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Old 08-12-2016, 09:04 PM   #1541
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I understand - "Will work for food"!

When I was helping a friend build a Pitts Special he would always insist on paying for lunch. That's me 10+ years ago sitting in the fuselage making engine noises and standing in front of the finished product.
Wow! Walt, that's some Pitts!

And I do work for food!
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Old 08-12-2016, 09:06 PM   #1542
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Here's the RV that the generator belongs to:

IMG_20160224_175615466_HDR (1).jpg
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Old 08-12-2016, 09:16 PM   #1543
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My friend's generator froze up in his RV and we pulled it out last week. It's a 25 year old Onan 4 KW unit and the rotor bearing is shot. Since a new unit is in the $4500 range, I decide to help him pull it apart and repair it.
Why do people replace these rather than buy two Honda 2KW inverter units? They cost about $1K each, so it would be less than 1/2 the price, Honda quality, quiet, they can be linked together to function (electrically) as single 4KW unit, and if one crumped out while camping you'd still have 2KW available to run just about anything except the AC.
Maybe the RV packaging/space requirements or intricacies of hooking up the fuel/cables/routing the exhaust, etc make the Onan unit the easier replacement?
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Old 08-12-2016, 09:26 PM   #1544
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Why do people replace these rather than buy two Honda 2KW inverter units? They cost about $1K each, so it would be less than 1/2 the price, Honda quality, quiet, they can be linked together to function (electrically) as single 4KW unit, and if one crumped out while camping you'd still have 2KW available to run just about anything except the AC.
Maybe the RV packaging/space requirements or intricacies of hooking up the fuel/cables/routing the exhaust, etc make the Onan unit the easier replacement?
Not an expert here, but Onan has been making RV generators for decades and probably owned the market. These units are nicely built and fit into a small space. Maybe others here can comment on other gen set units besides Onan (which is now Cummins).

http://power.cummins.com/rv
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Old 08-12-2016, 10:30 PM   #1545
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The common AC in the RV burns only 1.5kW when running, but when starting it easily draws 3X that, or 4.5kW. The Onan 4kW can start the AC, but I can hear the RPM drops momentarily.

It is tempting to use the popular Honda 2 kW portable generator, or a pair of them, to run the AC. Alas, many have tried and find out that it does not work. The inverter generator is rated at 2kW peak, and a pair of them is just a bit short.

On the other hand, people have paired up the larger Honda EU3000, which is rated at 3 kW surge and 2.6 kW continuous, to successfully run the RV AC. However, a pair of this larger Honda generator costs $2300 x 2 = $4600, hence not competitive with the Onan.

An advantage of the Onan is the electric start, which is available with the EU3000 but not its smaller brother. Mounting a pair of the EU3000 in the same bay as the original Onan is not really feasible when one considers the fuel piping, the exhaust arrangement, and the air circulation for cooling.
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Old 08-12-2016, 10:37 PM   #1546
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It's driven by a two cylinder (opposed) gasoline engine for compactness.
Onan has changed the design in the new one. Mine uses a single 304cc cylinder. The old design as you said uses two cylinders.

Another difference is that the old design runs at 1,800 rpm, while mine runs at 3,600 rpm. I would expect the old design to be more quiet.
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Old 08-12-2016, 10:50 PM   #1547
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Another way to provide the surge requirement of a starting AC is with the use of a "boosting" inverter/charger to assist a smaller generator. It allows the use of a generator like the Honda 2000, which can provide the continuous power but lacks the oomph to start up the AC compressor.

A boosting inverter/charger has the smart to sense that the generator voltage is drooping, and will draw from the battery bank to assist. When the load requirement drops, the inverter/charger will draw power to replenish the batteries. Such a boosting inverter/charger with 3 kW capability costs around $1800, hence quite cost-competitive.

By the way, the technology now allows electronically controlled variable-speed motors to be used in AC. Many residential split-systems have such a compressor. I understand that these are very popular overseas, partly because they are grid-friendly and do not tax the system with their surge current requirement like our antiquated AC's.

