Honda 20i Generator for caravan

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 16:38
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Hi all should probably not say this but I am a sparky by trade and did my home work on the Honda 20i to use with my caravan.
Like a lot of people I purchased a Honda 20i generator to use while I am off road to run the caravan power but mainly the air conditioner and a as a consequence I have found that the Honda did indeed struggle to run the whole load of the caravan and on investigation the air conditioner was well under the generators rated output but still would not run the whole load of the caravan, to give the whole picture you have to look at the whole load and in my case the caravan has the following:
184 litre Fridge Freezer
Constant potential charger for the 200 amp hour battery bank
Air Conditioner
Add all of these together and you will come up with a load that exceeds the output of the 20i, with my caravan it is easy to get rid of the load of the fridge and the battery charger by simply turning off the circuit breaker for that circuit.
Fridge auto changes to gas and batteries are being charged by the solar panels, no problem.
OK then on a 35 degree day run the generator turn on air conditioner and the generator still went into over load what the ???
Next I looked at the size and length of my extension lead, lead is a 2.5mm squared, (capable of 15amps) but was 33 metres long (to keep the generator away from the caravan and also those caravan parks that have power poles in bleep e positions), so looked at the volt drop and was surprised at the volt drop over that length.
So run the caravan on a 7 metre 2.5mm squared extension lead on 35 degree day for 6 hours no problem and on Eco Throttle.
Basically keep all the load to just the Air Conditioner use a short extension lead from the generator to the caravan and all should be good.
Happy touring
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Reply By: BrigalowO - Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 18:03

Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 18:03
Something else to consider. The basic rooftop airconditioners that are fitted to caravans, are dinosaur technology.

We have ordered a new Jayco Outback, but I had them delete the rooftop a/c and I intend to fit a domestic inverter aircon, with the compressor unit mounted on either the A frame or the rear bumper.

The new inverter airconditioners, will run from a 1kva gennie and are extremely efficient and very quiet. In fact, one of my cobbers, did a test run with his inverter a/c, at the lowest cooling setting, with battery power inverted from his solar system.

Robert
AnswerID: 483203

Follow Up By: 4X4Treker - Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 18:36

Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 18:36
BrigalowO
Thanks for that but the caravan is new and was made to order and we did consider other options but at the end of the day room was the big consideration and weight distribution, we are very happy with the operation of the air con but was mainly putting it out there for others to consider as I know a lot of people have gone to the bigger Yamaha generator to overcome the over load problem, which is OK but bigger in physical size and weight.
Our new caravan is just on 2.5 ton and is full on off road just like all of our other caravans have been and weight was a consideration in choosing a generator but the 20i is just right in physical size and electrical output as I do use the generator for other than camping.
That is impressive that you are able to run an inverter air con off of a 1 kva gen though

Cheers
Treker
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Follow Up By: Marny - Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 19:19

Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 19:19
dont forget that the honda 2.0 is a peak power output rated genny i think its rated output is 1.6 or 1.8kva cant remember which one. Cheers Marn
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 20:00

Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 20:00
BrigalowO
"The new inverter airconditioners, will run from a 1kva gennie and are extremely efficient and very quiet. In fact, one of my cobbers, did a test run with his inverter a/c, at the lowest cooling setting, with battery power inverted from his solar system"

Whoa! - Must be a midget aircon or a monster solar system.
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Follow Up By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 21:12

Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 21:12
Have to agree Dennis, the maths don't add up otherwise
Cheers,
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John

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Follow Up By: P2D2 - Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 22:17

Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 22:17
The maths only don't add up to those that are not clued up in the electrical field of inverter air conditioners.
Power my domestic inverter air conditioner from my solar system batteries through the inverter on the caravan. When the sun goes down use Yamaha EF1000iS. Wouldn't be silly enough to fit a rubbish dinosaur roof top heap of low quality troublesome junk.
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Follow Up By: BrigalowO - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 06:11

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 06:11
Thank you P2D2. I am glad that there are some people who are up to date with technology.

