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Old 08-05-2012, 02:26 PM   #1
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1964 24' Tradewind
Wausau , Wisconsin
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6
Onan Generator

I have an on board generator in Stella (1974 31 ft. Excella 500). I don't think I want to deal with potential problems down the road so I am thinking or pulling it out. Question is: Will a trickle charger on the 12 volt work or can I take out the 12 volt all together??? Its really to bad the previous owner didn't take better care of Stella. I am finding tons of stuff that could have been avoided with some minor upkeep. I did however find a 1974 penny stuck under one of the tack strips when I pulled out the carpet. Kind of cool I thought.

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Old 08-05-2012, 04:19 PM   #2
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
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What do you mean by "take out the 12 volt all together" generator, battery, charger?

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Old 08-05-2012, 05:43 PM   #3
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You can't take out the 12v system altogether unless you want to do some major rewiring to turn your unit into a 110v-only oddity and never take it anywhere that doesn't have reliable shore power.

Many people get by just fine without a generator and yet still have a 12v system. They have an inverter/charger, and can boondock for a few days at a time before they're hooked back up into shore power to recharge their batteries.

Solar can help make up the difference, for keeping the batteries topped up in between camping trips, but solar will not recharge a seriously depleted battery, so it's no substitute for a generator for camping off the grid, more like a supplement to one.

My personal preference would be, if the generator you've got is old and crappy, replace it with a newer and more reliable one. My Interstate comes with a clean, efficient propane-fired Onan 2.5kW generator tucked up between the rear axle and the spare tire, and I wouldn't camp without it.
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:46 PM   #4
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Some more advice. Our AS is a 2011, not a vintage like yours, but we've found that the majority of times we take it out are we've gone to places without hookups. With that experience, I swapped out the two group 24 batteries for two group 26 with something like 40% more capacity. They get us thru cold nights with the heater and lights running. We have a 2KW Yamaha portable--VERY quiet--generator that I use to charge the batteries the next morning.

This is pretty standard for many AS owners and it has worked fine for us. Keep the 12v system; you'd be severely hampered without it.

My $.02
As far as I know, this is the oldest I've ever been.
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:12 PM   #5
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1961 24' Tradewind
1969 29' Ambassador
1970 21' Globetrotter
Jamestown , Tennessee
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,780
Back about 1974 Airstream was offering a 12 volt, 30 amp propane powered Onan generator with a Tecumseh engine.
You should be able to pull it out and the univolt (if it is still there) will still charge your 12 volt battery when you have 110 available.
The Onan was intended for recharging the battery while boondocking.
If this is the unit you have, there were a lot of problems with them. I bought one in 73 and installed it in my 69 trailer.
Possibly you have a "real" Onan generator, but based on the time frame I would bet it is the unit I described

I do have a scanned copy of the manual for the unit, known as a TL
12 volt RV generator
If you need it PM me
Rick Davis 1602 K8DOC
61 tradewind, plus a few others
13 Ram 2500 TD
99 Dodge TD 577K miles

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