I have been waiting to see one such modern AC made for RVs.
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Old 08-13-2016, 10:35 AM   #1548
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Another way to provide the surge requirement of a starting AC is with the use of a "boosting" inverter/charger to assist a smaller generator. It allows the use of a generator like the Honda 2000, which can provide the continuous power but lacks the oomph to start up the AC compressor.
Another option is to add a "hard start" capacitor kit to the AC if it lacks one (a surprising number of RV AC units don't have the kit installed). They can drastically reduce the starting load that the AC puts on to the generator.
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Old 08-13-2016, 10:40 AM   #1549
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The hard-start cap helps, but does not alleviate the surge load enough for a pair of EU2000 generators. This is as reported by many RV'ers on the Web.

We now have modern electronics everywhere, but the induction motor is still with us, and hard to get rid of. The alternative exists, but its cost is still the dominant detracting factor.

PS. A lot of different results is reported on the Web. One RV'er was able to run the AC with a pair of single EU2000 using the hard-start capacitor, but had to take the generator out of "eco" mode when at 7,000 ft altitude. The eco mode runs the generator at a lower speed when there is no load, and its stepping on the throttle when the AC kicks in is not fast enough to prevent voltage drooping.
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Old 08-13-2016, 10:57 AM   #1550
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The hard-start cap helps, but does not alleviate the surge load enough for a pair of EU2000 generators. This is as reported by many RV'ers on the Web.
Yes, though obviously it depends on the particular situation. I know of a case where a 5K BTU window unit (cools a small trailer well) with a "hard start" capacitor kit started and ran just fine using a 800W generator. Without the hard-start kit the small generator just couldn't get the AC started.
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Old 08-13-2016, 11:04 AM   #1551
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Yes, the hard-start cap definitely helps. However, there's a difference between mechanical generators and the inverter-type like the new breed of generators.

Mechanical generators will get bogged down for a few seconds if overloaded momentarily, and if the circuit breaker does not pop off, they will recover. The inverter type will shut off extremely quick if its electronic circuit is overloaded.

By the way, I was wrong about the EU2000. A pair of them will run the RV AC with no problem. The hard-start cap does help some people to run the AC on a single EU2000. However, they still have a bit of problems on a hot day (AC refrigerant pressure is higher), or at a high altitude (generator is weaker due to thin air).
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Old 08-13-2016, 11:14 AM   #1552
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Recently replaced the solenoid for the ice maker and water dispenser on the fridge. The part cost about $40 and was a pretty straight forward installation, with the help of a U-tube video. Just the service call out would have been $80 not counting the part and repair time. Figured conservatively that I saved myself $100.
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Old 08-13-2016, 03:33 PM   #1553
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Our outdoor backyard tap had frozen and broken the pipe inside the wall, but the break was after the shutoff part so no leakage.

Today I decided to fix it.
First cut a hole in wall in bathroom to reach it, oops it's too high and awkward.
So cut a hole in dining area to access it.
Filled some pails with water and turned off the house water.
Used a small tube cutter to cut the pipe, and pull out the old tap and little pipe.
Heated up the old one, to pull off the old pipe out of it, which included the corner, cleaned it up and soldered it into the new one (after pulling out the guts of the shutoff).
Burned my thumb as couldn't see the flame outside in the bright light

Stuck the pipe in a pail of water and blew air into it to check it was air/water tight. As I wanted to lessen the number of times I would be doing this

Realized I might set the house on fire as the space was very tight.

So I got a full pail of water I had saved earlier and put it near me.
Made a heat shield out of a big coffee can and screwed it to the 2x4.
Put on the flux and soldered it on (the lowest solder with the big drips )
Then I cooled the pipe down with a wet cloth and then some ice cubes, installed the guts of the tap and turned on the water.
No leaks ..
Screwed the outside part to the house so it's steady.

Now I have drywall to fix.

First photo shows my heat shield, Second one shows the completed work.

