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generators inverters alt power source

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#1 Rojo

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:13 AM

I purchased a 2000w generator as a backup for a trip out west in our 16' Freedom.  It says  it generates 1600w running.  We charged the battery with our solar panel all day, plenty of sunlight, fully charging each day, and had minimal usage in the evening, mainly just a light over the small table for a couple of hours and the heater kicked on occasionally during the night. 

 

When we used the generator out at Comb Creek (abt 6050' elevation) it lugged down in the morning running just a toaster or just a coffee maker, occasionally to point where the generator died.  I tested both of these and the toaster shows it needs about 825w and the coffee maker 750w.  Why did the generator have such a hard time with these two appliances?

 

It has been suggested that since I plugged the Casita directly into the generator that perhaps I was using a lot of the power generated to try to recharge whatever I had drained from the battery overnight.  Is this a possibility?  From another post I got the impression that altitude can also affect how much power is generated.

 

I am also wondering how large of an inverter I might need to run these appliances from batteries if 1600w from a generator is insufficient to do the job? 

 

Any enlightenment will be appreciated.



#2 Jim&Clare

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:42 AM

 

 

It has been suggested that since I plugged the Casita directly into the generator that perhaps I was using a lot of the power generated to try to recharge whatever I had drained from the battery overnight.  Is this a possibility?  From another post I got the impression that altitude can also affect how much power is generated.

Yes - the converter will be trying to top up the battery.

 

Yes - the generator is less efficient at altitude - but 6000' isnt very high.

(engine power decreases by about 3% for every 1000 feet above 500 feet - so about 17% less?)

 

What else was switched on? - Water heater?

Fridge on 120v too I assume once the generator fires up.....


Edited by Jim&Clare, 18 July 2019 - 07:00 AM.

Retired from Orbital Machine Works

Saw the country in a 2002 Bigfoot 17 - now sold.

Where is Jim now? Hiding in the UK until Covid passes.


#3 Stephen_Albers

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:57 AM

You are running into the classic problem the manufacturers cause by trying to stuff 10# of shit into a 7# bag.  Add to that, no testing and you have the prescription for your disaster.  There are several potential resolutions.  But you need to do your own research. 

 

Obviously, one solution is you must absolutely know what power your generator will deliver at all anticipated altitudes.  Start with contacting the manufactuer for his advertised specs.  Then test the generator. You might need help from and electrical shop.  Minimum voltage under load is usually 108 VAC.  Then test ALL your anticipated appliances on shore power to verify their requirements.  Realize you can often select appliances with lower power requirements that will better fit into into your generator's capability. Then test them singlely and together.  Once you have this information you'll be able to tailor your appliances and generator so they work seamlessly together.  



#4 Rojo

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 10:54 AM


What else was switched on? - Water heater?

Fridge on 120v too I assume once the generator fires up.....

 

Water heater was not on, we had turned off since we did not have running water and had not filled the tank. 

We were not using the refrigerator at the time since we had no power and found out that it would not function on propane the way it is supposed to.  I could not get it to light. But I suppose it is possible that I flipped it back to 120v after the aborted lighting attempt.  

No A/C running.

 



#5 vermilye

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:05 PM

As you mentioned, the converter can draw 4-5 amps if the battery is low.  Combined with the possibility of the refrigerator on 120V, that would only leave 6 -8 amps for other appliances.  

 

A Kill A Watt meter is a good way to check what loads different devices put on a system.


Edited by vermilye, 18 July 2019 - 12:10 PM.

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#6 Zimm

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 01:44 PM

My vote goes to the fridge.  If it's in AUTO, it will heat on 120v if it sees power.  You have to manually turn it to propane to keep in off AC.


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