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Old 06-27-2016, 06:49 PM   #1
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Generators thread

Spent about a month figuring out how to fix a used Onan, fixed it, and sold it and won't go back.
Looking at some inverter gens. Rooftop AC when traveling, and charging batteries if solar won't cover.

Anyone have any experience with ryobi inverter gens in parralel?
I'm building a small wood shop in the back of my bus, and like the idea of being able to use one gen on a power tool and the other on the batteries if needed.
And then both to run the AC if needed.

Other model I like is the champion 3100.
Trying to stay under $1000
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Old 06-27-2016, 07:03 PM   #2
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Also forgot to mention I like the option on the champion 3100 that it has a 30amp connect on it.
What's everyone using in terms of gens?
I know some will have a 10k diesel hooked up to the fuel tank.
Id rather a solid option then worrying about mounting, running exhaust, and worrying about fixing a used genset on the road since the new ones are out of budget.
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Old 06-27-2016, 09:21 PM   #3
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I've never used the Inverter Champion or Ryobi gen-sets (I hear they have come a long way in regards to quality.)

I did have a gas non-inverter Champion 3500/4000 for a while for 'emergency' use (it was under $300 if I remember) but gave it away because I didn't like how loud it was. Pull-start broke off but the thing is so easy to start I never fixed it and just used a piece of rope.

On the '78 GMC I used the original gas Onan 4KW for quite some time. It was 1800RPM and I liked it, a nice 'quiet' low-pitched thump, and although it was heavy it was fairly easy to work on and surprising reliable considering the age. It was also nice to be able to start it from inside.

In the end I removed the Onan 4KW and used that bay for housing a bank of 3 Trojan J185AHCs and bought a Honda EU2000 that I mounted on the rear rack/hitch area. The Honda EU2000 worked so well in combination with the Inverter and battery bank that I bought another to parallel with; most of the time I don't need both running so the 2nd is really just a spare. The GMC also has ~200W of solar so again generator's aren't always necessary.

The Crown has no generator at the moment. Everything is sustained with ~400W of roof solar panels and ~600AH of batteries, but I bring one of my Honda EU2000's with me just in case. When driving there is a 125A continuous duty Leece-Neville alternator that feeds into a 3KW Inverter.

The TMC is a bit different for the time being. Currently I'm running two 7KW 1800RPM diesel gen-sets. No solar (that is next project after moving my Datastorm VSAT setup to the TMC.) The TMC is also a relatively new addition so I expect many more changes to power as time goes by.

If you don't want a permanent generator and have a good ventilated spot to put either that Champion 3100 or a couple Ryobi's I think you'll be happy. It's nice that the champion has a 30A plug but since it can't put out that much I'd just get an adapter.

On the other hand, having two identical generators is great for the time 1 fails. Also, I don't think it's worth fixing those 'foreign' gen-sets in most cases.
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Old 06-27-2016, 11:16 PM   #4
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Yamaha 2000 invertor gen. hung under the bus where my old Onan lived.

Pros:
Quiet
Low fuel consumption.
Light wt.

Cons:
Pull start (I reach under, pull the choke then pull the rope.)
No remote shut off. (Reach under, click)

44 lbs so pulling it to service (once per year) is easy and takes about 5 min.

The Yam will run everything I have, one thing at a time, which hasn't caused me any grief.

It can run for a long time (up to 100 hrs) off the 10g tank mounted under the bus and fed via Penella fuel pump/hose.

It will run a 5k btu AC at idle or a 8k btu at slightly higher rpm...Once it starts.

I have the gen cabled and locked to the bus frame in case it tries to grow legs.



Gen has been through major rain on the road with no issues. It is shielded on 2 sides (inboard and front).
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:56 AM   #5
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i have a champion 5000watt. im not a fan of it. when i got it, it ran fine. camping it ran fine. then it got stored.... the next time i needed (power outage) it wouldnt start. plugs were fouled, my bad. clean them and stored the gen again.

i tried to use the gen again at my next big power outage just a few months ago. its been 5 years plus since i started the champion. first pull, no start, second pull, the cord broke (dry rot).

the gen has never worked when i needed it, probably due to my lack of maintenance. but im no fan of them.

the first year i had it, it was fine. camping was easy, its a quiet generator. they cant sit, imo. they need to be used.
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:04 AM   #6
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I've been using a cheap generator to power my tools and my biggest gripe is the stupid design of the fuel petcock. Its the lame "bung" design and they constantly leak.
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:17 AM   #7
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how do you keep your gensets from getting stolen? I keep thinking about a gen oin the back of the bus but alot of times in cities I sopend.. so im concerned about a sinple chain locking a gen being cut.. of course bolts can easily be unscrewed wit ha socket set if the only thing securing it is my mounting scheme....

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Old 06-28-2016, 11:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serpent View Post
I've never used the Inverter Champion or Ryobi gen-sets (I hear they have come a long way in regards to quality.)

