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Old 10-12-2021, 10:16 PM   #1
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Default Generator recommendations????

I have a question about portable generators.

I'm taking delivery of a new Roadtrek SS Agile. It does have solar panels PLUS Lithium battery banks PLUS underhood engine generator. But later on next summer if I go boondocking the AC will only run around 3 hours (if that) on a set of fully charged lithium ion batteries. Hence I'm looking to add an external portable generator. I asked about an Onan built in generator and it was a no go due to it just cost way too much and they are saying they don't even they will get any in. I guess I could wait it out until next summer, but.......

I've narrowed down to two models I found at Costco. I would like to get them from Costco due to its excellent customer service and return policies.

Option #1:. Firman 3650W Running / 4550W Peak Gasoline Powered Generator with Remote Start
Item 1053129 Model P03608.
$499 + $19 s/h

Option #2: Firman 2900W Running / 3200W Peak Electric Start Dual Fuel Powered Inverter Generator - Gas and LP
Item 2202942 Model WH02942
CURRENTLY ON SALE $699 after $200 online rebate AND FREE SHIPPING.


I like option#1 due to its remote start / stop feature. But it's louder and bigger (more wattage. But my class B RV needs only around 2900 watts).

I like option #2 due to its smaller size, dual fuel option, INVERTER TYPE, and quieter. I DISLIKE IT BC NO REMOTE START!!!! And the fuel tank is way smaller therefore more refueling. It will not run for at least 12 hours without refueling (except if connected to propane, then can have longer run times. Higher cost of propane though.)

Question:. Somewhere I read that to be safe I will need to make sure the electric plug going to the RV is UNPLUGGED from the generator before I start the generator and to UNPLUG it from the generator BEFORE shutting the generator down. Of I'm going to go have to do that, might as well just manually hit the start button on the generator. No use for so called remote start!!

I intend to get a SMART power surge like this one:
Hughes Autoformers PWD30-EPO, 30 Amp Spike Power Watchdog, Shut Off

What do you all think? Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance
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Old 10-13-2021, 12:24 AM   #2
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:2900 watts"

To do what? a lot of watts?
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Old 10-13-2021, 12:55 AM   #3
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To run AC in the summer..... I know this summer is over, but I will be ready for next summer!!! The solar panels/lithium batteries are only good to run AC for a few hours at a time. The "Voltstart" is not available in Roadtrek SS Agile with the Sprinter Diesel. Mercedes Sprinter Diesel historically had a problem with prolonged idling, especially with the emissions system.


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:2900 watts"

To do what? a lot of watts?
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Old 10-13-2021, 02:30 AM   #4
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Just me but I think you should be concerned with how loud the generators are. There is little more aggravating than having a neighbor with a low dollar generator that he runs hours on end, which you intend to do.

With just a little exaggeration it could get you killed.
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Old 10-13-2021, 02:38 AM   #5
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No worries. Most of the time I will be middle of NOWHERE so no neighbors and no worries.

I'm getting a generator sound box dedicated to put in my rear hitch so that the generator will not be "loud". Definitely NO LOUDER than a Harley 😂. LOL

SO FAR, people who had replied to my original question with "other issues"?? Loudness is not an issue bc I have already plans in place to mitigate that.


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Just me but I think you should be concerned with how loud the generators are. There is little more aggravating than having a neighbor with a low dollar generator that he runs hours on end, which you intend to do.

With just a little exaggeration it could get you killed.
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Old 10-13-2021, 02:44 PM   #6
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If you are mounting it on a hitch rack, you are going to need some kind of isolation between the generator and the hitch. Built in generators have rubber bumpers to isolate them from the frame of the vehicle. Without this, your generator will transmit vibrations directly to the chassis, and the result will be teeth grinding vibration and noise.
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Old 10-13-2021, 03:54 PM   #7
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Thanks for the heads up.

I will make sure of this.





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If you are mounting it on a hitch rack, you are going to need some kind of isolation between the generator and the hitch. Built in generators have rubber bumpers to isolate them from the frame of the vehicle. Without this, your generator will transmit vibrations directly to the chassis, and the result will be teeth grinding vibration and noise.
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Old 10-13-2021, 04:48 PM   #8
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First: what's the weight of the generators?
Second: Hitch hauler puts lots of weight over rear of RV, best to use a trailer for weight and gas storage.
Third: Spend that much money on the Roadtrek with the built in engine generator but can not idle the engine to charge batteries?
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Old 10-13-2021, 05:55 PM   #9
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One is 120 lbs. The other option is 97 lbs. I think I will go with the better inverter generator (but without remote start/stop) --- the 97 lbs option. Quieter as is without a "sound box enclosure" ---- factory specs says 58db. With a sound box enclosure this will be hardly noticeable as far as sound is concerned. Also this option will run on either gas or propane.

