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 Post subject: Generator replacement
PostPosted: November 17th, 2017, 11:46 am 
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Joined: October 30th, 2017, 2:35 pm
Posts: 25
Although the stock Onan 4000 Micro lite only has 51 hrs, it's noisy and stinky....

Here's my idea; Take the beast out and use the space for a Honda 2000 that I'd set out and plug in, put another house battery in and use the 6 awg starter cable to tie in with the others and secure a 1-2 gallon gas can for extra generator gas.
I don't plan to use the AC when boondocking but would like to charge batteries and use the micro or TV.

Any thoughts on this is appreciated!

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PostPosted: November 17th, 2017, 12:51 pm 
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Joined: August 8th, 2015, 11:54 am
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Hi Autox - Scott has that type of setup - portable Honda generator in place of the Onan - so you may want to check with him. I share your view of the Onan - noisy and smelly. Honda needs to come up with generator that could replace the stock Onan and feed directly from the gas tank. Okay. I can dream...

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PostPosted: November 17th, 2017, 2:10 pm 
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I also hate the on-board Onan than came with my 2004 Premier...I run it under some load a couple of times per year, just to keep it from crapping out, but that's it.

I removed the microwave long ago (converted the space to a pantry for storing food), and we don't really use the AC...an efficient battery operated fan with open hatch seems to do the trick even mid-summer (mind you, have not done AZ in July...yet).

I looked into getting the Honda 2000 inverter gen, but it was too big to fit into the back compartment in front of the spare tire-and I am not ready to just pull the Onan...Got the Honda 1000 instead, since it does fit in the back compartment. It is plenty for topping off batteries when no sun (have 200 watts of solar in a "suitcase), as well as for charging up our Copenhagen Wheels (electric assist bikes) that we carry mounted on the front of our rig. Works for us...but, as I said, we don't have need for microwave or AC. One word of caution about running the AC with the Honda 2000--I've read a number of places that the surge at start can be too much for that gen...if I had gone that route, I would have got a "soft-start" relay of some sort. Since Scott has the type of setup you are talking about, he would be good one to weigh-in on this.

David


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PostPosted: November 17th, 2017, 3:30 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2015, 5:54 am
Posts: 250
Location: Santa Cruz
Hey fellas. I heard my name so I thought I'd chime in. I can't type much right now. Please peruse this thread and hopefully you'll get some ideas.
Regards.

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=759&start=10

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PostPosted: November 17th, 2017, 6:49 pm 
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Joined: October 30th, 2017, 2:35 pm
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Thanks All, Scott I read the post link and got overwhelmed, Blue also sure has allot to share on this subject also, your all great in helping a newbie...
I guess in the world of simplicity and expense this is may plan to start. I think I'll be on shore power 2/3 of the time and boondocking the other 1/3

So I'm thinking of taking out the genset and putting another wet cell battery using the old #6 started wire to tie into the other 2 existing, buying 3 new batteries, I did notice the genset is grounded to the frame in the back and it looks as if the #6 goes to the 2 batteries under the water heater, hope that works ok..
Then buy a Honda 2000 and store in the old genset space,take it out and plug in the shore power cord when needed to charge batteries and watch TV, don't plan on using AC when boondocking.
I thought I'd get a hand bulb pump and put it on the old genset gas line and use it to fill my gas can when needed.
All my electrics except for a synwave 600watt invertor for the TV and laptop is stock.
Next spring I'd like to upgrade the solar for more capacity...

Just tying to keep it simple to start with and learn as I go...Thanks for any input and advice!!

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PostPosted: November 17th, 2017, 9:23 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1956
Location: 1999 Concourse
The generator - and whether to keep it, go with a portable, or not have one is fairly personal to how you use the Chinook and what your preferences are.

But if I'm understanding you correctly on the potential battery addition, I don't think it would be all that sound an idea. At least if I'm following. What I think you were describing was leaving the main two batteries in the compartment that's over under the water heater, and then adding a third battery in the generator compartment and using the 6AWG cable that (used to) start the generator to tie it into the house bank.

