Air conditioning is a must-have when it comes to RV vacations. In a 33-foot metal container, with the summer sun pounding down relentlessly on your RV, it’s going to get incredibly hot inside.
RVs tend to have poor windows that allow little airflow, so you need to figure out another way to cool your family down enough to enjoy your holiday.
Air conditioning is the answer to all of your prayers. It cools the air down incredibly quickly to leave everyone in a much better mood. You can keep the AC on all day and night for the best results.
However, there are plenty of issues that arise with AC units inside RVs. Today we’re going to be discussing these as well as finding out whether a Honda EU2200 generator will run an AC unit on its own.
Issues with using AC units in RVs
Let’s get these out of the way so that you can see why we’re looking for a device to power an AC unit. RVs require a lot of energy, so they need a powerful generator that is going to be able to power everything that you need in the motorhome.
If you’re planning on staying in your RV for a number of consecutive days or weeks, you’ll need the generator to power up the refrigerator, entertainment devices, and power sockets to charge up your belongings.
Oh, and you also want it to keep your AC unit running for the duration of your trip. We’re not asking for too much, are we?
There are plenty of RV parks that allow you to pay for a pitch. You can park up here and use the facilities such as the bathrooms and the electric ports. These are most commonly 30-amp hookups.
Using these hookups take the strain off of your generator. Depending on the power of your generator, this is likely to be more powerful and therefore make it easier to run all of your appliances.
However, the initial in-rush of current only allows you to use one AC unit within your RV rather than both. So, you’re left with all of your appliances and devices running, but with only one AC working to cool the air.
But what happens when you’re driving to another park or not using a park with available hookups? Unless you want to be left without AC for the rest of your vacation, you’ll need a powerful enough generator to keep the AC units running all of this time.
Key terms you need to know
Now that you know why we’re looking for a generator that is going to be able to power AC units as well as the rest of your appliances, we can get into the article.
However, before we start looking at the Honda EU2200 and what it can do, we have a few terms that we want to clarify first.
What is a soft starter?
A soft starter’s primary function is to prevent a motor from overloading from an inrush of current, as well as protecting your devices from a shortened lifespan.
Soft starters can also help the startup and acceleration of a motor to run much more smoothly than without one.
The soft starter works with two featuring components: the controllers and overload protection. The controllers are able to turn the electrical current on and off, manipulating whether it can reach the motor or not.
The overload protection will then work to protect the motor from overheating from the current running through it.
An overload relay controls the amount of time that the electrical current is able to run through the motor. The shorter the time, the less likely an overloaded motor will be.
A soft starter will be installed just before the motor in the control panel so that it is in the optimal position to control the electrical flow to the motor. Soft starters can be used in any AC vehicle, and they can also be used on single-phase motors.
When using a soft starter for an AC unit, the device can lower the inrush of the current so that it is safe enough to allow the second AC unit to power up.
Using an AC unit without a soft starter will cause the in-rush of current to be too powerful to allow the second unit to power up.
If you want your air conditioning system to work as effectively as it can, you will need a soft starter to help all of the units get up and running.
What is a generator?
A generator is a machine that can produce electricity when you need it and mains power is inaccessible. In an RV, this would be applicable as soon as you drive away from your house or the RV park.
The inner workings of a generator will create electricity and therefore do not need the assistance of any other power sources. These machines are small and portable so they can fit inside an RV without any issue.
Generators come in all shapes and sizes, which alter the power that you can use from them.
For example, there are very small generators that will only generate 200 watts of power, while you can get much larger generators that offer up to 5000 watts of power.
Generators use a fuel source to create their electricity, such as propane, gas, diesel, or bi-fuel. They use these fuels to turn mechanical energy into electrical energy, which is then used to power your devices and appliances.
A little information on the Honda EU2200i
Now let’s introduce ourselves to the man of the hour, the star of our article. You’ve found yourself on our page because you want to know whether the Honda EU2200i will run your AC units with the use of a soft start.
