Jump to content


Photo

A/c Power Question


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 dfield

dfield
  • Casita Club Member
  • 182 posts
  • Local time: 09:10 AM

Posted 09 September 2012 - 11:39 AM

I have a 2011 17SD that has the newer 1450 watt (11.5 amp) rooftop Air Conditioner unit. Apparently the older units drew 1260 watts (8.9 amps) and would happily run on a 2000 watt generator. I suspect mine would normally require a more expensive 2500 watt genny. I asked the factory about running my A/C on 20 amp household power and was told that if you switch everything else off, the A/C should start and run on a 20amp circuit. You then start turning other stuff on until you find the overload point, and back off a little from there. :blink:

I’m just starting to learn about boon-docking and such, so I don’t know if the following is a good or dumb idea :rolleyes:

Could you find an accessible spot in the power line leading to the A/C, cut the line and install a regular 20 amp male household plug on the side leading to the A/C, and a matching female plug on the end leading to the Casita’s 120 volt power?

If the two plugs were connected, you’d still have the stock factory wiring setup. But if you unplugged them, it seems like you would totally isolate the A/C from the trailer. You could then plug a generator straight into the A/C, without anything else on the circuit to draw power. Hopefully this would let you run the A/C on a smaller generator and/or use a 20 amp house circuit without worrying about blowing the breaker. If you isolate the A/C, then everything else should continue to run off the battery... At least I think that would work.

I’m still trying to figure out how to afford a generator, so I can’t try this myself. Even aside from the electrical stuff that I don’t know about Casita’s, I don’t know if a 2000 watt generator can actually power one of the newer A/C units even under ideal conditions. And doing it this way would mean that the generator would not be recharging your battery (until you unplugged the A/C and physically plugged the generator into the Casita’s regular power input), so it would be more useful if you had another method of keeping your battery charged.

Edited by dfield, 09 September 2012 - 12:19 PM.


#2 Larvell

Larvell
  • Casita Club Member
  • 49 posts
  • Local time: 09:10 AM
  • Location:Fort Worth, TX
  • Casita Model/Size:17' 2012 Spirit Deluxe
  • Gender:Male

Posted 09 September 2012 - 08:34 PM

I have a 2011 17SD that has the newer 1450 watt (11.5 amp) rooftop Air Conditioner unit. Apparently the older units drew 1260 watts (8.9 amps) and would happily run on a 2000 watt generator. I suspect mine would normally require a more expensive 2500 watt genny. I asked the factory about running my A/C on 20 amp household power and was told that if you switch everything else off, the A/C should start and run on a 20amp circuit. You then start turning other stuff on until you find the overload point, and back off a little from there. :blink:

Iím just starting to learn about boon-docking and such, so I donít know if the following is a good or dumb idea :rolleyes:

Could you find an accessible spot in the power line leading to the A/C, cut the line and install a regular 20 amp male household plug on the side leading to the A/C, and a matching female plug on the end leading to the Casitaís 120 volt power?

If the two plugs were connected, youíd still have the stock factory wiring setup. But if you unplugged them, it seems like you would totally isolate the A/C from the trailer. You could then plug a generator straight into the A/C, without anything else on the circuit to draw power. Hopefully this would let you run the A/C on a smaller generator and/or use a 20 amp house circuit without worrying about blowing the breaker. If you isolate the A/C, then everything else should continue to run off the battery... At least I think that would work.

Iím still trying to figure out how to afford a generator, so I canít try this myself. Even aside from the electrical stuff that I donít know about Casitaís, I donít know if a 2000 watt generator can actually power one of the newer A/C units even under ideal conditions. And doing it this way would mean that the generator would not be recharging your battery (until you unplugged the A/C and physically plugged the generator into the Casitaís regular power input), so it would be more useful if you had another method of keeping your battery charged.

I have a 2012 SD with the same air conditioner and my Honda EU2000i powers it with no problem at all. The only other thing that I have run while using the air conditioner is the television. Wise Sales has them for $899.

#3 dfield

dfield
  • Topic Starter
  • Casita Club Member
  • 182 posts
  • Local time: 09:10 AM

Posted 10 September 2012 - 05:12 AM

Excellent! :danc:

I've not used a generator before, so I'm trying to figure my requirements based on guesswork. A 2000 watt will be a lot easier for me to afford (although I'll still have to save up for that).

#4 KandJ

KandJ
  • Casita Club Member
  • 506 posts
  • Local time: 08:10 AM
  • Location:Front Range Colorado
  • Casita Model/Size:17' FD
  • Gender:Male
  • Trailer Name:Humpty Dumpty

Posted 10 September 2012 - 06:43 AM

Could you find an accessible spot in the power line leading to the A/C, cut the line and install a regular 20 amp male household plug on the side leading to the A/C, and a matching female plug on the end leading to the Casita’s 120 volt power?

