Generator Question

Discussion in 'Other Gear & Equipment' started by Randy, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. Randy

    Randy Junior Ranger Donating Member

    We will be camping for a week in the high Sierras this summer with no shore power. Our site is very shady so concerned about keeping the fridge running and battery charged up with a solar panel. I have been considering going over to the dark side and investing in a Honda EU0000i. I have heard one and they are remarkably quiet. Given that we live in So Cal earthquake country it would be nice to have one as a household backup also.

    What kind of running time is required to maintain the battery? Any concerns on traveling with a gas can? Any other thoughts about generators appreciated.


    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
  2. rgupnorth

    rgupnorth Junior Ranger Donating Member

    We have a honda 2000i that we use around the house during power outages and it is very quiet. Always thought it would be handy for a backcountry camping trip. It runs a long time on one tank of gas.
  3. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    Our Yamaha probably needs to run 2-3 hours per day in hot weather with the Dometic running in order to keep the battery fulled charged with no solar supplementation. That will give you about three days on a gallon of gas. The Yamaha and Honda are highly comparable, and Yamaha actually claims to be 1 db quieter. They can easily be found for $100+ less than Honda.
  4. rockytopsc

    rockytopsc Novice

    We have the Honda 2000i as well and use it primarily for our NASCAR weekends. We have an external tank kit that holds an additional 6 gallons, so we can run for the weekend on 6-10 gallons. We travel with the gas tanks attached to a hitch basket.
  5. mariusz

    mariusz Novice

    Yamaha or honda both gteat choice, would not go with different brand.
    Randy likes this.
  6. lorieandkeith

    lorieandkeith Novice

    I am fearful my message will not be helpful, but because you suggested you have some reservation about the generator and the "dark side," I want to share an idea.

    The Yeti's are remarkable. We have two. When we start out one is filled with frozen goods, and the other is filled with mainly cold goods and a couple of frozen items. The frozen items might be coffee, milk, drinking water, soup, ingredients or leftovers. We rarely need ice, as replacement groceries are frozen (e.g. frozen packages of spinach).

    In the winter, often one cooler becomes a place to put stuff where it won't freeze - fruit, vegetables, or canned goods, as examples.

    Perhaps you love the refrigerator and don't want to give it up. Also, the Yeti's are expensive.... But like I said, just an idea.
  7. Cary Winch

    Cary Winch Camp-Inn Staff

    If purchasing a generator the minimum needs to be 1600watts if being used to start the air conditioning system. So, the 2000watt units are ideal.

  8. Randy

    Randy Junior Ranger Donating Member

    Thanks for the suggestion!
  9. Randy

    Randy Junior Ranger Donating Member

    Thanks Cary!
  10. Neil Barr

    Neil Barr Novice Donating Member

    I have been looking at the Powerhorse by

    I have been looking at Northern Tool Powerhorse at 1/2 the price. Made in China but supported with parts and service by Northern.

    Same specs as Honda. Would not use that often so is Honda worth double?
  11. rotus8

    rotus8 Junior Ranger Donating Member

    I have purchased a number of tools and equipment from Northern Tool, as well as other similar places and have been generally happy. However, I always consider the importance of a particular tool; if it will be only occasionally used and if it fails I won't be in an uncomfortable situation, the Chinese option is fine. If your trip will be significantly compromised if the generator doesn't start out in the wild, you will be pretty annoyed.

    You bought the Camp-Inn because of the build quality, reliability, and support even though it was more expensive than other campers. Get the Honda.

    Whatever generator your choose, always put fuel stabilizer (something like Sta-Bil) in the gas. Start the generator and run for a few minutes every couple of months, and of course just before setting out.
  12. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    It does seem to have specs similar to both Honda and Yamaha, so it very well may be worth taking the gamble. There is lots of great stuff coming out of China today, but it's a "yuge" country. So it is hard to tell if this is being made by a very experienced and reputable firm. There was at least one similar generator on the market two years ago when we bought ours (it might be the same one, I don't recall). At that time it seemed too new to take the chance. Both Honda and Yamaha have been around for a long time, and there are plenty of positive reviews for both. If I were making the purchase I'd be looking for positive feedback on that specific generator and Northern Tool in general (the reviews at NT seem to be mostly positive, but there are some negative reviews). Because you are correct, usage for most folks is sporadic. Our usage is basically for times when it gets too cold or too hot, and in those times we don't need to run it all that long. It gets used more in times of prolonged cloudy weather.

    I do like the fact on this model that the controls are on one end of the generator. That is because of how we store ours, we at first were worried that the controls might get knocked around a bit when we loaded or unloaded certain gear from our van. But that has proved not to be an issue. Still, fewer knobs and such on the sides means less chance of something getting snagged on them.

    One feature that Yamaha has that NT lacks is special outlet for a simple device for recharging your car battery. When we got ours I thought to myself "When will we ever use this?" It turns out we used it close to ten times last year. That is because our cargo van thinks it is a passenger van (it is shipped as such and converted for cargo use here in the States), so whenever we open any door, all the running lights come on as a safety measure (to warn that kiddos may eject at any moment) and stay on for quite a while. Because we are in and out of the van a lot to access our gear, it can drain the battery. And worse was the auto headlamps, if the accessory power was turned on the headlights would come on, which was a huge drain. So we toasted our van battery in just 15 months (luckily, Ford replaced it for free under warranty). We've since learned to modify our behavior to avoid these issues, though we are contemplating mounting this battery tender solar panel on our dashboard: Battery Tender 021-1163 5W Solar Maintainer: Automotive

    There is an optional 12 volt adapter, so we are thinking we could plug it in while we are parked, so that the battery stays charged as we open and close the doors (this is a bigger issue for us when we stay parked in the same location for multiple days ,than it is when we move on every day).
  13. Neil Barr

    Neil Barr Novice Donating Member

    Thanks for the input. I have always been inclined to buy the best thus a Camp Inn. In the final anaylsis I will likely find it hard to pull the trigger on something less than a Honda or Yamaha.
  14. Randy

    Randy Junior Ranger Donating Member

    What's the typical daily run time to keep the battery topped off running a Dometic and typical light and TV usage? Trying to figure how much gas I would need to a week of boondocking.

    Any recommendations on a gas can?

  15. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    There is always lots of variability in usage. But generally, we can go about three days on a gallon of gas. But I suspect it would take more gas after that, as it doesn't seem as though the generator gives a really full charge to our AGM battery. If you have a vehicle that doesn't have anti-siphon technology (or you can figure out how to circumvent it), you can also get a hand siphon at Harbor Freight and just take what you need from your gas tank (provided you will have sufficient gas to return to civilization).

    We considered getting a gas can, but have put the purchase off for now. Harbor Freight has a one gallon can for less than $10. As often as we are likely to have gas in it, that is probably good enough for us. There are fancier ones on that have spout designs that minimize spillage, etc. For us, size matters. There is only so much stuff that we can carry before we make our lives more complicated than we want.

    We looked into getting a Rotopax Gas Can after seeing one on a BMW motorcycle in Baja. We were considering mounting it to one of the barn doors on our van. There seem to be some conflicting reviews, plus there is a need to vent them fairly frequently (just one more chore to forget to do...). But we really like the design, and figured we wouldn't mind carrying spare gas if it was outside.
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