Which Generator??

Submitted: Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 07:07
ThreadID: 109697 Views:3545 Replies:8 FollowUps:9
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I have had some good advice from members on the pros and cons of having a generator as part of our power source for a caravan. Already have a 100wattsolar panel that charges a 100amp :battery. The question I have is which generator? Which brand? It won't be used a lot, just a back up for solar,so maybe a cheaper unit may do the job.Honda and Yamaha seem to be real quality but expensive. we have a A/c, microwave, Waeco freezer and some led lights. Can anyone help pls Johno
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 07:26

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 07:26

You really need to reassess your camping needs.

In your previous post of Generator vs Solar, you stated that you intended running a small TV, LED lights and a small freezer.
Now you are throwing an Air Conditioner and Microwave into the mix.
How big is your caravan?
Does it have a separate fridge and what type, compressor or three way?

There is no way a 100Ah battery and a 100w solar panel is even close to suit your overall needs. Not even to run your "small freezer".

You will need at least a 2kva generator to run an Air Conditioner, or Microwave, or charge your battery bank, otherwise you need to connect up to 240v supply at a powered caravan site.
A Honda or Yamaha Inverter type Generator is the only one that will suit your requirements and they are quieter than a cheaper brand and more efficient to run.

Oh, just stay away from my campsite mate. I hate the sound of generators, whatever size and type they may be.


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Follow Up By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 07:59

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 07:59
I agree with Bill's post. one battery and an 80 Watt panel is hopelessly inadequate. I would suggest a minimum of three x 125 Watt panels and three one hundred amp batteries. Maybe OK for a sunny weekend away but that's it.

You will need a generator for those long periods of dull rainy weather during low depressions - even with the above gear. Buy good gear and buy it once - or just stay in caravan parks.

John and Jean
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Follow Up By: wholehog - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 09:25

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 09:25
I have to agree with Bill as well.

Re-assess what you REALLY need to run electrically, and what you can run competently on another energy source, LPG.

Microwaves, electric jugs, electric toasters, air conditioners, run them when you are on a 240volt supply that you have already paid for with your park fees.

When free camping/travelling, use gas appliances and limit electrical wastage / stored battery energy use.

Why do people have the need to pour petrol into a machine to make heat and electricity to then power an air conditioner in the boonies, to attempt to cool a usually very thermally inefficient aluminium shed.

1 battery and 1 panel is just enough for lighting, if you want to run appliances, upsize the system.

Update your existing solar and battery storage capacity and make use of tow vehicle generated DC power while travelling during the day.

We have just returned from another few months travelling, generally free camping and its getting worse the number of people out there with bugger-all or insufficient solar/battery capability, tip out a cheap-ass gennie, get it rattling and roaring to run TV, non LED lighting and the electric jug, microwave etc...and just stuff up the camp areas and happy hour for many other people a bit more savy with accessing and using energy.

I have a generator, but its certainly not to run the air conditioner, its just a Honda 1kva, is light for 1 person to handle and pretty darn quiet. Its only use to me is to recharge my house batteries if I have had 3 or more days of crap weather and the caravan's 6 solar panels and 4 batteries are not quite coping.

When free camping, we don't use the electric jug, toaster or microwave, just LED lighting, compressor fridge, water pumps and TV.

Good luck, but please explore the solar/batteries option combined with efficient energy camping, and enjoy some peaceful happy hours with your camping friends.

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Follow Up By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 11:56

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 11:56
Ditto to Sandy....properly assess your needs first....but if you do need a generator, I can say that my Yamaha EF1000is* has been a good unit. Easy to start - quiet - eco throttle - easy to maintain (fit a new spark plug - clean the air filter - change the oil**). The best time to buy might be when your local camping show is on - show specials are often the best you'll see - and dealers often have 'show' specials even when they are not exhibiting at the show.
*I chose the Yam. because it was cheaper than the Honda at the time... and had the same specs. No regrets.
**There is no oil filter, but the bath holds only a small amount of oil and frequent changes cost little.
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Reply By: DBN05 (tas) - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 13:35

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 13:35
Afternoon john59,

have a look at mytopiastore they are on ebay and have Fuji pure sine inverter generators. a 5kva cost $699 or a 3.4 for $499 or you could place a bid for one. I have no connections with them and have bought a generator from them.

Hope this helps you.

