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Old 12-18-2018, 07:17 PM   #1
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Honda Generator or something else...

Hi All. I am new to RVing. I just bought a new SL209 toyhauler. I got the upgraded A/C(15,000 btu). I am in the market for a generator as I wil be boondocking more often than not. I was thinking of getting a single 3400 watt unit, Honda, Yamaha or Champion. Or possibly 2 -2200 watt units. I see the Champion dual unit will only put out 3000 watts when connected. I don't think that will start the A/C. Will the dual Honda 2200 units give me enough power to start the A/C? Should I buy the single 3400 watt Honda?

Thanks!
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:15 PM   #2
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Based on what I've read dual Honda 2200's should start and run a 15K A/C no problem. I've even read that if you hook-up a Micro-soft board you can start/run it with a single 2200.

That said if I was looking to do the same thing I would prefer two 2200's over a larger 3400 unit simply based on weight. I can lift a 2200 by myself but there is no way I'm lifting any 3400 unit without help.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:22 PM   #3
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Hi to you. Congratulations on the Octane and welcome to the forum.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:37 PM   #4
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Welcome aboard. I have the 161 octane. I recently went dry camping in the high desert. I am running the Honda 3000 is. It was in eco. Mode. and ran all night at idle. Keeping the heater running. We were nice and toasty. While the temps outside were in the 20’s In the morning. Still had a half of tank of fuel. The. Honda. 3000. Is very quiet. The weight of the. Honda. 3000. Is close to 150. Lbs. with full fuel. Definitely. Something that needs to be taken into consideration. Run time might be. A consideration. On the Honda. 2000. But. Might be your best option.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:43 PM   #5
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I've been using the 3400 watt inverter Champion for two years and love it. Starts and runs my 15K AC with absolutely no problem. Way cheaper than the hondas and yamahas - paid $850 for mine at HomeDepot (pull start). But it's true that it is not as quiet as the honda or yamaha, but most certainly quiet enough. Weight with fuel is about 80 pounds and it has built in wheels and handle, which makes moving it around pretty nice. Only problem is the size of the fuel tank. I think it is 1.6 gal. Running the furnace at night in 30 degree temps with the generator in eco mode I'll get 7 to 8 hours on a tank.
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Old 12-18-2018, 10:40 PM   #6
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For what it's worth, a bad surprise I had with my first experience with generators is that the manufacturers, at least in my case with the Ryobi 1800/2300 watt bluetooth model, don't tell you that you'll lose a lot of wattage capacity at higher altitudes, so you might want to take that into account depending on where you plan on camping. I'm in Colorado and typically camp at 8000 feet and above, and the above Ryobi will overload with just trying to run the microwave when I'm above 8000 feet, after it loses 30% of it's power due to the lower oxygen levels and lower air pressure at that altitude compared to the 500 feet elevation that generators are reportedly rated at. Might not make any difference with the higher wattage units you are considering, but FYI just in case.
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Old 12-18-2018, 10:46 PM   #7
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I have 2 Honda 2000ís, thought I would need both to run the 15k AC, but one works just fine. The rv is a 2017, so it starts easier than the older ones. But, The only thing that can be on is the AC. Iíll run both when Iím using the AC and charging all the rest of the families RVís. They all plug into me when I run both.

