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rollindowntheroad

Generator for TT. How many of you have one?

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Even if you don't plan on boon docking do you still have a generator in case of emergencies?  Where do you keep it if you have one, in the back of the truck?  I am planning on full timing and was wondering if one is really needed.

Edited by rollindowntheroad
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We owned a Honda inverter/generator which we carried in the tow truck for 3 years and sold it just yesterday because we only used it one time. We almost never dry camp nowadays so ours was mostly dead weight and another thing to care for. Whether you need one or not depends mostly on how you use your RV. If you expect to do a lot of dry camping then you probably would use one but we have never spent 2 consecutive nights dry camped since we downsized to our current travel trailer so it just wasn't used. 

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As mentioned, how and where you intend to camp will be a major factor in whether you will use/need a generator. Other factors to consider are how many amp hours of battery do you have or can you even fit? Will you need to run the furnace at night if dry camping? Will you want to use electric appliances like a coffee maker, hair dryer, etc. when dry camping? Does your trailer have a propane refrigerator or is it one of the newer models with a residential 120 volt or 12 volt refrigerator?  Do you have or intend to install solar?

We also rarely dry camp but have also used the generator during power outages. I would not recommend carrying a gasoline powered generator in a trailer compartment. Lots of room in a truck bed and even better if you have a cap or cover on the bed. I also suggest that if you are only going to use a generator occasionally, that you consider a dual fuel generator. Running on propane eliminates the problems of stale fuel, gummed up carburetor, draining the fuel tank and carrying a supply of gasoline. Yes, propane is less efficient than gasoline. In my opinion, given that you likely are already carrying two tanks of propane (maybe even a third for a grill) and the convenience factors; a dual fuel generator is worth it.  

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Have you noticed that the answer “it depends” comes up so often in RVing? And with “it depends” also comes “what compromise do you have to make?” 

This is definitely one of those times. 

Don’t buy a generator right away if you don’t plan on dry camping much. I got along quite nicely without either a generator or solar (my big regret was not getting factory solar) and a single Group 27 battery for two years by staying in campgrounds with at least power.

I now dry camp a lot and have a Honda 2200 generator, both a portable and roof mounted solar panels along with two Group 31 batteries. But I didn’t add all of that at once, I got things as I found I really needed them. I started with adding a portable solar panel and tried dry camping for more than a day or two. Loved it, did more of it and discovered where my limitations were. When some friends proposed a trip to Alaska that was almost all dry camping, I knew I needed additional Ah and a generator as I couldn’t count on the portable panel as my only power source.

The compromise? Adding the second battery put me over my original tow vehicle’s tongue rating. I refuse to carry a genny in an occupied space (I think it is unsafe), so I had no place to carry it - my original TV was an SUV. I might have considered carrying a genny in the trailer’s front pass through because it isn’t connected to the inside of the trailer, but it won’t fit. The reasoning behind that is that various other RVs have generators in compartments, like truck campers and various motor homes. But they are not occupied spaces or somehow open to occupied spaces.

My genny lives in the bed of the F150 I bought last year. I have a roll-up tonneau cover because I couldn’t maneuver a 50 lb object around the bed all hunched over like I would be if I had a shell (pre-RV pickups in the past had shells). 

What are you towing with? What are the various weight ratings? Will adding a generator add too much weight? Lots of questions come up when it comes to generators.

P.S. The genny doesn’t get used all that much, at least since last summer’s trip to Alaska. I’m not going to sell it, but much prefer solar and can live comfortably with 12 volt system and a small inverter. I don’t have a residential fridge or other large 120v appliances. 

Edited by fpmtngal

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32 minutes ago, fpmtngal said:

.I might have considered carrying a genny in the trailer’s front pass through because it isn’t connected to the inside of the trailer, but it won’t fit. The reasoning behind that is that various other RVs have generators in compartments, like truck campers and various motor homes. But they are not occupied spaces or somehow open to occupied spaces.

I had a can of PB Blaster discharge in the trailer's front compartment. The fumes infiltrated the trailer. The closest and bedroom required hours of airing to remove the odor. I would not store anything with gasoline or highly flammable liquid in an enclosed trailer storage compartment. The generator compartments on motorhomes and even some trailers that I have seen have open bottoms and often vents or screening on the side and are isolated from the RV living area.

