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Old 10-31-2015, 04:18 PM   #1
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Generators

With the recent discussions on tools, spare parts and dead trailer batteries I just have to comment.

We have had our 5.0 TA for approximately a year and half and have only plugged into power three times. The first time was at Takhini Hot Springs in Whitehorse when we were bringing the trailer home. (The power came with the campsite, so even though we didn’t need it we plugged in.) The second time was late fall camping at Denali National Park, cold days, colder nights, sun at low angle to the south. Third time was earlier this fall, camping in Skagway, we had a solid week of rain.

The second and third time I plugged in, I plugged into my 1000 watt Yamaha generator that we used to use with our previous truck camper that only had room for two small group 24 batteries. My wife loathes and despises generators, she gives me the stink eye even if I glance at the tool box where we store it in the truck. So far, for 99% of our camping the solar has worked just fine.

For anyone considering using a small inverter generator with the installed surge protector, search the inter web for instructions on how to make a “Edison Plug”. I made one with a short extension cord, just in case I have to use the much loathed generator. Otherwise you have to turn off your surge protector.

Scott and Lori
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Old 10-31-2015, 05:24 PM   #2
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she gives me the stink eye even if I glance at the tool box where we store it in the truck.

Scott and Lori
My wife is psychic, sometimes I don't even have to glance before she says, "don't even think about it"

I just bought a Hyundai 2000 inverter generator that I ~might~ take with me when we go South after Xmas. Its' primary use is for temporary power at home. I made up a double ended male plug cord to backfeed into the house. Is that what the Edison plug does? Can't find a specific reference for it in relation to the surge protector.

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Old 10-31-2015, 05:46 PM   #3
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I think that most inverter generators have a “floating” ground so when you plug your trailer into the generator your surge protector does not see ground. The Edison plug does not have the ground wired. I used an old piece of yellow extension cord with a big EDISON PLUG label so I do not accidentally use it for any other application.

We had a huge windstorm a few years ago and had no power for three days. That little Yamaha could run our high efficiency boiler so we had heat and hot water and refrigerator at the same time. We did have to unplug it from the house occasionally to run the deep freeze in the garage.

I have a old Xantrax? module that has a bypass switch to isolate the house from the power grid. During a power outage I can flip a bypass switch and plug the generator into the dedicated outlet.

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Old 10-31-2015, 06:16 PM   #4
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Don't know if this applies to your home application, but Honda warns:
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Old 10-31-2015, 06:18 PM   #5
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Sorry it's been a few years since I wired the extension cord. It is also known as a "ground neutral bond", here is a link: Generator Ground-Neutral Bonding | No~Shock~Zone

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Old 10-31-2015, 06:24 PM   #6
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That is what the the bypass module does, it isolates the house from the power grid so there is no chance of "back feeding", (is that even a real term)? into the power grid.

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Old 10-31-2015, 06:46 PM   #7
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That is what the the bypass module does, it isolates the house from the power grid so there is no chance of "back feeding", (is that even a real term)? into the power grid.
Yes, that's a reasonable term, because it means to feed power in reverse to the normal direction. The bypass module is like the switch used in an RV with an inverter or built-in generator, to connect that alternate power source to the RV's circuits and disconnect them from the "shore power" cord.
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Old 10-31-2015, 06:51 PM   #8
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I just bought a Hyundai 2000 inverter generator that I ~might~ take with me when we go South after Xmas. Its' primary use is for temporary power at home. I made up a double ended male plug cord to backfeed into the house...
Ron, I'm sure you understand the dangers of this setup, and use it with appropriate care... including shutting off the main breaker of the house panel and tagging the breaker with a warning before plugging in this alternate power source. If the main breaker were left on, then the service wires coming into the house (and the utility system connected to them) would be live when the running generator is connected - as explained in the Honda warning.

All of this would apply equally to a trailer plugged into shore power.
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Old 10-31-2015, 07:08 PM   #9
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We bought a 2000 watt Yamaha generator (capable of burning propane) a year ago and have yet to use it. The 160 watt generator keeps the dual 6v batteries topped up all the time even under marginal sunlight conditions.
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Old 10-31-2015, 07:26 PM   #10
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When we picked up our trailer I had plans to mount two additional 100 watt panels that I had sitting in the shed. A battery box that is capable of fitting four six volt batteries was in my Amazon shopping cart. So far the panels are still sitting in the shed and the battery box was deleted from the shopping cart. Love the solar.

