Power To The (Motorhome) People



I collected an essential part of our on board electrical kit yesterday, a Honda EU20i suitcase generator.

Both Cynthia and I are used to living off grid on the boat, but we had a slightly more robust electrical system there. We had four 160ah AGM batteries powered by a 300w solar array and the engine’s 70amp alternator. The solar array catered for all of our electrical needs in the warmer months without having to resort to running the boat’s engine for battery charging.

The boat had a 2kw inverter fitted so that we could run mains appliances. We had more power than we could reasonably use so, to be honest, we were a little wasteful with our electricity. We have to be much more careful in the Hymer.

Our motorhome has a 150w solar panel powering just two 100ah batteries. We have half of the electricity generation and a third of the electrical storage than we are used to. And we don’t have the luxury of an onboard inverter.

I still have a suitcase generator on the boat, but I don’t want to take it with me in the Hymer. It’s a Kipor IG2600. It’s 15kg heavier than our new Honda generator, it’s larger and it’s much noisier. Honda generators have always been considered one of the most reliable brands on the market so that, and the lighter weight, quieter running and smaller size, make the Honda generator just the job for our European travels.

We try to live as simply and economically as possible, but there are times when off grid mains power comes in very handy.

We don’t have a television on board, but we like to watch films. We take a small DVD library with us which I play through my 13″ MacBook Pro. The MacBook’s display is good enough, but the sound isn’t. I connect my MacBook to a Bose Soundlink Mini speaker. The sound is incredible and, at about ten hours, the speaker’s battery charge is good enough for a film a night for almost a week. We usually remember to charge the speaker when we stay at campsites, but we sometimes forget. We’re aiming to live as much as we can away from campsites and their associated costs, so having an off grid electrical supply is going to be very useful in the future.

I also have to consider Cynthia. She needs to take daily homeopathic medication which needs to be prepared in a blender. Obviously if we are off grid and don’t have a mains power source, Cynthia’s going to have a problem.

honda-eu20i front

And I’m going to have a problem with Cynthia if I can’t provide her with mains power when she wants it. Cynthia is passionate about both cooking and baking.

Our motorhome, typical of those with a European specification, didn’t originally have an oven. We had a combination oven and grill fitted. It’s not bad, but the size is really too small for Cynthia. We’re probably going to have some alterations made so that we can fit a full sized oven to allow Cynthia to bake to her heart’s content.

Of course, the oven is just part of the equipment she needs. She will also need to power her food processor and her blender. We have plenty of space to store this additional equipment but, before the generator arrived, no means of powering it.

Subject to a little careful management, and a plentiful supply of good, clean petrol for the generator, we should be fully equipped to cater for Cynthia’s passion for baking, and my passion for eating the end result.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 3 comments
Steve Parks - September 12, 2016

I’ve had a Honda suitcase generator for ten years now. I think it’s a smaller one than yours, but I’m sure it’s going to be just as reliable as mine.

    Paul Smith - September 12, 2016

    Everyone I talk to who owns one tells me that they go on forever. I have high hopes for it.

Bernard Smith - October 15, 2016

Hi Paul , best of luck to you and Cynthia with your lifestyle change .
I have been following your narrowboat blog for two years since we moved onto ” Simba Dada”
Lorraine has a hankering to visit Scotland for extended periods , so we have just purchased a 2001 Mercedes sprinter converted to a camper. A pity there is no canal link from England to Scotland !
Best regards,


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