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We carry a predator Genny in the bed of our truck.  We do very little dry camping and living on the East coast it can get sweltering.  When traveling we don't always stay at a camp ground with all the amenities.  Oftentimes we find ourselves pulling into a truck stop for the night.  The Genny makes very little noise and believe me the truckers don't even notice.  We park at the very outskirts of the lot and our slide out opens on the left side usually right next to a fence fronting the interstate.

We also do the same when we are using our toyhauler and again out with the left slides.  The Genny on the toyhauler is contained down under and it also exhaust out the left side as well.  Truck stops are not for everyone but they do serve a good purpose, especially when rolling into town at 10PM and there are no spots to be had in a camp ground.

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When we had a 5er I bought a Boliy genset. It worked great for dry camping, would even run both the 13.5 and 15K air conditioner/heat pumps if I watched it closely. I still have and use the Boliy genset in my MH  garage instead of paying monthly for public utility electricity. It will not however run the 24K air conditioner in my MH or I would take it to Key West with us for the winter (dry camp until a FHU site opens up).

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We don't camp in parking lots, rest areas or do any dry camping and we carry a generator in the bed of our truck.  We've had to use it twice but never for the reason we bought it and hope we never have to.

Edited by Mr. Camper

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If you know you DON'T need one, then you don't need one.

If you know you DO need one, then you do need one.

If you DON'T KNOW if you need one, you probably do need one.

 

 

Edited by podwerkz

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A few days ago we lost power in the park.  It turns out that a tree fell on a power line and caused a transformer to explode (heard widely throughout the park).  This happened around 1 PM and the temp was 95 degrees.  I simply pulled the cover off the generator in the back of my truck, fired it up, and plugged the RV into it.  I then went back into the rig and enjoyed the air conditioning until the power was restored about 4 hours later.

This is the second time this summer that we experienced power a outage while staying in a park.  While we would have survived without the generator, we were certainly glad that we had one. 

Safe Travels...

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On 8/3/2019 at 7:29 AM, rollindowntheroad said:

Even if you don't plan on boon docking do you still have a generator in case of emergencies?  Where do you keep it if you have one, in the back of the truck?  

Yes, in the truck bed.

     Spot

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We carry two 2000 watt generators in the back of our truck bed so we can pair them when we need to run the air conditioner.

Vicki

 

Edited by Rover

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Bear in mind that those small generators can be stolen fairly easily. True, it doesn't happen all that often, but it does happen. It is probably impossible to completely secure one so that it can't be stolen, but it is possible to make it as hard as possible for a thief to take it.

Remember, too, that they can remain rather warm for some time after you shut them off. Giving them enough time to cool down after use before putting them away is a good idea.

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We carry a Champion 3500/4000 and carry it on one of those platforms that hangs off the TT rear hitch. I only used it once on our last 7 week trip and that was because we were boondocking and it was hot. Ran it for maybe 5 hours until the sun went down and it cooled off. We carry the can of gas back there too. That gen will run 16-17 hours on one tank tho.

I installed dual Trojan 6V batteries before we left and even tho we dry camped or boondocked for 3 days at a time, we never ran low on battery power. Or water for that matter.

I actually have 400W of solar on the roof but didn't get them fully connected before we left so they were just decoration. But that still would not run the a/c.

If you decide to buy a gen set my advise is to buy a Champion, you can get their 2KW unit for $400 and our larger unit was $525. You can buy four or more of these Champions for the price of one Honda or Yamaha.

But if you aren't going to camp without power you most likely don't need one. Having one greatly expands your camping opportunities tho. But I would not carry one just in case the cg lost power, that has never happened to us in over 25 years of camping.

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Let me comment on the security issue:

First in 25 years we have never had anything stolen from our campsite.

That said I did get a medium heavy length of chain. Maybe 3/8 or 5/16 inch links. Not logging chain. And used that to attach the generator to the camper. Don't use a flimsy lock or you will undo the use of the chain. We carry the generator on an open rear platform and I worry more about someone swiping the generator in a parking lot somewhere. I run the chain thru the gen, a tool box and the 5 gal gas can on the platform.

 

Don't use a cable since a small cheap bolt cutter will defeat that PDQ.

