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Patch now has a chrome exhaust stack! Onan Emerald I

WarWagon

Well it hits on 7 of 8...
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Thread starter #1
Got tired of looking for a Unicorn: A Travel Trailer with a built in Generator. No use for a toy hauler. For RV camping with no hookups out west in US Forrest service, BLM, Park Service type of places.

So when a 4KW Onan 1800 RPM genset showed up on the list for under five bills I went out to have a look.

Ran badly spitting and sputtering. Smoking blue out the exhaust. Can we say "discount?" It will fit right in! Genset was free, but, the large AGM starting battery cost me four bills.

Back home sitting in front of the 1992 project with good gas it cleared up and started running perfectly w/o smoke. ($2.00 of bad gas cost someone $100.00.) Ran an air conditioning load on it. Held a conversation standing in front of it as it is so quiet. I am happy it has an older adjustable carb rather than the electronic controlled one. I was surprised to see it had points. Not sure if I should get a electronic conversion kit rather than just new and spare points.

Needs an air filter to carb plastic intake assembly, fuel tank, fuel filter, shelter to keep the rain off, and a way to mount it.

Best off all this heavy SOB won't be walking off easily like the light inverter units.

Onan Emerald I.jpg
 

Will L.

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#2
They are great units. I have a 6500 from my tool truck when I shut down. I had the gen half completely rewound/ rebuilt. But dont think ive used it in 5 years.
Probably should sell it, but soon as I do- the zombies will attak and I'll need it.

I have a Honda eu2000i also, thats what goes with me on the small camping trips. But if i was using microwave and all the other stuff, you need the big one.
 

WarWagon

Well it hits on 7 of 8...
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Thread starter #3
Looks like you need to clean the slip rings before use if you don't exercise it often or the voltage regulator goes "pop!" from oxidation on the slip rings.

De-rate for altitude. De-Rate for high temperature. Add em both up and it's really not too big. Fuel penalty for the other times it is too big.
 

Will L.

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#4
I wish i could find one of those onan 4k diesel inverter ones. Those are awesome fuel sippers, and it would live on my hummer, powering a monster a/c, and anything else whenever I needed it. Last time I saw a use one it went for $8,000. They cant make anymore cuz they stole the inverter tech right from yamaha, so only 350 or so were ever made when yamaha file suit. Little baby 2 cylinder quite as a mug. Why no one else doent make one I dont understand. Like a diesel suburban...
 

JayTheCPA

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#6
Nice find!

Is it a 4 wire? If not, might want to stay on the hunt for one that also does 220 (or 208) as it can then double duty for the house.

As an example, I have a 3500 Watt generator that is switchable from 110 / 220 and we use it for dry-docking with the RV (110V) and when we lose power in the house (220V). To get power to the house, I have a 50 Amp RV outlet and cutoff wired to the breaker panel. Reason for the 50 Amp outlet is that it natively connects to the 'A' and 'B' side of the breaker; otherwise it would only power half the panel.

Over the past 10 years, I have at least 5 weeks worth of cumulative 'power outage' where the little 3500 W generator kept us reasonably comfortable and avoided food spoilage.

Ok, sure, I cannot keep the house frigid during the Summer, but it is enough to run two 8,000 BTU window A/C units plus the fridge & freezer. During the winter I have even less of a power load as the furnace runs on fuel.
 

WarWagon

Well it hits on 7 of 8...
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Thread starter #7
Portable window AC unit and the 6-10 pulls to start Homelite Wisconson-Robin Genset for the same 1989 era has done a lot of heavy lifting over the years. It's got 220v, but, I almost never use 220v. Only used 220v for a swamp cooler on a shop I borrowed to rebuild Patch.

The Onan electric start is going to spoil me. Least I won't feel it for a couple days after starting it.
 

JayTheCPA

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#9
It's got 220v, but, I almost never use 220v.
Not saying that you need to power 220 . . . The point is to power the *whole* house versus half.

