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Old 08-09-2014, 10:00 AM   #1
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Generators for Roadtrek RS-Adventurous

I am considering the purchase of a Roadtrek RS-Adventurous. What are the pros/cons of an engine mounted diesel generator vs the freestanding propane Onan generator?


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Old 08-09-2014, 11:14 AM   #2
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Generators for Roadtrek RS-Adventurous

Well it seems your coach has a 16 gallon propane tank...rough calculations would have the propane generator consume fuel at the rate of 1 gallon per hour....so roughly 16 hours of generator run time.

Not sure how much fuel the main coach engine burns just idling, but it does have a larger tank to draw from.....so the engine driven unit may last longer before fuel runs out.

Which brings about another point ..... Using the main engine as your generator could leave you stranded if you forget to check how much fuel you have left....could run the tank dry...and then what do you do ? With the propane generator, when it runs out, you can simply drive to the propane dealer and buy more.

I don't like the idea of idling a large Diesel engine just to make electricity.....even the long haul truckers are finding alternatives to keeping their big engine running all night while they sleep with the AC on.

If you are leaving children or pets in the coach with the AC on, you will need the generator running while parked without shorepower.....I would be nervous with the main engine running, that a child or pet could accidentally put the transmission in gear. Using the propane fired generator, no such worry, as you keep the coach key in your pocket, and the main engine is NOT running.

Edit * thought of another consideration...

If the engine mounted generator breaks, it's proprietary technology, good luck finding places to repair it while on the road. The Onan generator on the other hand, has many more places that will repair it, and good parts availability.

I wish they would make an Onan diesel generator option, because that's what I would want....

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Old 08-09-2014, 12:36 PM   #3
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The key about the Roadtrek engine mounted generators is that they are a part of a complete energy management system. The main component in mine is the large battery bank. A small solar, plus the shore power option, plus the engine mounted genny while driving gives multiple ways to keep the battery bank fully charged. Idling the engine to run the genny is the final option. Those who have used these systems extensively claim they seldom need to use that procedure.

There aren't a lot of reports of these generators failing to function. I admit, though, it's new tech, and time will tell.
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:18 PM   #4
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When we bought our CS Adventurous this spring, we were told the two options were an Onan propane generator or an engine-mounted generator/alternator. When I mentioned an engine-mounted generator to the service tech, I was told that it is an alternator. Since we purchased the Onan, we didn't follow up on how exactly the generator/alternator worked.
2013 RoadTrek CS Adventurous
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Old 08-13-2014, 07:41 PM   #5
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Now i don't have it, so i'm just speculating. But i think they just use a dual alternator kit which i think mercedes has, or nationalstarteralternator.com makes. Then just put a large battery bank on the van and a large inverter. In order to generate 2000 watts at 12v, you need a consistent 166amps, which a dual alternator kit should be able to provide.
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Old 08-16-2014, 12:13 PM   #6
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The RT E-Trek engine genny is an outsourced model. 3500 watts. Requires a change in the serpentine belt to accommodate it.

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