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Old 09-22-2020, 05:54 PM   #1
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Default Ditching the onboard genny, going battery banks? Back country boondocking rig

2000 Chev RT200p

I am having some issues with our Onan 2800 Micro and rather than sinking big $$ into having it fixed I am thinking of going a new direction.

I am thinking of pulling it and putting a battery bank in there and possibly buying a portable genny for emergencies and charging if necessary.

So far I am thinking of possibly replacing the 12v coach with a 6v and adding a second (up to 3 more 6v, 2 in old genny spot).

If using 4 6v two in series as packs, and two in packs parallel to get them all together.

My wifes concern is being able to run the microwave in the boonies. We like the convenience. We will have propane onboard for the stove top, fridge and furnace.

I am a complete newb and have no idea where to go from here. Just some basic ideas.

If I need to since tons in a genny I think I could get away better going this route and maybe even save a little $$. I dunno.

Guidance from you all would be great!
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Old 09-22-2020, 06:14 PM   #2
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- you could get a stand alone generator which can power the microwave when needed and the Air conditioning, but likely not at the same time
if you go this route you wouldn't have much reason to add the battery packs


Carrying the genny and gas cans on a hitch carrier rack


a "1000 watt" microwave usually requires about 14 amps of 120 power ( 1700 watts)
keep in mind that a genny's power output drop at elevation- rating at sea level and drops something like 3% per 1000 ft


mike
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Old 09-22-2020, 06:29 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mkguitar View Post
- you could get a stand alone generator which can power the microwave when needed and the Air conditioning, but likely not at the same time
if you go this route you wouldn't have much reason to add the battery packs


Carrying the genny and gas cans on a hitch carrier rack


a "1000 watt" microwave usually requires about 14 amps of 120 power ( 1700 watts)
keep in mind that a genny's power output drop at elevation- rating at sea level and drops something like 3% per 1000 ft


mike
Thanks Mike.

My biggest concern would be able to power the furnace for extended periods because we will be using this rig for ski trip and stealth overnights. Only really looking at 72-96 hour max. I can always cook on the stove, but it is nice to have the micro

Looking at stays around 8500-9000 ft the genny will not be super efficient but can charge us up if need be.
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Old 09-22-2020, 07:37 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Theputnams515 View Post
2000 Chev RT200p

I am having some issues with our Onan 2800 Micro and rather than sinking big $$ into having it fixed I am thinking of going a new direction.

I am thinking of pulling it and putting a battery bank in there and possibly buying a portable genny for emergencies and charging if necessary.

So far I am thinking of possibly replacing the 12v coach with a 6v and adding a second (up to 3 more 6v, 2 in old genny spot).

If using 4 6v two in series as packs, and two in packs parallel to get them all together.

My wifes concern is being able to run the microwave in the boonies. We like the convenience. We will have propane onboard for the stove top, fridge and furnace.

I am a complete newb and have no idea where to go from here. Just some basic ideas.

If I need to since tons in a genny I think I could get away better going this route and maybe even save a little $$. I dunno.

Guidance from you all would be great!

We did that almost exact swap in our 07 190P Roadtrek a number of years ago.



Details here:


https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...rade-4007.html


One of our main reasons was to be able to run the microwave whenever we wanted without the generator or engine running. Works great.
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Old 09-22-2020, 07:43 PM   #5
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Talk to Booster.

He did this.

I did this kind of but kept my generator.

And of course I have Solar.

There are the dual alternator options but this is a pretty penny & it might require a lot of expensive changes in a 2000.

A Generator isn't the most perfect way to create energy however when your unit is working, its a positive. (Too noisy, disruptive to others when boondocking, nor efficient).

And Generators are lot easier to fix* than all the upgrades

*I posted a couple of ideas for people in Los Angeles as to two different repair shops but if this was my Rig, I would first take it to a Generator guy OR even better, a large lawnmower/chainsaw shop who might take it out & repair it for half the cost.

This is not a profitable job for an RV Shop, too much time, testing & labour.

But for a lawnmower shop, it's the other way around.

What us the Generator doing?
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Old 09-22-2020, 08:06 PM   #6
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I am pretty sure the carb is borked.

Not run long enough or exercised properly over the years by the previous owners.

It floods and wont start at this point.

I assume the float needle seat is covered in varnish and it wont allow the needle to properly meter fuel.

I pull the plug and a full Tsp of gas came out. Plug was fouled and gap was way off. Additionally, the over fueling is bad enough where the oil is contaminated with gas.

I am planning on changing the oil, then trying to start again after cleaning the plug. Not really happy about it but preparing for the future
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Old 09-22-2020, 08:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
We did that almost exact swap in our 07 190P Roadtrek a numbe of years ago.



Details here:


https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...rade-4007.html


One of our main reasons was to be able to run the microwave whenever we wanted without the generator or engine running. Works great.
Booster, you must have 20k in that system lol. not including your labor.

