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Old 07-04-2015, 12:41 PM   #1
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Portable Generator Questions !

Been away from the forums, on the mend with a total hip replacement. Now it's time to plan some getaway trips. My generator questions are as follows.
Given: A travel trailer (StarCraft, but part of JAYCO)
F350 tow vehicle.
4000/4500 watt Champion Generator.
We were given as a gift a 4500 watt portable generator with a wheel kit, including remote start.

I anticipate carrying the generator in the back of my pick-up. Since it is a tad too heavy to hand load, I have ramps and a winch to get it into the pickup. Slow, but not a killer job.

As campers we have all been there. Running out of daylight and not hitting our next stop. Walmart parking lot to the rescue.

a) Would you run the generator in the back of the pickup? I have a way to vent the fumes over the top of the TT. What do you envision is the downside ?
b) How would you protect it from the elements (rain) while it is running ?
c) I did do a test run back in December, during the PA. deer season for a few days, but it was cold then. What do I have to look out for when we encounter the summer heat ? The deer season test, the noise from the generator was not a problem. By juggling what was on, heater fan, lights, the basic necessities, an overload was not encountered. The generator will carry our AC and a few other things.

I am probably overlooking a zillion things (safety is paramount). If you were in our situation how would you handle the transporting, safety and running of the generator.

Open to any and all suggestions.
Thanks, John

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Old 07-04-2015, 04:31 PM   #2
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The real issue that I see is that you have been given a contractors generator that you want to use in a camping environment. The noise would be my biggest concern. Many generators have been used in the back of trucks with good success. Covered or uncovered would acceptable as long as it is properly vented. Obviously would need to be strapped down to avoid damage to your generator or your truck. If you are in an area that has no neighbors then the only folks that are effected by a noisy generator is you, then I don't see an issue. I doubt that you would be looked on with favor even in a Walmart parking lot with a industrial generator. Not trying to create an issue, but that's my thoughts.

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Old 07-04-2015, 04:45 PM   #3
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I ran my portable from the bed of truck many times. Once it cooled down wrapped it in a tarp.

Won't not allow it to get wet/ rained on as it is an inverter type with sensitive electronics on board. It was also super quiet at 62 db and campground friendly
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Old 07-04-2015, 05:29 PM   #4
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The issue with running a contractor type generator in the back of a pickup is grounding. Most large generators will have a open nut and bolt with the ground symbol on it. This is designed to ground the generator while running. Most people I have encountered bypass this step and are not aware this should be done. It can protect the components you plug into the generator from voltage spikes and static discharges. All it takes is a conductive wire attached to this point and run to a grounding point. I use an 18" copper rod implanted in the ground approximately 8 inches for my Makita 5500 watt generator when I use it. (I load it into the back of my truck using ramps.)
Some people get concerned about the higher noise levels of these larger "contractor" generators. When I do use it, even in standard family campgrounds, I try to be courteous and not run it before 10AM or after around 8 or 9 PM. I have noticed the normal sounds of people driving around, ATV's (sometimes), and kids playing tend to be noisier than the generator and I have never had a complaint or even been talked to about the noise. I have had neighboring campers come and ask to plug in off my generator because it can (obviously) handle the load of a couple rigs.
I also utilize a champion 2000 watt inverter generator, its a little larger than the comparable honda EU2000i but half the cost and the same decibel range. I usually carry this one, but on my extended hunts I carry the big boy. During the hunts when I am boondocking away from campgrounds, nobody cares about the noise....
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Old 07-04-2015, 08:04 PM   #5
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This is all good stuff in the replies. Basically common sense and courtesy seem to be the driving factors. The grounding part was a goodie. When, actually it was we (me and 2 hunting buddies) did not find the noise objectionable. I have a Tailgater and at night we were watching TV. You could tell that it was running, but when the heater fan kicked on the noise of the generator was drowned out. An assumption: running the AC would have the same effect.
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Old 07-04-2015, 08:12 PM   #6
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It's not offensive if's it's your generator because you are getting the benefits. Little different story if a neighbor decides to run a jackhammer in your air space.
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Old 07-04-2015, 10:26 PM   #7
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As for running it in the back of the truck, my buddy has done it, and there were no problems. Didn't experience any downpours, but light rain was fine, too.

As for the noise, I'm in the minority. Doesn't really bother me as long as common courtesy is used. Here's how I see it; The inverter type generators are great, but the prices are insane. I have a Champion 9500 (50 amp) generator, and I will use it when appropriate. So far, the only places I can see me having to use it are ATV parks (noise is of little to no concern there, as everyone runs generators) or out in the woods when not many other people are around anyway. I will always be courteous when I have to use it, but the bottom line is this; If I have to choose between my family being hot and your family being offended, well, for me, my family comes first.

Come on down to South Georgia in the summer and camp without running A/C. See how that works.
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Old 07-05-2015, 06:49 AM   #8
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We camped next to a TT that ran a contractors special at Assateague NP. It was annoying. The best part was the muffler was aimed at our campsite. Everybody else ran inverter generators out of a sense of common courtesy.

I now notice the regs at Assateague have been updated:

Generators must conform to National Park Service regulations pertaining to audio disturbances, which states that "motorized equipment or machinery cannot exceed a noise level of 60 decibels measured on the A-weighted scale at 50 feet" (36 CFR 2.12).
I see online that some make what is called a quiet/baffle/muffler box to get the noise of their contractor special down to reasonable levels. The question of reasonableness is not whether the noise is objectionable to you but rather to others.
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:30 AM   #9
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I have used my generator many times in while in the box of the truck under a hard tonneau cover with the tailgate down. Protects it from the elements and depending which way you park rear of the truck, you can redirect some of the sound. Make sure you have some sort of chain or cable to attach it to the stakeholes so that it does not walk away.
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:45 AM   #10
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As to it getting wet:

GenTent canopy cover to run portable generator or inverter generator safely in rain and severe wet weather

If its noise you're after (and maybe some wet protection)

SGP SuperGen Tent XL - Product Details

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