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Old 11-01-2018, 04:39 PM   #1
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Generator (Boondocking)

Hi All
I am still new to camping in an RV and have a question about running my generator. I have read that you should not run your generator at night while you sleep because of the possibility that the exhaust could leak inside the camper. So the question is should I be able to run it while we sleep?


Thanks
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Old 11-01-2018, 05:00 PM   #2
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A carbon monoxide detector is in the bedroom is a must. A supplemental exhaust system is recommended (Camco gen-turi for instance). Usually the prohibition for not running the generator at night is to prevent disturbing the close by neighbors that are sleeping with the windows open or in tents (quiet hours).
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Old 11-01-2018, 06:02 PM   #3
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a generator is just a simple tool to provide 120v power to your appliances/outlets/battery charger when you don't have Shore Power..it's an engine, not unlike your typical lawn mower engine.
The myth that generators shouldn't be run 'at night' is old and very unlikely to effect anyone since it is exhausted to the exterior, where it is easily dissipated. As for whether 'others' nearby will like the noise, that's also just a consideration depending on when and where you are using your generator. Many parks and campgrounds allow them anytime during the day, since they don't provide shore power, but will probably limit the hours you can use the generator during overnight hours.
If you are just using your generator on your own, not in a park, and others not necessarily close by, you can run it 24/7 if you like. Go to any Nascar race and you'll be amazed at the generators that run constantly, whether daylight or night.

As for the additional exhaust accessory, that's not needed unless the facility where you are parked requires it. Exhaust falls down, not up, so actually having one of these 'add ons' may not actually provide the 'safety net' that you might think.
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Old 11-01-2018, 06:11 PM   #4
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think about it this way:
What is different about the nighttime; that might make your generator more prone to killing you with it's exhaust fumes?


Answer: absolutely nothing...

Although the noise may keep you awake at night.
See if you can run it right up until bedtime, and then shut it down...
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Old 11-01-2018, 06:11 PM   #5
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Another option, if you plan to boondock often, is a portable generator like the Honda 2000's (now the 2200) and the Champion 3100 or 3400. Both are inverter style, run quietly and save tons of gas. Some of them have a parallel kit available where you can connect two of them together for double wattage. Likewise, some of them are adaptable to an "extended run" fuel system where you can leave them run for many hours without having to get up at 2AM and add fuel. They are perfect for sporting events, dry camping in the middle of nowhere or any other place power is not available...or in the case you lose power where you are. Most of the time...unless you need A/C...you can get through a single night alone without any generator running.
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Old 11-16-2018, 12:36 AM   #6
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How to stay warm while boondocking in the winter. Can you run the generator all night?
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Old 11-16-2018, 12:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chammock View Post
How to stay warm while boondocking in the winter. Can you run the generator all night?
The furnace uses 12V and propane--running the generator is not necessary provided you have enough 12V battery power (and propane).
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Old 11-16-2018, 12:48 AM   #8
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Try looking into a Lil'Buddy heater. Uses propane cylinders, just leave a window cracked open for fresh air.
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:44 AM   #9
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FYI. Just be mindful that ventless infrared propane heaters produce moisture during combustion. I think about a pound of water per pound of propane. This moisture has a tendency to condense on the windshield/windows during certain conditions. Another good reason to keep good ventilation.
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:59 AM   #10
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Another option if your battery power situation is not adequate is to start the chassis engine and turn on the dashboard heater and the furnace. This is usually quieter and uses around the same amount of gasoline. This option works best if your alternator tops off your house batteries as well as your chassis battery. Not all coaches are wired this way.
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Old 11-16-2018, 12:29 PM   #11
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It's not good to let a gas engine sit there and idle for hours on end. A bit better on it if you have an elevated idle feature but not good either way. Get a portable genset and electric heaters. Lots of options with the portables. My setup will run for 12+ hours without having to refuel and uses about a gallon every 4 hours.
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Old 11-16-2018, 12:55 PM   #12
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We have slept in our Vegas many nights running off either internal generator or race trailer generator (3500 watt champion). Vegas has detector and we have never had issue. We are heading out today for 3 day race. We will usually leave the trailer generator running through night if a/c needed. It runs up to 16 hours on 3.5 gallons of gas. If we leave Vegas Onan running, I will leave door open for additional cooling air. They both sound about same from Vegas interior.