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they do make little motion detector lights that go on if someone comes close to your camper.  Maybe try some of those if you are worried about someone stealing things or you are worried that they might steal something from your site.  Just an idea.  ;)

New to this and looking for any ideas of how to get a title that says JUNK on it licensed in our name or titled in our name???  we have a 2016 travel trailer we purchased and NEED to do this.  the guy that sold it to us had things fixed and told us it had storm damage and we checked everything over and it is fixed but how do we now FIX THIS TITLE situation in Wisconsin????  HELP ! ! !  Any suggestions are GREATLY appreciated !

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On 8/25/2019 at 2:02 PM, agesilaus said:

Let me comment on the security issue:

First in 25 years we have never had anything stolen from our campsite.

That said I did get a medium heavy length of chain. Maybe 3/8 or 5/16 inch links. Not logging chain. And used that to attach the generator to the camper. Don't use a flimsy lock or you will undo the use of the chain. We carry the generator on an open rear platform and I worry more about someone swiping the generator in a parking lot somewhere. I run the chain thru the gen, a tool box and the 5 gal gas can on the platform.

 

Don't use a cable since a small cheap bolt cutter will defeat that PDQ.

Have you ever tried to cut a cable with bolt cutters? I used to use 1/8" cable to secure my Boliy genset in my truckbed. A determined thief may hang around long enough to eventually cut a cable, but the vast majority of thieves will quickly recognize cutting a cable takes time, something thieves lack, if they  want to avoid detection.

BTW,  it is much easier and faster to simply cut the plastic case/handles instead of taking the time to cut a cable, chain,or padlock. The  only portable gensets with an exposed steel framework are construction gensets, not may thieves value those enough to steal. Also, 3/8" chain IS logging chain, this is well-known if you work in the logging industry or are a farmer.

Edited by Ray,IN

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5 hours ago, Ray,IN said:

Have you ever tried to cut a cable with bolt cutters? I used to use 1/8" cable to secure my Boliy genset in my truckbed. A determined thief may hang around long enough to eventually cut a cable, but the vast majority of thieves will quickly recognize cutting a cable takes time, something thieves lack, if they  want to avoid detection.

BTW,  it is much easier and faster to simply cut the plastic case/handles instead of taking the time to cut a cable, chain,or padlock. The  only portable gensets with an exposed steel framework are construction gensets, not may thieves value those enough to steal. Also, 3/8" chain IS logging chain, this is well-known if you work in the logging industry or are a farmer.

All it takes is one squeeze.  That said, I do tend to run a coated 1/4" wire rope through my portable solar panel & grill propane tank, but often forget & have not had a problem.

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17 minutes ago, vermilye said:

All it takes is one squeeze.  That said, I do tend to run a coated 1/4" wire rope through my portable solar panel & grill propane tank, but often forget & have not had a problem.

He said "bolt cutters'' those are cable cutters, two entirely different tools.

Edited by Ray,IN

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You stated you don't plan on boondocking.  The chances of power failure in a RV park are slim.  If power did go out it's usually repaired within a day.  Take your truck and go siteseeing to kill time.  Your refrigerator will run on propane.  Your battery will last at least a night or two if you conserve.  By that time the power would surely be running.

I wouldn't buy one "just in case".  Go without and see how it goes.

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BTW,  it is much easier and faster to simply cut the plastic case/handles instead of taking the time to cut a cable, chain,or padlock. The  only portable gensets with an exposed steel framework are construction gensets,

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Actually Champion inverter gens, at least the one I have, comes with a steel tube frame.

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13 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

You stated you don't plan on boondocking.  The chances of power failure in a RV park are slim.  If power did go out it's usually repaired within a day.  Take your truck and go siteseeing to kill time.  Your refrigerator will run on propane.  Your battery will last at least a night or two if you conserve.  By that time the power would surely be running.

I wouldn't buy one "just in case".  Go without and see how it goes.

Unless you have pets.

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14 hours ago, Ray,IN said:

He said "bolt cutters'' those are cable cutters, two entirely different tools.

I'm just pointing out that here is a tool that makes quick work of steel cable.

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14 hours ago, vermilye said:

I'm just pointing out that here is a tool that makes quick work of steel cable.

Cable cutters are the tool to cut cable, he said bolt cutters.

Edited by Ray,IN

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