Keeping your generator secure when crashing for a few hours in a parking lot

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UTTransplant

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I remember once when someone tried to shame me for using a generator at night for AC in a Walmart lot. We had actually gotten reservation at a state park for a simple overnight, but found the site far too unlevel to use. We ended up on a hot June night in southern Missouri at a Walmart. Temps was 90+ when we pulled in around 6 pm, and there were already a couple of semis with their diesels running. We fired up the gennie and relaxed. “You were rude.” “You were too noisy.” Those were the things I was told when relating the story later. Yeah, like my gennie was going to bother anyone with those semis running all night! Is there a time and place when running a generator is rude? Maybe around tenters, but not in a parking lot filled with semis in a hot summer night.
 

Tom55555

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Funny, big advantage of a motorhome verses a travel trailer is being able to use the primary motor for AC. When boondocking, I typically only run my Onan 4K generator when running our coffee maker, microwave, skillets or hair dryer.

The Ford E350 is so quiet I run it in quiet time for AC in national parks and have never been questioned. I don't understand why Onan can't make their generators more quiet.
 

Old_Crow

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Funny, big advantage of a motorhome verses a travel trailer is being able to use the primary motor for AC. When boondocking, I typically only run my Onan 4K generator when running our coffee maker, microwave, skillets or hair dryer.

The Ford E350 is so quiet I run it in quiet time for AC in national parks and have never been questioned. I don't understand why Onan can't make their generators more quiet.
I can't cool a 37' class A with the dash air. In fact if it's hot enough when traveling, I'll run the genny and the front roof air.
The exhaust system on the Onans is pretty basic. I'd think you could fool with it and make it a bit quieter without increasing back pressure too much. I did have my roached 5.5kw unit replaced with a newer(used but low hour)7k unit and I think the newer unit is quieter both exhaust wise and mechanical noise wise. I know I can't hardly hear the 7k run in the salon and with the 5.5k we used to have to raise the TV volume a bit.
 

Larry N.

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Funny, big advantage of a motorhome verses a travel trailer is being able to use the primary motor for AC.

That's pretty minor, for most of us with motorhomes since, as Wally says, that dash air is almost useless in a class A, requiring us to run the genny and house A/C to keep cool. Motorhomes have lots of advantages (and drawbacks) compared to trailers, but this one, as an advantage, is limited to some class B or C units.

I'd note that the Onan 10KW unit I had in my Beaver was rather noticeably quieter than the 8KW unit in my Ventana, and both are quieter than what my Bounder had at a lower power yet. So a more powerful generator isn't always noisier, depending on design.
 

Seon

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I wake up at 5 am every morning regardless. At home the timer turns the coffee maker on at 4:30 and am good.
However while camping I'd love so much to fire up the 2k generator for the coffer maker but as everyone know 8am is the magic time for gensets is allowed to be turned on.
Wife doesn't wake up til 7-ish so at 5 am I put the Percolator pot on the stove then sit in the dark cabin til the coffee finishes percolating.
doh.gif
 

Tom55555

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That's pretty minor, for most of us with motorhomes since, as Wally says, that dash air is almost useless in a class A, requiring us to run the genny and house A/C to keep cool. Motorhomes have lots of advantages (and drawbacks) compared to trailers, but this one, as an advantage, is limited to some class B or C units.

I'd note that the Onan 10KW unit I had in my Beaver was rather noticeably quieter than the 8KW unit in my Ventana, and both are quieter than what my Bounder had at a lower power yet. So a more powerful generator isn't always noisier, depending on design.
When we go to Alexander Springs, it's hot even at night. There is no electric and you're not allowed to run your generator after quiet hours.

I guess it's cheating but the primary motor / AC works well when the sun goes down and it's so quiet I've never had a ranger complain.

After the first minute or two the Ford E350 at idle is nearly silent and a 55 gallon gas tank is nice. You only need to run the AC for about 15 minutes.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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However while camping I'd love so much to fire up the 2k generator for the coffer maker but as everyone know 8am is the magic time for gensets is allowed to be turned on.
Wife doesn't wake up til 7-ish so at 5 am I put the Percolator pot on the stove then sit in the dark cabin til the coffee finishes percolating.
That works, but so would an inverter for the electric coffee maker. The battery can get recharged once generator time rolls around again.
 

