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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We recently moved up from a Pop Up to a 27.5 ft TT and it has a 30 amp service... I am asking what everyone runs or recommends for portable gen set power? I assume 3000 watt or higher? any particular brands ?
I hate the noise so I plan to use a Loooonnnggg power cord ,,,Hahahaha

Hope you all are having a great winter :)
 

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generator power

I assume your TT has ac and that in the summer you intend to use it. For our toy hauler we have a Yamaha 3k unit that runs very quietly and will run the ac but probably not the microwave at the same time. Many that contribute to this forum like running two Honda 2k generators hooked together with Honda selling a gadget to do that. Either way works but most find that the cheaper generators out there are not muffeled as well and can make far more noise thus being an irritant to neighbors and themselves. You should get a lot of opinions on this so digest and then buy what looks best for your purposes. I would not go below 3k though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks :) I should have included that I don't have an ac unit in this one so don't need the really big power so was just thinking the 3 k or larger ,,, yes I have heard some loud ones ,,, we camp at provincial parks and there are no electrical hookups
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
went looking at solar panels today ,,, wow lots to research ,,, how large should we buy? 80w or 60w ? then you need a controller so another thing to add to the list ,,, then theres the quality ,,, who sells the better quality ,,,

we have an offer of half price on a second hand Sharp Solar Panel from the campers shop 80w ,,, he says it will keep our battery at full charge constantly.

will run us about 450 - 500 to set up ,,, about the same as a gen set so we are going with the solar

so Thank you guys for the ideas and help :)
 

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For a generator solution, you should use one rated at 3500 or more to get the 30 amps a trailer needs. If you get less than that you will be turning things off to turn other things on.

Then there's the sine wave it provides. Many loud industrial generators will provide the power but the signal will not be as clean as it needs to be and this could hurt sensitive electronics like televisions, computer and other high tech digital stuff.

If you get smaller generators and combine them to increase the output power, then you also need to ensure the interconnections are what the manufacturer recommends. For example, I have two Honda generators and use a parallel kit meant for them. Besides combining to increase the power output, the kit also synchronizes the "phases" of the output so eliminate problems. Using any two generators with any old multi-connection wiring is NOT recommended.

Noise! Using industrial generators will cause you to be the bane of the neighborhood, the campground and the wilderness. Besides Honda and Yamaha, there are other solutions. Honda generators are about 45 dbs and any other generators that are higher than that will generate a lot more noise since this is measured logarithmically.

There are other off-the-grid solutions. The key to these is maintaining the charge of the batteries (solar panels, generators, etc.) You can even add a high output inverter (3000-6000 watts) to provide 110v even when you are boondocking. Just keep in mind that with all power usage, there must be a capable way (more money too) to recharge your battery systems. Using 6v (heavier, larger and more expensive) is another option over 12v batteries because they discharge slower, recharge quicker and just seem to be more durable, too.

Can you tell I've been looking into this, too? I'm getting ready to change over to 6v batteries after the batteries die, then recharging systems is next. Until I connect to shore power, or use my dual gennies (but you can't run these at night because of noise abatements). And I am in constant fear that my portable system will "wander away" because of its non-permanence. But with portable generators, I often use them for other things besides just trailer power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the input guys! I agree on the noise thing ,,, we were camped next to one last summer ,,, he ran it til 1 am ,,pleaded ignorance about the 7pm shut down time ,, ,,, we never complained about it but it was sure annoying..... I believe the solar will do what we want just fine :)
 

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As far as solar panels go, remember that Watts are volts x amps.

IF your RV runs off 12V and needs a minimum of 30 amps to run, you need to have at least 320 Watts of power available. If you have 80W panels, you would need at least 4 of them to put out enough to run everything, and even then you will brownout if you start turning on additional stuff. You probably want about 600W or more output depending on what you are running.. Stuff that uses AC will need to have the power converted from DC to AC which will incur a loss.

Best thing is find an electrician who deals with RV's and get some expert advice.

As a tent camper, if you run a generator, I'm hoping you set up on the far side of the park from me.
 

