Do i need an inverter type generator ??

Submitted: Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 12:36
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Good morning all ,
intend to be on the road soon and soon to be buying a new generator and pretty sure i will go for one the well known brands , either Honda or Yamaha .
Thing is i already have an inverter inside the caravan as it was used in a solar setup ( panel on roof to battery then inverter ) if i have this inverter will i still have to purchase an inverter type generator ?? Cant really tell you much about this inverter as im electronic
illiterate , but on owners manual its described as Human Power Compact Power series
IC-150, IC-300 , IC-500 .
Always appreciative of helpful advice !
Brian
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Reply By: ABR - SIDEWINDER - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 13:01

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 13:01
It is a modified sine wave inverter made by Ifonix in China. They were quite good but has nothing to do with the generator you wish to buy.

The part number refers to the size. IE: IC-500 is a 500W inverter. The part number is on top.

I have a Honda EU2.0 and it is great.

Regards

Derek from ABR
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Follow Up By: ABR - SIDEWINDER - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 13:03

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 13:03
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Follow Up By: Brian - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 13:26

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 13:26
thanks Derek , thats helpful to this dumbass ! ( sounds American doesnt it ?! ) just had a look in caravan and mine looks very simillar to the one you have posted here . there is also the switch which has an orange coloured outer , with 4 settings , Off , On , 2 and Both ?
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Reply By: Ross M - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 13:22

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 13:22
An inverter generator will be (usually is) a sine wave output which suits even sensitive items and also runs things the way they are designed to run.

A 12v to 240ac inverter may be crappy modified square wave which is ok for some things OR it may be a sine wave inverter, which is good, even more "gooder" than a square wave unit.
Both have to run off a battery and so ultimate power delivery, ie, run time may be restricted to battery capacity whereas petrol inv gen isn't.

Some sensitive electronic gear with their own 240vac to low voltage dc, may not start running or run with increased heat being created if used with a mod square wave inverter.
Some laptops supplies will and some won't, run on this type of waveform.

Sine wave anything is more efficient than the cheaper square wave options.
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Follow Up By: Brian - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 13:43

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 13:43
Thank you Rossco ,
i see in the handbook that the AC output is described as a ' modified sine wave " or " Quasi -sine-wave "
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Reply By: The Bantam - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 14:19

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 14:19
As has been mentioned...the inverter you have already is nothing to do with the generator....that one produces 240V AC from DC battery supply.

The inverter in the generator is there to produce electricity far more efficiently.

The inverter in the generator, takes apart the electricity the actual generator produces and puts it back together as nice clean electricity at the right voltage and the right frequency.......this allows the actual generator to run at what ever speed and whatever voltage is most efficient.....AND produce nice electricity at the socket.

It sounds a bit round about..but the result is the inverter generators weigh a hell of a lot less and are quite a bit more efficient.

The term "inverter" is being used quite a bit these days....often it is not technically correct.....the "inverters" in air conditioners are acrually "variable frequency drives"...the "inverters" in generators are actually in most cases "AC to AC power converters"

Yes you want an inverter generator...and make it a nice one.

cheers
AnswerID: 528033

Follow Up By: Brian - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 14:32

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 14:32
Bantam ,
thanks for your post in layman terms , im getting there slowly in understanding so as they say the only silly question is the one that hasnt been asked , so my next question is " does the power coming from the genny have to go into a battery or can it go directly to the electrical appliance you want to run ??!!
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 15:15

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 15:15
The generator you are talking about produces 240V AC power like you would find at home.

It can not go into a battery except via a battery charger.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Brian - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 15:52

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 15:52
Yeah thanks heaps bantam but what i am asking does the power generated have to go into a battery or can it go direct to electrical appliances ?!
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Follow Up By: Member. Rob M (QLD) - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 16:09

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 16:09
Brian,

You can plug your appliances straight into your gennie, or just plug the lead from the gennie straight into your 240 volt supply plug on the side of your caravan and all your internal power points will work, as well as your battery charger and fridge if they are plugged in and turned on.
One more vote for the honda.
Rob M

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Follow Up By: Notso - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 16:36

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 16:36
Just a few things to remember, there are some items that use a lot of electricity like Electric Jugs, Air Conditioners and such like. Depending on what you want to run you will need to ensure that it will handle the items you plan to use. For example, a small caravan Air Con will use all the resources of a Honda EU2.0. A standard electric Jug will use more then the EU2.0 can produce. An average toaster will use about 2/3rds of the generators output and a microwave unless it is a special low wattage unit will use about 3/4s of the output.

A battery charger of around 25 amp output will only use about 1/4 of the output.

So make sure you get one of the size you need.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 17:48

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 17:48
The other thing to remember to.

When running off a generator, we can not rely on any of the protective devices, preventing electric shock to work reliably if at all.

SO
When running off a generator we must be pedantic about the condition and state of repair of the electrical items and the level of care in the use of them.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Brian - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 18:04

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 18:04
i appreciate everyones input , thank you all ! When i buy a gennie will make sure its output is more than adequate . rather " over engineer " than the other
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Follow Up By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 20:15

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 20:15
Brian. Most people get away with a 2kv generator. It normally will run one of the mentioned items at a time. It is better to have a smaller wattage Kettle though. We have a 1500watt one sourced off ebay from Hong Kong. There is also a safety switch available that is a combination RCD/RVD and is fitted into the house(Van) power box to replace the original RCD. It then protects both external power supply or Inverter/Generator power supply. It is available from RV Powerstream who you may have to ring as it is not listed on their website. For some reason a photo of it will not load to the reply.
Cheers, Bob.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 22:18

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 22:18
No matter what protective device may be used, without a permanent electrical installation with a permenent connection to the greater mass of earth.....the same level of protection and reliablity as at home can not be expected....do not assume that any protective device will protect you from electric shock when running off a generator.

