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Old 07-09-2010, 11:35 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: MASS
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RV or portable generator?

I was originally going to try to find an RV generator. But I almost NEVER see them on craigslist and they are just WAAAY to expensive new.

I'm wondering what the majority of folks here use for generators? From the looks of some pictures it seems to be portable generators.

Would I have to do a lot more work on soundproofing and quieter muffler systems? What about electric starts? Would be nice to try to set up something to be able to start the generator inside the bus.

If possible I would like to see some pictures of your generator set ups and how you soundproofed them, mounted them and basically adapted them to fit your needs.

Thanks
Dan
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:47 AM   #2
Ob1
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Re: RV or portable generator?

I bought a Champion 3500 watt {4000 surge} from Tractor Supply and attached it to my extended rear bumper. They claim it runs 68db, Hondas do run much quieter, but they dont cost $350. Since I am generally running a fan or AC, I really dont hear much of the generator. My AC load does not overload the generator, so it doent tend to "cycle" too much. Nice sized tank, good for about 10 hours.
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:26 AM   #3
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Re: RV or portable generator?

I gnaw on this one often. Listening to people's LOUD generators while out in the forest pisses me off. But, I understand people's need for juice, some have it more than others. Then there are those of us that can't spend $200k on a bus conversion so really have no choice but to go with the power they need, the noise level be damned.

Try not to use it during hours that might disturb neighbors in state/nat'l parks.
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Old 07-11-2010, 12:37 PM   #4
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Re: RV or portable generator?

I have a copy of the RVIA code on building RVs. We have been in construction for many years. David has wired more houses than he cares to count. The National Code is a joke. It is the absolute bare minimums of construction, electrical and plumbing that exists. I wouldn't build a dog house to National Code. Many things in the RVIA code book are also the bare minimums. Besides it is put together by the RV manufacturing community for the RV manufacturing community. So that is suspect to start with. And I have also read the disclaimer in the front of the book!

As for the RVIA "approval".. I once contacted a tankless water heater manufacturer about using their units in our Eagle bus. I was told the reason their water heaters were not RVIA approved was due to the extensive t4sting and large amounts of $$ to do the testing. Most of this companies officers (including the president and VPs) had their water heaters installed in their motorhomes. Same when for the engineers. Only modifications that were made were due to routing the vent pipes out. the RV segment is still a small group compared to the number of folks that live in houses. They were concentrating on the house segment of consumers.

So as far as "approved" generators... well we tend to make thing do what they were not designed to do in the first place. We know how to install a generator safely. We will most likely end up using a non-RV approved type of generator. Let's face it... the whole bus is "non RVIA approved".

I do have a Onan 2.5KW RV generator. We are going to try to put it back together, I just hope we have all the parts. Onan "approved" mechanic tore it apart then told us we had to buy another generator... 3 days before we were to leave NC to head out west. So we ended up buying a used genset from the guy. It developed the same problems the old genset did. We added a portable boat gas tank dedicated to the generator and the "new" genset hasn't had any problems. Which makes us think there was really nothing wrong with the old genset, just improperly installed in the first place ("T"ed off the main gas line to the engine... generator didn't seem to get fuel at times... David is partially deaf, so next time I will yell a bit louder at him). The onan will end up in the mobile kitchen we still need to build.
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Old 07-11-2010, 03:26 PM   #5
Ob1
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Re: RV or portable generator?

My Champion is strapped to the rear deck, exhaust pointing away to clear air. I have only used it once when stationary, and that was at a race track where everyone was running theirs, and no one was remotely close to any exhausts {small track}. Most of the time, it is used enroute to keep the refrigerator and window AC unit humming. Only once did I run it overnight when camping in the boonies.

There are any number of options when it come to generators. In my mind, there a 4 types; real deal onboard RV generators, ultra quiet portables, semi-quiet portables {like my Champion}, and almost unmuffled contractor/emergency generators.

Having lived through Hurricane Hugo, I know what a contractor/emergency generator sounds like! Heck, I even own one, but wouldnt dream of carrying it on the bread truck! I wouldnt want to hear it, why would I inflict it on others? I have camped with contractor generators around, and know how easily their spark plug leads can come loose...

At my club's big motorcycle race, the trailhead has 130 hook-ups, and a separate area called Generatorville for those who need power, regardless of generator type. Those willing to live without are set up in various areas close by the hook-ups. Life is good at our trailhead, it is the only one set up like that in offroad racing {that I know of}
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Old 07-11-2010, 05:22 PM   #6
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Re: RV or portable generator?

For any of the generators, RV or others, you might decide you need a "Genturi Exhaust". Here are some links to make homemade ones.

http://barthmobile.com/eve/forums/a/...8381039061/p/1

http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/arc.../t-738313.html Parts list and lots of links to pictures.

http://www.ehow.com/how_4708830_make...tor-homes.html
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