The RVers Corner

Generators

Robert V
I am considering purchasing a generator for our travel trailer. The is no room for permanent installation in the trailer. The generator will have to be portable and carried in the bed of the towing pickup. What voltage, amps, is required to provide power to run the lighting, a microwave, and a single air conditioner? What is required as to dB rating. Do campgrounds have a standard of noise acceptance for generators? Thanks in advance for any help.

Lee
A 4000 to 5000 watt generator will handle about anything you need. As far as noise, stay away from the old lawn mower style engines and get one with an overhead valve type engine, they are much quieter,lighter,and last longer. Also try to find one that will run 8-9 hours minimum at half load. You don't want get up and put gas in it in the middle of the night. Most campgrounds, if they don't have electrical, will let you run them all night if it's really needed.

Chris
As to generator usage, I'm afraid you hit a nerve, but before a personal opinion, here are some observations from campgrounds in the East. We have found that most campgrounds do not allow generators when the campground has any sites with electricity. Even if all the sites with electricity are taken and even if the generator is used to maintain medical equipment, they maintain their no generator rule, with no exceptions.

Most state campgrounds that do not have facilities, which is the overwhelming majority, have specific times when generators are allowed. At all other times they must be turned off. In New York State Campgrounds that have no serviced sites, for example, they have a printed brochure that they hand out. Generators are allowed for a maximum of 5 hrs per day between 9am to 11am and 4pm to 7pm.

We have noted that some parks have one or two loops where generators are allowed and in all other loops they are restricted. It seems like about 1/4 of the park sites are open to generators on the restricted times noted above.

We have noted another rule on generators that we are seeing more and more often, that the only generators allowed must be permanently installed in the camping vehicle. Portable generators are not allowed.

We have a generator in our RV. We use it sparingly to occasionally run the microwave. Yes, we are annoyed when we get in late and want to nuke a late dinner, or it is very hot and humid at night and we want to run the AC, but considering if the shoe was on the other foot and our next door camper started and ran his generator to watch TV or AC while we were outside trying to relax with the family at the fire, we vote for a quiet and peaceful campsite. If you want to run things that require alternating Current(120V), either
1. Stay home
2. Go to a campsite with electrical hookups
3. Find suitable substitute equipment that runs from batteries
3. Buy an inverter.

If your batteries go dead, take the batteries somewhere away from the campground and get them charged, such as a marina or gas station or leave the site away from other campers and use your portable generator. You might also consider mounting the camper batteries in the tow vehicle and hooking them up to the vehicle generator so they charge while you are driving and hook up the trailer to the tow vehicle with a cable for 120V. Many of us go camping to escape the noise, the bustle and pressures of the city and suburbia. When you camp in a quiet remote area, we vote for enjoying the peace and quiet. Most campgrounds have quiet time between 9 or 10 pm and 7 or 8am. this means no sounds like TV's, radio's, Generators, or loud talking audible off your campsite. We have never been to a campsite that allowed a generator to run all night.

Leon M
Hi Robert, I mounted a 3500 watt gen on the rear bumper area of a motor home several years ago. Had a 1 cyl Briggs and Stratton engine. Vibrated excessively and even with a auto muffler fabricated to it, it was too noisy. 5 years ago mounted an Onan 5kw to rear of 5th wheel trailer. Worked real well but you have to work up a switching network for it to isolate it from your shore power etc. Good luck!

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