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Old 02-05-2012, 08:24 PM   #1
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Newbie question on generators

Good evening! Just bought a Class A MH. Have had TT and 5th wheel but never had a generator with either rigs. Our new class A has a 5.5 Onan. This weekend we were at a ski lodge and noticed a lot of motorhomes using portable generators (actually most all). Probably a silly question, but we are wondering why would you but a portable generator when you already have a nice generator on board?
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Old 02-05-2012, 08:31 PM   #2
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No idea, maybe if they only needed a little power the small one uses less gas and is a little quieter.
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:04 PM   #3
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I have a class A motor home with a large built in generator, it sucks up about a gallon per hour at a cost of $3.50/gallon. I also have a small Honda generator that will power the TV, Microwave, etc. for 5 to 7 hours on that same gallon of fuel. The noise level is MUCH lower also. I do use the big generator for times it is really needed such as running the air conditioners and high current consumption kitchen appliances at the same time.
I can also maintain the small Honda a lot easier and cheaper than the big guy. It works for me!
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Old 02-05-2012, 10:17 PM   #4
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I've seen this too, and don't really understand it either. Under a low load like that, you can't even tell my onan diesel is running...
And I'd only use it for a few hours a day to keep the batteries up.
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Old 02-05-2012, 10:27 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone! So much to learn. Figured it had to do with cost --- always an important thing :} Except, now looks like a nice portable might be on the list of "have to have".
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoyalD View Post
I have a class A motor home with a large built in generator, it sucks up about a gallon per hour at a cost of $3.50/gallon. I also have a small Honda generator that will power the TV, Microwave, etc. for 5 to 7 hours on that same gallon of fuel. The noise level is MUCH lower also. I do use the big generator for times it is really needed such as running the air conditioners and high current consumption kitchen appliances at the same time.
I can also maintain the small Honda a lot easier and cheaper than the big guy. It works for me!
With a small 1000 watt Honda costing $950 to $1000 dollars (and a 2000 watt $1150 or more) thats a lot of gas (about 285 gallons). The sound is better than a big one, but don't now if it's that much better than my Onan 5.5 for that kind of money. Ours is on the drivers side and when sitting on the passenger side under the awning it doesn't bother us really at all. But to each his own, thats the great thing about RVing there is no wrong or right just what YOU want to do!
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:06 AM   #7
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I have a built in but carry a small Honda for backup. I haven't used the small one yet but after considering the fuel usage might consider using it for the small jobs.
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:08 AM   #8
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Yep, my thoughts too. You can buy a lot of diesel for the price of one of those Honda Generators. Like the other poster said, we all have different opinions and different needs.

For my money, I'll stick with the 7.5KW genset in the motor home. I don't remember the actual consumption of fuel under half load but I believe it is about .5 gph. I can look it up if important. I had a 5.5KW Gas in my Coachmen Mirada and the gas consumption was I believe less than that at a half load, somewhere between .25 and .5 gph.

When using my onboard genset, the batteries are being charged, I have plenty of power for the furnace or ac whichever is needed.

Anyhoo, you have to see what other folks are doing then decide for yourself what fits into your lifestyle and what makes sense for you and what doesn't. It all boils down to your call

In any case have fun and enjoy.

Happy Trails
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:36 AM   #9
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I'll stick with my onboard unit. Don't need to spend the extra for a portable that's for sure. Plus now it would be taking up more storage room.
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:52 AM   #10
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SGT2008,

Make sure you run that onboard genset at least once a month for an hour or so under load (stuff on). On another forum, I find that it is pretty amazing just how many folks have gensets that will not start or just don't work at all. Use it or lose it as they say. The 5.5 uses just over a half gallon of gas an hour under half load.

Bob
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:43 AM   #11
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Thanks for the help! Continuing to learn so much from this forum and the knowledgeable people on it
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