As with all things, use good judgement if wind were to change and you have windows open.
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Old 11-16-2018, 01:45 PM   #13
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Your initial question wasn't "what are the options" instead, "will there be an exhaust issue?". If you must run the house unit overnight, get a Genturi. They send the fumes over the top. I still vote for the portables. I know everyone keeps saying..."OK...OK...we get it"...but I've had such great experience with them and a number of friends have gone the same route after seeing and experiencing the option. If you ever find yourself in the Mud, Blood and Beer of a NASCAR event...all you see are portables running 24/7...even the biggest DP's carry them around with them. It saves tons of fuel. Good luck and report back with your successes.
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Old 11-16-2018, 01:49 PM   #14
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It's not good to let a gas engine sit there and idle for hours on end. A bit better on it if you have an elevated idle feature but not good either way. Get a portable genset and electric heaters. Lots of options with the portables. My setup will run for 12+ hours without having to refuel and uses about a gallon every 4 hours.
Back in the day 35 years ago before, fuel injection, synthetic oil, electronic ignition, computers, platinum spark plugs, catalytic converters and advanced metallurgy we worried about idle time together with mileage and used an hour meter to gauge oil changes and tune ups. For the last 15 years we used Ford V-10s at work. Many times we idled up to 8 hours at a time, 300 days a year. Never had a problem or loss in performance or reliability or warranty. Oil and filter change every 5000 miles.

There are many options available and they depend on individual situations. The inverter generator is a great idea and I highly recommend it. They are more efficient and versatile. The redundancy/ back up factor can not be understated also.
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Old 11-16-2018, 02:44 PM   #15
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The only downside to the portable generator is that you have to find a spot to store it while on the road.
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:23 PM   #16
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The only downside to the portable generator is that you have to find a spot to store it while on the road.
For me thatís not the only downside.

I used one this year for first time primarily to run A/C at night during early (hot) football games, and while it worked great, the biggest disadvantage for me was hauling and smell of gasoline.

The convenience of a built-in generator with a 40-gallon gas tank would be worth every penny of added gas if I still had the choice like when I had Class C.

We also used portable inverter generator to power Keurig and microwave, which was also great, but now that itís cooler weíre not using generator at all because itís not worth the hassle to use it for 10 minutes.

For us powering A/C is only reason to have a generator at all.
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:59 PM   #17
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I agree that the only reason to run a generator is for the AC unit or to recharge the coach batteries. And the coach batteries can be recharged from the vehicle itself. Everything in my coach including the coffee maker Works off of the inverter except for the microwave and the AC units. I can operate for at least 16 hours without having to recharge the batteries.
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Old 11-16-2018, 04:13 PM   #18
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Yeah, if you were designing an RV without A/C, it would be better and cheaper to apply the cost of a generator towards a larger inverter with higher capacity converter, more batteries, plus maybe some solar. Air conditioners are still what makes generators necessary for anyone who boondocks.


Also to Jamieís point, compared to my previous Onan, a portable generator has to be protected from rain, and depending where you stay, from theft. A built-in doesnít have these issues.
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Old 11-16-2018, 04:56 PM   #19
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Since this thread is about boondocking specifically...and the fact that it's now cold outside...the portable will also run one or two electric heaters without having to run your furnace and use up your LP in less than 2 days...which also uses your battery power. Hitch mounted receiver, extra jugs of gas and a cable lock...boom! Another benefit...your batteries stays charged and everything else stays powered, like the fridge, TV's...of course you have to run the numbers on wattage usage at any given time...but...boom again!! This all assuming the gas savings matter to you.
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Old 11-16-2018, 05:51 PM   #20
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Not to me ó gas savings not worth it. Not even close.

I burn close to 50 gallons driving to game and back each weekend. The difference in generator fuel is less than 1 gallon in 10 hours of running A/C overnight (2 versus 1.3 gallons). Even if twice that, it doesnít show up on my radar. Iím just not going to worry about $2 of gas when Iím spending hundreds on other costs.


By the way, I recall you got pissed last time I brought this up, but if you believe manufacturers data, people who own a diesel inverter generator like yours can run a couple of A/Cs (or just one) with same or less fuel than portable generators. Youíd have to be down to almost no power at all before portable saves a tiny amount ó certainly not enough Iíd worry about.

Not running the diesel for other reasons, like making it last longer or having a backup, is a different issue. Fuel savings alone is insignificant.

At games Iíve noticed only those without built-in generators use portables ó mostly a few trailers. Motorhomes all run their Onans.
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