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Post by Jamie D on Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:26 am

Seeking advice on possible purchase of a LPG leisure generator in preference to petrol type. Does anyone know if a LPG generator can be connected to the external BBQ gas tap? Does anyone own or have used a LPG leisure generator connected (assuming it is possible) this way?
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Post by rogerblack on Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:53 am

Yes you can run them from a BBQ point. When I bought our EU2.0i Honda I had it fitted with an LPG conversion kit.  However I removed this after a while and it's still sitting in our garage somewhere. 
We hardly ever used the generator after I retired and no longer used the motorhome for business. The adaptor kit made the genny bulkier to store and made little difference to the noise in use. When I last worked out the economics, it was only cheaper on LPG than petrol if you were buying the large Calor cylinders - if you have a refillable LPG tank then that may make a bigger difference, but this is only relevant if you use it a lot.  We never wild camp and are usually on hook-up so lugging the generator around just to be able to use the microwave when stopping for lunch in a layby made no sense.  No matter how quiet the suppliers claim them to be, we found few opportunities to use it without causing a nuisance, so never carry it in the motorhome now.  It's handy for when there's a power cut at home or when needing to use electric power tools in remote locations.

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Post by Jamie D on Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:43 pm

rogerblack wrote:Yes you can run them from a BBQ point. When I bought our EU2.0i Honda I had it fitted with an LPG conversion kit.  However I removed this after a while and it's still sitting in our garage somewhere. 
We hardly ever used the generator after I retired and no longer used the motorhome for business. The adaptor kit made the genny bulkier to store and made little difference to the noise in use. When I last worked out the economics, it was only cheaper on LPG than petrol if you were buying the large Calor cylinders - if you have a refillable LPG tank then that may make a bigger difference, but this is only relevant if you use it a lot.  We never wild camp and are usually on hook-up so lugging the generator around just to be able to use the microwave when stopping for lunch in a layby made no sense.  No matter how quiet the suppliers claim them to be, we found few opportunities to use it without causing a nuisance, so never carry it in the motorhome now.  It's handy for when there's a power cut at home or when needing to use electric power tools in remote locations.
Thanks for the info, very helpful and useful. Probably the only time you wouldn’t hear the genearator is at a noisy air show? There were lots of generators being used at a Airshow I recently attended, but like you, the points and experiences you have raised and highlighted are foremost in my thoughts. Let’s hope the sun keeps shining and the solar panel keeps powering up the leisure battery. Peace prevail.
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Post by easylifer on Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:35 pm

Whatever happened to 'thermal electric generators' powered by lpg? They were silent.

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Post by Onlysme on Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:16 pm

You can get near silent fuel cell generators that will keep your 12v system fully topped up automatically, however they are v. expensive. That said if it's expensive and useable then it may be a option to a cheaper generator that just gathers dust due to killing the peace and tranquilly of your perfect off grid stop!

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Post by jaffa on Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:47 am

Wow, £2,500! Mind you, this tech is both exciting and promising, so will probably go down in price over time. I remember my dad paying £300 odd for a little honda generator back in the '70s - dunno what that equates to now, but probably even more than an Efoy?
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Post by Gromit on Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:55 am

Hi Jamie

Arguably the best solution would be another solar panel and second leisure battery. Environmentally there is no argument at all!

Fit and forget, no noise, no pollution, no fuel to source and carry - and if you have something like 2 or 3 hundred watts of panel and 220ah of battery capacity, you could power a small village!!  content

Financially there wouldn't be much difference, nor in terms of the extra weight you would be carrying.

Idleness alone would push me in that direction!  biggrin
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Post by groundhog on Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:18 am

Had a Honda generator years ago, used it a few times and then realised carrying fuel for it and the general inconvenience it was probably better suited to caravanning. It just sat in the garage for ages so gave it away, wouldn't buy another one as I believe there are better ways.
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Post by Jamie D on Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:05 am

Thanks all for your thoughts on the subject. 

I suppose the most cost effective and environmentally friendly solution would be to upgrade the solar panel and leisure battery but would the Sargent control have to be upgraded?
With regard to the generator, I was only considering LPG ones as I wouldn’t want to carry petrol as well.
I like the fuel cell technology but as someone else said, it comes with a hefty price tag.
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Post by Gromit on Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:42 am

Jamie D wrote:Thanks all for your thoughts on the subject. 