I ordered a swing out trailer hitch carrier set up so I can still open the back doors. The weight limit for that set up is 350 lbs. Everything is much less than the 350 lbs limit which is certainly less than the 500 lbs tong trailer hitch tow bar limit.

Of course I will NOT know how all this affects the ride/performance of the MB Sprinter Diesel van until I go and drive it after all loaded and set up. I will keep all updated.


Yes, I looked into the prolonged idling the Sprinter's diesel front engine and found numerous problems with the emissions control and too much heat in the engine bay compartment (in previous gen of the Sprinters there were reports of wires/harnesses melting) on that engine. This is why the Voltstart is not recommended by Roadtrek/MB. Now if one is "driving" the RV for an hour or two......that is different bc the RV is "moving" VS idling the Sprinter's diesel front engine. All it takes is about 1.5 hours of driving to recharge ALL the Lithium battery banks. The Roadtrek engineers designed this so that by the time you drive to your destination.......all battery banks are fully charged up and ready for use. But for my intended purpose this will not work in the summer bc running the AC on lithium batteries will only give me around couple of hours at best.

I looked into possible other options to run the AC for extended periods:

1. Hook up to shore power line. This is VERY possible for me (most of the time). But for the times where I am middle of NOWHERE in the summer......this may be an issue.

2. Add more Lithium battery banks (just keep the existing solar panels and not adding any more solar panels). This is possible for me too. I may have to leave the RV at the dealership for "weeks" and this is not an option for me. A bit pricey though.

3. Install OEM Onan generator designed for the Roadtrek SS Agile. I asked the techs at the RV dealer. They said there are no room to install this bc that space is now occupied by the Lithium battery banks. They also said all parts are on back order, including generators (even if they manage to find room under the RV to install it). I said I can wait bc I won't need this set up really until next summer anyway. I may have to leave the RV at the dealership for "weeks" and this is not an option for me. Of course, this will be very pricey.

4. What I'm trying to do with a portable generator. I think this is the least complicated option. I can do all of the install myself without much difficulty and quickly.


I know "Third: Spend that much money on the Roadtrek with the built in engine generator but can not idle the engine to charge batteries?". This is TRULY a FIRST WORLD problem!!! LOL






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Originally Posted by mloganusda View Post
First: what's the weight of the generators?
Second: Hitch hauler puts lots of weight over rear of RV, best to use a trailer for weight and gas storage.
Third: Spend that much money on the Roadtrek with the built in engine generator but can not idle the engine to charge batteries?
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Old 10-13-2021, 06:39 PM   #10
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One other option: given you're mobile, it should be possible to simply move to cooler climes or higher elevations while boondocking, instead of carrying and running a generator so you can stay where it's really too hot to boondock.
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Old 10-13-2021, 06:55 PM   #11
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Yes, certainly possible. However, there are times (especially in the summer), where I'll be in EXTREMELY HUMID AND HOT locations for something like 4 to 5 days at a time. I have access to shore line power MOST of the time, but sometimes not bc I'll be "mobile". Maybe in about a couple of years I will have more time to roam the country and be very selective where I'm going to be. For example FL for the winter and CO for the summer (or something like that)? But for now I'm not as free to roam around due to work. Right now I'll be using the RV for work and while working I'll be in the RV.....then when I'm done with my stretch of 4 days or so......I'll just fly back home. Since the RV has solar panels and Lithium battery banks I can still keep the fridge going but turn off the AC. The solar panels has more than enough capacity to keep the fridge going AND top off the Lithium battery banks.

One thing I like about this class B RV is I can USUALLY fit into one parking spot and not attract too much attention. As stealthy as it gets. With a sound box for the generator......the loudness of the generator is cut down tremendously. If it's not that hot, then I don't even need to run the generator. Previously I had two class C's with multiple slide outs and the thing takes up 4 parking spots!!!


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One other option: given you're mobile, it should be possible to simply move to cooler climes or higher elevations while boondocking, instead of carrying and running a generator so you can stay where it's really too hot to boondock.
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Old 10-13-2021, 06:58 PM   #12
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Default I'd Go With Quietest and Lightest

To me, the Honda EU2200i would be the best choice.

