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Old 09-25-2022, 08:45 AM   #1
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running the generator

This is the first camper I have owned with an onboard generator. With the potential of a hurricane impacting our area and maybe having to use the camper as a lifeboat, so to speak, I am wondering. If I run the generator to keep the refrigerator functioning, how long can I expect it to run on a full 55 gallon gas tank?

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Old 09-25-2022, 08:54 AM   #2
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This is the first camper I have owned with an onboard generator. With the potential of a hurricane impacting our area and maybe having to use the camper as a lifeboat, so to speak, I am wondering. If I run the generator to keep the refrigerator functioning, how long can I expect it to run on a full 55 gallon gas tank?

Ratracer
It sounds strange that you would only think about running the fridge on electricity. If it was to be your lifeboat, I’m betting you’ll want the use that electricity provides for other services…..charging phones, iPads etc. You might want A/C or electric heat.

Does your fridge also work on propane?
Monitoring your batteries by primarily running on propane is a purpose for the generator to power your converter to recharge house batteries.

I’ve heard that generators only use fractions of a gallon per hour, so you could last a long time, but as people say, YMMV.
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Old 09-25-2022, 09:47 AM   #3
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This is the first camper I have owned with an onboard generator. With the potential of a hurricane impacting our area and maybe having to use the camper as a lifeboat, so to speak, I am wondering. If I run the generator to keep the refrigerator functioning, how long can I expect it to run on a full 55 gallon gas tank?

Ratracer
Your generator will stop working when your gas tank get down to only 1/4 full. That's so you can drive the rig to a gas station. You might want to pick up a gas can or two and extra gas so that you can fill the tank.... just in case you can't get to a gas station (blocked roads, flooding, no electricity at gas stations)

Then, I don't know the answer to your question, but much depends on the type of refrigerator you have.

You probably don't want to run the generator 24/7. You need to run it to operate things inside the rig and recharge the batteries... the air conditioner being #1. Refrigerators don't run continuously and will keep food cold for a few hours without power. They make refrigerator monitors that will tell you the temp in the fridge and freezer. One example.. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
You might want to pick up and install a battery monitor so that you don't discharge those batteries to the point that you're shortening their life.

Hope the storm doesn't hit your area.
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Old 09-25-2022, 10:40 AM   #4
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Smile REPLY

Thanks guys. We are not out of the woods yet from an impact of Ian. Right now it looks as though it is going to stay farther out in the gulf and those of us living on the mid Atlantic coast of Florida probably won't get hit hard. Just a bunch of rain, if that!
The refrigerator in my Sunseeker Classic I think only runs on 12 V. I have not seen any switches to operate it on propane like in a standard trailer, or fifth wheel. Therefore my concern was if we were to loose power in the house, we would move our frozen meats and vegetables to the Camper freezer, parked in our driveway.
The campers gas tank is full and I have 17 gallons of gas as a backup. Right now, it looks as though after hurricane season, it will get used in the lawn tractor!

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Old 09-25-2022, 11:08 AM   #5
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I'd be more worried about protecting my house electrical system than the camper but it's a bit late for a whole house generator. There are several in my neighborhood here in Virginia that I hear fire up when the power goes out. I run part of my house including the vial refrigerators with a Honda EU3000is portable generator and a manual interface box at my electrical panel.

You should be easily able to power part of your house with the RV. At least the kitchen refrigerator should run off an extension cord out to the driveway connected to the camper. Keep the refrigerator doors closed.

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Old 09-25-2022, 03:40 PM   #6
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Agree with above about running the house refrigerator off a motorhome outlet, but the question there is how far away is the house from where the motorhome is parked?

As already said, you wouldn’t need to run the generator 24x7. Just run it periodically enough to keep the refrigerator cold and handle any other needs, like if you want to use the microwave oven. Do you have a well for the household water or are you on city water? Many well pumps are 240 volts, so the class C RV generator can’t run those anyway. Probably would be good to have the RV fresh water tank full for emergency water.
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:25 PM   #7
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water

Thanks,

I had not thought about filling the water tank for emergency use, but that is a great idea.

My main concern was being able to bring our frozen meats out of the house if there was going to be an extended power outage. The good news as of the news tonight, the storm track has the hurricane going into the north east section of the Gulf, which is a long way from where we are on the east coast. I think we will know for sure if we are spared an strong effects of the storm by tomorrow night, or Tuesday morning. We may not need to use a generator at all. I do also have a 5 K extended run generator that I could use to power the house refrigerator, in a pinch! What I really need to do before next hurricane season is have an electrician come in and install a transfer switch on the house!