I suppose the most cost effective and environmentally friendly solution would be to upgrade the solar panel and leisure battery but would the Sargent control have to be upgraded?
With regard to the generator, I was only considering LPG ones as I wouldn’t want to carry petrol as well.
I like the fuel cell technology but as someone else said, it comes with a hefty price tag.
No.

I'm no expert on electronics (under statement of the year!!  shrugg ) but you would need to bypass the Sargent unit with a separate controller.

The MPPT type are more expensive, though reckoned to be better. The PWM type are said by some of our experts to be just as good in most circumstances, and they are available for as little as about £20.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] seems pretty good for explaining the pros and cons in some detail.
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Post by Jamie D on Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:42 am

I prefer one solar panel and one battery but the advantage of two panels and two batteries is you would have the luxury of a back-up if one of the panels failed.
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Post by -mojo- on Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:52 am

As Gromit says, Sargent typically only fit built-in solar controllers with a 10A rating, which means a max of 120W solar capacity. In the UK you could probably go a bit higher than that, but the extra cost of a higher spec controller means it's probably not worth taking the risk.

jaffa wrote:Wow, £2,500! Mind you, this tech is both exciting and promising, so will probably go down in price over time. I remember my dad paying £300 odd for a little honda generator back in the '70s - dunno what that equates to now, but probably even more than an Efoy?

The thing is that this is not new tech. The Efoy products have been around for well over a decade, and prices do not seem to have dropped materially. The big problem with their design is that it uses very expensive fuel - so it's not only expensive to buy, it's stupidly expensive to run as well!

In theory it should be possible to make fuel cell power sources that run on cheaper fuel (such as LPG), but it seems the problem is that impurities in these cheaper fuels "poison" the cells and cause them to lose efficiency over time.
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Post by SteveUK on Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:10 am

With my 80W solar panel and 120Ah leisure battery plus 1.5kW inverter I can run a small microwave for 20 to 30 minutes off-grid without problem.  Also allows the guv'nor to use a proper hair dryer when not on hook-up.
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Post by Dare-devil-dennis on Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:36 am

The Sargent EC500 power supply has a separate 10A PWM solar controller wired in the back. You can change it for a 10A MPPT controller, but 120W is your limit because the Sargent Printed Circuit Board tracks will not handle the current through the smart charging the EC500 provides. You can upgrade to a 100W panel or add a 40W panel to the existing 80w Panel, but without re-engineering the whole system, thats your lot. Having said that, an extra 40W is a 50% increase and with an MPPT controller, you should harvest more longer into the season.

It's early days for me yet, but I added an additional 90AH calcium battery (same as OEM) when I bought the Stanton and so far with 80W PWM and 180AH, this year has been fine. I will fit am MPPT if I need a bit more in the winter months.
My wife uses a CPAP, (breathing machine) all night and off-grid there has never been a problem.

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Post by Eltel on Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:57 am

Hi Dennis

Did you have the second battery fitted at the time you bought the Stanton ?

I have a 2017 Nuevo EK which has a 110AH battery fitted, I would like to add a second 110AH battery but it seems they should both be fitted at the same time 

My present battery is fine and shows green.

I don’t want to but two batteries if I can help it.

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Post by Gromit on Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:09 pm

Hi Terry

Our van is a year older than yours, but otherwise identical I would guess.

Obviously a lot depends on how you camp, but I would suggest you wait until you have a problem before you try to solve it.

We've been on Aires in France, or sites with no hook-up for four or five consecutive nights and the standard set-up has coped perfectly well. A second battery would eat into the fairly limited storage space in our vans, as well as the payload - so I'm resisting the temptation until such time as it may become necessary.

Just an opinion. See you at Malvern, four nights there without hook-up will give you a pretty fair idea of whether you need a second battery. 
Can I pre-book a stroke of George!  hugegrins
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Post by Eltel on Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:25 pm

Hi Dave

Yes I take your points regarding a extra battery, weight & size so I won’t be rushing to making any battery decisions just yet.

Pre booking of stroking George is not required, as he is always ready for a stroke
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