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Old 12-27-2016, 11:28 PM   #1
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Generator Debate

Hello all,

Excitedly and impatiently awaiting our just ordered Eagle 355MBQS!!! One of the decisions I have yet to solidify is the genset. Although I am capable of reading all the tech data, I am more so looking for some real world examples, advise, opinions, etc.

To help, here is a brief summary of the setup/use case:

~Although I am an experienced outdoorsman, camper, backpacker, etc. I have used/borrowed some travel trailers, but this will be the first I have owned. This makes my real world experience with generators slim to none.
~I have a large group; the "wife", 4 kids +1 in college, and 2 dogs.
~Tow vehicle is Diesel
~5er was ordered with 2 A/C units and the "Dry Camping Package" (larger LP tanks and some wiring for an onboard genset)
~We will Boondock more than hookup

Now the kicker, I live in AZ. Although we will hit the road occasionally, the majority of our weekend travels will be within the AZ area. Even winter camping can be warm depending on what part of the state we are in. Because of this, I would expect the A/C unit(s) to be running quite often.

The idea of having an onboard (Onan 5500 LP) is the most appealing for connivance, however my concern is the LP consumption. In a boondock situation is the consumption of LP just to high to sustain high A/C usage for much longer than a weekend?

If the LP route does not make sense I would probably go with dual 2000 hondas or something of the sort, but this also requires a 3rd fuel source as the TV is diesel and the trailer is LP.

And lastly, not sure how I feel about sleeping over a gas fuel tank, but does anyone have experience using a gas Onan onboard? And if so, how/where did you store a fuel tank?
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Old 12-28-2016, 05:23 AM   #2
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I have a gas Onan 5500 and using the a/c's the built in 10 gallon tank will run 15-20 hours. If it is real hot then a little less. I think the built in gas tanks now are slightly larger, but not sure. I carry 2 five gallon extra gas cans in my truck to keep the onboard tank full when boondocking. I picked up a battery operated pump that is rated for gas to make the transfer easy and clean. I also have a Genturi that I use when camping around others and use most of the time regardless. The idea of the gas fumes exiting at the top of my rig is appealing for me vs ground level. In addition to the built in CO/LP detector I also have a portable CO detector in my bedroom.

I'm very happy with my rig after 6+ years of full time use. I do keep Stabil Marine Formula in the gas at all times. I use non-ethanol gas 99% of the time and when I do have to use ethanol gas I make sure to run it out completely and I do put Stabil Marine Formula in the ethanol gas as well. The first of EVERY month I run the generator with a good load on it for 1 hour to completely heat it up including the generator portion. I change the engine oil and filter once a year and use Shell Rotella 15-40 oil which is the same as my diesel truck. Total time on the generator right now is 387 hours and it has never failed me.
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Old 12-28-2016, 06:45 AM   #3
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Hi srvdmy4usn,

We also have a 355MBQS on order. We are debating adding the genset option. I was concerned about the 3rd propane tank, do you know where it gets added?
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:54 AM   #4
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Thanks Ed, appreciate the insight. Hopefully someone with similar use has the LP version so I can get some info from both spectrums

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayco325bhqsoh View Post
I was concerned about the 3rd propane tank, do you know where it gets added?
I am about 90% sure that there is not a 3rd tank. It is my understanding the "Dry Camping Package" upgrades the 2x30 LBS tanks to 2x40 LBS tanks. It also includes the pre-installation of the wiring harness and I would assume the venting.

If you have not yet looked, the fuel usage for the Onan 5500 LP is:
No Load - 1.8 LBS per hour
Half Load - 3.3 LBS per hour
Full Load - 4.6 LBS per hour
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:58 AM   #5
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I would be fine with either a gas or LP Onan. Many toy haulers are gas onans running off the built in gas tanks for toy refills. Those have 50+ gallons of fuel on board and dont have any problems. Your third option is buy a stand alone generator (this is what I did for my 5th wheel). I used (and still have even after that rig is gone) a Yamaha EF6300iSDE and got the remote start option. I put this in the bed of my truck and ran it from there (with a grounding stake). The benefits I saw with this was that I completely eliminated ALL vibration and greatly reduced the sound of a generator while inside the rig. Second, I was able to use that generator for other things instead of just the RV...and I got to keep it when the RV went away.

