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What kind of gen should I shop for?

dedmiston
Moderator
Moderator

We just bought a new fifth wheel and it feels like starting over again. We've only ever owned toy haulers that are already prepped for dry camping with onboard generators and fuel tanks.

So my question for the braintrust is, what should I shop for in a portable generator. 

My criteria (I think):

  • Not too expensive (probably impossible)
  • Not too heavy (hopefully possible)
  • Enough output to run two AC units

Am I missing anything?

It's a 50A unit, but I'm hoping to avoid buying a huge built in gen, especially since that would have to be an LP generator, which I don't want.

2014 RAM 3500 Diesel 4x4 Dually long bed. B&W RVK3600 hitch • 2015 Crossroads Elevation Homestead Toy Hauler ("The Taj Mahauler") • <\br >Toys:

  • 18 Can Am Maverick x3
  • 05 Yamaha WR450
  • 07 Honda CRF250X
  • 05 Honda CRF230
  • 06 Honda CRF230
12 REPLIES 12

schlep1967
Nomad
Nomad

Champion just brought out a 3000/4000 inverter generator. 50+ lbs 64 decibels. Parallel 2 of them to run two AC units. Looks like they will be about $700 each plus another $80 for the parallel kit.

2021 Chevy Silverado LTZ 3500 Diesel
2022 Montana Legacy 3931FB
Pull-Rite Super Glide 4500

Do you have a link or model number?

2014 RAM 3500 Diesel 4x4 Dually long bed. B&W RVK3600 hitch • 2015 Crossroads Elevation Homestead Toy Hauler ("The Taj Mahauler") • <\br >Toys:

  • 18 Can Am Maverick x3
  • 05 Yamaha WR450
  • 07 Honda CRF250X
  • 05 Honda CRF230
  • 06 Honda CRF230

Per your request Clicky 

Gracias.

2014 RAM 3500 Diesel 4x4 Dually long bed. B&W RVK3600 hitch • 2015 Crossroads Elevation Homestead Toy Hauler ("The Taj Mahauler") • <\br >Toys:

  • 18 Can Am Maverick x3
  • 05 Yamaha WR450
  • 07 Honda CRF250X
  • 05 Honda CRF230
  • 06 Honda CRF230

This is the one I was talking about. Clicky 

2021 Chevy Silverado LTZ 3500 Diesel
2022 Montana Legacy 3931FB
Pull-Rite Super Glide 4500

nice genny, but I hate to say 64db @25feet is not quiet, that is in the loud conversation/laughter range.    the problem is to run two AC's your not going to find that 48 to 52db at 25 feet genny if you need more than 2000ish watts.  its amazing the honda 2200I can be 56 at 5 feet and 48 at 25 feet.  to bad you couldnt just conect 3 of thoes in parrallel haha

2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK
1991 Slumberqueen WS100

This brings up an important point. DB ratings are typically at 25% load. A small generator running at near 100% will be drastically louder.

We switched from a 2400w Yamaha (high end brand) to a 4500w Champion with worse DB ratings. Even though it was rated worse, the Champion was quieter running the aircon because it was running just a bit over idle while the Yamaha was running closer to 75%.

Of course, trying to run 2 air/con units would have most portable inverter generators (even paralleled) screaming at max output. 

Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

not as loud as you think, the honda does get louder but only 59db at full load.  a lot of people go well thats 5 points difference, that is actualy almost a 50 % increase in noise level going from 59 to 64db, lind of a soft conversation comparted to that anoying person that snorts when they laugh 😁

2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK
1991 Slumberqueen WS100

Lantley
Nomad
Nomad

I currently Have Harbor freight Portable 5K  dual fuel genset. My prior 5'er had a Built in Onan 5500 LP.

Unless you use your genset every trip Go with Lp portable. They don't have the carb and fuel issues that gasoline powered units do. You also don't have to deal with gas cans and spillage

If you plan to use genset5 most every trip a built in is 1000 times more convenient that any portable.

Push button convenience means zero set up. Zero hauling, zero take down. Zero loading and unloading.

Check out RVMP generators if you are interested in a built in alternative to Onan.

At this point I have owned built in and portable. For regular use go built in for occasional use portable is OK but will never be as convenient as built in.

 

 

 

19'Duramax w/hips,12'Open Range,Titan Disc Brake
BD3,RV safepower,22" Blackstone
Ox Bedsaver,RV760 w/BC20,Glow Steps, Enduraplas25,Pedego
BakFlip,RVLock,5500 Onan LP,Prog.50A surge,Hughes autoformer
Porta Bote 8.0 Nissan,Sailun S637
Correct Trax,Splendide

valhalla360
Nomad III
Nomad III

2 aircon is the challenge with a portable unless you want to go big or start paralleling multiple units.

How often will you really need to run both on generator power? If it's rare, I would go with something like the Champion 4500w dual fuel (honda/yamaha are way too expensive for what they are). I would fabricate a simple mount to put it on the pin box with a removable box to protect it from weather and eyes. It's borderline but if you shut everything else down, it might start both (once running it should be fine).

I would run it on LP. Unless you are religious about draining and cleaning the carb, it will gunk up unless using it constantly. LP avoids that issue. I keep a couple 20# propane tanks in the truck bed (easy to swap or fill depending what's available) and I could hook into one of the 30# onboard tanks in a pinch.

Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

MFL
Nomad II
Nomad II

Hi Dave, signed in, to add my 5 cents. Like mentioned adding soft starts would help, to get by on less power. If you need to run both ACs, you are going to need one heavy generator, that can supply at least 6,500 watts. You can get 2 smaller units, and parallel them, which is what I'd suggest. You can run one gen, one AC if you want, but parallel, run together when needed. The expensive Honda gen is always a good choice, but Champion would be my choice for less expensive, but good quality, and great manufacturer backing. I know Champion has a 50 amp ready parallel setup. IIRC paralleling two units will not produce full power of each, so would suggest at least two 3,500 watt models.

You will burn lots of gas, running two 15K units plus other electric needs, so just another thought that you need to haul plenty of fuel.

Congrats on the new 5th, hope you enjoy it for many years!

Take care, 

Jerry

 

StirCrazy
Navigator
Navigator

thats going to be a tough one, are you putting soft starts on the AC units?  if so you could get buy with a smaller genny, I am actual concidering getting one for the 5th wheel.  not for actual camping but rather for running the AC during exceptional heat waves.  SO I am looking like you, but I only need to run one AC if it comes to that, so I can get buy with something smaller.  I also want ultra quiet, which is why I won't even concider a built in one, but it has to be light enough for me to move around.  I think this will be your biggest hurdle in one that can run 2 AC's at once..  can you move it around, if not you might as well go with a built in and save your back.  

the first thing to do would be to hook a meter up and start up your ac's one at a time and see how much the current spikes with one then adding the second one.  the spike and the running current.  then at least you'll know what range you looking at, do you even need to run two AC's at once.. can you run the one in the living area only and the one in the bedroom at night only?  This would reduce your requirments quite a bit.  .  myself I am thinking of getting THIS ONE .  its on sale at costco for 699 CDN and only weighs 57 lbs and can run at 62db so faily quiet, I would rather be down in the low 50's high 40's like the honda and several others, but I'll see what I can find thats afordable.

2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK
1991 Slumberqueen WS100