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Old 09-28-2022, 01:34 PM   #1
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Onboard System or Portable Generators

Good Morning,

I know there has been many good advances in generator tech. The large rigs (looking at you class A) have very nice generators, great solar systems, and many batteries.

My small class C has the standard 4K Onan generator and one day I would like to upgrade. If my generator ever quit and could not be repaired...I start to dream on how or what would I replace it with?

1. Another Onan
2. Portable Gas Generator
3. New Solar Generators with multiple batteries to add on as needed (Bluetti
or Ecoflow for example)

Smaller rigs can get away with this...not sure the big rigs can. With battery tech getting better every 6 months it seems...How would you do it??
Is the portable thing just a pipe dream? What do you think?
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Old 09-28-2022, 02:07 PM   #2
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Where would you carry the portable?

Current 4K installed.......replace with another installed maybe go 5500W
*4000W should be adequate with 30A RV
30A is 3600W
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Old 09-28-2022, 02:10 PM   #3
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Battery and solar donít work when it rains or is very cloudy for several days in a row.
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Old 09-28-2022, 02:26 PM   #4
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Depends on the balance of output vrs fuel efficiency Chris would be happy with, and how much he values the convenience of not having to hook up fuel, not having to move it, and maybe no remote start. P A 3,500w gas portable would be big enough to run everything in a Class C including A/C but would be nearly half the weight of an Onan 5000, half the price, and burn roughly half the fuel. For greater fuel efficiency, even lighter weight, and way lower price, he could install a soft start for the A/C and drop down to portable like a Honda EU2200. There’s some inconvenience in not having a built-in, like fuel supply, but even some small portable now are available with remote start. All of our occasional generator power needs (including A/C), battery charging, and occasional use of inverter are met by a very small propane generator that only costs $600. Easy start costs $250. Sometimes less can be more. And yes, a portable can be mounted on a receiver hitch rack and can be run there without moving it.
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Old 09-28-2022, 02:28 PM   #5
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I've had that same question about my 4000w Onan in my small (old) Class C.

If the Onan died, I think I'd buy a portable genny just large enough to run the A/C, remove the Onan, and mount the new genny in that spot, tying in the gas line to the vehicle tank, wiring a start button to the inside, and plumbing in a suitable exhaust system.

But I run my genny very infrequently. I live electrically mostly off of 600w of solar panels and 400 aH of AGMs. I don't need the industrial beefiness of an Onan that runs frequently and long. I could get by with a much lighter-duty (and cheaper) portable.
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Old 09-28-2022, 02:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pasdad1 View Post
Battery and solar don’t work when it rains or is very cloudy for several days in a row.
Yes...that could be a problem. I mostly am in areas that get a lot of sun. My biggest issue would be A/C. My have to go North in the summer.
Thanks for the info.
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Old 09-28-2022, 03:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
Where would you carry the portable?

Current 4K installed.......replace with another installed maybe go 5500W
*4000W should be adequate with 30A RV
30A is 3600W
Not sure where I would carry it...someone mentioned a rack on the bumper. That would be for the Gas Gen.

If using something like a Bluetti,...I have an installed, one-person, chair that could be removed just inside the house door. I could stack it all together right there. Just spit-ball'n . (I think the cables would get in the way)
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Old 09-28-2022, 03:09 PM   #8
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If you took out the Onan...that would give you more room for batteries.

Then with solar and the occasional "energy top-off" from a portable gas generator that mounts on the bumper....here I go Dreaming again....
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Old 09-30-2022, 08:08 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jimmy Jime View Post
If you took out the Onan...that would give you more room for batteries.

Then with solar and the occasional "energy top-off" from a portable gas generator that mounts on the bumper....here I go Dreaming again....
This is the route I would take personally if my Onan died and had to be replaced.
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Old 09-30-2022, 10:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marine359 View Post
Depends on the balance of output vrs fuel efficiency Chris would be happy with, and how much he values the convenience of not having to hook up fuel, not having to move it, and maybe no remote start. P A 3,500w gas portable would be big enough to run everything in a Class C including A/C but would be nearly half the weight of an Onan 5000, half the price, and burn roughly half the fuel. For greater fuel efficiency, even lighter weight, and way lower price, he could install a soft start for the A/C and drop down to portable like a Honda EU2200. Thereís some inconvenience in not having a built-in, like fuel supply, but even some small portable now are available with remote start. All of our occasional generator power needs (including A/C), battery charging, and occasional use of inverter are met by a very small propane generator that only costs $600. Easy start costs $250. Sometimes less can be more. And yes, a portable can be mounted on a receiver hitch rack and can be run there without moving it.
Marine359,
Thanks for the input...I was thinking the same thing. The onboard generators are great, but if you have to replace them, why not go with a portable gas or solar generator with a lot of battery storage (or both ) probably cheaper.
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Old 09-30-2022, 10:37 AM   #11
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This is the route I would take personally if my Onan died and had to be replaced.
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Old 09-30-2022, 10:47 AM   #12
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If you install solar you'll be looking at it constantly. Besides that most people who do this are hardly ever done: newer controller, batteries, panels, wiring, etc. Pray you get max. life from the gen and take care of it. If you want good battery(s) I'd look into AGM's. -Good longevity with minimal maint. To further answer your question- stay with an Onan when/if needed.
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Old 10-06-2022, 11:55 AM   #13
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If you install solar you'll be looking at it constantly. Besides that most people who do this are hardly ever done: newer controller, batteries, panels, wiring, etc. Pray you get max. life from the gen and take care of it. If you want good battery(s) I'd look into AGM's. -Good longevity with minimal maint. To further answer your question- stay with an Onan when/if needed.
Don't get me wrong...I am going to use my Onan generator until it craps out.
By then...maybe I will be able to store electricity in something the size of a book and charge it with my mind.

Just thinking out-loud on "What if"
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Old 10-07-2022, 09:57 PM   #14
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Marine359,
Thanks for the input...I was thinking the same thing. The onboard generators are great, but if you have to replace them, why not go with a portable gas or solar generator with a lot of battery storage (or both ) probably cheaper.

I started with one lithium ion battery and a shunt. Now I have 3 batteries, solar, hybrid inverter, and all of the misc bits and pieces to put it together. It works beautifully, but wonít run air conditioning long enough to be worthwhile and it probably cost more than an onboard generator.

From Puttin: ďIf you install solar you'll be looking at it constantly. Besides that most people who do this are hardly ever done: newer controller, batteries, panels, wiring, etc.Ē

This is so true! I did not actually NEED any of the stuff I added to my rig, but Iíve had fun building it. Iíve done four iterations in three different rigs.
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