I did have a gas non-inverter Champion 3500/4000 for a while for 'emergency' use (it was under $300 if I remember) but gave it away because I didn't like how loud it was. Pull-start broke off but the thing is so easy to start I never fixed it and just used a piece of rope.

On the '78 GMC I used the original gas Onan 4KW for quite some time. It was 1800RPM and I liked it, a nice 'quiet' low-pitched thump, and although it was heavy it was fairly easy to work on and surprising reliable considering the age. It was also nice to be able to start it from inside.

In the end I removed the Onan 4KW and used that bay for housing a bank of 3 Trojan J185AHCs and bought a Honda EU2000 that I mounted on the rear rack/hitch area. The Honda EU2000 worked so well in combination with the Inverter and battery bank that I bought another to parallel with; most of the time I don't need both running so the 2nd is really just a spare. The GMC also has ~200W of solar so again generator's aren't always necessary.

The Crown has no generator at the moment. Everything is sustained with ~400W of roof solar panels and ~600AH of batteries, but I bring one of my Honda EU2000's with me just in case. When driving there is a 125A continuous duty Leece-Neville alternator that feeds into a 3KW Inverter.

The TMC is a bit different for the time being. Currently I'm running two 7KW 1800RPM diesel gen-sets. No solar (that is next project after moving my Datastorm VSAT setup to the TMC.) The TMC is also a relatively new addition so I expect many more changes to power as time goes by.

If you don't want a permanent generator and have a good ventilated spot to put either that Champion 3100 or a couple Ryobi's I think you'll be happy. It's nice that the champion has a 30A plug but since it can't put out that much I'd just get an adapter.

On the other hand, having two identical generators is great for the time 1 fails. Also, I don't think it's worth fixing those 'foreign' gen-sets in most cases.
Man you're like the old wise man when it comes to generators and buses, love the info. Thank you.

I have my inverter/batteries in a side compartment on the passenger side with a 30amp inlet for shore/charging.
BUT I ran my Rooftop AC to a 30 amp receptactle box like this


And mounted it into my storage area here (old picture)


The back bus chassis is lowered 2 feet from the the main floor. I'll have a ramp door soon. driving I'd like to run the Rooftop AC and have my generator back here. Plenty of space and Windows to ventilate.
If I did two ryobis in parralel I could run the AC down the road, when parked and working in my shop I could use one for tools and the other for my wallyworld window unit. Or one for tools and one to charge the house batteries. Vice versa.

i did a metal stud wall, reinforced with some 2x2. Insulation was vapor barrier, batting insulation, then sound deadening board from condos.

Any C02 concerns?
Thanks guys
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:32 PM   #9
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Love my EU7000is. I had to watch the classifieds for quite a while, but when it came up for sale used with 170 hours on the clock I was ready to pounce. It's the quietest portable out there so far as I'm aware. It's also the only one I know of which has fuel injection rather than a carburetor. Hopefully that'll make it more resilient in the face of my laziness about draining fuel after use -- let's be honest, almost every time a generator is shut off, it's probably going into "storage" and should be prepped accordingly. I also really like the EU2000i but I picked the 7000 rather than a second 2000 in order to get 240 volt capability. Two EU2000i in parallel would have been enough wattage for me if only there were a way to stack them for 240. (120-to-240 transformer was just to large, heavy, and expensive)

Previously had an open frame Generac 8k/12k unit. So loud!

Some people have reported trouble keeping various generators running while underway. The speculation is that it may have something to do with vibration. Moral of the story is to mock something up and verify your generator is happy running in your proposed conditions before you do a nice job mounting -- it could turn out to run more reliably in a different location.

I have some CO (carbon monoxide) concerns about running a generator in that rear garage. Having the vehicle's own exhaust drawn into the rear while driving is a real problem -- I don't remember the physics of it, but apparently the rear of a vehicle tends to be in a low-pressure zone and thus exhaust can be drawn in. Actively producing exhaust there would seem even worse. I wouldn't expect much cross flow ventilation from those side lights/vents.

Thinking on it more, I do have some experience with this. A few years ago when my bus broke down we flat-towed it home. This was before doing any serious conversion so it still had conventional transit-style horizontal slider windows. I opened them all in the back and ran the EU2000i on the floor back there to power a compressor to keep the air brakes in service. It was terrible and took me a while to feel right again after exhaust exposure for an hour or two. Granted you have a bulkhead/wall separating the spaces, but I don't think I'd mess with this. If not the whole generator outside the bus shell, then at least find a way to duct the exhaust out rather than let it mix with the air inside.
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:55 PM   #10
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One other thought: test what happens with an engine running in that back area before committing to putting a generator there. Tie down a running lawn mower or other power equipment and go out for a ride; if you can smell the exhaust at all then it's probably not a good arrangement.
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