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Author Topic: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er  (Read 7337 times)

wally12

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I have just entered the RV world. I purchased a used 30 ' fifth wheel and would like to install a generator. My wife and I plan on doing a bit of dry camping and really feel that power is a necessity. I have been looking at several  different 3000 watt units but am having a difficult time locating anything outside of a onan that is set up for propane. Any suggestions or comments ///
Fred

Tom

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2006, 01:07:34 AM »
Fred,

Any reason you want a propane generator? I've heard they use a lot of propane.
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Ron

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2006, 02:13:59 AM »
I would have the same concern as Tom.  Propane Generators do burn a lot more fuel.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2006, 07:34:03 AM »
You may be able to get propane conversion kits for some brands of gensets, but probably will find only Onans and maybe a Generac factory set up for LPG.  Here's a source for LPG conversion kits: http://www.propane-generators.com/

I can understand why you want an LPG genset with a trailer, but with any substantial load a genset sucks a lot of propane. You need BIG LP tanks to use them, so they have fallen out of popularity with RVers.  You probably have two 30 lb tanks in your trailer, which is only 15 gallons of LPG. A genset running an a/c unit can use a couple gallons or more per hour

You didn't mention what it is you want/need to power with the genset and that's a critical factor in determining how to best source your dry camping power needs.  If you don't need to run your a/c unit(s), then a small genset will be fine. Infact, a 2 kw unit is plenty and I would suggest the Honda eu2000i. It's a gas model but very fuel efficient and a couple gallons of gas will run it all day for battery charging and intermittent loads like a microwave.

What sort of batteries does your trailer have?  The battery bank size and type are probably the most important factors in dry camping power.  With an adequate battery bank, the need for a big genset diminishes greatly. An inverter might make your life more pleasant as well and make it unnecessary to run a genset except to recharge batteries. A 1 kw "suitcase" size genset can handle that.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2006, 07:50:49 AM by RV Roamer »
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Jeff

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2006, 09:26:37 AM »
Fred:

I have seen more large gen sets added to the bed of the tow vehicle than into a fiver. If a/c is a factor a 3kw Honda might be a good choice.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2006, 08:43:13 PM by Jeff /Washington »

PancakeBill

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2006, 10:37:17 AM »
One good reason for the propane on a fifth wheel is not having to create a fuel tank.  We won't put gasoline gensets in fifth wheels here, unless there s already a tank.  I have an Onan 2.5kw propane on my truckcamper and it runs the a/c just fine.  Haven't tried to also run the microwave, but hardly ever use one anyway.

When and if you isnstall a gen, you should have it enclosed in a Firebox, not just open to the storage bay.

Bill & Jolene W & Koda

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auerclawdon

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2006, 07:58:41 PM »
Hi, Im looking at an onan 5500 gas model but i dont know where to but the gas tank for it. I have a generator box in the front of my 5er.
what  do most of you do about the gas tank problem? thanks .  Don A. ::)

Karl

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2006, 11:51:09 PM »
Don,

Most of the larger gensets do not have a gas tank per se, but do have an electric fuel pump which draws fuel from the vehicle's gas tank. I  would think that almost any fuel tank could be retro-fitted with another outlet. You didn't say if the genset would be mounted on the 5'er or the truck. If it'll be on the truck, it should't be much of a probelm; on the 5'er itself, that's another story. Now you're talking about a long, flexible hose of some sort. Not sure what the proper, safe, or even legal is to do that. Some sort of small 'saddle tank' mounted on the 5'er might do the trick, but that would take up storage space and you would have to fill it separately. Maybe someone else here has some ideas.
Karl (Cheesehead) Kolbus   Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy cow ...what a ride!"

