Have you used an LPG generator?

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by Dafydd, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. Dafydd

    Dafydd Funster

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    For extensive non-EHU campervanning.

    Following a tip I read in "Go Motorhoming and Campervanning" (Vicarious Books, recommended) I looked up LPG generators available from Conrad Anderson of Birmingham.
    http://www.conrad-anderson.co.uk/products/view/tg480
    C-Anderson now sell a different but same general spec model (presumably an updated version) to the one mentioned on p75: a quiet (51dB) 20A generator weighing 19kg that can be mounted underslung and running from either a tank (which C-Anderson also supply & fit) or the existing lpg cannisters, or mounted in the locker.
    Telair tg480 lpg generator: http://www.support-telecogroup.com/...erators/ecoenergy/TG480-TG480MEF-TG600MEF.asp

    Now I hadn't heard or read about an lpg generator before reading the book and had previously looked into Efoy methanol generators because they are offered as options by the makers of the van I'm ordering in the spring. The meatiest Efoy unit (as fitted by the van constructor) costs more than the (fitted) Telair and delivers 8.8A compared to 20A.
    http://www.efoy-comfort.com/technical-data
    And the Telair is integrated into an existing fuel so avoiding shopping for and carrying the additional Efoy methanol. The possibility of an underslung 40 or 50 litre lpg tank is also very attractive and even adding this cost to the Telair it still comes in at cheaper than Efoy.

    As I'm planning long stints in both Morocco and Finland, both lpg deserts, and will be using a compressor fridge this set-up is looking ideal. In Morocco I'll be using mostly EHU but needing enough cooking/heating gas for up to 3 months, whilst in Finland I'll be off grid altogether for long periods. The van will have 100w solar. Day to day electric use will be modest (no sat-tv or air-con) but continual with the fridge and evening computer, lights, hi-fi and recharging of various items etc. Heating will be either Truma combi-4 or 4e (gas & electric) or combi-6d (diesel & electric).

    Do any Funsters use such a system?
    All comments & observations appreciated
     
  2. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    The Telair product has been around for several years but it used to be called a Gasparini generator until Telair bought the company a couple of years ago. I had a look at them a while back but decided against the cost. I have seen a few posts by people who have them (Gasparinis) and they have always been positive.
     
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  3. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    maybe I'm reading it wrong.. probably am..

    but why would an LPG genny be any use in an LPG dessert ?

    I also doubt whether a 100watt solar panel would be enough to keep a compressor fridge and all the other electrics going ..

    For long trips off grid in LPG desserts , My solution would 200 watt solar panels, with 240ah battery bank and a Sterling Bat 2 Bat charger with a 2kw Honda petrol genny as backup ..
     
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  4. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    You must have missed this bit Jim.....

     
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  5. Dafydd

    Dafydd Funster

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    Lpg deserts: an underslung 40/50litre tank instead of 2x11kg cannisters as part of the system is what I'm now considering.

    I can only fit 1 solar panel on the available roof space. The constructors only offer a 100w one though there maybe space for 1 panel of higher max output but not so as it makes a big difference, and I understand that it won't make a big contribution in general.
    It's a reasonably compact semi-integrated van I'm looking at and I'm waiting for an answer about an additional battery (and/or space for one). As it stands it will have 1 x 110Ah.
    The petrol genny is what I'm looking to avoid (space, noise, fuel carriage) but I guess it's the ultimate fallback.
    The battery-battery charger and other components I'm looking into - I'm still waiting to find out what exactly is or can be installed in the factory but aftersales fitting would, I guess, not be a problem (I've noted several recommended supplier/fitters from threads here).

    I must say it's quite a headache to remember all the technicalities of usage and amp-hours and how all the systems interact! When I've spent a few days of reading up on stuff and making notes I have a reasonable mental picture. Then a few weeks later I'm all confused again!! I've found the Victron website helpful for explaining things: http://www.victronenergy.com/
    Thanks for your thoughts.
     
  6. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    I think you are trying to utilise your LPG for too much! If you expect a 40-50L tank to be able to provide you with cooking (and possibly heating) for a long time, plus be able to power a generator to give you electric you will run out. If you kept the 2 x 11kg refillable cylinders too that would just about double your LPG capacity to as they would hold around another 40L, so 80-90L in total. Then you might be okay for long term without any other power source or being able to refil the LPG.

    NB: Is it just me who originally read the title as being about a generator that would be able to produce LPG! :xblush:
     
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  7. Peter A Forbes

    Peter A Forbes Funster

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    I'd be thinking of a 240V generator rather than a 12V one, 12V 20A is only 240Watts, 0.25kW, hardly worth going to the trouble of fitting in my view, and the price is pretty awful too.

