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Author Topic: diesel generator vs propane  (Read 7756 times)

patnernie

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diesel generator vs propane
« on: March 25, 2007, 10:48:05 AM »
Could someone educate us as to why the new sprinter diesel vans don't come with diesel generators - we are thinking of buying a pleasure way plateau but would like to shop a lilttle more - haven't seen the roadtrek yet -thank you

Ned

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Re: diesel generator vs propane
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2007, 11:02:08 AM »
Diesel generators tend to be large and heavy, and perhaps the manufacturers don't want to use up any more payload than they have to.  A smaller gas or propane generator is easier to mount.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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foxxen

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Re: diesel generator vs propane
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2007, 11:32:30 AM »
Hello,

I have over 5 years experience with selling and fixing generators, and can answer your question.

An LPG Generator is a Gas/Petrol generator that has been converted to accept LP Gas. If it has been converted after manufacture it is hard to calculate without actually running it, but it does work out much cheaper and more efficient, but as it is build to use gas, in the long term it can wear the engine differently from gas.

So make sure you regularly service the unit, clean the spark plug and change the oil.

Diesel Generator will have a longer life span as diesel has such a high oil content (lubricates the engine), but due to the frequency they turn over at, they are louder and vibrate much more.

I have made a website about generators called www.whatgenerator.com this might also help you decide.

Thanks

Styles Beagley
www.whatgenerator.com
www.generatorguru.com

Ron

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Re: diesel generator vs propane
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2007, 11:38:55 AM »
Could someone educate us as to why the new sprinter diesel vans don't come with diesel generators - we are thinking of buying a pleasure way plateau but would like to shop a lilttle more - haven't seen the roadtrek yet -thank you

I suspect cost is the driving factor and as Ned mentioned weight.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: diesel generator vs propane
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2007, 02:00:16 PM »
Quote
but due to the frequency they turn over at, they are louder and vibrate much more.

That has not been my experience. RV style diesel gensets run at much lower engine RPMs because they produce their rated horsepower at lower RPMs. The generator portion of course is geared to run at the speed needed to produce 120VAC, but the engine itself is running slower. And the large, heavy diesel block absorbs any vibration. My 7.5KW Onan (Kubota diesel) just hums and so does every other RV diesel genset I have heard. Much smoother and quieter than the gas generators we used to have.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

Ned

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Re: diesel generator vs propane
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2007, 03:06:01 PM »
The larger Onan diesel generators (from 7.5kw up, I think) use inverters and run at a variable RPM depending on load.  The Onan QD line, especially, is very quiet and nearly vibration free.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

Ron

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Re: diesel generator vs propane
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2007, 03:33:40 PM »
I have never seen a genset or even an automobile that run more efficiently on Propane.  Just can't be since propane has less BTU/s than Gas or Diesel.   Had an acquaintance that had a ford truck converted to propane and even at the lower cost of propane his cost per mile driven was more.
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Karsty

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Re: diesel generator vs propane
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2012, 08:56:33 PM »
Bearing in mind that the last post in this topic is almost 5 years old ... I wonder how relevant some of the comments are in today's market ... or if any of the commenters have any different views or opinions.

The Mercedes/Sprinter chassis seems to be the chassis of choice for many of the Class B motorhomes today and many if not all the generators are the 2,500-watt Cummins Onan® MicroQuiet™ LP generator.

Speaking from personal experience ... I find mine very noisy and it vibrates quite a bit. Now ... having said that I really don't have anything to compare it too since this is my first RV. The generator is located under the chassis on the passenger side behind the rear wheels. And since that is where the sofa/bed is located that might explain some of my concern for noise and vibration.  As crazy as it sounds ... when I run the generator I wear ear plugs to deaden the noise. I find that I get a headache if I don't. Fortunately I haven't had to run the generator much ... however as the summer is fast approaching and since I boondock almost 99% of the time ... I imagine I will be using it more during the hot, humid days.

I only use the generator if and when I need the air when I don't have shore power. The rest of the time I run on the coach batteries.

There sure are a lot of topics in this FORUM.  ;D
2012 Winnebago ERA.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

camperAL

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Re: diesel generator vs propane
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2012, 04:28:04 AM »
As crazy as it sounds ... when I run the generator I wear ear plugs to deaden the noise. I find that I get a headache if I don't.

