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Old 04-12-2019, 03:49 PM   #21
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Like everything else, the question of a generator is how often will you use it. If you are dry camping in one place for weeks at a time, then having a separate generator may be a necessity. Especially if you want to live in air conditioned comfort.
I agree with your point. It is just that many of us don't quite find that being simultaneously pummeled by the A/C above and the Onan from below qualifies as "comfort". I agree with George that a truly practical (quiet, robust) genset is technically possible, and if I could buy one I probably would. But, the fact that I can't makes me a big second-alternator enthusiast. I still have my Onan on board "just in case". But, I haven't used it in any meaningful way in years.

Still rooting for WATT and their propane fuel cell...
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Old 04-12-2019, 04:06 PM   #22
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20 years ago, I had 1999 Ford F-350 7.3l Diesel with 2 alternators from the factory. If I recall correctly there were around 115A each. So there nothing new regarding 2 alternators on board, different reasons for Powerstrokes and for today’s underhood generators.

I repeat my dream, 300-500W power plant, quiet enough to run 24/7 if needed.
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Old 04-12-2019, 04:09 PM   #23
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I agree with your point. It is just that many of us don't quite find that being simultaneously pummeled by the A/C above and the Onan from below qualifies as "comfort". I agree with George that a truly practical (quiet, robust) genset is technically possible, and if I could buy one I probably would. But, the fact that I can't makes me a big second-alternator enthusiast. I still have my Onan on board "just in case". But, I haven't used it in any meaningful way in years.

Still rooting for WATT and their propane fuel cell...

I had an interesting conversation with an Onan engineer and developer when he answered a Craigslist ad for a chop saw of all things. Die hard tinker of neat stuff, it appears and he even has a functioning Stirling engine in his home shop. He as said there was really almost no chance of a small size RV generator redo from Onan and would expect the current on to discontinue if emission rules or sales dictated it. Too small a market. Whether other brands think the same is probably likely as nobody has jumped in and Onan is the only one left.


That said, in a small van I don't know if even a quiet Honda would be all that great once mounted to the van. You still have the exhaust to deal with and any noise and vibration in very close proximity. There likely is a reason a lot of DP class A's have the generator way in front and far from the daily life in the RV.



If you are in an area where noise isn't and issue, from a livability in the van point of view perhaps a remote generator would actually be the best if it could be made more convenient for storage, moving, fueling, etc. At least you wouldn't have it in a tin can with you while in use.


I would agree that the alternate energy sources are biggest hope for better solution for those that use lots of power and need AC as none of the existing technologies are all that great.
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:13 PM   #24
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Thank you Avanti, this needed called out, mea culpa.

Rereading in actual detail, I stand by all but my first sentence from my earlier post. The article itself has a lot of nonsense, I guess I was just thinking that there are upsides and downsides to most setups, and just because I like my Volta setup doesn't mean I might not do something else for a different usage model. But his arguments for problem with second alternator, the main focus upon rereading, aren't good ones. There is a link at the bottom to his Newmar New Aire page, that might explain a few things if that is his main RV, his usage would likely be very different than mine, with the noisy Onan better insulated from his living space.
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:21 PM   #25
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I'm trying to be realistic. I don't dry camp for weeks at a time at least in one place without driving. If that became a desire a trailer might be more practical as in use the right tool for the job, use the right kind of RV for the desire. When I had an Onan generator with my first two Bs I seldom used it on the road except in emergency situations when the batteries got too low and sometimes to brew a pot of coffee or short uses of the microwave. Ultimately, I had many more hours dutifully "exercising" it monthly for maintenance than actual use. When it got hot, I did what I did tent camping for 40 years. I went outside and had a nice screen tent if it rained or the bugs got too bad. But in reality I just try not to punish myself traveling in hot temperatures if I can help it. I can count on my fingers on one hand the few times it was unbearable.

I don't care to talk about the future energy systems. I think the discussion is what is feasible or available now. It's just a static diversion. When someone puts a WATT system in an RV whether it is DIY or an upfitter, then I might be interested. I've been pretty much an early adopter.

In my morning exercise at the gym I listened to a podcast from the Wendlands where they interviewed Battleborn. The Battleborn exec closed with "Lead is dead" and Mike Wendland pulled that as the podcast title. The interview was topical to this thread. You don't have to have lithium batteries, second alternator or Onan to boondock. The Wendlands went with AGMs, I think 2 batteries, and they still boondock. They are on the fence whether to upgrade to lithium batteries, though they had them before.

You can live off the grid in a B if you know how. Many of you already know that. I knew it. I'm just spoiled. When I stop for fuel, my wife will brew two cups of coffee in the Keurig in the time it takes to fill the tank. I like 120v AC power all the time to not sacrifice electrical functions while boondocking. I don't like having to deal with propane (and I don't have it.) That's why I like high amp lithium battery banks, inverter/chargers to handle every appliance and the second alternator efficiency for driving and not having campsite noise be it idling or an Onan.
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:19 PM   #26
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………………………..I have 9600 watts of AGM batteries in my 2015 Etrek ……………………..
Interesting, you pulling a lot of current from these batteries 9600[W] / 12[V] = 800 [A], that is a lot of oomph. Congratulations.
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:38 PM   #27
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…………………………….. He as said there was really almost no chance of a small size RV generator redo from Onan and would expect the current on to discontinue if emission rules or sales dictated it. Too small a market. Whether other brands think the same is probably likely as nobody has jumped in and Onan is the only one left……………………….
It is unfortunate and I agree that Onan will not step get into this type of development.

A startup company licensing good basic engine/generator and developing a flat silencing shell for it could work. Or getting a Chinese company interested in this market could work. Contrary to LPG fuels cells difficult technology, small engine and generator technology exists. It is a business decision.

A good example is Eberspacher/Espar diesel heater, simple technology for about $750 to $2500. exists. This one is from China and this market is likely smaller than a RV small generator one. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...vYzSWgvfLSi824
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:53 PM   #28
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Or getting a Chinese company interested in this market could work. Contrary to LPG fuels cells difficult technology, small engine and generator technology exists. It is a business decision.
Do Chinese companies EVER make a business decision other than to copy exactly some product that is proven both technically and commercially?

[Not saying that that is bad, just that they are not known innovators]
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:54 PM   #29
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Theoretically 800ah, if you assume a 50% average DOD and 80% at most then considerably less than that. And even less if I tried drawing that much power over a brief period for the convection oven, instant hot water or air conditioner. And operating the inverter required for those uses draws an additional 100w per hour. If used in below freezing or below zero weather the batteries produce considerably less power. People tend to look at the math under ideal circumstances and ignore the reality that circumstances are rarely ideal.

My guess is that with lithium batteries requiring less space and weighing less as their price falls we will get to a point where battery storage will be the only source of cabin power for most RV's. But we are not really there yet except for those of us who carefully manage our usage.
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:04 PM   #30
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Avanti-

The idea the Chinese are not innovative is a myth. There is a reason the US is working so hard to prevent them from taking over the 5G cell market in Europe and Canada among other places. Its always a mistake to start believing your own propaganda.
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