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Old 05-09-2021, 09:55 AM   #1
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F150 PowerBoost as Main Generator?

Hello Airstream Forum World!

This is my first post here so please be kind in case I am doing this wrong

Has anyone used an F150 PowerBoost as the main generator source? Looks like it might be the perfect match!

I am taking delivery of my 30' FC Office 2022 model in November, 2021.
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Old 05-09-2021, 11:30 AM   #2
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Well, it certainly could be done but I question the wisdom of doing so.

The prime mover on your F150 will have to run intermittently to power your trailer and recharge the batteries. Not inefficient fuel wise but every hour on that power plant contributes towards its inevitable demise. How many thousands of dollars to rebuild that motor?

A sub $1000 dual fuel generator will do the job for thousands of hours and then you buy a new one…

One other note — some places (i.e. Yellowstone NP) restrict vehicle idling to 15 minutes. Would they enforce this in a campground? They could with the rule written as is but who knows. You can run a generator (in most campgrounds) at least a few hours each day.

Just my 2 cents
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Old 05-09-2021, 04:27 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum.

A simple question with a variety of complex not-so-simple answers IMO.

These "Ford F150 Power Boost site:airforums.com" search results might be a good start to the process IMO:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Ford...=airforums.com

In addition to the threads linked above, you might also want to check these specific sub-forums:

Generators: https://www.airforums.com/forums/f448/
Batteries: https://www.airforums.com/forums/f449/

. . . and these other search results:

Propane generators: https://www.google.com/search?q=Prop...=airforums.com
Easy Start: https://www.google.com/search?q=Easy...=airforums.com
Lithium Batteries: https://www.google.com/search?q=lith...=airforums.com

Your electrical use parameters should include those issues above, as well as whether to get solar panels, and lithium batteries and related converter upgrade.

For your new 30' office model, in my personal opinion, the F150 Power Boost system is woefully inadequate, as a "main generator source."

Good luck.
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Old 05-09-2021, 04:57 PM   #4
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I think the powerboost is really intended for contractors to plug in equipment, charge tool batteries, etc. I’m not sure it was intended to run campers.
From the web:
“The Pro Onboard Generator has an inverter that converts direct current from the high-voltage battery to standard alternating current. That current comes out near the tailgate of the truck in the aforementioned outlets and can be used any number of ways to generate power for worksites.” Emphasis mine.

I think a portable generator would be a better approach IMHO. That $1,000 to $2,000 honda generator will last much longer than that pickup generator that you trade in every 4 or 5 years.

And we won’t even get into the discussion about pulling a 30’ with an F150 That’s another thread.
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Old 05-09-2021, 06:28 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum, and the world of Airstream adventure! I think you’ve conjured up an Airtsunami in record time. Don’t feel bad - they have your best interests at heart.
I’ll add my experience with our first TV, a 1995 E350. I expressed concerns about the late delivery, given that we had a trip planned within a week, so there would be no break-in. The sales guy said, “It’s a truck, use it!” All was good until the tranny went out at 80K miles. Connection? I don’t know, but sometimes life goes easier when you baby your equipment, in addition to maintaining it.
I won’t rehash anything from the linked threads. I’ll just add that, going down the road, you don’t want to take things to the limit, and you do want to have a “Plan B”.
Good luck!
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Old 05-10-2021, 12:28 AM   #6
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@SeaScott - you didn't mention what model F150 you're looking at. One with the 2-kW, 2.4-kW, or the 7.2-kW option?

And as you answer that question, the other follow-on question is whether that model F150 is adequate as a tow vehicle for a 30' AS. Have you looked at the numbers (specifically, I'd start with the payload) of the specific F150 model you are considering?
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:35 AM   #7
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Off topic, but towing a 30’er with a 150……..???? I sure wouldn’t!
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:59 AM   #8
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I'm planning on doing this and ordered a truck a few months ago. The chip shortage has delayed my testing but I should have a truck in a couple of weeks.

I ordered the hybrid with the 7200 watt inverter. My understanding is the depending on the wattage required the truck will stop/start as needed. I have solar and a 3000 watt inverter in the Airstream and my plan is to charge the batteries when the sun does not cooperate.

When I get the truck I'll try it out in the back yard and report back
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Old 05-10-2021, 10:25 AM   #9
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7200 watts, with 90% alternator efficiency, will require less than 11 hp from the main engine.

There is nothing good for the machinery that comes from running an IC engine under such a light load, and when you add in the stop/stop cycles, it will be worse.

The inverter would appear to be a good match for occasional use of a circular saw on a remote job site, or uses such as that.
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Old 05-10-2021, 10:34 AM   #10
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Wrong Tool for the Job

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daquenzer View Post
I think the powerboost is really intended for contractors to plug in equipment, charge tool batteries, etc. I’m not sure it was intended to run campers.
From the web:
“The Pro Onboard Generator has an inverter that converts direct current from the high-voltage battery to standard alternating current. That current comes out near the tailgate of the truck in the aforementioned outlets and can be used any number of ways to generate power for worksites.” Emphasis mine.
. . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcl View Post
. . .
The inverter would appear to be a good match for occasional use of a circular saw on a remote job site, or uses such as that.
Ditto x2.

For a 30' Airstream Office model, this Ford product is simply the wrong tool for the following job IMO:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaScott View Post
. . .
Has anyone used an F150 PowerBoost as the main generator source? Looks like it might be the perfect match!
. . .
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Old 05-10-2021, 10:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
Well, it certainly could be done but I question the wisdom of doing so.

