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Old 09-11-2008, 07:04 AM   #1
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inverter vs. noninverter generator

Looking at generators we notice that the ones that do not have the built in inverter are much less expensive. Since the Tweety has a built in inverter, do we really need an inverter built into a generator as well? And if so why? Also, what about the Yamaha tri-fuel types? Seems like with having propane on board that it would be nice if the generator could run on propane as well as gasoline.
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:09 AM   #2
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Morning Pam,

I have the Onan 3600LP, and I'm sure it's not the inverter type. Actually I
m not real sure what the benefit of the inverter type is, but I'm guessing that is provdes "cleaner ?"power especiall when electronics are involved.
Think I'll surf RV.Net to see what they say , any you know those opinions, they're all over the board

Gosh, I'm beginning to think like you, did all the SUnline owners go into hibernation ?????????????????????????

Kitty
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:27 AM   #3
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Re: inverter vs. noninverter generator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweety
Since the Tweety has a built in inverter, do we really need an inverter built into a generator as well?
I really doubt he came with a built in inverter. It should have a converter though. An inverter inverts 12V to 120V so you can run stuff like a TV, lamp, coffee pot, and other small plug in things off the battery so you don't have to start a generator. A converter converts the 120V coming in to 12V for all the light fixtures, etc. Basically, they still run off the battery, and from what I understand, the converter just keeps the battery charged. The downside to inverting is it doesn't last all that long. If you just ran a coffee pot for the time it requires to make the full pot, you would probably notice if you turned a light on after the inverter was off that you'd have significantly dimmer lights. An inverter draws a lot, and the standard RV/marine batteries aren't designed to handle it for long before it goes dead.

An inverter would be nice to have if you wanted to use those kinds of things in non-generator hours, but if you can wait, don't bother getting it.

Jon
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:53 AM   #4
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OK Jon...you have just basically confirmed what I thought I knew, which is that I am not equiped to buy Steve what he wants for his birthday...which is a generator So much for the surprise factor. I probably meant that the Tweety has a built in converter as opposed to inverter. So, to run my hair dryer or a/c we need an inverter generator?
Yes Kitty I thought this question might bring them out, but even the technical types have gone into early hybernation!
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:25 AM   #5
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Lots of people confuse the CONverter with an INverter.

The INverters most people are familiar with are the type you buy, plug into a lighter plug in the car and then run your laptop, TV or whatever. These devices take 12 volts DC and turn it into 120 volts AC. The same principles used in those devices are used in the "inverter" type generators, hence the name.


The real plus to the "inverter" type generators are that they will run slower (using less fuel and running *quieter*) when under smaller loads compared to a "standard" generator.

A standard generator always runs at the same speed, and the noise level from it running remains somewhat constant.

An inverter generator will run slower until it sees a demand for more power, then the speed (and noise) will increase in relation to how much power you draw. For example, if you are running a couple of light bulbs, the inverter type generator will be running relatively slowly (and quietly). Now you fire up the microwave, which is a large demand - to keep up, the inverter generator will speed up (and make more noise). When you're done with the microwave, the generator will slow down (and get quieter).

If you had that same sceanario with the standard type generator, it would always be running at the same speed and always make (roughly) the same amount of noise.

That's a really over-simplified explaination, but I think it covers most people's reason for going with the inverter type - Quiet and less fuel consumption.

As for running your hair dryer, or A/C - you don't NEED an inverter generator for that - both conventional and inverter type generators produce 120 Volts AC. What you do *NEED* (in either a standard/conventional generator, or an inverter type) is a unit with enough capacity to run those loads.

For the purpose of generator shopping, the amount of power they can produce is rated in Watts. You will see two published ratings, "continuous" and "surge." To make it real simple, you need a high enough continuous rating to cover the loads in the trailer that you wish to run at the same time.

If you want to run the A/C and the microwave at the same time, you need a much larger generator then if you were willing to turn off the A/C to run the microwave.

- Frank
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:51 AM   #6
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To put capacity into numbers.....

Watts (w) = Voltage (v) x Amperage (a)...so with a nominal 120 volts and 30 amp main breaker = 120v x 30a = 3600w is the maximum size generator that you would need. Hence, Kitty's 3600 Onan should supply as much power as a 30 amp hookup. They both will have a 30 amp main breaker.

FYI: In our trailer, the a/c and the microwave together will usually trip the main breaker, especially if we have a few other (lights, radio/tv, etc.) things going too. You are only going to get 30 amps through the main regardless if you are on shore power or a big generator
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Old 09-11-2008, 12:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweety
Yes Kitty I thought this question might bring them out, but even the technical types have gone into early hybernation!
The sleeping bears awake

Frank and Mack really summed it up. Can't really add anything to their explanations.
The next question is how you plan to use the generator and any cost constraints.
That will help you decide which type to buy and what wattage to look for.

