Jump to content

Generator etiquette


Tim Guy
 Share

Recommended Posts

Genuine question and I don’t want to get flamed. 
 

We always goto sites with eleccy hook up. This year it’s take what you can get.  Now if I look on pitch up nothing says gennys not / are allowed. I don’t want annoy anyone I’m just used to having power. 
 

Do you assume that all sites are no gennys allowed? 
 

what’s the etiquette people?

 

Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only people who can answer your question is the actual site owner.

Generally generators are certainly frowned upon as they are noisy and annoying, even the so called "silent " ones.

 

If you are camping in a field alone with no one else around you you may be OK, but on a busy site it is certainly not a good idea.  Sites that do allow generator use have the times limited to specific times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Generators seem to be tolerated on most of the more basic sites, but there are rules on when you can run them. 
Consider solar.   As a spin off, it will maintain your battery when in storage 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can 100% appreciate times etc. I would happily run to charge and then turn off. Fridge can run gas. If I think about it apart from lights I don’t have any requirement and maybe it’s just me worrying about pulling away from apron strings. 
 

I never considered solar and will investigate. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Solar should keep your battery charged up.  Generators non of them are silent and cheap ones are noisy, smelly and not great for smooth electric.    Take plenty of gas and make sure your battery is ok. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having watched some YouTube videos I can’t say I’m excited about drilling a hole into the top of  the Van. How did you all feel about that?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can get free standing solar panels which you can connect into the battery box . They can be positioned  to get best sun.

Our van has a roof mounted panel as standard which works well.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of the basic generators can blow sensitive electronics in your van - even the charger unit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see you can get 300w or more roof

panels. What’s the max free standing ones you can get?

1 minute ago, MalH said:

Some of the basic generators can blow sensitive electronics in your van - even the charger unit.

Good advice which I hadn’t considered. 
 

thanks for the heads up

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Solar and generators have 2 different usages, it irks me when someone asks about generators and get told to use solar instead when they don't know what they need it for. 

 

Generators should be used briefly for high wattage 240v appliances, hair dryers are the typical example. Turn it on, use the appliance, turn it off. Solar is for 12v appliances and keeping your battery full.  Don't get me wrong there is cross over but neither is ideal. You could spend thousands on lithium batteries and a massive solar arrange with a big inverter that would run a hair dryer, or you can get a small generator that is only enough to charge the battery and little else. 

 

So for me, and I'm off grid 99% of the time I have both, a solar panel does me for the majority of thing, including the TV, lights, water pump and charging phones/laptops etc. I only ever really take the generator if I absolutely need it, which is pretty rare, but it's nice to know it's there.

Edited by anthdci
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess you are thinking DIY, did it on a three year old Hobby motorhome, used all proprietary gear and it was pretty straightforward. Need a bit of planning before hand as you don’t really want to put a hole in the wrong place. (Even if you did it wouldn’t been the end of the world.😀) Drilled through the roof from inside to outside with a pilot and then I think ten millimetre for the cabling as put two 100 watt panels up there.  The panels were only glued with the correct Sikaflex, no screws, used brackets but you can get stick on panels to make things easier, though they get hot and that reduces their efficiency. You also need a decent solar controller to make the most of what the panels produce.

If you are serious then investigate the different types of panel and controller but, as I said before fairly straightforward if you are into DIY, you don’t really need much in the way of electric/electronics as there are only two wires!
With 200 watts we didn’t have any bother, and the panels stayed glued to the roof all the way to Venice and back and a lot of that at 110kph so glued brackets work just fine, also had an automatic satellite dish up there as well, no screws just glue. If it’s good enough to glue planes together then it fine by me!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I  am new to caravanning as I had a trailer tent for many years and used solar panel to maintain  the battery and run a cooler, lights and the water pump while off grid  .

As soon as I got the Van( coachman Amara 380)  I  fitted  the three solar panels on the roof , see photo , they supply a total of 260W in bright sunlight  and even though I had designed and built a solar controller for my trailer tent which ran a cooler box ( not a fridge) which was very hungry on power, and cut it off if the battery volts got too low,  I bought a new solar controller  to maintain the battery(s) as the fridge can run off gas at about 0.1 to 0.2 kg per 24 hours - I will be monitoring this .

 To  connect up the panels  I looked at where the existing van  cables passed through the roof between the inner and outer skins   -from right to left side  and drilled into the roof from the outside  and carefully 'fished' for the route the van cables took and inserted the solar panel cables  along the same route .

  I fitted the controller inside the wardrobe ( 30A type from topcloud) and I am going to fit a second battery for extra storage capacity, any recommendations on where to fit this? . the panel mounts came with 25mm self tappers which are way too long for the skin of the van ( manual says 15mm tops) so  I swopped them for 16mm stainless types , to help with adhesion ( I don't want them flying off at 60mph!) I fitted some W4 caravan sealant  under the mounts( seriously sticky stuff) and once  the screws were in place I also covered the heads with the W4 sealant, same with the caravan penetration hole.

So far so good , the battery is being maintained whilst in storage at 13.5 volts  and I will run fridge off gas when off grid .

The installation took about 3 days as I spent  a lot of time debating on where to drill the holes. I wouldn't consider using a generator unless I needed serious power >1000 watts,  although I just a fixed Honda generator( faulty phase angle correction capacitor) for a mate and was really impressed how quiet it was - still smelly though.

