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Old 12-30-2014, 11:50 PM   #1
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Portable generator power for your A/C

I know that several of you have small 2000 watt portable generators. The new inverter generators are smooth and relatively quiet. On Moonstruck there is a 12 KW Northern Lights generator that gives gobs of power.

Since looking into boondocking with our Hi Lo RV trailer we were faced with a similar situation. Having a Surburban for a tow vehicle a 150# generator is just too heavy for my back. A 46# generator would be no problem, but they are really too small to run an A/C. But wait, there's more. Now they make them to be easily linked together for 3000 or more watts of power. That will pull a 12 16,000 btu A/C. So, that is what I did. For $1,258.00 plus tax, I got two generators and the cable kit for linking. I am a happy camper (pun intended).

These look very similar to the Honda and Yamaha generators. They have a Yamaha engine, and look like quality. Costco is known for carrying good stuff. My trailor is on a storage lot. I took one of the little suckers over to work on it tonight. I am rebuilding a bed platform. One will run everything except the A/C.

http://www.costco.com/Smarter-Tools-...100121916.html
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Old 12-31-2014, 12:01 AM   #2
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How does the cable linking work?
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Old 12-31-2014, 12:53 AM   #3
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I had a travel trailer with roof air. We set out to Alaska from SC after testing 2 1000 Honda generators in parallel for power. At home we found we could start the air conditioner with the generators paralleled and shut one down after things settled.

When we got into the thin air up in the mountains we found the twin generators often had problem getting the air conditioner going. One would stumble and the other would kick out. Now we had to shut them both down, turn off the A/c and gingerly try to get them going again ... often without success. We bought a cheap 3500 Watt generator enroute. The 3500 crapped out on the way home.

The moral is that paralleling generators isn't always a good idea. And for those of you who will do it anyway, you don't have to buy an expensive paralleling cable -- all you need is a jumper with two male ends - just be sure you don't touch one while it's hot.
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Old 12-31-2014, 01:09 AM   #4
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Don, I've always steered clear of inexpensive generators but that one may be ok because of the Yamaha engine. I have to say I really love my little Honda 2000.


You might look at putting hard start capacitors on your air conditioners. The capacitors may let you run them on one generator. I couldn't get my little 5000 btu boat unit to start on my Honda 2000 until I installed the hard start capacitor. Now I can start and run it on a Honda 1000. It will cost you less than thirty bucks to try it and if it works, it'll make your life easier by one generator.


Google "hard start capacitor". You'll find lots of information and a lot of it related to use on RV generators. I used a Supco brand capacitor I bought from a local refrigeration supply house.
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Old 12-31-2014, 06:44 AM   #5
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I had to buy a 7500 portable generator for construction work and powering my TIG welder on my boat build, and with much doubt, went the Harbor Freight route. I think I paid in the ballpark of $650 ( including two year extended warranty) , and after two years of working hard, it has turned out to be a good machine. This unit starts on the second pull every time ( it has electric start,but we don't use it), and is put together very well, including top of the line receptacles and motor mounts...pretty impressive.

I'm not trying to hijack Don's thread, but I'd recommend giving these less costly units a look. For sure one is going to get a turd from time to time, but in the case of Harbor Freight, I've never had an issue with that company not excepting a return or giving us grief regarding defects.

Given the hours we've put on the machine, and the low cost to purchase, when it does have a mechanical issue, I doubt we'd try to fix it, and would rather put it for sale on local craigslist, and replace with a new unit.

That being said, we also have a 15 year old Honda 3500 that starts on the second pull every time too.

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Old 12-31-2014, 09:03 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by windmill29130 View Post
How does the cable linking work?
Here is a link to the cable link.

Smarter Tools 30A Parallel Kit for Inverter Generators-ST-PKIT2000 - The Home Depot

It is a neat set up with plug in and grounding connections together on the front. It makes it hard to screw up.

Parks, I am almost as concerned about noise as power. The two generators connected in parallel with smart throttle are loafing and very quiet-----about 55 db. They really are easy to carry. In fact I can carry one in each hand. They will not get hard use, so at almost 1/2 price of the Honda and Yamaha units thought it would be worth a chance.
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Old 12-31-2014, 09:22 AM   #7
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Don,

A Honda 2000 will run a 13.5 btu ac. You will need to add a hard start capacitor.

