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Rancho Roy

Two generators for one AC unit???

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This past Great NorEaster match was a bit hot. I saw dozens of campers running two Honda EU2000i generators to power their AC units. Or they were running a huge frame type generator that was making a racket from hell just to keep cool. There had to be a better way!

 

I have a Forest River 19RR with a 13.5 AC unit. I want to be able to run the AC on one Honda EU2000i generator in ECO mode.

Currently, when the temperature is above 85 degrees, it takes two EU2000 generators running with ECO Mode off to get them running. Once running I can switch to ECO mode but when the compressor cycles, it trips the low voltage shut off on my Progressive Industries EMS. 

https://progressiveindustries.myshopify.com/products/ems-hw30c-pid

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Running with two generators and  ECO off is noisy and uses more fuel. Got to be a better way...

First thing I did was install a aftermarket start capacitor.

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I did this installation when the temperature was 60 degrees and it would start the AC on one generator, but not in ECO mode. I could run the AC in ECO mode with both generators. But once the temperature got above 85 degrees, see above!

Research led me to a small company in Allentown NJ (Not PA). They make a  device that looks at a few different parameters of your electricity draw and adjusts with some kind of magic and supposedly you can run an AC unit like I have on one 2000 watt generator.

https://www.microair.net/collections/easystart-soft-starters 

I happen to be going down to Cape May NJ this past weekend and would be going right through Allentown NJ. I called them and asked if I could stop by and pick up the device I needed. I mentioned I'm a member of the Forest River Forum and they offered me a $40 discount!
The "factory" is a very small building in a beautiful farming area of NJ. A very nice lady took care of me and I was on my way.

Once home I took the cover off the AC. Removed the start capacitor and installed the Easy Start. Took all of 20 minutes! Four wires and you are done!

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I mounted the Easy Start to the front of the AC unit , under the cover.

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Buttoned it all up, and ran a test after starting the AC five times on shore power as the instructions tell you. You need the Easy Start and the AC unit to understand each other before you go to generator power

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Temperature was 86 degrees during the tests. The generator was in ECO mode throughout the test.

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I let it run for over two hours to be sure the AC could cycle while the generator was in ECO mode.

AMAZING! It works! Nice , quiet, one generator in ECO mode and a nice cool trailer.

Now I ask, why don't they install these units in the AC from the factory. For under $300, you are saving your ears, your neighbors ears and your second generator!

Highly Recommended!

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Re: why they don't install these units at the factory??

I hear ya Pard.

I have a 2013 2300 Forest River motor home with an Onan RV4000 on board. It'll run the A/C but good Lord, the noise!

Like you, I picked up a Honda and I run it, dry camping at the range, when I just want power w/o the A/C

I replaced all the incandescent light bulbs in the cabin with LEDs. Pricey but it sure saves on power.

Don't get me started on the on-board built-in GPS/Radio/DVD/CD player. 

I stuck a Garmin Nuvi on the dash after losing patience with the built-in GPS from Forest River and just learned to get along with the poor reception, wandering time on the clock and the inaccurate tuning on the radio.

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I have an older truck camper so it's a bit different. I have a Champion 3400w inverter generator. Anyways, I replaced all of the "house" lights with LED. I found some on Amazon for cheap and they've been working great. I can run my A/c, tv, dvd player, fridge, and charge my various batteries without my generator reving up or getting loud. I found it to be quieter than running two of the Honda 2000s. Cost me $800 shipped to my door. I don't need any adapters to plug in and it'll run all day on a tank of gas. It's also lite enough that I can lift it up into my truck with a full tank and not hurt myself.

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Just a thought but is your AC running at optimum?

 

Also, something I would do is take your RV to a refrigeration specialist. Not an AC tech. Have them look the system over for any thing that can be changed to make your system work better. 

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We did a ton of research a few years ago and found the Micro-Air Easy Start also.  There are several soft starters out there but this one in particular has the best learning features you can buy.  It is literally a miracle box.  We can easily fire up the 14,000btu AC on our camper with our small Harbor Freight 2500w Predator generator.  It will cycle the AC on and off just fine even at 100 degrees.  They work.  Perfectly.  It's amazing.  As near as I can tell virtually everyone who has a Honda 2000 or any similar size generator that only carries a second or larger generator for the AC, could eliminate it with this device.