It's quieter and about half the weight of the Firman.

The idea of buying a generator, then having to buy or build a sound deadening box, sounds misguided to me.

FWIW, last weekend we camped at Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, California, where most of the campsites are dry-camping without hookups. In that area, almost everyone had a generator out and running during the day. Almost all of them, outside the oldest Toyota-based mini-C to the biggest, newest Class A, were Hondas.
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Old 10-13-2021, 07:22 PM   #13
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Good point. I'll look into this. The Honda EU2200i may not have enough capacity for my Roadtrek SS Agile to run the AC. I recall the OEM Onan generator is a 2800?

I'm thinking if I get a Honda generator with the right capacity to run the AC..... I will still have to mount it to the trailer hitch carrier. If I just lock it down with chains/cables it is still visible and invites the possibility of theft bc I'll be parking the RV at airports/parking lots for something like a week at a time when I fly out back to home.

Also if it rains while I'm running the Honda generator.....this will not be good, right?

So because I'm going to have a sound box enclosure for the above reasons, then it really does not matter which generator I get as long as it's reliable and not too loud. I know NOTHING beats a Honda generator.....but for the same capacity a Honda EU3000is cost $5799 on Amazon (maybe cheaper elsewhere?). Mine from Costco is $699 and has a little bit more capacity and Costco has EXCELLENT no questions asked customer service and return policies. I can buy 8 of the Costco generator for one of the Honda's. If I'm not going to have a trailer hitch carrier and an enclosure for the generator, then I guess I would go for the Honda. Yes, the Honda spec says "49 to 58 dB".....Mine from Costco is rated at 58db. Is this worth the price spread of $5100? To some people maybe. But for me no.







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Originally Posted by rvsprinterguy View Post
To me, the Honda EU2200i would be the best choice.

It's quieter and about half the weight of the Firman.

The idea of buying a generator, then having to buy or build a sound deadening box, sounds misguided to me.

FWIW, last weekend we camped at Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, California, where most of the campsites are dry-camping without hookups. In that area, almost everyone had a generator out and running during the day. Almost all of them, outside the oldest Toyota-based mini-C to the biggest, newest Class A, were Hondas.
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Old 10-13-2021, 07:32 PM   #14
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How are you going to sleep with an air conditioner going overhead and a generator on a hitch right next to your head? I no I can’t. In know way will it be stealth. Both are loud and obvious and nothing you can do will mitigate that. Also a hitch generator is going to stick out since a standard parking space is only 20 ft. If you have enough battery to get 2 hours out of an air conditioner that’s enough time to cool your van and dehumidify from the day’s temperatures to survive a night’s sleeping.

Seek the proverbial 70 degrees by planning your itinerary or going high. If you get caught just seek campgrounds with shore power or if boondocking invest in sliding door and back door screens and open it up at night. The desert, for instance, cools down at night. A good fan blowing on you probably will do in most situations. A ceiling exhaust fan to me is more valuable than an air conditioner.I’ve practiced that for 16 years in every state of Class B travel and rarely ran air conditioning at night and never an Onan generator when I had one on my first two Class Bs.
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Old 10-13-2021, 08:12 PM   #15
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I get your points.

Yes, the generator and the AC make noises. I have stayed at nice hotels like Hilton and Marriott and unless it's a 5 star location, the AC is very loud. For example, Hilton Garden Inn is nice and I had stayed there all over the country. But as soon as I turn on the AC it is loud!! Even at the "suites" hotels like Marriott Residence Inn or Hilton Homewood Suites. Hilton Embassy Suites are less noisy with their AC units......but only exists in big cities. In small cities there is not even a Hilton Garden Inn. There might be a Hampton Inn, but the AC will be VERY LOUD.......LOUDER than the RV's AC for sure. These days with COVID or bedbugs, flees, or whatever....... I'm not too sure I want to stay at any hotels. Believe me I had bad experiences in the past. I stayed at lots of hotels for my work ... I'm a top tier frequent status on Hilton Honors Diamond and Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite so I've been there.

Also sometimes I will be working nights (outside of the RV) and sleep during the day (in the RV) when it's gonna be HOT and HUMID during the summer in locations where I just have to be there. I only have to run the generator if I'm middle of NOWHERE. Most of the time I will have shore power line access without any issues. I just wanted to be prepared and have lots of options to me so all options are on the table for whatever/whenever I will need.

