"That's Very Smart"
Skip to main content

Topic: Generator or not? (Read 1180 times) previous topic - next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Generator or not?

We are starting the quest for a Wonder! Our plan is to upfit the electrical system much like our boat using a 3000W inverter/charger, lithium batteries and significant solar. My question is whether it makes sense to include the built in generator in our planning or use something smaller for the off chance we need a generator. We expect to be able to use the system to run air conditioning overnight without having the generator on when not plugged in. We expect the actual run time of a generator to be fairly low with this system in fact. What are the advantages of going built in over small honda 2200i or something like that?

So far, I see the following advantages:
Ease of set up (push a button as opposed to go outside and run the power cord)
No separate gas can needed
Auto start when batteries go too low

Disadvantages:
Cost
Weight
Maintenance access

Your thoughts are much appreciated!!

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #1
I hope you are looking at the Wonder Rtb because it has the space to add what you want to do.
I am sure Gerald will chime in, he did all of that on his Rtb.  Or search here, he posted his build.
Harry
Tempe, Az
2019 Wonder FTB
Toad 2007 Honda Fit

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #2
We are starting the quest for a Wonder! Our plan is to upfit the electrical system much like our boat using a 3000W inverter/charger, lithium batteries and significant solar. My question is whether it makes sense to include the built in generator in our planning or use something smaller for the off chance we need a generator. We expect to be able to use the system to run air conditioning overnight without having the generator on when not plugged in. We expect the actual run time of a generator to be fairly low with this system in fact. What are the advantages of going built in over small honda 2200i or something like that?

So far, I see the following advantages:
Ease of set up (push a button as opposed to go outside and run the power cord)
No separate gas can needed
Auto start when batteries go too low

Disadvantages:
Cost
Weight
Maintenance access

Your thoughts are much appreciated!!

You won't have room for a external generator - like a Honda. Get the factory installed one and use it as needed.
3 Class A's from Triple E now Downsizing to a 2020 Wonder RTB

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #3
There is plenty of room in the RTB for a portable generator.
Gerald Miller
WonderRTB 2020 (delivered Nov 2019)

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #4
I did not order the generator. But I added 600 amps of lithium, 3000 watt inverter, and five hundred watts of solar and a mppt controller. A Honda 2200i converted to propane would be all I would ever need if I even ever would need it at all. So far I haven’t. I don’t miss the Onan genset at all.

We are starting the quest for a Wonder! Our plan is to upfit the electrical system much like our boat using a 3000W inverter/charger, lithium batteries and significant solar. My question is whether it makes sense to include the built in generator in our planning or use something smaller for the off chance we need a generator. We expect to be able to use the system to run air conditioning overnight without having the generator on when not plugged in. We expect the actual run time of a generator to be fairly low with this system in fact. What are the advantages of going built in over small honda 2200i or something like that?

So far, I see the following advantages:
Ease of set up (push a button as opposed to go outside and run the power cord)
No separate gas can needed
Auto start when batteries go too low

Disadvantages:
Cost
Weight
Maintenance access

Your thoughts are much appreciated!!
Gerald Miller
WonderRTB 2020 (delivered Nov 2019)

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #5
One note on AC use on batteries. The Dometic Penguin II uses about 150 amps DC per hour. It won’t last all night unless you do one of two options. Install about 1200 amps of lithium or replace the highly inefficient Penguin with the 12vdc ProAir AC that uses about 75-85 amps. A third option is get a Honda 2200i converted to propane. It will replace most of the amps the AC needs.
Gerald Miller
WonderRTB 2020 (delivered Nov 2019)

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #6
The generator is a big thing and costs a bunch of money.  I think that if you are contemplating a large, sophisticated solar install as you are foregoing the generator makes sense.  Your emergency charging can come from the chassis alternator unless you run out of gas.  I think I would make that my last fallback position knowing I am probably never going to get to that point.  Unless I end up in a cloudy situation that persists for days but I can drive out of that and probably would, wouldn't  you?

Most places you might camp wouldn't let you run the generator overnight to power  your AC.  Again, weather factor: stay out of hot weather or stay in a campground with electricity if that's not possible.

This all boils down to how do  you see  yourself camping?  We are fair weather campers, not too hot and not too cold except for short periods of time and with planning.  I think air conditioner use in a pinch is something to consider but large scale lithium/solar installations will provide enough power if required.  Again, this goes to your style.

In another post in this forum I did a quick sum of what the solar from LTV options would cost.  Including a generator the total is something like $11K.  For $11K you can build a massive lithium/solar system that will do basically anything you might consider!  Especially if you do it yourself.  There is plenty of information about exactly how to do this on the web in various places.  Again, the Sprinter Forum probably has the most complete information at this time for LTV owners (mostly Unity folks there but the chassis component of all of this is the same whether Ford or Transit).

