But will this Generator run my Air-Con?
It's no secret, Australian summers are brutal. To combat this, nearly all Caravans (including Hybrids) come with Air-Conditioning either as standard or as an optional extra. This is all good and well when you're at the caravan park with access to 240V power, but how are you going to run it when you're off-grid? The air-conditioner is rated in watts and amps, however generators are all rated in this thing called kVA, how can I work out what I need?
Luckily you don't need to be a sparky to work it out, we are here to help!
The first thing to do is get the Air-Con & Generator onto a level playing field so they can speak in the same language. This means converting kVA to watts and amps. We won't bore you with the maths but basically the equations goes;
- kVA x 1000 x Power Factor = Watts.
The Power Factor for most generators is between 0.8 to 1.0. For our Protrek SE-2000IE Generator it's 1.0, equalling 2100 Watts (2.1kVA x 1000 x 1.0 =2100 Watts).
Now we need to keep in mind this is the maximum or peak output, meaning it's not recommended the generator sustains this output for extended periods of time. To obtain the Rated Output or Continuous Rating we recommend multiplying the maximum output by 0.8 unless it's stated in the specification sheet such as the example above.
Now we know how much wattage our Generator is safely capable of producing it's time to see how much an air-conditioner will draw and if your generator is powerful enough. We've collected some information from the most popular Air-Conditioners and compiled them in the table below. Using a simple Amps to Watts converter we are able to accurately assess which Air-Conditioners each generator can run. As you can see, all of these Air-Conditioners are under 1800 W which is the Rated Output for the Protrek SE-2000IE Generator.
|Brand||Model||Rating in Amps||Rating in Watts|
|DOMETIC||IBIS III||5.8 A||1392 W|
|DOMETIC||IBIS IIII||6.9 A||1656 W|
|DOMETIC||HARRIER LITE||6.9 A||1656 W|
|DOMETIC||HARRIER PLUS||5.9 A||1416 W|
|FINCH||HOUGHTON 2400||4.2 A||1008 W|
|FINCH||HOUGHTON 3400||5.6 A||1344 W|
|FINCH||HOUGHTON 3500||5.6 A||1344 W|
|TRUMA||AVENTA COMFORT||4.2 A||1008 W|
|TRUMA||AVENTA COMPACT PLUS||4.4 A||1056 W|
|TRUMA||AVENTA COMPACT||2.8 A||672 W|
Great you say, however the most common issue with older Air-Conditioning units, such as the IBIS I & IBIS II, is these units do not have a soft-start feature. Many of these Air-Cons can draw up to 20 A or 4800 W initially resulting in most Generators being unsuitable. To avoid this look out for the Starting Load Rating or L/R rating in the specifications sheet.
Don’t lose heart, if you already have one of these older units you do not need to purchase a huge generator! Instead the Protrek SE-2000IE Generator can be run in parallel which doubles its Rated Output to 3600 W, all you need is a parallel cable kit. Alternatively, for a more affordable and space saving option an aftermarket Hard Start Kit, such as the Supco SPP5, helps to bring down the L/R rating and negate this problem. There are a number of forums which have instructions and recommendations on how to use this set up.