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Old 10-21-2002, 03:15 PM   #1
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Onboard generator

I'm not sure which forum this should go in so if it gets moved my feelings won't be hurt. Has anyone mounted a generator within an airstream travel trailer? I think I might like the idea of using one but I don't relish the thought of picking it up and loading it in and out of my tow vehicle. I know that the motor homes may have such an accessory but I have never seen one in a TT. If someone is experienced in this area I would appreciate thoughts on brands of generator, capacities, costs, etc.
Brouck Sleight
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Old 10-21-2002, 04:14 PM   #2
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Honda 1000

I use a Honda 1000 chained to the tie-down loop in the bed of my pickup. I have a rigid, sliding bed cover, so it is totally secure when the cover is locked. It is quiet enough that it can barely be heard inside the trailer.

Won't run the AC, but charges batteries and runs small appliances.
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Old 10-21-2002, 04:19 PM   #3
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Do you think there is any way to install such a beast in the basement? Perhaps under one of the twin beds in the rear? What I need is just something to keep the battery charged when out in the boondocks for more than one night. I suspect if I were to undertake such a project, I would have to allow for venting of exhaust and dealing with gasoline fumes. I wonder if a propane generator would make any sense.
Brouck
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Old 10-21-2002, 06:08 PM   #4
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If you go over the the RV Photos section of www.irv2.com, there is a fellow over there that has a Bambi, that made a box that sits between the propane tanks and the coach body. I believe he has a Honda EU3000 in there. Ok, here is the link to the picture: http://irv2review.com/photopost/show...papass=&sort=1
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Old 10-21-2002, 06:28 PM   #5
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I looked into this. I believe even the 1000 (Dimensions (LxWxH): 17.7" x 9.4" x 14.9") is too tall to fit in my cargo area. I also worried about having a gravity fed gasoline engine under the bed (fire), how to fill it safely, the potential for carbon monoxide, and the vibration of the engine possibly loosening rivets with it resting on the body rather than the frame.

I came to the same conclusion John did. It's only 30 lbs, or 48 in the case of the two EU2000's I'm considering. Lock it in the bed of the truck and cable it to the trailer (even the slots in the wheels will work) when in use.

Then I saw a story on the 'net about a guy who mounted a Honda 3000 on the tongue of a 19' Bambi. Had to have his AC, I guess!

That may be a safer, and LOTS easier place for you to permanently mount one, especially since you can get a silver cover for it to reduce its visibility rather than enclose it.

I've heard one major complaint from those who have LP generators and that's how much LP gas they consume.

Hope this helps,
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Old 10-21-2002, 06:33 PM   #6
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And it's powered by propane. How cool!
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Old 10-21-2002, 07:16 PM   #7
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thank you all, make sure to take a look at the link that Pick provided above. It's a pretty cool looking installation. I concur that this is not the kind of thing that I should install under a bed and run the risk of CO, gasoline fumes, or fire. Is it really possible to run one's AC off one of these units?
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Old 10-21-2002, 07:26 PM   #8
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bhsl8

If you have a original owners manual you might be suprised to know that Airstream offered the propane generator option on many of the 70's vintage trailers. Both my 74 and 77 had it as an available option. It may burn a fiar amount of propane, but you don't hve to carry a gas can and if it is built in you can always just flip the switch.

I have a generator on the MH and we love it even if it is a bit noisy
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Old 10-21-2002, 09:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by bhsl8
Is it really possible to run one's AC off one of these units?
A 135 lb Honda EU3,000 (2,800W and 23.3A continous) will definitely power a 13,500 btu air conditioner which needs 20A (check the breaker to your AC).

One 49 lb Honda EU2000 (1,600W and 13.3A continous) cannot, but two of them can be run in parallel for 26.6A.

About the smallest single generator that will run the AC (and not much else) is the 64 lb Yamaha EF2000i with 2500 watts and 20.3A continuous. But it's rated 8db louder than the Hondas, where running two of them in parallel is only a 3db increase.

3db is about the smallest change in volume the average human can detect, and 8db, while 6 times the audio power level, isn't the 10 db or 10 times level that humans perceive as "twice as loud."

The other thing to consider is that generator output falls about 3% for every 1,000 ft above sea level (ref Trailer Life this month) so at 4,500 ft ASL, the Yamaha would fall short, the Honda 3000 just make it, while a pair of Honda EU2000 would have plenty to spare, and could still power the AC to over 8,000' ASL.

