What Are the Different Types of Motorhome Generators? Definition, Meaning and Concept
RV generators can be grouped according to a variety of different factors, such as size, generating capacity, fuel source, and whether they are portable or built-in. The three main fuel sources for RV generators are gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and diesel. In most cases, a motorhome generator will use the same type of fuel as the motorcoach's engine so they can share a storage tank. Built-in generators are usually connected to the motorhome's electrical system and often have automatic switching capability if the rig is connected to shore power. Portable generators can sometimes be connected to the electrical system,
The size and power output of a motorhome generator often corresponds to the length and capacity of the recreational vehicle (RV) because the presence of more people and appliances may require more power. Small motorhome generators often produce around 2kW, and large units can produce 13kW or more. The amount of power that the generator is capable of producing is directly related to the number of appliances it can run at once. Some very large motorhomes have three air conditioning (AC) units and a variety of other appliances that can run concurrently with a heavy-duty generator set.
Most RV generators use the same type of fuel as the engine that runs the coach. This allows the generator to draw fuel from the same tank as the engine. The generator intake is often at a higher level in the tank than the engine intake, which can prevent the generator from draining all of the fuel.
Since RVs typically have a liquid petroleum (LP) tank to run the stove, refrigerator, and water heater, some RVs have built-in LPG generators. These generators can be connected directly to the LP system in the same way that a diesel or gasoline unit can draw fuel from an existing tank. LP generators are also sometimes useful in travel trailers and fifth wheels because those RVs usually lack gas tanks but have LPG on board for cooking and heating.
It's also possible to get portable RV generators for supplemental power or use in equipment that lacks a built-in unit. These small generators are often rated at 2kW or less, although some can be chained together to deliver larger amounts of power. RV portable generators sometimes have receptacles to plug into the RV electrical system, though they can also be used to supply power to individual appliances. Built-in RV generators are often expensive or difficult to repair or replace, so portable units can be a viable option in many circumstances.