Sign up for The Wire Newsletter!

Best small generator that will fit between van wheel wells?

Discussion in 'General Expediter Forum' started by dc843, Feb 20, 2018.

  1. dc843

    dc843 Seasoned Expediter Researching

    Joined:
    May 21, 2016
    Messages:
    313
    Trophy Points:
    65
    Ratings:
    +135 / 0 / -0
    Im going to install aux batteries with an inverter that ill run a 700-1000watt portable ac unit from. As i learned from you guys, that will drain my batteries way too fast. So im looking for a small generator that i can attach to the batteries and run when im running the ac unit (or just to charge batteries). Set outside the back doors when its running. I want one that i can keep in the shelving ill build in the wheel well space so it cant be too large. Also would like it to be as good with gas as possible, and the cheaper the better. Doesnt have to be a lot of watts, im looking for somewhere around 2000watts but id be fine with like 1500.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for me. i know that is being picky above but really just need one thats at least 1500 watts and small enough to fit in the wheel well space.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  2. Treadmill
    Caffeine Fix

    Treadmill Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,372
    Trophy Points:
    430
    Ratings:
    +3,417 / 8 / -1
    Carrier:
    Load One
    Vehicle:
    2017 Sprinter
    I am guessing you probably need at least 2000 amp with 1500 amp for that ac compressor to start up. I have a Ryobi 2200 amp generator with 1800 amp cranking power. My ac compressor required 1500 amp. When it started up amp it would bog down and then recover quickly. Never had a problem with it.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Bummer Bummer x 1
    • dc843

      dc843 Seasoned Expediter Researching

      Joined:
      May 21, 2016
      Messages:
      313
      Trophy Points:
      65
      Ratings:
      +135 / 0 / -0
      I am connecting a 3000-3500w inverter to my batteries, so the starting watts (assuming you meant watts not amps) of the AC will be just fine off of the batteries alone, the problem is it wont last off the batteries power for very long, so i need to run a generator when its running so it actually lasts, the extra wattage will be used to charge the batteries and thats just icing on the cake.

      But thanks for the suggestion ill look into that one.
       
    • Treadmill
      Caffeine Fix

      Treadmill Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

      Joined:
      Jan 1, 2008
      Messages:
      2,372
      Trophy Points:
      430
      Ratings:
      +3,417 / 8 / -1
      Carrier:
      Load One
      Vehicle:
      2017 Sprinter
      Yeah I meant watts.
       
    • DollarSign
      Wisdomatic

      DollarSign Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

      Joined:
      Jun 27, 2011
      Messages:
      2,392
      Trophy Points:
      380
      Ratings:
      +2,773 / 4 / -0
      Carrier:
      Load One
      Vehicle:
      Sprinter
      Can't go wrong with a Honda 2000 watt or a Yamaha generator. For the cheap version, Powerhouse generator at Northern Tool is $300 to $400 cheaper and it's their version of a Honda generator.

      Keep it outside and get a small cover and get the best hi security cable lock that you can find. Make sure that the exhaust fumes don't get inside the van already one expeditor passed away because of that.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
      • Like Like x 1
    • RoadTime
      Paranoid

      RoadTime Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

      Joined:
      Jun 30, 2008
      Messages:
      5,005
      Trophy Points:
      905
      Ratings:
      +7,934 / 10 / -0
      Carrier:
      Load One
      Vehicle:
      Sprinter
      The lower priced ones used to be very loud but some do advertise "super quiet", so maybe they have gotten better and worth checking out on a budget.

      I chose a Generac IQ200. It has the bell and whistles I wanted at a lower cost then the Honda/Yamaha.
      I've been extremely happy with it for around $800.

      7167yn15NEL__SL1200_.jpg
      Side note: Forget about the idea of plugging the A/C into inverter and charging batteries with generator.
      It's just not going to work out how your thinking. You need to run your A/C off the generator.
       
