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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Aux AC

We have just purchased a new 5th wheel, a 36-footer and are looking into using a portable generator to power the air conditioning, microwave, water heater and the TV/satellite systems. The RV is not prepped for a generator and we are trying to determine if a portable generator carried in the truck bed is a reasonable option. Honda produces some super quiet models. Does this make sense? How would we adapt the power plug for RV use? Any suggestions and cautions would be appreciated.
Bob, (Tampa, FL)


Bob, indeed many RVers make use of a portable generator to power various 120-volt AC RV appliances and accessories. The two complaints I hear the most are; noisy and cumbersome. Lots of users, however, are able to successfully reconcile these negatives and get by without the extended cost of a permanent installation. I recommend trying it for a season and then weighing the cost and convenience differences. You will have to add up the wattage of each device you wish to power and be sure the generator is sized correctly; that it can carry the load. Of course, you could always link two portable units together in order to ensure the proper ampacity required by your rig. As long as the generator puts out 120-volt AC power at a regulated, 60-cycle frequency, there is nothing much to do except plug the RV shoreline cord directly into the generator. Though many portable generators will not come equipped with a 30-amp RV receptacle, you can simply use a quality adapter to effectuate the connection or have a qualified electrician swap out the plug on the generator.

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