Welcome Guest Login or Signup

New Posts | My Topics | Profile Forum | User Settings | Subscriptions
Post Reply
Portable Generator help please
Total Views: 1442 - Total Replies: 3
Sep 18 2011, 10:18 pm - By rawfedweims



My husband and I just bought our first 5th wheel trailer.  We are looking for a good generator for powering our 5th wheel when stopped at an overnight location or boondocking.  What size would you recommend?  If we leave the trailer, we would like to run the A/C for the dogs if they get left behind alone.  Would it be possible to install an internal one?  Thank you for all of your help.  Any and all advice/help is appreiated.  Happy and safe travels!



Snow and Anton Aubel 

Safe travels,
Snow and Anton Aubel

3 year old Female Chesapeake Bay Retriever "Yepa" (Winter Princess)
5 year old Female Weimaraner-"Cheyenne"

2007 34' Cruiser RV Land Roamer 310QB 5th Wheel
2003 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel Crew Cab 4x4
LiveWorkDream Fulltime RVing Blog
Sep 19 2011, 5:53 pm - Replied by: Technomadia

To determine what size generator you need, you'll need to add up all the wattage of the things you want to run and then size your genset to that (would recommend taking actual reading from a Kilawatt type device, as opposed to going only off of manafacturer specs). Oversize your genset a bit more than you think you need - keeping in mind that starting up an A/C generally takes more power than having it run.  Also think about if you'll be wanting to charge your house batteries off of the genset - if so, make sure you have your inverter set up properly to manage the charge load, and your genset is powered taking that into mind. 

If you're wanting to do stealth-like overnighting (ie. parked in parking lots, on streets, rest areas, etc.), you'll proably want something you don't have to take out and set up.  Built in, or built into your tow vehicle for easy access (ideal for overnighting, perhaps not so much for leaving the 5th wheel behind while you take the truck off somewhere), would be more ideal than a portable one.   


We had a small Honda 2000 that we converted to run off propane when we had our trailer - and it was great.  We downsized our A/C unit (to 9200 btu) to be able to run off it.  But it wasn't something we could use while parked in a lot or something, as it took taking it out of the tow vehicle and setting it up. As a result, we didn't use it much unless we were set up somewhere for a while. 


Our 'new' vintage bus has a 7500 sized genset built in that right now will run only one of our 13,500 btu A/Cs without overheating - but it's over 20 years old and needs some serious tweaking and maintenance.  In theory, it should be able to run both A/Cs when properly configured.  


 - Cherie 

Cherie and Chris / Technomads / www.technomadia.com
1961 GM 4106 - Vintage Bus
On the road since 2006 

Sep 20 2011, 3:59 pm - Replied by: KevsKnight

As always, great advice from Cherie. The built-in generator has the hands down advantage when bringing overnight stops or even simple rest area stops into the equation. The onboard genny can be started and run without any other preparations. The other advantage is that when sizing the onboard genny, you can get the size you need, instead of the size you can lift out of a comparment and lug around.


The portable Honda generators are great - they are durable, light, and super quiet. Pretty much anything else (other than a small number of direct competitors) is going to be heavier and much much much louder. In case you were wondering, loudness really IS a thing. Ask anyone that has spent time boondocking - the last thing you want to hear when you go on a hike is your genny. I am quite sure others feel the same way about your genny as well  :)


Many larger 5th wheels have an area that was intended to install a generator. Unfortunately, you are going to lose storage space. A permanent mount solution is going to take some room for the genny, connections, sound-proofing, fuel, etc. A portable will take up some room, but probably not as much. However, if you are storing the portable genny in a compartment, you have to remember that you need to be able to lift it out (and back in) to use. This will limit the size somewhat. 


For power like a Boss, I highly recommend getting an onboard generator. You can get the size you need to run everything, they are quieter than the cheap portable generators, and you can use it without hassle. The negative side is that it is going to be costly. 


But, then again, this is RVing. Is anything cheap?? ;)




I have washboard abs. They are just hidden under 50#s of laundry.
Sep 20 2011, 7:04 pm - Replied by: blars

Inverter generators can be parralleled, so you don't have to have all the weight in one package.  That also gives you more flexability if you only want to run a partial load.  Inverter generators tend to be quieter, use less fuel, and be more expensive to purchase.


Post Reply
LiveWorkDream Fulltime RVing Blog

*** NuRVers.com ***