Skip... I plan on running the lights, occasionally the microwave, a computer for internet, entertainment and email. I might run the A/C when I'm camping down south. After spending a little time at Harbor Freight today I am considering the 800W gennie that they have for under $100 w/coupon.
Eycom... I've looked at the Honda and the Yamaha units and they look sweet. My van is only 19' and I am going to look for the smallest A/C unit or other cooling option so that I can then get a smaller generator.
Tiny... I'm an old Soldier and I'm used to living in tough conditions. The van's under the hood A/C unit blows cold so I don't see the conditions being too bad when we pull in for the night. I plan on doing a bit of "stealth camping" or "boondocking" or whatever you want to call it. While doing this I am going to need to be discreet. I am hoping to get the wiring fixed up so that the alternator will charge the rv battery as well as the battery under the hood. I don't know all the facts about that but I am aware that I have two batteries, one for the van and one for the living area. I am really new to all this.
I am also looking at some solar options. I have a small Goal Zero unit and it works well enough. I could use this to keep my lap top working.
My concern about the Onan is that it is a 20+ year old unit and that they might fix this problem only to have another problem pop up the next day. The convenience would be nice but I'm not sure that I can afford the convenience at this time.
Handbasket... The Onan's space isn't a real big deal. I just can't see wasting any space in an RV. As far as the symptoms, I had it checked out before I bought it and was told that it wouldn't turn over. That could be something as simple as not getting enough juice, a bad starter or it might just be fried.
Thank you for your reminder about extra gas and protecting my unit from weather and theft.
Reds... Thanks for the threads that you start and contribute to. I like the layout you show with the generator on the trailer hitch platform. A picture is worth 1000 words and your pictures definitely got my mind going. I also like the sound of a 7100 btu a/c unit. A small unit is the way to go in these little units. I don't think I will be using mine that much but I'm sure that it will be a blessing at times.
Marvin... At this point I don't have a major trip firmly planned and the trip that I am tentatively planning will be a solo trip to the Rockies in Colorado and then possibly on to Alaska. In both area the A/C won't see much use.
After looking at everything I think I am going to start with the small 800-900 W unit at Harbor Freight. It will run what I need and give me time to consider what my actual needs are. I also looked at HF's larger 4000 W gen. It is a lot bigger in size and is a lot heavier. I could potentially mount it on a cargo carrier and use it from there. I would like to give the systems in this rv a work out this Spring before I head out on an extended trip.
I appreciate all the food for thought you have given me. I just called the Onan unit near Atlanta. I travel up there frequently and I will talk to the owner tomorrow. It isn't in an rv right now so I couldn't check it out. It is a******shoot. We will see. I am thankful for all the help.
I will keep you informed on my progress. I drove my rv about 200 miles today and got a start MPG of about 13. Not too bad. I looked at Harbor Freight and that is the place to start for sure.
Just keep in mind that a small AC unit is probably only going to cool you van down about 10 degrees lower than the outside temp. Probably not worth all the trouble your going to go through. I suggest going with a Fantastic fan in the roof, a couple of small fans inside, and camping in areas that don't exceed 90 degrees.. Even a new Roadtrek with a 10,200 BTU AC, will only cool about 15 degrees.
I also suggest pulling the gen-set, and seeing about getting it repaired, if it can be repaired at a price you can afford, get it fixed, and hold off on the AC to save some money. If your boon docking, a wired generator will save you a lot hassle, like going out in the rain to start, and stop it, also having to build a place to carry it, and the fuel.
Roadtrek used to use, I think 9,000 BTU AC's, and the members here will tell you that they didnt cool very well.
One more thing, you are traveling in a metal box, and after driving a few hours, it gets.really hot, and can take several hours for the metal to cool, and stop heating the van. Just put you hand on the inside wheel well sometime to see just how hot it gets.
I have driven my RT across the desert in the summer, the outside temp was 100, the inside temp after turning off the dash AC rose to 127, and pretty much stayed that hot all night, we stayed in a motel.
