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Old 06-29-2020, 11:34 PM   #1
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Generator help/new at this

Hi, we just purchased our first trailer, a 2021 Forest Glen 369BL and are looking to buy a generator we can have permanently installed. We are confused about what we need, I know our trailer is 50 amp, has two ac units and we will mainly be doing dry camping/no hookups. We were looking at an Onan 7000 watt, but Iím not sure if this is overkill for what we need? Does anyone have a similar trailer or suggestions for us newbies? I appreciate it in advance and apologize for the cluelessness.
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Old 06-30-2020, 05:46 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoores81 View Post
Hi, we just purchased our first trailer, a 2021 Forest Glen 369BL and are looking to buy a generator we can have permanently installed. We are confused about what we need, I know our trailer is 50 amp, has two ac units and we will mainly be doing dry camping/no hookups. We were looking at an Onan 7000 watt, but Iím not sure if this is overkill for what we need? Does anyone have a similar trailer or suggestions for us newbies? I appreciate it in advance and apologize for the cluelessness.

Think real hard about putting a gen set in your RV before you do it. Consider the possibility of putting in a professional Solar and Battery System instead, and just carry with you a small Gen for those bad weather days or to run the air. Gen Sets have a tendency to vibrate the RV while they're running, exhaust fumes can find they're way in and just the noise of it all and they will burn through some serious LP gas in a hurry. For about the same money you can put in a pretty decent solar/battery system and a little 2200+ Watt Gen to run the air if necessary.
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Old 06-30-2020, 10:40 AM   #3
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i'm not sure how similar our trailer is but it is 50 amp and came with 2 a/c's and a residential refrigerator. we have an onan 5500 lp generator and it has run all we have thrown at it. would this work for you? depends on how much you want to run at the same time. yes the lp version does go through propane but still it is much easier than trying to put in a separate gas supply for the generator. but if you plan on large amounts of off grid usage a gas generator might be easier to supply with a larger fuel supply.
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Old 06-30-2020, 10:59 AM   #4
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Our unit has two AC's, I had an Onan 5500 Evap installed along with a 30 gallon fuel tank. It is way easier for me to stop at a gas pump than carrying those 50lb (weight when full) propane tanks around. The 5500 will run both AC units, the water heater, battery charger, and the Microwave or coffee maker at the same time. I am no expert but I have never seen a solar system that will run an AC unit for more than a short time so if you camp where AC is not needed, that kind of system will work for you and probably cost less. Installation of the Onan 5500 and fuel system was about 7K.
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Old 06-30-2020, 03:32 PM   #5
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Generator

I agree, there is no guessing whether an onboard generator is running or not. A 2200 watt generator may start and run one A/C but not two. Look into a soft start for the A/Cs, worth the money. Check the specs on your units, then add other appliances you might want to run at the same time. If you are dry camping where you will need both A/Cs you will need a generator capable of generating the starting watts of one unit plus the running watts of the other. You don't state what your TV is, but you may want to consider an appropriately sized portable inverter/generator that you could leave in the TV. I just spent $1,000 repairing my onboard Onan and that is what I'm going to do the next time it needs work.

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Old 06-30-2020, 03:56 PM   #6
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boondocking

Let us know your version/length of stay of boondocking and a budget. a rig your size would likely come with a somewhat smaller than 7k onan, like others recommended, probably 5500. if you already budgeted for a bigger unit, and you boondock a lot, that is a pretty reliable way to go. large solar systems work for some that full time and can afford the initial expense but probably still need a generator for cloudy days. for weekend warriors or 2 weeks twice a year, there are more economical generators that are portable and do a good job. we have a 3500 watt inverter generator in our toyhauler which works well for us, but we use the toyhauler as a base camp and tour with the bike a lot so we are not spending all day in the camper. More into the travel and sightseeing than sitting in the park. when we do, we get full hookups. what ever you do, make sure you go for the inverter generator and not the regular contractor open frame setup.
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Old 06-30-2020, 06:08 PM   #7
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If you have two AC units, you cannot run both on a 2000 watt (2 kilowatt) portable inverter generator. You'll be lucky to run one. In fact, many 15,000 BTU AC units will be hard pressed to run on 2KW even with a hard-start adapter on the AC unit. And if the AC is running, there is precious little power left for anything else. You need a lot more generator.

