If you’ve been camping, then you know how important it is to have all the essentials for a safe and fun trip. This includes camping generators that can power your caravan and electrical equipment. Here’s a guide to help you choose the best camping generator for your needs.
a) Appliances and tools Consider what appliances and tools you’re going to power and then check the number of watts for each item. If you’re going to power more than one device at the same time, combine their wattage requirements to determine which generator to buy.
Freezers and some power tools require a lot of start-up power, so it’s better to use an inverter generator, not a standard generator. For sensitive equipment like computers, mobile phones, DVD players and GPS that need sine wave power, also use an inverter generator, as standard generators have an uneven power output that could damage them. Less-sensitive equipment like lights and other power tools can use a standard generator.
b) Caravan Your caravan will require a 30-50 amp connection. Portable generators can have a caravan-ready outlet so you can just plug it in, while some need an adaptor to connect to your caravan’s power cord. With a 50 amp caravan, you can use a 30 amp output from the generator with an adapter that can power an air con. Or you can use a 50 amp output to power two air cons with a parallel kit for linking them together – that is, if the generator allows parallel operation.
c) Portable vs. onboard generators For camping, it’s better to use an inverter generator that you can move around easily. Not only should it be portable with wheels, a carry/tow handle and an extension power cord, but it also needs to be light and silent. A portable generator is also more flexible, allowing you to have electrical power available at all times wherever you are. And as mentioned above, you can power your caravan with 30-50 amps using a portable generator, as well as power two electrical devices with two portable generators. With a motorised caravan where you only plan to use a generator inside, then it’s best to have an onboard generator, especially if your caravan was made generator-ready. With an onboard generator, an automatic transfer switch will switch your caravan from shore to generator power. This way, you don’t have to plug your caravan’s power cord into the generator’s outlet for drawing power.
The power output of a generator is measured in watts. To choose the right generator, calculate the wattage requirements of your caravan and electrical equipment and look at a generator’s watt power output. If you plan to power all your electrical equipment at the same time, you can add the total wattage amount by multiplying the amp and voltage of each device. Most caravan and electrical equipment have a voltage of 120, while stoves and clothes dryers have 240 volts. Depending on the brand and model, inverter generators have a rated power output of 0.9-5.5kVA, and a maximum output of 1-6.3kVA. Standard generators can have a rated power output of 4.5-5kVA, and a maximum output of 5.2-5.5kVA. Generators with higher kVA’s can be used for all or most types of equipment and wattage requirements. Appliances with electric motors need up to three times more start-up power. So when choosing a generator, pick one that has enough wattage to start your caravan and electrical equipment, as well as run them without experiencing power shutdowns. In a caravan, the air con, microwave and washer/dryer use the most power. Apart from the wattage, also look at surge/peak power for powering more than one device.
Weight and size
The weight of a generator and the size of its fuel tank are related to its power output. Generators with 1-2kVA (1-2kW) can weigh an average of 10-20kg and have a fuel tank size of 3-4 litres, whereas those with 3-5kVA (2-4kW) can weigh an average of 20-30kg with a fuel tank size of 5-8 litres.
A portable generator has a built-in fuel tank and runs on regular grade gasoline. With an extension power cord, you can move it someplace far from the campgrounds to minimise exhaust fumes. An onboard generator could use gasoline, diesel or liquid propane, depending on the type of caravan you have and its source of fuel. For example, a diesel-powered generator is usually found on a diesel-powered caravan. Towable caravans could be powered by liquid propane generators.
When supplying power to your caravan or electrical equipment, it’s important that it doesn’t get interrupted. So choose a cutting-edge inverter generator that has superior technology and can last a long time, such as GenTrax generators.
Inverter generators have increased fuel efficiency, allowing them to run for 7-8 hours using just one tank of fuel. If your caravan or electrical equipment need to be supplied with power on a continuous basis, have a look at the generator’s efficiency rating or run time and its fuel tank size. A generator’s run time is measured at 50% load levels. If it has a long run time, then you can use it overnight or if refuelling it often is inconvenient for you. Just remember that the more power the generator supplies to your caravan or electrical equipment, its run time will be shorter and you’ll have to refuel it sooner.
When camping, a noisy generator is generally not allowed in the campgrounds because it could disturb or annoy other people. If you’ll be camping where there will be other people around or in a national or camping park, then use a portable or onboard inverter generator that’s quiet and has a low decibel output. 50-70 decibels is the ideal noise level for camping generators. Outbax can help you choose the best inverter generators and inverters for your home and outdoor activities. These power devices have passed the Australian RCA certification and were tested for pure sine wave guarantee. They have energy saving controls. They are manufactured from precise engineering and built with high-quality materials and parts. For more information, visit Outbax.