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Generators In this forum we will try to answer any of your questions about the different model generators that can be found on Blue Bird coach's.

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  #1  
Old 02-17-2011
Don Meyer Don Meyer is offline
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Default Gen VS RV park

Hello all,
Has anyone ever broken down the cost of dry camping and using the generator a few hours twice a day to keep a large battery bank charged, VS paying a nominal fee for an RV park. Now I realize that some RV parks are quite pricey now, but there are still some that are reasonable. Especially around places like Las Vegas (which is where we are now).

I have to wonder what the cost difference would be for diesel fuel at current prices VS an RV park with electric included in the fees.

I realize there are certainly a lot of variables to take into consideration, but on a general basis, I wonder which way is cheaper to travel.

This is using the 12.5KW - 4 cylinder gen.
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  #2  
Old 02-17-2011
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susanmarycamilleri susanmarycamilleri is offline
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When we are travelling somewhere, driving late and leaving early, this happens when we are heading south in the cold months trying to get to some place warm, we often stop overnight in a truck stop, rest area, or department store. I figure even if I run the gen all night (8 - 10 hours) it is cheaper than staying in a park. 10 hrs at .75 GPH = 7.5 Gal X 3.20 = $24. Most parks charge more than that. I normally run the gen for a couple of hours in the evening and a couple in the morning,so say 4x .75x3.2 = $9.60.
That said when we get where we are going I normally stay at an RV park/resort as I enjoy all the facitities, and I don't holiday in truck stops or Walmarts, but I resent spending $35-$50 to park 10 hours overnight and use $3 worth of electricity.
That is just me. I guess our decision is whether we are travelling to get somewhere or are we there. A lot of the panic to get there is the fact that we are not retired yet, and therefore on a schedule, or deadline, (ie must be back home by a certain date). I hope that once retired we will not be in a hurry ever, and where ever we are that night is the destination.
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Old 02-17-2011
Frank W. Frank W. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susanmarycamilleri View Post
When we are travelling somewhere, driving late and leaving early, this happens when we are heading south in the cold months trying to get to some place warm, we often stop overnight in a truck stop, rest area, or department store. I figure even if I run the gen all night (8 - 10 hours) it is cheaper than staying in a park. 10 hrs at .75 GPH = 7.5 Gal X 3.20 = $24. Most parks charge more than that. I normally run the gen for a couple of hours in the evening and a couple in the morning,so say 4x .75x3.2 = $9.60.
That said when we get where we are going I normally stay at an RV park/resort as I enjoy all the facitities, and I don't holiday in truck stops or Walmarts, but I resent spending $35-$50 to park 10 hours overnight and use $3 worth of electricity.
That is just me. I guess our decision is whether we are travelling to get somewhere or are we there. A lot of the panic to get there is the fact that we are not retired yet, and therefore on a schedule, or deadline, (ie must be back home by a certain date). I hope that once retired we will not be in a hurry ever, and where ever we are that night is the destination.
This mirrors our habits/experience also...as a reference our FC has the gasoline powered generator and as I recall the fuel consumption is listed in the Onan owners manual as .9-1.0/gal per hour.

For boondocking*: hour in am, hour+ in PM, figure 3 hours=$9.00 fuel cost. We have one solar panel that does help in getting some amps back into battery if sunny.
For running the AC for say 8 hours...$24.00. Both examples at $3.00/gal.

Most of us don't use the gennys enough anyway...the cause I think of most of our genny issues.
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Last edited by Frank W.; 02-17-2011 at 09:27 AM. Reason: *solar panel comment added.
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Old 02-17-2011
oldmansax oldmansax is offline
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We probably do more off-grid camping than most, either while en route or at our destination. If you don't need to dump the tanks, running the generator is always cheaper for us. If the tanks are full AND there are no free dumps around, buy a night in a campground.

