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Old 05-16-2013, 02:35 PM   #1
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Interstate Generator and Sleeping

Our new 2013 Interstate's Owner's Manual clearly states DO NOT operate the generator while sleeping. I live in South Florida and envisioned myself doing an occasional overnight without access to shore power and using the generator to run the A/C. Years ago during our boating days we would often run the generator all night while at anchor. A couple of Class B owners have told me they do it all the time. How do my fellow Interstate owners with more experience than me feel about this subject?
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:37 PM   #2
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Got a good monoxide detector? I don't know about fire danger, but CO is probably the biggie. A few years ago I had my family in a rented MoHo in Alaska and we had settled in after dinner to watch a movie with the genset running. About ten minutes into it, the CO alarm started shrieking. Upon investigation, we learned that a rear window was just a bit ajar (road vibration?) and the prevailing wind was just right together with the angle at which we'd parked the MoHo being just right, to blow some portion of the genset's exhaust right to that window. There was NO human-detectable exhaust odor, etc. After we got the windows open, generator off, CO detector quieted, etc., we all realized that we had headaches, felt somewhat "fuzzy" and were VERY happy that we had a functioning CO detector ...

There is a reason for those warnings. Probably 499 times out of 500 you'd be fine. But that 500th time might be the last time.
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:14 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jodason View Post
Our new 2013 Interstate's Owner's Manual clearly states DO NOT operate the generator while sleeping. I live in South Florida and envisioned myself doing an occasional overnight without access to shore power and using the generator to run the A/C. Years ago during our boating days we would often run the generator all night while at anchor. A couple of Class B owners have told me they do it all the time. How do my fellow Interstate owners with more experience than me feel about this subject?
The manual takes an, "Oh my God! We're all going to die!" approach to carbon monoxide, and assumes: 1 - CO is smart enough to come in the windows rather than dispersing outside; 2 - CO is also smart enough to not get blown out through your rooftop exhaust vents; 3 - you're deaf or a really heavy sleeper and won't hear the detector go off if the CO builds up in spite of your precautions.

Fact: CO is slightly lighter than air; that's why the detector is on the ceiling and not near the floor like the LPG detector. If your rooftop exhaust fan is running, it should suck out any CO that's smart enough to climb in the window and attack you. But the rooftop fan doesn't blow air out unless there's also a window open to let air in. I bought magnetic screens that stick to the doors to cover the roll-up windows, and leave the window on the passenger side door slightly open; it's also the openable window farthest from the generator exhaust.

Simple precautions for nighttime generator operation: leave windows cracked open on the side opposite the generator exhaust pipe, but closed on the side with the exaust pipe— check to make sure they're closed; make sure the CO detector works; run your rooftop exhaust fan (even if you're running the AC); park far enough from your neighbors that the sound of the generator doesn't disturb their sleep. Luckily the Onan is pretty quiet, and being tucked up underneath helps cut down the noise as well (from outside, anyway; still kind of noisy inside since you're sleeping right on top of it).
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Old 05-18-2013, 12:59 PM   #4
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I think valid concerns and answers about this issue have been addressed in this thread. But one more idea. Zero Emission Generator. But it is a pricey answer.
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With the convenient attachable cart, you can wheel the generator to where you need the power most; no more extension cords throughout your house causing tripping hazards. Not just limited to home power outages, Zero Emissions is also ideal for camping and tailgating without fear of asphyxiation while watching a movie and enjoying a cold one from your mini-fridge! Because it can absorb a full load (unlike gas generators), you can operate power tools where a power outlet isn't nearby. Can run a full-size refrigerator continuously for up to 4 days (depending on model), a 48" LCD TV for 35 hours, or a laptop for up to 40 hours — even powerful enough to run a microwave! Easy to read LCD screen displays wattage being used and remaining power of battery. Multiple output ports including 3 standard 110V AC outlets, 3 USB ports and one Female 12V (car). Total battery capacity is 1250W with a 1500W max. Included AC wall charger refreshes unit in 16 hours. Manufacturer recommends charging every 3-4 months when not in use. Rated for continuous use. Operating temperature 20-105 degrees F. Weighs 103 lbs; 16" x 11.5" x 14.5".
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Old 05-18-2013, 03:45 PM   #5
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I think valid concerns and answers about this issue have been addressed in this thread. But one more idea. Zero Emission Generator. But it is a pricey answer.
Pricier than you know. An Airstream Interstate class B comes with a built-in Onan 2.5kW propane generator, that also runs off the built-in propane tank. Removing the generator, to install one of these instead (assuming it will fit under an Interstate), leaves you with the need to plug in and recharge the "generator"— which is really just a big battery— which kind of defeats the purpose of the on-board generator.

Potential option for Airstream trailers, though.
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Old 05-18-2013, 04:37 PM   #6
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I noticed warning labels on the windows of an old Bluebird that stated this window must be closed while generator is operating- like it is OK to run it while in the coach but with the windows closed...
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Old 05-18-2013, 05:47 PM   #7
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Pricier than you know. An Airstream Interstate class B comes with a built-in Onan 2.5kW propane generator, that also runs off the built-in propane tank. Removing the generator, to install one of these instead (assuming it will fit under an Interstate), leaves you with the need to plug in and recharge the "generator"— which is really just a big battery— which kind of defeats the purpose of the on-board generator.

Potential option for Airstream trailers, though.
Actually I thought that the Airstream Interstate class B comes with a built-in inverter and coach battery so there is already one installed.

Still can't run the air conditioner on it.
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:10 PM   #8
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Actually I thought that the Airstream Interstate class B comes with a built-in inverter and coach battery so there is already one installed.

Still can't run the air conditioner on it.
It does. Late-model Interstates have two Group 24 house batteries, and a built-in inverter/charger.

I was referring to the "Zero Emissions Generator" from Mockinbrd's post, where she suggested it as an alternative to a generator. It's not a viable alternative for a generator in an Interstate, which was the point of my post. The Zero Emissions "Generator" is basically just a 100 amp-hour AGM battery coupled to a 1500 watt inverter, all in one big box. Despite the name it's not a generator at all, and doesn't do anything that an installed house battery and inverter wouldn't do. Less, actually, since it's only 1.5kW.

I added that bit about it being a possible option for trailers because I didn't want to tell Mockinbrd that her idea was completely without merit; that would be a rude thing to do to someone who took the trouble to look up the device and post information about it. Really, I'd only recommend it if you have a need to run medical life-support devices (CPAP) and need an indoor backup to your on-board power systems.

Guess I ended up being rude to Mockinbrd after all. Apologies, Mockinbrd. Keep those ideas coming; My own personal record is about 30% of my ideas are good ones; the rest, not so much. But all it takes is one good idea that no one else posted, to make up for a lot of not-so-good ones.
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:12 PM   #9
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Protagonist, I know what you mean typing back and forth it's hard to make sure what you type is taken the way it was meant. Some of my ideas aren't that good either and some are just too hard to explain in righting to be worth posting.
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