Extremely quiet, fuel efficient, especially when just charging batteries and it goes into ECO mode. A 3000+ watt unit would not be near as fuel efficient when just working light loads.
Very light and I can easily load and unload by myself.
Extended fuel tanks are available.
IF I would go with the Champion, I would get the remote start one and start it from in the RV. That would be cool. I would probably need to buy some kind of hoist to get in and out of the truck bed.
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Old 12-18-2018, 11:14 PM   #8
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For what it's worth, a bad surprise I had with my first experience with generators is that the manufacturers, at least in my case with the Ryobi 1800/2300 watt bluetooth model, don't tell you that you'll lose a lot of wattage capacity at higher altitudes, so you might want to take that into account depending on where you plan on camping. I'm in Colorado and typically camp at 8000 feet and above, and the above Ryobi will overload with just trying to run the microwave when I'm above 8000 feet, after it loses 30% of it's power due to the lower oxygen levels and lower air pressure at that altitude compared to the 500 feet elevation that generators are reportedly rated at. Might not make any difference with the higher wattage units you are considering, but FYI just in case.
We had no problem with our remote start, Champion 3100 watt inverter generator at 7,000ft for charging our trailer batteries and running the microwave. We were in the shade of pine trees at that elevation so did not need the air cond. We did start our 13500btu air cond once just out of curiosity, but didn't run it more than a couple of minutes.
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Old 12-19-2018, 06:23 AM   #9
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I have a 15k AC in my 222SL ToyHauler and I wanted to run the AC and the Microwave, coffee maker with out worrying about it. I looked at several inverter gen sets and no doubt the Honda’s are good but imo considering the competition over priced and I didn’t want a parallel operation.
I settled on the Igen4500 from Westinghouse for just under $1k it’s got all the power it’s quite has wheels and a handle weighs in at 97lbs and it comes with a remote start! It fits in the TV bed. So far so good .fwiw ymmv
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Old 12-19-2018, 06:28 AM   #10
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My champion dual fuel 3400 watt runs my 15k AC without any problem. It also powers my residential fridge and microwave while the ac is running
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Old 12-19-2018, 09:30 AM   #11
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I bought the remote start Champion 3400W and it runs my 15K AC no problem. Pretty much like being plugged in to a 30amp shore power really. The remote start is such a nice feature on cold/rainy mornings! It weighs about 100lbs so I can manage it, although I get my wife to help lift it in and out of the truck bed. Champion's customer service is excellent.

We experienced a 24hr power outage this past season at a Provincial Park on a cold night. By morning, everyone's batteries were dead from running their furnaces to keep warm. My twin 6Vs were still holding strong which I was ever so thankful for, but it got me thinking about buying a small little 1000W tool-box style generator to always keep in the truck, even on trips to powered sites. Just something to top off the batteries, and smaller and lighter than the 3400W.
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Old 12-19-2018, 09:37 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by GL243 View Post
For what it's worth, a bad surprise I had with my first experience with generators is that the manufacturers, at least in my case with the Ryobi 1800/2300 watt bluetooth model, don't tell you that you'll lose a lot of wattage capacity at higher altitudes, so you might want to take that into account depending on where you plan on camping. I'm in Colorado and typically camp at 8000 feet and above, and the above Ryobi will overload with just trying to run the microwave when I'm above 8000 feet, after it loses 30% of it's power due to the lower oxygen levels and lower air pressure at that altitude compared to the 500 feet elevation that generators are reportedly rated at. Might not make any difference with the higher wattage units you are considering, but FYI just in case.
Any normally aspirated engine is going to lose power as the altitude increases. And not to sidetrack the thread you might also start experiencing issues with refrigeration and water heaters that work off propane at higher altitudes (above 5K feet).
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Old 12-19-2018, 12:53 PM   #13
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Discussions about which generator can run an RV a/c unit are much like discussions about which truck can tow a particular trailer

RV a/c units (with the same BTU rating) are not created equal.

Generators (with the same continuous wattage or current rating) are not created equal.

RV a/c units have an important spec called LRA (locked rotor amp). LRA is the "inrush" current necessary to "start" the compressor. The LRA of RV a/c units, even ones with the same BTU rating, can vary significantly.

Generators have an important spec (unfortunately not advertised by manufacturers) called inrush current. Inrush current determines whether a generator can start an RV a/c unit's compressor based on the RV a/c unit's LRA. The inrush current capability of generators, even ones with the same continuous wattage or current rating, can also vary significantly.

A generator's inrush current capability must be as high or higher than an RV a/c unit's LRA to successfully start an RV a/c unit. Important to note, a generator's "continuous" current specification (also specified in watts) provided by all generator manufacturers determines whether a generator will "run" an RV a/c unit; however, as we all know, you cannot run an RV a/c unit unless you can "start" it first--lol!! Unfortunately, generator manufacturers do not provide the inrush current capability of their generators, so we're kinda left in a pickle. You need both inrush and continuous current specifications to determine whether a generator will start, and run, an inductive device like an RV a/c unit's compressor. Also, as a side-note, do not confuse inrush current with "surge" current. Inrush current is based on a much, much shorter time element than the surge current specification provided by manufacturers.

Check out the LRA on your RV a/c unit (look for the data sticker near the compressor). Less than 60 amps of LRA increases the odds it can be started by a smaller generator (2000-2800 watts). Coleman-Mach manufactures a number of very efficient RV a/c units with very low LRA requirements which are a good match for smaller generators.

