June '17

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64 • RV PRO • June 2017 rv-pro.com A F T E R M A R K E T tially the size of the generator they need because they can plug in all the dif- ferent types of appliances they might need inside their RV, and it will rec- ommend the generator that's the best fit for them." In much the same way, Powerhouse has an online chart that helps users decide which generator will be the best fit. However, Godino says the company is also happy to have such questions directed to its Elkhart, Ind.-based sup- port staff. "They can guide consumers as to which unit works best for them," he says. "We've very interested in edu- cating the consumers and giving them all the support they need. Anyone who carries the Powerhouse brand has also been educated and has literature and knowledge to share with the consumer." Generac's Moose says it's not always a very easy question to answer, either. He says studies his company has done show that people often either under-uti- lize their machines or over-use them. "Many of them had no idea; they were just hoping their power came on when they wanted it," he says. "And, there's often a break-even point with this. They'll say, 'I could use more power, but I don't want to carry that 150-pound generator with me.' That's where the lighter inverter generators come in." Service After the Sale Nor is helping would-be buyers get the right generator for their needs the only educating dealers may need to do. There also can be some service after the sale. For one thing, Moose says when people aren't using a generator every day, some education is needed about its operation, despite the fact that the manufacturers are trying to design units that are more intuitive than in the past. "The average novice user may run the generator one or two times a year, and that denotes a learning curve," he says. "The buyer needs to know how you use the thing, how to keep it pow- ered up, how to stop it and how to start it." Still another area where dealers can shine: maintenance and service. While service varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, along with the available warranty, maintenance is another issue that calls for some education along with the sale. "Certainly everything requires reg- ular maintenance," says Honda's Per- nice. "It's a matter of changing the oil, keeping the air filter clean and, with generators, there are other things like cleaning the spark arrester to prevent sparking, as required by U.S. Forest Service regulations." Because generators can sit some- times for months between uses, that also can lead to maintenance issues. The manufacturers agree that their engineers recognize this problem and are working to make things as easy as possible on consumers with better designs and better components. However, just as with a lawnmower left to sit through the winter with gas- oline in its tank, that old gas can gum up the carburetor. Yahama, for instance, markets a fuel additive for its generators to prevent that gum-up, and Honda has introduced electronic fuel injection to some of its generators to reduce carbu- retion issues. Tomorrow's generator will likely resolve those problems easily, but for now, smaller is definitely better. "Smaller, but in that middle range where our PH 2400 falls," says Pow- erhouse's Godino. "More and more people are bringing power converters out because of all the electronics out there. And, it's not just the RV market. Any Sunday adventurer who wants to stay connected will look for that option." Yamaha and other manufacturers aren't just making their inverter generators better. They also are providing online tools to help RVers understand their wattage needs and what size generator will best meet their needs.

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