Larry N.

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I guess it's cheating but the primary motor / AC works well when the sun goes down and it's so quiet I've never had a ranger complain.

My point was, though, that while it may work for you, it doesn't work for me, and for many others. There's a huge difference in the area that needs cooling between your rig and mine, or between yours and Wally's.
 

Tom55555

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My point was, though, that while it may work for you, it doesn't work for me, and for many others. There's a huge difference in the area that needs cooling between your rig and mine, or between yours and Wally's.we
I understand. I was just letting people know you can often run your primary when generators are not allowed; better than nothing. LOL
 

Seon

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So I bought a 1750w inverter for keurig one cup maker. Will test it today and hope it doesn't send a smoke signal. LOL
 

Edd505

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If I'm parked at Walmart and there's a big truck in there running the APU for his refrigerated box trailer, no one will even hear my generator. I wouldn't run it all night anyway(no need), but when I'm ready for coffee in the morning...
A refer trailer has it's own refrigerator system & motor with the fuel tank under the trailer, the refer on the trailer will cycle as needed. This is an APU tapped into the truck fuel system. BTW I worked lose prevention at a Walmart and that manager was strict, one night. Noisy generators are work units, normally open frame. Inverter & factory installed are normally pretty quite. I'm also retired LE and I if I had gotten a complaint while working we would have had a talk, there were county ordinances about camping any where except designated camp grounds. Yep 25 years LE, 750K in my own truck, and Wally for something to do for 5 years, Wally $$ bought toys.
 

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Larry N.

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While I appreciate everyone weighing on the merits of me even wanting to use a generator while staying in a parking lot overnight, I’m more interested the security of the generator.
I suspect the reason you heard so much about the "protocols" of using Walmart and such is that people don't want to lose a good thing from abuse of the privilege, so out of an abundance of caution you wind up hearing more than perhaps you need to.
 

ChasA

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A bunch of this is some self-appointed expert in parking at WM says this is the rule. I say BS. Wal-Mart doesn't care if you run your you generator. And they are not going to ban overnight parking because of running generators.
Are you pulling a trailer? With a pickup truck? If so, I think you could bolt it down in the truck bed.
 

Tom55555

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For those that spend a night at a Walmart, Cabelas, etc, what steps do you take to keep your generator secure? We are considering an occasional 6-8 hour break at some places on a longer trip this summer and plan to have a small generator for keeping everything charged as well as the A/C operational if it is hot at night. I’m talking about one of the smaller generators - like a 3000i Honda or the like. So what is the best practice? Do you just trust that nobody will mess with it? Find a way to chain it to your travel trailer’s frame or the hitch of the truck?
I have two 10 foot cables with loops on both ends. They are long enough to wrap around a tree and secure our bikes, cooler, etc.
 

Ernie n Tara

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I simply don't stay at Walmart. Nestling in with the trucks works just fine at highway stops. My generator doesn't bother anyone.

Ernie
 

Roy M

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southern British Columbia
I have done that. Gone to sleep in an empty pullout on the highway, too tired to drive further, only to wake up surrounded by trucks with reefers running. We never spent the night in a parking lot. We started looking for a campground around 4 so we could set up, have a leisurely happy hour, make dinner and have a good nights sleep. The cg fee was a small price to pay for comfort, to us the journey was just as important as the destination. My 12-14 hour days on the road are behind me.
 

solarman

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there are some commercial solutions for popular brand generators. HERE is an example.
I use one of these welded to the rear of my TT.
 

Edd505

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A bunch of this is some self-appointed expert in parking at WM says this is the rule. I say BS. Wal-Mart doesn't care if you run your you generator. And they are not going to ban overnight parking because of running generators.
Are you pulling a trailer? With a pickup truck? If so, I think you could bolt it down in the truck bed.
You might want to do some reading, ever worked for them? Yes and for a manager that enforced one night. Like I said before I worked LE in an area with no camping outside designated RV places, county ordinance. Read here: Walmart.
 
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Rene T

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I say BS. Wal-Mart doesn't care if you run your you generator. And they are not going to ban overnight parking because of running generators.
Totally false. Read the Walmart link in post #39. They do not want you to run generators as well as opening slides taking our grill and chairs and extending stabilizers. They also would like to to confirm with a manager that indeed it’s OK to park overnight .
 
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