 

It's that good.

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RoyB, you should not sit your little Honda genny in the dirt like that. They are 'bottom breathers', the engine cooling and carb intake depend on the airflow from the bottom. You are also sucking crud into the engine compartment.

I used some PVC pipe 'caps', and made leg extensions for both of our Honda's.

OLG

 

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It's a "soft starter" aka "reduced voltage starter"  It uses thyristors to limit the voltage applied to the compressor motor when the switch or relay is closed.  This will greatly reduce the amount of power the motor will draw from the source on a start.  The device will keep the voltage reduced until the motor gets to full speed.  It will sound smoother since the power source is no longer trying to drive the motor to full speed in an instant.  This has the benefit of being "softer" on the power source and the mechanical system (couplings, gears, etc...) but it's much harder on the electrical system, namely the motor windings, since the motor will be drawing higher current for a longer period of time.  The additional heating in the windings will cause the insulation to break down and decrease the life expectancy of the motor.  Unless the motor in question was specifically designed for this type of control.

 

The reason the for the initial training is that the device does not know the load profile of the motor & load you've connected it to so it has to learn how much it can reduce the voltage and still get the motor to start.

 

Buyer Beware!  If the motor in your a/c unit is not suitable for this type of control it isn't going to last very long. i.e. a high cycling frequency of your compressor along with high ambient temperature are going to be very hard on the motor.  I recommend you provide shade and good ventilation for the a/c unit and adjust it so that it runs longer and starts less frequently.  I also recommend you contact the manufacturer of your particular a/c unit and tell them what you're wanting to do and ask their advice.

 

btw;  my answer to the question "why don't all the a/c units have these from the factory?" is the same for any other manufacturing decision "MONEY!"

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1 hour ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

you should not sit your little Honda genny in the dirt like that. They are 'bottom breathers', the engine cooling and carb intake depend on the airflow from the bottom. You are also sucking crud into the engine compartment.

I used some PVC pipe 'caps', and made leg extensions for both of our Honda's.

 Good advise.....Thanks!

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1 hour ago, CodyMaverick said:

 If the motor in your a/c unit is not suitable for this type of control it isn't going to last very long. i.e. a high cycling frequency of your compressor along with high ambient temperature are going to be very hard on the motor.

 I looked for folks that have had motor issues using this unit and couldn't find one. The engineer I spoke to at the factory suggested they have not seen any motor damage and have been selling them for years with thousands of them out there. Mostly on boats but lots on RVs. We shall see...........

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Well, Roy B, you sure got my attention, and MicroAir got my money.  Spent 2 hours on top of my RV figuring out how to hook it up right, and triple checking my wiring and connections. 

 

It fired right up with no smoke, went through 5 cycles on shore power, then hooked to a single Honda 2KW inverter and started that up.  A/C came on easy!   Honda kept the power at 120V even in ECO mode, or 125 V in full-power mode, with a 90+ day and lots of sun, at 5300 feet elevation.   Wow.    Even shore power from a 20 Amp circuit drops to 106 volts with that AC on.  But the starts are VERY soft now, not the hard clunk and immediate current draw like the starter relay and capacitor from the factory would do.   This does indeed run AC with just one Honda - it took a tandem pair to run it without the EasyStart starter control installed.   

 

Thanks for the heads up!

 

Good luck, GJ

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For those who want to get their generators off the ground, go talk to the local Pepsi or Coke truck driver. Their empty bottle racks are perfect size for your portable generator and for getting it up from the dirt. I have 4 that I use doubled up for mine and it's extended run tank.

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This weekend at the Vermont State Shoot, two of us had MicroAir installed and ran our AC units all weekend on one generator in ECO mode. A good test of the device. Very pleased with the performance.