      • Like Like x 3
      • Agree Agree x 1
      • Winner Winner x 1
    • dc843

      dc843 Seasoned Expediter Researching

      Joined:
      May 21, 2016
      Messages:
      313
      Trophy Points:
      65
      Ratings:
      +135 / 0 / -0
      OK. can you explain why i cant do that?

      and if i run the ac straight from the generator, can i still attach the generator to battery bank somehow so it charges them with the extra watts?
       
    • RoadTime
      Paranoid

      RoadTime Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

      Joined:
      Jun 30, 2008
      Messages:
      5,005
      Trophy Points:
      905
      Ratings:
      +7,934 / 10 / -0
      Carrier:
      Load One
      Vehicle:
      Sprinter
      My simple non-Turtle answer would be, the batteries would run down faster then the generator could charge them back up. And that's a lot of unneeded stress to be placed on the batteries.

      I know it can be done, but beyond my knowledge base (help Turtle ;))
      The way I do it is run a battery charger off the generator.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    • dc843

      dc843 Seasoned Expediter Researching

      Joined:
      May 21, 2016
      Messages:
      313
      Trophy Points:
      65
      Ratings:
      +135 / 0 / -0
      Thats good enough for me! thanks! i guess that attaches with cables to your batteries then plugs into the generator? are they "smart" where it would be able to have the AC and the charger both plugged in (probably after the ac is done with the starting watts)
       
    • RoadTime
      Paranoid

      RoadTime Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

      Joined:
      Jun 30, 2008
      Messages:
      5,005
      Trophy Points:
      905
      Ratings:
      +7,934 / 10 / -0
      Carrier:
      Load One
      Vehicle:
      Sprinter
      Yes, That's how I do it.

      Don't know how smart it is ;)
      But I run them both at the same time. Get A/C going first then connect the charger. But I have to run my generator on Normal instead of Economy setting. Although, that may have to do with having my fridge and TV going also :)
       
      • Like Like x 1
    • dc843

      dc843 Seasoned Expediter Researching

      Joined:
      May 21, 2016
      Messages:
      313
      Trophy Points:
      65
      Ratings:
      +135 / 0 / -0
      if i have 2 batteries wired together (2 12v ~220ah batteries) am i able to charge both at the same time?
       
    • RoadTime
      Paranoid

      RoadTime Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

      Joined:
      Jun 30, 2008
      Messages:
      5,005
      Trophy Points:
      905
      Ratings:
      +7,934 / 10 / -0
      Carrier:
      Load One
      Vehicle:
      Sprinter
      Yes, it will.

      And if you add a Bidirectional Battery Separator, it will also charge your starting battery after your bank is charged.

      Sure Power : 12V 100A Battery Separator (Bi-Directional) w/ Aux Start
       
      • Like Like x 1
    • Turtle
      Busy

      Turtle Administrator Staff Member Owner/Operator

      Joined:
      Apr 5, 2006
      Messages:
      24,656
      Trophy Points:
      1,285
      Ratings:
      +12,827 / 12 / -2
      Carrier:
      Load One
      Vehicle:
      2005 Sprinter
      A 2000 Watt generator, you can figure a long-term sustained running output of 1600 Watts. That's the case with the Generac i2000 and most of the 2000w generators. That's 13.3 amps output. Most of those inverter generators have a direct DC output so you can hook it up directly to batteries to recharge them. The output is usually in the 5 amp range, though.

      If you plug a battery charger into the generator, the battery charger will take up about 2.1 amps of the 13.3, leaving 11.2 amps free to run other 120 volt appliances at the same time, like, an air conditioner. A 900w air conditioner will pull about 7.5 amps of that 11.2, which leaves you very little spare amps. That's why it's not gonna run an air conditioner and a battery charger (or anything else) on economy mode. A generator running at 80% or higher load means an external fuel tank for the generator.

      A 10 amp battery charger will put 100 amps into a battery bank in about 11-12 hours, A 20 amp charger will do that in half the time. Get the biggest charger you can afford, generally speaking. But anything larger than 20 is gonna be real pricey. When I'm at the house I use a 20 amp charger. Wet cell batteries can handle a charger up to 25% of the battery capacity. Meaning, a 400 Ah battery bank can handle a 100 amp charger. AGM batteries can handle 40% of capacity (for Concorde Lifeline it's 100% but you'll need battery cables the size of a baseball bat).

