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Old 04-22-2015, 03:36 AM   #1
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Looking for generator advice

I've got a 2014 Kodiak 291 resl. I'm looking at getting a small generator to run the AC, water pump and interior lights when I go boondocking. What's suitable wattage size? And do you just plug your 30 amp cord into the generator and fire it up? This will be my first experience with a generator
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Old 04-22-2015, 04:06 AM   #2
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There are lots of discussions here on generators. I won't even tell you what I bought, here's what I wish I bought. An inverter is more expensive, but quieter and better for electronics. Enough juice to run one AC. Built-in 30 amp socket. Available from many outlets. 3100W Inverter Generator (CARB) - Champion Power Equipment
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Old 04-22-2015, 04:17 AM   #3
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You will need to know what your power requirements are to find the right one for you. Generators are usually rated in Watts (ie. 5500, 4000, 2500, etc), and you will need to know the maximum number of Watts your trailer will require. Most appliances will have either the wattage or the amp draw on a label somewhere, or possibly in the literature. Remember that Watts=ampsXvolts. Your camper will have a 120 volt A/C system, so you should be able to do the math for the appliances you need/want to run simultaneously, then buy a generator with a continuous output greater than or equal to your needs. Don't forget, appliances with large motors (ie. Air conditioners) have a "starting load" that can consume quite a bit more power when firing up then they do during operation. My 15,000 BTU main A/C unit draws 13 amps when running, but it's starting load is 18 amps. Once you've picked your generator your 3 prong shore power cord will plug right into it (do check that the generator has the proper recepticle for your power cord). I've only ever had manufacturer installed generator sets, so I'm sure someone will chime in with a greater wealth of knowledge, but hopefully this will get you started. Oh, and since your lights are going to be 12 volt run from your converter, be sure to find and add the amp draw for your converter as well, so that you will have sufficient A/C power to provide for all your lights and to charge your battery(ies).
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Old 04-22-2015, 04:30 AM   #4
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The biggest issue with most portable generators is a small fuel capacity, which limits the run time. This would require you to refuel to run your AC overnight.

Check out a Boliy generator with the external tank option. You can use 6 gallon plus outboard boat motor fuel tanks to extend the run time. Also with these external tanks there is no more pouring gas, you can fill several up at the gas station and just swap them out as needed.

Boliy Generator

Nothing is worse than spilling gas on your pajamas in the middle of the night.
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Old 04-22-2015, 04:33 PM   #5
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I bought one of these before I bought my Voltage. Will run everything you need .
3100W Inverter Generator (CARB) - Champion Power Equipment
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:47 PM   #6
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Running the air conditioner? I suggest a minimum of 3000 watt continuous rating and definitely an inverter type. They are quieter and more fuel efficient. Another alternative is 2 x 2000 watt inverter generators with a parallel kit. Then you can only run one when demand is low (pretty much anything besides the AC) and parallel the second when you have high demand (the AC). 2000 watt units are also reasonably sized so you can pick them up relatively easily. 3000 watt units are beasts and can't be easily lifted by one person alone. Honda and Yamaha are the kings of this market; however, it seems like Champion provides a less expensive alternative. Some report success with only a 2000/2400 watt rated generator running their 13.5 kBtu air con; however, it is marginal and depends heavily on altitude and ambient temperatures. Even with the addition of a hard start capacitor on the AC. I'm one of them and I am resigned to not try for AC while camping anymore! We have a Yamaha 2400.
And just for clarity, the water pump and interior lighting runs off the 12V system not the 120V AC system. Your 12V battery/batteries will be charged by the onboard converter which draws power from the 120 AC shore power/generator power.

Some good reading on an RV's 12V system
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:18 PM   #7
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We have a Honda EU3000 for our Kodiak 240BHSL. It will run the 15000 BTU AC system and it will also run any of our appliances without trouble. However we can not be using the microwave (for instance) and try to turn on the AC, it kicks the generator into overload and we need to reset.
So, the bottom line is we really like our Honda. We've had many people comment on how quiet it is and it does everything we need it to. Just don't try to use everything at once!
If I had it to do over again I'd buy 2 Honda EU2000's. The majority of the time we'd only need to run one of them which means less noise and fuel. For the times we need AC or other heavy usage we could connect them together and have the power needed. Also the 2000 is much smaller and more for one person to handle. My 3000 requires 2 people to move and load/unload.
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:31 PM   #8
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I have done A LOT of research on the generators. For quiet run you definitely want an inverterter generator. Size depends on what you want to run all at once.

One interesting note about the Champion vs Honda/Yamaha, etc. Champion does not use a fuel pump, they are gravity feed only. Both the Honda and Yamaha have a fuel pump so you can use a secondary fuel tank to increase run time. With the Champion you have to work out a gravity feed system of some sort. One guy I know added a petcock to the low side of a plastic out board tank, then rigged a frame to put it over his Champion 3100. Works for him.

Aaron
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