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Is a 1200 Watt Portable Generator Large Enough For My RV

by Anonymous


Is a 1200 Watt Powermate generator large enough for a 16 foot camper. I know it won't handle the air conditioner but for dry camping will it operate a 900 microwave, a box fan, and some lights?

ANSWER: Hi thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page

I am afraid that you are not going to like the answer that I am going to give you. Yes it will work but even with the modest electrical demands that you are talking about you are still going to have to shut off some appliances to run others and you definitely will not be able to run your RV's Air Conditioner.

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The portable generator you are talking about provides a constant 1200 watts and 1500 surge watts. A constant 1200 watts equals a total of 10 to 11 Amps that will be available to the electrical receptacle on the generator. A normal home electrical receptacle provides 15 Amps. So when you plug into the generator you will have less amperage available then you would if you had just plugged in at home.

The first thing I am going to assume is that you are planning on running your RV's Fridge on propane and not electric when dry camping (boon docking). As far as your RV's internal lights are concerned they are 12 volt lights that run off of your RV's house batteries when not plugged in and when you plug in to electric your RV's Converter will take over the job of supplying 12 volt power to your lights.

Oh by the way the Converter also charges your RV's house batteries when plugged into electric so it will be drawing a few amps constantly when you are plugged into the generator. How many amps the converter uses depends on how many 12 volt accessories you are using and whether it is actively charging your house batteries.

Keeping in mind that you have a total of 10 to 11 Amps available to you; let's take a look at some common appliance and see how many amps they need to operate.

Box Fan: 1-2 Amps

Coffee Maker: 5-8 Amps

Hair Dryer: 5-12 Amps

Microwave: 8-12 Amps

RV Electrical Converter: 1-8 Amps depending on load

RV Refrigerator on AC mode: 5-9 Amps

TV: 2-4 Amps

Toaster: 7-10 Amps

So as you can see from the list above you are going to be doing a lot of appliance juggling to keep from overloading the generator. As long as you don't mind some of the inconvenience caused by this then you should be OK. If it were me however I would move up to a 2000 watt generator or higher.

I hope that this has helped.

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Happy RVing

RVing Al

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