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Old 12-06-2015, 09:06 AM   #1
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Supplemental Generator(s)

Just wondering if anyone else carries an extra or two generators with them? I have two Honda 2000W. generators I bought when we got our class C MH which had no on board generator. My class A has a 5500W. generator. I kept the Hondas when I sold the class C. One of the Hondas is the companion unit which allows the two generators to piggyback and increase the output to 4000W with the kit made by Honda.
One 2000W. generator will run lights and a hair dryer etc. when we don't have shore power. With both Hondas running I can run one AC unit. These generators will run up to 8 hours on one gallon of gas. The Hondas are super quiet and are much quieter than the on board Onan even with the Gen-Turi system installed.
We only go to one place each year where we don't have shore power so I take the Hondas along. I have only really used the on board generator one time. That was a rare occasion when it was raining and really hot so we started the on board to run both AC units to cool the coach down a little quicker while we were inside doing some cooking etc.
Even though my MH is 13 years old the Onan only has 84 hours on the meter and runs perfectly. I consider this a backup to the Hondas.
I use the Honda generators a lot around home. I can run saws, drills and other tools with one of the Hondas which will fit on the rack on the front of my Four wheeler. I even use an electric pole saw on occasion to cut or maintain trails. I can power up battery chargers and work lights anywhere as well as a small air compressor.
We use the little generators with our enclosed trailer when we are racing our snowmobiles at a night race in the wintertime. There doesn't seem to be a limit to the uses we find for the Hondas.
I have never had a problem with the little generators. They get periodic oil changes and a new spark plug once a year. They start easily and quickly and weigh just over 50# each.
Lynn
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Old 12-06-2015, 09:15 AM   #2
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I'm a fulltimer that boondocks most of the time and I carry two generators. One on the roof that is sun powered and supplies all my electrical needs. One is mounted in the basement, is diesel powered, and occasionally runs in the summer when I need air conditioning.
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Old 12-06-2015, 09:23 AM   #3
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Not anymore. I have a Champion 4500 and I leave it home now for emergencies but I really watch my weight whenever I'm loading the motorhome. Your carrying extra generators, gas, and it adds up, when you really don't need to.
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Old 12-06-2015, 09:34 AM   #4
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When I boondocked a lot I carried my little Honda 1000. I had to turn the rv battery charger down so it would not overload it. I could set it off behind a tree and bring the batteries back up. I have solar too but often trees block them so the little gennie is great. I can tell when the batteries are getting full because the eco mode on the generator will let it slow down.

Most of the noise from the 8KW Onan is from the intake and cooling exhaust air, not the muffler. The genturi does redirect the noise.

To reduce the noise from the big genny or to at least block it I duct tape a tarp along the front and passenger side. This simply blocks the noise and works well. It helps keep fumes going the right direction as well.
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Old 12-06-2015, 10:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by LETMGROW View Post
Even though my MH is 13 years old the Onan only has 84 hours on the meter and runs perfectly. I consider this a backup to the Hondas.

I would run the Onan more, and consider the Honda the backup. Here is the reasoning. The Onan needs the exercise to keep it healthy. If you sell or trade the motorhome one day, the potential buyers don't care or want the Hondas.....they want the built-in generator to be really reliable, and to have hours on the meter consistent with its age.....too few hours is a big red flag that the generator was neglected IMHO.
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Old 12-06-2015, 11:56 AM   #6
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I also take a small supplemental 2000W inverter generator. If the weather is bad or raining all day and we are stuck inside, it's a nice,quiet, continuous source of AC power rather than running the 7000W built-in generator all day. The big one is run daily when using high power appliances or AC however.
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Old 12-06-2015, 01:05 PM   #7
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You may be kidding yourself about fuel economy. If you measure it, I think you will find them very close on the basis of gallons used per kilowatt consumed. That's very true if the coach has an inverter generator (same type as the Hondas), but less so if it's a mechanical genset (constant RPMs). It takes about the same amount of fuel to produce 2KW whether you do it with the Honda or a big Onan diesel. No free lunch - you are converting fossil fuel energy to electrical energy either way. However, any inverter generator has a noise advantage in that it can run at lower rpms when the load is light. The mechanical gensets run at 3600 rpms whether producing 1 watt or 5000, so they tend to be noisier.