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Follow Up By: wholehog- Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 14:49

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 14:49
Have a read here....


and here...


Nice junk.
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Follow Up By: DBN05 (tas) - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 16:08

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 16:08

time will tell if its junk or not BUT it starts better than my stihl whippersnapper my husqvaran chain saw and my victor mower. would I change my mower chainsaw or whipper snipper for better ? brands no because I like them. unless you have one, a generator of that brand you are just following the other sheep. as I said time will tell but I'm sure i'll get my moneys worth and like my other toys I only use the when needed.


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Reply By: Emerging I.T. - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 14:49

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 14:49
Johno can see you now list an A/C, Microwave etc which wasn't in your original post. It helps being accurate if you want accurate advice. I agree with Bill and the other comments with regards to which generator. Buying a no name generator which is anything other than Honda and Yamaha etc comes with some risks imo. You get what you pay for. Running a small AC will require a more powerful generator.
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Reply By: Steve - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 17:10

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 17:10
Johno - just give the microwave a miss when not on a powered site and preferably the air-con unless you desperately need it. Anything that generates heat (microwave, electic kettle, air-con) or cold is a huge energy user so you need to think about that before you go bush camping and decide what you really need or can do without. Even TV doesn't use all that much and led lights next to nothing. If you have a 3-way fridge then run it on gas (very efficient) Just do some homework and maybe splash out on one of Collyn Rivers' excellent books on the subject. It will turn you into an expert.

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Follow Up By: Steve - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 17:16

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 17:16
charging laptops, phones and cameras etc don't use a lot of power either so you can use gas for fridge and cooking (it lasts surprisingly well) and if you're careful you might get by with the other less power-demanding stuff. Tell the cook she looks gorgeous anyway and doesn't need the hairdryer.
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Reply By: Bigfish - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 18:05

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 18:05
There is an old saying mate..."A fool and his money are soon parted" By buying a dodgy unknown brand your either a tightwad or a fool. Brand names such as Honda or Yamaha have a great reputation, huge back up capability and a bloody good reliable product that can have most spares bought off the shelf in the many dealers around the country. 2 kva Honda would be my choice.
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Reply By: Tony F8 - Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 07:33

Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 07:33
Sell your van and start taking your holidays in motels, I think you have missed the essence of what camping is about.
Tony F8.
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Follow Up By: johno59 - Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 10:09

Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 10:09
Thanks everyone for your advice. Have decided to instal another 120 watt solar panel and another deep cycle battery. According to our auto electrician and solar panel outlet this should help enormously. It's basically for led lighting and a small 12volt TV. We have survived with the one battery/solar panel setup to a point. It just seems to be a little light on power. And Tony, will never lose the free camping feeling. Visit Africa often and have travelled through most of Africa with basically a torch and tent.johno
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Follow Up By: philw - Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 10:17

Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 10:17
TonyF8. Any caravan owner is not really camping. Just spending a fortune,towing a mobile motel room.
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Reply By: disco driver - Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 19:09

Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 19:09
And the Anti Generator brigade take over again.
I pity the poor OP having his post hacked by those who have a deep aversion to using generators and to anyone who asks a question about them.

Nowhere in John's post does he indicate that he will be inconsiderate in where or when he uses his gen set so all you anti's automatically assume he will use it to upset you wherever you may be camped.

Wait till you are peacefully camped out in the bush and a tribe of yahoo's arrive with half a dozen screaming kids with unmufflered trail bikes...................then you will have something to complain about.

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Follow Up By: johno59 - Sunday, Oct 05, 2014 at 09:25

Sunday, Oct 05, 2014 at 09:25
Disco, I agree. I have seen many Gen in operation in free camps throughout oz and there has only been one that was seriously annoying. The latest models on the market seem incredibly quiet. Most people I have seen using them usually are very considerate. Just recently we camped near one and really it was not a problem. Johno
FollowupID: 825600

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Oct 05, 2014 at 11:53

Sunday, Oct 05, 2014 at 11:53
Couple of years ago, I attended a charity auction in main street of Camooweal, outside the pub. With much frivolity, shouting, slurping of both ale and lolly water, I was conscious of another muted noise. Beside the ute used as the auctioneer's stand was a Honda EU20, quietly humming away on on Eco Mode, while it powered the PA system.

Can't see how anyone could complain about the noise, as long as it was used at "considerate hours", in more remote areas.


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Can't remember most of it.

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