Suitcase generator for campervan ? (1 Viewer)

Ian Paul

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Apr 24, 2018
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I am living in fulltime and keeping warm just with good insulation and warm sleeping bag and 550w oil heater, I was thinking of buying a suitcase generator so I could run it for more than the 45 minutes I can run my heater using the van battery charged by solar, having the heater on for about 4 hours will keep the van warm, s its now getting to about -10 here in Bulgaria at sunset Anyone have experience of these ? I have seen ones on sale here with pure sine inverter of 800w, which sounds perfect ?
 

Duck Truck

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If the generator is to be used for powering 220v other electrical items ok
But if it's just for heating I would consider other heating arrangements first
 

pappajohn

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If you're on a campsite you probably won't be very popular, none of them are as quiet as the advertising says they are.
You also need to know if the 800watts is the peak output or continuous output.
If it's the peak output then 550watt heater may mean it's running flat out all the time and will use a lot of fuel.

Relying on a solar panel in winter is not a good idea
 

andy63

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Jan 19, 2014
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I was thinking of buying a suitcase generator so I could run it for more than the 45 minutes
how are you currently running your 550w oil heater.. ?? what is your mains supply

basically will the cost of fuel for your generator be cheaper than your current mains supply? or is it just the ability to be independent that's more important ??
I use a suitcase generator and on eco I think it lasts about 8 hours on a tankful of petrol which again is around 5l from memory... if running a reasonable load that time would be reduced by an hour or so I imagine..
Andy

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scotjimland

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running a generator to power an 240v oil heater is about the most inefficient way to convert energy.. it's only about 25% efficient ..

it will cost a fortune in petrol.

Assuming you have bottled LPG (propane) , but don't have a gas heater fitted, buy a portable camping gas heater, either naked flame or catalytic... and plan to fit a wall mounted Truma gas heater when funds and time permit.. they come up on eBay occasionally, stripped out of caravans.
 
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Ian Paul

Ian Paul

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Apr 24, 2018
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Thanks for the replies. I am based on my own property here in rural Bulgaria, there is no mains. So power is only with my 100w solar panel, I get about 26-50 w power at this time of the year when its not snowing, enough to keep the lights and water on. I use gas cartridge for cooking and a portable heater for daytime use only. Petrol here in Bulgaria is still less than £ a litre (94p today). I like oil heater as its does not dry out the air and it can be kept on at night. I have a 120amp hour leisure battery which is charged twice a week when I go to a local shop, so I can use the oil heater for about 3-4 hours over a 5 day period. A suitcase generator seems ideal, as noise is not a problem the nearest neighbour is about 4km away, petrol is cheap and my local Lidl has them on offer this week for 239 Lev (about £120)
 

andy63

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it sounds like you are giving that battery a hard life and can't see it lasting that long with with that sort of use.. so you do need to do something to keep warm.
as mentioned earlier, in the long term some gas fired blown air heating may be a good option but to keep you right in the conditions you have at present the generator sounds like a good choice... think thats what id do ..
Andy

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pappajohn

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I agree with Andy63, your battery is having a very hard life.
If its being used for a few hours per week and only gets charged while you shop it won't be getting a good charge.
It should really be charged for 24 hours or more to ensure a full charge and reasonably long life.
As you don't have a noise problem then consider buying the generator, or if they have one get a bigger one.
 

Geo

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At £120 I know he type you mean suitcase it aint and ill still hear it over here
if your serious about a genny you really do get what you pay for and for sustained use you should be paying circa
£500 for a good second hand Honda 1 kw or £300 for a new Kipor 1kw
The £120 Chinese ones wont last 3 month
 
Jul 12, 2013
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An alternative could be a refillable gas bottle to help something generate heat. If your van does not have a built-in Truma or Aldi, as said a catalytic gas heater could give enough heat economically but cheap generators can be noisy and smelly. An Oil heater can also be smelly but economical. It may also be cheaper to drive south until the snow melts.
To be honest, just reading your present situation made me shiver.
 

TheBig1

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given the lack of neighbours i would suggest a bigger frame generator. that will charge the van battery, run the heating and a microwave oven

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Oct 29, 2016
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When an "Oil Heater" is mentioned do you mean a paraffin heater or a diesel one?
Cant help remembering our first flat in 1979, we had to heat that initially with a portable LPG calor gas heater (they were all the rage at the time), and an Aladdin Paraffin Heater. They kept the cold off a bit, but the condensation that formed on the windows meant we had to place tea towels on the window sills to catch the water, and wring them out each day.
As for having a bath, you lost sight of the walls when you turned the hot tap on:eek:
Hope you manage to get a suitable heat source sorted out very soon, cold is one thing, damp & cold is horrible.
Les
 
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Deleted member 57092

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Hyundai suitcase generators are very similar to the honda ones but much cheaper.
Chinese ones are just rubbish.
 
Nov 25, 2013
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I would go for at least 2.5kva preferably more,
1 kva is not much usable output
 
Nov 25, 2013
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Just beeen to our local car wash, 5 Bulgarians working there, with -10’ at night I can see why they want to be here, they all say they want to stay.

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Northernraider

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3 year warranty with aldi so cheap Chinese or not they will replace it no quibble everytime it is knackered.
No neighbours for 4 miles it seems your best short term fix , but personally I can't stand the things
 
Aug 18, 2011
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I am living in fulltime and keeping warm just with good insulation and warm sleeping bag and 550w oil heater, I was thinking of buying a suitcase generator so I could run it for more than the 45 minutes I can run my heater using the van battery charged by solar, having the heater on for about 4 hours will keep the van warm, s its now getting to about -10 here in Bulgaria at sunset Anyone have experience of these ? I have seen ones on sale here with pure sine inverter of 800w, which sounds perfect ?
Buy a Chinese Diesel heater,,less than £200 delivered. BUSBY.
 
May 7, 2011
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I have a Honda 2.0 and it is fairly quite. I don’t use it on campsites,only when I need power for my tyre warmers at trackdays days were no power is available.
 
Aug 6, 2013
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Too put it bluntly you are drastically under-equipped. Use LPG or Diesel for heating - Bill's idea about using a Chinese Diesel heater is excellent. They are cheap, Bill has proved that they work well and, initially at least, it doesn't need to be fully installed to be useful. Back that up with an LPG heater but bear in mind CO2 levels - you will need good ventilation. Go for a frame generator of at least 2.5VA which will look after all your electrical needs, take care of the batteries, and in an emergency, allow use of a decent heater. Run full-time for heating it will cost you a fortune. Try to buy one that runs on LPG. Lastly do use refillable LPG bottles - buying pre-bottled LPG is very, very, expensive.

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Nov 8, 2015
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Hi @Ian Paul, I have lived full time in Bulgaria for twelve years and loved every minute of it but I learned to respect the winters here very quickly after arriving, you do not say where in BG you are but I would suspect you might be northern region or VT area, I live on the Black Sea coast near Varna which is not regarded as particularly cold area but we have already experienced -12c night temp earlier this month. The really hard weather normally arrives mid January and can last until mid March, this can deliver extended periods of -20c night temps and -10-15c day temps sometimes with strong winds that complicate the weather situation. Heavy snow and sheet ice makes travel difficult for fuel and food. I agree with @tonyidle that you do not appear to be adequately prepared for the possibility of what may be a hard winter here, please do not regard this as criticism, it is meant as helpful info. If you arrange gas heating the good news is that almost all gas service stations will happily fill any bottle that you present to them and you pay only for the gas, currently 94stotinki per litre around here. Good luck and just shout if you need help with anything here.
 

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