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New Or Used/Craigslist Small Generator
Old 05-19-2009, 12:28 PM   #1
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New Or Used/Craigslist Small Generator

Later this year DW & I will bee desert camping in our little trailer and will need a quiet generator to run the AC. The smallest generator that seems to be working for other owners of this kind of trailer is a Honda 2000. I am also considering a Yamaha 2500. The cheap Chinese ones are pretty good but far too noisy for us. The Japanese ones cost a bundle, $1,200+. Occasionally I see them on Craigslist for half the price of new ones but wonder how to evaluate a used generator. Is there a meter that says how many hours they have run?

Would you trust a used unit? How would you evaluate a used one?
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Old 05-19-2009, 12:45 PM   #2
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I had to evaluate a used generator recently and I used a Kill-a-Watt device to measure output frequency, voltage and current under load. I took some portable heaters with me so I could create a load (this one was 5000 watt)

Kill A Watt from iKitchen.com

Obviously, you'd also want to look at smoke from the exhaust and other tell tale signs of hard usage. I've found that home owners buy these for emergencies and the worst abuse comes from sitting with old gas rather than wear.

If the generator doesn't have an hour meter, you can't tell directly how many hours it has been run - need to use other cues.
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Old 05-19-2009, 10:23 PM   #3
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Later this year DW & I will bee desert camping in our little trailer and will need a quiet generator to run the AC. The smallest generator that seems to be working for other owners of this kind of trailer is a Honda 2000.
A Honda 2000 might not be enough to START a 13,500BTU A/C. Although a 13.5K BTU A/C only requires around 1,000W when in operation, starting it requires a lot more power.

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Old 05-20-2009, 12:17 AM   #4
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A Honda 2000 might not be enough to START a 13,500BTU A/C. Although a 13.5K BTU A/C only requires around 1,000W when in operation, starting it requires a lot more power.

Sam
Yeah, I look at the numbers an the AC says the starting surge can be 2200 to 2500 W but under 2000W for operation but I actually know a number of owners for who this works and none who have tried it and it didn't work. Obviously everything else needs to be off and I think if I start the fan first so it is not part of the compressor surge that should help. But real world says this should work. Maybe the AC spec writers are particularly conservative?
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:53 AM   #5
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Your idea of a small trailer must be different than mine if it requires a 13500btu air conditioner.Honda and Yamaha make good generators i'd just go with the one that has been used least.A little reading on The same topic over at the RV forums seems to say that the size of generator you are looking at might be too small to run the air conditioner you have RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Travel Trailers: Small Honda Generator for Air Condtioner?
Might give you some additional points to ponder.
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:05 AM   #6
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Yeah, I look at the numbers an the AC says the starting surge can be 2200 to 2500 W but under 2000W for operation but I actually know a number of owners for who this works and none who have tried it and it didn't work.
I'm certainly no expert but everything I've seen on the RV sites says the situation you describe and the resulting low voltage at start is a killer for the AC unit over the long term. And I believe the low voltage situation will occur not only when you first start the unit but each time the compressor cycles on.

Here is a sample from discussion on a sister RV forum (note they can't stay on topic either ): what-size-generator-should-i-use?
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Old 05-20-2009, 04:33 PM   #7
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My advice is to get at least a 3000W continuous duty generator. The 2000 may be able to start your AC, but it is definitely not easy on the excitation system of the generator to be continually starting electric motors and would undoubtedly lead to an early exit.
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