• Mike645
    14
    My wife and I want to do extended boondocking. We have a Montana High Country,
    with residential fridge and dual A/C. What do we need--generator (size/brand??) or
    solar (how much??). Any info you can give us first timers would be much appreciated!

    Thanks Mike and Margo
  • Logan X
    76
    As far as generators go, to run two air conditioners, you would need something in the 5000 to 6000 watt range. If you want to just run 1 air conditioner, you could go with a 3000 or 3500 watt generator. You want to get an inverter style generator made for RVing not an open frame construction generator. Honda and Yamaha are considered the best, most reliable, and the quietest however they are by far the most expensive.

    I use a 2000 watt Honda generator, it will run everything in my trailer, a 27 foot TT, except the A/C.

    Solar of course is a good option but you would need a large system for running the air conditioner.

    The first thing I would address is your battery bank. You want batteries with a high amp hour rating. That tells you how much energy they can store. 12v deep cycle batteries are ok, 2 or 4 6v golf cart batteries are better, lithium ion batteries are the best but you will pay a lot for them.

    I have two 6v golf cart batteries that are joined in series to produce 12 volts. My trailer came with 1 12v battery that had 70 amp hours. I swapped that for my 6v batteries which have 250 amp hours.


    Welcome to the forum and to the RV lifestyle!
  • Ray
    433
    A big factor will be where and when you plan on boondocking. For example in the southwest during the winter season, AC isn't really needed much. I took a 3200-watt generator this year and barely used it, could have easily gotten away with a 2000 watt unit just to recharge the batteries and power a microwave, toaster, hairdryer, etc like we have done in the past.. but say you boondock in the southern states in the summer, whole different ball game. ;) Need big power.
    A residential fridge will take at least 2 extra batteries to power. @Rush and Lola may be able to provide some real-world insight here as I know they boondocked with one.
  • Rush and Lola
    111
    We have a 18 cf Samsung refrigerator and its a hungry beast when it comes to electricity. On generators I've lately seen Harbor Freight sell one that has gotten some good reviews. Go to there website and look on youtube for 3500 watt INVERTER generator with Predator on it.
    Back to solar, and the refrig. We have a 35 ft. Vanleigh/ Vilano. 55 in. tv, cpap, 18cf. refrig. and 1070 watts on roof and 8-6volt batteries at 225 ah's a piece, 2 separate inverters (2000 & 1000 watt) one for the house and one for the refrig. Call us and have a pen and paper.2523416779.
    We are getting rid of the beast as we call it. Its a luxury item. We are going to a high efficy refrig. which is 12.5 cf. When we boondock we only get 1 full day of power out of all those batteries account the refrig. takes so much power to run 24/7. If we have sun all day its no problem panel replenish batteries. No sun out come the two Honda's 2000 watt ones. Tied together they run one a/c. have a 6 gal tank of fuel to feed them.

    7ky1e7tv2jdlclq7.jpg
    sy7xdno06ofwqk9e.jpg
  • RVsolar
    181
    Hi most of it come down to money ? How much roof space ,and room for battles and
    All the other equipment. YouTube can be your best pal look at Ray's great setup.
    Mine is A little rough but I have to run the wife's oxygen concentrator and CPAP it is about
    500 watts ac .
    I place 8 360 w panels on our 5wheel .
    So sorry forgot to put in Eddie Aileen He dose great work .

    https://youtu.be/N-UoiHcpTb8


    https://youtu.be/zNXW9ceRZ7Q
  • Greg F
    159
    We have 1080 watts and 600Ah battery (usable 600). We don't have a residential fridge but we do run our 2 way gas/electric fridge through the inverter during the day when the sun is out. It is very inefficient compared to a compressor fridge. I feel like we would have no problem running a compressor fridge 24/7 providing we didn't have too many cloudy days. Currently we do most of our cooking, hot water heating, even air conditioning through the battery/inverter, but there are limits. We travel with the weather though and don't run the air much. If it's that hot it's time to move.

    If you want to run 2 air conditioners you will need a massive solar system (more than will fit on your roof) and a large bank of batteries. Two air conditioners will pull 25-30amps ac. That will take a huge inverter or 2 inverters. I have seen set-ups with huge lithium battery banks and 3,000 watts of solar and still a generator is needed for running 2 roof air units for long periods of time.

