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Old 05-18-2015, 11:43 AM   #1
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Location: Edgewood, New Mexico
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Brain Games

Never wanted an air conditioner and do not want a generator. These are bulky, loud, very expensive, and they bother people. But, we have them. Many of us depend upon them.

AC was not on my build list. Why disrupt the sleek, classic Escape roofline by adding a ďtop hatĒ to it? An air conditioner also protrudes down 3 inches. My head needs all the inside clearance I can get. Thinking, how often is AC really needed? Whereís the cost effectiveness?

Buy a generator? Everybody hates the guy next door who runs his stinky generator when we seniors are trying to enjoy a quiet game of Parcheesi, dinner in the woods, a DVD of Doc Martin, even reading. Who would dare run a generator overnight in a WalMart parking lot, or leave it unattended at Quartzsite?

Sure, these are issues easily resolved. We know exactly what our trailer needs to be happy. We have plenty of time to firm up the right personal build list. Yet from the first day I made my build list an inner struggle continued to dog my decision. Needs change. This week, necessity reached a tipping point. All the arguments for and against these two luxuries finally aligned in an order bound by more senior priorities.

I really like hitting the road. The reality is we are both getting on, and we need to be better prepared for camping conditions that will be more demanding, less convenient. Redneck ice chest? Not good enough. She donít cool, she donít cool. There are health issues. One of us in the trailer now currently depends upon an oxygen concentrator at night, a big thing. It requires electricity. Whatís next?

Must act. Got Uncle Sam money back this year, so no need to dip into the egg money. I am ready to upgrade. The question becomes which purchase to do, air conditioner or generator? It will be one or the other.

A generator is the perfect, all-purpose, emergency power source. Very nice to have one because you never know. You can get a Honda 2000i retro-fitted for propane. Nice idea, eliminates gasoline storage issues. Propane is always there on the tongue. Arenít Hondas quiet and reliable? Couldnít I hide it in the truck bed? Done: My first choice is go for the generator. That was easy.

Since in my build list I didnít choose it, now must add a dedicated, quick-connect propane fitting to the trailer exterior. (Factory install was $160.) Nice, it then serves any use, be it generator, Barbie stove, etc. No crawling under the trailer for me. Iíll install it right at the tank low-pressure regulator. So, I done it. Feeling a tad queasy, but good. Now ready to go online, order the modified Honda propane-fired generator. Arf!

Then, so quickly, what? Having second thoughts. Thought I was sold, had it figured, but my inner Jack Benny begins kicking in. Someone told me once, ďWhen you want the car you want the car,Ē meaning testosterone often causes blindness. The generator is a big dollar bite. Brain, sure you got this right? Whatís generating this hesitancy and confliction? Need a second opinion, validation. Decided must talk to my friend Dave about this. Dave knows stuff.
A new view emerges: All campsites have quiet hours. I forgot that! So, you canít run a generator all night for an oxygen concentrator. Have no clue how much electricity an oxygen concentrator requires. Why take a chance with battery power? Plus, if ever needed at the house the propane-modified Honda we like donít run on gasoline.

Now the biggie: When on shore power you can use the air conditioner, and an oxygen concentrator, or any such appliance, and run both all night if needed. Shore power sites are now looking like the smarter, more practical (cost effective) move. Buying an air conditioner online instead of the generator also saves around $500 bucks up front. Trailer is built AC ready. I can do this. Why not also be a good neighbor? So jeepers, what was I thinking?

Say, I could put the savings toward a new Weber, like Daveís. I did the exterior propane quick-connect. Brain games, eh?

"A billion here, a billion there...add it all up and before you know it you're talking real money." Everett Dirkson
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Old 05-18-2015, 12:51 PM   #2
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I don't know what an oxygen concentrator is but if it's anything like a CPAP machine, check out this thread:

Solar panels and CPAP machines?

Karen Hulford
2013 Escape 15A, "Egbert"
Ford 150 XLT 5.8L
Bellingham, Washington
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Old 05-18-2015, 01:23 PM   #3
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Have the Honda 2000i, it's quiet as far a generators go, but still noisy to my ears. Haven't used it for the 5.0TA but when I used it with the bumper pull I'd leave it in the bed of the truck when running, with the truck cap on, still noisy. I think an A/C might drown it out. I really dislike using the generator while camping. Ran it one time in a state park, went for a walk while it ran. Someone turned it off while we were gone, can't really blame them.