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Old 09-25-2022, 06:45 PM   #8
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Thanks guys. We are not out of the woods yet from an impact of Ian. Right now it looks as though it is going to stay farther out in the gulf and those of us living on the mid Atlantic coast of Florida probably won't get hit hard. Just a bunch of rain, if that!
The refrigerator in my Sunseeker Classic I think only runs on 12 V. I have not seen any switches to operate it on propane like in a standard trailer, or fifth wheel. Therefore my concern was if we were to loose power in the house, we would move our frozen meats and vegetables to the Camper freezer, parked in our driveway.
The campers gas tank is full and I have 17 gallons of gas as a backup. Right now, it looks as though after hurricane season, it will get used in the lawn tractor!

Ratracer

I wish I was on the Atlantic side...
might just have to come over and visit you


you might be able to run a extension cord from genny... to the fridge in the house .


The BIGGEST user of gas will be the Air conditioner... avoid using it
you will survive without a/c.... we never had one until I was 40yrs old!
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Old 09-26-2022, 12:04 PM   #9
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Ratracer, common opinion is the Onan 4kw gennie uses about half gallon per hour under medium load. My limited experience pretty much confirms that; 8 hour overnight with fridge, AC, water heater(forgot to turn it off), and minimal water pump activity, gas usage is about 4-5 gallons as near as i can tell by the gas gauge. I am assuming the 4kw, most common unit, although i couldn't find where you said.
But since your fridge is 12v you only need to run to recharge the batteries, not constantly to supply house current (VAC vs. AC/air conditioning). With 40 gallons usable in the tank plus 17 more you should be good to go!! I have heard the 12v fridges are rather thirsty energy users...
Good luck!!
bill
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Old 09-26-2022, 12:23 PM   #10
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Ratracer, common opinion is the Onan 4kw gennie uses about half gallon per hour under medium load. My limited experience pretty much confirms that; 8 hour overnight with fridge, AC, water heater(forgot to turn it off), and minimal water pump activity, gas usage is about 4-5 gallons as near as i can tell by the gas gauge. I am assuming the 4kw, most common unit, although i couldn't find where you said.
But since your fridge is 12v you only need to run to recharge the batteries, not constantly to supply house current (VAC vs. AC/air conditioning). With 40 gallons usable in the tank plus 17 more you should be good to go!! I have heard the 12v fridges are rather thirsty energy users...
Good luck!!
bill
I agree with above. I actually use my 3400 invertor gen most of the time rather than my onboard 4000 Onan because I can get about 8 hour plus from 2 gallons on my 3400 vs 4 hours on the Onan. plus the 3400 is not as loud.
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Old 09-26-2022, 01:29 PM   #11
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Wink gas use

Bill, thank you very much for your insight. Not sure where you are located, but I am on the east coast of Florida, near Melbourne. My whole reasoning for asking this is in the event hurricane Ian decides to make a right turn at Tampa and head east. Right now, it looks OK for us, but by tomorrow night we should know what to expect.

I have an old 5KW stand alone Genny, which holds roughly 5 galloons. It will run continuous for about 6 - 7 hours under moderate load. I just don't have anyplace on the side of the house to chain it up and secure it. I would end up having to open a door to the house and run an electrical cord into the kitchen to plug in the refrigerator. It just seemed a whole lot easier to use the camper freezer for the perishable foods.
I did have the house batteries in the camper on as well as the fridge and is not connect the camper to the 30 amp house plug. The batteries did rain down in about 2 days! I did not realize it until I checked it.

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Old 09-26-2022, 03:35 PM   #12
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If you have to run a cord through an open door, male sure you seal the opening with duct tape or plastic. CO is a killer!

It takes a very small opening to pass CO.
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Old 09-26-2022, 03:53 PM   #13
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Bill, thank you very much for your insight. Not sure where you are located, but I am on the east coast of Florida, near Melbourne. My whole reasoning for asking this is in the event hurricane Ian decides to make a right turn at Tampa and head east. Right now, it looks OK for us, but by tomorrow night we should know what to expect.

I have an old 5KW stand alone Genny, which holds roughly 5 galloons. It will run continuous for about 6 - 7 hours under moderate load. I just don't have anyplace on the side of the house to chain it up and secure it. I would end up having to open a door to the house and run an electrical cord into the kitchen to plug in the refrigerator. It just seemed a whole lot easier to use the camper freezer for the perishable foods.
I did have the house batteries in the camper on as well as the fridge and is not connect the camper to the 30 amp house plug. The batteries did rain down in about 2 days! I did not realize it until I checked it.