Those of you with gas Onans probably find the small Honda inverter-generators a plus for noise level as long as loads are light (they still get noisy if the demand goes up), and also for fuel if much of the usage is at low power (under 500 watts). However, folks with Onan diesel inverter like the QD7500 & QD 8000 gain very little by using an secondary genset.
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Old 12-06-2015, 01:53 PM   #8
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We dry camp from Dec till Apr. Have one Honda 2000 as well as Onan 8KW. Use Honda 4 hrs a day. Refill a 5 gal gas can every 7 days. Only use Onan when microwave or AC needed. There is no way I could run diesel genny on 5 gals a week. Been there. Friends that have two Hondas never need to run diesel to camp. Only to exercise. The point is why use 8KW genny when 1500w will meet your needs.
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Old 12-06-2015, 03:56 PM   #9
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Just FYI, yes I do exercise my Onan regularly. I run it with a 100W load on it every couple weeks or so. I am a maintenance freak about most things.
I love the little Honda generators and @ just over 50# each I don't think there is a danger of overloading my carrying capacity. I don't carry anything I won't use and am careful about weight distribution.
If I were to wear out a generator I would prefer it be a $1000 generator than a very expensive on board. I really don't think I will ever wear out any of them. If I know I will have shore power where I go I leave the Hondas home.
Lynn
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Old 12-06-2015, 08:17 PM   #10
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I would buy a 10 year old coach in a heartbeat with a high time Onan but not one with 85 hours on it. If I did I would set $ aside for the upcoming repairs. They are meant to be run under load regularly. I've even been known to run one ac unit in cool mode and the other in heat mode just to produce the needed load. YMMV


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Old 12-06-2015, 09:31 PM   #11
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Supplemental Generator(s)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LETMGROW View Post
Just FYI, yes I do exercise my Onan regularly. I run it with a 100W load on it every couple weeks or so. I am a maintenance freak about most things.

Putting a 100 watt load on a 5,500 watt generator is not enough of a load to do any good. That's roughly a 2% load. It's just idling along. You need to load it to AT LEAST a 50% load (70% would be even better) and let it run with that load for about an hour to keep the generator in good condition. A 50% load is 2,750 watts or about 25 amps. 70% would be 3,850 watts, or about 35 amps.

The generator needs to run with this heavy load in order to get everything (both the engine and the generator) up to full operating temperature and held there long enough to evaporate any moisture that may have settled in it. A 100 watt load won't do that...in fact it could make things worse.


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Old 12-06-2015, 09:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LETMGROW View Post
Just FYI, yes I do exercise my Onan regularly. I run it with a 100W load on it every couple weeks or so. I am a maintenance freak about most things.
I love the little Honda generators and @ just over 50# each I don't think there is a danger of overloading my carrying capacity. I don't carry anything I won't use and am careful about weight distribution.
If I were to wear out a generator I would prefer it be a $1000 generator than a very expensive on board. I really don't think I will ever wear out any of them. If I know I will have shore power where I go I leave the Hondas home.
Lynn
Onan says to run them 2 hrs per month at 1/2 load. You'll wear out 50 Honda gensets and the Onan diesel will still be running great.
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Old 12-06-2015, 10:37 PM   #13
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We have an all electric coach with a 10KW Onan. I also carry a 2W Honda that feeds a 45 amp smart charger. when dry camping, the 620 watts of solar keeps the battery bank charged during the day. At 5 pm, I set the Honda off 50-75' away from the coach and it will run 10-12 hours on a gallon of gas with that light a load. We can use everything except the induction cook top and the AC's.
The batteries are always charged and no noisy diesel generator to disturb the evening. The big Onan gets plenty of use on the road running the roof AC's. I don't do it for the efficiency, but for the lower sound level in the evening and not having to hear the 10KW gennerator start up at five in the morning due to low batteries.
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Old 12-06-2015, 11:04 PM   #14
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Often carry a Champion 3100 for backup in case of problem, also used instead of onboard generator.
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