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Old 11-16-2012, 08:54 AM   #1
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Generator Conundrum

We am looking for a new approach for power self-sufficiency for Lucy on the road. For the past five years we have been using a pair of Honda 2000's, and have been very satisfied with their performance. What we are looking to do now is to simplify the system.

We have come up with one idea, but are open to suggestions and comments. What we have been thinking about is mounting a Honda 3000 on Lucy's tongue. We would go to a single 30# LP tank to make room for the Honda. We would mount a platform on Lucy's tongue to accommodate the generator and the LP tank.

Brian
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:07 AM   #2
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We am looking for a new approach for power self-sufficiency for Lucy on the road. For the past five years we have been using a pair of Honda 2000's, and have been very satisfied with their performance. What we are looking to do now is to simplify the system.

We have come up with one idea, but are open to suggestions and comments. What we have been thinking about is mounting a Honda 3000 on Lucy's tongue. We would go to a single 30# LP tank to make room for the Honda. We would mount a platform on Lucy's tongue to accommodate the generator and the LP tank.

Brian
Brian.

The tongue won't take that extra weight.

That extra weight will cause the tongue to flex even moreso, that resuklts in the A-frame falling off.

We had a customer that did what your thinking about, that was an absolute total expensive failure, since the entire A-frame had to be replaced, as there was obvious metal fatique.

Moving a trailer, with no A-frame, is a real challenge.

Andy
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:05 AM   #3
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I've not seen it done on an Airstream, but lots of the Casita folks do simular things like this (they tend to be more boondocker types). Several have built a rack that houses the generator, and then the propane bottles above the generator, and other than the apearance, seem to work well, even with the additional weight.

The Casitas have a small 3" channel iron tongue and frame.
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:39 AM   #4
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In reading the two above posts. I wonder if a different construction style is at play.
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:43 AM   #5
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Something to consider is the vibration transmission from the genny to the frame. I'm sure the Honda is quiet but I'd test the theory by sitting the genny on the tongue for a day of use. Being a sound guy, the noise would drive me nuts especially if you use two units and they run at similar but not synchronous speeds. The beat frequencies transmitted to the frame would turn Lucy into a big speaker! I currently run on AGMs for a few days at a clip and am looking into either a Yamaha or Honda LP conversion 2000w genny for charging only. We upgraded to an IOTA 55 charger. Maybe we'll entertain solar in the distant future after the kids get through college. We converted all lighting to led and rarely use the AC, microwave or TV (we haven't boondocked in hot areas yet). We have a small inverter (140w) to run the tv for the kids and to grind coffee beans in the morning (very important).
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:00 AM   #6
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Something to consider is the vibration transmission from the genny to the frame. I'm sure the Honda is quiet but I'd test the theory by sitting the genny on the tongue for a day of use. Being a sound guy, the noise would drive me nuts especially if you use two units and they run at similar but not synchronous speeds. The beat frequencies transmitted to the frame would turn Lucy into a big speaker! I currently run on AGMs for a few days at a clip and am looking into either a Yamaha or Honda LP conversion 2000w genny for charging only. We upgraded to an IOTA 55 charger. Maybe we'll entertain solar in the distant future after the kids get through college. We converted all lighting to led and rarely use the AC, microwave or TV (we haven't boondocked in hot areas yet). We have a small inverter (140w) to run the tv for the kids and to grind coffee beans in the morning (very important).
I have been using a Honda 1000 for charging the Motorhome battery in my trailer.

Just something to consider. If it works for you you'll save money on the purchase and they are really small and easy to pack and move.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:47 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies.

We really need the full power situation as many of our nights out are in a climate that requires air conditioning. Hence, the two Honda 2000's that we've using. We have mainly used our generators during enroute overnights at Wal-Marts and rest areas. We're trying to simplify the generator use.

Brian
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:32 PM   #8
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This is one thing which helped drive me into a motorhome. I appreciate the turn key and go aspect of generator. With trailer I used a pickup truck, carried generator in bed. But always worried about theft. It was very exposed and noticeable when running or even when just running around in the truck.

I bought a 24' class C, which so far has been easy enough to park at attractions, but certainly not as nice as running around in the truck with trailer in a campsite. I bought it with the idea of no toad. If I towed a car as far as I'm concerned I'd be back at square one (why not tow a trailer?)

RV types are so chocked with compromises. Could perhaps the frame be strengthened up front to accommodate the generator? It would seem the closer you are to the ball, the less impact on frame in general, especially if reinforced. Of course experimental and carries risk.

A built in generator option in travel trailers would be very desirable. Good luck, if you could pull off the built in generator it would be a good upgrade. Maybe chat with Uwe at Area 63? He did excellent quality modifications on my trailer.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:04 PM   #9
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Brian

It is indeed a conundrum with few good answers.

