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Old 06-27-2011, 10:44 AM   #1
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Gas or propane generator. What is best?

good morning and we thank you for taking the time to read and help some newbies in the camping world
We currently have a very loud and not economy oriented Briggs & Stratton 8550W.
It uses about 5 gallons of gas every 14 to 16 hours and is very VERY loud.
We are planning to get another generator but we are debating within a Honda 3000ui or wondering about a propane one.
We have not knowledge about the propane generators so wondering:
a) brands b) how much propane do they use vs the gas generators? c) are they more quiet than a Honda?
Also we notice that our Briggs & Stratton is 8550 starting watts and 5550 running watts but the circuit braker is just 20amps and lately we can use the electric oven when the ac is on.
The kill a watts shows that the AC uses about 1300 to 1500 watts but is drawing a little more than 18 amps. Are the circuit brakers on on most generators 20A also? Is this something to be concern about the generator or is the AC dying?
Thanks again
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:53 AM   #2
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Folks have generally reported more problems with propane generators than gas models.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:21 PM   #3
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Honda has one of the quietest generators on the market. At this site you can find a lot of answers to your questions.

Honda Generators: Portable Generator Power for Home, Work, and Play

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Old 06-27-2011, 12:22 PM   #4
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Propane suffers from extreme temp and elevation issues.
Hondas are really great but none have good gas "mileage". The best tend to be diesel but they are usually big.
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Old 06-27-2011, 01:18 PM   #5
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WOW that was fast. thanks for all the answers.
Well it seems like the Honda is the way to go. Does anyone here has the EU3000IS. How many things can you ran on it?
We were also thinking since ours is a Slide In Camper and it does not have a generator compartment to get a bumper with a front hitch receiver and to mount the generator there.
Is it safe? Is it Legal?
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Old 06-27-2011, 04:52 PM   #6
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Bumper mount cargo trays... You would have to read the law.. I know of one Michigan law that could be interpreted to suggest they are not and I know some cops who would read it that way (And some who would not, I know a lot of cops. Most as friends)

When it comes to gas or propane.. IF the generator is mounted in a vehicle (Trailer or motor home or whatever) then if it's a motor vehicle (NOT a trailer) whatever you call Motion Lotion (Gasoline or Diesel) if it's a trailer.. Propane.

In your case however.. I have no suggestions.
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:12 PM   #7
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One thing to consider is that a propane powered generator will put out about 10% less power than the same generator running on gasoline.

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Old 06-27-2011, 09:16 PM   #8
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Witch one is better regarding "fuel economy"? Propane or Gas?
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:36 PM   #9
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Witch one is better regarding "fuel economy"? Propane or Gas?
Usually gas- it has 20% more energy per unit.

BUT - Propane runs cleaner than gas (really noticeable when you look at the oil after extended running) and propane never goes bad during inactive periods like gasoline does. My propane genny fires up within a revolution or two after 6 months, my onan microquiet needed a new carb after 2 years due to lack of use.

Many motorhomes have a 35+ gallon propane tank so this gives you a nice loong run time.

Diesel is typically the best and most expensive choice up front but the best value if you use the snot out of the genny.

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Old 06-27-2011, 09:44 PM   #10
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Witch one is better regarding "fuel economy"? Propane or Gas?
I think my answer above should make the answer to that question pretty obvious. But are you asking about the amount of fuel used, or the amount of money spent on fuel? I makes a difference.

It's going to depend on the quality of the generator. You are not likely to find a fuel efficient "cheap" generator. So let's start with an expensive, high quality generator.

In theory, a gasoline generator would always be more efficient, because a gallon of gas inherently contains more energy than a gallon of propane. It's called energy density. And like I said above, a generator running on propane will always make less power than the same generator running on gas, because of the lower energy density of propane. Almost any gas generator can be converted to propane, and you will lose about 10% of your output. I'm not sure if generators specifically built to run propane can be converted to gas, but if you could you should see an increase in output.

But as a practical matter, propane is still considerably less expensive than gas in most places, so a less efficient propane generator would probably be less expensive to run while burning more fuel. I think you're splitting hairs, and there probably isn't a definitive answer to your question in the real world. Unless you are planning to run your generator an awful lot, it's not something I would be concerned about.

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Old 07-02-2011, 12:16 PM   #11
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I have a Onan 6500 propane and can run it for about $2.00 per hour. I put approx 27hrs on it 2 weeks ago running air, water htr, lights, TV ect and it was $52.00 to refill the propane tank. Propane is approx 2.50 per gal
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Old 07-02-2011, 01:46 PM   #12
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One thing to consider is the availability of the chosen fuel, gasoline is available every where, propane isn't. If you boondock in out of the way places, gasoline is a lot more convenient. Extended run tanks can be bought or made.

Extended run tank for Honda

Building an extended run tank for Honda

The Honda EU3000i doesn't have a fuel pump, so it is unclear whether the extended run tank will work with it, some say it will if elevated above the generator for gravity feed. The EU3000i will run for up to 20 hours with the regular tank.
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:06 PM   #13
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About a year ago In Phoenix AZ a couple of young cowboys in town for a rodeo were found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning from having their generator mounted on the back of their camper/truck just as you proposed. Be very careful about doing that.
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:30 AM   #14
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One thing to consider is the availability of the chosen fuel, gasoline is available every where, propane isn't. If you boondock in out of the way places, gasoline is a lot more convenient. Extended run tanks can be bought or made.

Extended run tank for Honda

Building an extended run tank for Honda

The Honda EU3000i doesn't have a fuel pump, so it is unclear whether the extended run tank will work with it, some say it will if elevated above the generator for gravity feed. The EU3000i will run for up to 20 hours with the regular tank.
I have a different perspective.

Most people boondock a few days up to say a week then check into a campground to dump, refill, launder, and in my experience just about every campground I've stayed at with my class A has propane for sale.

Also of note: There is no gasoline for sale at these campgrounds.

I think the ideal genny is one setup for both propane and gasoline.
All the big truck stop chains carry propane.

I have an extended run tank for my 2K, and I don't like carrying gasoline.
I feel that any plastic tank basically leaks fumes when hot and its flat out dangerous.

The EU3000 is a great genny for sure but I would clarify your statement by adding that it will run for "about" 20 hours at "about" 1/4 load- it will not run 20 hours running AC units and the rest of a coach under a serious load.

IF you are going to seriously boondock for weeks at a time and expect heavy 110V loads and need to insure a constant supply of off grid electricity the only real answer is an inverter type diesel genny that feeds off your coaches 80-100 gallon tank. These units can sip at .13 gallons an hour which isnt too far off what a honda eu2000 delivers and rev up when needed.

Problem is they start at about 7500.

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