    Our system was expensive, even doing the work myself and DIY lithium the entire system was about 8k. You may want to do both solar and a generator. Build a nice solar system, maybe 600-1000 watts and also bring along a small generator as a back up and to run the air. If you use a hybrid inverter you can run your air through a small generator as the hybrid inverter will supplement power from the battery as it is needed to overcome inrush amperage to start the air conditioner compressor or as needed to also run another heavy load like a microwave while the air is on. On mild days where a/c isn't needed you should be fine not to run the generator at all with a large sized solar system like Rush has.
  • Mike645
    14
    Very informative; I have been doing a lot of research and agree about the lithium batteries. As for generators, should I get a fixed Onan 6000 to 7000 or hook 2 Honda 2000s in series (I'm not an electrician nor mechanically inclined unless shown)? Thanks, Mike
  • Mike645
    14
    Thanks, Ray. Maybe we can cross paths someday.
    Mike
  • Mike645
    14
    Thanks Rush & Lola for all the info. I liked the inverter/generator at Harbor Freight and the good reviews. I may be giving you a call.
    Mike
  • Mike645
    14
    Thanks for the info. Who is Eddie Aileen?
  • Mike645
    14
    I appreciate all the info Greg. I have been doing a lot of research. Wife and I may wait on the solar until we get a little experience with our RV. Hope you are enjoying beautiful scenery.
    Mike
  • Logan X
    76


    Either a fixed onan or two Honda’s ran in parallel would work for you. It just depends on what you prefer and a couple of factors. Do you have the space in your trailer for an Onan? It would certainly run everything. 2 Honda’s would run most things in your trailer but only one AC unit. The Honda’s would probably be cheaper and more portable. If you are set on needing the power of two Honda’s, maybe think about one Honda 3500 instead?
  • Mike645
    14
    I agree. In my search today, I found a 3500w Predator inverter/gen. at Harbor Freight on sale for $699. Reviews are great--take a look. Also, what type of TV antenna do you suggest. I have Direct TV at home (I was looking at the King one pro)? I appreciate your help. Mike
  • Logan X
    76

    Sorry Mike, I don’t have any TV antenna suggestions. If I have WiFi or cell service, I stream using an Apple TV. Otherwise we watch DVDs.

    I have heard good things about the predator.
  • RVsolar
    181
    Mike645
    Eddie does solar install.
    mobilehomesteading.com
  • Rush and Lola
    111
    Mike, Eddie has done two different systems for us. Ray has some videos on his you tube page. Eddie was installing the system and I video taped him. We drove from NC to at the time to his base station in Wy. to have the work down. I had talked with 3 different installers ( AM Solar, John Palmer and Greg Young) before Eddie and after talking with Eddie I knew he was a good person. He is a true Boondocker, not just a installer. A big plus, his knowledge and personnel experiences and he lives the lifestyle.
    Give a us shout we don't mine sharing any knowledge and experience we can. That's why we did the videos for Ray. Sharing with others.
  • Mike645
    14
    Thanks Rush and Lola. I'm sure I will be hitting you up for more info. Mike
  • RichardM
    54
    “Video taped”? What’s that… ;-)
  • MrGreen
    2
    If you are looking for a good “budget” generator I would recommend the Champion brand. I’ve had two of them and really like them. They are reliable and fairly quiet. Before you start laying out any money for a generator or solar/battery bank/inverter I would highly recommend talking to Eddie. His systems use good components and are clean installs - he knows his stuff. The systems can get pretty complicated really fast and especially when you have some pretty high power needs. It isn’t something you want to do or have done twice.
  • Mike645
    14
    Thanks for your response MrGreen and recommendations on generators.
  • OTRGrumpyman
    29
    Hi Mike, I have a 38’ Toyhauler. I have been RVing for four years now. I have two 1500 BTU-AC’s. RV came with an Onan 5500 EVAP generator. I can run everything in the RV on this gererator. I also purchased a Honda 2000 watt generator. I recently installed a Micro-Air EasyStart soft starter on my front AC. This allows me to run my front ac on my Honda generator. I get approximately 4-5 hours run time due to small fuel tank.You need to be mindful of what you are running while doing this; no other large items can be use. Installing an Onan 5500 generator will add a lot of weight to the front of your RV. I have read many reviews on the new Predator 3500 watt generator. What I have learned is the break-in period is crucial to the performance of this generator. Also I think it would be beneficial to purchase an extended warranty on this unit, because Harbor Freight doesn’t have long warranty periods. I had Eddie Glonek of mobilehomesteading.com due a Solar Install for me on 4/4/19. You can reach him on his website or give him a call at (252) 475-8034. He is a top notch installer. I posted some pictures of the install on Ray’s forum under “Solar Install”. I went with three Battle Born 100 AMP Lithium batteries. Keeping the weight down in the nose of my RV. I installed four 160 watt panels. A 2000 watt inverter/charger. You can check the rest of the install out on my post. I can run everything on my solar but the AC, Fireplace and electric water heater. I agree with Ray on planning your trips to where you don’t need AC all the time. When I run my Onan generator I burn through approximately 15 gal of fuel for a 24 hour period. Hope this will help in your decision making.
  • Rush and Lola
    111
    Here a better pic of the fuel tank and Honda's at work.

    pqxhzhaupfdfjfrf.jpg
  • Mike645
    14
    Thanks, I agree with your views on the Onan. We aren't going to get it;
    I signed up for Eddie's newsletters. I really appreciate all your help.
    Mike
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