I've had the generator 8 years, needed it while camping probably less then half a dozen times, about the same amount of times I used the A/C. It ended up being more useful for home backup, use it has seen during power outages in both summers and winters. If you go to non hookup sites and stay for 5 or more days without solar, it is good to have.

If I lived in NM, I'd get the A/C first and head for hookups when you need to.
Happy Motoring
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Old 05-18-2015, 01:31 PM   #4
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Some trucks have a 400 watt auxiliary plug in in the back of their truck beds. Can/could this be used to top up trailer batteries?
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Old 05-18-2015, 01:48 PM   #5
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I know ETI says it works but the Honda 2000 is not enough to run the A/C in the summer in the Southwest. It will BARELY start once, but not restart when it is really hot. Which IS when you need it. I do not know the actual no-go temp, but over 100 it will not restart when hot.

If you don't need the A/C you probably don't need the generator - you can probably run the concentrator on battery power (or with an inverter) - do verify that.

I would get the A/C for sure. And figure on using hookup sites for A/C weather. I got (and like the Boliye 3600.) But I would look at all the Chicom inverter generators. Not as good as the Honda, but much cheaper.
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Old 05-18-2015, 01:57 PM   #6
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You might want to check with the propane generator supplier to be sure it can run on the low pressure (11 inch water pressure) side of your trailer. Most have a regulator as part of the kit & I don't know if it is the same pressure.

As to the oxygen concentrator, it depends on whatmake & model you have. My late wife's drew close to 1000 watts running, but there are models that draw less.

With the high power oxygen concentrators, you will probaably have to choose between the AC and the concentrator....
Jon Vermilye My Travel Blog
Travel and Photo Web Page ... My Collection of RV Blogs 2018 F150 3.5EB, 2017 21
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Old 05-18-2015, 02:04 PM   #7
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The A/C and generator debate was one that we had while developing our build list. We wanted A/C, but do indeed boondock around AZ and Southern CA.
We decided that when A/C is really necessary, we would go to shore power locations. So we got A/C.
SO that left the generator question: we id'ed two uses: (1)to run A/C (and microwave) in lieu of shore power; (2)emergency generator for home.
I found conversion kits to modify Honda 2000i's to 3 way-gasoline/propane/natural gas. So it could work off the trailer supply, or from our home nat.gas for emergencies.
So far, we've shelved the idea as too expensive to do for now, and we really don't like generator noise around when we camp, so probably would not use it. But, if we find a good deal, we may go for it for emergencies.
Don & Teresa
2015 17A: 2011 Honda Pilot
In Orbe Terrum Non Visi / RLTW
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Old 05-18-2015, 02:46 PM   #8
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I cannot find anything definitive but be aware that propane has about 10% less energy per pound than gasoline. I *believe* that bifuel generators should be derated by 10% when using propane. See the following for some evidence (but no clear cut answer) of this:
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Old 05-18-2015, 03:29 PM   #9
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Propane does have less energy per unit volume than gasoline (because it is less dense), but slightly more energy per unit mass than gasoline.

That doesn't really matter to power output, anyway. The output of an engine converted to LPG (propane) is typically lower because the fuel is delivered in vapour form through a carburettor, displacing air, in contrast to gasoline which is delivered as a spray of liquid droplets. There's simply more air+fuel mixture going into the gasoline engine (carburetted or fuel injected) than into a carburetted propane engine. I doubt anyone sells a small general-purpose engine for uses such as an RV generator which has liquid propane injection; certainly a Honda generator with an RV conversion kit won't have liquid injection.

The end result is that, yes, a non-turbocharged engine converted from gasoline to propane without internal modifications will have a lower peak power output.
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Old 05-18-2015, 03:47 PM   #10
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Karen, an Oxygen Concentrator is a machine "...designed to concentrate room air to help ease your breathing." When one's oxygen intake levels are unstable, a doctor may prescribe using a concentrator. It's a plugged in machine that sends continuous oxygen via a tube (nasal cannula) to your nose.

"A billion here, a billion there...add it all up and before you know it you're talking real money." Everett Dirkson
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