When you find yourself in a campground with no power supply – or or taking your RV off the beaten path, having a generator along can be not only a luxury but a welcome necessity if you have slide outs or self leveling jacks that require heavy duty draws of your batteries. If you RV doesn’t have a built in generator, then the next best route is to use a portable unit. The most common question though is how much power do you need to fit your power requirements.
The first step would be to survey the appliances that run 120 volts on your RV – both installed and the ones you will add such as phone chargers etc. Appliances that require the most power would be the cooking amenities such as the microwave and ovens or anything with a heating element. Don’t forget small appliances such as chargers because they would also add up. And most of all, your RV air conditioner is the appliance that require the most power from your generator
The next critical step is adding the power requirement of all your equipment in watts. The wattage specifications your equipment are usually printed on the device itself. If the watt is not specified on your devices, multiply the voltage and the ampere of your devices to get the power in watts. Be carefully in adding these as one incorrect multiplication can undersize or oversize your generator.
It should be noted that some air conditioners and motors are rated in horsepower and not watts. To convert the horsepower unit to watt, multiple it to 746 then add the product to all the wattage requirements of your devices.
In general, most users are advised to purchase a 3000-watt RV generator or a much higher rating depending on your power needs.
There are two types of generators being sold in the market which are the contractor and the RV. The first type which is a traditional generator which is generally less to purchase – but is also louder when operated in a closed environment like a campsite or an RV – and many campgrounds today have noise bylaws / rules on how loud and when you can run a generator.
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