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Old 01-17-2022, 07:54 PM   #1
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My Idea and Feedback: LP or Diesel Generator

Here's the setup I have and/or targeting:

Have: Truck - 2004 F350 SRW 6.0 Diesel (all the problems with this engine are fixed - daily driver but work from home, rig is solid, everything is stock right now).

Need: Truck Camper - Lance 855s (done all the homework for my application and have all this figured out).

Need: Cargo Trailer - 18 ft v-nose (probably steel and not aluminum) with 5400LBS (minimum) tandem axles.

The Abstract: I have in mind to turn the cargo trailer into a rolling power station, garage/toy hauler (Honda Talon 1000R for the toy) and water reservoir (like 300 gallons). I've got all the weight related items worked out and I am well under the GCVWR for my truck.

My thing is this (and I know this has come up before) but what kind of generator and fuel type to use? Since I work from home, Ill be working on the road so Ill need to run things like a laptop and external monitor. Right now, the plan is convert two Honda EU2200i's to LP, one being a Companion model because it has 30 AMP capability and I can plug the TC into it when needed to power everything (baffle boxes with proper ventilation, etc. for the generator(s) inside the trailer). We are talking four 100LBS LP tanks with a total of 100 gallons of LP stored in the trailer (25 gallons per tank). Im an engineer so Im not remotely concerned about weight or design of this thing.

Ive been mulling over whether or not to invest in a diesel generator given my truck is a diesel but run times between LP and diesel, as well as maintenance (LP being basically none), is a concern. Mostly boondocking but probably RV parks here and there. According to this I should kick some serious ass with my idea on the Honda LP gens:

I should note I have my eye on a badass wind turbine to augment some of this as well: Battle Born batteries to store the energy but thats another post for another time.

I could sit here and go into much finer detail about everything Im doing but Im keeping this simple: need feedback on LP or diesel for my application. Yes I know solar, but thats down the road too.
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Old 01-17-2022, 09:04 PM   #2
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Diesel engines are about 15% more efficient lb per lb vs gas or propane. Also diesel has a lot higher density- 7 lb/gal vs 4 for propane. So all in all your diesel volume will be half of an equivalent run time on propane.

OTOH, the diesel generator will cost 3 times as much as two Hondas.

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Old 01-17-2022, 09:12 PM   #3
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Many thanks for the feedback. I like numbers so this is very helpful.
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Old 01-18-2022, 09:40 AM   #4
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For the price of one converted Honda, you can buy two Champion 2500w dual fuels and the parallel kit. Over the past year, My Champion has been highly reliable, although a bit difficult to start on propane. It’s very miserly on fuel, getting 30 hours under load from a single Blue Rhino bottles. Surely not the high quality of Honda, but as long as it keeps workin, I’m happy. Of course if weight and cost were not a consideration, a diesel generator will last for many years and will produce more wh/$ of fuel, but it’s so much louder unless you build a sound chamber for it.
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Old 01-18-2022, 03:59 PM   #5
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Any of you have experience with the Cummins Onan 2500 LP Generator? Seeing the other post about 12v fridges, there were some very good discussions regarding energy sustainability while boon docking, in particular regarding propane generators that a 2500w propane generator will run for over 30 hours under load on a single bottle of Blue Rhino (15lbs/4.24= 3.53gal). . Wondering if this kind of performance can be expected from the Onan? Specs state its 65db under load. Does it seem quite enough for boondocking? Any better solutions than this model?
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Old 01-18-2022, 05:42 PM   #6
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No experience, but the specs on Norwall (the US distributer for Onan products) gives some good numbers: Electronic Fuel Injection eliminates the need for a carburetor. Fuel consumption at no load is just 0.18 gallons per hour; half load is 0.31 gallons per hour, and full load 0.55 gallons per hour.

The Honda 2200i specs are:

Fuel Tank Capacity (gal / L) 0.95 US gal / 3.6 L
Run Time per Tankful 3.2 hours @ rated load; 8.1 hours @ ¼ load

It takes a little math but the Onan looks like it burns a bit more fuel for the same power output as the Honda. Not surprising as the engine is more than twice the displacement. More displacement means more energy is required to keep things moving.

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Old 01-19-2022, 09:54 AM   #7
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Thanks, but my more concern/ interest in the LP side of things and not gas...
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Old 01-19-2022, 09:28 PM   #8
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@DavidEM @Marine359 @Palmeris

Many thanks for the replies folks, good stuff!
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Old 01-19-2022, 11:58 PM   #9
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I'd put my money in propane and solar, but it's your money.

I found out fast that no one wants to be near a person with a steady running generator.
Camping and boondocking since 1960
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Old 01-20-2022, 06:39 AM   #10
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I would go with a quiet diesel generator. The initial cost will be a lot more but it is much easier to fill a diesel tank than propane especially in remote locations. 15 gallons of diesel is equivalent to 100 lbs of propane . Forget the small wind turbine. It will be more trouble than its worth and they are noisy. Cover the roof with solar and put a few panels on the side or have some portable panels.
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Old 01-20-2022, 06:54 AM   #11
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I agree, go with diesel. The diesel generator (Cummins Onan) RV type is actually made to mount in an inclosed space.

The diesel will run much longer, and have much longer maintenance intervals. You will need to change oil on a Honda every 25 hours or so….a bigger diesel maybe every 150 hours or more.

Get the inverter type diesel (QD8000 is an example) and it only runs as fast as load demands.
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Old 01-20-2022, 08:26 AM   #12
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No experience with LP, but considerable experience with marine diesel generators.
One point not mentioned is a diesel genset will last thousands of hours with little maintenance. Feed it clean fuel and keep it cool.
So it's buy it right the first time and be done.
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Old 01-20-2022, 09:38 AM   #13
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What is your battery setup? You certainly don’t need to run a generator for the vast majority of daily life when boondocking. Put 300-400 amp hours of lithium in your rig, then use the generator/solar/wind to charge the batteries. Running a generator for daily tasks is a big waste of energy since you will consume a tiny fraction of it in real time. Let that energy go into a battery which can absorb the entire thing if you get an appropriate charger set up.
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Old 01-23-2022, 10:01 AM   #14
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Agree with spend money on solar/batteries but the duel fuel Champion generators are nice. I had medium one that could my A/C and sold it for what I paid after two years of use. Now have this one just as a utility/space since I got into a class A that has a massive diesel generator on board. For anything portable however - dual fuel is very versatile. Also if not mentioned you only want an inverter/generator. The other kind are so noisy you will irritate people for miles.

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diesel, generator

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