The prime mover on your F150 will have to run intermittently to power your trailer and recharge the batteries. Not inefficient fuel wise but every hour on that power plant contributes towards its inevitable demise. How many thousands of dollars to rebuild that motor?

A sub $1000 dual fuel generator will do the job for thousands of hours and then you buy a new one…

One other note — some places (i.e. Yellowstone NP) restrict vehicle idling to 15 minutes. Would they enforce this in a campground? They could with the rule written as is but who knows. You can run a generator (in most campgrounds) at least a few hours each day.

Just my 2 cents
No you can not run your vehicle more than 15 min. It's an emissions regulation, and for good reason. I called also.
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Old 05-10-2021, 10:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trsvax View Post
I'm planning on doing this and ordered a truck a few months ago. The chip shortage has delayed my testing but I should have a truck in a couple of weeks.

I ordered the hybrid with the 7200 watt inverter. My understanding is the depending on the wattage required the truck will stop/start as needed. I have solar and a 3000 watt inverter in the Airstream and my plan is to charge the batteries when the sun does not cooperate.

When I get the truck I'll try it out in the back yard and report back
Please don't get mad, but your F150 is likely too small for that 30', unless you ordered a Lariat model with special heavy duty towing and camper options? I would be concerned about the "actual payload" number when it arrives; but more importantly, if your doing a lot of towing with that 30, a larger wheel base and TV would be more favorable; 3/4-1T diesel if it were many of us. No offence intended here..
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Old 05-10-2021, 11:21 AM   #13
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https://tfltruck.com/2021/01/new-202...ssive-numbers/

and

https://tfltruck.com/2020/12/video-t...-neighbors-rv/
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Old 05-10-2021, 12:12 PM   #14
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The topic of this thread pertains to whether or not the PowerBoost inverter+battery+alternator system is useful as a generator for an Airstream. Let's stick to that topic, the attempt to push this to a topic that's WAY over-represented in MANY other threads is not constructive.
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Old 05-10-2021, 03:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcl View Post
7200 watts, with 90% alternator efficiency, will require less than 11 hp from the main engine.

There is nothing good for the machinery that comes from running an IC engine under such a light load, and when you add in the stop/stop cycles, it will be worse.

The inverter would appear to be a good match for occasional use of a circular saw on a remote job site, or uses such as that.
The powerboost does not use the gas engine to supply at 7200 watt level; it charges the on board (400 volt?) battery at a much higher and more efficient rate, then shuts down.
The battery feeds the inverter at any current rate up to 7,200 watts until depleted, then the engine runs for 2 to 3 minutes to recharge. The user may select standard 1,000 RPM idle to charge quietly, or 1,500 RPM for more efficient charging with a little more noise.
It is very quiet, works well, no gas cans or generators to haul, and at $725 for a 7.2 kw generator added onto my powerboost, it is a bargain!
Another user running A/C on their trailer reported that the truck turned on 4 times per hour, running for a couple minutes each time.
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Old 05-10-2021, 04:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TKerns View Post
The powerboost does not use the gas engine to supply at 7200 watt level; it charges the on board (400 volt?) battery at a much higher and more efficient rate, then shuts down.
The battery feeds the inverter at any current rate up to 7,200 watts until depleted, then the engine runs for 2 to 3 minutes to recharge. The user may select standard 1,000 RPM idle to charge quietly, or 1,500 RPM for more efficient charging with a little more noise.
It is very quiet, works well, no gas cans or generators to haul, and at $725 for a 7.2 kw generator added onto my powerboost, it is a bargain!
Another user running A/C on their trailer reported that the truck turned on 4 times per hour, running for a couple minutes each time.
Interesting. And a truck running may actually be quieter vs. a portable generator.

Do you actually have the powerboost generator?

My question is what kind of power cord will it take? Will it say take a 30 AMP power cord? 50 AMP? or something less?
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Old 05-10-2021, 05:52 PM   #17
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PowerBoost Pro Power

https://www.ford.com/trucks/f150/features/power/
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Old 05-10-2021, 06:30 PM   #18
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Buy a generator..
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Old 05-10-2021, 06:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daquenzer View Post
Interesting. And a truck running may actually be quieter vs. a portable generator.

Do you actually have the powerboost generator?

My question is what kind of power cord will it take? Will it say take a 30 AMP power cord? 50 AMP? or something less?
The 30 amp output is reportedly 240 volts, not 120. There are two 20 amp 120 volt outlets and the 240 volt outlet rated for 30 amps. I haven't seen one in person, but I'm guessing that it'll be an L14-30 twist-lock.
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Old 05-10-2021, 06:46 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TKerns View Post
The powerboost does not use the gas engine to supply at 7200 watt level; it charges the on board (400 volt?) battery at a much higher and more efficient rate, then shuts down.
The battery feeds the inverter at any current rate up to 7,200 watts until depleted, then the engine runs for 2 to 3 minutes to recharge. The user may select standard 1,000 RPM idle to charge quietly, or 1,500 RPM for more efficient charging with a little more noise.
It is very quiet, works well, no gas cans or generators to haul, and at $725 for a 7.2 kw generator added onto my powerboost, it is a bargain!
Another user running A/C on their trailer reported that the truck turned on 4 times per hour, running for a couple minutes each time.
Thanks for this. Now we need to know the load factor on the main engine during recharge.
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