To the poster who replied with this:

"Whoa! - Must be a midget aircon or a monster solar system." and the following poster who agred with you

If you both read my post again slowly, which said, "my cobber did a test run on the lowest cooling setting" you might do some research, and discover, how little the power draw is on a domestic inverter airconditioner, then you might reconsider your immediate inclination to disbelieve.

I will get him to verify my comment if you are still inclined to question my earlier, carefully considered post.

Robert






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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 10:22

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 10:22
BrigalowO
You can run anything as long as the solar panels are big enough and load is small enough.
What would be interesting is the full load current of the airconditioner that your mate is using and its make and model number.
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Follow Up By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 22:20

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 22:20
No specs Dennis, so no facts, just assertions.

Mighty big solar system for a caravan to run any air conditioner. I thought our 500+ watts was big enough with 4x135 watt panels but a long way short of the 1kva generator, let alone the EU20i we use for ours
Cheers,
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John

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 22:29

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 22:29
Yep John - not a lot of technical information to go on.
Being an inverter type – may be they run it at 20% capacity when on solar panels.

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Follow Up By: BrigalowO - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2012 at 06:18

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2012 at 06:18
Both of you are very eager to scoff, and insinuate. Patience, alas, is missing

I said I would get confirmation, and this is his response to the question I posed on a caravan forum, of which we are both members:

"Yes, correct, I have done that on a few occasions. It will start- and run-
indefinitely ON LOW POWER, on my 300w SureSine inverter.
However, my Panasonic has "power" level LEDs, allowing me to fiddle the
temperature to keep the power level very low (which draws anywhere from 200 to
300 watts.)
I have no way to limit it to low power, other than manipulating the selected
temperature and watching the power LEDs, (or the Aldi power meter) which is
rather labour intensive.

If the aircon tries to run up to full power (which will draw about 650- 700
watts), the SureSine inverter will shut down immediately to protect itself.


Basically, you need full batteries and plenty of solar, plus preferably a bigger
inverter. If I could intentionally limit the aircon to say 300 watts (low power)
manually, it would be much more practicle.

Hope that's what you needed to know."

Are you both satisfied now?

Robert
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2012 at 08:55

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2012 at 08:55
BrigalowO
Thanks for going to the trouble of finding out that information - it was most appreciated.
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Reply By: NTVRX - Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 19:26

Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 19:26
I also have a Honda 2. As I was also thinking about running the a/cond & rather than read unqualified s/ments I contacted Honda direct & spoke to a technician I received the following advice. 1. Put Honda in the shade with a short lead say 5 to 10 metres. 2. Start Honda with other items in van switched off. 3. Set a/cond. on full cold setting (This stops up & down action from both genny & a/cond. 4. You can assist genny by plugging in a 240 volt fan aiming same at Honda motor (extra cooling) 5. Wait a few minutes before switching another 240 volt appliance on. Before I start ducking for cover....I am just the messenger, the author if you wish to know further is in Brisbane. I do not know if mentioning the company name or Tech's name is allowed so i won't just PM me if you wish & I will reveal all. Robert. ps...I have done this & my Honda worked fine.
AnswerID: 483208

Follow Up By: 4X4Treker - Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 20:13

Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 20:13
NTVRX
Hahaha never shoot the messenger with generators and load not one thing fits all, I had done all my research and was confident that the 20i would do the job with the air con and it does and easily, air con cuts in and out on thermostat and gennie runs on eco throttle no problem, but did not factor in the extra load of the caravan with the fridge and the battery charger if left on but this again is not a problem as my caravan is designed to be self sufficient with full solar system

Cheers
Treker
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FollowupID: 758463

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 21:46

Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 21:46
NTVRX
Looking at the photo on your post – you caravan is a baby and it only needs a small airconditioner.
My caravan is 24’ and a 2kva genset (with a 1.6 KVA continuous output) is not going to run my air conditioner in the temperatures I use it. It might run it at 30 deg ambient – but I’ve seen them die at 40+. The extra 240volt cooling fan won’t do any cooling, as the Honda 2 is totally enclosed - so you are adding additional load for no benefit. I’d shoot the messenger.
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Follow Up By: NTVRX - Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 22:14

Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 22:14
One should not assume Dennis old boy.....the photo is an old one. Fact. my caravan is not a "Baby" it is a 19'6' Paramount & yes yours is bigger than mine!!! My Honda 2 has powered my a/cond in low 40's....I don't doubt it won't run yours I cannot prove any different so I will take your s/ment on merit .....as I mentioned the info about the lead,fan etc....was supplied by a Honda tech. He sounded sincere to me....maybe you know better. Are you professionally qualified in generators Dennis? If so I will ask some interesting questions...it will save me phoning Brisbane. Shoot the messenger? Hmmmm!!!
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 10:38

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 10:38
I do have electrical qualifications but it’s pointless going into that.
I am not disputing your claim that the Honda 2 will run some caravan airconditioners – but it won't run all of them.
If you were blowing air onto an open frame generator you could have an effect.
It will make no difference blowing air onto the outside of a totally enclosed unit.
Put a probe inside the housing and do some tests with a thermometer. About $20 from Bunnings.
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FollowupID: 758512

Follow Up By: Member - David M (SA) - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 21:11

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 21:11
How big is your van again Dennis,Oh 24'.So it has not got any bigger since "Threats to fellow travellers'

We hit the road for 6 months of the year in a 24’ Van.
We have a 40 litre Engle, CF 40 Waeco, TV, Microwave, Airconditioner etc.
We have a 2.4kva Yamaha Gennie.
Dave.
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FollowupID: 758567

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 22:11

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 22:11
You are very confusing David - I am not sure what you want know.
Yes the caravan is 24' and the genset is 2.4kva.
Is there something else you don't understand?
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FollowupID: 758580

Reply By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 21:31

Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 21:31
We have a new van on order. It is fitted with Dometic AC. We also have a Honda 2KVA as part of our kit. Our van also has fitted solar and we will have a mobile solar panel to.
A good neighbour of ours is a seasoned caravaner. He obviously was very interested in our purchase etc. He warned us of the short fall in the Gennie when it came to powering the AC.
We did some reasearch and were advised that it would come up short. We looked at getting a larger gennie, but it was too big for the boot of the van and as pointed out in one of the other postings, size and weight then became an issue. We therefore decided that we'd stick with the Honda and have to do without the AC when out bush. Further research though also led us to the same info as given by NTVRX. Turn of all electrical items, power up the gennie, then kick in the AC. Apparently it does work for some set ups even though by the book it shouldn't. We are just going to give it a go should the need arise and what willl be, will be.
Mind you (tongue in cheek....for those with a sense of humour LOL) all of the above is immaterial if camped to Gennie Intolerant Campers!!! LOL
We only use our gennie as a last resort by the way!!! As we have an interesting story of our own on that one. I'll save it for another day and under another posting.
AnswerID: 483225

Reply By: Rockape - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 07:31

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 07:31
Treker,
just got a question. Did you make your own 15a lead as the normal sq mm size for a commercial I believe is 1.5 sq mm.

I understood the 2.5 sq mm leads were 20a.

I have a few 15a leads . 2 commercial ones and a made up 2.5 sq mm. he conductor size is way bigger in the 2.5mm cable.

Stay cool,
RA.
AnswerID: 483254

Follow Up By: 4X4Treker - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 20:09

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 20:09
Rockape
Yes I make up most of my own extension leads as I said I am a sparky by trade with 30 plus years in the trade, the larger three pin plugs that are the standard outlet at caravan parks have always been rated at 15 amp, the 20amp plugs are not normally used for extension leads but for connecting heavy appliances such as cook tops.
All my leads are made from 2.5sq mm but the size of the conductor does not alone determine the capability of the lead the overall length has to been factored in as well

Cheers
Treker
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FollowupID: 758554

Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2012 at 07:52

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2012 at 07:52
Treker,

yep was just querying the 2.5 that's all.

I know how quiet the honda is but you may wish to make up a light weight sound deflector to place beside the genny and deflect the sound away from your van.

Have a good one,
RA.
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FollowupID: 758591

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