It will be the only thing that you can run while the aircond is running. We'd throw the breakers for everything except the aircond.

We have ran the battery charger and the aircond at times...it works as long as the compressor didn't cycle.

I can't speak to diminished performance at elevation. We have only used this setup here in the east, 3500'
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Old 12-31-2014, 09:37 AM   #8
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Don,

A Honda 2000 will run a 13.5 btu ac. You will need to add a hard start capacitor.

It will be the only thing that you can run while the aircond is running. We'd throw the breakers for everything except the aircond.

We have ran the battery charger and the aircond at times...it works as long as the compressor didn't cycle.

I can't speak to diminished performance at elevation. We have only used this setup here in the east, 3500'
That is good info. Out West at about 5,000' and above A/C is seldom needed. So mainly running the frig and topping up the batteries is the use. These things are so small and lite that one can be carried as a spare.

I still like the idea of two running at about 1/2 load or less.

On the boat we have 55,000 btu of cooling. We run that and everything else without load shedding. It is just like being home.
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Old 12-31-2014, 11:24 AM   #9
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I love my EU2000i genset. Pretty much can go anywhere is super quiet. I would run my whole house minus the well pump with one and couldn't tell it was on outside. You can plumb a marine 5 gallon tank for cheap money and it will go probably 3 to 4 days on that fuel supply.
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Old 12-31-2014, 12:23 PM   #10
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Thinking along the same lines, I just picked up one of these. It will primarily be used for Battery charging (through my on-board AC charger).....Emergency use is the idea as well as Battery fill-up after a night or two on the hook. I don't expect it to run my 12K AC system though I may look into that hard start capacitor.. Plus, with a 28' Boat, Storage is limited. This one has a standard 30Amp socket (extra on the Honda) so it can be easily plugged into the boat's AC cord. It can also be paralleled to 4K with the included cables at no additional cost if you buy a second as Moonstruck did. While I'm a Honda Fan (yeah, I worked for them for 21 years and they pay my pension), at 1/2 the price and good reviews I thought I'd take a shot here. It also gives me enough portable power for maintenance while on the hard. We'll see how it works out.

FREE SHIPPING — Powerhorse Inverter Generator — 2000 Surge Watts, 1600 Rated Watts, CARB-Compliant, Model# LC2000i | Inverter Generators| Northern Tool + Equipment

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Old 12-31-2014, 12:23 PM   #11
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The cheap way to parallel your inverter generators.



Also, if you use an inverter generator for shore power, don't be alarmed if you see Open Ground. All of my "i" series Honda generators (I have the 1000, 2000 and 3000) show this error. Actually these generators produce 60 volts on each leg...
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Old 12-31-2014, 12:49 PM   #12
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I like that 30a plug being on it already. Even if you are not paralleling, you can always dial the batt charger down and plug directly into it without any shore power adapters.


Even running a large AC system, if you are going through the on board inverter, it would absorb most of the start up surge. As long as the generator can handle continuous amp demand, the inverter will take up the slack when trying to start the A/C, fridge, microwave, etc.


$569 plus free shipping is a steal if it's a half decent quality. I paid $900 (ok, I actually did a part trade on an engagement ring) for my EU2000i and it was used. Turns out that generator did more work than the woman it replaced
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Old 12-31-2014, 01:49 PM   #13
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When we got into the thin air up in the mountains we found the twin generators often had problem getting the air conditioner going. One would stumble and the other would kick out. Now we had to shut them both down, turn off the A/c and gingerly try to get them going again ... often without success. We bought a cheap 3500 Watt generator enroute. The 3500 crapped out on the way home.

The moral is that paralleling generators isn't always a good idea. And for those of you who will do it anyway, you don't have to buy an expensive paralleling cable -- all you need is a jumper with two male ends - just be sure you don't touch one while it's hot.
Not much thin air where I boat
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Old 12-31-2014, 02:28 PM   #14
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Not much thin air where I boat

But the OP is not using it on his boat
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Old 12-31-2014, 04:29 PM   #15
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Don, you know I love my Honda eu2000i but I've been looking at those Yammy-powered units in Costco for several months wondering how they sound and operate compared to the Honda. I'll be very interested in your experiences down the road after you're run them for a while. Maybe you can run it side-by-side with a Honda for comparison someday.

