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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Faced with the prospect for several days camping 'dry', ie., without electricity, and concerned that at somepoint we will not have enough power to run the sofa slide out my DH and I are having 'conversations' about the cost and practicality of getting an alternative source of power. Does anyone out there have past experience with these matters? How long can one go without electrical hook ups and still operate the sofa slide out? Which is the most cost effectieve, a generator or solar panals? Just wondering what your opinions are, I know you all have them!!! Jodi
 

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Solar is nice, but frankly by the time you spend enough on a good solar setup you can have a nice Honda 2000 generator that works rain or shine. The other uses has me leaning to get one, but it will be a while. You can give you batteries a boost by hooking up to your tow rig, that would allow you to power close things if you were totally drained.
 

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Alot has to do with your future plans. A generator is the least expensive way to go it will keep your batteries charged and you will be able to use your microwave oven. Use it at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night and you will stay charged. The biggest 12 volt energy hog you have is your furnace try to use it sparingly and watch how many lights you use, in general use only what is needed. The Honda or Yamaha 2000 watt units are quiet and are about the best you can buy, stay away from coleman powermate's they are very loud.
As far as solar panels go they work great for maintaining a constant charge on the battieries but they are a long term charge system. In other words if the TT is in storage they will keep the batteries at a full charge because of the minimal draw. This is what I use my solar panels for to keep the batteries charged when the TT is not in use and to help out the generator when camping.
I also use solar power at home and currentlly have a system that outputs 450-500 kilo watt hour per month. This again only helps cut down the useage and bill but I still need another power source, the same is true about your TT. Hope this helps, Kirk
 
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I like to "dry" camp as much as possible, so I use my generator a lot. Like Steve and Kirk said, solar is nice, but slow. It is a good way to recharge the batteries while in a low load situation, but not good as a primary power source.

Once you decide to get a generator, the real fun decisions begin. You need to be absolutely honest with yourself and decide what you expect to run off the generator. The biggy is the air conditioning. The microwave is next, then the furnace. The furnace is 12V, but it uses LOTS of juice. A 2000 watt generator will, depending on who you talk to, run everything except the A/C and/or the microwave.

For years I ran a Generac 5KW. I guess I was lucky. Everybody told me that it was a piece of *!?#*. I didn't have a single problem with it. But it was LOUD!!!. It was also very cumbersome to move around by myself. The good thing was, it would run everything. I couldn't run it at night, if we were at a CG that had quite hours, but we normally had electric hook-ups at those. I now use a Honda EU2000i. I just use it to charge the batteries. It will run the A/C, but I've been told that it's not a good idea. It will run the micrwave. It will not run the A/C and microwave together. I'm saving my pennies to get a second EU2000i, because you can connect them together, and run everything
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Hope this helps vs adding to the confusion.

Happy camping,

Gary
 

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I recently purchased the 3000 watt yamaha inverter generator ($1684.00) for our 23rs. It worked great, the wife at one time had the a/c, microwave, radio, water heater, fridge and a small tv in the front bunk area for the kids running. It ran flawlessly, didn't bog down hardly at all when the a/c compressor kicked in. I primarily purchased it to keep the batteries charged. Oh and also to keep the wife and kids cool and happy at the NASCAR races.
 

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I use the Honda EU2000. It works great for running everything except the AC. It will power the AC but it doesn't like it to much. I like it verses a solar setup because it is not dedicated to the RV and I can use it when not camping for other things. Last time I used it we were dry camping at our Snowmobile Clubs Races and using the Furnance all night long with TV and lights. It ran all night on the economy setting and wasn't close to running out of fuel. Very nice unit. Expect to pay around $900 for one.
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, I knew I could count on you all responding. Now I want to know where you would store an item like a generator? We do not have a pick up that we could just throw the thing in the back of. Also, where would you store the fuel you would need to run the thing? We have looked at the prices of both the generator and the solar panels and they are certainly both rather high ticket items that we will not be able to just run out and purchase tomorrow. Again, thanks for your responses. Jodi
 

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I read on a post awhile back what sounded like a really good idea. He said go to the local auto parts store and buy a siphon pump. You store the generator in the TT or TV with no gas in it, when you get ready to use it fill it up out of the TV gas tank with the siphon pump, when you get ready to leave run the generator dry. This may take a little getting use to but should be do able. Kirk
 

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Just a couple of other thoughts.

I've talked to folks that keep them in their RV, some have built a box for it to sit in so it won't tip over, gas is kept in the box as well. Then while in use the box, well ventilated, acts as another sound deadener since its flipped over.

After you check your local prices, check Trailer Life magazine, there are at least two dealers that sell the Honda products, probably Yamaha too, and their prices are pretty low and include shipping and no tax. I checked when I lived in CA and the dealer in Ukiah, CA was lower but the tax pushed him out of range of guy from Mayberry. As always I suggest getting the lowest quote then going to your local dealer since you may need to see him for service later.

Honda's are the quietest once out, and I've heard some good things about the new Yamaha's too. Please don't buy a Coleman, or many of the cheap ones, if you plan on camping near anyone else. That's my one frustration when dry camping at USFS sites is the whine of the loud generators in the AM, though I think the big RV's are the worst. I wanted to ring one guys next for running his generator so he could watch TV with his headphones on. I guess ruining my camping calm didn't matter as long as he got his show.
 
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