400 my wifes asked how will I load it up in the back of the pickup when we leave :-)
I'll keep mine short. I have a 3100 Champion, it's quite, I can load it myself but normally have the wife help as there are handles on both ends. The best feature is the built in handle and wheels, set it down unfold the handle and walk it like a wheelbarrow. Starts on one or 2 pulls - every time.
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Old 09-25-2016, 10:59 PM   #20
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I have both the 2000 & 3100 watt Champion Inverter Generators but use the 2000 most of the time. They are efficient and dependable and cheaper than the Hondas. I now have a Go Power 120 watt suitcase folding solar panel that I am going to be using and restricting the generator use to cloudy rainy days. And
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