If the two plugs were connected, you’d still have the stock factory wiring setup. But if you unplugged them, it seems like you would totally isolate the A/C from the trailer. You could then plug a generator straight into the A/C, without anything else on the circuit to draw power. Hopefully this would let you run the A/C on a smaller generator and/or use a 20 amp house circuit without worrying about blowing the breaker. If you isolate the A/C, then everything else should continue to run off the battery... At least I think that would work.

I don't know what you are trying to do here? The AC is hard wired into the breaker box at the converter. You do not want to mess with this connection. If you try using a generator and shore power at the same time you will most likely be buying and new generator if you are lucky or if you are not lucky you could melt your Casita. The generator should run the AC without any problems. However If you attempt to run other 120V devices like the microwave, hair dryer, hot water heater, or maybe the refrigerator together you will have some problems. Turn off the air conditioner when using other devices. The DC devices, lights and fans will continue to work as usual as they run off of the battery.

If you need to plug your Casita into a 20 amp plug there are adapters that will do this. Any RV store like Camping World and even Wall Mart should have them. However I have not been in a wall mart that often. You plug in the cord from the Casita into the adapter and then plug the adapter into the wall plug at the generator. I would also suggest to get a 50 amp to 30 amp adapter also. You may find yourself in a place where they only have a 50 amp connection. We have used it 3 times since 2006. They look like this and there are many to chose from. 20 to 30 and 50 to 30 You plug your Casita cord into the adapter and the adapter into the wall or generator.

Keith

Edited by KandJ, 10 September 2012 - 06:44 AM.

2006 17' FD
2003 Ranger 4X4 Ext Cab 4 liter

Our Travels

 

AVE IMPERATOR MORITVRI TE SALVTANT


#5 dfield

dfield
  • Topic Starter
  • Casita Club Member
  • 182 posts
  • Local time: 09:10 AM

Posted 10 September 2012 - 05:44 PM

I don't know what you are trying to do here? The AC is hard wired into the breaker box at the converter. You do not want to mess with this connection. If you try using a generator and shore power at the same time you will most likely be buying and new generator if you are lucky or if you are not lucky you could melt your Casita. The generator should run the AC without any problems. However If you attempt to run other 120V devices like the microwave, hair dryer, hot water heater, or maybe the refrigerator together you will have some problems. Turn off the air conditioner when using other devices. The DC devices, lights and fans will continue to work as usual as they run off of the battery.

If you need to plug your Casita into a 20 amp plug there are adapters that will do this. Any RV store like Camping World and even Wall Mart should have them. However I have not been in a wall mart that often. You plug in the cord from the Casita into the adapter and then plug the adapter into the wall plug at the generator. I would also suggest to get a 50 amp to 30 amp adapter also. You may find yourself in a place where they only have a 50 amp connection. We have used it 3 times since 2006. They look like this and there are many to chose from. 20 to 30 and 50 to 30 You plug your Casita cord into the adapter and the adapter into the wall or generator.

Keith


I was under no circumstances thinking of "trying to use a generator and shore power at the same time". What I was thinking of was making a second shore power connection that led straight to the rooftop A/C and did not connect to anything else in the trailer. The point would be that if you had limited generator power, you could then connect the generator straight to the A/C and nothing else. If it was an independent circuit, then a marginal generator might be able to power just the A/C, if it wasn't trying do to anything else at the same time.

If you put a matching pair of 20 amp plugs say, on the roof, then you could temporarily unplug the A/C from the Casita's built-in power completely. As far as the trailer was concerned the A/C would be turned off (in fact, totally disconnected). If you ran an extension cord up to the roof and plugged a generator in, the generator would be powering just the A/C. The generator wouldn't even "know" the rest of the trailer existed. I suppose there might be some issue with grounding the circuit or something, but it doesn't seem like that should interfere with the trailer's power system.

If you again wanted to use the factory shore power connection for the A/C, then you could just plug the A/C back into the trailer. But you would then be powering not just the A/C, you'd also be recharging the battery, running fans and lights, etc. All which takes a little more power than just running the A/C would.

Couldn't you just leave everything else turned Off? Yes, sort of. There are, I believe, a couple of electrical things in a Casita that don't have an "Off" switch (the battery charger for example). And using the factory shore power connection means that you can't use anything else without adding the load to the generator. If the A/C was on a completely different circuit, the Casita wouldn't even "know" there was a generator running. So you could also run as many lights, fans and whatever as you had battery power for.