The only reliable protection is being carefull.

cheers

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Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 21:01

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 21:01
Brian,
Make sure you size your genset correctly.
2kva is too small for a lot of caravan’s air conditioners.

AnswerID: 528060

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 22:28

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 22:28
Not than many years ago, a 2KVA generator was about all one healthy man could lift. a good silenced 5KVA like honda used to sell was the size of a good sized home freezer or a large washing machine and if two men where to lift it...they better have had their wheaties.

These days a good inverter 2KVA can be lifted in one hand....be it a healthy hand..but one hand all the same...remeber what I said about inverters being lighter....oh yeh baby.

There are some very nice 5KVA inverter gennies around that are a reasonable size & weight, pretty quiet and fairly efficient.

If ya trying to run a home away from home with air conditioning...it realy is reasonabl to consider something bigger than 2KVA.

Remember a 2KVA does not even get you as much power as you can pull out of a single power point at home.

cheers
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Reply By: Mark T6 - Tuesday, Mar 11, 2014 at 11:21

Tuesday, Mar 11, 2014 at 11:21
I have just purchased a Fuji Pure Sine Wave 3.4KVA Gennie (sorry to all the Hondas owners but the best I could afford at the moment and considering it's possible limited use $489 V $1600 is a fair saving!!)

It suggests I use a Electric Conductor Cable (I assume jammed into the ground) as a safety measure....where do you get these from (Maybe Derek at ABR supplies them.....who by the way installed my dual battery system in 2011 and it's worked like a charm ever since).

The Fuji suggests a DB level of 58 so is close to the Honda sound wise, and whilst 3.4KVA is the peak performance it suggests an output of 2.5KVA on normal running....fingers crossed its going to run my Ibis Air Con in the van when we hit the Gulf Country later in the year.
AnswerID: 528102

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Mar 11, 2014 at 23:49

Tuesday, Mar 11, 2014 at 23:49
Driving your own earth stake is not recommended, not legal and wont help you......Don't drive an earth stake.

Along with any permament electrical system comes layer upon layer of safety measures.

Start with the earth stake...there is no way the average user can drive an earth stake and know it is adequate.

They you would have to know where to connect that earth stake.....and its probably not where and how you would think.

And it probably wont achieve what you think either.

Then there is the whole specified structure of what is earthed an how.

About 1/4 of the SAA wiring rules is in some way involved in specifying earthing matters.

There is simply no way that the average person can replicate anywhere near, the level of safety we have in our homes and businesses running caravans and camp sites off a generator or inverter.

You MUST rely on a high level of care.

None of the protective measures can be guaranteed to protect you from electric shock.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Mark T6 - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014 at 15:19

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014 at 15:19
So just plug it in and away you go (making sure all connection and cable are fine and ditto with the appliances)??? and forget any earthing device (even though the use manual suggest to have one)

I have a new van, so should be at leats right for a bit.....actually hoping I haven't got to use a generator very much anyway, just be handy to have if it gets bloody hot and also if we get a run of bad weather and I need to recharge.

Yes I understand NEVER run it when raining!!
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014 at 22:36

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014 at 22:36
The generator manual is not the law..the SAA wiring rules are.

There are quite a few things you may find in geberator manuals that are plainly Illegal in this country in our electrical system

The manual is written by some one who has no idea of our electrical system or regulations.....obvioulsy.

Many inverters and generators come with earthing lugs and recomendations about earthing them.....ignore these...this advice is contray to the Australian Standards and does not consider a number of other measures in various electrical systems.

There are very good reasons why we should not earth generators and inverters.....most of the reasoning revolves arround the average persons inability to produce a reliable earth connection AND earth everything else that is required to produce a proper earthed environment.

It is comnsidered that a floating electrical supply presents less risk that one that is not properly earthed involved with otems and structures that are not properly earthed.

There is absolutly no problem running a generator when its raining.......provided that it is properly sheltered....and all the rest of the electrical system is properly protected.


OH one thing....only run one metal cassed appliance off a generator or inverter...all the reast must be double insulated...if you have a caravan or camper...that means all your appliances must be double insulated because the one metal cassed appliance is the caravan.

cheers
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Reply By: Mark T6 - Thursday, Mar 13, 2014 at 03:01

Thursday, Mar 13, 2014 at 03:01
Sorry to hijack the original thread, but I have bought the Gennie purely as a backup to being able to charge the batteries by Solar Panels on the roof of my van AND if it gets bloody hot to be able to run the Air Con that's installed in the van.

The only other appliance is the Microwave (already installed), and we rarely use one of these anyway.

I have a Waeco Fridge that runs off the second battery in my tow vehicle, if staying for an extended period I would move that from the rear of the 4WD and attach to an outside 12 volt plug.

I don't know if the Microwave is " double cassed" (does that mean double insulated???).

There would be no other appliances attached, I do have a Toaster and an Electric Jug but would only use those on 240 Power.

So am I "relatively" safe just plugging in and starting up or should I be doing something else.

I see dozens of Vans (especially those that freecamp) with Gennies, and to be honest thought little of the safety issue when buying.
AnswerID: 528233

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