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Old 04-12-2018, 09:34 PM   #1
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Generator Question-RV Newbie

I recently purchased the Micro Minnie 1808 and am investigating what generator to buy when we are boondocking. The Yamaha series get good reviews. The 1000 Watt generator is rated for 8 amps and can only be used to charge the battery so i am considering the 2000 Watt model that is rated for 16 amps. I could run 1 15amp appliance at a time and charge my RV’s battery. Using the AC is not an option when using the generator. I would have to make sure the refrigerator is set to propane so not to overload the system if i was using another 15 amp appliance. My electrical knowledge is rudimentary so i am posting this to make sure my thinking is correct or to get different advice before I proceed.
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:04 PM   #2
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You are on the right track looking at Yamaha or Honda Japan made generators that are 4 cycle, cast iron sleeve, quiet, and reliable. Cost more up front but will last you forever and will be much quieter for you and your neighbors when boondocking.

When you hook your Minnie to the 120 VAC output its internal converter/charger will charge your Minnie's 12 volt battery, if your batteries need bulk charging the converter/charger will draw about 500 Watts of generator power until batteries reach 80% charged then it will drop off to much less, and eventually to about 50 watts plus any DC loads you have on in the RV when it reaches "float" mode and is just float charging the batteries.

If you want to use your AC then you will need at least 2000 Watts. Many buy two 1000 W generators that are capable of being run in sync in parallel using a "parallel kit" this is most often done with Honda 1000 W generators but think Yamaha has it too on some of theirs. The other advantage is the 1000 W generators are smaller and lighter so you may have better luck lugging them around.

Output of gasoline or LP powered generators decreases with altitude if you want to reliably run AC at higher altitudes then 2,400 Watts is a better minimum size choice.

I bought the Yamaha EF2400iSHC, a 2000 running watts, 2400 starting watts unit. It reliabily started my 13,500 BTU AC even at altitudes of 7,000 feet in Colorado.

One last thing, the Yamaha generators don't have Neutral and Ground tied together internally. This is called Neutral to Ground Bond, and all shore power and permanent mounted generators already have it. Portable generators often do not. Lack of the N-G Bond will prevent GFCI outlets in your RV from tripping and protecting you from shock. You can buy a 15 Amp Plug and jumper the White and Green prongs together to provide the N-G Bond, just plug it in to the other 120 V outlet on the generator that you are not using to feed the RV.
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Old 04-12-2018, 11:05 PM   #3
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Hold on there Randy. To “start” and run AC you need 2 generators of 2000 watts paralleled together- not two 1000 Watt gens. One 2000 watt is almost enough to run the AC... but not quite. And certainly not enough to start the AC.

2400 watts maybe enough if you have a soft start installed on the AC. But most 13k BTU ACs need about 2500+ watts to start. And nothing else could be running... even having the battery charger running would conflict with running the AC.

I suggest the Honda - starts easy, very reliable and holds its value for years.
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Old 04-13-2018, 05:00 PM   #4
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Hold on there Randy. To “start” and run AC you need 2 generators of 2000 watts paralleled together- not two 1000 Watt gens. One 2000 watt is almost enough to run the AC... but not quite. And certainly not enough to start the AC.

2400 watts maybe enough if you have a soft start installed on the AC. But most 13k BTU ACs need about 2500+ watts to start. And nothing else could be running... even having the battery charger running would conflict with running the AC.

I suggest the Honda - starts easy, very reliable and holds its value for years.
Yes you are right I should have said "parallel two 2,000 Watt generators". Respectfully the 13,500 BTU AC in my 2013 Heartland Edge did not need 2,500 watts to start even at higher altitudes in Colorado. I did put in a Supco Soft Start Capacitor but even before I did this it did fine.

That said, Yamaha used to market the 2400iSHC to run 13,500 BTU ACs and they have stopped doing this, guess there were enough "misses" where the 2400iSHC did not cut it that Yamaha decided to stop claiming it would reliably start all 13,500 BTU ACs.

For sure if buying a single generator and running AC is part of the goal, 3000 W is the minimum to be safe and sure.
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Old 04-13-2018, 05:13 PM   #5
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For sure if buying a single generator and running AC is part of the goal, 3000 W is the minimum to be safe and sure.
Yep, that's spot on.

I had a TT and purchased one Honda 2000i Genset. It would just about never start the 13.5K AC. I think it did once. But then the next time the AC compressor came on it overloaded the Honda and it shut down.

I got 2 Hondas and the parallel hookup and it worked great.

Here's the thing. I had and used the two Honda's for 10 years. Then when I sold the TT and bought a motorhome with a built in genset I sold the Hondas. They still started on one pull. They still ran great and I sold them with the parallel set for $1000 cash. I had paid about $800 each from them 10 years earlier. So, the fact that they only cost me $60 a year for 10-years was pretty amazing. And they never once needed anything other than an oil change every year.

I call that a good piece of equipment.
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