Here's why I think that's not a great idea:

1) Three batteries will actually fit in the existing compartment if one removes the sliding tray (presuming it's there). That would be three Group 27, or possibly 31's. (I've always wondered about the strength of that compartment just hanging from above, but people have run with three batteries in there and not had any trouble. Also, that tray is about the weight of a battery, not kidding.)

2) It's important to "load" the batteries evenly (loads and charging). This is why, for example, if you have three 12 volt batteries you take the positive lead off one battery and the negative lead off the opposite one (and the one in the middle just has jumpers). Some people even go to more elaborate bus bar setups instead of jumpers to keep them even. I don't think that's necessary (coming off opposite ends is a huge improvement over just coming off the same battery with both leads; after that it's more incremental). But now imagine a battery way, Way, WAY far away from its mates, on a long, Long LONG, SKINNY jumper. I just don't see how that could be good. If you *had* to do it you'd want to run some much heavier wire than 6AWG.

You could theoretically move the entire battery bank to the generator box, but then (on the 1997-~2004 era anyway) you'd have to go "around the horn" (or under the chassis) to get to the charger and fuse box, plus the run from the start battery/alternator would be (even) longer.

Not to discourage out-of-the-box thinking: I'm all for that!

I put my batteries under the couch. I have an AGM bank now (wouldn't do it with flooded cells), but was thinking ahead toward lithium which don't like to be hot ever, or below freezing when charging. Under the couch is fairly stable, temperature-wise.

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PostPosted: November 18th, 2017, 7:26 am 
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Thanks Blue,that all makes sense...
If I was to remove the battery tray and go with 3 in the same space I wonder how hard it would be to make all the connections and to service the batteries routinely? I could consider Vmax or Optima to eliminate the service but I'm not sure if my stock charger works ok with those. Then I guess I'd also need to secure them somehow.

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PostPosted: November 18th, 2017, 8:51 am 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
I think with three batteries in the outside compartment, it'd be a good argument for AGM batteries. They don't require checking (well, you run a monitor, but that's an electrical item in the living space), and don't even have removable caps.

There are "remote watering systems" for flooded batteries, but I don't know that you'd have the space (they require hoses and etc.).

If you want to, we could back up a step and talk about your use case (if you have and I forgot, sorry), and also how you will be putting the amps back. What I mean is, there isn't one best system (depends on your wants), and also it should be balanced (so you can put back what you take out, and so you have the amp hours you need). OTOH, more amp hours than you need, means more batteries, maybe more solar panels, bigger controller, larger wires.... you get the idea.

Do you plan to mostly boondock? Campground/hookups with the occasional parking lot overnighter? Something else? Also, where do you fall on the "hard shell tent" to "I can't tell it's not a condo on city power" spectrum?

BG

PS: Forgot to answer a couple of questions you asked:

1) Making would be doable, I believe.

2) Yes, you'd want a different charger, presuming you are going to plug in (something adjustable and with temperature compensation, such as the ProMariner/Sterling which are around $3xx (depending on size, can be less can be more). It's basically a big system that's only as strong as its weakest link.

But, as I said above, maybe you don't need this sort of capacity and system style. I have a really robust DC system -- but I boondock about 95% of the time. OTOH, I don't have a massive system. That's because I don't expect (or want) it to be like a house (and even when I lived in a house, I didn't use microwave/Air-con/electric appliances/etc. very much. I do support a compressor refrigerator, because that was a firm must have.

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PostPosted: November 18th, 2017, 9:47 am 
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My use will probably be 1/2-2/3 plug in balance booning with the Honda 2000.

I agree with you on the AGM option, so I'm 2X group 31 would give me over 200ah and they will fit in the existing pull out tray.

Is the stock charger the "brown box" under the sink area, how and where would I put in the charger you mentioned?

Or just get 2 group 31 flooded and stay with the stock charger??

My current group 27s are 4 years old and I don't think they're that good now, so having to replace them I want to spend the money smartly.
Thanks for your patience with me.....I value your input!

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PostPosted: November 18th, 2017, 11:29 am 
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Joined: June 26th, 2017, 9:38 pm
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Location: Southern CA
If you don't have a lot of current requirement (just for TV and other low current stuffs), maybe one of those lithium "generator" that has capacity of 1kWh or so. Will it be enough for you to use before you can get to another place to recharge it?

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