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Chill everybody - re-read - NO A/C.
I was referring to AC as in Alternating Current, not A/C air conditioning.

Some people like to use things like hair dryers, portable radios, etc that require AC to work. Those require additional draw as you have to not only run the appliance, but you have to run an inverter to change the DC to AC.


BTW the 3500W generator Art refers to above will give you slightly more than 30 amps at 110VAC. For reference, 30 amps is the rating for an electric stove or clothes dryer. Doubt you will be running anything like that.

As far as generator vs solar, here is how they seem to me.

Solar
Pros: They are silent, and don't need fuel. As long as you get a decent size, you can charge up your batteries and run off them.
Cons: Have to find a sunny spot for them. They don't work well when its dim or dark. A little more hassle to set up.

Generator
Pros: Ease of use. Just start it up and it charges up your batteries. Also can run AC directly from it.
Cons: uses fuel, makes noise, and annoys people who come and beat you on the head.


MY own personal preference would be to try for the solar panels.
 

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Solar
Pros: They are silent, and don't need fuel. As long as you get a decent size, you can charge up your batteries and run off them.
Cons: Have to find a sunny spot for them. They don't work well when its dim or dark. A little more hassle to set up.

Generator
Pros: Ease of use. Just start it up and it charges up your batteries. Also can run AC directly from it.
Cons: uses fuel, makes noise, and annoys people who come and beat you on the head.


MY own personal preference would be to try for the solar panels.
Nice summary Shadow. Would you also recommend using solar panels on a Motorhome with an A/C? My parents own one and they have been considering to add some solar panels and hopefully get rid of their generator. Is that a likely scenario?
 

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Nice summary Shadow. Would you also recommend using solar panels on a Motorhome with an A/C? My parents own one and they have been considering to add some solar panels and hopefully get rid of their generator. Is that a likely scenario?
Well, in theory if you have a big enough solar array, you could power an A/C.

In practice however, I can't answer that as I am not familiar enough with solar panels to know how big it would have to be, nor am i familiar enough with the A/C units to know what kind of power draw the RV models require.

Most RV stuff can run off 12V DC.. Lights, electronics, etc. You can run small appliances with a DC to AC inverter but that's usually for small televisions, hair dryers, etc..

AC's use electric motors and compressors, and can draw a lot of power.
I did a quick google search and it looks like they run off 110VAC.

The following is me doing calculations based on the first thing I find on google.. Which lists it as running at 1900 watts at high cooling power.

I looked up a solar panel kit that has an output of 110 watts.
It's dimensions are 63" x 25" x 3.1"

You need 18 of them to put out enough power to run the AC.

Each panel is roughly 2X5 feet... so your array would be about 20 foot by 10 foot.. That's bigger than the RV.



Talk to someone who sells the A/C's and solar panels and see what is available, but unless there are higher output panels out there, and much more efficient A/C's I would have to say go with a generator.
 

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I am in agreement with some others regarding the generator. PLEASE DO NOT!! The noise is very annoying!! I remember last year we were at one of our favorite spots -- in the "lower" grounds where this is no electricity. One of the campers had a generator which ran for hours every night. They're trailer was lit-up like a christmas tree! Wow!!! Turn-off your lights, be conservative! Shut-off the generator! Everyone will be happier!
 

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But, beyond my last post, I am considering some options for myself. At that same campgound (our favorite), we discovered this year that the fridge in our new camper will drain the battery quite quickly (within 2 days). Coleman sells a 15w (basically 1 amp) solar panels with controller for about $100. I'm wondering if this is enough to keep the battery charged during these times. Seems to me it wouldn't take much. You're not trying to "power" the camper (the battery is for that). You are simply trying to charge the battery during the day in order to get it through the night.

Also, I recently discovered that there are LED replacement bulbs available for the internal lighting (LED bulbs take a LOT less power). So, maybe replacing all of the bulbs with LED would allow use to get through our week of "unconnected" camping.

Anyone have any experience with any of this??

-bruce
 
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