I was tempted by the Yamaha but still think two EU2000s are the way to go. Run one for just charging, two for charging and AC. The 64 lb Yamaha is 82 lbs with 3 gallons of gas and that's more than I'd want to lift into the truck bed. Each EU2000 is only about 55 lbs full.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-22-2002, 07:23 AM   #10
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on board generator

I originally was thinking like Marshall Swartz(Bambi with the EU3000 in a stainless enclosure on the tongue). However, I don't know what effect that would have on the tongue weight so I configured my generator differently. I have a 3/4 ton extended Dodge Ram Pickup and put a Job Box(Home Depot) in the pickup bed. This job box came in an ugly green. I went to walmart and got their black bedliner coating and repainted the job box. It now matches my sprayed in bedliner. I bought a used Onan 2800 watt generator. These are made specifically for smaller RVs. It is advertised as being able to start one 13500 AC with left over capacity. It comes in it's own enclosure including the exhaust. You have to supply an external battery source and gasoline supply to complete the system.
I installed the Onan in the bottom of the job box, allowing the exhaust to exit the bottom of the box, where I cut an opening. I also put in some additional vents and a small vent to allow for the incoming air required to keep temperatures in the normal operating range.
I am very please with this arrangement. the job box weight approximately 100 lbs. and the genset set another 113 (excluding the battery and fuel sources). I chose to tie into my existing truck battery with a quick disconnect at the job box. I also purchased a marine type gasoline contained (6 gallon) that provides approximately two days of continuous genset running at close to maximum wattage pull.
When not in use, I installed heavy duty casters wheels on the job box and just undo the quick battery disconnect (the fuel supply just sets on top of the genset inside the job box) and roll the job box off the truck via lawn mower ramps. I found this very convienent. One it keeps weight off the trailer tongue and centered over the truck tires. Second, I have been able to use the generator on several occasions independent of the trailer(I have to store my trailer so it is somewhat inconvienent to get it). Maintenance of the genset seems very easy, I roll the job box to the end of the tailgate and hardly have to bend over to get at the genset oil plug. It is also secured within the job box.
One draw back would be that you have to have the truck with the trailer to have the power supply. You could off load the job box if need be. We have found that this is not necessary, as the Bambi needs very little time to cool down (AC usage). We have tried this arrangement on several different outings and so far we are very happy with this solution. It is very quiet in the job box, where you can have a normal voice conversation right by the truck bed without any problem at all.
The Onan new is pricy, but if you shop for a used one they are out there and priced right. We have felt that this 2800 watt supplies every need we have in the Bambi. In fact, I have had on all at the same time, the AC,Microwave,dehumifider,converter running, lights and the genset just purrs along still putting out 112 volts.
That is our experience so far with generators. they really are nice, especially if you pull into a Flying J or Walmart just to spend the night while traveling to your destination.

Hope this provides another source of thoughts concerning generators.

Bob Caldwell
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Old 10-22-2002, 07:29 AM   #11
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I was at a Honda dealer's a few weeks ago, asking them about the Honda generators, specifically about paralleling them. They said they have had no problem with the EU1000's but were having problems being able to parallel the EU2000's together. I did not get an explanation of why it didn't work. Has anyone tried this or heard of a problem?
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Old 10-22-2002, 07:52 AM   #12
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No, Les... haven't heard of problems with the EU2000s being paralleled but I have heard of them being paralleled successfully.
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Old 10-22-2002, 09:02 AM   #13
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Thank you all for your excellent suggestions and for the wealth of technical information that you share. I think maybe this is the thing I like best about the forms because I don't think I have much technical expertise. Anyway, I think what I am going to do after weighing all the information is to probably not worry about a generator that will allow me to run the AC but just be concerned with the essentials(I presume Texas in August might redefine essential). It looks like the Honda EU2000 is probably my best bet. It sounds as if it is reasonably easy to handle physically and is quiet. If anybody has serious disagreement with that I would love to know about it. Is it possible to purchase these units for significantly less than list price? Thanks again for everyone's help.
Brouck
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Old 10-22-2002, 09:03 AM   #14
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Generac

I had a 10' truck camper which came generator-ready which I installed a Generac LP unit into. It was big enough to run the 13,500 btu a/c with some reserve. The compartment it went into was small and it cooled and exhausted through the bottom. Came with the remote start/stop hourmeter station and an inverter, which interestingly converted the DC output of the generator into 115v AC. It had a very clean power characteristic which may be of use to you if you use a PC in your A/S. Whatever you do you make sure you get a carbon monoxide detector installed in your A/S as well.
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