Looks great though!
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Old 09-22-2020, 08:20 PM   #8
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Booster, you must have 20k in that system lol. not including your labor.

Looks great though!

It wasn't cheap, but not nearly that much. Probably about $5K in all the charging and battery stuff and inverter. The labor hours cost about what they are worth
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Old 09-22-2020, 08:24 PM   #9
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I don't know how capable you are or how committed to doing the work.

My unit required a complete $800 overhaul a few years ago due to the fact there is a small nylon part near the carb that gets a groove worn unto it but to get to that part meantowering the generator, taking it apart, doing the overhaul ANYWAY, fitting a junction box because Roadtrek didn't do that at the factory in 2005 & then, reinstalling it.

The part is a known weakness of that particular make, model.& build date.

But it has run perfectly ever since.

$800 well invested.

Then a few months ago whenever I would use it I would get a warning on my Magnum MMS1012 Inverter Charger; HIGH A/C

This meant the unit's regulator was fried & I needed a new one - retail $250-300. Cannibilized one from a Generator wreck for $50 & had a Lawmower shop install & test it - required the dropping & reinstalling of the generator - only $231 & a $30 tip versus what my RV Guy said he could do it for all.included for $800.

Generators have a purpose in our older rigs & the wiring is set up for such versus upgrading to newer tech.

If your rig was a 2011 or later, it might be worth the investment unless this is going to be your last & only rig.
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Old 09-22-2020, 08:26 PM   #10
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PS. Its like a $10 part that works to stabilize the idling or something like that.
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Old 09-22-2020, 08:57 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Theputnams515 View Post
I am planning on changing the oil, then trying to start again after cleaning the plug.

I was able to disconnect the fuel line 1/2 way ( I have a petcock, removed that. bolt as plug on the tank side.)

used a syringe to push carb cleaner down fuel line into float bowl
waited
cranked, more carb cleaner...waited ...
cranked etc.

this was hours over a day.
then a mix of 1/5 seafoam and gas...
after a couple of cycles of this it sputtered and started
kept it going for about an hour ( surging and etc)

and repeated


now it's fine

all it cost was time and $12 or so for cleaner

Mike
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Old 09-22-2020, 09:15 PM   #12
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It sounds like the OP is properly evaluating his/her needs within a specific usage context, that being Colorado / colder weather.

I almost yanked our generator and these days I thank the powers-that-be that I did not, because the pandemic changed everything. Now all of a sudden I'm using a generator I spent the previous 4 years hauling around as dead weight, questioning my own sanity in the process. It's hot in Texas and it's just easier on my entire system if I run my a/c off the generator instead of the lithium battery.

With the pandemic's realignment of social concerns, far fewer people are annoyed by a generator in proximity. They are far more annoyed by ME in proximity. They'd much rather I stay in the van and make noise.

Colorado vs. Texas Gulf Coast. Two completely unrelated settings. That's why I always encourage people to do an actual needs analysis.
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Old 09-22-2020, 10:14 PM   #13
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It sounds like the OP is properly evaluating his/her needs within a specific usage context, that being Colorado / colder weather.

I almost yanked our generator and these days I thank the powers-that-be that I did not, because the pandemic changed everything. Now all of a sudden I'm using a generator I spent the previous 4 years hauling around as dead weight, questioning my own sanity in the process. It's hot in Texas and it's just easier on my entire system if I run my a/c off the generator instead of the lithium battery.

With the pandemic's realignment of social concerns, far fewer people are annoyed by a generator in proximity. They are far more annoyed by ME in proximity. They'd much rather I stay in the van and make noise.

Colorado vs. Texas Gulf Coast. Two completely unrelated settings. That's why I always encourage people to do an actual needs analysis.
Well stated!

When i had been off the forums for a while & $1100 later I kicking myself for 16 seconds when I discovered that some of the Giants here had switched over to the Nation's Dual Alternator set up.

It seemed like a no brainer.

The weight of the generator.

The noise.

The open ended repair cost if not well maintained.

But then 17 seconds later, I remember the annual flood issue that one of my client's & friend has each year, namely Elke Sommer the German Actress who was a big hit over here.

Every year (embroiled in a nasty neighbour dispute), the estate Elke has in LA is flooded every year because of the estate behind it, namely the Consulate Home of a Middle Eastern Nation.

It is incredible, because of changes to the neighboring property, every year for 5 years Elke's Garage.has up to 3 feet of standing waters, the Swimming Pool is flooded with mud slides & the grounds in part, equally so.

They are in the 70's & 80's & are good friends so I always put my hand up to help them abate the floods - we have 4 sump pumps in all the drains that fail because of construction debris, etc all running off the power but last year, all the power went off after several failures in Beverly Hills/Holmby Hills BUT WE HAD MY GENERATOR & IT SAVED THE DAY.