As for parking......no problems where I'm going to be at. Plenty of parking. This MAY be an issue when I go into big metro areas .....but for the first couple of years not a problem. Later on if I'm traveling to metro areas will be for pleasure and my wife will be traveling with me. For sure then, she will prefer a nice hotel like Embassy Suites or similar.

All that screens and fans and all that came with my Roadtrek SS Agile standard. All good to go.




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Originally Posted by Davydd View Post
How are you going to sleep with an air conditioner going overhead and a generator on a hitch right next to your head? I no I canít. In know way will it be stealth. Both are loud and obvious and nothing you can do will mitigate that. Also a hitch generator is going to stick out since a standard parking space is only 20 ft. If you have enough battery to get 2 hours out of an air conditioner thatís enough time to cool your van and dehumidify from the dayís temperatures to survive a nightís sleeping.

Seek the proverbial 70 degrees by planning your itinerary or going high. If you get caught just seek campgrounds with shore power or if boondocking invest in sliding door and back door screens and open it up at night. The desert, for instance, cools down at night. A good fan blowing on you probably will do in most situations. A ceiling exhaust fan to me is more valuable than an air conditioner.Iíve practiced that for 16 years in every state of Class B travel and rarely ran air conditioning at night and never an Onan generator when I had one on my first two Class Bs.
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Old 10-13-2021, 08:31 PM   #16
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If your going to,put a lot of hours on it or the application is critical, Honda. Otherwise, Predator from Harbor Freight.
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Old 10-13-2021, 09:13 PM   #17
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Good point.

Let me evaluate this.

Thanks



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If your going to,put a lot of hours on it or the application is critical, Honda. Otherwise, Predator from Harbor Freight.
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Old 10-14-2021, 07:27 PM   #18
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One other thing to keep in mind when you're away from the van: assuming the fridge will seriously keep things cold inside while the van is roasting in the hot sun.

Not very likely to stay cold enough to be safe for most food items. Just not, unless you have a super-efficient unit that is also far more insulated than the average RV fridge. The van will likely get so hot inside that the fins on the back of the fridge can no longer effectively exchange heat with the air inside the van. So, I'm not arguing the batteries will die, but I am arguing that in that environment, even if your fridge runs 24x7, there's a very good chance that at some point the temp of items inside that poor struggling fridge will cross into the "likely to get you sick later" zone and stay there long enough to be impactful. Just something else to keep in mind.
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Old 10-15-2021, 01:09 AM   #19
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Thanks for the heads up.


I've not had this problem before in the two large class C's RV I had over the last 16 years or so. I guess I've not taken these two RV's to real hot and humid areas (stayed in SoCal most of the time).

But this class B Roadtrek SS Agile will be different bc it will be primarily at least the first year from now be in the deep south where it is EXTREMELY HUMID AND HOT. So I'll have to put a temperature recording device to monitor the fridge.

Thanks




Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
One other thing to keep in mind when you're away from the van: assuming the fridge will seriously keep things cold inside while the van is roasting in the hot sun.

Not very likely to stay cold enough to be safe for most food items. Just not, unless you have a super-efficient unit that is also far more insulated than the average RV fridge. The van will likely get so hot inside that the fins on the back of the fridge can no longer effectively exchange heat with the air inside the van. So, I'm not arguing the batteries will die, but I am arguing that in that environment, even if your fridge runs 24x7, there's a very good chance that at some point the temp of items inside that poor struggling fridge will cross into the "likely to get you sick later" zone and stay there long enough to be impactful. Just something else to keep in mind.
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Old 10-15-2021, 03:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVclassB4me View Post
Thanks for the heads up.


I've not had this problem before in the two large class C's RV I had over the last 16 years or so. I guess I've not taken these two RV's to real hot and humid areas (stayed in SoCal most of the time).

But this class B Roadtrek SS Agile will be different bc it will be primarily at least the first year from now be in the deep south where it is EXTREMELY HUMID AND HOT. So I'll have to put a temperature recording device to monitor the fridge.

Thanks
Sure thing. I'm obviously projecting, because on a hot day the "NeverCool" compressor fridge in my van does exactly what I described above, having challenges staying properly cold inside when the sun beats down on that side of the van, and more trouble if the inside of the van is particularly warm.

To mitigate, I've made some minor changes that improve airflow over the cooling fins on the back of the fridge, I've added a couple of layers of Reflextix to the top of the fridge inside the cabinet, and on particularly sunny days when I know the sun will be hitting that side of the van I actually use magnets and a strip of Reflectix on the outside of the van to reduce the amount of heat absorbed in that specific area.
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