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Old 11-06-2014, 11:34 AM   #1
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Generator Power Plan

We are considering making a camping style change at some point in the future and want to get some input on a viable plan to provide electrical power.

Our current primary tow vehicle is a 2011 Silverado 3500 Duramax crew cab, long bed. In the bed of the pick-up is a Outfitter pop-up truck camper. We use the truck camper to venture out in the back country while leaving the Airstream at a campground. We have been doing this for the last four years. We are now considering changing our camping style.

We are considering selling the truck camper, and getting a topper for the truck. This will enable us to again carry our kayak. The truck camper is so tall that bringing the kayak has not been a viable option. We have also not been using the truck camper as much as we once did.

That brings me to my generator plan. I would like to be able to stop at a rest area or Wal-Mart for the night and just be able to quickly plug in and have 110 power for the night. We currently have two Honda 2000 gensets that we have been using for the last seven years. They work well but are a big deal to pull out, fuel, and run for the evening.

What I am envisioning is something along the line of a Honda 3000 in the bed of the truck with the exhaust vented to the outside. I would have a 30 amp power outlet mounted to the outside of the truck. I would have a short 30 amp power cord that would come from the front power connector on the Airstream plugged into the outlet at the rear of the truck.

The goal would be to pull into the rest area (or other suitable location), start the generator, plug in, and be done for the night. This would be a really good situation for us.

On our last big cross country trip we were camped out in the Airstream for
66 nights. Of these, 16 were single night stays in route to another location. All of these nights could have been easily done at a rest area at only the cost of the fuel for the generator. It would also be a lot less hassle not having to find a campground, check in, get parked, and sometimes unhook for a single night stay.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts and ideas.

Brian
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Old 11-06-2014, 12:34 PM   #2
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Have had a long look at a commercial ONAN (constant duty) mounted at the front of a service body truck bed. Bed was modified to provide air by convection (cut outs around gen above and below) and exhaust was essentially between body and cab off to one side. My thought was to use a "jobsite tool box" at the front of the standard bed on mine where airflow was from bed bottom to bed front. Some fab work with sheet steel to isolate airflow from truck bed under topper. Controls could be to cab.

I've not done this and likely will not short of a deal too good to pass up on a diesel generator. Truck payload reduction is significant on a motorhome-sized ONAN.

My assumptions are of running two A/C units, etc, for 12-hrs (a truckstop overnight between two long days of driving.) and of running a compressor capable of handling air tools to effect repairs. Etc. To avoid a separate fuel source as truck is diesel. A frame mount propane tank is one alternative but volume limited and prone to potential damage.

I'd need to move up to a 4500 Dodge to be realistic about weight. And could use one of many service bodies as a result. More ghelt than is realistic for me.

I also looked at PTO driven hydraulic generators to use the main engine. Which are far too expensive for me. But allow for all sorts of custom mounting and to do more than just generate electricity.

The final consideration is with custom alternators for the main engine to achieve the same thing. Marine suppliers. Also expensive to buy and fabricate.

To go back to the beginning my long examination of that ONAN was due to difficulty in servicing. Heat and air flow were well provided as was oil change servce but gen weight and location made it tough to do much more.

There ought to be a solution so good luck.


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Old 11-06-2014, 01:03 PM   #3
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Thanks for the input. I did take a look at some heavier duty diesel generators. The cost was significantly higher running around three times the cost of a Honda 3000. The service recommendation for the Honda 100 hours of run time. That would give me about ten nights of power between servicing intervals.

The Honda 3000 is also fairly easy to service, and parts availability is excellent. The 3.4 gallon gas tank would easily give me a full night of power without refueling.

Brian
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:32 PM   #4
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You could probably get enough electricity for this kind of casual boon-docking by adding solar panels, an inverter and perhaps some more battery capacity. The only thing you would not be able to do is run the AC.
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:34 PM   #5
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I would go with a Honda EU3000is, long drain oil, and a topper with a side window that opens.
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:51 PM   #6
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Have you seen the remote starters that people have added to the Eu 3000is generators? There are YouTube videos on the installation and use of this accessory.
The best feature of the 3000 is the nature of he sound it makes. It is so extremely quiet! Especially as the loads diminish and it idles down.
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Old 11-06-2014, 06:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by AnnArborBob View Post
You could probably get enough electricity for this kind of casual boon-docking by adding solar panels, an inverter and perhaps some more battery capacity. The only thing you would not be able to do is run the AC.
Unfortunately, AC is the issue. When we head out on our long trips in late June, it's usually too warm to sleep without air conditioning.

Brian
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Old 11-06-2014, 06:17 PM   #8
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I would go with a Honda EU3000is, long drain oil, and a topper with a side window that opens.
I have been thinking about a Fantastic Fan in the truck topper. I think that it would handle the generator exhaust. Any thoughts?

Brian
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Old 11-06-2014, 06:18 PM   #9
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Have you seen the remote starters that people have added to the Eu 3000is generators? There are YouTube videos on the installation and use of this accessory.
The best feature of the 3000 is the nature of he sound it makes. It is so extremely quiet! Especially as the loads diminish and it idles down.
If I go this route, I was thinking about ordering a 3000 with the remote start already built in.

Brian
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Old 11-06-2014, 06:46 PM   #10
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I have been thinking about a Fantastic Fan in the truck topper. I think that it would handle the generator exhaust. Any thoughts?

Brian
The exhaust and cooling air comes out the rear top of the generator and would go right out a side window, even if it had a screen.
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Old 11-07-2014, 05:19 AM   #11
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I have heard Honda 3000's run, and they are extremely quiet. I would think that inside a truck bed with a topper, it would be almost indiscernable.

Brian
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Old 11-07-2014, 05:31 AM   #12
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Old 11-07-2014, 06:52 AM   #13
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Unfortunately, AC is the issue. When we head out on our long trips in late June, it's usually too warm to sleep without air conditioning.

Brian
I figured it must be the AC. I've not done much camping down south in the summer yet so I haven't enjoyed the heat and humidity first hand.

It would seem to me that from all I've read, that the 3000 is the way to go, especially if you can keep it in the truck bed.

I once cooked up a theoretical scheme (in my mind) of putting the genny in the truck bed under the cap and hard wire the supply and exhaust air and the electrical hookup. If you do end up doing this, I'd really like to see some pictures and a description of your setup.

Thanks,
Bob
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Old 11-07-2014, 08:52 AM   #14
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Moosetags: you would need an inlet vent of some kind if you use the FF.. Obviously the exhaust gases would have to be cool enough as to not melt the FF.


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