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On 8/1/2017 at 0:05 PM, Fast Enuff said:

We did a ton of research a few years ago and found the Micro-Air Easy Start also.  There are several soft starters out there but this one in particular has the best learning features you can buy.  It is literally a miracle box.  We can easily fire up the 14,000btu AC on our camper with our small Harbor Freight 2500w Predator generator.  It will cycle the AC on and off just fine even at 100 degrees.  They work.  Perfectly.  It's amazing.  As near as I can tell virtually everyone who has a Honda 2000 or any similar size generator that only carries a second or larger generator for the AC, could eliminate it with this device.

 

It's that good.

 

And you didn't tell me about this when I bought my trailer why????? I see how you are, keep the good info for yourself 

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On 8/1/2017 at 10:06 AM, Roy B said:

 

Now I ask, why don't they install these units in the AC from the factory.

 

Because then they wouldn't be able to sell you a second generator...

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3 hours ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

Did you use an adapter to go from the 20amp RV plug to the 120v generator plug in?

Ike

 

Well, RV cords either have a 30 Amp plug with 3 legs, 2 of which are angled legs, or a 50 amp 4 leg plug (none of those legs are "angled").   

 

The Honda 2KW Companion generators have both a 120V 20 amp receptacle and the 26.6 amp 3 leg  twist lock receptacle (that amp limit is for paired operation, not standalone).

 

So, sure, you need an adapter for any Honda 2K generator I've seen to supply power into an RV.   Which is what we have largely been talking about.

 

When I ran my test yesterday, I had a 120 V, 20 amp adapter on the end of my RV's 30 amp cord.   And I ran just one generator, so I was plugging into the 20 Amp outlet.  Ran just fine, and maintained, as I said earlier, great voltage levels when AC was starting and running and cycling off and on.

 

Such an adapter plug is about $9 at RV shops.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

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Well, Champion may drive the smaller Hondas to start including actual RV compatible receptacles on the Honda gensets, but I don' think it's happening yet.  

 

For example, a Champion 76533 3800 Watt genset has both a 30 amp 3 leg twist lock, and a 30 amp 3 leg RV receptacle.  Probably didn't cost the factory an extra $10 to include those receptacles.    But until you get to close to a 3800 watt genset, the generator can't supply 30 amps to a receptacle.   And you know how folks are, if there's a 30 amp outlet, they'll try to hang 35 amps of load on it.  :lol:

 

Until then, the ability to run my A/C on about 15 running amps on a Honda 2000 is just going to tickle my fancy!  Thanks MicroAir.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

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I didn't have a twist lock 30 amp to standard 20 amp adapter for the main Honda 2000i generator. I have every adapter you could think of, except THAT one!

So this weekend I used the "Companion" Honda 2000i which has a 30 amp twist lock receptacle. Worked great.

 

I ordered an adapter for the other generator so I have it as a backup should the Companion fail.

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2 minutes ago, Roy B said:

 

I ordered an adapter for the other generator so I have it as a backup should the Companion fail.

 

It will be in the pkg for a very long time-^_^

OLG

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It will be in the pkg for a very long time-^_^

;) "It's a HONDA!"

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7 hours ago, Gawd Awful said:

 

And you didn't tell me about this when I bought my trailer why????? I see how you are, keep the good info for yourself 

:ph34r:

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My question is how much money have you saved in fuel vs the after market parts you added I'm guessing it's in the red and will be for years

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Sometimes comfort and convenience and less gear toted around is worth some extra spending.  It was to me.  It may not be to someone else.  

 

I'll still thank Roy B for pointing out the existence of this product!  

 

Because for me, I could have saved burning up a $2200 Yamaha generator had I known that my RV's AC had SUCH a hard start that is REALLY HARD on the generator you are dry camping with.

 

Good luck, GJ

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1 hour ago, Blackey Cole said:

My question is how much money have you saved in fuel vs the after market parts you added I'm guessing it's in the red and will be for years

On the other hand, if it saves you from having to buy a second generator, you're about $700 ahead.

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Where do you get these and who installs them. I'm currently in Port Huron Mi. For the Michigan State shoot.

 

Marshal Stone

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There is a link in the first post.

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". I want to be able to run the AC on one Honda EU2000i generator in ECO mode.   Honda kept the power at 120V even in ECO mode, or 125 V in full-power mode, with a 90+ day and lots of sun, at 5300 feet elevation.   Wow."

