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Open Roads Forum  >  Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)

 > ...Installing A Generator Close To Propane...

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Willie B

Berry Creek Ca

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Posted: 10/07/11 11:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

...I have a '97 Forest River Sandpiper 5th wheel... ...It did not come with a gen... ...I would like to install an Onan Marque 5.5 propane but the only place I can make it fit is in the compartment right behind the propane... ...Can I do this if I run the exhaust 8 or so feet behind the propane... ...What about possible spark from the gen itself???... Thanks Bill

jetboater454

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Posted: 10/08/11 05:59am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't think it would work mounted behind the propane (I'm guessing you mean the tanks). They need airflow and they usually have a "box" they mount in,plus I'd think an 8' exhaust pipe would be too muck back pressure.Call the manufacture and ask it they made that model gen ready.Maybe try a portable gen in the space instead.


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Posted: 10/08/11 06:56am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If the 2 compartments are separated it shouldn't be a problem. The gen in our motorhome is in the compartment directly in front of the propane tank. It is a different type of tank being permanently mounted. Basically there is no bottom to the compartment so it has all kinds of ventilation but the gen exhaust pipe is right there. Anyway if your tanks are venting enough propane that the gen is an issue you have other problems.

RoyB

King George, VA

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Posted: 10/08/11 09:48am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have found the best place for me to mount my generator was in the tailgate end of my truck. I wanted a place that was totally out of site when not in use but easy to get to. I also didnt like the idea of having my generator running right under my fifth wheel bed or inside any of the storage access compartments. Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning is deadly. Never operate a portable generator in or near an enclosed space such as a garage, house, or other building unless it is specifically designed for this use. Even with open doors and windows, these spaces can trap CO and allow it to quickly build to lethal levels

My generator is secured to the inside of the truck bed with a lock cable. My truck bed has a hard plastic folding cover which is also lockable and of course the truck tailgate is lockable. When I need to use my generator I just simply pull it out onto the tailgate and connect my trailer shore power cable directly to the 120VAC receptacle on the generator just like connecing to the site shore power pedestal. My generator goes where I go. I wouldnt dream of leaving it unattended at a camp site. It might grow feet and wander off...

Having my generator sitting in the tailgate corner of my Truck bed does not interfere with my fifth wheel hitch operations. I only have one 2KW generator but I could add a second one on the other side of the truck bed and run in parallel mode to give me more power for the Trailer.

I also had to evaluate why I needed the generator. This is usually the first thing everyone wants to do with their new RV Trailers.

I would check with your favorite National Parks - COE camp grounds and other places you want to visit and find out the rules of using generators there.

Most camp sites in the eastern part of the US only allows the use of generators from 8AM-10AM and then again from 4:30PM to 7:30PM which is the "norm" for most campgrounds. There are places where you can run a generator any time you want but that is not the "norm". This seems to be relaxed somewhat for the western camping areas.

Alot of us just have a 2KW Honda quiet mode EU2000i generator to run our on-board Trailer converters to re-charge the batteries in the shortest time allowed to run our generators. This requires some beefing up of your trailer with smart mode converter/chargers, additional batteries (at least two), changing out automotive bulbs inside for LED lights, running heavier battery cables and HD battery switches and fuse blocks, and installing Inverters (I use a 1500W PSW Inverter)..

Usually this can be handled by connecting your shore power cable directly to a 2KW honda quiet mode generator using a RV30A-15A adapter. I use the RV30A-15A Honda DUAL Adapter (Amazon.com $20).

When camping off the power grid we watch OTA HDTV/DVDs, light up our corner of the camp site, I play with my Ham Radio toys, almost do everything we do at electric site every night. Of course this does not allow the use of your Air Conditioner or high wattage Microwave when camping off the power grid.

It does allow you to stay out camping off the power grid for many days if you like as long as you can re-charge your batteries the next day to at least 90% charge in the time allowed to run your generator.

You have to develop certain times to do some things like making fresh ground bean coffee, cooking with electric skillet, etc when you are running the generator.

Been doing this for awhile now and it works out pretty good for us camping off the power grid. Also works out great in the Camp Backyard when local bad WX takes out commercial power for a week. We watched OTA HDTV/DvDs, I ran my Ham Radio toys, Lit up our Patio every night and re-charged everything backup the next day running my generator. The gererator also kept the house fridge food from thawing out in our day time generator run... We also rubbed it in with the neighbors by watching HDTV outside in the Patio area haha... Campers always has a Plan B...

Most of the campers that want to run their 13,500 BTU air conditioner have good luck using two of the 2KW generator in parallel mode which give them more than 3600WATTS. The 3000watt Honda generator will only give you around 2800WATTS running in contiuous mode. But here again if the camp site only gives around 5 hours aday to even run a generator split up in the morning and early evening times then to me its not worth the money to get one to run the whole trailer. Wont have enough time to cool down the trailer.

But I see people buying the biggest one they can find all the time ???? the cheap "contractor type" have a nice price tag but are way to LOUD to operate around other campers. The generator police will get after you real quick if you are too loud.

