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Old 03-15-2020, 11:36 AM   #1
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Propane Generators

I have been looking into power options for a travel trailer AC while the temps are hot outside. From my research solar isnt practical and carrying gas and propane isnt real convenient as I have a SUV and not a truck. Do any of you run either a propane converted or dual fuel inverter generator for when you want to run the AC? If so what kind of real life run times do you get and how do you normally run it?

I could see this not being too bad if you only used it off and on to run the AC. I see the larger 3000+ units can have a remote start. If a smaller 2200 unit could be modified for remote start that seems like it would be a pretty good modification for the warmer months.

So what do yall think?

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Old 03-15-2020, 11:56 AM   #2
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Think? As in opinion?

I'm a big fan of single-fuel logistics. If the rig runs on gasoline, get a gas generator. If it runs on propane, get a propane unit.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
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Old 03-15-2020, 12:29 PM   #3
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Depending on the size of your A/C (and if you have a Soft Starter), 2200W may not be enough.

As for running on propane, if you have twin 20 lbs, be prepared to refill one of them every day or two, depending on how much you run the generator. If I was camping out in the desert for a week, I would look into renting a 100 lb bottle from a local supplier.
Retired. 31 year of automotive engineering for one of the Detroit 3, specializing in Powertrain Control Systems.
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Old 03-15-2020, 01:56 PM   #4
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I have a Champion dual fuel 3500 gen, and tried propane on it a couple of times. It will suck a 20lb propane bottle dry in 8-10 hours. Of course this is not an inverter unit so it is running flat out all the time. But still, be prepared to fill a lot of propane bottles. A 5 gal can of gas will run it for 24 hours on the other hand. Gas is easier to find and right now 5 gal of gas costs about the same as a 20lb propane tank refill. Gasoline has a much higher energy density than propane does.
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Old 03-15-2020, 02:05 PM   #5
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Running an air conditioner with a portable generator will burn up a 1 gallon tank of gas in 4 to 6 hours. Been there done that.

A 20 lb propane tank has 4 1/2 gallons of fuel in it, but it burns more of it then gasoline, for the same power.

Best setup is a Honda eu2200 with the external gas tank kit and 1 or 2, 6 gallon boat gas tanks.

Make sure what ever generator you buy can handle the air conditioner.

Air conditioners come in a few sizes so don't go by someone saying it can or can't run it, without knowing what size generator or AC they have.

All generators have a higher surge watt rating then a contionues rating. And the all have lower output running on propane. Do your homework.
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Old 03-15-2020, 04:11 PM   #6
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Yes Ive been trying to read up on them and soft starts as well. I almost bought one for my home AC unit so I could run that after Hurricanes and such but never did. I have a 10kw portable that I kept for storms. It does seem like the gas may be the way to go and maybe find a way to store it on the tongue when traveling. I have a trifuel kit for my big generator mainly for options and natural gas but I hoped this small one would last a little longer than about 9 hrs on a 20# cylinder.

To start off we probably would only be gone a day or two but on that same note If it just doesnt work like I want it to then there may not be much point. I dont really want to have to make it work if you know what I mean.

If I went the gas route would something like a rotopax mounted on the tongue be a good Idea or is there some better way to carry fuel? I dont have a pickup truck or a aftermarket bumper with an easy way to carry tanks.
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Old 03-15-2020, 04:44 PM   #7
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The generate debate and saga.....

OK I have run the full deal on generators, I have some very longs posts on them..

I have gone the 2000-2200 what units,, I have Champion 2000, Honeywell 2000, Honda 2000, Yamaha 2000, Ryobi 2200,,, I run offroad event scoring systems,, Aslo have Honda 3000, Greenwork 3500..

I have /had a 21 foot RV with a low pro power saver 10K AC with a hard start.

Champion, Honda Yamaha all run it.. Eco of and NOTHING Else.. TV and a lisght will make it made when compressor cycles,, I set AC to low fan, full cool, to keep compressor engaged..
Fuel use is 1.5 gallon 4-4.5 hour Avg.

The Ryobi and a newer Honda 2200,, will start it with eco on then eco on, TV on and 2 small lights works OK, need to fill every 4-5 hours...

The Honda 3000 works very well, Run all day on eco, 3 gallon in 10-12 hours.
My 3500 on Eco, about the same 11hr plus,,

Now I have a 13 AC power saver, on a trailer,, 2 camphions in parelll on eco, run 8-10 hours on almost 4 gallon fuel
Also have Predator 3500 and it works well and also 3 gall all day,,

Now my newer RV, older 15 AC, has hard start otherwise the Honda or Greenworks will stutter on start or cycle of compressor.. SO the Hardstart is a must.. in an older AC IMO.
Now I have Run the 15 AC on the Greenworks 3500 50 hours straigt in 85+ amboients,,(100 in day) Also ran lights and TV etc,,,,
approx 16 gallons of fuel..

Now I have run the onboard Onan 4000 with the 15k AC and fridge on elec, TV etc..
approx 9-11 gallons a day., I had to drive rv a bit and assumed 7mpg to fill up, shared tank..
Now the Onan had power to spare, ....

pick your poison per your usage
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Old 03-16-2020, 05:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by majorm View Post
Yes Ive been trying to read up on them and soft starts as well.
A couple of pluses and minuses on propane powered generators.

First, when any dual fuel generator is running of propane, it will make LESS power ! The A/C that ran when the generator was on gasoline may not run on propane.

Second, any small engine that runs on gasoline, but is stored for long periods (weeks) is susceptible to fuel issue both in the tank and in the carburetor. If you are not gone to run a generator for more than 1-2 months, run the carburetor dry and EMPTY the fuel tank. If you are going to use propane as your primary fuel, do NOT fill the gas tank until it is necessary.

Third, use an inverter generator. They are MUCH more fuel efficient !

Last, while they are expensive, portable aluminum and fiberglass LP tanks are much lighter ! Buy a third tank. You can leave one tank hooked up and the generator running while you refill the other 2.
Retired. 31 year of automotive engineering for one of the Detroit 3, specializing in Powertrain Control Systems.
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Old Yesterday, 05:21 PM   #9
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I bought one of these from Lowes. A Duromax 2200 Duel Fuel, Runs on Low pressure propane from trailer and gas. This way I dont have to carry unleaded fuel for Generator, can run it from TT...


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generator, generators, propane

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