 

I have the two Honda 2000 set up and they tick over in Eco mode with the air conditioner blasting cold air and the thermostat set at full low , then one runs out of  fuel.  In different temperatures this results in 2 different out comes:  In the 90 degree days the Honda with fuel picks up the total air conditioner load and runs flat out.  In 100+ degree days  the Honda with fuel cycles its circuit breaker and the air conditioner stops.  Since the air conditioner is already started I don't see that the O P's soft start would improve the situation, just one additional data point in 5 Dogs Creek near Bakersfield CA.

 

The value of an afternoon nap under the air con outlet is a wonderful thing, no question.

 

Fordyce

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Since the air conditioner is already started I don't see that the O P's soft start would improve the situation, just one additional data point in 5 Dogs Creek near Bakersfield CA.

 

Actually, after putting in the MicroAir, the AC run current dropped quite a bit, when I tested at 90+F and 5300 foot elevation, as I said.    Your situation, I would expect that when one generator  stops, the MicroAir would only put about a half-of-full-throttle load on the other other gen-set!   It's more than just start-soft, it also affects the run load, from what I saw with my testing

 

And if your AC is like mine, it gets to where it cycles off and on as the trailer cools.  That "restart" is where the soft starting helps even more.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

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Since the air conditioner is already started I don't see that the O P's soft start would improve the situation, just one additional data point in 5 Dogs Creek near Bakersfield CA.

 

It senses the compressor start up surge and tapers the current needed. It works even if the AC is running. Simply an amazing device. I've bben using it all summer in different conditions and no isses what so ever

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38 minutes ago, Fordyce Beals said:

". I want to be able to run the AC on one Honda EU2000i generator in ECO mode.   Honda kept the power at 120V even in ECO mode, or 125 V in full-power mode, with a 90+ day and lots of sun, at 5300 feet elevation.   Wow."

 

I have the two Honda 2000 set up and they tick over in Eco mode with the air conditioner blasting cold air and the thermostat set at full low , then one runs out of  fuel.  In different temperatures this results in 2 different out comes:  In the 90 degree days the Honda with fuel picks up the total air conditioner load and runs flat out.  In 100+ degree days  the Honda with fuel cycles its circuit breaker and the air conditioner stops.  Since the air conditioner is already started I don't see that the O P's soft start would improve the situation, just one additional data point in 5 Dogs Creek near Bakersfield CA.

 

The value of an afternoon nap under the air con outlet is a wonderful thing, no question.

 

Fordyce

You need to take both of those Honda's in for load testing/cycling/load sharing. Something IS wrong.

They do run as 'master & slave' where one uses a bit more fuel, but what you describe is beyond that.

We have no issues run'n our RV's, A/C with our 2, Honda 2000's, and can get 4-5 hours on a tank of fuel.

OLG

 

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Lumpy you are correct, it takes at least 5+ hours before my first Honda runs out of fuel,  

 

"We have no issues run'n our RV's, A/C with our 2, Honda 2000's, and can get 4-5 hours on a tank of fuel."

 

This is exactly our experience.  When it is 110 degrees  as it is today and forecast for the match on Saturday, Honda's run hotter then a 90 degree day .  I doubt that one Honda 2000 would cope under the hotter conditions,  so I will not spend the money on a soft start to establish this as fact.

 

Fordyce

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,  so I will not spend the money on a soft start to establish this as fact.

 

So that kinda begs the question of why even bring it up, if all you want to say is that you have decided Roy's or my experience won't serve your situation?  We're not selling the things!  

Comments like that kinda take wind out of posting information that might help other pards, which is really why the Wire is here.    :o   IMHO

 

Good luck, GJ

 

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 I doubt that one Honda 2000 would cope under the hotter conditions,  so I will not spend the money on a soft start to establish this as fact.

 

If THAT is fact.........Then whenever it is 90 degrees or less (which I have tested a couple times) you will still be running two generators and burning twice as much fuel and causing twice as much wear and tear on your generating system.

 

(BTW...I've tested at 93 degrees at 2000' above sea level.........worked great all weekend!)

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