Honda is an incredibly successful company that specializes in cars, bikes, power products, and much more.
What’s more, all of their generators are well received by their customers and Honda generators are often used as the standard for every other generator to be compared to.
The EU2200i delivers 2200 watts of power without any issues, which is 10% more power than the previous model offered. Despite the rise in power, the generator is still as lightweight and compact as the prior model.
Weighing under 50 pounds, the generator in question will not affect your weight limit too much in the RV.
The generator runs incredibly quietly at just 57 decibels, which is less than a lively conversation. You will have no issues sleeping or enjoying your family’s company through the generator noise. You might not even hear it over all of the fun!
Honda’s EU2200i has a mechanical decompressor system which allows you to switch the generator on and off much easier than other generators on the market. You will need little to no force to get your engine running.
We cannot forget about the efficiency of this generator – a single tank of fuel will allow the generator to run for up to 8.1 hours, depending on the load. You can use this generator overnight to keep cool with your AC running.
Perhaps the best feature, when we take it back to whether it can run an AC unit or not, is that you can use two or more of the EU2200i generators alongside one another to take advantage of double or triple the power.
The EU2200i boasts how much it can run for you, such as refrigerators, microwaves, and small AC units. That’s right, the EU2200i does allow you to run an AC unit, but is it enough to keep up with your RV?
Overall, the Honda EU2200i generator is incredibly durable, portable, and powerful. But will it offer enough power to run your AC units to leave you with a more enjoyable environment?
RV air conditioning units in relation to BTUs
Air conditioning units will be measured in terms of BTUs, which is a measure of energy and stands for British Thermal Unit. Despite the name, it is no longer used as a common unit of measurement in the United Kingdom.
BTU refers to the amount of heat energy an air conditioning unit can remove from a room in an hour. So, the higher the BTU rating, the more heat the AC unit can remove from your RV.
If you’re shopping around for an RV or an AC unit for your RV, you should look for a unit with a high BTU rating to feel the effects of your air conditioner.
The larger space, the more likely it is that you will need more than one AC unit. So, your RV will more than likely come with two or even three air conditioners, especially if there are more than two rooms within your RV.
The most common BTU ratings for air conditioning units in RVs are 11,000, 13,500, and 15,000 BTUs. However, you can also get more sizes if these are not optimal for your RV.
If you wanted to save money, you might opt for two 11,000 BTU air conditioning units.
However, the majority of people will go for the middle of the road option – 13,500 BTUs. These are powerful enough to cool down your RV in an impressive amount of time without being too powerful that you’re wasting power.
Why you need a soft starter to run AC units on a generator
If you’re sick of having to park up in an RV park to run your air conditioner on boiling hot days, you’re not alone. Plenty of RV owners are now trying to find a better way of keeping their motorhome cool.
Many people, when they purchase their first RV, will do their research and decide to purchase a small generator offering around 1,000 watts of power.
While this will be enough to run your important appliances and charge your devices when they need, but certainly not enough to keep an AC unit on.
However, once you realize that your RV becomes incredibly hot during the drives, you will soon learn that you need to invest in a larger generator and an AC unit.
Now, the most important thing to purchase, along with the AC unit and the larger generator, is a soft starter.
Our favorite is the SoftStartRV, which is a small and compact soft starter that is incredibly effective.
Without the SoftStartRV, your generator might be able to run the AC unit but it will be putting much more pressure and stress on the AC unit and your generator.
A soft starter reduces the in-rush of current and therefore can stop your AC unit from overheating and becoming damaged. The SoftStartRV can reduce the in-rush of current from 100% to 30%, making it much safer to run.
SoftStartRV assures that its device allows two AC units on a 30-amp hookup and one AC unit on a small portable generator.
This allows small generators, around 2,000 to 2,500 watts, to run AC units without you having to spend too much on a larger generator. You can also run your other appliances, such as a refrigerator, alongside the AC without an issue.
