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Propane Power & Cooling! Honda EU2000i + Propane Conversion

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Also posted here: http://radven.livejournal.com/139484.html

 

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One of the major new toys in our nomadic toolbox has been the addition of a Honda EU2000i generator. We found one online at Wise Sales (WiseSales.com) for just $850, with free shipping - way less than from any other retailer.

 

(Honda stupidly prohibits dealers publishing prices online - but I suffer no such limitation...)

 

The Honda EU2000i is a fabulous 2000 watt generator that is small, quiet, weighs just 46lbs, and it gets great fuel economy. We specifically sized the air conditioner in our Oliver to work with this generator - we specced a power-efficient 9,200 btu Coleman Polar Cub rather than a more typical (and formerly Oliver standard) 13,000 btu model.

 

Most RV air conditioners require a 2400 watt or even 3000 watt generator to work, so we were really hoping that we could manage with a smaller, lighter, and more economical Honda EU2000 option.

 

Most of our power needs will be satisfied by our solar setup, but the generator will come in really handy when we need to run the air conditioner away from shore power options. It will also be able to quickly recharge our batteries if the solar power is ever not able to keep up.

 

The big downside of a generator however is dealing with fuel. Carrying around canisters of gas in an enclosed Jeep or trailer is not ideal, and since the Jeep burns diesel the gasoline wouldn't even double as emergency vehicle fuel.

 

My goal was to find a propane conversion kit to allow the Honda EU2000i to run off of our Oliver's ample 50lb propane supply. Until a few weeks ago, the only kit I could find to do this required drilling out the generator's carburetor, and replacing the fuel tank so gasoline was not even an option.

 

But then Cherie found a eBay listing for a "Tri Fuel Kit" from Central Maine Diesel that would allow the Honda EU2000i to run on gasoline, propane, or natural gas. And rather than drilling out my own carb, I could just send Central Maine Diesel the carb from our generator for one that they had already modified rather than me attempting the risky drilling myself.

 

(The kit is $179, or a pre-converted Honda EU2000i is $1269 + shipping...)

 

It turns out that I was the very first customer to get the "installs in minutes" kit, so I had to spend several hours figuring out how to swap out the Honda's carburetor and reroute the necessary hoses with only a picture to go on. The carburetor removal instructions I found posted online were invaluable, and in theory my feedback will be helping Central Maine Diesel create better documentation to include with their kit in the future.

 

With time running out, we only had a brief chance to test the generator running on propane before departing St. Louis last week. But today at Zion National Park in 100 degree heat we got to give the setup a real stress test.

 

It worked GREAT!

 

Even at high altitude (near 4000 feet), the generator was able to power the AC on propane, and the air conditioner did a marvelous job of cooling down the Oliver.

 

Charging the batteries I was able to sustain a 60+ amp charge current, which should allow us to fully charge our battery bank in under two hours.

 

Of course - you have to pick - you can't charge batteries and run the air conditioner at the same time without overloading the generator. But, this setup sure beats carrying around a 135lb 3000 watt Honda.

 

For us, this setup is the perfect backup power source. And if we ever do need to resort to gasoline, this kit still gives us the option. The Oliver folks were fabulous, and the factory hooked up a low-pressure propane hose on the tongue for us so all we have to do is open a valve to get gas to our generator.

 

Based upon the consumption figures published by Central Maine Diesel, I am hoping that we can get 20 to 40 hours of air conditioning use out each 20lb propane cylinder.

 

I am VERY much looking forward to having a few hours of air conditioning every day while in the Black Rock Desert at Burning Man. *grin*

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Great report Chris ! The smaller size and lower weight of the Honda 2000, running the Coleman Polar Cub, is a pretty attractive thing. Any chance you might post more photos, if you have them ?

How does the regulator looking "thingy" mount to the Honda ?


I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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If you click on the tri-fuel kit link above you will see lots more pictures on the Central Maine Diesel website.

 

The regulator is held on by two bolts drilled into the plastic cover.

 

It really is a great setup.

 

- Chris

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Chris, thanks for sharing the info on the tri fuel kit...I have not seen this one yet and will likely order the same thing. I too don't appreciate fuel vapor odors inside my TV, but it's nice to have the ability to switch fuel sources if necessary.

 

One thing that surprised me is that the unit uses a low-pressure LP supply, so you're tap is located downstream of the regulator assembly. I was planning on running the generator using the optional LP quick-connect (inside the bumper), but it's my understanding that this one provides unregulated LP pressure. So, it looks like the quick-connect would only serve the BBQ, and an additional low-pressure connection will be required for the generator?

 

Herm

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Herm - The generator requires low pressure propane. We did not get the rear quick connect kit, but yes - it is high pressure which is typically what a grill needs.

 

The Oliver folks put in a hose and a valve after the regulator for us, giving us a handy forward low pressure hookup. It comes out near the tongue basket. We may eventually mount the generator on the basket, but it would likely interfere with our bike rack. Right now, I am fine using the generator on the ground next to the tongue.

 

- Chris

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Chris, on the ground works well in most locations, but there are a few places around, dry lake beds for example, where the soil will "percolate" from the gen set's vibration. The gen set will be down in the ground a bit, with the housings packed with dirt. Any chance that Burning Man is on a old lake bed ? Something simple under the gen set would seem to be a likely quick fix.


I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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Chris, on the ground works well in most locations, but there are a few places around, dry lake beds for example, where the soil will "percolate" from the gen set's vibration. The gen set will be down in the ground a bit, with the housings packed with dirt. Any chance that Burning Man is on a old lake bed ? Something simple under the gen set would seem to be a likely quick fix.

 

The generator can also easily sit in the tongue basket if necessary.

 

Burning Man is indeed a dry lake bed, but I've never seen anything percolating there other than coffee... ;-)

 

- Chris

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