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  #1  
Old 10-03-2011, 07:59 PM
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Default Generator info needed

I have a 10 ft Lance truck slide in camper. It has A/C, fridge, freezer, etc... This weekend we were at a campsite w/o power. I had a 1850 wait generator(Coleman) that I was able to borrow. I THOUGHT we were very energy conservative, however we seemed to have a shortage electricity at night after about 2 days. I did fire up the generator on a daily basis. I thought that after an hour of running it should charge everything up(battery). However, we were still only at 50% a best. I ran the generator the next day for approx 2 hours. Apparently that still isn't enough to fully charge my battery.
Do I need a larger generator? If so, what size is sufficient? I really use it more in colder weather that warmer weather. I am more concerned for lights and furnace. I was looking at a Honda 2000 watt. Is this large enough?
OR, what other suggestions would you have.
I also had a smaller solar panel. Should I also be using this?
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  #2  
Old 10-03-2011, 10:59 PM
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Location: Murrieta, CA
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The generator you were using is equivalent to a single 15 amp outlet from the house. When connected to shore power, the converter is running off this same power source and by itself can use as many as 4-6 amps depending on how many 12v items are being used including trickle charging the batteries. That leaves only about 10 amps for everything else running at 110v. If you are running the A/C at all, it can use up all the 15 amp power just by itself so I wouldnt run that unless you turn everything else off. A lot of hit and miss and you do want to avoid a brownout in your rig by running underpowered.

It would be better to run the fridge in 12v mode because this means only the controller board and the fridge light is using electricity and the cooling is being done by the propane, but your fridge must be multipower capable.

The furnace runs off 12v for controls and the heat is all propane. Reduce the amounts of 12v lighting and this lessens the load for the converter which then lessens the load for the generator. This is why some RVs install two or more 12v batteries to provide more electricity when things are running, but it will take more effort to recharge the batteries. Most rigs use one or 1 panels for each battery as long as the panels are a decent size to recharge quickly.

The other thing to check is that most generators are modeled after the maximum rating, however this is the peak rating like for when things first start up. Then after starting the electricity need will drop a little bit or about 75% to 85% depending on the quality of the generator. For example, an 1850 watt genny can provide about 15 amps (or 1500 watts) of power. A Honda 2000 will be slightly better , but will still only provide about 16.5 amps or 1650 watts of power. Too many things running and as you can ascertain, you can't run too many things at the same time even the 12v stuff with that small a generator. The rest of the rating is used for when something starts, like when first turning on a TV, the microwave, fridge, ANYTHING can start a small surge which hopefully the generator can sustain. Many have reported on small generator that the generator will kick off when somethings starts up which means the rating has been exceeded.

Since your Lance seems to be as equipped as a small trailer and these trailers typically require 30 amps (3000 watts) of run time, you'll need about 3200 to 3500 watts to be comfortable, but a 3000 rated genny might be do okay if you are very careful and conscious of the power usage.

I have two EU2000 generators connected in parallel with special wiring so combined they provide 4000 watts (less than 40 amps) of power which could easily sustain a 30 amp rig including surges.

However, my rig is 50 amp capable, so I would need about 5500 to 6000 watts of generator. Since I don't have a second A/C I'm not too worried, but if I had a second A/C and only had 30 amps of power, I would never try to run both A/Cs at the same time because I know 30 amps won't be enough and use other things too.

The solar power is only used to recharge 12v batteries and I think just one might not be enough. Having all these power sources also requires additional electronics in the form of transfer switches so your charging and usage does not create problems as they try to override each other.

You've definitely got some homework to do, but the bottom line is with that or a 2000 watt generator or less, use your power very carefully and not all at once.



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Last edited by artmart; 10-03-2011 at 11:02 PM..
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  #3  
Old 10-04-2011, 08:15 AM
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As Art said to run an ac unit and all the other ac stuff on your rig will take at least a 4000 watt gennie. 4000 peak, like when the ac kicks on or micro wave. It will then drop back to 3500. Plenty to run your stuff. which is normal.
Your 1850 would have been enough to run what you wanted, if you left it on. No ac though. Your problem was that you ran down the battery and didn't give the gennie enough time to charge it back up. It takes a long time to recharge through the converter. It works like a trickle charger. When you fired up the gennie to charge the battery, you where still using 12 volt, which took away from the converters charging capabilities. Once you turned the generator off, you where back on the battery again, depleting it more. You can buy a 10,000 watt generator, but you are only going to get so much from the converter to recharge the battery.
Running on 12 volt, Reefer, lights and heat blower. Out of those three the blower is pulling the most, when on. It's running a motor. Reefer won't take much, only a processing board. Lights, keep to a minimum.
I think if you get an extra battery charger, one with a 10 amp charge minimum, you will help out you converter. It will be pulling off the AC side of the generator, but your running off of 12 volt. I never looked to see how many amps a charger draws. You can monitor the battery's status by the battery monitor on your panel board, if you have one.
Art mentioned a second battery, that will also help you situation. They will last longer, but will also take longer to recharge.
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  #4  
Old 10-04-2011, 12:22 PM
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You do not need a larger generator to charge your batteries. You need a better charger. Like dogbone says get a standalone charger and it will load your batteries a lot faster.
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  #5  
Old 10-07-2011, 09:52 AM
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Thanks to all who responded to my question. I appreciate all your expertise. This is an awesome resource.
Randy
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  #6  
Old 10-08-2011, 11:47 PM
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I need to clarify something I said about solar panels. There are run-time uses for solar panels but you'll need a whole roof top full of them and some amount of power management.

If you have enough panels they can not only recharge the batteries they can also help supply more 12v. Then with as much as a 3000 inverter (converts 12v to 110v), you can use 110v without being connected to shore power via the inverter. This is possible, I know some that do it, but it's a very high initial investment cost with all the stuff that's needed. Along the same lines there are even some trailer owners who are using wind power, but now you're talking very high tech and you need to camp where it's mostly windy.

I didn't mention this in this topic since the OP was mostly interested in running a generator for dependable recharging and 110v power. Solar panels, no matter how many must have some pretty good light source (a sunny day) to work at their best.



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