John From Detroit

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2006, 07:36:52 AM »
Here are some figures for the Onan Marquis Gold 5.5 Gensets

Gasoline  No load Gal/Hour 0.3 Half load 0.6  Full load 0.9
LP                     Gal/our 0.4 (1.8 lbs)  half 0.8 (3.3)  full 1.1 (4.6)

So, a 100 lb botttle of LP is good for what, perhaps a day if you are lucky,  Not long at all

A 100 lb bottle is the tall ones you see outside homes in the country
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2006, 07:46:13 AM »
Perhaps more usefully, the 30 lb LP bottle typically used on fifth wheels holds around 7 gallons of LP. That would last only 8.5 hours at the 50% load level. Battery charging is closer to the "no load" consumption level but running a single a/c unit will be up around the 50% load level, depending of course on the temperature and how often the a/c cycles. A pair of a/cs on a hot day will keep the genset running at 75-100% load all day and probably empty a pair of 30 lb LP tanks in about 12 hours.
Gary
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wally12

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2006, 06:11:47 PM »
Thanks for the input. My primary objective was to keep it simple..one type of fuel and enough power to run my wife's sewing machine, furnace at night and the ac unit when needed. The 5 er has one battery, I don't know what the specs are on it.  After reviewing the comments I beginning to think I would be better off with a small, say 2000 watt unit and then if necessary find hook-ups when the ac is needed ! I'll need to find a unit that is easy  to start so that  my wife can start it when needed ( she plans on camping with her sister )
 
My 5 er does not have a 12 to 110 converter. Where can I get the information needed to purchase  & install a system to cover the basics in the trailer

Fred

John From Detroit

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2006, 07:28:13 PM »
Honda EU-2000 should do it then, Also add a 2nd battery to the trailer (NOTE: do not mix battery types sizes or capacities) just to insure the furnance has a full night's power

Don't forget a gas can, however do remember that some states get nasty about gas cans.  (or a transfer device so you can refill the generator out of the vehicle's tank)
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2006, 09:37:13 AM »
Quote
My 5 er does not have a 12 to 110 converter. Where can I get the information needed to purchase  & install a system to cover the basics in the trailer

This subject can get complex, depending on how sohopisticated you want the system to be.  As with a generator, you first need to figure out what you will be powering with the inverter, to properly plan both the size and the type.  At its simplest, you connect the inverter to the battery, plug the device(s) you want to power into the 120 VAC outlet(s) on the inverter and you are ready to go. At its most complex  you re-wire your rigs load center, converter/charger and maybe the shore power cable and add one or more transfer switches. We can explain either extreme or options in between. For the use you mentioned, I probably would leave the existing converter/charger in place and add an inverter that powers a separate circuit or two for use when needed.  ANd for a sewing maching a pure sine wave inverter is preferred, though it will probably work OK on modified sine if it is not a digital (computerized) model. These would be "inverter only" circuits and you would plug extension cords into them to reach the devices you need to power. Another fairly simple alternative would be to plug the trailer's shore power cord into the inverter's 120VAC outlet (with an adapter) but this requires that you manually shut off at least a couple devices that would normally draw AC power when on shore power, i.e. the converter/charger & refrigerator, and make sure the water heater is on LP mode and roof a/c units (including fans and electric heat) are not switched on.

More sophisticated set-ups allow you to switch one or more existing house AC power circuits from shore power to inverter power. Attached is  a diagram of one installation in which an existing house circuit is connected to the inverter via a double-throw switch so that it can be powered either from shore power or inverter. The switch is crucial becasue you must NEVER allow both the shore power and the inverter to attempt to power the same outlet at the same time. Bad things will happen if you do!


Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

auerclawdon

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2006, 11:54:45 AM »
HI, Im going to mount the generator in the 5th wheel  generator box in the front. I am looking at gas, so can i mount a gas tank under on the 5th wheel,? or does it have to be away from it ?
       Any infor would be helpful.  Thank you
       Don & Claudette
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TravelingTexans

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2006, 01:31:12 PM »
Have been using a Honda 3000 mounted in the front of my P/U bed for the last three years.  Works good but you do have to do some power management when using the a/c.  Generator location keeps weight out of 5er, makes it easy for two people to remove, keeps noise down and makes it easy to secure to bed of truck.  Just used it in Big Bend for a week and must have had 5 people stop and ask about set up since it was so quiet.  Had 15 ft. special cord made with plug that allows me to get 23 amps out of generator with 30 amp plug on other end.

