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Old 10-28-2015, 11:17 PM   #1
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Best Propane Generator to Keep Batteries Topped Off While Furnace On

I'm looking for a propane powered generator when dry camping for those very cold nights when I have to run my gas furnace and don't want to run my batteries dangerously low running the fans.

My two 6V batteries are kept efficiently topped off by my 350 watt solar array the rest of the time.

I'm thinking that a 1K or 2K watt unit may work. Has anyone had experience with
running a generator while having the furnace on? What size seems to keep the batteries topped off best while heating the trailer?

What are the preferred propane powered units?
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Old 10-29-2015, 01:02 AM   #2
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With two 6 volt golf cart batteries and a 350 watt solar array, I doubt that you will ever need a generator to keep your batteries up, even with furnace use. At least I certainly don't and I only have a 200 watt solar system. I own a Honda 1000 watt inverter generator but never bother to carry it any more.

I would recommend a Tri Metric battery monitoring system to see the actual state of your batteries. I seldom ever see mine below 50% of capacity, and in general they stay above 80%.
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Old 10-29-2015, 06:30 AM   #3
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A 1000w Yamaha kept our OEM batts up very well before we upgraded to Lifelines and IOTA DLS.

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Old 10-29-2015, 08:40 AM   #4
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Have had no trouble with my 1000w yamaha recharging my batteries.

Two things to note about the 1000w though. First there are a lot of things it doesn't have the power to run including the microwave and a compressor for winterizing. Second when I upgraded the parallax converter to a three stage converter I was advised to put in a 45amp instead of a 55amp because the 55amp would shutdown the 1000w generator.
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Old 10-29-2015, 08:54 AM   #5
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We camp without hookups in Colorado in the fall. Temps get down to the low 20's at night.
Assuming your batteries are fully charged and in good shape, they will have no trouble running your furnace all night at a temp of 55 degrees without running the generator.
On a sunny day, your solar will mostly charge your batteries. You may have to run your generator for an hour or so before you go to bed to top them up.
A 2000 watt generator is better. It is light enough to carry and will run the micro wave or a coffee maker or hair drier while you are charging while a 1000 watt one will struggle to do so.
You can run your furnace while the generator is running, it is just like being plugged into shore power.
A gas generator is more convenient although not quite as safe. Make sure you close the vent on the gas cap of the generator and carry the extra gas in an air tight container, preferably in the bed of your truck.
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Old 10-29-2015, 09:17 AM   #6
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How is that more convenient? I carry no gas and only have to connect the propane line the the front lip gas port and then to my generator. No muss, no fuss.
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Old 10-29-2015, 09:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
With two 6 volt golf cart batteries and a 350 watt solar array, I doubt that you will ever need a generator to keep your batteries up, even with furnace use. At least I certainly don't and I only have a 200 watt solar system. I own a Honda 1000 watt inverter generator but never bother to carry it any more.
I don't know if the OP is a full-timer or not, but I can tell you even with 405 watts of solar on my roof, I've still have times when the generator needed to come out. Like a week of overcast skies and scattered thunderstorms combined with temperatures dropping into the 40's at night.

We carry a Honda eu2000i and I've been considering the tri-fuel conversion kid.

What I'm curious about is how propane usage compares to gas usage.
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Old 10-29-2015, 10:03 AM   #8
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There is a document on this website that shows propane use on Honda generators from various sizes of tanks

Honda Propane Generators by GenConneX

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Old 10-29-2015, 10:19 AM   #9
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Just curious, how long will a generator run on a 30# propane tank, versus being refueled from a six gallon portable gas tank?

In cold weather, is it a concern that propane (for the furnace) is being consumed faster with the use of a propane-fueled generator?
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Old 10-29-2015, 10:32 AM   #10
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There is a document on this website that shows propane use on Honda generators from various sizes of tanks

Honda Propane Generators by GenConneX

Kelvin
Thanks for that info:
http://www.genconnexdirect.net/GenCo...%20Propane.pdf
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Old 10-29-2015, 12:24 PM   #11
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Yes, most gens may be easily converted to propane ... although there are some unscrupulous vendors selling the mods.
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Old 10-29-2015, 12:43 PM   #12
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Great info everyone. Thanks

AM Solar installed my system and cautioned against ever getting down to 50% of capacity on the 6V Lifeline AGMs. They feel that they will last longer (lifetime) if kept at 70-80% or above. The 350 watt panels are great and will charge them back up to 100% from 80%+- in a couple of hours of overnight use with the 1000 watt inverter for computers etc and 12V lights, safety systems etc. I use a Big Sky solar monitor and control system.

So in the spirit of preserving the longevity of these very expensive batteries when using the propane heater/fans, I'm considering a propane generator. The 2K sounds like it would do the job.

Does anyone have specific experience with any of the propane conversions? There seem to be a few choices.
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Old 10-29-2015, 12:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
With two 6 volt golf cart batteries and a 350 watt solar array, I doubt that you will ever need a generator to keep your batteries up, even with furnace use. At least I certainly don't and I only have a 200 watt solar system. I own a Honda 1000 watt inverter generator but never bother to carry it any more.

I would recommend a Tri Metric battery monitoring system to see the actual state of your batteries. I seldom ever see mine below 50% of capacity, and in general they stay above 80%.
I agree with Idroba. In the event you ever need to charge your batteries you always have your tv.

If you are just needing to determine battery voltage you could just install a 12v voltmeter available for less than $10 from Amazon.

I don't have solar so I carry my 1k generator just cuz I have it. I rarely use it for my batteries. Mostly for a boondocking neighbor.

Dan
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Old 10-29-2015, 12:49 PM   #14
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best propane generator

I use an Onan 2500 watt RV Genet that I fabricated a carrying frame and enclosed it with alum skins. I hook up to my bottles on the trailer. I have the option to run at the ac or micro. It is nice not having to go outside to start it and is also quiet. Been using it for several years. I understand the new models are self diagnostic so if you have a problem you know what it is. It is heavier and not cheap. Most don't realize that switching from gas to propane the power is derated. That being said, the 2800 watt is the same unit running on gas.
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