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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > 800w Inverter genny $149, sale ending today

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Bedlam

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Posted: 11/14/17 09:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've looked at propane conversions on engines. Refueling is less convenient with LPG tanks and fuel energy is less resulting in higher consumption, but having a cleaner running engine and fuel that does not deteriorate in the system so quickly when sitting does have its benefits.

Converting an external generator to LPG is an option, but the lack of remote start/stop in the smaller units, additional setup/teardown and the security concerns of an external is what has made me a three time built in Onan purchaser.

I looked at larger external inverter generators that had remote operation features and tried to figure out how to fit them into an existing generator enclosure, but always ran into heat dissipation or physical dimension conflicts. If I was building out an enclosed trailer with a custom power box, I could make it work. Maybe this is why I keep look at alternatives even though I have not found a better solution for my type of use.


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Kayteg1

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Posted: 11/14/17 09:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I was considering 2000W Predator for my camper at one time, but even the original compartment would fit, it would not go via the door.
For me cooling is main issue as most of the time I camp in 3-digits temperatures.
Even factory gen compartment on Lance did not seem to work too well. When I bought it, the LP Generac did not work, so I pulled it out.
I think I brushed at least 20lb of oily desert dust from it, so have my doubts how well that thing would cool when working.
When I was using my 2-cycle generator, due to its size the noise was not a problem, but the fumes were. Still having 30' of camper cord allows to put it at distance and you can always bring more extensions.
With this 4-cycle it should be even better.
I was considering propane conversion for my Honda3000 for coming Zombie Apocalypse, but those kits cost a fortune, while I always run carburetor dry and my Honda would run on 2-years old (no stabil) gas, although not very well.

turbojimmy

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Posted: 11/14/17 11:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bedlam wrote:

I've looked at propane conversions on engines. Refueling is less convenient with LPG tanks and fuel energy is less resulting in higher consumption, but having a cleaner running engine and fuel that does not deteriorate in the system so quickly when sitting does have its benefits.


I converted my 10,000 watt home backup generator to Propane/NG using US Carb's dedicated kit. Now I know they're in the business of selling kits, but they say the less fuel energy thing is a myth. Well the BTU per fuel is fact, but it doesn't necessarily equate to lower generator output or higher fuel consumption. They claim that the fuel usage is pretty much 1:1 when considering gasoline vs. propane. The reduction in energy is hypothetical and assumes that the gasoline is burning 100% efficiently, which it rarely does.

I used their dedicated kit, which requires a no-turning-back modification to the carb but I also have a spare, unmolested carb that I can put back on if I ever want to use gasoline. I don't see it happening though, propane burns so much cleaner with no smell.

All that being said, the generator is connected to a 1,000 gallon propane tank so swapping cylinders isn't an issue. I could see it being a pain in the butt if I were using 20 lb. (4.7 gallon) cylinders. That's half the size of the gasoline tank that was on it.


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mkirsch

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Posted: 11/15/17 05:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How is refueling less convenient?

Gasoline: Retrieve gas can. Remove cap from gas can. Turn over spout, which is likely soaked in gasoline, so it gets on your hands. Reinstall cap. Remove cap from generator fuel tank. Insert spout from gas can. Fiddle-phart around to get the %$#@ safefy nozzle to release, all the while, gas is drip-drip-dripping from the neck of the gas can because the %$#@ safety spout doesn't seal. Finally get the %$#@ safety spout to release fuel into the generator tank. Overfill the generator tank because the %$#@ safety spout didn't seal when you released it, spilling gas all over the generator. Replace generator cap. Flip the %$#@ safety spout back over, because hey, you've already got gas all over your hands. Try to mop up the mess. Wait for the spilled gas left on the generator to evaporate.

Propane: Retrieve fresh propane tank. Disconnect hose from empty tank. Connect hose to full tank. Open valve on full tank. Start generator.


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towpro

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Posted: 11/15/17 05:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I used to maintain a fleet of trucks that ran on Propane, and had a conversion in an olds Delta 88 myself that was dual fuel.

It does take more propane than gasoline to go the same distance. in fact its about
20% more propane.
But propane runs so much cleaner. And since you don't need to atomize propane to get it to burn you can run your idle lower
But propane was harder to start in the dead of winter. In my Olds conversion I would have to switch over to gas when parking it so I could get it to start the next morning.