Will a Honda 2200ii generator run an air conditioner?
Along with the SoftStartRV, many people have had success running an AC unit from a 2200ii-watt generator in their RV.
Their AC units were 13,500 BTU and therefore impressively effective at cooling down the inside of their RV, and they could do it with still a relatively small portable generator!
If you’re still unsure of whether to trust your 2200ii-watt generator with your AC unit, there are plenty of videos on YouTube that show how people have successfully hooked an AC unit to such a small generator.
To save you some time; however, we will let you into the biggest secret of all – the soft starter. With that smaller in-rush of current, the AC unit can power on without any issues and run for as long as your generator will last.
Will any 2200ii watt generator run a 13500 BTU air conditioner?
The only way to answer this question is to test every 2200ii-watt generator with a 13,500 BTU air conditioner to see whether it will run or not.
If you consider the fact that a 2,000-watt Honda generator can run this size of AC unit with a soft starter, there should be no reason why any other 2200ii-watt generator couldn’t.
Can you run a 13,500 BTU AC unit on a 2200ii watt generator without a soft starter?
This is considered very unlikely to be able to do, as most 13,500 BTU air conditioners will require more power than your small generator is offering. If you were to try this, you would be met by lots of angered noises from your generator and air conditioning unit.
It is said that you’ll need a 3,000-watt or higher generator to run a 13,500 BTU air conditioner. This is because an AC unit requires around 2,800 to 3,000 watts of power to startup, but only 1,500 to 2,000 watts to maintain the AC unit.
So, while a 2,000-watt air conditioner would work to maintain the AC unit, you would need more power to start it up.
The soft starter can help you do this, but without the soft starter, you wouldn’t be able to turn your AC unit on. Trying to do this could leave you in a dangerous position.
Will a Honda 2200 watt generator run a 13500 BTU air conditioner?
From our previous answer, we bet that you can guess the answer to this question as well. The Honda EU2200i has 10% more power than a Honda generator with 2,000 watts of power, so running an AC unit with a soft starter should be no problem.
The additional 10% power will help your other appliances and devices continue running without struggling due to the new demanding AC unit.
Much like if you were to purchase a 3,000-watt generator you could run more devices in your RV, the 2,200-watt generator will work just fine with your AC unit.
The 13,500 BTU air conditioner is in the middle of the road and should cool your RV just fine.
While most people prefer two AC units to ensure that their entire RV is cooled to their desired temperature, it’s unlikely that two AC units will run on one small generator.
So, while a 13,500 BTU air conditioner will run on a 2,200-watt generator, you also have the option of choosing a different BTU rating. 11,000 BTU air conditioners will run better on a small generator, but your RV won’t be cooled as efficiently.
On the other hand, a 2,200-watt generator might not be enough to handle a 15,000 BTU air conditioner. The only way you would be able to test this is if you purchased a soft starter and used it alongside the powerful AC unit.
What if you didn’t use a soft starter?
You might want to consider bypassing the soft starter altogether – after all, the Honda EU2200i does in fact state that it can run a small AC unit without the help of a soft starter.
So, what would happen if you were to try to run the air conditioner without installing a soft starter?
There are a few outcomes that you could see depending on how you do this. The Honda EU2200i includes an Eco mode which can be manipulated if you want to preserve your power.
Running the generator without Eco mode (with the refrigerator set to gas)
Running the generator without eco mode turned on, with the refrigerator on gas mode, is the best option to use your AC without a soft starter.
Begin the AC with the fan only and allow it to reach the maximum speed. Once you reach this speed, you can engage the AC’s compressor.
The end result of this is that the AC unit runs without putting any stress on the generator. The generator continues to run without any forceful noises.
Running the generator without Eco mode (with the refrigerator set to auto)
This method is turning the AC unit on just as you would if you were connected to a 30-amp hookup at an RV park. If you were thinking that the generator would work just like the hookup, you were incorrect.