Solar is great...I'm a big fan of solar. I have 400 watts on my roof.
But the same is true of solar. If you need AC, especially two of them, even the best solar will run out of juice in short order.
https://campergrid.com/rv-air-condit...nd%2012%20amps.

Let's say you have a 15,000 BTU and a 13,500 BTU AC. If both are just running (not starting) they will draw about 13 amps and 12 amps respectively. Together 25 amps at 120 volts. Drawing from 12 volts, that's 250 AMPS!! There are precious few battery banks than can stand up to 250 amps draw, and if they do, they won't last long. And the fat wire to feed 250 amps may make you exceed your GVWR.

Again, solar is great for pretty much everything other than AC. If you have enough solar/battery/inverter it can even support a residential fridge.

Startup amps are much higher...for short periods. The hard-start kits help with that. But if both AC units try to start at the same time, you'll crush anything but a substantial generator.

So, if you plan to run both of your AC units, you need a generator that can deliver about 3000 watts continuous, and about 4000 watts for starting. Then add your other loads. If you're in the AC, one assumes the fridge is running and other draws are happening simultaneously.
Do some math: https://www.rapidtables.com/calc/ele...alculator.html
That 5500 watt Onan should do the job. 7000 watts is overkill. But that Onan is going to set you back $4500 or more plus installation. If installation includes propane lines, a lot more. Same with a gasoline fuel tank.

As an alternative, you might look into a portable inverter generator in the 5000 watt+ range. Put the genny in your pickup truck bed and leave it there. Get a short extension cable to allow your RV cable to reach comfortably. Or if you travel with a strapping younger person, get them to help you unload it.

A couple that might serve you well.
1) https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...BoC97oQAvD_BwE

2)
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Briggs-S...0675/301871650

If you want "the best," this sweet Yamaha fills the bill: https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/ge...els/ef6300isde
I saw one of these in action on the toy-hauler tongue of a hybrid. From 20 feet away, it was difficult to tell it was running.

You could save a lot of money and have the power you need and a lot less hassle.

Comment: You don't mess around! That's one helluva first camper. Most of us start with pop-ups.
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Old 06-30-2020, 06:43 PM   #8
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5500 Onan , I am 50 amp and all works well
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Old 06-30-2020, 08:44 PM   #9
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Start with Pop-ups? How about two tents, three pop-ups and currently on #3 & #4 fivers.

That is quite a first rig! Congrats!
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Old 07-03-2020, 07:21 PM   #10
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We use a large percolator to make coffee, and then pour it into one of those insulated coffee carafes to keep it hot for that second cup (or a cup for the DW whan she wakes up). Works great, tastes great. We toast bread on a griddle on top of the stove. We're camping, so we keep it simple. My RV didn't come with a 12v outlet. Nor did my houseboat. I installed a 5v Dual USB Port Charger Socket Adapter ($3.50 on eBay), and probably should have installed two. We took out the microwave to gain pantry space, and have not missed it much. They make solar ovens you can cook outdoors with, but unless your living there, it makes more sense to make it at home and freeze it.
I have a 100 watt solar panel on the roof, and another one behind the couch for rainy days. I've quit carrying the generator. If it is really hot, I'll stay where there is power for the AC. I don't really want to lug a 3000 watt generator. Where we do use a generator is on the houseboat. We put it 100 ft away (with a 10 awg cord) and the little Honda 2200 is so quiet I can't even tell it is on. If you wish, you can pair two of them together for 4400 watts. I can't say enough about Honda generators. They rule.
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