The photos uploaded on their sides, should be rotated 90 degrees clockwise.
Nice work. I have to admit that I have gone over to SharkBite and Pex for this. Don't have to worry about setting house on fire or burning self. SharkBite gives a thermal break and the Pex is less likely to rupture in cold weather or conduct cold. Also like that the SharkBite fittings turn freely.
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The RV generator project
Old 08-13-2016, 04:16 PM   #1554
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The RV generator project

Today was dedicated to pulling the generator stator/rotor housing. It took some pry-bar work due to the housing bearing outer race being held in it's seat with a light press fit. Now the bearing is going to be removed once we find a replacement. Here's some photos of the progress:

IMG_20160813_125706.jpg

IMG_20160813_125720.jpg

IMG_20160813_125737.jpg
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Old 08-13-2016, 05:21 PM   #1555
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Great job! Must be a labor of love. Or curiosity.

If you clean up the sides of the bearing's races, you might find an SKF or other manufacturer's number. That would sure help in getting a replacement. Or call Onan with the model #, they might be able to give you a prt #. Their parts are hugely marked up.

BTW I have a 30 or so year old Onan 3KW at my camp. Runs just fine, has about a 40% overload capability, voltage drops to about 100 VAC for short periods of gross overload. It does take a hefty battery to crank it in subzero temperatures along with a spritz of starting fluid.
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Old 08-13-2016, 06:07 PM   #1556
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Nice work. I have to admit that I have gone over to SharkBite and Pex for this. Don't have to worry about setting house on fire or burning self. SharkBite gives a thermal break and the Pex is less likely to rupture in cold weather or conduct cold. Also like that the SharkBite fittings turn freely.
I had considered using Pex, but I don't have any Pex tools and this is inside a wall, so naturally I worried about leakage later.

Quite frankly when thinking of Pex, I thought I could connect it in the basement and run about 10 feet up to the outside tap, but alas, the pipe that I fixed runs down the wall and then goes between a bunch of plastic drain pipes to join a 3/4 pipe, and it would be harder to reach it there.
I didn't think that I could put in a 1 foot of Pex to make the joint

So the short story is Pex seemed like too much trouble and expense this time.
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Old 08-13-2016, 06:08 PM   #1557
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Great job! Must be a labor of love. Or curiosity.

If you clean up the sides of the bearing's races, you might find an SKF or other manufacturer's number. That would sure help in getting a replacement. Or call Onan with the model #, they might be able to give you a prt #. Their parts are hugely marked up.

BTW I have a 30 or so year old Onan 3KW at my camp. Runs just fine, has about a 40% overload capability, voltage drops to about 100 VAC for short periods of gross overload. It does take a hefty battery to crank it in subzero temperatures along with a spritz of starting fluid.
And now you know who to call when the time comes
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Old 08-13-2016, 06:32 PM   #1558
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Great job! Must be a labor of love. Or curiosity.

If you clean up the sides of the bearing's races, you might find an SKF or other manufacturer's number. That would sure help in getting a replacement. Or call Onan with the model #, they might be able to give you a prt #. Their parts are hugely marked up.

BTW I have a 30 or so year old Onan 3KW at my camp. Runs just fine, has about a 40% overload capability, voltage drops to about 100 VAC for short periods of gross overload. It does take a hefty battery to crank it in subzero temperatures along with a spritz of starting fluid.
Pulling the bearing off (first attempt), the outer race split and the remaining balls went flying all over. So what's left pressed on the shaft is the inner face and it's against a shoulder. I may try to cut it off or bring the rotor to a machine shop and have it removed and the new bearing pressed on at the same visit.

Onan is now Cummins and I do have the part number so a replacement bearing can be picked up locally next week. More later.
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Old 08-13-2016, 06:34 PM   #1559
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And now you know who to call when the time comes
These old generators are not too complicated and service manuals are available. But this will be my last time opening one of these up!
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:07 AM   #1560
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And now you know who to call when the time comes
If this one dies it is going to the scrapper. The backup to this is a 6KW Onan marine diesel. It is only 20 years old And can be cranked/started with a lawn tractor battery. At least in the summer time.
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