The AC unit will begin by making an aggravated noise with lots of thumping, and the generator is likely to stall.
If you’re able to wait for these concerning noises out, the machines will calm down and run semi-normally, but you will be able to hear how bad this is for your generator and AC unit.
Running the generator with Eco mode (with the refrigerator set to auto)
Finally, deciding to start the fan on your AC unit and turning on the compressor after the fan has reached the maximum speed will leave you with an angry-sounding generator.
However, once the compressor is turned on, the AC unit will begin running as normal.
Why we still think a soft starter is important
As we mentioned earlier, soft starters are very important when it comes to starting the AC unit up. This is because the initial power needed is around 2,800 to 3,000 watts, which is higher than the 2,200 watts that the Honda EU2200i is offering.
So, the fact that people are being able to start their air conditioning units with such a small portable generator is very impressive and somewhat confusing.
One thing is for certain – it is much safer (for you, your generator, and your AC unit) to use a soft starter than to not.
Some people will take the above information and agree that they don’t need a soft starter to run one AC unit on their small generator.
This belief is not incorrect – you can run your AC unit off of your generator without an issue. The question is; however, is for how long?
As we have mentioned above, without using a soft starter seems to make the generator and AC unit make aggravated noises. While these die down after a while, you never want to be left with an angry-sounding generator for too long.
Generators are mechanical devices that are full of fuel and can be dangerous if overloaded. If your generator is making these types of noises, you should stop the problem as soon as possible.
Not only are generators dangerous when not used properly, but they can also be expensive. Grunts and moans from your generator are not to be ignored – it could be a sign that something is being broken or adversely affected by your actions.
Moreover, the AC unit could also be damaged prematurely without using a soft starter. Soft starters prevent the device from overheating and being damaged by being subjected to constant in-rushes of power from turning the device on and off again.
As your generator will need re-fuelling and a break every eight hours or so, you will have to start the AC unit up after every refuel. So, turning the AC unit on over and over again will damage your air conditioning unit as well as the generator.
With a soft starter, the in-rush of current is reduced and therefore protects your AC unit from this. You will be able to turn it on and off as many times as you want without worrying about the air conditioner becoming prematurely damaged.
Soft starters also protect the generator by taking the current into its own hands and increasing it at a slower, more controlled pace. This will reduce the pressure that is put on the generator.
In our opinion, soft starting an AC unit with a Honda EU2200i is the way to go.
What is the best soft starter for the job?
We enjoy using the SoftStartRV when running our air conditioning unit off of our small generators. One of the main reasons for this is because one of their main selling points is that the SoftStartRV can ‘Run One Air Conditioner Using Only A Small Portable Generator’.
Straight away, NetworkRV is telling us that their product can help us achieve what we are hoping for.
Not only this, but the SoftStartRV also reduces thumping from the AC as well, so you can get a peaceful night’s sleep while remaining cool.
Adding the SoftStartRV also could not be easier. You don’t need any specialist equipment, and there is plenty of help and advice online to help you with your DIY project. Install this small device inside your RV and forget about it instantly.
Before you know it, you will have forgotten all about the soft starter installed within your RV. All you will be left with is a generator that can seamlessly run your air conditioner without any hitches.
Overall, it is entirely possible to run one air conditioning unit from a Honda EU2200i generator. In fact, you can also run the AC unit from most 2,000-watt generators as well. The only additional piece of equipment you will need is a soft starter.
We know that it might be tempting to skip the soft starter, but it is vital in keeping your devices and appliances running without becoming damaged.
Not using a soft starter for this application will shorten the lifespan of both your AC unit and the generator.
The SoftStartRV is a great model that allows you to run one air conditioner off of a small generator seamlessly.
So, the next time you’re planning an RV trip – remember how terrible the heat was last time and add a soft starter and an AC unit to your shopping list!