    I'd want to see at least 1kVA output which would enable a large range of appliances to be run, and why bother running the generator on LPG in areas where it isn't available?

    If you fit decent sized underslung LPG tanks then you could look at 200 litres or so in twin tanks, but it brings up a load of weight issues and restrictions on some tunnels etc.

    You may want to rethink your plans a little.

    Peter
     
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  8. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    ok.. thanks for clarifying.. understand now.

    Good kit Victron, I fitted the Multiplus 1600 watt Inverter / Charger in my RV

    Understanding what you want now, with just a 100watt of solar, I would still suggest the B2B charger and perhaps a smaller back-up genny like the 1kva Honda.

    On the LPG side, I would buy local bottles in Morocco.. it is cheap and can be bought on every street corner... never been to Finland but assume that bottled LPG is also easily available.. or as a compromise, one refillable bottle and a normal one, or small LPG tank but keep the facility to fit a local bottle if required.

    When I toured Morocco with the RV I had a full LPG tank , but keep it in reserve and used local bottled butane. ..
     
  9. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Bear in mind that the lpg tank sizes you are considering will not give you that much additional gas storage. An 11kg Gaslow bottle will hold about 21.5 litres of propane so your present capacity will be about 43 litres.
     
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  10. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    The Telair generator being considered is designed to recharge batteries - not provide 230V AC power.
     
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  11. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    After fitting a Sterling B2B charger I now have a Honda 10i generator for sale as since fitting the charger it has been left behind in store room. Only used 3 times in it's life. Recommend B2B 100% for extensive non-EHU campervanning.
     
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  12. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    I think you may be over-estimating your power requirements as I doubt you would need 20 amps unless you only plan to run the genny for short periods. A fuel cell producing perhaps as little as a quarter of that 24 hours a day should be enough but the Effoy cells run on methanol which may be a pain to store in sufficient quantities.

    Assuming your plan is Morocco in winter and Finland in summer I would look harder at solar and finding space for at least another leisure battery. If there is space for a large underslung gas tank what about underslung batteries? Probably in a custom metal box.

    My van only comes with a 100W panel but I can now see where I could add a second so don't assume you can't increase generating capacity either.

    B2B chargers are well regarded and if you plan to stay in one place for long periods, rather than touring, they are certainly a good option.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
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  13. mjltigger

    mjltigger Funster

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    What is this b2b of which you speak. Sounds like magic.
     
  14. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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  15. Dafydd

    Dafydd Funster

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    Thanks Minx.
    I have now learned that lpg (depending on the mix butane-propane) weighs about .51 kg per litre - I hadn't thought about it before your comment!
    Looking at the refillable bottles they are generally specified as "x kg" rather than "litres when filled". Alugas specifies "11kg working" which to me implies that it can contain 11kg of gas (19.8 litres)

    I didn't realise that a 40 or 50litre tank doesn't carry (much) more gas than the 2x11kg cannisters! -- assuming that the cannisters actually carry 22kg of lpg when (80%) filled... @1.8 litres a kilo that's 40 litres. Or if 2x11kg (general spec) refillable bottles at 80%, that's 17.6 kg or 32 litres. So even a 50 litre tank wouldn't make a huge difference.
    I learn something new every day on Fun!!
    More research...... thanks again.
     
  16. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    Please to be able to help, we looked into having an underslung tank put on our camper instead of our single 11kg Gaslow refillable bottle (can't get another one in the locker) but as the largest one we could get was about 30L due to the restrictions underneath we couldn't see the point of paying about £500-£700 to have it installed to gain such a small amount of gas storage!

    To eke out our gas we actually have a 'suitcase' stove, the type that runs off the aerosol sized gas canisters which can be bought all over the place, if we are getting low on gas we can then use the stove for cooking stuff that takes a while until we can get a top up. We also use it for cooking outside when we're doing smelly or messy stuff.
     
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  17. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    Just another thought, I'd certainly suggest you go for diesel heating as you can get diesel much easier than LPG so that will then allow your to use your LPG solely for your fridge and cooking so should last a lot longer.

    Oh and yes you DO need a second battery, or failing that a much larger capacity single battery, to get the most benefit out of your solar panel.
     
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  18. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    OP said : "will be using a compressor fridge"

    so a 100w solar panel will not be enough .. hence my suggestion of B2B + genny back up ..

    diesel heater good idea..
     
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  19. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    ... hence my comment about using gas for the fridge and cooking only ... a 3-way fridge would make more sense with such a limited solar set-up, especially as the diesel heater will need electric to run, especially at start up.
     
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  20. Judge Mental

    Judge Mental Funster Deceased RIP

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    Don't forget about the weight of all this stuff and the effect on payload and axle weights :( Tunnel has 40 kg lpg limit doesn't it? Don't know about ferries?
     
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