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Old 03-25-2013, 02:07 PM   #1
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Generator Size?

Hey everyone I am going boondocking for the first time and I was going to purchase a generator. I will not be using the generator to power the TT which is 26BH jayfeather but to charge the batteries so I can use the refridgerator maybe a light or two at night. For the most part we will not be using anything else. I have heard of people using there TV to charge the batteries. I would honestly rather have a generator. The battery is a Interstate deep cycle with 550 Cold crank amps. I would love everyones input so please feel free to help me because I am so lost!!
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:11 PM   #2
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Your fridge will not run off the batteries, you'll have to use propane mode if that is an option.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:40 PM   #3
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That is an option and the battery only has 405 Cold Crank Amps.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:36 PM   #4
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What I want to do is just charge my batteries? Will not be using A/c hot water will be limited to showers? Will 1000w be enough generator wise?
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:49 PM   #5
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If you plug your trailer into the generator and plan on using your converter to charge your batterys you might run into a problem unless you turn off breakers to everything that runs on AC. If you plan on using a external battery charger and hooking up to batterys direct and not pluging trailer in then dont think there would be a problem. but There might be somebody out there that has a better way of doing what you want.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:53 PM   #6
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a decent size solar panel could do that but if you camp where there is a lot of trees it might not receive enough sun to fully charge your batteries. we have 3 panels and that is enough to keep us charged in the summer even in the shade. now, that is just using lights and the furnace and water pump, no running a tv and other appliances. now to answer your question about a generator, we broke down finally and got a 900 watt just to keep the batteries charged in the winter months, a lot of cloud cover and furnace usage plus winter temperatures and not much daylight hours up here anyway in the winter and the solar just would not keep us charged. so a 900 watt keeps us charged and warm and suits our specific needs very well.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tbeuler View Post
Hey everyone I am going boondocking for the first time and I was going to purchase a generator. I will not be using the generator to power the TT which is 26BH jayfeather but to charge the batteries so I can use the refridgerator maybe a light or two at night. For the most part we will not be using anything else. I have heard of people using there TV to charge the batteries. I would honestly rather have a generator. The battery is a Interstate deep cycle with 550 Cold crank amps. I would love everyones input so please feel free to help me because I am so lost!!
Please accept this post as trying to be helpful. No one on this forum, or a product customer service representative, can answer those questions because the answers are dependent on information we don't have. Genreators are sold by the amount of watts they produce. If you just want to use it to power a battery charger, find out how many watts the charger needs to run.

IMO your battery doesn't have the capacity (based on CCA) to operate the devices you want to use for a "useable length of time". Your battery will discharge quickly using lights and the water pump, and it will take hours to recharge. If you buy a bigger battery, it will last longer. But it will take more time and power to recharge it. One of the posters recently mentioned he outfitted his new TT with a Group 31 battery. Look that one up online. You probably can get by with less (I do), but that sure would be nice to have. And once again, when that battery needs to be recharged, it takes a powerful charger several hours to do it.

You might want to figure how many amp hours you need based on your appliances and useage (it's going to take some reading) and buy a battery that will provide it. Next, get a charger that will recharge your battery(s) as quickly as possible (more reading) without burning it up. Then you can buy a generator that will make it all happen.

It's not difficult to figure out, but it does take some time to research the electrical terms and their applications. The real benefit is you will have what you need and didn't have to pay for extra capacity.

I would never buy a battery from a sales rep who couldn't thoroughly explain "amp hours". But it's only half the answer. You need to know how many amps your appliances / devices need to run, and how long you are going to use them. The published list of those figures are accurate enough for starters.

You're using the right approach. The posters on this forum will provide excellent answers when you narrow your questions. "Search" this forum and you will see some of the things people have done to make their dry camping experiences more comfortable. It's important that you take the same steps so your setup works for you.
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:21 PM   #8
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Would you be running a vent fan or the water pump very much? Any chance of needing to run the heater - the heater fan takes quite a bit of battery power? My experience is that one battery is marginal to run refrigerator and lights and some heater and some water pump use for a day. Keep in mind that batteries should not be discharged below about 50% charge or they are damaged. You may need an additional battery.

I think you have three ways to recharge your battery(s).

1)with a generator and your on board DC converter/charger
2) with a generator and a separate charger
3) with a tow vehicle charging system. I've done this and agree with you that is not a desirable option.

So, you need a generator. I guess that a 1000 watt generator will run most chargers (either your RV converter or an external charger). A 2000 watt generator will do all of that, and probably run your microwave but not your air conditioner.

The bottom line is as OnTheGo noted is to figure out what your power consumption would be, and size your generator to fit that need. Also keep in mind that some types and capacities of RV convertors will take a long time to charge your battery(s) - multiple hours, maybe. Other (ie more expensive) RV converters are very capable. So you gotta figure out what converter is in your RV; what amperage, and whether it is a three stage charger or not. Generators of 1000 or 2000 watts come in many varieties: cheap an loud, expensive and quiet, cheap and somewhat "dirty" power, expensive and "clean" power. If money is available, an inverter Honda or Yamaha generator has a good reputation.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:01 PM   #9
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I would be running the refridgerator with propane. The water pump would be used for toilet and showers only. I am new to the whole camping experience and I dont even know what your talking about when you say on board DC converter/charger. Where would that be located? Im really not looking to use a lot of power just certain things like maybe a light or two at night for the kids and the water pump for shower and toilet.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:16 PM   #10
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I would be running the refridgerator with propane. The water pump would be used for toilet and showers only. I am new to the whole camping experience and I don't even know what your talking about when you say on board DC converter/charger. Where would that be located? I'm really not looking to use a lot of power just certain things like maybe a light or two at night for the kids and the water pump for shower and toilet.
Your refrigerator almost certainly uses battery power to power its controls, so even on propane it uses some energy from your battery. The water pump is a fairly power hungry device as it pumps the water for the toilet flushes and showers. Your propane water heater almost certainly uses battery power for it's control circuitry. Also your propane leak detector uses battery power.

When your trailer is plugged in, the convertor changes 120 V AC into 12 V DC and that DC is used to recharge your batteries and to provide 12 V DC power to all the 12 V systems on your trailer. When not plugged in, your battery(s) have to provide all that power. The converter is located in various places, probably someone who has a similar trailer will chime in and be able to help you find it.

The thing about a trailer is that it has all the systems your house does, and all the problems and questions that those systems can produce.
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