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More Power!

generator01The last thing I picked up before heading home from my vacation was my very own portable generator. My 5th wheel didn’t come with one. Since I live off a company generator full time while guarding gates in the Texas oilfields, having a backup power source is critical for when the main generator goes down as they all do at some time. Last summer I went through 4 bad generators and had to wait in my truck for hours with the AC on until the support guys could get to my location to fix or replace the company generator. In this heat, you really need air conditioning and that takes power. It is also important as part of my job to keep the floodlights on at night to light the gate and driveway.

While in Camping World in New Braunfels, I noticed they now carry Champion generators with 30 amp RV hookups at a reasonable price. Champion is getting very good reviews except for sound. At 68 decibels, they are definitely louder than the 50 decibel Hondas and Yamahas that everyone loves. You probably shouldn’t use these in a campground unless the area near you is completely empty. For me, sound doesn’t matter because I am always within range of a very loud company generator. You get used to it. Price matters to me. Near $1000 for a Honda 1000-2000 watt generator or $319 for a 4000 watt Champion. No, the Champion is not a pure sine wave generator so you do need to take extra steps to protect electronics but I already have a master surge guard installed for the whole RV, and run my electronics either off the RV batteries or through a UPS. When a company generator previously surged and took out my microwave oven and a fan before I added the main surge protector, my computer and TV were fine.

As luck would have it, I stopped by Tractor Supply on the way back to my hotel one day. Something told me I needed to go there to see if they had generators so I did. Sure enough, not only do they carry them, they carry Champion and the generators were on sale for $279 for a 4500 watt unit. Yes! I had them put one aside for me to pick up on the way out of town.

I got my new baby’s cover at Camping World and as soon as we got home, I added oil and fuel then burned it in for 5 hours per the manufacturer recommendations. I just changed the oil as recommended after burn in and have to agree with other reviews that they located the oil plug in a terrible place. I’ll need to find a 1” high oil pan or rig up something with a flexible collapsing funnel I have for cooking. The generator came with a long solid funnel. You have to buy 10W30 oil separately to get it started.

It does start up in one to two pulls. One outlet is switchable between 240 volts and 110 volts. The running power is 3650 watts which is more than enough to power the main RV AC or my portable AC but not both. I should be able to run the microwave at the same time.

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