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Old 11-14-2017, 07:47 PM   #1
traveldawg
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Generator or No Generator?

Considering options for a 3121RL. It sure would be nice to have an onboard generator but not too excited about the fuel usage rate/consumption (LP gas).

What a delima....
> not sure I like the iN-Command but it'd be sure would be nice to remote start a gen to get things cooled down before stopping
> I don't consider the Onan LP gen a viable open when dry camping due to fuel usage
> not overly difficult to wire in a Champion remote start generator so there is always that option (leave it in the bed of the truck, start it before stopping for the day to get things cooled)

Which brings me to my question(s)....
> if you have an onboard generator, do you use it a lot? Any regrets? Would you get it again.
> if you chose not to get the generator and have an external gen... do you wish you had an onboard gen?
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Old 11-14-2017, 07:54 PM   #2
mhs4771
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We have the on board Onan 5500, don't use it a lot, but really nice when you do need it, to just push a button and get power to run everything.
Anything external/portable have to be setup/connected and disconnected/put away when done.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:19 PM   #3
coachgrowl
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On my previous trailer keystone laredo had an onan 3500 powered everything remote start etc. etc. Now weight is the problem need an onan 5500 $8k from camping world. Purchased a honda 2000. Takes 20 minutes to set up but saved 7K. I can live with it.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:39 PM   #4
Mudchief
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We have one and loved the fact that I can remote start it and have the unit nice a cool inside when we stopped. If you do not boondock much a Honda 2000 will work just fine. Like you said it is nice to just push a bottom and have everything working.
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Old 11-14-2017, 10:59 PM   #5
scottz
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[QUOTE=traveldawg;1079713]
> not sure I like the iN-Command but it'd be sure would be nice to remote start a gen to get things cooled down before stopping/QUOTE]

This is not an option. When driving, the In-Command system goes into "Travel Lockout" which disables the slides, awnings and I'm pretty sure the generator. Travel Lockout can only be disabled on the screen in the trailer; not remotely.

We like the convenience of having an on-board generator and avoiding the work of setting up a portable generator, cords, etc. We dry camp most of the time and have not found the fuel usage a problem, but we only run the generator a little bit. It will run about six hours on a tank.
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Old 11-15-2017, 06:50 AM   #6
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Very happy with my set of 2 Honda 2000I. Not hard to set up or use and very quiet. Boondock about 20% of the time and try to stay in cool places where a/c is not required but can still run 1 a/c if needed.
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Old 11-15-2017, 06:57 AM   #7
Loui
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Our current trailer has an on bored Onan 5500 we use it very little. (boon-docking a few times a year)10 years it has 60 hours on it. you are correct about LP usage 85* day we used 30lbs of propane to run generator for 1 day for the AC to run. We have a honda 3000is and that was used on our last trailer that's what we will use for our next trailer. I would also like to order our next trailer with generator prep so the 50 amp power cord is brought to the front of the trailer where I would then put a plug for the generator.
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:14 AM   #8
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I have an Onan in my MH a Micro Quiet 4000 and a Honda IS 3000 for my HC Montana. The Onan is small but quiet forget that it’s junk compared to the Honda. Get a Honda.
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:40 AM   #9
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I think I would prefer onboard, but chose not to have one because I was concerned about more pin weight. I didn't consider fuel usage at all. It's not too difficult to lift my Champion 3500 in/out of the truck, but I can imagine as I age further it might be tough.
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Old 11-16-2017, 08:44 AM   #10
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Never had one, never needed one....always have hook ups.
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Old 11-16-2017, 08:58 AM   #11
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Glad we have it!!!!!!!

We have the Onan 3500 which has been a trip saver at least 3 times. First time we were camping and the power went out at the resort for two days suddenly. This trip we had been to four resorts and just checked in at the fifth and the shorepower switch gear failed. It was a 5 - 10 day lead time for replacement. Found one at Arizona Salvage for $100. Took a few hours to change over due to location under stairs and wire size, saved $$$$$ big time doing it myself. Not looking forward to doing it again.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:01 PM   #12
jlb27537
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If serious boondocking, then large solar, 4x6vdc, 2K inverter. Casual boondocking wither 1 or 2 Honda EU2000's. Skip the Onan. Too much of a fuel hog.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:53 PM   #13
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I have the onan 5500 lp. Done the install myself, would do again. Don't have to have another fuel source"gasoline". I have purchased 4 40lb tanks extra. Can dry camp for a week no problem. Just like the ability to push button and go, no unloading and worrying about someone else taking a likening to my generator.
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Old 11-16-2017, 08:19 PM   #14
traveldawg
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lots of good info - thanks to everyone. I guess we all have our certain situation that drives these decisions. It's good to hear about more than just my narrow thinking.

