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Old 02-28-2009, 04:19 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 42
installing a generator..

Just need to hear some sugestions on my generator ...Ive decided to bite the bullet..i am going to buy a rv generator, I know theres cheaper ways out there ..but its been like a thorn in my side..portable not running--carrying extra fuel ...running going down the my eye on northern tool gauardian 7500 watt lp unit or the 8500 desiel..the bus is desiel...but i carry lp on the bus also..lp cheaper unit by about a grand.. any one got any sugestion I use my bus alot and love it get tons of looks and thumbs up going down the hiway..only problem[on every trip] generator trouble of one kind or another....thanks dave

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Old 02-28-2009, 04:38 PM   #2
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Re: installing a generator..

diesel seems like a much more convenient option to me. It can be plumbed into the existing fuel tank and it's easy to find diesel at fueling stations. Propane has the advantage of easy starting at really cold temperatures. I suppose that most campgrounds do have propane services on site or nearby, so perhaps it won't be as difficult finding lp as one might think.

A propane powered engine is basically the same as a gasoline engine, so it would probably be cheaper and easier to rebuild the lp engine.
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Old 03-01-2009, 01:37 PM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 42
Re: installing a generator..

Thanks for the thought..i have storage compartments for lp on the bus question is right now its 2 bottle set up 20 pound grill bottles that i could double to four thoses generators suck a lot of lp...the 2 i have now just do the fridge [when not under generator power] and my waterheater...they last forever...the big thing is running while in for the kids rooftop ac for the has no dash air...wondering what kind of hours from my bottles [if 4 would give me a descent range] plus every gas station has the 20lb swap out staions..
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Old 03-01-2009, 08:21 PM   #4
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Location: Adirondack Mountains NY
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Re: installing a generator..

I have communications sites with propane vapor gennys. For occasional power failure backup use, they are best. There is no carburetor varnish like stale gasoline causes, and the fuel does not get contaminated by condensation like diesel fuel sitting unused. The one thing to watch out for with a propane vapor genny is the surface area of the liquid in the tanks. The liquid needs to boil into vapor to fuel the genny. When it gets very cold, a single upright tank might not boil fast enough to provide all the vapor flow you need. There's an operational reason the big (250+ water gallon) tanks lay on their side like a mini-submarine - maximum liquid surface area inside. At hilltops where we can't get a tanker in, we use pairs of manifolds each having five 100-pound upright tanks connected in parallel. This gives us more run time plus better cold weather vapor production, due to the combined surface area. If you choose the four 20-pound tanks, plumb them so they can all be on together, at least in the cold.

You can usually find the fuel consumption figures on spec sheets at generator manufacturers' websites. For example, a new 2500 watt Onan propane RV genny uses 0.2 gallons or .09 pounds per hour at idle, 0.4/1.5 at half load, and 0.6 gallon or 2.4 pounds at full throttle. Four 20-pound barbecue tanks would last about 53 hours at 1250 watts, or 25 hours at 2500 watts. By comparison, a new Onan 3200 watt RV diesel draws 0.4 gallons per hour at full throttle. A 40-gallon tank would run it full-out for 100 hours. Larger gennys are less efficient for the same loads. Five 100-pound propane tanks last us 115 to 120 hours on an 11 kW genny powering a 3600 watt load. At that rate, four 20-pounders would last only 18 hours. I think that answers your question??

I would make my choice based on how I planned to use the bus. If I were constantly touring, and running fresh diesel through the tanks, diesel would be the most trouble-free choice. If I were homesteading, moving the bus a couple of times a year at most, I might consider propane in external tanks to be practical. If I was doing minimum-power boondocking with solar recharge plus some occasional generator charging use on stormy days (not what you describe), on-board propane might be sufficent. If i wanted the genny to start every time at -20F, then I would put up with gasoline plus fuel stabilizer.
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:14 PM   #5
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 42
Re: installing a generator..

Thanks that info has been very helpfull ..the choice is is gona be the 7500 lp..its just works best for my situation..thanks everyone..
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