Running one AC while camping in temperatures around 100 degrees during the day, and all the other normal stuff, microwave, TV, etc, I was able to get about 10-12 hours of use with 5 gallons of gas.
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Old 12-28-2016, 10:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyRoRyan View Post
I would be fine with either a gas or LP Onan. Many toy haulers are gas onans running off the built in gas tanks for toy refills. Those have 50+ gallons of fuel on board and dont have any problems. Your third option is buy a stand alone generator (this is what I did for my 5th wheel). I used (and still have even after that rig is gone) a Yamaha EF6300iSDE and got the remote start option. I put this in the bed of my truck and ran it from there (with a grounding stake). The benefits I saw with this was that I completely eliminated ALL vibration and greatly reduced the sound of a generator while inside the rig. Second, I was able to use that generator for other things instead of just the RV...and I got to keep it when the RV went away.

Running one AC while camping in temperatures around 100 degrees during the day, and all the other normal stuff, microwave, TV, etc, I was able to get about 10-12 hours of use with 5 gallons of gas.

Back when I had my 5er, and lived in Nevada; I did very similar to Ryan here. I had a Makita 5500 gas genset. There were times I used it while in the bed of the truck (like Ryan, I had a grounding stake I would set up. This is a very important step when running them this way).
We primarily boondock and do a lot of hunting. Even in Northern Nevada the hunting season is often a very hot time. I often got around a 6 - 8 hour runtime on a tank of gas while using the A/C.
That was over 12 years ago and I still have that generator today, I have it set up as a back up for my house currently. I have much smaller inverter genset for my trailer now. Here in Alaska we have never used the A/C on the trailer. We still primarily boondock though.
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Old 12-28-2016, 11:13 AM   #7
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Onan

Quote:
Originally Posted by srvdmy4usn View Post
Hello all,

Excitedly and impatiently awaiting our just ordered Eagle 355MBQS!!! One of the decisions I have yet to solidify is the genset. Although I am capable of reading all the tech data, I am more so looking for some real world examples, advise, opinions, etc.

To help, here is a brief summary of the setup/use case:

~Although I am an experienced outdoorsman, camper, backpacker, etc. I have used/borrowed some travel trailers, but this will be the first I have owned. This makes my real world experience with generators slim to none.
~I have a large group; the "wife", 4 kids +1 in college, and 2 dogs.
~Tow vehicle is Diesel
~5er was ordered with 2 A/C units and the "Dry Camping Package" (larger LP tanks and some wiring for an onboard genset)
~We will Boondock more than hookup

Now the kicker, I live in AZ. Although we will hit the road occasionally, the majority of our weekend travels will be within the AZ area. Even winter camping can be warm depending on what part of the state we are in. Because of this, I would expect the A/C unit(s) to be running quite often.

The idea of having an onboard (Onan 5500 LP) is the most appealing for connivance, however my concern is the LP consumption. In a boondock situation is the consumption of LP just to high to sustain high A/C usage for much longer than a weekend?

If the LP route does not make sense I would probably go with dual 2000 hondas or something of the sort, but this also requires a 3rd fuel source as the TV is diesel and the trailer is LP.

And lastly, not sure how I feel about sleeping over a gas fuel tank, but does anyone have experience using a gas Onan onboard? And if so, how/where did you store a fuel tank?
If you want to run both AC's get the 5500 Onan, we had one in our 2006 camper.You will need two Honda 2000's, it takes 2900 watts to start one 15000 AC unit. The 3000 Honda wont start em up.We live outside Phoenix we just switch ac units at night for the bedroom.I miss my Onan!
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Old 12-28-2016, 11:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by bdreinv View Post
we had one in our 2006 camper
Did you have the LP or Gas Onan?

I know there are conversion kits to allow them to run off of gas or LP. Need to do a little more research, but maybe that is another solution. Run LP for normal use, the few times a year where we might need longer generator use we bring some extra gas cans.
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:51 AM   #9
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Gas but my 2006 camper was a toy hauler I guess that is why I had gas.From what I understand 5th wheels generators must run on propane.My buddy has a 2500 Onan no complaints on propane.Guess its an extremely clean running fuel!
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Old 02-10-2017, 05:07 PM   #10
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With two 15k AC units... you will need the 5500 at the minimum. And since your TV is Diesel, you don't want to be carrying around cans of Gasoline. Extra 30# bottles of Propane is in your future if you will be dry camping in the heat for more than a few days at a time.
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Old 02-11-2017, 04:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdreinv View Post
Gas but my 2006 camper was a toy hauler I guess that is why I had gas.From what I understand 5th wheels generators must run on propane.My buddy has a 2500 Onan no complaints on propane.Guess its an extremely clean running fuel!
My Onan 5500 is in my fifth wheel and runs on gas. The gas tank is built in.
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