Caravan solar panels-2021-06-23-small.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, don't overlook that three 85 Watt roof mounted panels, of the glass with aluminium frames are going to take at least 20 plus out of your payload. [Toughened glass with its excellent light transmission and longevity, needed for this application, can't come light weight in the thickness required to withstand hail.]

 

Plastic flexible ones would be lighter in weight, but are less effective so need to cover a larger area, and can be not as reliable, plus being plastic prone in the longer term to degradation from UV.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

50 minutes ago, JTQ said:

 

Plastic flexible ones would be lighter in weight, but are less effective so need to cover a larger area, and can be not as reliable, plus being plastic prone in the longer term to degradation from UV.

Also plastic solar panels are available for boats and yachts. Thats one the harshest environments. In fact used on larger yachts on long and round the world races.

 

flexible panels have been around a long time now and  in my opinion have got better and more reliable. Laid flat on the deck bungee strapped around the mast .over hand rails .

so would   ok  laid on the grass or using suckers stuck to the sunny side of the caravan.

well any side I guess the sun is better than just bright light but either worked for me.

 

Lightweight flexible and mine used to roll up and then went in a cardboard tube.

 

the downside is they are expensive the more wattage the more they are.

this is my personal tried and tested views only.

Edited by Sonar
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, anthdci said:

Solar and generators have 2 different usages, it irks me when someone asks about generators and get told to use solar instead when they don't know what they need it for. 

 

Generators should be used briefly for high wattage 240v appliances, hair dryers are the typical example. Turn it on, use the appliance, turn it off. Solar is for 12v appliances and keeping your battery full.  Don't get me wrong there is cross over but neither is ideal. You could spend thousands on lithium batteries and a massive solar arrange with a big inverter that would run a hair dryer, or you can get a small generator that is only enough to charge the battery and little else. 

 

So for me, and I'm off grid 99% of the time I have both, a solar panel does me for the majority of thing, including the TV, lights, water pump and charging phones/laptops etc. I only ever really take the generator if I absolutely need it, which is pretty rare, but it's nice to know it's there.

:goodpost:

When it is available we have always opted for an EHU connection BUT we do also have a good quality portable suitcase generator that we have used on numerous occasions when on caravan rallies or small CL/CS sites. Generally the portable generator will be placed a distance from the caravan (on a long extension lead) and that distance combined with the use of an all weather cover minimises any noise impact to the point you cannot hear it is running. This generator has also provided mains power for portable tools on numerous occasions when working in remote locations, and is regularly serviced.

We currently also have a 5KW onboard generator fitted to our MH that has been used more than a few times to provide mains power when stopped briefly in a layby for a meal and if needed it can also be run while driving. We do not have solar panels, however we do have three 120Ah 12V batteries so can function quietly off grid for a considerable time.

In general it is not advisable to use any generator on a site where the site owners or other visitors may object.

 

Generator Noise.

 

I carried out some tests at home a few years ago regarding generator noise from our Honda 10i suitcase generator. These are approximate readings, but it should serve for comparison between various noise sources. Below are the results, where apart from the first two measurements, all were taken from the same spot in our garden. I've shown the approximate distance from the noise source in each case:-

 

31dB Sitting in front of the PC in a quiet study (1 metre).

43dB Same PC fan motor (4 inches).

45dB My back garden, quiet bird song, light breeze, no other obvious background noises.

47dB My suitcase generator with the weather cover placed over it, off load (approx 20 feet away).

48dB Pedestrians talking quietly as they pass the house (approx 20 feet away).

52dB My suitcase generator, stood on the lawn, no cover, off load (approx 20 feet away).

56dB Passing car, mostly tyre noise (approx 30 feet away).

57dB My suitcase generator with the weather cover placed over it, 1KW load (approx 20 feet away).

67dB Light aircraft (Piper Cherokee overhead at approx 1500 feet).

67dB Council bin wagon engine (approx 30 feet away).

79dB Passing motorbike (approx 30 feet away).

85dB Council bin wagon loading bins (approx 30 feet away).

96dB Passing 'Boy Racer' with car windows open and boom box at full chat! (approx 30 feet away).

 

Be aware that the dB reading are on a logarithmic scale but I shall leave you to draw your own conclusions from these (not very scientific) results.

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan and Motorhome Talk.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All great objectives, thanks everyone.

 

I love the idea of solar but I'm not keen on mounting it. My van is  a late 2000s  Bessacar and I think I'm not looking to start playing with her now even though it's in great condition. Maybe I'll look at the free standing ones.

 

I think in hindsight I was panicking at the thought of going out of my comfort zone and a genny was an easy fix. I am 100% concerned about the people around me and I wouldn't rock up and start one. I can run the fridge on gas and only really need lighting and device charging for the kits. I guess my only worry was being somewhere for 4 days and losing power after two (maybe one) night and then not having much option other than hooking the tuck up or taking it for a run. Solar of some description is the way forward, just not on the roof! (Love the idea of a battery genny/ups, didn’t know you could get them, just not enough charge in them I feel)

 

Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When using Van off grid, we take a fully charged, half normal size 12v battery and place it on the ground in our awning, this battery is used to charge our devices via a dedicated connector and serves to save our main fitted battery from doing all the extra work. Caravan has a roof mounted 100w solar panel. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...