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Old 05-21-2015, 10:31 AM   #1
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Best practices electrical generator options for gasoline fueled V8

We will need to run our ice shaver(700W), a chest freezer or fridge/freezer combo along with some smaller electrical items. We purchased a gas powered generator from Tractor Supply that is spec'd to give us 4000 starting Watts and 3500 rated Watts. I would think that would be enough, but I have also been looking at power inverters to run off of the engine alternator. Does anyone have any recommendations for a power inverter instead of the generator?

We are already having concerns on where the generator will be located. On a bigger bus with more ground clearance, it may be able to go underneath. We were originally thinking of having it on a rear hitch carrier of some kind. We would be concerned about weather and possible theft. We have thought about possibly building a box for it where it would be secure and still on the outside maybe vented for exhaust and heat escape.

Any advice in this area would be appreciated.
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:38 AM   #2
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:41 AM   #3
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Depending on the size of the genny, you might think about doing something like this-



Or look for a MEP series tactical generator (either through eBay or government auction), either a MEP-831A 3kw or MEP-812A 5kw. They're both designed to be left outside, running, relatively quiet, but need to be grounded and run on diesel.
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:42 AM   #4
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Depending on the size of the genny, you might think about doing something like this-

Or look for a MEP series tactical generator (either through eBay or government auction), either a MEP-831A 3kw or MEP-812A 5kw. They're both designed to be left outside, running, relatively quiet, but need to be grounded and run on diesel.
That looks great! Is that something that can be purchased or is it something you built?
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:50 AM   #5
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That looks great! Is that something that can be purchased or is it something you built?
I just did a quick google search It may be able to be purchased. The originating address (Hayesequipment.com) doesn't show it. Or build something around a hitch carrier, just remember to provide enough clearance for intake and exhaust
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:57 AM   #6
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Yes, we were considering a hitch carrier, but then I was looking at power inverters to see what options there were. I was not sure where to look for the capacity we would need. A power inverters seems to make more sense to me, but I would need to be sure it could handle the inrush current of the ice shaver startup. The specs for it say 700 Watts, but I am not sure if that means peak.
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Old 05-21-2015, 12:47 PM   #7
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Your alt. may not put out enough power to help you, what size output and at what rpm?

I have a 200 amp on bus, and have several cobra 1575 inverters ($99 and mod/sine), run inverters at 85% for 1275 watts to use with surge ontop of that, these are inexspensive and have worked great for me for 8 years or so

I recommend a 12v battery to use as a "booster" for heavy load starts, we run a 900 watt microwave, fridge and rotisserie going down the road no issues

If money allows a true sine inverter is better, have not issues with digital timers or clocks that I know of
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Old 05-21-2015, 03:33 PM   #8
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Your alt. may not put out enough power to help you, what size output and at what rpm?

I have a 200 amp on bus, and have several cobra 1575 inverters ($99 and mod/sine), run inverters at 85% for 1275 watts to use with surge ontop of that, these are inexspensive and have worked great for me for 8 years or so

I recommend a 12v battery to use as a "booster" for heavy load starts, we run a 900 watt microwave, fridge and rotisserie going down the road no issues

If money allows a true sine inverter is better, have not issues with digital timers or clocks that I know of
Not sure on the output of the alternator. I will have to test. I was definitely thinking of adding a second battery if we were going to use an inverter. I wonder if the Cobras can handle the current draw. I saw an inverter in a video for a food truck, but not sure what it was and how they had it setup.
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:05 PM   #9
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I'd be worried plenty about theft of a generator that costs of one or more thousands of dollars new, and easily resells even well-used for 70%+ of the new value. I wouldn't worry so much about theft of a generator with new cost in the "a few hundred" range. If it's bolted down reasonably well, I would think most thieves wouldn't bother with it -- maybe no need to build a full steel plate doghouse for it.

It kind of sounds like you're doing some kind of concessions? (I personally wouldn't need very many sno-cones while driving!) I guess you would mostly use the ice shaver while the bus is parked, which implies the engine would likely be idling.. Whatever the rating of the alternator, it almost certainly won't perform anywhere near its rating while the engine idles. You'd have to rev the engine up to get full performance from the alternator. Even so, 700W (plus inverter losses etc) is a lot for an alternator unless it was specifically designed for continuously powering loads like that. However... it might be reasonable to build a big battery bank so that the inverter can power the shaver etc from stored energy, and deal with re-charging the battery later.

The Kill-A-Watt meter is a cheap and convenient way to measure power consumption of small appliances. It won't show peak/startup/inrush, but it's good for steady-state power.
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Old 05-21-2015, 11:57 PM   #10
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You are not going to want to run either the generator or the bus engine 24 x7 to keep the fridge cold. What you should do is get an inverter sized to start and run the fridge, and install a house battery bank. You may want to keep the fridge on a dedicated inverter, not used for any other loads. Other loads can be run on inverters that you turn on and off as needed.

Then with the fridge running on batteries, you can run the generator only a few hours per day (or less) as needed to top up the batteries.

Just my 2 . . .
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