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Old 10-31-2015, 07:36 PM   #11
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Ron, I'm sure you understand the dangers of this setup, and use it with appropriate care... .
Yup, sure do. First learned about it 40 years ago when I built and wired my own house. Started living in it before it had received final inspection. Electrical inspector came by and wasn't happy that I'd back wired the panel with an extension cord from a neighbors house.

In addition to ensuring the main breaker is off I also have additional isolation switches.

Actually just did the first test last week. I was happy that the circuit board in my high efficiency didn't have any problems with the output. No more sitting in the dark and cold next time we have a power outage.

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Old 10-31-2015, 07:44 PM   #12
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We did a remodel recently so the heating system and appliances are all energy efficient. Here is this 1000 watt generator that cannot even run a 1500 watt electric heater but can run our home heating and hot water system.

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Old 10-31-2015, 09:39 PM   #13
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They are predicting a rough el ninjo winter here in NM. Just might be ready for a generator for home back up and... them cold nights in Quartzsite, floated neutrals, Edison plugs, etc.
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Old 10-31-2015, 10:31 PM   #14
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Ran into an actual need for a generator on our recent trip to southern Utah. Pulled into Hovenweep with a temps at 100 degrees, at least that's what it felt like to us northerners. Had I had the Honda 2k along we would have stayed in the Hovenweep campground, as it was I didn't have it along so we went and found a commercial place with hookups.

So 1 night in about 150 I wish I had had the generator along. Like your wife, we are not fans of generators, especially our own. Quiet my eye!
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Old 10-31-2015, 10:35 PM   #15
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I like the security blanket of having the little 1600 gennie, but all I really seem to do is start it up for exercise... both mine and the motor's.
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Old 11-01-2015, 04:57 PM   #16
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Ran into an actual need for a generator on our recent trip to southern Utah. Pulled into Hovenweep with a temps at 100 degrees, at least that's what it felt like to us northerners. Had I had the Honda 2k along we would have stayed in the Hovenweep campground, as it was I didn't have it along so we went and found a commercial place with hookups.

So 1 night in about 150 I wish I had had the generator along. Like your wife, we are not fans of generators, especially our own. Quiet my eye!
Does the Honda 2K generator have enough power to run your AC ?
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Old 11-01-2015, 06:09 PM   #17
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Does the Honda 2K generator have enough power to run your AC ?
Yes, but I've not tried it in really hot weather, just testing in the driveway. You have to keep it out of eco mode.
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Old 11-01-2015, 06:38 PM   #18
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Bob, Though I do not own Honda 2000 generator I can tell you this. The AC on our 19 pulls about 12. 5 amps plus or minus about .8 amps according to the surge protector on a hot day while working hard in high humidity. The 2000 is rated at just over 13 amps when running at the 1600 watt rating though it can "hog down" and turn out a little more under a full load. So it looks to me that you could run the AC on the genset but not a lot more. Although I do not plan on buying one, if I had to have one that would give me a full service cushion I'd probably get a 3000 watt unit if I was hauling it in a pickup. Although Hondas in general are pretty easy on fuel, they do take some so whether it be gasoline or a propane conversion, fuel can easily be a limiting factor in my experience with generators. Just my $.02
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Old 11-01-2015, 06:51 PM   #19
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Bob, Though I do not own Honda 2000 generator I can tell you this. The AC on our 19 pulls about 12. 5 amps plus or minus about .8 amps according to the surge protector on a hot day while working hard in high humidity. The 2000 is rated at just over 13 amps when running at the 1600 watt rating though it can "hog down" and turn out a little more under a full load. So it looks to me that you could run the AC on the genset but not a lot more. Although I do not plan on buying one, if I had to have one that would give me a full service cushion I'd probably get a 3000 watt unit if I was hauling it in a pickup. Although Hondas in general are pretty easy on fuel, they do take some so whether it be gasoline or a propane conversion, fuel can easily be a limiting factor in my experience with generators. Just my $.02
Dave
The biggest problem with a 3000W genset is that they are harder to handle. I think they are around 130 lbs, and I can barely load one in a pickup myself, and as I age, I imagine it will only get tougher. The 2000W unit is WAY lighter (not sure, but I think 1/3 the weight), and a piece of cake to toss around. You are right that you can't run much more on it when the A/C is working, but if you just used the batteries for other things, it would not be a problem.

I have a Honda EU3000i, and would be really hard pressed to even consider bringing it with me camping.
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Old 11-01-2015, 06:54 PM   #20
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Somewhere in the archives, Reace ran a test to make sure the Honda 2000 would successfully run the A/C (alone) he replied it did... with the hard start capacitor.
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