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Kayteg1

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Posted: 11/15/17 07:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Propane -costing about 1/3 what gasoline does in Europe is very popular motor fuel there.
But they have computerized system that start the engine on gasoline and switches to propane when it warms up.
Also tanks shaped into spare wheel to fit in trunk.
But those conversion cost in $1-2,000

* This post was edited 11/15/17 03:01pm by Kayteg1 *

turbojimmy

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Posted: 11/15/17 08:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

towpro wrote:

I used to maintain a fleet of trucks that ran on Propane, and had a conversion in an olds Delta 88 myself that was dual fuel.

It does take more propane than gasoline to go the same distance. in fact its about
20% more propane.
But propane runs so much cleaner. And since you don't need to atomize propane to get it to burn you can run your idle lower
But propane was harder to start in the dead of winter. In my Olds conversion I would have to switch over to gas when parking it so I could get it to start the next morning.


Well that was the guy's point - that you can't just use the BTU energy of the fuel to straight-up calculate the additional fuel required and/or less energy produced by the fuel (which is what that chart in your link is doing). There are a lot of other factors, like the quality of the gasoline, the a/f of the burn (is it 100% efficient at), etc. He claims that the carbs on these generators are pretty inefficient. But, again, he's in the business of selling propane conversion kits.

I don't have any scientific data, or any real anecdotal data either. I finally got to use my newly-converted generator in a real power outage a few weeks ago. The power was out for nearly 11 hours starting at around midnight. It was a school/work day so I fired up the generator on natural gas (the kit allows you to do both, adjusting the fuel supply with a load block). It ran for about 8 hours with varying loads. Now natural gas is 35% less efficient on paper, so my 8,000 running watts would theoretically only be 5,200. But, according to the watt meters on the transfer switch I was pushing close to 7,000 watts during peak spikes (toaster, hair dryer, coffee maker in addition to both furnaces, fridge, lights, etc.). I could hear it bog down as you might expect, but it delivered consistent power.

I would agree that you're going to give something up by moving from gasoline to LP or NG, but I don't think it's the 20-35% that the BTU differences would suggest.

EDIT: And in an attempt to bring things a bit closer to the original topic, I would much prefer gasoline for a portable generator - particularly the small one in question. In my motorhome? I dunno, I still think I prefer gasoline. The propane gets eaten up quick enough without adding the generator to the mix. (and now back off-topic again...) But at home, it's NG/LP hands down. We didn't have power for 2 weeks after "Superstorm Sandy." The gas stations couldn't pump the fuel out of the ground because there was no power, and those that could get gas to the pumps ran out immediately because delivery trucks couldn't get through. We siphoned gas out of every one of our vehicles to keep the generators going (the 85 gallon tank on the Allegro was key). It was a semi-apocalyptic event that I don't want to repeat. Natural gas was never interrupted - the generator could have theoretically run non-stop. If natural gas were interrupted I now have 1,000 gallons of propane (that won't go bad).

* This post was edited 11/15/17 08:54am by turbojimmy *

Bedlam

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Posted: 11/15/17 08:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's a combination of lower engine output and higher fuel consumption when running on LPG verses gasoline. Usually the lower price of LPG compensates for the poorer efficiency.

When I posted about refueling, I was referring to getting additional fuel from a distribution point. There are many more gasoline stations around than tank exchange or LPG fill locations.

Kayteg1

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Posted: 11/15/17 03:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Don't know who can have propane as easy available as gasoline.
Last time I had to fill my propane tank, I ask at campground where can I find propane, what was great start.
But I had to turn about 1 mile from my route, spend about 1/2 hr on pulling the cylinder out, carrying it to fill station, wait in lane, than go to the building to pay.
I paid $35 for 7-gallons tank that was not empty.
7 gallons of gasoline at the location was about $16.
Add hassle of cylinder certification every few years and lifting the filled up cylinder overhead into compartment.
Sure at home, where you have propane delivered at wholesale price to your 1000 gallons tank - that is different story.
Propane beside lower energy also has very primitive carburetors who waste a lot of it.

centerline

Salem OR

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Posted: 11/15/17 07:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

turbojimmy wrote:

Harbor Freight has essentially the same generator for less. I think it was $88 with a coupon recently.


the harbor freight unit is 2stroke motor, whereas the one shown by the OP is a 4 stroke model...


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