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Old 12-17-2012, 12:21 PM   #1
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LP Generators

How well do LP generators work? Do they shake the 5th wheel while they are running? Are they quiet? How much LP do they use. Do they charge the house batteries just like a MH? Is this a worth while option? Seem like it would make boondocking alot easier. Currency I am planning on using a gasoline powered portable 2400 watt generator.
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Old 12-17-2012, 05:11 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
How well do LP generators work?
An LP generator is the same as a gasoline generator. The only differences are in fuel storage and fuel control. And like gasoline generators, cheap ones are obnoxiously noisy and unreliable. Good ones can be reasonably quite and reliable. Really good ones are nice and quite and trouble free for years of service.


Quote:
Do they shake the 5th wheel while they are running?
The cheap ones do, the good ones don't.

Quote:
How much LP do they use.
A lot. In gallons, a bit more than a gasoline engine with the same load.

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Do they charge the house batteries just like a MH?
Some motorhomes have propane generators, so yes, they would work exactly like the same model in a motorhome.

Quote:
Is this a worth while option?
For some, it's a worthwhile option. For example, a diesel pusher motorhome with large propane tanks for water heating and cooking wouldn't need to also haul gasoline if the generator was powered by propane. But propane has its own challenges. How do you fill up the propane tank(s) when they need it? If you use the generator a lot to run the AC, you'll need a plan to keep enough propane on hand to not let the generator die when parked in 100 heat.

Quote:
Seem like it would make boondocking alot easier.
Only if you have a plan to keep plenty of propane on hand to run the generator as much as you need to run it.

Quote:
Currency I am planning on using a gasoline powered portable 2400 watt generator.
A 2400 watt generator probably won't power an RV AC. You need at least 3,000 watts for most RVs that have an AC, and 4,500 watts is much more bearable. I have a Honda 5000-watt that can run 4,500 watts continuous load, and it's fine for camping out with no hookups for a race week at Texas Motor Speedway.
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Old 12-17-2012, 05:20 PM   #3
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The big difference is you can run a propane equipment inside but you cannot run gasoline inside
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Old 12-17-2012, 09:01 PM   #4
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ONe main difference is asking yourself how long will the rig sit unused? If the answer is yes, propane is much better - - no varnished carbs and no gummed up fuel. We love ours. Couple it with a good sinewave inverter and true deep cycle batteries and enjoy boondocking to your hearts desire.

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Old 12-17-2012, 09:43 PM   #5
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I have an Onan 5500LP gen in my 40 ft FW that has two 30lb propane bottles onboard. When I dry camp in the summer I bring a spare 40 Lb bottle and set it outside of the propane bottle access door and hook it up via the 60 inch pigtail that I installed to replace the short hose that went from the auto changeover switch to one of the 30 lb bottles. I can run the gen for a long time before I need to tap into the two 30 lb onboard tanks. I have two roof Air conditioners and use both three to four hours a day when needed. Have not run out of propane yet on four and five day camp outs. Yes it uses more propane than a gasoline gen but you do not have to carry gas and propane doesn't gas you out when you are outside with it running. I have had both and I prefer the cleanliness of the propane. Who said camping is cheap!
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:05 PM   #6
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Our 2000 DSDP had a 6.2 KW propane generator. Very noisy and thirsty too.
In one 5 day trip to Bend OR we used most of our onboard 32 gallon (usable) tank and two full 10 gallon tanks. It also overheated and shut down a couple times even though the temps were less than 100.
Will never own one again.
Now we have a 8 KW diesel liquid cooled genset. Much quieter and has never overheated, plus I don't have to haul extra propane tanks with us.

Diesel powered rigs will never use a gasoline powered gen set, just much easier to use diesel. Why have to carry a third type of fuel?
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:47 PM   #7
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I plan to Boondock in the Imperial Dam area as well as Carson National Forest. I will also be a full timer in about a year. I guess what I am trying to determine:

Is a 5er better to Boondock in with a built in Onan LP generator or with an external Yamaha or Honda gas generator with remote start that stays in the bed of the truck.
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:55 PM   #8
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I plan to Boondock in the Imperial Dam area as well as Carson National Forest. I will also be a full timer in about a year. I guess what I am trying to determine:

Is a 5er better to Boondock in with a built in Onan LP generator or with an external Yamaha or Honda gas generator with remote start that stays in the bed of the truck.
How much will you need the gen to run the air cons or heat pumps? That will take a much bigger or twins gen setup.
Personally I'd get a couple 2,000 watt Honda's and twin them when needed for the extra load, charge the batteries with one. That would take less fuel than the Onan.
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:14 PM   #9
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The gen that is built in is no hassle, push the button wait a minute and turn on the AC, no worries about plugging in two gens or unloading from the truck or packing gas cans. The 40 lb tank that I mentioned previously was meant for extended stay use.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:09 AM   #10
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Forgot to mention, I changed out both my built in propane tanks for 40#ers. Some cabinets will not handle the additional height. My Onan 6500 is very quiet. My druthers would be the Onan diesel, but then I have the problem of fuel growing fungus when in storage - - you have to use additives and start it much often than the propane unit. Plus, they stink when they run and you need an additional fuel tank somewhere.
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:35 AM   #11
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I have an Onan 5500LP gen in my 40 ft FW that has two 30lb propane bottles onboard. When I dry camp in the summer I bring a spare 40 Lb bottle and set it outside of the propane bottle access door and hook it up via the 60 inch pigtail that I installed to replace the short hose that went from the auto changeover switch to one of the 30 lb bottles. I can run the gen for a long time before I need to tap into the two 30 lb onboard tanks. I have two roof Air conditioners and use both three to four hours a day when needed. Have not run out of propane yet on four and five day camp outs. Yes it uses more propane than a gasoline gen but you do not have to carry gas and propane doesn't gas you out when you are outside with it running. I have had both and I prefer the cleanliness of the propane. Who said camping is cheap!
I'm currently considering an LP geny and have two AC units as well, a 5500 and 4500, and was looking at the Onan 6500. Does your 5500 handle everything with out tripping? Are you running two 4500 AC's?
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:30 PM   #12
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my last 5er was ordered with a 5.5KW onan LP generator. The coach came with 2 40# bottles. On a NASCAR race weekend (Thurs - Monday morning) I would run it 2 to 3 times a day for about 3-4 hours each time. I would use one bottle and maybe 1/2 of the other. My current coach has the same generator but gasoline powered with a 6 gallon tank. during recent 4 day power failure I ran the generator from AM to PM each day and used three tanks of gas.

I did not run any numbers to compare the difference. I just liked the fact that I could get gasoline as a wider range of time of day that propane. If somebody wants to run the numbers; 60# of propane vs. 18 gallons of middle grade gas.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:38 PM   #13
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Main AC is a 15,000 and the one in the bedroom is a 13,500 and both run fine at the same time with the 5500 Onan LP gen . I did have to adjust the propane regulator because gen was starving for fuel under full load when tank went below half full . The gen would shut down.
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