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Old 06-13-2018, 01:34 AM   #1
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Smile *Dilemma*

Hi all, I am new here so thank you for your patience if I screw up with this post

Dilemma: our 2018 Roadtrek Simplicity (Promaster platform) did not come with an under-hood gen or solar or lithium. We are exploring options to increase our boondocking power supply. Solar is not a viable option as we live on the wet-coast of BC, nor is retro-fitting an under-hood gen (cost prohibitive).
As I see it, we are left with 2 options
Option 1:
Simply purchasing a Honda 2000 gen would be the cheapest, easiest solution, but due to no external storage area, it would have to live in the coach in a sealed tote and kept outside while camped. This would obviously leave it open to theft. And I don’t relish having the gen always underfoot while traveling.
Option 2 (and my preferred):
I wanted to have my RT dealer install a 2nd battery and have it tied in to the existing system. This seemed like the best option, but my dealer informed me that there is no ‘off the rack’ option to install a 2nd battery. He thinks it could possibly be done, but places to put it are few, thus exposing it to hazards from the road. It would end up being more expensive than the Honda gen, and he thinks it may affect the warranty.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Is there an inexpensive option for storing a small generator somewhere in the van? Or is there another power supply option I haven’t thought of?

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Old 06-13-2018, 04:28 AM   #2
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Are you only going to travel in Vancouver? Not meant to sound flip . I camped a few days in Lillooet last year and had plenty of sun.

Have you thought of a genny on a rear luggage carrier? You also may want to look at the Champion inverter genny. Almost as quiet as a Honda but also has a remote fob. Makes things a bunch more convenient. About 8- 900 in the States.

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Old 06-13-2018, 04:39 AM   #3
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We are on the island, but will be doing some mainland trips too. I think we will go the genny route, just wasnt keen on having to add a storage box on the back of the rv. Thanks for the tip on the champion....will check it out ��
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:31 PM   #4
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Have you looked at Battle Born Lithium batteries? I believe they make one that you could drop in and replace your factory battery and have a lot more amperage without having to add a second battery.
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:47 PM   #5
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Option 3: Pay a local welding hobbyist to create a custom hitch carrier for a portable generator to be carried outside, whether in use or not. That way you avoid the hassle of having it underfoot.

Our analogous dilemma had to do with hauling home-made frozen food for 5+ people to a far-off cottage destination which is a four hour round trip from the nearest real grocery store. We designed a minimalist hitch carrier that uses steel bars to lock down a Yeti cooler (instructions here if you are interested in taking a look at the project).

Visualize a generator receptacle on the left side of this:

The security issue is a very real concern. Both Yetis and portable generators are high-target theft items. We designed the hitch carrier itself to be secondarily secured to the chassis using a Pewag chain, which are extremely difficult to cut (nothing is ever 100% secure, but no casual thief can get through this):

In other words, we are not just relying on a hitch receiver locking pin for security (they are all easily defeated). It's been a couple of years now that we've had this assemblage in place, and nobody has been able to steal any part of it, even though we routinely leave our van unattended for long periods of time. Plus with this carrier, I gained a permanent step into the rear of our van (very convenient). Plus we can carry items other than the Yeti cooler when the occasion calls for it (a bike and a pressure washer being our two most common hauls). Sometimes I also use the Yeti to carry non-food items, such as the pump for our inflatable kayak, PFDs, etc. This was my second favorite van project ever (lithium and solar were my favorite).

Edit: I also made dirt covers for both the Yeti and the gas can that we need for our chain saw - that was added as a subsequent removable module (and you'd need such a thing for a generator). The chain saw we carry in the galley kitchen cabinet, under and behind the sink and stove.

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Old 06-13-2018, 01:41 PM   #6
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Have you checked out what the FitRV has done with their Promaster with lithium ion batteries and underhood generator (second alternator)?

Our Generator-Free RV Lithium Battery, Solar, Alternator, and Inverter

I don't consider an Onan or Honda generator as a viable option for boondocking when you can charge your batteries better and faster while driving and have more power with lithium ion batteries in the same space. I've never understood the concept of a generator noise disturbing a pristine and quiet wooded site.
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:05 PM   #7
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Does the fridge in your 2018 Roadtrek Promaster Simplicity run on propane? If so, then you likely only need to idle the Promaster engine periodically to keep the battery usable. You'll likely need to drive to empty the tanks, get fresh water or get food every few days anyway.

My guess is that you're not too concerned about needing air conditioning on Vancouver Island. I recall it was typically one relatively short heat spell per summer from my years (two decades) there.
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Old 06-18-2018, 04:16 PM   #8
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Go back to the dealer and trade up for what you really need. It'll save money and aggravation over the long haul.
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Old 06-18-2018, 06:02 PM   #9
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To me this is the best option, will be doing this myself at some point. Very easy to install and maintain.

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Old 06-18-2018, 06:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by deekdeek View Post
To me this is the best option, will be doing this myself at some point. Very easy to install and maintain.

You can't just drop-in replacement batteries and call it a day. You have to change out your converter as well to one with a lithium profile, or you'll cook these in short order. If you have a solar controller, you'll need to do the same.

If mounted under the Promaster, then you have to consider freeze protection.

Frankly, if you go this route, I prefer the Stark Power batteries. They are in a bigger size (125 ah) and they now have a bluetooth connection so you can monitor the cells on your phone with an app.

FWIW, the guy in the video has real problems if his inverter is drawing 7 amps at idle! Does RT do any testing really? Appalling!

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