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Old 10-21-2011, 01:07 AM   #1
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What size Generator

I have a 31' Jaco Designer Series, and want to install a generator that would allow me to dry camp. As I am the only one living in the RV, I only need to run one of the two Air Conditioners at a time. I have read a blizzard of information on the web, and am totally confused.

I would appreciate any information about the size (output) of a generator that would fit my needs and a make and model you recommend. Any other information would be appreciated.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:49 AM   #2
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Has to be installed? Do you have the rack on the back of your rig? Is there the factory compartment to accept the genny? 3.3-5K would suffice for one A/C.

I have a Yamaha 3K inverter/genny with the boost option. This runs my micro or 15K A/C alone with the other various outlets and converter. It's quiet and has a eco feature which sips gas.

Benefit is I loose the weight when not in use by removing. I can posisiton it away from the unit to keep CO levels low. Lower cost vs installed Onan.

Downsides are that it is heavy to move. Could be stolen if in a area prone to that. Does not start on demand like most hardwired units.

If you have the space, means and are looking for the best you can get for your money I would vote for the 5K Onan. They have great service records, fairly easy to find a tech and you won't need to move or store the unit. That will run everything in your rig and then some.

The parrallel Hondas are nice too since you can split them to move and take or run only one according to your required power needs. Though the costs would approach the Onan.
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Old 10-21-2011, 10:21 AM   #3
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Thanks for you insight. Am thinking about putting the generator in the bed of my F-350 dule. Besides having to haul the generator around, do you see any downside to putting it in the truck bed?
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:54 AM   #4
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Only downside I can think of is that it makes it a little more visible for a thief, but if you can chain it down in there I think you will be fine. If you plan to leave it in there to run, make sure your cord is long enough or factor in an extension cord into your total cost.

As far as which one....difficult question that gets asked a lot....first is size....some folks, such as myself, have been able to run the a/c with as little as as 2200 watt by cutting all the breakers to the converter and everything else but the ac. Others you will hear have a hard time starting theirs with one that small. Seems to depend on the "personality" of the generator and the a/c combo.


Next cost factor is noise - which is where the real cost comes in. It is one of those - you get what you pay for. The quiet inverter generators are great - but costly! If you are camping near other folks, you for sure want quiet. If you are all by yourself and noise is not a concern, you can go a little cheaper.


So in the end, just like your camper - it is a function of cost vs size/amenities.


Hope that helps....go out and look around on the web and feel free to post some more questions or comments as you continue to shop. Do let us know what you decide in the end.
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Old 10-21-2011, 12:23 PM   #5
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Outstanding...thanks for the great input. As the generator is air cooled, are you aware of any issues of the generator over-heating, being in the confined space of a truck bed. And do you vent the exhaust by running it under the truck?
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Old 10-21-2011, 12:55 PM   #6
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I leave my Honda 3000 in the truck bed. I just leave the tail gate down to help with the air flow. Not had any problems.
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Old 10-21-2011, 03:02 PM   #7
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As mentioned above there are the expensive quiet gennys and there are the half the cost more noisy gensets. I have seen some 3K with remotes for about $1200.00 del when I was looking at the time. I opted for the trusted and proven Yamaha for $2K. If you opt for a cheaper more noisy model then you could run the risk that if in a crowded area for camping depending on the property you could be asked to shut it down. Most of the really noisy ones are 4K and up so you'll probaly be fine if you stay below that.

As for the bed of your truck, that will suffice for cooling since it is open to the air. Not capped I am assuming? Also chain it down somehow to deter someone from taking it. The other option is attaching it to the rear bumper.

You will need an extension cord if you can't get the TV close enough and not a regular extension cord. You need to run 30A RV cord.

Almost forgot. Make sure it has a 30A outlet of some sort. Some come with the RV type plugs, some you need to buy a cheap $6 adaptor that you can run your 50-30 adapter to.

Good luck.
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Old 10-21-2011, 04:05 PM   #8
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Thanks for the great insight. If I may, there are a couple of "rookie" questions I have. Will I be plugging my 50 amp cable into an 50-30 adapter, and then into the generator, or will I need to plug some things in separately (AC, TV & etc).
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Old 10-21-2011, 04:40 PM   #9
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You will plug in your unit as if at a full service facility or home, shore power cord. You will just need to down size the 50A to a 30A RV plug to get into the 30A generator outlet. You do not want to plug into the 15A service then try to run your unit. You need to plug into 30 A min. The 50A service on our units is for running both A/C's at once. The 30A service will not support this safely so just run one and turn of the breaker on the second so that you can't accidently turn it on.
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:52 PM   #10
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Ahhh...now I understand. Thanks for the clear explanation.
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