      Wanted to add to this. When you connect multiple batteries together, don't thinking of them as individual batteries anymore. A bank of batteries is essentially one big battery in terms of charging and discharging. You only have one positive and one negative terminal on the bank. If you nave two 12-volt batteries connected together, the positive terminal on one battery and the negative terminal on the other battery are the terminals for the bank.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    • dc843

      dc843 Seasoned Expediter Researching

      Joined:
      May 21, 2016
      Messages:
      313
      Trophy Points:
      65
      Ratings:
      +135 / 0 / -0
      kinda starting to think im better off just using a generator and forget the batteries since im going to have to run the generator all the time anyway.
       
      • Like Like x 2
      • Winner Winner x 1
    • Turtle
      Busy

      Turtle Administrator Staff Member Owner/Operator

      Joined:
      Apr 5, 2006
      Messages:
      24,656
      Trophy Points:
      1,285
      Ratings:
      +12,827 / 12 / -2
      Carrier:
      Load One
      Vehicle:
      2005 Sprinter
      How you gonna run the Espar, roof vent van, and fridge?

      Ideal is a house bank for house loads, and the generator for high draw loads. The batteries will recharge when driving, but as a bonus you can also put some amps back into the house bank with the generator. The generator is not your primary house bank recharging system, driving is. But if you sit for 2 or 3 days, it's nice to be able to put some amps back into the battery with a generator, instead of having to idle.
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Agree Agree x 1
    • RoadTime
      Paranoid

      RoadTime Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

      Joined:
      Jun 30, 2008
      Messages:
      5,005
      Trophy Points:
      905
      Ratings:
      +7,934 / 10 / -0
      Carrier:
      Load One
      Vehicle:
      Sprinter
      They do compliment each other. You won't be running A/C (your biggest draw) all the time. I don't even take my generator with me in the winter months. That's where the batteries come into play. 65F-70F night, your not going to need A/C and the Gen running. But a fridge, fans, TV what ever else will. Depending on what your going to run, something needs to power it. Sometimes you may find yourself in a place where pulling out the generator isn't practical or safe. I guess you could just run a Gen all the time. But I would want a outside mounted one, preferable self starting, in that case for me.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    • LDB

      LDB Veteran Expediter Retired Expediter

      Joined:
      Sep 11, 2004
      Messages:
      16,473
      Trophy Points:
      755
      Ratings:
      +3,504 / 8 / -1
      Vehicle:
      Recliner
      Start saving whenever you can for an Onan Quiet 2800 generator. It goes in the wheel well space under the back of the van. It feeds from the van fuel tank so you aren't going outside in HORRIBLE weather every few hours to refill it. It packs enough extra punch to let you run pretty much whatever you want.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    • piper1
      Adorable

      piper1 Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

      Joined:
      Sep 22, 2007
      Messages:
      1,804
      Trophy Points:
      330
      Ratings:
      +1,355 / 4 / -0
      And...that Onan is surprisingly light weight. Wish they made a diesel one with the same specs and weight.
       
      • Like Like x 2
      • Agree Agree x 2
    • gflight
      Devilish

      gflight Seasoned Expediter Owner/Operator US Navy

      Joined:
      Dec 7, 2011
      Messages:
      32
      Trophy Points:
      75
      Ratings:
      +2 / 0 / -0
      Carrier:
      Commitment Plus Expediting Inc.
      Vehicle:
      sm st.
      We have the Ryobi in one of our vans and the driver loves it. Plenty of power to run ac and frig.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    • dc843

      dc843 Seasoned Expediter Researching

      Joined:
      May 21, 2016
      Messages:
      313
      Trophy Points:
      65
      Ratings:
      +135 / 0 / -0
      Looking into ones that have remote starting now. And one i can hook up to an external gas tank but i think most are able to do that. Theres a champion i saw thats remote start but i think it may be too big.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    Loading...

    Share This Page