Carl L

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2006, 07:27:10 PM »
Thanks for the input. My primary objective was to keep it simple..one type of fuel and enough power to run my wife's sewing machine, furnace at night and the ac unit when needed. The 5 er has one battery, I don't know what the specs are on it.  After reviewing the comments I beginning to think I would be better off with a small, say 2000 watt unit and then if necessary find hook-ups when the ac is needed ! I'll need to find a unit that is easy  to start so that  my wife can start it when needed ( she plans on camping with her sister )
 
My 5 er does not have a 12 to 110 converter. Where can I get the information needed to purchase  & install a system to cover the basics in the trailer

Fred

One battery?  Odds on it is a group 24 dual purpose battery.   If so, you aint gonna run a whole lot on that.   At a minimum you want a pair of group 24 single purpose, deep cycle batteries.  I use a pair of Lineline AGM myself.   If you have the space stuff more in.  Consider going to paired, series connected 6V golf cart batteries, more juice for the buck and definitely deep cycle.

Since you have finally decided that full hookup sites are the way to go if you need A/C -- and microwave.   Have you considered going solar?   If you travel in the sunbelt states, solar has a lot of advantages, not the least that they maintain battery charge in storage.    A good solar setup should compare favorably with a genset pricewise and has the distinct advantage of no fuel requirements.   Or noise.   Or stink.   Or fire hazard.   Or theft hazard.  And darn little maintenance.   What's not to like?
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wally12

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2006, 08:15:10 PM »
Quote
Have been using a Honda 3000 mounted in the front of my P/U bed for the last three years.  Works good but you do have to do some power management when using the a/c.  Generator location keeps weight out of 5er, makes it easy for two people to remove, keeps noise down and makes it easy to secure to bed of truck.  Just used it in Big Bend for a week and must have had 5 people stop and ask about set up since it was so quiet.  Had 15 ft. special cord made with plug that allows me to get 23 amps out of generator with 30 amp plug on other end.

how did you secure the unit in the truck ? I have a short bed Dodge quad cab: any concern about the 5 er clipping the gen in a tight turn since it sits about 3 to 4 inches above the bed ? Could you explain the " cord "  what does it require to get max amps to the 5 er ?

Thanks

Karl

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2006, 10:43:52 PM »
Carl,

I don't usually disagree with you, and I'm not really doing so now, but my interpretation of:
Quote
I beginning to think I would be better off with a small, say 2000 watt unit and then if necessary find hook-ups when the ac is needed !

is a little bit different than yours. Given all the advantages of solar, when you're sweating it out somewhere and need a/c, it's really a lot easier to fire up the genset then it is to pick up stakes and find a site with hookups :)
Karl (Cheesehead) Kolbus   Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy cow ...what a ride!"

billr

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Re: looking for advice on selecting/installing generator in my 5 er
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2006, 03:57:04 PM »
In ref to the question about where to mount the gas tank for built in unit in the fiver, I had an Onan microlite 4000 in the front compartment with a metal insulated box sealing in off from the rest of the storage with only the bottom open for air intake and cooling. Right above the genny was a seperate built compartment sealed off from the genny and the storage area and vented with vents in the access stowage door, in this area was a 6 gal boat type tank. This worked very well. All seperate and vented.

Than being said, the new fiver I now use a Honda EU3000 installed on a slider tray with a sealed box inside and vents in the door for fumes. I slde it out to run and put away when not in use to keep secure. I can remove very quickly if need be for repairs etc. Not as simple with the Onan I had.

Cheers,
Bill