We just got back in town from a week at the beach…..and not just a simple “there & back” staying in a hotel…..we drove down pulling our 30′ 5th Wheel RV.
Although the particular campground (Myrtle Beach Travel Park) that we were staying at was well maintained & had no issues during our stay, as new(er) RVers we are planning some extended road trips in the near future. Staying at similar campgrounds to the nice one at the beach would be ideal — but we want to be realistic & prepare for problems that are bound to come up along the way.
The three main systems that you need to worry about when camping are water, sewer, and electric. Most RVs have fresh water & waste water holding tanks — and also have appliances that run off of propane (stove, furnace, and refrigerator) — but that still leaves electricity as the one system you just cant live long without. The 12v battery in the front will power the very small lights inside & keep the fridge running (dual fuel refrigerators = propane or a/c power), but they will drain down quickly & wont run the most important thing — Air conditioning!
That is where a generator comes in very handy! If you end up somewhere with no power, or if they are having problems with power, just hook up your generator & you will be back in business. This could be at a campground with limited hookups (National Parks), your driveway, or even in the Walmart parking lot. If it has enough output to power an a/c unit, run some lights, and maybe a tv….you will be a happy camper.
Looking around and researching which ones would be ideal, I quickly thought about the advantages that an inverter would have over a typical generator. They do cost more — but it is well worth it.
- Quiet operation
- “Clean” Power
- Fuel Efficient
- Easy To Use
Rather than lugging around a very heavy & very loud job-site generator that will use more fuel & also disturb everyone within earshot — an inverter is very small/compact, easy to start, quiet, and efficient. The fuel tank on them is typically small (under 2 gallons), but with that it can run for 12+ hours of continual use at a substantial load.
Previously we reviewed a Homelite Inverter Generator that was a gas-only model & it was very impressive at the range of power tools that it could easily power. The size was easy to handle & the operation was very simple — but it was limited to gasoline only.
Searching online we ran across the Champion Dual Fuel Series of Inverter Generators. These will run not only on gasoline, but also on propane — and they are already set up with the TT-30 plug that is standard with all 30-amp RVs (It also has regular 120v outlets). Because they designed this specifically with the RVer in mind, you wont need adapters to step down your cable to a 15-amp plug & will instead be able to directly plug your power cord into the unit.
With the power output range (depending on the unit you get — 3 versions are available), you will be able to run your rooftop A/C unit & lights with no problems! As the RV cools off & the air conditioner turns itself off — the inverter will automatically “idle down” to run at a lower RPM to conserve fuel. Once it cuts back on, the inverter will idle up to meet the demand!
Due to this series of inverter running off of not only gas or propane, I think that it would be very easy to connect the inverter’s included propane supply line into the RV’s propane quick-connect valve (normally to run gas grills) & power it directly from the RV propane tanks. This would eliminate the need to carry additional tanks with you & would streamline the entire setup. You can buy propane extension hoses on Amazon for fairly cheap & even if your RV doesn’t currently have a quick connect setup, adding one is very simple with a few fittings.
The main advantage of using propane (LP Gas) is the fact that it is cheap, your RV already has propane tanks, and the fuel never “goes bad”. Unlike gasoline which can turn “stale” after mere weeks — LP Gas can sit in tanks for years with no deterioration. By not running “bad fuel” through your inverter, it will last you much longer without issues. But, if you want to run gas & also propane, you can easily do that too by just turning the selector valve.
If you don’t want to use propane, then gas will work just as well — but be sure and buy 100% gasoline (ethanol-free) if possible. By doing so you wont inadvertently cause issues down the road due to fuel system problems which are frequently caused by ethanol (swollen fuel lines, clogged carbs, etc). If you are stuck using an ethanol mixture, I would suggest adding some additive to the fuel in order to neutralize the destructive content of it as much as possible.
The three models have similar features, but not exact — and here are the highlights :
- Dual Fuel (Gasoline & LP)
- 2-year Warranty
- 2 Starting Methods (Pull Start or Electric Start)
- Wheels for Easy Moving
- 192 cc 4-Stroke Motor (Oil separate from Gas — not mixed)
- Overload Protection
- 1.6 Gallon Fuel Tank (Gas)
- 0.6 Qt Oil Capacity (SAE 10W-30)
- Low Oil Shutoff
- 59 DBA Noise Levels @ 23′ (Quieter than conversations)
- 95 lbs – 97 lbs / Each
Keep in mind that they do currently make 3 versions of these. They look identical, but the power ratings are different — and of course the lower-watt version will get the highest run-times & the highest-watt version will get the lowest run-times. That being said, they are very similar in fuel efficiency, so I would recommend the higher-watt version in order to be able to run the most power at once (A/C + Lights + TV —- instead of A/C + Lights + Crossword Puzzle).
Model # 100204 = 2800 watt running / 3100 watt starting
Model # 100263 = 3100 watt running / 3400 watt starting
Model # 100264 = 3200 watt running / 3500 watt starting
As with anything, there are going to be negatives & things to keep in mind. With these (other than the standard safety tips that you will hear), you do need to remember to always secure/lock them when not stored at home — an expensive generator can & will grow legs when you are not watching. I would suggest a 30′ cable & padlock….that will give you ample room to keep it at a safe distance from your RV & also will allow you to lock it to the vehicle or trailer to prevent theft.
If you are in the market for a small/quiet generator — and more specifically, if you are in the market for a generator for your RV — check out the line of Dual Fuel Inverters from Champion!