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Old 12-01-2016, 02:29 AM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
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THOR #3952
Auxiliary Generator

While dry camping at Martinsville, I noticed several motorhomes had 1000 or 2000 Honda generators running during the day. Seems like a good idea to keep the batteries charged and to watch tv during the day without running the onboard generator. I'm sure it would use a whole lot less gas and you can control the exhaust a lot better.
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Old 12-01-2016, 03:03 AM   #2
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That's exactly why, quiet and don't use much gas. Have a 2000 and love it!
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Old 12-01-2016, 01:39 PM   #3
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Honda autos have been great to us, so I would expect the best from their generators also. Having said that, I was surprised how many different brands of small inverter generators there are.

During football weekend we walked through campus where tailgaters were set up just about any place they could park a car or SUV, and many had small generators to power TVs, fans, and the like. Honda 2000 were certainly popular, and very quiet at low power when running just off idle. I also noticed quite a few small Generac and Yamaha inverter generators which sounded just about the same level to my untrained hearing, although they sounded different.

There were also a lot of brands of small inverter generators I did not recognize and hadn't seen before. They were definitely louder by comparison to Honda, Generac, and Yamaha, but really not all that bad. And then there were the small non-inverter inexpensive generators which were so loud by comparison. What a difference.

I don't know how much cost it adds to a generator to use inverter technology (presume a significant amount), but Onan should make it available on smaller generator sets as an option. Lower noise and fuel consumption might be worth the cost premium.
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Old 12-01-2016, 03:28 PM   #4
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I wish Onan would add inverter to smaller generators too. Since speed of engine would not have to be constant it would reduce both noise and fuel consumption. I would pay extra to have inverter feature!
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Old 12-01-2016, 07:12 PM   #5
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Yep. Even so, when electrical power requirements are very low, like around 100 watts or less to power a TV or refrigerator, it's very inefficient to run a generator. There is no doubt that a 2,000-watt Honda inverter generator is much more efficient than a 4,000-watt Onan when powering a 100-watt load, but even the Honda is way too large to run efficiently with such a low load.

That's partly why larger battery banks and solar are becoming so popular. With LED lights and TVs that use so little power, it's more efficient to store energy in batteries and then recharge them (if needed) with generator over a shorter period. But that too is very inefficient and needs to be improved drastically.

Obviously the entire system has to be evaluated as one, because batteries have resistance which reduces efficiency too, as do converters, etc. And adding weight to motorhome with heavy batteries uses more fuel too. I'm sure in a couple of years all this will get sorted out as lithium batteries and larger inverters become more affordable.
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Old 12-01-2016, 10:52 PM   #6
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I wish Onan would add inverter to smaller generators too.. I would pay extra to have inverter feature!
I really wonder why the Mfg. doesn't include an inverter/converter on all coaches as standard equipment....Makes life soooo much more enjoyable.
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Old 12-02-2016, 12:25 AM   #7
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I really wonder why the Mfg. doesn't include an inverter/converter on all coaches as standard equipment....Makes life soooo much more enjoyable.
My 2 cents ...

Since technology already exists, we'd have to guess it's cost. Most buyers aren't very technical, so manufacturers would have to supply a large battery bank and safeguards to keep owners from killing the batteries in short order. That would add even more cost.

For what it's worth, some higher-end Class Bs are being designed with inverter/chargers and built-in transfer switches. It's not unusual for them to run the air conditioner for a few hours off batteries using the inverter. It just takes money.
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Old 12-02-2016, 08:57 PM   #8
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yeah, I saw over at fitRV his conversion to full electric, completely removing the generator in favor of big battery and a hefty chassis engine alternator. I actually think it would be great to remove the onan and replace with a battery bank and a very small genny, like a small honda 1000 or so....in the space where the onan used to live, and supplemented with a large alternator on the chassis engine. The small genny's only real purpose would be for charging the battery if you were parked and didn't want to run the big engine
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Old 12-03-2016, 12:47 AM   #9
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Air conditioning remains the biggest obstacle to eliminating the standard RV generator like the Onans we are familiar with. If not for that most everything else on many RVs could be powered by large inverter/charger and lithium batteries like Roadtrek is offering as an (expensive) option. Cost needs to come down significantly though.

And once 48-Volt electrical systems arrive, engine driven alternators of 10 kW or higher will be able to charge large-capacity battery banks in minutes. For those like us who mostly drive daily or stay at campgrounds with hookups, regular generators shouldn't be needed.
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Old 12-03-2016, 04:04 PM   #10
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Air conditioning remains the biggest obstacle to eliminating the standard RV generator like the Onans we are familiar with.............................................. ...........
And once 48-Volt electrical systems arrive, engine driven alternators....................... For those like us who mostly drive daily or stay at campgrounds with hookups, regular generators shouldn't be needed.
I find this very interesting. Last month you stated in a posting

"For years I've been driving an E-350 Ford van out of choice. I like small. When I need more space I just rent it. Within reason I can buy (or rent) and drive anything I may want -- I just don't like what they are making recently."

The day will probably come when we want to downsize. So is your 1-ton van actually some type of RV? What type of hook-ups does it have? Size of gen set?
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