Honda generator big enough?

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  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,090 admin
    Re: Honda generator big enough?

    Will,

    I am not quite sure how to answer your question... Basically, from my point of view, you want to use the generator efficiently while charging (most Amp*Hours/Watt*Hours per gallon of fuel pumped into the battery bank).

    When the battery is below ~80-90% state of charge, any reasonable battery charger will probably be outputting nearly full rated current (like the Iota 30 at 27 amps).

    And, ideally, you want to operate the genset at a minimum of 50% load (in Watts) or higher to get good fuel economy.

    And, to throw in into the mix, poor Power Factor (which uses more AC current but does no work) and efficiency (many charge controllers waste quite a bit of energy as heat which does waste genset fuel).

    If you can find a Xantrex TC2 40--it will output 40 amps--but do it with less stress on the genset (less current draw because power factor corrected) and less wasted energy as heat (closer to >80% efficiency instead of the <80% efficiency of many chargers).

    But, what will make it charge the battery fast is if you can set it to charge around 14.2 to 15.5 volts (programmable to some degree) and you will get faster charging closer to 100% full (with warmer batteries, higher water usage, and probably a bit shorter battery life).

    But, you will have to call NAWS (our host) or Xantrex to find out if the TC2-40 12 volt units are shipping (or even exist)--Xantrex appears to have problems supplying these guys to distributors.

    The Meanwell 60 amp 12 volt charger would be nice--but it is 13+ weeks to receive with one retailer...

    The other way is with Inverter/Chargers (Xantrex, Outback, and others)--They are pretty capable units and many include programmable charging / AC current limiting profile capabilities (but now you have to buy a new inverter+charger).

    As that earlier thread showed--finding a "good" and simple DC battery charger to run on a genset is actually quite difficult to do.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,393 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Honda generator big enough?

    check out the VEC1093 12V Charger (may now be Black & Decker) for a $100 40A 12V charger that is power factor corrected. I have one I've used for a couple years and like it. (Amazon, Pep Boys or any autoparts store)
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • 2manytoyz2manytoyz Solar Expert Posts: 373 ✭✭✭
    Re: Honda generator big enough?

    I'm using an Iota 75A charger with a Yamaha EF2400iS generator when the grid is down, and the weather is too crummy to rely on solar.

    dscn4134-1.jpg

    When it is initially powered up, it does provide the full 75A (+ a tad more).

    iota75a.jpg

    This generator has no problem providing the necessary power, and the RPMs drop as the charge continues, thus conserving fuel.

    Part of the problem with using the IQ smart charger is the way it tops off the battery bank:

    graph1.gif

    Once the voltage comes up, the current drops way off, taking a long while to finish charging the bank.

    The other option is to disconnect the IQ controller, and put in the jumper plug, which cranks the voltage output up to a constant 14.2V. Not as gentle to the batteries, but will replenish the battery bank in a shorter period.

    Very pleased with this charger. I bought it used on Ebay for ~$100.
  • 2manytoyz2manytoyz Solar Expert Posts: 373 ✭✭✭
    Re: Honda generator big enough?

    I'm very familiar with the Supco hard start kits. People on the RV forums have used this successfully with other A/C units & generators. Having followed such threads for over 5 years, don't recall anyone having success with a Honda 2KW, and one of these kits. Might start the A/C initially, but once the head pressure was built up, couldn't restart the A/C. That was good news for Honda, now the owner needs to buy a second generator, and the cable!

    The Dometic Smart Start is a very slick looking product. Rather expensive, and not much actual reports from owners yet. If they could get the price down a bit, I imagine they'd have a big market for this product if it works as advertised.

    Phase shifting is a wonderful thing. Not seen it done in the fashion they claim.

    If someone is willing to buy it, I'll test it, and put the scope on it. ;)
    Here is a interesting item, Dometic Smart Start. I was going to get one to test, but at $400, I passed. That doesn't mean that it might not solve a problem and be quite a bargain.

    Quick start" kit (Part # 3102903.006)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEu5clbUbts

    SNIP
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Honda generator big enough?
    2manytoyz wrote: »
    I'm very familiar with the Supco hard start kits. People on the RV forums have used this successfully with other A/C units & generators. Having followed such threads for over 5 years, don't recall anyone having success with a Honda 2KW, and one of these kits. Might start the A/C initially, but once the head pressure was built up, couldn't restart the A/C. That was good news for Honda, now the owner needs to buy a second generator, and the cable!

    The Dometic Smart Start is a very slick looking product. Rather expensive, and not much actual reports from owners yet. If they could get the price down a bit, I imagine they'd have a big market for this product if it works as advertised.

    Phase shifting is a wonderful thing. Not seen it done in the fashion they claim.

    If someone is willing to buy it, I'll test it, and put the scope on it. ;)

    I don't want to be a Fan Boy for this thing, but if I needed to start a big A/C on my Honda EU 2000 I'd sure give one a try. My A/C is only 5000 btu and will run on the Honda or my inverter.