As for generators, a single Honda EU2000i generator produces an extremely high amount of inrush current relative to its continuous current rating---much higher than the competition. Unfortunately, when two Honda EU2000i generators are paralleled this inrush current advantage disappears. Yes, the Honda EU2000i's continuous current doubles when they're paralleled, but sadly the inrush current only increases approx. 10% (vs. a single/solo unit). FWIW, a Champion 3100 watt inverter generator produces significantly more inrush current than a paralleled pair of Honda EU2000i generators which produce 4000 watts of continuous current. This simply means the Champion 3100 inverter generator will successfully start (and run) more RV a/c units than a paralleled pair of Honda EU2000i's.

Also, the Honda EU3000iS, probably the quietest generator on the market, is, unfortunately, weak in terms of inrush capability---especially with the Eco mode turned on. In fact, a solo Honda EU2000i with the Eco mode off produces almost the same inrush current as a Honda EU3000iS with the Eco mode on. Even Honda recommends the EU3000iS only power more "efficient" 13.5k BTU a/c units (those with lower LRA's). Just something to keep in mind before spending $2k on one. FWIW, the Champion 3100-3400 watt inverter line of generators have exceptionally high inrush current capability (and have a reputation for starting/running the vast majority of 13.5k and 15k BTU RV a/c units); unfortunately, they're not nearly as quiet as the Honda inverter generators.

Lastly, if you want to throw all your start-up/LRA/inrush current concerns to the wind, install a Micro-Air Easy Start on your RV a/c unit---they absolutely work as advertised. These puppies drop the LRA requirements of your RV a/c unit by a dramatic 1/2 to 1/3!
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Old 12-19-2018, 01:29 PM   #14
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Campnow, great info, thank you.
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Old 12-19-2018, 01:37 PM   #15
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Thanks Campnow! Excellent information!!!!
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:07 PM   #16
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Campnow, great info, thank you.
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Thanks Campnow! Excellent information!!!!
GHen, tld, you're welcome! Glad you found it informative.

We obtained all this info after testing a number of Honda and Champion inverter generators a few years ago. We used a couple of inrush capable ammeters while starting/running several different make and model RV a/c units. Yup, we found the results informative and a bit surprising to say the least
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Old 12-20-2018, 07:35 AM   #17
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Wow! Thanks for all the info. I am leaning towards the Champion but doing more research I am also looking at the Westinghouse igen4500 and the Pulsar PGR4000. They're all about 100lbs. Of course my concern is hauling it into the back of my truck!
My RV will have the 15,000 btu unit. If I install the Easy Stert can I use just the one Honda 2000w unit? Quiet operation is important.
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Old 12-20-2018, 08:38 AM   #18
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Based on what I've read dual Honda 2200's should start and run a 15K A/C no problem. I've even read that if you hook-up a Micro-soft board you can start/run it with a single 2200.

That said if I was looking to do the same thing I would prefer two 2200's over a larger 3400 unit simply based on weight. I can lift a 2200 by myself but there is no way I'm lifting any 3400 unit without help.
Agree on the micro-Air Soft start.
https://www.microair.net/products/ea...nt=30176048267

Use AIRSTREAM in the discount box and get $40.00 off.

They are easy to install as the instructions are easy to follow. I have one and can start/run my A/C on one 2000 Yamaha Inverter generator. I carry 2 generators incase I need more power like in the fall when I also run electric heat when boondocking. Like mentioned above, 2 are much easier to move around (each weigh 47 pounds) than one large 3000 or above.
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Old 12-20-2018, 08:48 AM   #19
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Do you connect the 2 together?
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Old 12-20-2018, 11:09 AM   #20
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If your serious about using it often and boondocking, install a micro-air and don’t look back. It’s easier on your generator and my AC was significantly quieter on startup after the install. I own both a Champion 3400 dual fuel generator and a Honda EU2200i Companion. The Honda will run my AC no problem with the micro-air installed. I love the dual fuel Champion because I can use onboard propane or an extra grill tank if I don’t have gasoline (last test it ran 14 hours on a single 20 lb tank). The Honda is so much lighter than the Champion so it’s nicer to carry around. The Champion has a handle and wheels built in so it’s easy to roll around on smooth surfaces. The Champion is a push button start so there is no pulling a cord. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, do your research and buy what fits your situation.
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