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Connecting Generator to Trailer

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ColoradoPK View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ColoradoPK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Connecting Generator to Trailer
    Posted: 21 Jan 2019 at 7:47pm
Good evening.  I've been so fortunate to learn from so many of you in such a short time period.  I've decided to get a dual fuel generator, the Champion 3400 watt inverter.  I'd like to connect it to the quick connect on my 2018 rPod 179.  From what I've learned, it looks like I can do it, but should have a shut off on my hose after the connection so that I can safely turn off the generator without shutting off the propane to the entire trailer.  

Am I correct about this?  I'm still learning and would appreciate any advice you all can offer.  I'll try to post a picture of the connector, but if it doesn't work, this is the connector I was looking at: https://www.amazon.com/KIBOW-Pressure-Propane-Quick-Connect-Shutoff/dp/B0748ZD277/ref=sr_1_5?hvadid=178114173534&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=1014573&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1o1&hvqmt=b&hvrand=11759633346619406151&hvtargid=kwd-12856176611&ie=UTF8&keywords=propane+quick+connect+hoses&qid=1548120906&sr=8-5&tag=googhydr-20
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lostagain View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lostagain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2019 at 11:47pm
We have almost the same generator [3100w/2900w].  It's a really nice one and reasonably quiet.

We never tried to connect it to the trailer's gas system.  It is just as easy to carry a dedicated propane tank for the generator and use the regulator and hose that came with the generator to connect with the tank.  The generator uses quite a bit of propane and you may find that your trailer tank is running out much faster than you'd really like.  And it's a pain to disconnect it to take it off for a refill.  

With the separate tank, you can leave the trailer tank in place much longer and it's a lot easier to keep tabs on the propane tank for the generator because all you have to do is lift it up every so often to get an idea of how much gas you really have left.  [The gauges don't show level, just pressure.]

And don't forget that the stated wattage for that generator is lower when you run it on LP, since LP has less phlogiston than gasoline. Confused 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jan 2019 at 6:57am
That connector with the integrated shutoff ought to work, and having the ability to connect to the trailer cylinder is a good idea.  I don't know about the Champion but my Honda propane conversion leaks a little propane into he carb so I always use the shutoff when its not running. 

lostagain's recommendation is a good one too, and I'll add another ever better reason for using a separate cylinder. That's so you can place the genny and cylinder at a distance from you and your neighbor's campsites.  Keeps the noise and exhaust smell down as low as possible. And if you're using the genny to run the a/c it will be pretty noisy, inverter-generators aren't really any quieter than standard ones when running at or near full load. Your neighbors will love you for it (or at least not hate you as much) If you want you can bring a heavy duty extension cord and place the genny 50-100 feet away. Most of the noise come from the exhaust so point that out into the woods. 

I start a camping trip with the fullest cylinder on the trailer and use the other one for the genny, placing it well away from the trailer. When the genny cylinder is empty I move the genny nearer the tongue and connect it to the cylinder on the trailer. Then next trip into town I swap the empty cylinder for a full one. When I return I put the full cylinder on the trailer and the one on the trailer goes out in the woods with the genny. 

That way I have plenty of time before I run out of propane to make the tank swap while always having propane available to both the trailer and the genny. And I never have to swap a partially full cylinder to be sure I have enough. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ColoradoPK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jan 2019 at 7:08am
Great advice. Thanks. I have a two tank system on my pod and didn’t know if it would be silly to bring a third one just for the generator. I can plug my 30 amp cord directly into the generator so will be able to keep good distance from trailer if I use third tank.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jan 2019 at 7:36am
Thanks to the work of Antoine Lavoisier we are no longer saddled with phlogiston theory and "deflogisticated air", leading directly to the discovery of oxygen which we all know and love. If phlogiston theory was correct we wouldn't be able to safely fly at 30000 ft, climb mount Everest, travel in space, or survive major surgery. So I for one am not at all sorry to see phlogiston go the way of the dodo.  

And on a per unit weight and per unit carbon basis there is 13% more "phlogiston" in propane than in gasoline, which is why lighter hydrocarbons burn cleaner and produce less CO2 than heavier ones. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lostagain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jan 2019 at 8:03am
No phlogiston??Shocked

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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jan 2019 at 8:11am
Back in the day they knew what to do with purveyors of fake news. Lavoisier was guillotined in 1794 during the French Revolution as an enemy of the state. Besides, he was the the mastermind behind the adoption of the metric system. If not for him we would all still be using feet and pounds (oops, some of us still are Confused)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lostagain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jan 2019 at 8:57am
I think rods and stones are a much more accurate form of measurement.  

Down with with feet and pounds!  Disapprove

It would be much better to buy a tank of gas containing 7 5/32nds stones of weight.

Having the versatility to run the generator away from the trailer and the neighbors is a real plus.  Our experience with the Champion is that it runs very quietly, more or less similarly to the Honda but at an agreeably lower price.  And, the exhaust, the phlogiston, when run on propane isn't real stinky, though it still should be kept a safe distance from the trailer since it is not healthful to breathe.



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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jan 2019 at 9:22am
This is a handy chart to compare the relative amounts of energy per unit of various fuels.
Phlogiston has nothing to do with it. BTUs per gallon does. LP does burn cleaner than gasoline, only because it is a single type of molecule instead of the blend of molecules that is gasoline, some of which burn cleaner than others. The down side is that it takes more gallons of LP to get the same energy output.
Here is one example I found of the relative power output of a generator on gasoline vs. propane:
  • 3800 running watts/4750 starting watts (gasoline)
  • 3420 running watts/4275 starting watts (LPG)

  • Edit: I found a chart for a Champion dual-fuel inverter generator. The comparison is:
    Gasoline:  3400 starting and 3100 running watts
    Propane:   3060 starting and 2790 running watts

    Also, most of the sources I saw stated that in temperatures below 20F, the propane was not viable unless there were a method of warming the tank. Even below 40F, the pressure in the tank starts to drop and may become too low to start the generator on LP alone. Even though the boiling point of LP is -44F, as the LP is used out of the tank, it cools the tank to below ambient temperatures. It isn't unusual to see frost build-up on the tank when LP gas is used at a high rate. With ambient temperatures in the teens or single-digits, it may not be possible to maintain sufficient gas flow to run the generator, especially if the same tank is being used to supply the furnace. A separate tank would be better, especially since it could be placed in the area where the cooling air for the generator is exhausted which would warm the tank. However, it would be prudent to not place it in the exhaust from the muffler so that it does not become overheated and start to vent propane from too much pressure.
    StephenH
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jan 2019 at 9:22am
    It depends what you're running on the generator. The inverter section reduces noise and fuel consumption by reducing engine rpm at low power levels. Reverts to full rpm at high loads.   At high loading which only occurs when running the a/c or the microwave the Honda isn't much quieter than a standard generator, if any. I mostly use my genny in the summer for a/c operation so noise can be a significant issue. 

    I spent the extra money for the Honda because its primary use is as an emergency home power source in the event of weather related outages here on the OBX. It could be running for weeks after a hurricane so I wanted the most reliable genny I could get. The Honda has a stellar rep.  For occasional camping use something less expensive is probably just fine. 

    Where do you put that 100 lb propane tank in your rPod?  
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