Look up all your favorite camp grounds and see what the rules are for using generators. You may find some dont allow them at all. I know the Skyline mtns, blue ridge parkway, and smoky mtn camp sites all allow generators with restrictions. NASCAR will allow them 24/7 but camping in a hugh truck like parking lot filled with smell of diesel fuel isnt my cup of tea.

This is just my take on it - others all want to install generators. With all the restrictions listed above I decided to beef-up my batteries and camp that way when I am camping off the power grid. I can live without air conditioning...

* This post was edited 10/08/11 10:00am by RoyB *


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Willie B

Berry Creek Ca

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Posted: 10/08/11 01:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

...Thanks guys... ...Great post Roy... ...My situation is I have a vacation property above Lake Oroville where I have 100 acres to myself (27 of which I own)... ...It is completely off the grid... ...I have an old Overland motorhome up there that has a very elaborate solar power system built into it... ...The coach has one of the first 4.0 aluminun Onan's as an itregal part of the system... ...I have no clue as to how many hours are on it...

...My idea with the 5.5 in the 5th wheel is that the 5th wheel is that it would be good back up for the 4.0 when I move the 5th wheel up there to become my sort of vacation camp main home... ...For ten years I had no backup to the 4.0... ...I also have two lance 11'3 campers with 2.5 onan propanes... ...Why I have two Lance's is way to long of a story to get into here... ...Any way the Lance that stays at the property's gen has become my backup to the 4.0...and is also now my computer room... ...The Overland is used for watching sattelite TV,...cooking and showering only...

...The second Lance when mounted on my '97 Dodge Ram diesel is what I travel with... ...Unfortunately that 2.5 Onan has expired At 350 hours... ...At a minimum it needes a rotor and stator,...about $1000 in those parts alone... ...I have run across the Marque 5.5 for about the same price with 302 hours... ...It in no way will fit into the Lance... ...For a time I can get by without a gen as that Lance has a good size Solar panel on the roof... ...If worse comes to worse I can charge the camper battery at night by running the truck...(large alt)... ...The only thing I'll be missing that I use when on the road will be the microwave... ...When at my property this Lance is where I sleep a duty that will soon belong to the 5th wheel... ...I currently run a set of 60 ft jumper cables to the camper from the battery bank of the solar system...

...The under taking of installing the 5.5 in the 5th wheel is not an easy one... ...It will require moving some plumbing,...enlarging what will become the gen access door,...building a metal encloser and so on... ...The 5.5 is a good idea in that I had to down size a compresser I had as the 4.0 wouldn't power the larger one...

...Gotta go the guy with the Marque just called gotta go meet him...

Willie B

Berry Creek Ca

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Posted: 10/08/11 07:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

...Just got back from looking at what I thought was a 5.5 Marque... ...It turns out it is an Emerald 6300... ...As it is smaller in overall dimemsion,... the install in the 5th wheel would be somewhat easier... ...It also would fit into the Lance with only minor modification... ...It runs sweet with 352 hours on it, (currently in a Beaver Motorhome) but does burn a gallon of propane an hour... ...I guess I'd better buy it and then decide where to put it???... ...As you may have gathered I have way to much time on my hands???...

...Do any of you know anything about the Emerald 6300's???..

Thanks again Bill

Gdetrailer

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Posted: 10/09/11 05:17pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Willie B writes "but does burn a gallon of propane an hour... .."

Ouch!!! thats gonna leave a mark in the old wallet!

30lb tanks is about 7 gallons of propane give or take so you will get at best 7 hrs run time on a 30lb tank.

So unless you are planning to haul around a hundred pound tank you will be going out every few days to buy propane.

Something else to consider, that gen is going to demand a lot more propane that your current regulator and plumbing can handle. You will need to also see if the proposed gen uses liquid or gas. You current setup is gas vapor from the tank but many motor homes are setup with a tank which delivers liquid for the gen. Liquid delivery isn't going to happen with standard tanks.

Willie B

Berry Creek Ca

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Posted: 10/12/11 01:01am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

...Beings that I have a solar power system and that this gen is only meant as a backup for the 4.0 in the system... ...It most likely will get very little use... ...I don't know how much gasoline the 4.0 uses (1978 vintage),...but that has never been a concern... ... It only runs about 4 hours a month to equalize the 10 golf cart batteries in the solar bank,...and possibly 15 to 20 minutes at night, and these times are only in the winter when there is not much sun light... ...gas is $4 a gallon, propane is $3... ...If I were to have a large stand alone propane tank installed,...and have propane delivered,...the propane would be a substantial amount less...

...I just checked one of my Onan equiped Lance camper's regulators... ...It is identical to the one in the 5th wheel so propane delivery should be a nonissue...

* This post was edited 10/12/11 01:09am by Willie B *

christopherglenn

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Posted: 02/26/12 10:16am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My generator is in the front (5er) left compartment, 2 propane tanks are in the front right compartment, both under the overhang. My spare tank is in the side (front left side) compartment. The exhaust ends about 4 feet behind the spare tank.


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Willie B

Berry Creek Ca

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Posted: 02/25/12 11:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

...Well I did it and it works great...

...Here are a couple of U-Tube links to see the ...

http://youtu.be/I41V4-7jLXs

http://youtu.be/KOZY0v-UNbM

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