Bill
Understand, there are enough parasitic drains in my Forester to drain the batteries even with a 100 watt solar. I have to ensure the battery switch is off while in storage. It will kill both house and the chassis batteries.
I have several friends in Florida so hoping for the best of a bad situation. Good luck!!
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Old 09-26-2022, 06:09 PM   #14
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Play it again

I have direct experience with this scenario.
Photos are from Sept 2017 courtesy of hurricane Irma.
There are some good suggestions below. However, expect Murphy to play a role.
I experienced the full force of the eye-wall at the Cat 4 level. (photo 1)
Photo 2 is the A/C wiring taken out by a flying tree branch.
Photo 3 is the Fridge (2 way) taken out by a flying tree.

What worked: 60 gallons of FW for showers to cool off.
100w solar and chassis motor to charge batteries.

What did not work: Generator too far away to use it with 2í of flood water along with snake and alligator visitors.
No gas, cell service, passible streets, FEMA assistance, State assistance or electricity for 11 days. Gov not smart enough to reverse S-Bound I-75 lanes so folks could run away.

My motorhome was a total loss.
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Old 09-26-2022, 06:49 PM   #15
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No gas, cell service, passible streets, FEMA assistance, State assistance or electricity for 11 days. Gov not smart enough to reverse S-Bound I-75 lanes so folks could run away. .
Tell me about it. In Hurricane Harvey that flooded Houston, the city had 6 boats to rescue people.
If it hadn't been for the Cajun Navy (a group of volunteers that dropped everything and came with boats and volunteers), many more would have died. In fact, people from all over the country came to our rescue. Five feet of water in two days. I've never seen it rain 'dirty' water without a break. We were high enough to avoid the flooding, but not by much.

All you can do is prepare the best you can, then await Murphy's Law and pray for your neighbors help.
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Old 09-26-2022, 07:00 PM   #16
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boats.

Maybe I should stop by WalMart tomorrow and buy a quart of outboard oil. I have a 12 foot aluminum boat and a 7.5 Evinrude. I would volunteer to help if I can get the motor on the boat, gas in the tank and the boat off the trailer. Do you suppose they woul d be concerned that the boat is not registered? I would hope not.

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Old 09-26-2022, 09:52 PM   #17
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Last time I checked my Onan run time I was consuming .405gal/hr. Figure 3/4 tank of fuel = 41gal. The approx run time is 101hrs. Hope this helps. Good idea to check battery level with a volt meter or a cheap 12volt plugin meter.
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Old 09-27-2022, 10:28 AM   #18
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Last time I checked my Onan run time I was consuming .405gal/hr. Figure 3/4 tank of fuel = 41gal. The approx run time is 101hrs. Hope this helps. Good idea to check battery level with a volt meter or a cheap 12volt plugin meter.
Garrette, i have a total run time on my Forester OneControl panel but where did you get the fuel usage number?? Is this the 4kw Onan i think many/most class C's would have?? Heavy load, light load, medium load??
Expiring minds want to know!!

bill
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Old 09-27-2022, 10:45 AM   #19
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running the generator

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Garrette, i have a total run time on my Forester OneControl panel but where did you get the fuel usage number?? Is this the 4kw Onan i think many/most class C's would have?? Heavy load, light load, medium load??
Expiring minds want to know!!

bill


Bill, I have a 2014 Sunseeker which does not have the OneControl so, when I check the 4K Onan fuel consumption I do it when we are going to overnight at a truck stop. I fill the RV to pump clicks off and note the time I start the generator. Usually run the AC all night. In the morning run coffee maker, microwave for breakfast. When ready to leave, I shut off the generator, note the time and try to fill up at the same pump until the pump clicks off. I note the gallons and do the math. It varies a smidge but not much. I do this from time to time. If my fuel consumption changes, I figure I may have a pending problem.
The Onan owners manual list the fuel consumption under various loads. Hope this helps a bit. So far I am in alignment with the .5gal/hour for moderate load.
The generator has 380hrs and is serviced every year, oil, air cleaner, cleaning, etc. runs well.
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Old 09-27-2022, 10:53 AM   #20
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Bill, I have a 2014 Sunseeker which does not have the OneControl so, when I check the 4K Onan fuel consumption I do it when we are going to overnight at a truck stop. I fill the RV to pump clicks off and note the time I start the generator. Usually run the AC all night. In the morning run coffee maker, microwave for breakfast. When ready to leave, I shut off the generator, note the time and try to fill up at the same pump until the pump clicks off. I note the gallons and do the math. It varies a smidge but not much. I do this from time to time. If my fuel consumption changes, I figure I may have a pending problem.
The Onan owners manual list the fuel consumption under various loads. Hope this helps a bit. So far I am in alignment with the .5gal/hour for moderate load.
The generator has 380hrs and is serviced every year, oil, air cleaner, cleaning, etc. runs well.
Excellent Garrette!!! Thank you so much!!
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