The one issue with solar on the Wonder is roof real estate.  It is hard to squeeze more than four 100W panels up there.  So you need to be cognizant of what your actual power demands are.  If you move around with the chassis running as we do then getting charged is generally never a problem.  When we plan to sit for several days we go into power conservation mode.  But with very large battery systems and decent conservation you will probably never have a problem with 400W total solar output.
Thanks,

Klipstr
Rio Verde and Show Low AZ
Living the Dream!

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #7
I got five 100 watt panels on my WonderRTB. If I didn't have a ladder, I think I could have got one more up there.
Gerald Miller
WonderRTB 2020 (delivered Nov 2019)

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #8
Get rid of the ladder!  After you put up that last panel.  Oh wait...
Thanks,

Klipstr
Rio Verde and Show Low AZ
Living the Dream!

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #9
We are shopping for a Wonder RTB. We are trying to order one without solar and generator, planning on doing our own solar/battery upgrade. One vendor says they will only order one without a generator with a $20K non refundable deposit.  Saying if we back out, it would be hard for them to sell it.  We are still waiting to hear from other dealers. 

Our plan is to run the air conditioner (with soft start) on a Honda 2K generator (or shore power).  Has anyone else run their AC on a 2K generator?  Is this why they are so pushy about ordering a generator?

This not a deal breaker for us but are wondering if others have experienced this issue?

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #10
We are starting the quest for a Wonder! Our plan is to upfit the electrical system much like our boat using a 3000W inverter/charger, lithium batteries and significant solar. My question is whether it makes sense to include the built in generator in our planning or use something smaller for the off chance we need a generator. We expect to be able to use the system to run air conditioning overnight without having the generator on when not plugged in. We expect the actual run time of a generator to be fairly low with this system in fact. What are the advantages of going built in over small honda 2200i or something like that?

So far, I see the following advantages:
Ease of set up (push a button as opposed to go outside and run the power cord)
No separate gas can needed
Auto start when batteries go too low

Disadvantages:
Cost
Weight
Maintenance access

Your thoughts are much appreciated!!

If you have pets, I would certainly add the generator to be sure I've have adequate power to keep the coach cool.  We have a Golden Retriever & use the Genny often, previously a 2013 Unity TB with diesel generator.  Now we have 2021 Wonder RL with gas genny & auto start if needed to charge the batteries.  We have the optional two 100 Watt Lithium Batteries.
2021 LTV Wonder Rear Lounge - White Suede

2013 LTV Unity Twin Bed (Sold)

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #11
Why in the world you buy an RV without a genetator???  I agree with the deposit non refundable. I must say when I read your post I had to read it several times as to why you would not want a generator. Especially if you ever want to sell it good luck! I would reconsider the non generator. If it is to save money then it is sort of like a boat. Of you can't afford the gas then don't buy the boat.

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #12
I did not order a generator in my WonderRTB. For 13 years prior to ordering my 2020 WonderRTB I owned a Class B with a LP generator. We rarely used it and when we did it was not for long. More often than not, it would not start and was expensive to maintain. Most of the hours on it were simply the monthly exercise to keep it running, and even then it didn't run when we needed it many times. No thanks, I didn't want it with the new Wonder. It is dead weight.

Instead, I knew I was going to upgrade with a 3000 watt inverter and 600 amps of lithium and 500 watts of solar. I can run the AC if need be for about 3. 5 hours. If I need the air for more than an hour or two I'll take along a Honda 2200i converted to propane but I imagine I never will have the need.  Everything else runs off the inverter, including the microwave, refrigerator (I also replaced the Dometic for a Novakool), and all outlets. It's like always being connected to shore power. As far a issues with selling it, I predict in a few years more will go this route as lithium comes down in price, and I'll take the gamble that there will be more who would rather have a system that rarely if ever needs a generator than one with a generator that is rarely used and a hassle to keep running.  I designed this for how I use it now the next guy. Plus, if whoever buys it wants  a generator, it's plug and play-wired up and ready to add one with minimal cost.

But the question may be moot. It is my understanding that the option of a generator is not really an option but mandatory (which makes no sense since if its mandatory it cannot be an option). If not given a choice of ordering a WonderRTB without a generator I would not have likely ordered it at all.

Every time we use our energized WonderRTB, I'm thankful I DON'T have a generator. That's why I didn't order a generator in the first place.

Why in the world you buy an RV without a genetator???  I agree with the deposit non refundable. I must say when I read your post I had to read it several times as to why you would not want a generator. Especially if you ever want to sell it good luck! I would reconsider the non generator. If it is to save money then it is sort of like a boat. Of you can't afford the gas then don't buy the boat.
Gerald Miller
WonderRTB 2020 (delivered Nov 2019)

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #13
VanCityRV is where I bought mine and they required a $10,000 non-refundable deposit to order it without a generator, I agreed as I knew I would never back out of the deal so it made no difference to me at all whether it was refundable or not.

We are shopping for a Wonder RTB. We are trying to order one without solar and generator, planning on doing our own solar/battery upgrade. One vendor says they will only order one without a generator with a $20K non refundable deposit.  Saying if we back out, it would be hard for them to sell it.  We are still waiting to hear from other dealers. 

