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Old 07-07-2011, 09:46 AM   #15
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There are several difficult problems with using diesel in place of propane for a trailer.

The most difficult problem is that diesel appliances are not readily available in a size and configuration, and price point suitable for a trailer. For example, there aren't any diesel refrigerators, since the yacht makers use electric ones. While cooktops and ranges are available (DickinsonMarine.com - Marine Stoves), they are expensive, and the ranges have sizes and clearance requirements that are problematic for a trailer install.

Parts availability is also a problem since these are specialty products that have an extremely limited dealer network in the U.S.

In general diesel systems are sensitive to fuel quality and age while propane systems are not. Diesel in the tanks and lines that is more than a year old can pose serious problems that require dis-assembly of appliances and burners to correct.

Diesel cooktops and ranges require outside combustion air and exhaust while propane ones do not. Some diesel appliances are set up for gravity (rooftop) venting which means that the exhaust stack uses up valuable space and adds to the complexity of the installation.

In general diesel systems perform poorly in extreme cold because the fuel viscosity changes and will form wax or gel. The problems start at about 20 degrees for petroleum diesel, and at higher temperatures for biodiesel. There are ways around this but they add cost and operational complexity. You can use #1 diesel but it has a much shorter useful life and isn't readily available year around. There are tank heaters, but they require electricity. There are fuel line heaters, but they don't address gelling, only filter plugging.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:30 AM   #16
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I have not done the numbers but I wonder how diesel genset - battery bank - inverter - ac appliances compare to straight diesel appliances
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:00 PM   #17
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good thread on the wallas cooktop - diesel like smoklessjoe

Opinions on a Wallas stove
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:13 AM   #18
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I have not done the numbers but I wonder how diesel genset - battery bank - inverter - ac appliances compare to straight diesel appliances
EarthRoamer takes this approach in part. Instead of a diesel genset they have a 2nd alternator on the truck engine, an approach better suited to motorhomes than trailers.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:30 PM   #19
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Regarding off road diesel with the red dye, we were on a "Garmin Tour" that was taking us to the center of Page, AZ, when we came upon a checkpoint where they checked your diesel fuel for the red dye. Any gas powered vehicle was passed through, and any diesel powered vehicle was checked by taking a sample from the tank. The punishment for failing the test or refusing to cooperate is unknown, but apparently big brother is watching.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:57 PM   #20
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Haha.. yeah but would they know to check the AS for diesel?
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:40 PM   #21
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Diesel in winter

One of my fellow Texans (a repentant North Dakotan) once described summer diesel as winter gel at about minus 10F. He would not take his Texas diesel vehicles north to see his family without planning for a top off to change the mix every couple of hundred miles in the winter.

I don't know about low sulfur since I hope not to be in those temps in the winter.
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:22 AM   #22
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Twice now, I have had a response written and fate has erased it... This time I’ll fool ‘em by using a word processor!

As long as trailers red & TVs clear diesel have separate tanks with no interconnection it’s good to go. When they dip the tanks, the glass sample holder is rigged to provide perfect clarity to any dye present, they hold a brilliant white card behind it with a color chart of dilutions parallel to the glass sample and it’s so easy a caveman could detect tax dodgers.

On using generator-battery-inverter-appliances, to save batteries from over-discharge damage it is worthy otherwise we are so spoiled by cheap public utility electricity it’s a shock to see what the true costs are.

Generator size has everything to do with efficiency – my propane powered DC-only backup generators at 3000w are horrible compared to even 4000w models.

Honda Eu2000 (1600w) yields 16.5% efficiency. (4.25 hrs with 1500W light is 6375w/h or 21770 btu work on 1.1 gallons (131800btu))
Honda Eu3000 (2600w) yields 16.9% efficiency.
Kipor quiet KDE5000 (4500w) diesel 38250 watt hours or 130600 BTU work on 4.23 gallons (598000 BTU) makes it 21.8% efficient.... and 375 pounds light.

If you want an electric kitchen, for a range cooking surface an inductive heating model uses the least electricity – single burner style go on sale for $45-55 , I could see building two in and counting them as disposable if/when they have problems. Microwaves are efficient through their short run times – an inverter model that fires a percentage of power per given unit of time vs. the older style 100% on for a fractions of given time would insert less stress on an RE model system.

Batteries consume 12-16% of energy looped through via heat and irreversible chemical changes... Inverters can be 92+% efficient but often might be 80 or 85% with low loads; wiring losses at 3% on primary DC and 5% on AC legs are serious with even a fuse being a resistance loss as well as every connection and switch possibly inserting losses... so that Honda Eu2000’s 16.5% efficiency can drop by a third to 10.7%.

Where little generators may excel is running air conditioning – through the Freon phase change 1 kW of electricity will produce 3 kW or better of cooling work, so the little Honda can be up around 30-40% thermal efficiency..
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:37 PM   #23
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Haha.. yeah but would they know to check the AS for diesel?
Airstream diesel would be ok for a generator, it just can't be burned in a TV
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