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Old 08-27-2019, 07:32 AM   #1
AngieDO
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New and need guidance-I'm in way over my head

Ok, here goes. I lost everything in the Camp Fire, Paradise, Northern California, November 8, 2018.
I purchased a 2011, 38.5' Montana. Previously owned by occasional vacationers, gently used, less than 100 hours logged on generator. You name it, it's got it. Beautiful.
But... I am dry camping. (That's what I've been told its called) FEMA fills my water tank and empties the gray and black tanks 1-2 times a week. RV has a Cummins Onan 5500 LP generator. It's quiet and easy to start with push button inside. The problem is I'm using a TON of propane to simply make coffee, charge cell phone, use microwave. I turn EVERYTHING off (water pump, water heater, lights) only leaving fridge on at #1 setting, and use flashlights at night. I've turned fridge off now and use an ice chest for food.
I'm looking for suggestions on what dual fuel generator to buy to use instead of this hot rod. The manual says 2.1 gallons per hour only to idle.
I'm a single woman and will be living like this for a long time, until the debris is removed and our town is rebuilt. 52,000 people became homeless in a matter of minutes.
Hopefully someone here can send some guidance my way. Email is best.
ado5272@yahoo.com
Thanks in advance!!
Angie
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:05 AM   #2
Ram Montana High Country
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get a small gasoline 2200 watt generator - Honda or Westinghouse - $600-$1200 gallon of gas will run 6-8 hours and they are quiet.
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Old 08-27-2019, 09:03 AM   #3
Hunts900
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A 2200 watt generator wonít run your air conditioner(s), and where you are you cannot live without them. You would need a 5000-6500KW to be able to run your ACís, but it would probably still use less gas than the Onan does propane. But they are noisy. Probably cheapest place to get one would be a Harbor Freight.
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Old 08-27-2019, 09:14 AM   #4
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At our winter RV home base in NM we use a full size house propane tank and it makes it a lot easier. Also, to be able to run the generator less, add a couple of batteries for the lights etc. Sent you an email.
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Old 08-27-2019, 09:24 AM   #5
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Check with your propane supplier. They should be able to bring in a larger tank and hook it up for you. Sits outside. The one I used when wintering in Colorado was round, (cannot remember the capacity) maybe 24 inches in diameter and four feet tall, but portable. No cost to rent, propane cost was the same. When it ran out I switched to OEM tanks, and would arrange for refill of the outside tank. Combine that with a smaller generator, 2200KW is fine, Honda has a fairly quiet one and offload as much as you can from your propane to the gas generator. Maybe somebody can recommend a dual fuel generator, suspect $$$ to purchase. External tank would mean not running out of propane so often. PS: I don't think you are way over your head, you have been pushed into an RV, Dry Camping, and sounds like you are way ahead of the learning curve.
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Old 08-27-2019, 10:43 AM   #6
Carl n Susan
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Buy a Harbor Freight Preditor 3500 (or larger) gas only genne. The proppane (or dual fuel ones) suck propane. This is enough to run your A/C which I know you need right now. Leave the refer and hot water heater on Propane (they don't use that much) and you will have power to run the TV, coffee pot, microwave, etc.

I feel your pain as we have four friends (and MOC members) who where affected by the fire.
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Old 08-27-2019, 12:53 PM   #7
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I agree with Carl. I would get the HF Preditor 3500 they also sell a 2000 watt for
$450. If you are going to use it for the microwave and a few small things the 2000 watt might work. I think the 3500 watt would be a better choice for you.
Lynwood

I’m sorry about all you and your neighbors have went through. I hope someday soon your town and you can fully recover and start over. I can’t imagine what you have went through.
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:40 AM   #8
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We have two champion 2000 watt inverter generators that we can tie together for 4000 watts. If you need the air-conditioning you can start them both up and have plenty of power to run everything you need. If you don’t need the air-conditioning you can drop down to just one generator and it’s very easy on gas.
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Old 08-31-2019, 12:23 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by John Wedell View Post
We have two champion 2000 watt inverter generators that we can tie together for 4000 watts. If you need the air-conditioning you can start them both up and have plenty of power to run everything you need. If you donít need the air-conditioning you can drop down to just one generator and itís very easy on gas.