TOM
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Old 02-17-2011
Don Meyer Don Meyer is offline
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Good input everyone. Does all this cost analysis take into account wear and tear on the gen. Repairs and oil changes. Then there is the aggrevation of trouble shooting a gen problem just when you need the gen most. (Happened to us at Q)

Jane I are now full timers and spend most of our time dry camping at one location or another. So all this is just thoughts and speculation on which way to travel is less costly. With diesel fuel now on the high side of 3 -4 bucks in some areas, it makes us wonder if we're really saving any money by avoiding most campgrounds. We've see some fairly nice RV parks in and around Vegas priced as low as $19 per night. And many have free WI FI as well. I do keep in mind that that is probably unique to the Vegas area.
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Old 02-17-2011
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sfedeli sfedeli is offline
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We bought a Passport America membership and usually pay around 15-20 dollars per night, so I've found it cheaper to hit the RV parks when I'm traveling when one is available in the area. Boondocking is definitely cheaper when you can't find a discounted park. Cracker Barrel restaurants are our favorite- pull in after 10 and have breakfast around 6:30 AM and then hit the road again. They are quiet, truck-free and usually in a nice area with a level lot. Most of our generators die from lack of use or light use- so the "operational cost" of owning them is going to hit you with fuel usage or an overhaul. One way or another, you're going to spend the money.
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  #7  
Old 02-17-2011
Robert Britton Robert Britton is offline
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Don, any excuse to run your generator is a good one...these things like to be run, and as any diesel lack of use is not good. In fact lots of time the generators are used for short periods of time then shut down; the longer you let it run the better, There are members on this forum with thousands of hours on their genny...and still running strong.

A side note on parking overnight at truck stops...if you do, try and find a location where the trucks are driving straight in and straight out their parking spot. If they have to negotiate into a spot, backing in or tight turns...Watch Out! They might be tired from driving, it's dark, not many spots left, or they just might be bad drivers.

The standard procedure when parking at a truck stop is to close all the shades and you never see all the "near misses" or sometimes the exchange of paint going on all around you...but it does happen.
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Old 02-17-2011
appleton appleton is offline
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Also its nice to sleep in your own suroundings no matter how much it costs.
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Old 02-17-2011
Jim Harvie Jim Harvie is offline
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I put 100 hrs on my Gen last year in the two months I was in Fl.
It was a cool year and most of the time was for small things like charging the battery in the PC, making coffee etc, so I'm doing things a little different now. I have been here for 5 weeks, and I have put on 22 hrs, so far.
Don has a good point which I have brought up before. Every time those pistons go up and down is one less time they are going to. And then there's the Gen end, so if you're figuring cost in the budget per hour, it's costing a lot more than a gallon of fuel an hr.
The weather here this year has been up and down .It will be around 80* this weekend.. last week it was in the mid 60's. When it's hot I'll stay in an rv park. I was at Fort Desoto for 11 days @ $42.00 or so dollars a night. I travel when it's cool if I can, so I don't have to run the Gen as much. If it is hot, I don't refrain from running the Gen for the A/C, but if you figure 12 hrs a day to stay cool @ $3.55 a gallon for diesel that's $42.60 a day, for fuel,@ 1 gph. + wear and tear. I don't have a budget for that because I never know what's going to fail , but I am sure it could be broken down into dollars per hr, if you're living in a perfect world and all goes as planned. My Gen has 892 hrs on it.
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Old 02-17-2011
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moonbeam express moonbeam express is offline
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I'm not sure I buy the concept that every time the pistons go up and down bit. Many experts say 80% of wear and tear on an internal combustion engine occurs at start up due to the low state of lubrication and temperature. If true, you could modify the statement to be "every time you start your engine it's one less....."

On my previous RV, a Barth, the generator stator shorted itself at 85 hours!! The Barth was 10 years old and sat in storage for most of its life due to the death of the original owner. The Kohler expert in Orlando that replaced the stator said the worst thing for generators is to let them sit indefinitely. I pressed him for "Why" and he said he couldn't say for sure, but he thought heating up the stators occasionally kept them pliable. He did state emphatically that in his 20 years of specializing in generators of all kinds that units in constant service lasted the longest in terms of use/hrs. I try to start my generator once a month for 20 mins now.
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