Hi Karsty,

Hopefully it isn't carbonmonoxide giving you headaches with the generator under your bed. I'm sure you have thought of this but just wanted to comment.
CamperAL
  Indiana
(Looking to buy Thor Axis)

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: diesel generator vs propane
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2012, 09:44:53 AM »
I don't think there would be any change of opinions on LP vs diesel. Physics hasn't changed, so LP still has much less energy (BTUs) per gallon than diesel, and small generators still vibrate rather harshly. An LP generator is really just a gasoline generator running on liquid propane instead of gasoline, so it runs at higher RPMs than a inverter-type generator.   Most RV diesel gensets are inverter types, so the comparison is not apples to apples.

Yanmar makes a 3700 watt diesel genset that could have been used in place of the 3400 watt Onan microLite. It runs about 20% higher in cost, though, and I suspect that Onan may be making better volume supply deals for RV manufacturers as well. Yanmar is bigger in marine applications, while Onan dominates in RVs.  The Yanmar is also a direct generation type (not inverter), so not sure that it would be any quieter either.  I don't know why nobody is making a small diesel inverter generator, but I don't find any on the retail market.
Gary
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2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
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Alfa38User

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Re: diesel generator vs propane
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2012, 10:22:38 AM »
Just an FYI, Yanmar also supplies small diesels for the construction industry equipment which are used in small backhoes/shovels etc. to run the hydraulic pumps that power these rigs.
Stu
Montreal, Canada
Snowbird, SW Florida
Alfa Gold 38 (2000) 5ver

Lou Schneider

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Re: diesel generator vs propane
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2012, 12:31:41 PM »
Diesel engines inherently produce more combustion noise than an equivalent gas engine.  You have to either add more mass to the engine block, or add more insulation to the generator enclosure, to make a diesel run as quietly as a gas (or propane) engine.

I suspect both weight and space are critical parameters in motorhomes built on the Sprinter chassis.

Karsty

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Re: diesel generator vs propane
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2012, 03:20:49 PM »
Hi Karsty,

Hopefully it isn't carbon monoxide giving you headaches with the generator under your bed. I'm sure you have thought of this but just wanted to comment.

Thanks AL ... It is always on the back of my mind. The LP gas detector seems to be working and all quiet on that front so I am assuming their is no propane leak/fumes.

What I do have however is a very sensitive middle ear. As a kid I would get motion sickness at the sight of a carnival ride, boats, cars, trains and planes ... and I would get dizzy with a headache. I couldn't even lie on a water bed without getting dizzy. I think the motion (vibration) of the generator is the culprit for me. It seems less so when I turn on the air ... perhaps the noise from the air dulls the noise from the generator.

I have had my rig for almost 7 months now and have only 28 hours on the generator and most of that is just from "exercising" the generator as recommended. I really don't need it unless I need the air conditioner and since this is the first summer with my rig ... I'm not sure how that will work out for me. While travelling I seldom stay at a campground and only have shore power if at a friends.

Most of my travels will be in the spring and fall and during the winter ... so heat should not be a huge issue ... most of the time.
2012 Winnebago ERA.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Union210

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Re: diesel generator vs propane
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2012, 07:20:20 AM »
LPG has the advantage of not fouling up the fuel system if not run regularly.  I run mine (gas) a couple of times a month, but I bet that most do not.

Ernie n Tara

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Re: diesel generator vs propane
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2012, 01:10:22 PM »
Be careful! Propane detectors do NOT detect CARBON MONOXIDE . You need to have seperate detector for that. Please be sure you do.

Ernie
Ernie 'n Tara

2011 Winn Journey 34y
2012 Jeep Rubicon - Dozer (orange - kinda)
2006 Jeep Wrangler

Karsty

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Re: diesel generator vs propane
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2013, 11:01:21 AM »
Be careful! Propane detectors do NOT detect CARBON MONOXIDE . You need to have seperate detector for that. Please be sure you do.

Ernie

I'd be surprised if any new RV did not have both ... all three actually. I have the carbon dioxide, LG gas and fire/smoke. Anyone that didn't have all three would be a fool ... except maybe Mike now that he has his new all electric RT which doesn't use propane.

When are we gonna get a first report on this Mike?? :)
2012 Winnebago ERA.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain