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Old 02-26-2019, 11:29 PM   #1
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Default Advice on buying generator from Costco

Im looking to buy a generator to power my 1996 Ford Coachmen Class B and recharge the batteries while boondocking which is what I spend 100% of my time doing. Would this generator be good for my application? I have heard about fluctuating generators being bad for the batteries so want to be sure this one will not damage them.
https://www.costco.com/A-IPower-1600...100343958.html

I currently have a Duralast 65-DL starting Battery
https://www.autozone.com/batteries-s...1_348915_25698

And a X2Power AGM house battery
https://www.batteriesplus.com/batter...4m/sli34agmdpm

Thanks so much for any advice!

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Old 02-27-2019, 12:20 AM   #2
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Im looking to buy a generator to power my 1996 Ford Coachmen Class B and recharge the batteries while boondocking which is what I spend 100% of my time doing. Would this generator be good for my application? I have heard about fluctuating generators being bad for the batteries so want to be sure this one will not damage them.
https://www.costco.com/A-IPower-1600...100343958.html

I currently have a Duralast 65-DL starting Battery
https://www.autozone.com/batteries-s...1_348915_25698

And a X2Power AGM house battery
https://www.batteriesplus.com/batter...4m/sli34agmdpm

Thanks so much for any advice!
Nice, clean looking rig.

I would definitely try for as much battery as you can get. The one you referenced is pricey and only shows 65 amp hours. This seems low, so someone else will need to ring in here on your battery options.

As far a charging from a generator, it does not take a lot of power, but it does take a lot of time. Therefore, a small, lightweight, fuel efficient generator would do the job. With an easy start kit on your a/c, you might even be able to start and run it with a 2000-2200 watt generator. The Yamaha 1600/2000 would fit he bill except for running the a/c.

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Old 02-27-2019, 12:31 AM   #3
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Nice, clean looking rig.

I would definitely try for two batteries. As far a charging from a generator, it does not take a lot of power, but it does take a lot of time. Therefore, a small, lightweight, fuel efficient generator would do the job. With an easy start kit on your a/c, you might even be able to start and run it with a 2000-2200 watt generator.

We don't have a Costco near where I live, so not sure what they sell.
.
Thank you! The model im looking at is this one
https://www.costco.com/A-IPower-1600...100343958.html

I like to buy from costco because of their incredible return policy. Never have to worry about anything I buy from there. I do not use my roof AC, just use power for the furnace and lights and cell charging and am charging my macbook pro pretty consistently for work and media.

I have never hooked up to shore power before, Do I just need the little adapter that converts the 3 prong on the shore power input into a standard house outlet to plug the generator into and it will charge my batteries and run everything in the coach? Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2019, 12:48 AM   #4
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Thank you! The model im looking at is this one
https://www.costco.com/A-IPower-1600...100343958.html

I like to buy from costco because of their incredible return policy. Never have to worry about anything I buy from there. I do not use my roof AC, just use power for the furnace and lights and cell charging and am charging my macbook pro pretty consistently for work and media.

I have never hooked up to shore power before, Do I just need the little adapter that converts the 3 prong on the shore power input into a standard house outlet to plug the generator into and it will charge my batteries and run everything in the coach? Thanks!
Sorry, I edited my post above after you replied, and I went to your links.

The little Yamaha looks good and the price is definitely right. Yes, just get an adapter for your 30A cord down to regular 20A plug on the genny. It should run your microwave and anything else (except ac)without problems.

EDIT: I see the generator is not a Yamaha, but is Yamaha powered. 65db is a little loud compared to an actual Honda or Yamaha brand. But is that worth twice the cost?
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Old 02-27-2019, 12:55 AM   #5
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As rowiebowie mentioned, it takes a long time to charge batteries off a generator if they are lead acid batteries, either wet cells or AGM. To get them full from under 50% SOC can take upwards of 8 hours of charging, most if it at relatively low amps once it quickly gets to about 70-80% full.


This makes charging off a generator a tedious and noisy endeavor. This is one of the reasons many are going to lithium batteries as the charge to full faster.


If lead acid batteries are not taken to full charge periodically, like every 7-10 recharge cycles, they will start to lose the ability to charge to the rated capacity, effectively "walking down" there capacity over time until early failure. There are lots of opinions of how much life you lose, but 50% is a common one that makes sense, but I have never seen any real testing results to confirm that.


Getting shore power to get a full charge when needed is a way to prolong battery life as you will have enough time to get that periodic full charge, assuming you have a good charger that will do it correctly.


Many of us, regardless if we have a generator or alternator charging, will use solar to "top off" the charge once the amps get low enough from the mass charging, as it is good at low output, long time, charging and that is what you need. Depending on how big your battery bank is and how much power you need to recover, 100-200 watts of solar is usually adequate for vans with propane refrigerators and low power use. We have no generator anymore and use only 300 watts of solar and big alternators.It is able to handle our 440ah of battery bank without issue, and we have a compressor frig plus use the inverter for the microwave on top of normal, fairly low, usage.


There are several members who are running combination AGM and lithium setups to minimize generator run time without the high cost of a full lithium setup.
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Old 02-27-2019, 01:01 AM   #6
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I see the generator is not a Yamaha, but is Yamaha powered. 65db is a little loud compared to an actual Honda or Yamaha brand. But is that worth twice the cost?
.

Although it can be hard to find, getting design life specs for the various generators can be very useful and sometimes surprising, I think.



Especially if it going to be used every day for longer periods of time, a long life brand may well be a bargain at even twice the cost of a shorter life one.


I can't speak for either of the brands mentioned, but in engines of that size, it is very easy to design life differences of 5X or even more. 500 and 2500 hour engines are pretty common in small engines.
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Old 02-27-2019, 01:16 AM   #7
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To continue with the solar idea:


You'd use a combination of the van engine and the solar panels. The bulk charge would come from the van alternator using the fuel in the van's tank. If the van currently uses an isolator to keep the house and chassis batteries apart then that could be switched to a Blue Sea Systems Automatic Charging Relay with no voltage drop to get the max charging out of the alternator.

As Booster noted, a solar panel would finish the charging to get the batteries to 100%. I'm assuming modest power needs, propane fridge etc. You can get into solar without spending too much and the DIY part is not too difficult.

I point this out because it can be a bit of a problem carrying a portable generator and fuel.

This particular panel with a slightly lower operating voltage https://www.renogy.com/renogy-100-wa...l-new-edition/ for example would pair fairly well with a lower cost PWM controller like this https://www.renogy.com/renogy-wander...ge-controller/

You'd have to see if there's enough space on the van roof for it. Z brackets for mounting, wiring, solar panel, controller and Blue Sea ACR could all be had for around $300 or so.
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Old 03-07-2019, 04:06 PM   #8
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This regards the remark above on 3 prong adapters. It is important to understand that electric hookups are rated for certain loads. The RV would typically have a 30 or 50 amp plug which each have a distinctive configuration. Household plugs are normally 15 amp. The adapters that convert RV plugs to a household plug merely allow you to run minimal loads, like recharging your battery, small appliances, or coach lighting, but will not support running the roof AC. Your RV panel will have breakers for the various loads, and you will note that the roof AC is probably on a 20 amp circuit. It will trip your house breaker if you try to run the AC off a regular household plug through one of these adapters.

One other caution, if you try to supply the RV through a Ground Fault Interrupt protected circuit, it can trip the GFCI because these are particularly sensitive.
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:10 PM   #9
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If you donít need to run AC from the generator than lower power, quieter and lighter generator could be a better choice.

This Honda is very quiet, I have one and at low power is extremely quiet. https://powerequipment.honda.com/gen...models/eu1000i

Another choice would be this Ryobi unit, I donít know how quiet it is, some reviewers claim it is very quiet and it is powered by small a LPG bottle. https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-90...11LP/302703564

Seems as your battery choice is very expensive, I am happy with the Fullriver brand, good quality for decent price. https://www.wholesalesolar.com/brands/fullriver
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:21 PM   #10
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Agree on the overpriced battery. For $300 you should be able to get a top line 100+ amp hour deep cycle AGM from a major manufacturer. The one shown is 65ah so likely built like or by Optima as that is about what they are.
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