* This post was
edited 03/12/12 03:10am by My Roadtrek *
The engine's alternator _should_ charge both batteries; it's intended to on every B I've ever heard of. Your house battery may be too far gone to take a charge, the isolator may be shot, or there may just be a loose / corroded connection. Maybe pull the house battery & take it to a big-box auto parts store for testing.
The Onan 'not turning over' definitely deserves more investigation before giving up on it, since it could easily be something simple and cheap to fix. Might even be cured by a good house battery. Cheap portables are _invariably_ too noisy to make you any friends, unless you're going to be far, far away from neighbors. And the added length of a carrier rack for one makes for more hassle finding a usable parking spot in-town.
Jim, "Mo' coffee!"
'06 Tiger CX 'C Minus' on a Silverado 2500HD 4x4, 8.1 & Allison (aka 'Loafer's Glory') www.tigervehicles.com
The greatest thing about this forum is that you get a lot of information and can pull from that info the option that best suits your needs.
Please keep in mind that not all generators are created equal. Some are as loud as a passing freight train and some are as quiet as a hummingbirds wings. (Slight exageration there but you get the idea.) I own a Honda 2K and an Onan 6.5K and they are both quiet. I have heard an Onan 2.8 run and they are also very quiet. At first for my Van RV I purchased a 3K from HF or one of those cut rate palaces and I only ran it for a week or so before realizing just how loud it was before getting the Honda 2K.
Whatever you do about your non-running 2.8K Onan keep and store it just in case you want to refurbish it for later use. Don't discredit its value because it's 20 years old. That will save you money more than likely.
Good luck and Happy Camping.
Thanks again for all the input. I went out today and bought a new "house" battery and I will put that in tomorrow and see where it goes from there. I am going to work on the RV using 110 from my house.
RE the AC. Definitely check out the Dometic High Efficiency 13.5k btu unit, part # 459530. I had it put on my Xplorer 1.5 years ago & it is great & draws such low power my Honda 2000 runs it easy with power to spare. It is rated for a 15 amp suppply. I think it cost around $800 which included the shipping.
Here's my test w generator:
I fired up my Honda 2000 & plugged the Kill-a-watt meter into it. 126 volts. Then I plugged in my motorhomes 30 amp power cord with the proper adapter. I did not bother turning the breaker off to the converter based on my earlier analysis. The draw was 2.6 amps. Then I turned the AC fan on low. 4.5 amps. Then I turned the AC on and it went to 11+ amps and slowly climbed to 12.5 amps and had no problem running. In my motorhome the AC was nice & cold & the battery was being charged. All lights worked fine. I switched the eco on & had no problem. I switched the AC fan to low let it run for 1/2 hour. The draw then was 11.5 amps. Sweet. This high efficiency AC is worth every penny!
Air temp = 87 (hotter than before)
interior motorhome temp 95+
Gen only = 126.6 volts.
With my MH plugged in & converter left on = 126.2 volts 2.73 amps, 176 watts.
Turning the AC fan on to LO = 125.6 volts, 4.34 amps, 416 watts.
Adding the AC compressor
= 123.8 volts, 11.1 amps, 1210 watts. These slowly went up to 11.52 amps & 1250 watts.
Turned the fan on HI = 123.2 volts, 12.5 amps, 1381 watts. These numbers slowly drifted a bit higher.
Turned the fan back to LO & let it run 15 minutes. Nice & cool inside. 123.2 volts, 12.49 amps, 1400 watts.
Ok... I spent a little time just looking at my unit. I had my battery tested and it was bad. I put a new one in the house and hit the start button on my Onan and it just clicked one time. I disconnected the battery and I will probably go to Camping World to discuss the A/C.
I have a Dometic in it right now and the unit that Steve mentioned looks good. I guess when I think about fixing up this unit I should think about resale. I may save a few bucks going with a small unit might save me a few bucks now but could cost me when I go to sell.
I found a 12V plug in the ceiling near the TV mount and I plugged in a fan and it worked even with the 12V system off. My guess is that it is running from the van battery and not the house battery.
You can fill volumes with what I DON'T know about RVs. I saw an RV orientation listed in the service section at Camping World. I'm going to join Good Sam and spend some time at Camping World, hopefully I will be able to get some estimates and make some informed decisions.