For sure I'll get the gen prep just so they install the switch (thanks for the photos, Wheelhouse).

I have 2 Honda 2000i's that I've used in the past. Just getting lazy as the years go on and considering the remote start Champion if I go that way. I figure I can then sell the 2 Honda's (and cover the cost of a new generator).

Still no decision on my part but leaning toward the Champion.

keep the feedback coming.
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:02 AM   #15
richfaa
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We do not boondock. We have a 3K gen in the back of the truck.We have not used it in years to power the Rv in a emergency. We do run it 1/2 hour each month.We find little use for a gen under normal circumstances now days.
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Old 11-17-2017, 11:19 AM   #16
Lenny K
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We are serious dry campers and that is why we went the solar route. We do have a Honda200i in case we get a couple of days in a row without sun. The space that is taken by a onboard generator is where we store the Honda and the 4x6 volt batteries.
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Old 11-17-2017, 05:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlb27537 View Post
If serious boondocking, then large solar, 4x6vdc, 2K inverter. Casual boondocking wither 1 or 2 Honda EU2000's. Skip the Onan. Too much of a fuel hog.
Yeah, what he said! except buy the champion 3400 with remote start. I payed a little over $1200 for mine. It runs on gasoline, propane or natural gas. On gasoline you get more run time and use less fuel and more watts. The remote start is great,sitting in the RV it will go through the walls and out to 80'. you can leave the 2 switches on for a month without the battery going dead. It also has wheels and a handle to pull around. I love the Honda also but for the price and the options of the Champion, your going to be seeing a lot less "RED" and more "YELLOW" around in the future.
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Old 11-18-2017, 03:01 PM   #18
mtlakejim
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Good thread. We don't boondock but there are occasions where we will stop at a rest stop or truck stop overnight. I can weld and Hobart has a welder/gen unit for $3K that will fit nicely in front of our hitch in the long bed one ton so that is what I plan to go with. Only thing I question is how "clean" the power will be and if that will be an issue? Anyone with deep knowledge on the subject I would appreciate comments please.


Only reason an onboard unit would be a must have is if you had a reason to run the A/C when you had the tow vehicle away from the vehicle (say if you had a spouse or dog (BE ADVISED NOT COMPARING SPOUSES TO DOGS!) that was going to stay behind while you went somewhere in the tow). I don't think that will be an issue for us because we would only use the gen. when stopping overnight and we have the 381TH and most likely our motorcycle in the basement garage (Points for the 381TH---insert smiley face with tongue sticking out).


We have had a couple of Onan in Class A motorhomes and they always seemed to be having issues. Not to mention they are hard to work on when built in and dang pricy. Honda seems to be the gold standard of the outboard gens and are certainly quite and well built. We own a 3500w Champion at present but have found it won't pull even a single A/C (it will start it initially but first time A/C cycles it will kill the gen.). I think the Honda's are underrated on actual wattage while the Champions are overrated. Big advantage to the Champions is the price but I don' think they are built as well as the Honda. In particular watch out for the Champion gas tank which can form cracks in the fuel tank (we had that happen to us and spill fuel all over a trailer).


But I have to wonder why anyone who owns a 5th wheel would be concerned about fuel economy? Seriously folks? LOL


As for running a cord up to the truck, you might want to consider what I plan to do and run a plug all the way up to the pin box where you will only need a very short cord to connect the gen up to your camper.... Would be wise to use one long enough that you could pull out from under the hitch though. But at least it would all be contained in the back of your truck.....


Oh yeah and that room in front of the hitch that allows for the generator. One more reason the LONG BED wins the day!!!
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Old 11-18-2017, 03:57 PM   #19
mlh
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I agree with what mtlakejim says.
The guy that worked on my Onan generator says they are junk. He has worked on them for 40 years. Can’t disagree with that mine with 36 hours on it. Honda is the gold standard. Pulling a 12 or 15,000 pound fiver why would anyone worry about fuel mileage. One mile more or less what does it matter?
A plug-in at the pin box works great.
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Old 11-18-2017, 04:52 PM   #20
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If not the 5500 Onan. What is a better option for a permanent mount unit?
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