View Full Version : Generator questions

Fat Freddy
05-15-2013, 03:24 PM
Ok I was reading the thread on people with RVs or not and in the discussion loud generators was brought up. I know absolutely nothing about generators except will probably need one and I have will have very limited funds, so money is a very major issue but I want to be considerate to others as well as ourselves.

For the most part my needs are not to bad. I bought an old 1972 18ft camper, and had lots of small work done on it. But it is not set up currently as a typical camper that runs the fridge on propane or 12volt or electric. It is all regular household type plug in. I would call it a 110 plug in but I am sure that is not right.

In the camper itself we have a dorm size fridge and the interior lights. Outside we will have a string of canopy lights and maybe a Guru. We want to have an air conditioner. I was told a roof mounted is not feasible, so realistically I am looking at a portable(lots of questions) or a window unit. This is where my generator question is.

In the other thread I was reading not to have a loud or commercial generator, which I completely understand and agree with, but I dont know what is considered to loud in terms of decibel levels. According to one generator(Generac) website I would need a generator over 3500 watt with a window A/C.

I would much rather have a Honda but the cost is way out of what i can come up with and it seems like all the quieter generators are not at least 3500 watt. So I called Camping World and asked them about generators and my needs primarily quiet and they told me the Champion 4000 Watt is the most popular with RVers. Its decibel level is 68 which seems substantially higher than the Honda, but in easy to understand terms I dont know if it is to loud. I did find cheaper but even louder generators I dont want to mess with.I did find an enclosed Generac I really like but it says it is only a 2000 watt.

Any help that I can understand in Comp use is appreciated. I know what I need but I want to be considerate of others. I did find on the Honda website a decibel chart and it says the 68 decibel is like a vacuum cleaner.

05-15-2013, 03:35 PM
If you had a vacuum cleaner running during quiet hours I would definitely be saying something.

Non-quiet hours I could care less.

Also, make sure your generator can handle the surge too. i.e. that Window AC may need 3500 but on startup it draws 4k. This is why most generators are rated at 5k/6500. It can handle 5k and short bursts at 6500 to compensate for surges.

Also, look at the window ac because I have one for the house that I can run off the generator (mine is 5k) and I am pretty sure it is not even close to 3500w draw.

Jason TQ
05-15-2013, 03:50 PM
What is your budget? Pretty big question there?

05-15-2013, 03:55 PM
3500 watts at 120 volts is 30 amps of current. Some generators can handle 3500 watts but only for a short period of time. A 5000 BTU room air conditioner will draw approximately 6 to 8 amps one the compressor has started. It will draw more on turn-on. If your generator can handle a 3500 watt load steady state I would say you are in business keeping in mind you will be running a frig at the same time. If 68 dB is the sound level of a vacuum cleaner the organizers will probably ask you to turn off your generator during quiet hours.

05-15-2013, 04:22 PM
Champion has a quietinverter genset, you would need 2 of them, they make a cable to hook them together, they are pretty quiet, i have no idea how they work or the reliability, i bit the bullet and choked on the honda 3000eu

Smoke'n Ice
05-15-2013, 06:20 PM
Sound as measured in dB is relative only if you also include the distance from the source. As an example:
1. Jet plane at take off power at 100 feet is 140 dB which will damage hearing
2. Threshold of pain is 120 dB
3. Loud rock concert 30 feet from the speakers is typically 120 dB
4. Vacuum cleaner, disposal, dishwasher, etc. at 3 feet is 70 dB
5. Normal ambient room level in your home is 60 dB, turn on the tv or radio and it goes up to 10-15 dB
6. Normal conversation at 3 feet is 60 dB.
7. Breathing while sleeping without snorning or aleragies is 20-30 dB

Sound magnitude is inversely proportional to the square of the distance. Which indicates that as the distance from the source is doubled, the sound level will decrease approximately -6 dB. This means that if the measurement was 70 dB at 3 feet, it will be 64 dB at 6 feet and 58 dB at 12 feet, etc.

If you have a 68 dB at 3 foot generator unit, then placing it 30 feet from the nearest competitor will give a noise level of 46 to 50 dB. While some may consider this noisy just like your neighbor snoring in his zero gravity chair, it would be less than the honda that is used next to the camp site and definatly less irritating than the guy who plays his music "softly" in the middle of the night while banging the door of his smoker.