At least, I think it would work that way. Any electricians out there who know better than I do, please feel free to correct me.

#6 Mark Watson

Mark Watson
  • Casita Club Member
  • 582 posts
  • Local time: 10:10 AM
  • Location:HOUSTON, TX
  • Casita Model/Size:2008 FD 17
  • Gender:Male

Posted 11 September 2012 - 09:36 AM

I'm not an electrician, but I think with a solar panel connected to keep your 12 volt battery charged while your generator is dedicated to the air conditioner, your plan could work.
When using your setup, to give a marginal power source the best chance of starting the A/C compressor, I would get the A/C fan going first, then lower the cooling setting to turn on the compressor.
Good Luck
Mark Watson

Edited by Mark Watson, 11 September 2012 - 09:52 AM.

Mark Watson

Houston,Tx
2008 17' FD


#7 bugeyedriver

bugeyedriver
  • Casita Club Member
  • 166 posts
  • Local time: 07:10 AM
  • Interests:Kids, Grandkids, Reading, Traveling, Irish Whistle, Dulcimer, Native American Flute, Photography
  • Gender:Male

Posted 11 September 2012 - 11:43 AM

Kieth,

I've been out camping most of the summer in the Rocky Mountains, boondocking above 9100' elevation. On a handful of days I've needed to run the A/C for a few hours in order to keep Oscar the Smiley Dog cool and comfortable. My A/C is a Coleman Polar Cub with 9100 BTU and my generator is a Honda 2000. The original start capacitor on the A/C was replaced with with a "Hard Start" capacitor which stops the A/C from demanding too much juice at startup and permits the Honda 2000 to easily pick up the load. (I don't use the quiet ECO mode when I do this)

To use the Honda 2000, (I use high test fuel when up at altitude) I simply plug the 30AMP trailer power cord into a 20AMP adapter which plugs into the generator outlet. If I desire to have a taste of microwave popcorn, I turn off the A/C for the 2 minutes of microwave use and put it back on after the microwave use is complete. As in a previous post, I usually turn on the A/C fan, the place it on cool and slowly lower the temp control until the compressor kicks on with the higher electrical load.

Good luck!

ps Oh! I also have a 100W solar panel mounted on the roof which is constantly charging my battery bank. If I don't need the A/C, and I'm in good sunlight, it'll keep me supplied with functioning lights, water pump, and furnace indefinitely. If I'm deep in the shady woods, I may run the generator and hour in the evening to top off the batteries for the night's furnace use.

Edited by bugeyedriver, 11 September 2012 - 11:52 AM.

Pete & Oscar the Smiley Dog
www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com

#8 dfield

dfield
  • Topic Starter
  • Casita Club Member
  • 182 posts
  • Local time: 09:10 AM

Posted 11 September 2012 - 12:28 PM

I'm not an electrician, but I think with a solar panel connected to keep your 12 volt battery charged while your generator is dedicated to the air conditioner, your plan could work.


That's actually what I was thinking. A 75~100 watt solar panel to run the 12 volt side, and a 2000 watt generator to run the A/C. I think I could probably get both for the same money as a 3000 watt generator (how I'm going to fit that into my budget is another question :rolleyes: ).

#9 Don

Don
  • Casita Club Member
  • 1,230 posts
  • Local time: 09:10 AM
  • Location:Trinity, TX
  • Casita Model/Size:2007 Casita 17' SD
  • Interests:Family, home, traveling w/fiberglass trailer, computers, chess, short track stock car racing, bowling.
  • Gender:Male

Posted 18 November 2012 - 03:18 PM

I think you will benefit from installation of a hard (aka soft) start 'kit'. When both my air conditioner and Honda 2000 generator were brand new it was a tough job for the generator to start and restart the ac. Installation of the kit resolved the problem.

300 Hard-Soft start kit.jpg

490b Start capacitor is in the center Merged.jpg

520 Replace OEM cap with SPP6E kit.jpg

You can get more information about my investigation and mod at:
http://tinyurl.com/2bgjq4
Don & Sherian, 2017 GMC Canyon, SLT, crew cab, short bed, 3.6 V6, 8 speed auto trans
factory brake controller and anti-sway control. Made in USA. Custom Casita graphics.
07 Casita 17' SD w/HLA (Egg Motel, room for 2 - to go), also made in USA
Photos of our mods and other stuff: http://tinyurl.com/2dz93g

#10 Jim & Carol

Jim & Carol
  • Casita Club Member
  • 354 posts
  • Local time: 08:10 AM

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:07 AM

I was under no circumstances thinking of "trying to use a generator and shore power at the same time". What I was thinking of was making a second shore power connection that led straight to the rooftop A/C and did not connect to anything else in the trailer. The point would be that if you had limited generator power, you could then connect the generator straight to the A/C and nothing else. If it was an independent circuit, then a marginal generator might be able to power just the A/C, if it wasn't trying do to anything else at the same time.

