What is a generator?
How will you
know which size will fit your requirements.
generator is a machine that converts mechanical
energy into electrical energy."
Regardless of where you are camping there just times
when you want the convenience of power. If no 240V
power is available, a portable generator is handy to
supply power for electrical appliances or to charge
up the batteries. Generators are available in
petrol or diesel fuel.
common brand names are Honda, Yamaha, Onan and
If you are
having an RV built it would be a good idea to first
determine your power needs as this will then determine the
type and size of the generator you will need . The physical
size (external dimensions) of the generator will then
determine the size of the hatch required during the build
stage or if you want to have a customised box fitted to the
In the Honda
EU series generators, the EU10i generator is rated at 1000
watt AC/ 12 volt 8 amp DC. This can power such things as
lighting, television, video and a laptop. The EU20i is
rated 2000 watt AC/ 12 volt 8 amp DC and can run appliances
and charge batteries simultaneously. Pure sinewave output
technology is recommended for computer laptops and it is a
standard feature of these generators.
EM50i and EM70i are the largest capacity inverter generators
in their class. The EM50 is has a maximum output of 5 kw
(5000 watts), and its rated output is 4.5 kw (4500 watts)
and the EM70i has a maximum output of 6.5 kw (6500 watts),
and its rated output is 5.5kw (5500 kw). Honda claims these
generators deliver better than commercial quality
a generator in a motorhome or RV
There has been
a recorded fatality from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from
a portable generator which was located in an unvented
compartment with no exhaust system to remove the CO fumes.
The fumes seeped into the motorhome from a poorly sealed
reasons, consider the installation of a carbon monoxide
detector. Choose one with a digital display as this will
monitor even low levels of carbon monoxide.
recommend the EU30i (3000 watt) for motorhomes. The
manufacturer claims it features a microcomputer controlled
sinewave inverter than provides commercial quality
electricity. Other features are an Eco throttle and it has
the option for electric start and remote start.
Dometic TEC 30
Generator/Inverter – for large motorhomes
The manufacturer claims this to be the first
generator/inverter that runs on diesel. They state it
weighs 70 kg and is suitable for supplying many electric
appliances, such as the toaster and microwave, with pure
sine wave curve and all Dometic AirConditioners where there
is no power hook up. Power output is 4.5 HP and diesel
consumption 0.7 l/ph. The unit is operated and controlled
from a remote operation panel, will an illuminated LED
display, located inside the vehicle. If you need extra
power you can operate two generators in parallel. No extra
fuel tank is required.
Will a generator run my air conditioner
known brands of airconditioning units able to be run with
the Honda 2.2i and 3.0i generators are Air Command, Heron
and the Wren range. The Dometic B1900 reverse cycle air
conditioner is another reported to be able to be run by a
2kVA generator. To enable the generator to start the air
conditioner it requires a ‘boost’ so you may have to shut
off other appliances including the battery charger (if any)
to obtain sufficient power to run the airconditioner.
expect to travel in places where the temperature exceeds 40
degrees C then discussions on RV forums indicate the Honda
2kVA generator may ‘trip off’ when operating in those
extreme temperatures and needs restarting. You should then
consider if you will need a generator larger than the Honda
EU20i to run an air conditioner. One downside for RV’ers of
the larger generator can be their weight and size. So
ensure you make your enquires with the manufacturer to ensure
the generator will meet your needs.
understand the Owner’s Manual before operating
gas contains poisonous carbon monoxide so never run the
generator in an enclosed area. Be sure to provide
not to touch the muffler/exhaust as it becomes extremely
hot during operation and remains hot for some time
engine cool before placing the generator back into
connect a cable other than the special cable for
parallel operation to the parallel operation socket.
generator at least 1 metre (3 foot) away from your RV or
other equipment (you may care to secure it to a fixed
object such as a tree to avoid it being stolen) and
avoid exposure to full sunlight.
Do not let
the generator get wet or operate it in rain or snow.
Do not run
the generator continuously at more than 80% of its rated
refuelling your generator, turn it off and let it cool
down as fuel spilt on a hot generator may cause it to
transporting or storing your generator make sure the
fuel valve is turned to OFF
travelling over rough roads for extended periods drain
connect your generator to a wall outlet at home as this
can cause ‘back feeding’ which can result in death.
consideration the power consumption of electrical appliances
when selecting them for inclusion in your RV and know which
appliances can be safely powered by a portable generator. To
prevent power overload note the power loading (wattage
rating) marked on the nameplate of your appliance.
Electrical power calculators can be located by doing a
Google search from the search