Our plan is to run the air conditioner (with soft start) on a Honda 2K generator (or shore power).  Has anyone else run their AC on a 2K generator?  Is this why they are so pushy about ordering a generator?

This not a deal breaker for us but are wondering if others have experienced this issue?
Gerald Miller
WonderRTB 2020 (delivered Nov 2019)

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #14
It's interesting that VanCityRV told you there was a $10,000 deposit to order it without the generator because VanCityRV told me they wanted the $10,000 deposit to place the order WITH the generator.  I just figured it was a $10,000 deposit no matter what options you ordered.

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #15
I would guess that 99.5% of the people buy with the generator, because they want.
They would have very hard time selling without, or they will install one to sell.
Harry
Tempe, Az
2019 Wonder FTB
Toad 2007 Honda Fit

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #16
Not so sure why they all want deposits when they can sell a new one in a day? We never put a deposit down and I wanted to but they would not take it.

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #17
I would guess that 99.5% of the people buy with the generator, because they want.
They would have very hard time selling without, or they will install one to sell.

I guess I'll find out whether a buyer wants 600 amps and a 3000 watt inverter instead of a generator at some point!
Gerald Miller
WonderRTB 2020 (delivered Nov 2019)

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #18
It's interesting that VanCityRV told you there was a $10,000 deposit to order it without the generator because VanCityRV told me they wanted the $10,000 deposit to place the order WITH the generator.  I just figured it was a $10,000 deposit no matter what options you ordered.

They said the deposit was refundable unless I ordered it without the generator, which I did.
Gerald Miller
WonderRTB 2020 (delivered Nov 2019)

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #19
We pick. up our new Wonder RTB in a few weeks and will be heading out to AM Solar on the west coast in May to have a system very similar to Gerald's installed (see his post on his system).  We will fit 5 x 100W panels, and a very small Thule roof rack on top with the ladder option (but its very tight).  We opted for a factory installed gas generator as we will be dry camping exclusively for a few years as we travel through central and south America.  Not knowing how much we may be using it to run the a/c and charge the house batteries, we chose the installed generator just in case we end up using it more often than we would hope to (produces twice the power).
If we were staying in the US, I think we would probably not have gotten the factory generator, and used our Honda portable generator (have had one for years and love it).  They are quiet, light, small and sip fuel.  The LP conversion may be a good way to go to do way with gas cans and the gas smell in your garage. 
Side note - If you go with a Honda and you have upgraded to the Victron 3000 inverter/charger, the Victoron will add inverted ac power from the batteries to supplement the generator's power for periods when you are consuming more electricity than the generator is providing.
Kyle
2021 Wonder RTB

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #20
When your solar system is added it would be great to get more info on that. I like what you all got on the roof! We just got our VIN number and will get it in 2 months. We also like you dropped all the solar stuff so we could add one ourselves. Any info you have on it with inverter brand and size would be great. Bet you can cant wait to use it.

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #21
Lot of solar info on Sprinter forum.com
Go to:
Brand based Sprinters
LeisureTravel Vans
Unity
Have fun
Harry
Tempe, Az
2019 Wonder FTB
Toad 2007 Honda Fit

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #22
We just ordered our Winder RTB - I’ve been looking into getting a propane powered fuel cell  instead of a generator to keep the battery array charged in conjunction with solar.  I was told that even though the generator is listed as an option, you can’t order it without the big 4K unit.  Since that doesn’t make any sense, I checked with Dean, and he said it is a balance issue and the cab is too light without it... hmmm.  Anyone else receive that information?

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #23
Hmmm, indeed.

 My 2020 WonderRTB seems to ride just fine without a generator. I don't think that's the reason. I think the most likely explanation is that the gas model requires a rather invasive procedure into the fuel tank and they build them as if all will require the generator. In my 2020 diesel they wired it up as well as ran a propane line, capped off, into the bay, and installed the Onan supplied generator hanging kit as well. They really can't do that with the gas based model so, there you have it. Balance though? I strongly doubt that had anything to do with it. The generator is right smack in the middle and would add almost no balance to the front or back, and plus, 200lbs isn't going to make a huge dent in a vehicle that weigh in at 11,000lbs.
Gerald Miller
WonderRTB 2020 (delivered Nov 2019)

Re: Generator or not?

Reply #24
Anything with the name Victron on it is excellent. Very well made and designed. As far as inverter size, you could go with the 2000watt model with a Microair Easystart but it may tax the inverter  some if you use the air conditioning. The 3000watt model handles it easily, but uses more amps to get the job done in standby (about 2.5 v 5 amps). As far as panels go, I would go with AmSolar's latest models (the low profile panels).

When your solar system is added it would be great to get more info on that. I like what you all got on the roof! We just got our VIN number and will get it in 2 months. We also like you dropped all the solar stuff so we could add one ourselves. Any info you have on it with inverter brand and size would be great. Bet you can cant wait to use it.
Gerald Miller
WonderRTB 2020 (delivered Nov 2019)