05-15-2013, 06:22 PM
I am an avid camper, and I have never found a generator that can match the sound levels of a Honda. I don't know why. It seems like some competitor should be able to do it. But, so far, I haven't found one.

Good luck.


05-15-2013, 06:35 PM
Good topic.

The last comp we were at, the team about 50 feet away had the Honda EU200i and EU2000i companion. Those things running together, powering his porch trailer and equipment inside, were so quite, I could not believe it! And that was standing right next to them, like 2 feet away!

The compact size and light weight and quietness of them made a believer out of me.

Now, if I could only figure out how to purchase them, that would be great.


05-15-2013, 07:01 PM
I have a Honda EU-3000 Handi, the light weight version of the Eu-3000. I had it running at a competition and a friend came by to chat. We were talking for about 15 minutes and he said "I just realized that your generator is running" and it was four feet from us.

If you think you can live with 4000 watts, go with two EU2000 in parallel. They are easier to handle than an EU-3000 and you can use just one if you don't need the AC. Also, you can buy add-on gas tanks that will let you run for an entire comp without refueling.

Mornin' Wood
05-15-2013, 08:34 PM
If you are looking at a home window-type air conditioner, you are almost definitely looking at one between 5000 and 10000 BTUs. Let us assume that you have decided on an 8000 BTU model, such as this one, here.


Click on the specs. Note that the window a/c draws only 7 amps or 740 watts. Yes, really. Some people will tell you that the a/c will draw 2-2.5 times as much power when the compressor starts up (depends on several things, including a/c efficiency and ambient temperature). Even so, a Honda eu2000i should be able to start and run this under all but maybe the worst conditions (ie it may be tough when the outside temp is 115 degrees). And you MAY need to stagger starting up your appliances (that is, start the generator, then start the a/c, then your fridge, etc.)
None of this should be a problem.

I can run two Energy Star 5000 watt window a/c units simultaneously with one of my eu2000i generators. Yes, two. And that is with the generator in ECO mode. If it's not too hot out, the generator will not even rev up to start the a/c units. The only thing is that if I try to start both a/c units at exactly the same time, the genny will always rev up for a few seconds.

So....never confuse a 5000 btu air conditioner with "drawing 5000watts." It just isn't so. In fact, keep in mind that window a/c units up to about 12000 watts (sometimes more) typically run off a standard household 120 volt outlet. And for these, most people use their standard 15 amp electrical outlet. And these outlets provide a maximum sustained output of 120v x 15 amps=1875 watts.

So....a GOOD 2000 watt generator will run almost any window a/c up to 8000 watts. A good 3000 watt generator will run virtually any 120v window a/c unit.

Of course, it's just my $0.02, your mileage may vary. But try before you buy.

05-15-2013, 09:08 PM
Wise is an on-line dealer for Honda generators. I bought mine from them last year. Was the best price I could find.

05-15-2013, 11:15 PM
Wise is an on-line dealer for Honda generators. I bought mine from them last year. Was the best price I could find.

We bought our Honda EU2000i from them in 2007. 6 years and 300 hours plus later, still starts by 2nd pull.

05-16-2013, 02:31 AM
Dorm fridge and window AC won't be too bad, but what about the hot water heater? If your camper has been converted to all electric, you can expect your water heater to be a power pig. Even the small electric models draw 15 amps.

Mornin' Wood
05-16-2013, 05:32 AM
Dorm fridge and window AC won't be too bad, but what about the hot water heater? If your camper has been converted to all electric, you can expect your water heater to be a power pig. Even the small electric models draw 15 amps..
Excellent point. My above post regarding power use by the air conditioner doesn't necessarily account for other power use. So you always have to leave room for your other lights and appliances. A few lights don't typically add up to much, but resistive loads, and particularly loads involving heaters (water heater, electric space heater, hair dryer, Looft Lighter, etc.) Will use 1200-1800 watts- occupying virtually ALL of the output of a 2000 watt generator. If it hasn't been mentioned above, the Honda 2000i is only rated to put out 1600watts continuously, IIRC.

Hawg Father of Seoul
05-16-2013, 06:47 AM
Dorm fridge and window AC won't be too bad, but what about the hot water heater? If your camper has been converted to all electric, you can expect your water heater to be a power pig. Even the small electric models draw 15 amps.

If he is using an electric hot water heater.... stop. A good instant, propane, model is cheap and far superior.

Budget seems to be a big factor, you could mount a LP burner on the tongue. Love me a good boil or deep fry, bonus.