    Here is some more information.

    http://sv-monomoy.com/2011/03/new-temps-in-the-air-cabin-air-that-is/

    Here it is for $349.00, looks like they have 3 different ones, based on volts and size.

    http://mamtstore.com/Cruisair/Accessories-amp-Parts/Smart-Start.html

    One other thing you can do cheap is put a " Delay on Make " time cubes on the fan motor and let it start 30 or so seconds after the compressor starts, there about $25 or so.

    Wiring Diagram.

    http://www.dometic.com/ee972e86-1206-4af4-a852-33c0cb4c01bf.fodoc
  • 2manytoyz2manytoyz Solar Expert Posts: 373 ✭✭✭
    Re: Honda generator big enough?

    If Dometic gets the word out about this product, and tests it with the common 13,500 BTU A/C brands (Coleman, Dometic, Carrier, etc), they will sell a lot of these units... providing it does what they claim.

    This is the first I had heard about it. The Supco kit only works with a marginally small generator.

    The A/C unit in the article, and in the post on another forum by Dometic, was a 16K BTU A/C unit. That's really incredible. Many 15K BTU RV A/C units won't even start with a 3000W generator. One person tried using a Supco kit with my same generator (2400W), and it still wouldn't work reliably.

    In my case, I sized my generator to my A/C unit. Good combo, no complaints.

    During a power outage at home, I'm using a 5000 BTU window shaker to cool the master bedroom. I don't have the resources to cool an entire house, but can do the mirco-climate method.

    This A/C is a cheap $80 Goldstar model sold at Home Depot. 9.7 SEER. The label says 600W. It measure 4.9 Amps @120VAC running, which is pretty close.

    Here was the setup:

    0402.jpg

    Here was the peak startup current:

    acstartup.jpg

    I replaced the central A/C system last $ummer. It quit working during the hottest part of the day. Temperatures quickly increased in the house. I keep the window shaker in a box in the garage, ready to use. Before the wife had a chance to freak out, I put the window shaker in the bedroom, plugged it in, then cut a piece of wood to fill the gap between the A/C unit, and the window frame. It immediately started pumping out cold air. By shutting the bedroom door, the temperature in the bedroom and master bathroom, dropped to 71 degrees before I cried uncle, and adjusted the thermostat. I wanted to verify it could cool this portion of the house sufficiently when the outside temp hit close to 90.

    shakerac.jpg

    The nice part is this A/C unit will run easily from my Prosine 1800W inverter at night (silent mode), or from my generator during the day (almost silent mode). The generator can run this A/C unit from idle, only 53 dB. That also results in running for 8+ hours on 1.6 gallons of gasoline.

    My buddy ran his 5000 BTU A/C unit, a fridge, lights, fan, for 18 days after a hurricane, with a Honda 2KW generator. Less than 5 gallons of fuel per day. Another coworker ran a 10KW generator during the same timeframe. His used 36 gallons per day. That's less than 90 gallons, versus 648 gallons. This explains why I got rid of my conventional generators, and now have an inverter type with a smart throttle.

    Being able to run part of the time on batteries, and using solar panels, combined with periodic use of the generator + 75A Iota battery charger, will greatly reduce fuel consumption. My buddy calls it "submarine mode"... running silent at night. This also reduces the likelihood of a neighbor knocking on my door with an extension cord (has happened with my old generator).
  • Will2020Will2020 Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Honda generator big enough?
    mike90045 wrote: »
    check out the VEC1093 12V Charger (may now be Black & Decker) for a $100 40A 12V charger that is power factor corrected. I have one I've used for a couple years and like it. (Amazon, Pep Boys or any autoparts store)

    On this particular Vector battery charger, can you run it for a an hour or two on the 100 amp engine start mode?

    I'm about to upgrade the battery bank to 420 amp hours, so that should be able to handle it.



    Oh, and by the way, the Honda EB3000c is a powerhouse.

    I ran my 13.5kbtu a/c, an 1800 watt skillsaw, 30 amp Iota, and a few lights.......all at the same time!

    I held a skillsaw in each hand and it ran both with no problem, not even a hiccup out of the motor...granted I was not cutting anything with them.

    The Honda motor does bog down for a second or two when the a/c compressor kicks in.

    The motor does seem to lope a little bit if there is no load, but other than that I have no complaints.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,393 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Honda generator big enough?
    Will2020 wrote: »
    On this particular Vector battery charger, can you run it for a an hour or two on the 100 amp engine start mode?

    I'm about to upgrade the battery bank to 420 amp hours, so that should be able to handle it.
    ........

    HA HA ! No, the charger will only hold the 100 amp mode for about 30 seconds, then drops back to 40A. It will do 40A all day and night. If un-attended, it will only self-start in the 4A mode, I think you have to punch buttons on it, to get to any other rate. it does have settings for Car, GEL, Deep Cycle batteries.

    Since I have to hand crank my genset, I can push the buttons too.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Honda generator big enough?
    mike90045 wrote: »
    If un-attended, it will only self-start in the 4A mode, I think you have to punch buttons on it, to get to any other rate.

    I think all the modern electronic chargers are like that, so if the power goes out it takes the safe route after the power comes back and enters its maintenance mode 2-4 amps).
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
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