Around here (and probably there too), the breaker panels have an 'A' and 'B' side; each are 110, but effectively different circuits. By using a 220 generator and hooking it to the panel via a 50 Amp RV connector (with an approved cut-off, of course), you will make 110 available to *both* sides of the panel which in turn makes 110 available to the *whole* house. (Yes, 220 is available too, but chances are that anything needing 220 will overtax the light weight generator). So, in my case, even though I have a 30 Amp generator, I prefer to use a 50 Amp plug at the breaker just as a safety measure.

More simplified example is: connecting the generator (aka: back-feeding) to the house by a common 15 Amp extension cord into one of the wall outlets. This will only power half the panel (again, presuming it has an 'A' and 'B' side) where any circuit on the 'other' side of the panel will get nothing. By using a 50 Amp connection at the breaker panel, there is no need to run a bunch of extension cords back to the generator; just one from the generator to the panel and then use care in how many things you turn on.


And for anybody wanting to go this route, I personally recommend using a certified electrician (unless you are one) ;)

Also, while on the topic of disclaimers for the DIY'ers / 'lets-try-it' crowd: NEVER hook a generator to the house without an approved cut-off / transfer switch! Lots of bad things can happen.
 

WarWagon

Well it hits on 7 of 8...
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Thread starter #10
RV gensets also bond the neutral ground. Some portables do as well. As your home's breaker box bonds the ground and neutral wires it's important to know this as no current is allowed on the ground. With both the home breaker box and generator bonded there is a parallel current path on the neutral and ground.

Anyway nearly in time for the power outage yesterday I had all the old gas burned out of the Homelite with a can of fresh gas and new fuel filter. But more important: has the Onan ready to go. Just adjusted the carb for full load to stop it's hunting. Need a gas tank for it though. Or propane conversion...

This 1800 RPM and large muffler is way quieter than the 3600 RPM Homelite!

onan.jpg
onan2.jpg
 

Will L.

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#11
What is the GPH on that running the a/c unit for the camper?

That’s the drawback of my 6500. I can run 2 of the 13,500 a/c units and power to spare. But she drinks the gogo juice. Been couple years since I did that, but it was a lot. I need to fire it up again after sitting so long. I keep it just because I cant get he $ back out of it I put into the partial rebuild, and if I ever need power part of the house I could get it hooked up in a day.

I have a honda eu2000i that I got off the list as well- bad gas story wouldn’t let it start. Paid 400 iirc. About 150 into it and all is perfect. Runs a window a/c that is in our 77 shasta camper no problem and gets 4 hours per gallon doing that. Those suckers are quiet. Not hard to see why everyone buys one, but like you mentioned a lot get stolen. I see these for sale frequently for 900-1000 used, so I can always get my $ back Plus a little I suppose.

I really wish someone would make a little diesel 2500 watt that was affordable and quiet the same size.
 

WarWagon

Well it hits on 7 of 8...
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Thread starter #12
Looks like 1/2 gal to .88 gal an hour depending on load. AC is usually 2kw or half load. Converter can take it to 3/4 load dumping in 1kw to charge batteries. Good number to know to plan fuel needs.

Irrelevant though as I have a single banger 3600W propane Onan screamer in the RV. If it so much as looks at me wrong a 1800 RPM set will replace it. It works so not messing with it, but, once you go 1800 RPM...

One advantage of propane vs. gas or diesel is the exaust odors around the campsite. Least to most "presence".

For standby manual use propane is tempting with the short storage life of gasoline.
 

WarWagon

Well it hits on 7 of 8...
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Thread starter #14
And when no one was looking, including myself, a long discontinued Magna Arc 160-1376 electronic ignition conversion showed up on a online clearance section for under $100.00. Just listed as Magna Arc.

I got one of the last 3. Now I will have a spare set of new points with less than 4 hours on them. (There are other cheaper aftermarket conversions out there to make a transistorized switch from the points.)

ign.jpg
 
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