And then there have been many other situations where the Generator was the perfect tool albeit noisy & unsavory in build up areas including being parked abehind a corner of a very large Pool Cottage while a more well known Actor & Actress were renewing their vows with a small group of guests & the electrical system kept blowing.

So I am stuck with the necessary Utility of mine until I buy a brand new or late model rig.


This is a photo of Elke & Smiley on my Motorcycle & Elke & one of my very best friends, Kenny Medlock* on location at Marineland in San Diego (?) where they were shooting a one off episode of The Six Million Dollar Man.

*not her husband
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Old 09-22-2020, 10:17 PM   #14
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I was able to disconnect the fuel line 1/2 way ( I have a petcock, removed that. bolt as plug on the tank side.)

used a syringe to push carb cleaner down fuel line into float bowl
waited
cranked, more carb cleaner...waited ...
cranked etc.

this was hours over a day.
then a mix of 1/5 seafoam and gas...
after a couple of cycles of this it sputtered and started
kept it going for about an hour ( surging and etc)

and repeated


now it's fine

all it cost was time and $12 or so for cleaner

Mike
If it was a Human Being, I don't mind going pullig it apart but a Generator, no way.

Did you have to drop the unit or work on it from where it was?
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Old 09-22-2020, 11:18 PM   #15
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in place.
no lift, no jacks...wriggled under

mike
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Old 09-22-2020, 11:26 PM   #16
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Another Legend amongst us ...
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Old 09-25-2020, 12:48 AM   #17
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The gen is flooding so I should be getting plenty of fuel. It runs with the remote start switch on, almost perfectly really, a little rich. As soon as I release the switch it dies.


My goal for right now, put as much 12v amp hours on board to run the furnace for 48 hours, the tv at night and my detectors. We will be hauling bottled water and boondocking in the cold for ski season. I will revisit the Benny in the spring.

So what can I do to get more battery power on board for my needs?

I am thinking two 6v golf cart batts and my 12 v onboard. What other electronics would I need for this? I want them to charge off my alt and shore power like usual. I might possibly grab a suitcase solar array to try and charge in the CO winter sun!

But the solar may be added later. Suggestions?

I wish I had the coin to build boosters system lol.

I will be going with AGM no Li
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Old 09-25-2020, 12:51 AM   #18
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I have a harbor freight suitcase- it's max output is 1 amp...which requires that it be kicked around to follow the sun.
For what I do it serves, but I think a "toy" for what you need- esp short winter days
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Old 09-25-2020, 04:02 AM   #19
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The gen is flooding so I should be getting plenty of fuel. It runs with the remote start switch on, almost perfectly really, a little rich. As soon as I release the switch it dies.


My goal for right now, put as much 12v amp hours on board to run the furnace for 48 hours, the tv at night and my detectors. We will be hauling bottled water and boondocking in the cold for ski season. I will revisit the Benny in the spring.

So what can I do to get more battery power on board for my needs?

I am thinking two 6v golf cart batts and my 12 v onboard. What other electronics would I need for this? I want them to charge off my alt and shore power like usual. I might possibly grab a suitcase solar array to try and charge in the CO winter sun!

But the solar may be added later. Suggestions?

I wish I had the coin to build boosters system lol.

I will be going with AGM no Li
THESE ARE A NO BRAINER!

If its keeping your body warm at night (forget Lithium), how about just a truck drivers 12 volt blanket - or foot warmer - i gave mine away years ago when I moved from a van to a full Class B.

Very low amp draw.

Very efficient.

The key is to keep some external heat only.

Very, very, very inexpensive.

Here is it is, they have a huge selection of different sizes;

https://electrowarmth.com/


This unit is just for the bed;
https://electrowarmth.com/shop?olsPa...ts-bunk-warmer
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Old 09-25-2020, 08:12 AM   #20
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I thought about going all solar and batteries but I've changed my mind. When I bought my rig a year ago it had around 700 hours on the generator, it now has 1490. Mine has the 4000 watt generator. I got caught out of state when Covid started and ran it for much of the time during the day. I do have 2 lithium batteries but had not installed solar yet so they charge off the converter when I was running the AC. I ran the AC all day and the max air fan all night.

My van sat for several years before I bought it and I did the seafoam soak and changed the sparkplug and oil. it helped. I still plan on replacing the carb but like I said its run for over 700 hours.

My plan now is to add 400 to 500 watts of solar and 2 more lithium batteries for a total of 400Ah of battery storage. I will use an inverter/charger and add Gen start with the plan of running the whole rig off batteries and should they drop below a monitored set point the Gen will start to power what's needed and then top up the batteries before it shuts off. AC/heat pump, convection/microwave oven, inverter cooktop, etc. pretty much just like being at home.
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