Hutch

P.S. Can you add me to your Christmas list? I would like a generater too
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:33 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the info. As to the usage, for those of you who met Pepper at the M&G he has ALOT of fur and can't take the midafternoon heat. So...we need to be able to run the a/c for a couple hours in the heat of the day. Don't really need to run anything else at the same time. The other thing I want to do is be able to dry my hair when we're camping and it's freezing outside - so running the 1600 watt hairdryer would be nice. And abviously recharging the batteries. We're pretty conservative with using electricity when we have to be. When we had the QUE we lasted 3 nights with no hookups and the battery was still going strong. As to cost...I guess it's something we'll have for a very long time so we shouldn't worry too much about that...within reason.
Since no one has said anything about the tri fuel I guess no one has gone that route?
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:25 PM   #9
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Pam,

I would say you need at least a 2,000 watt generator.

Also, once you get it, if you plan to camp at a campground with no electric and you plan on using the generator, check to see if the campground has any restrictions on when you can run it.
I believe a lot of (if not all) the NYS parks have time restrictions on when generators can be run. I don't know the exact times but it's a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening.

Hutch
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:00 PM   #10
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Hi Pam,
We have a Yamaha 2400is. It has enough power to run the A/C but still light enough for one person to lift into the back of the truck. Two of them can be coupled together to produce 4800 watts, if you really had to. In regard to the inverter type, they are much quieter than a regular generator. They also supply "clean" power. That means they are better for powering electronics. I can plug a computer into ours without having any power glitches. We also have ours set up to power the fridge and run the heat in the house in case of a power outage, and we have had to use it. I ordered ours from Wise Sales as they were the lowest price, the shipping was free, and we had it in about three days.
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Old 09-11-2008, 05:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PTHutch
I believe a lot of (if not all) the NYS parks have time restrictions on when generators can be run. I don't know the exact times but it's a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening.
9:00 A.M to 11:00 AM and then 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. Applies only to DEC (Dept. Of Environmental Conservation) run campgrounds.

For more info, campground lists, and rules & regs for both DEC and NYSParks facilities:

http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/camping.html

and

http://www.nysparks.state.ny.us/accomm/
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:49 PM   #12
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And now a confession "IF" I knew back in June of 05 what I know now, I would have given up the convience of the onan and gong with the Yamaha 2400.

But, I must say it's nice to know that once I have the trailer pigtail plugged into the Onan, all I gotta do is push that little ole switch in the bedroom and VROOM, VROOM, VROOM :P :P

So many choices,
So many opinions,
And the final decision will still boggle your mind after you have made it, and you'll think that you should have done it the other way. But, either way, you'll have power when you need it. I think I chose the lazy way
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Old 09-11-2008, 08:02 PM   #13
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We'd really like to use propane to power the generator rather than drag a gas can around all the time. Yamaha offers the tri fuel version of what Mike & Roz have, which will run on propane. Kitty - is your Onan hooked right into your propane? Push a button in the bedroom? Now THAT is way too cool
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Old 09-11-2008, 08:28 PM   #14
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I looked into the tri fuel or propane only conversions and this is what I know. They are very new and are not made by Yamaha. The conversions are offered on the various Yamaha units by different wholesalers as an alternative to the Yamaha factory gas only unit. Great idea to use tri fuel until you look into it. The conversions are not that efficient once you change to another fuel source other than gas. It's simply a compromise when it's not run on gas.

The better way to go is to go with a 2400is Yamaha with a low pressure or high pressure propane only conversion. Very efficient since you are using a single fuel. If you have an outside grille option on your Sunline, I believe that you can hook up the low pressure conversion directly to the gas line for the grille on the side of the camper. To me, that would definitely be the way to go if this will work since almost no one actually uses the grille and you are using the regulator on the Sunline and not having to disturb the connections on the tanks.

If you plan on using an external tank like a 20 gal BBQ tank then a high pressure conversion is in order as it will have a regulator as part of the package to convert the generator. This is what I've learned from doing some investigation about the propane possibility.

I'm not an expert on the subject so I hope that if someone knows more or can correct what I've said that they will speak up. I'm seriously looking at the Yamaha 2400is with the low pressure propane only conversion for the above reasons.

One note, in looking at the conversions, made by 2 or 3 manufacturers, the propane only conversion necessitates a modification to the carburetor that is non reversible. To convert back to gas would then require a new carburetor, probably an expensive item. In short, there's no free lunch, the generator will only run efficiently on one fuel, if you insist on multi fuel capability then you will see reduced efficiency on the alternate fuels.
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