If you put a matching pair of 20 amp plugs say, on the roof, then you could temporarily unplug the A/C from the Casita's built-in power completely. As far as the trailer was concerned the A/C would be turned off (in fact, totally disconnected). If you ran an extension cord up to the roof and plugged a generator in, the generator would be powering just the A/C. The generator wouldn't even "know" the rest of the trailer existed. I suppose there might be some issue with grounding the circuit or something, but it doesn't seem like that should interfere with the trailer's power system.

If you again wanted to use the factory shore power connection for the A/C, then you could just plug the A/C back into the trailer. But you would then be powering not just the A/C, you'd also be recharging the battery, running fans and lights, etc. All which takes a little more power than just running the A/C would.

Couldn't you just leave everything else turned Off? Yes, sort of. There are, I believe, a couple of electrical things in a Casita that don't have an "Off" switch (the battery charger for example). And using the factory shore power connection means that you can't use anything else without adding the load to the generator. If the A/C was on a completely different circuit, the Casita wouldn't even "know" there was a generator running. So you could also run as many lights, fans and whatever as you had battery power for.

At least, I think it would work that way. Any electricians out there who know better than I do, please feel free to correct me.


Unless you have a badly discharged battery, the converter does not use very much AC power so I wouldn't worry much about that. Even the fridge on AC does not draw much and it is better to run on propane anyway instead of running on generator gas. The only real AC power hog besides the A/C, is the hot water heater if you run it on AC. I think most people running on generators just make sure that the fridge (use fridge controls) and hot water heater are only on propane (turn of AC switch at the hot water heater or turn off the hot water heater circuit breaker). I suggest you simply do these things and most likely a 2000 watt generator will work. If not, I would install the hard start capacitor mod mentioned above and then try again. I have never heard of anyone re-wiring the A/C to have independent power.
Jim
2005 17 ft Liberty Deluxe
2005 Tundra 4x4

#11 dfield

dfield
  • Topic Starter
  • Casita Club Member
  • 182 posts
  • Local time: 09:10 AM

Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:00 PM

Unless you have a badly discharged battery, the converter does not use very much AC power so I wouldn't worry much about that. Even the fridge on AC does not draw much and it is better to run on propane anyway instead of running on generator gas. The only real AC power hog besides the A/C, is the hot water heater if you run it on AC. I think most people running on generators just make sure that the fridge (use fridge controls) and hot water heater are only on propane (turn of AC switch at the hot water heater or turn off the hot water heater circuit breaker). I suggest you simply do these things and most likely a 2000 watt generator will work. If not, I would install the hard start capacitor mod mentioned above and then try again. I have never heard of anyone re-wiring the A/C to have independent power.


I've already done the installation and the A/C runs fine directly from it's own shore power cable (I did get an extra heavy duty extension cord for it). Part of my reasoning is that I live in my Casita full-time, and I can easily foresee times when I would like to be able to run the A/C and use my computer or something else at the same time. Of course, the "something else" would have to be small enough to not drain the battery too much.

But you're right, most of the time I could probably just switch everything else off and have it work. But having the option of using a dedicated circuit seems like it might handy someday if I had a marginal generator, or was at altitude or even just hooked into an building with something else on the same circuit I was plugged into.

#12 deryk

deryk
  • Casita Club Member
  • 27 posts
  • Local time: 11:10 AM
  • Location:South Amboy NJ
  • Casita Model/Size:2012 ParkLiner
  • Interests:Camping, sailing, hikeing, reading, movies, music, animals, and enjoying the beauty of nature!
  • Gender:Male

Posted 08 February 2013 - 05:19 AM

Will the hard (aka soft) start 'kit' work in a window style air conditioner? that's what is in my ParkLiner?

deryk

#13 Iowan

Iowan
  • Casita Club Member
  • 68 posts
  • Local time: 09:10 AM
  • Location:Jefferson, Iowa
  • Gender:Male

Posted 08 February 2013 - 08:49 AM

I don't know how your trailer is wired, but most that I have seen have the AC on a designated circuit breaker. If not there are usually blank positions where one could be added. Why not use the circuit breaker panel to isolate everything else during generator use. Most everything else will run on 12V any way. Besides that would be safer.