The only 2 brands I'd consider are the Honda and the Yamaha. The Harbor Freight variety are just too noisy and unreliable for me. I've heard from a friend with one where the fuel connections had cracked/failed and parts availability is scarce. We were camping a few years ago with one of the cheapies in use round the clock 5 spots down from us. It drove us batty with the high frequency and noise level. And they couldn't turn it off since they needed it for medical appliances on the RV.

EDIT: Just found this video. They sound comparable to me.

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Old 12-31-2014, 04:38 PM   #16
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Here is a link to the cable link.

Smarter Tools 30A Parallel Kit for Inverter Generators-ST-PKIT2000 - The Home Depot

It is a neat set up with plug in and grounding connections together on the front. It makes it hard to screw up.

Parks, I am almost as concerned about noise as power. The two generators connected in parallel with smart throttle are loafing and very quiet-----about 55 db. They really are easy to carry. In fact I can carry one in each hand. They will not get hard use, so at almost 1/2 price of the Honda and Yamaha units thought it would be worth a chance.
Nice, Thanks!
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:03 PM   #17
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The aircond is really the only thing that you will need to run. Rv fridges run great on propane they require only a very small amount of dc power to run the control circuit. Our house batteries (2 Trojan 6volts) will supply our needs for about 48 hours. That's 3 of us and with incandescent lights. We find that it works well because that is the limit of our fresh water and grey waters holding. If we aren't ready to go directly to a campground we find that 2 hours or so of driving charges the batteries from the tow vehicle. We use the trip to replenish our water and dump.

Seems to work well for us.

Check out the rv.net forum. They talk about power management and portable generators the way people here talk about anchors.
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:42 AM   #18
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>Rv fridges run great on propane they require only a very small amount of dc power to run the control circuit.<

They are also made with no electric automatic switching.

For a boat the Servelle brand is probably best , no electric (except D call for interior light) and far thicker insulation for home use by the Amish
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:55 AM   #19
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Every rv fridge i have been around have had around has had automatic switching to AC electric. Most have only 2 buttons on the front of them. Power on and off and one for gas/automatic. In the automatic setting it tries to cool with 120vac if that isn't available it automatically switches to gas. Both settings require 12vdc to power the control circuit. Very few have a DC cooling option at all.
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:20 AM   #20
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Don, you know I love my Honda eu2000i but I've been looking at those Yammy-powered units in Costco for several months wondering how they sound and operate compared to the Honda. I'll be very interested in your experiences down the road after you're run them for a while. Maybe you can run it side-by-side with a Honda for comparison someday.

The only 2 brands I'd consider are the Honda and the Yamaha. The Harbor Freight variety are just too noisy and unreliable for me. I've heard from a friend with one where the fuel connections had cracked/failed and parts availability is scarce. We were camping a few years ago with one of the cheapies in use round the clock 5 spots down from us. It drove us batty with the high frequency and noise level. And they couldn't turn it off since they needed it for medical appliances on the RV.

EDIT: Just found this video. They sound comparable to me.


Oh boy, Al, now you've done it. This is going to be like another anchor test thread. With smart throttle (speed depends on load) all sound tests should be run under same loading conditions. Since I can't hear myself fart, it makes little difference to me anyway.

Heron, I was in Northern Tools yesterday morning picking up a solar panel I ordered. That generator was on display, and looked interesting. The 30 amp connection on the panel is convenient. I solved that problem on the Smarter Tools unit by a $5.00 adapter.

NT had an internet special with $50.00 off the $279.00 80 watt solar panel with charge controller and 200W inverter. I had a $20.00 coupon, so got it for $209.00. Store price was marked $279.00. I will use it to keep the battery topped up on the RV when in storage. It could also be used as a portable on the boat when at anchor or mooring. Not big enough to power anything, but should work for topping up the batteries.
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