Microwaves and generators

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by driveby, Jun 8, 2004.

  1. driveby

    driveby New Member

    I am looking at travel trailers that are equiped with microwaves. Given that most of the times we will use the trailer we will not have electrical hook up, I'm thinking generator. I know the microwaves aren't exactly light weight power consumers so I'm looking for others who have solved this challenge. Of course the quieter the better but realistically the microwave use would outweigh the silence when necessary. Anybody know of a lightweight, quiet 30 amp gen set that isn't millions of dollars?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. jimdevenport

    jimdevenport New Member

    Microwaves and generators

    Actually, most modern microwave ovens are not the biggest power consumer you will use a genset for.... the overhead refrigerated A/C is the big power hawg, and will load the struggling generator the most. Microwave ovens will pull no more than one Kilowatt or so, and some will even run on a medium-duty (700-800 Watt) 12 Volt DC - to- 120 VAC inverter. If you don't need refrigerated air in the back, consider one of the inexpensive portable hand-crank (or what I call "Heart-Attack-Start") gas generators (available from Target, Sam's Club, and others for a few hundred bucks for a HUGE one),
    or better yet, get an 800- to 1000-watt inverter to allow you to run a medium to small microwave from your existing vehicle 12 volt system.
    I use my inverter for operating all sorts of household products, from shavers to electric drills and soldering irons, TV's and video players, etc, inside my RV. My microwave is a bit too big for this size inverter, though, so I have to fire off the generator OR plug into AC outlets outside to run it.
    I just went through the process of rebuilding my Onan 4KW genset alternator, and it was EXPENSIVE. Cost me $500 just for the alternator stator, $250 for a regulator block... and now it needs new crankshaft bearings in the engine. No one seems to sell non-OEM replacement parts for Onans. I own 2 other generators, a small 500-watt Coleman and a 4 KW heart-attack-start emergency generator to pump water at home when the power goes off (we live in rural NM). The Onan is very quiet and smooth, AND has electric start.
    Even at that, it is difficult to sleep (for me and my RV neighbors) when it's running. I'd hate to think what life would sound like if I tried using one of the almost-unmuffled one-cyliner pop-pow-chug-chug generators in the RV except for emergencies only. Onans are the only ones I've been able to find that run smooooooth and relatively quiet... they PURR instead of ROAR. But it COSTS for such smoothness.
    I failed to find even a USED Onan for less than a thousand bucks on Ebay... and there are quite a few for sale there. But they cost a lot more new, and are worth a lot even used....
     
  3. jimdevenport

    jimdevenport New Member

  4. driveby

    driveby New Member

    Microwaves and generators

    Thanks. Xantrex is actually a local company - their head office is literally less than a mile from my house. I just thought that the two batteries strapped upfront couldn't take the load. Am I wrong? All I really want is to use the mic a couple of times a day for a weekend. Heat tea for the wife and heat water for baby bottles, lol.
     
  5. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Microwaves and generators

    Honda EU1000I might run the microwave, is small, compact, quiet and not too expensive. EU2000 certainly will, but they start getting pricey
     
  6. jimdevenport

    jimdevenport New Member

    Microwaves and generators

    I don't know what size your batteries are, but even relatively small automotive-style batteries would have little trouble running your microwave through an inverter. So long as they hold a decent charge state, that is. One difficulty with most inverters is that they will "drop out" if the battery voltage drops a bit too low. If the batts are charged by your vehicle motor, just run the engine while microwaving, or run it occasionally to keep the batteries charged.
    AC power, whether from a small generator or from an inverter, is VERY nice to have. Features of each that I can think of:

    Inverter-
    Quieter than generator
    Smaller than generator
    Less power output than generator
    Makes flourescent lights flicker objectionably
    Sometimes produces "hash" in TV picture and/or buzzing hum in audio
    (I haven't had much problem with this, but I know it happens sometimes)

    Generator-
    Lots more power available normally
    "Cleaner" power, with true sine wave output, runs most appliances with less noise (except, of course, for the exhaust and vibration noise produced by the mechanical stresses of the genset running)
    Will run the overhead REFRIGERATED A/C

    I'd suspect you will find AC power so wonderful that you may eventually get a generator in addition to an inverter.
    Jim
     
  7. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Microwaves and generators

    Actually, if you get a 'true sine wave' inverter, it is very clean power, but expensive. And if you get a generator, it is pretty dirty power, unless its an 'inverter' style generator like the Honda EU series, also expensive. So in general, dirty is cheap and clean is expensive whenver you are talking about 'making' your own AC power.
     

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