One alternative I have considered, but have not implemented, is relocating the spare tire in the 'burb and putting a generator intended for remote mounting (e.g. Cummins Onan QG 4000) there. Sportsmobile does this in some of their vans. You do lose some ground clearance. Though the mod is involved it is possible to run the generator from the fuel tank in the 'burb -- there are some approved Chevvy parts for doing this but you have to drop the front fuel tank to install them. The QG series are loud compared to what you have now.

Another possibility to explore is to mount the generators you have now forward of the front bumper on your 'burb using a custom mount using snowplow brackets for a pattern or possibly even a starting point. The front frame rails on the 2500 burb are designed to accept a snowplow that will typically weigh around 600 pounds. To tidy up the installation you could have a 120v 30a electrical cable running inside the frame rails to the hitch area (I'd put it in conduit) so you don't have to run wires all the way to the front of the 'burb when boondocking.

This also is a possibility I've considered.

Finally, while it won't run your A/C, you should consider the dual-battery mod for your burb, which will help with boondocking. There is a second battery kit available from Chevrolet, and you can relocate your existing battery to the passenger firewall and make room for a group 24 deep cycle battery in the stock location. This can be wired up so that it charges from the alternator and powers the trailer while boondocking, which helps a great deal if your use case involves car trips away from the trailer during the day. I have done this and will post photos some time.

A final possibility is a rear bumper mod for the 'burb. This too would involve custom welding, but with some careful work you could replace the OEM bumper with something that incorporates twin pans for the generators. If you're willing to give up the use of the lower (main) part of your liftgate while the generators are present, the clearances are easy to work out and you won't lose any turning radius or departure angle.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:42 PM   #10
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Generator mounted on A-Frame

The PO of our AS mounted a Honda EV 6010 (coverted to propane) on the A-frame. In order for it to fit, the A-frame was extended by 6". This added considerable weight as the genny weighs in at 216 lbs, plus the added weight to the frame, and the steel security box surrounding the unit. I've got 6,000 watt capacity, so it runs the factory air along with a second AC unit in the rear BR. I suppose the PO traveled to warm climates such as yours. So far, this modification has worked well, with no frame failure, but I've only used the generator about an hour in 10 months. Knowing what I've read on the Forums, I probably would have passed on this trailer.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:16 PM   #11
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Rivet Lower the currrent draw

Might it be better all around to lower the current draw so a single Generator could handle it? Are there air conditioners that draw fewer amps so that a 2000 or 2400 W generator could handle things?

One less generator is less weight and a lower draw air con is more efficient and less fuel for the generator.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:55 PM   #12
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There was someone who mounted a generator under their bed not too long ago - it was detailed in a thread on AIR Forums, probably in this forum. They had a 30', but you should find that thread and check it out, if you haven't already: it may give you some ideas for your trailer.

I saw a Honda 3000 mounted on the tongue of a trailer, behind the propane tanks, a year and a half ago when we were at Jackson Center. It looked like a good idea, but I didn't know about the potential weight issue that Andy mentioned.

Another option would be to put a 3000 in the bed of your truck, chain it down, and run the power cord to the front plug if you have one, or add one if you don't.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:55 PM   #13
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works fine, no flex; many miles

check it out. and you can search for my orig thread with all the info. forgot to mention that I removed the tool box, the spare tire carrier and the spare and put them inside my van TV. Very little overall difference in tongue weight. On my current trailer, I mounted a Honda eu6500 on the tongue in much the same manner. I stripped all the unnecessary stuff off the generator (wheels, handles, etc) to save as much weight. In addition to the tire carrier, etc, I removed the sliding drawer out from under the gaucho. There was possibly a net gain of 100 lbs with the 6500 (over the 3000). still doable. basically, keep the very front window of the trailer closed when using the generator. also used smaller lp bottles with the 6500. okay, one more edit; I ran 10 gauge romex to the rear of the trailer, and placed on the side of the road side skid rail a 30amp receptacle; I could feed out about 20inches of the shore line through the power section door (on my classics there is a notch with rubber gasket to allow pulling the shore line out while having the door closed); I traveled with the shore line plugged into the receptacle and used the gen whenever I needed or wanted it-like stopping at a roadside park for lunch using the microwave. or if really hot, you can run the gen while traveling and leave the Air Conditioning on.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:03 PM   #14
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The Coleman Mach 3 PS is one of the lower current draws at 10.2 Amps running and should be able to start and run off of a 2500 W generator.

The Dometic Brisk Air requires 11.1 Amps running and is rated to start off of a 2500 A generator according to their data sheet.

The Yamaha EF 2400 Genertor is claimed to be capable of starting "most" 13,500 BTU high efficiency generators. It can start my Dometic Penguin.
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