Agree, but the 2200w units work better
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:19 PM   #10
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Angie,

Welcome to the forum! Sorry to hear of your forced transition to the RV.

A combination of a large rental propane tank and a 2200 watt quiet inverter generator would be a decent way to go. As said above make sure you have at least a couple of good batteries.
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Old 08-31-2019, 08:11 PM   #11
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i can't image you running so much propane. You really only need to run your generator a few short times a day to keep the batteries up.
you didn't mention a/c so i assume you aren't using that.


you have a battery and things in your trailer are 12 volt. something isn't right when you are using a flashlight for night time.....


get with someone out there to take a look, maybe get 2 new 6 volt batteries.
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Old 08-31-2019, 08:54 PM   #12
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Maz,

Sounds like you have not been in Chico for awhile. Many of us would run the a/c when the temps are in the high 90s.
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:50 PM   #13
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You said, "The manual says 2.1 gallons per hour only to idle."
That adds up really quick. Even when you get a generator you will be carrying gas cans (about 7 lbs per gal). Maybe a HF solar panel kit?
https://www.harborfreight.com/100-wa...kit-63585.html
Need to do some homework on that to weigh the pros and cons.
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Old 09-04-2019, 02:44 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by John Wedell View Post
We have two champion 2000 watt inverter generators that we can tie together for 4000 watts. If you need the air-conditioning you can start them both up and have plenty of power to run everything you need. If you donít need the air-conditioning you can drop down to just one generator and itís very easy on gas.
I do the same. They are quiet. In my area no one will work on HF or Westinghouse. I bought 2 Champion for less than 1 Honda. Easy start too. Donít use much gas and only 48# each.
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Old 09-04-2019, 03:50 PM   #15
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I live in Magalia part of the year. We were very lucky in the fire, one street over from where it stopped. I have a Champion dual fuel 3400 inverter generator sitting in my garage if you would like to take a look and see how it runs. The wife and I just picked up a new Montana and will be back on Saturday. Should be able to email me through the forum.
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:58 PM   #16
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Since you don't have to worry about being in a campground, a cheaper contractor type generator would work, but it will take more fuel than an inverter generator.
It will still be a lot cheaper to run than a propane generator.

Your battery(s) might be about done for if it still has the original(s), so I'd check that.
You should be able to run lights, and anything in propane mode longer than 12 hours. If DC stuff is dying faster, it definitely sounds like a battery issue.
If you buy a new battery, I'd get at least 2 100 amp hr batteries so you don't have to run the generator to charge them as often.

I wouldn't buy a harbor freight solar kit unless it's on sale.
To run everything but propane appliances, and AC takes more than 100 watts for full time living.
It would help reduce how often or how long you need to run the generator though.
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Old 09-04-2019, 09:45 PM   #17
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It's really too bad you can't get a temporary service pole installed and have PG&E connect to it so you at least have electric service to plug the RV into.
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Old 09-04-2019, 10:10 PM   #18
Carl n Susan
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Bob, you do realize there is *NO* power infrastructure left in Paradise, CA? They are saying it will be up to two years before it is back. A temp pole is doable but there is nothing to connect to.
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Old 09-04-2019, 10:24 PM   #19
JamesD
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If it's really going to take that long to get power back, I'd invest in a decent solar kit. It will pay for itself.
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Old 09-05-2019, 07:53 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by JamesD View Post
If it's really going to take that long to get power back, I'd invest in a decent solar kit. It will pay for itself.
Agreed. If you will be waiting for 2 years for grid infrastructure maybe solar would be worth looking at.
Tax incentives:
https://solartechonline-com.cdn.ampp...-tax-credit%2F

There is a class on this at the rally I am looking forward to attending. I would really like to learn more about it.

James mentioned checking the battery for age (maybe water too).
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