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Old 10-06-2010, 01:12 PM   #1
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to generator or not to generator

I am still hunting around for a used SMB, so far with limited success if I want to stick with a V10 and 4WD. I am open to buying new if I can't get the right price on used. I have noticed that few people (at least among those selling used) have generators. I was wondering why that was. I can live without it, but it seems like it would be nice to have, especially for those boondocking, which I would mostly be doing. Cost? Space? How noisy are they (especially from outside the van) compared to the engine? Thanks.
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:12 PM   #2
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Re: to generator or not to generator

Unless you have heavy electrical usage, a solar panel will keep the batteries up when camping.

We have one 125W solar panel and can camp forever as long as we get 1-2 hours of sun/day.

Mike
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:22 PM   #3
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Re: to generator or not to generator

Ditto on the solar. No gas, no breathing exhaust and no listening to the generator run. Plus you battery is fully charges every day which will make the battery last longer.

I just got back from 4 days in Saline Valley and one day it was 107 degrees (Yikes) I turned the fridge to max and it ran continually during the day and my battery was still fully charged by noon.


Cheers
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Old 10-06-2010, 03:51 PM   #4
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Re: to generator or not to generator

Quote:
Originally Posted by diver110
.....generators....How noisy are they (especially from outside the van) compared to the engine? Thanks.
I am considering a Sprinter and had been thinking these same things about a generator. I had also been thinking about whether I wanted to go all diesel (heater, stove, generator) with that increased cost, while draining my fuel supply, or to go propane for all those things (saving up front cost and preserving the primary fuel), or to go gasoline on a generator. One thought that came to mind was using a high capacity alternator or second alternator ('11 Sprinters actually can have 2 alternators) and run the high idle to charge the batteries.

I realize that your question may only be related to comparative noise levels and not about using the alternator as a generator while idling. I also realize the V10 is not diesel. All that being said, the following thread made me change my mind about using an alternator at idle in place of a generator.

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showth ... ght=idling
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Old 10-06-2010, 04:30 PM   #5
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Re: to generator or not to generator

I bought a Honda 2000 so that I could run the rear AC when camping in hot weather. The generator is really quiet especially considering that I really only use it for the AC which makes a lot more noise.
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:03 PM   #6
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Re: to generator or not to generator

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Originally Posted by 8850
I bought a Honda 2000 so that I could run the rear AC when camping in hot weather. The generator is really quiet especially considering that I really only use it for the AC which makes a lot more noise.
I take it the rear AC is louder that the regular van AC?

How heavy are those Honda generators?

Thanks.
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:34 PM   #7
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Re: to generator or not to generator

If you are going to be boondocking in the southern U.S. in the summer, you will find that you will sweat a lot during the day and not sleep very well without an air conditioner...........which requires something like a 10,000+ btu air cond and a 3000 watt generator (or shore power). It is difficult to squeeze a large enough AC and gen into a SMB with a penthouse to keep it cool in the southern summer sunshine. It can be done but would be non-standard, IMO. Stosh
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:17 PM   #8
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Re: to generator or not to generator

I've had the honda eu2000 for about 4 years and it is a great complement to our SMB. It fits perfectly in the back of an EB van. Weight is about 45-47 pounds with gas. I use it often to top off the house batteries or to run the microwave when camping. I'm OK with no AC for camping, but do sometimes need/want to run the heater on cold nights. The eu2000 will run in eco-mode for about 15 hours on one gallon, which is plenty to run the heater all night. It is quiet and also handy around the house for other chores.
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:49 PM   #9
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Re: to generator or not to generator

I have an Onan Microlite 2800. I would say it is 3 times louder than my engine, very noticable when running. I was at an RV dealer the other day and heard what sounded like an engine running on a Class C and realized it was the generator also Onan Microlite 2800. It was a little louder than an engine would be and alot quieter than mine. My noise seems to be exhaust pulse and mine seemed to have alot more compression. Exhuast pipes were about the same length. I stay at an RV campground during week with plug ins so I've only exercised it in my driveway. I've thought about getting a mower muffler to stick on the exhaust pipe while using it.

Mine also vibrates the van noticeably, it's just behind the rear axle under the bed.

Advantges to on-board generator: Remote start switch inside, uses fuel from tank (if gas) so wouldn't need to carry separate fuel or siphon, do not need to find a place to store it.

Disadvatages: Cannot move away from vehicle so exhaust & noise right there, vibrates van when running. Also believe it may use more gas than separate generators would.

Randy
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:22 PM   #10
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Re: to generator or not to generator

No generator here, but if I were to be camping in hot humid areas (southeast states, perhaps), I'd seriously consider one. My travel style is usually to be driving around exploring (usually the desert) during the hot part of the day, and then stop to camp just as it cools off enough to enjoy the breeze. I've only once sat in my van with the A/C going (engine running) at night, and that was a sticky hot beach with nasty noseeums that were small enough to fly right through my screens.

Honda makes some great quiet generators. Don't settle for a noisy one!

-- Geoff
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