For “boondocking” should I get a standard Travato with 12v AGM batteries, upgrade to 12v lithium batteries, or get the “L” with the Volta Pure 3 48v system?
TOWB group member William Byerly Holt offers this (with light editing) . .
The bottom line is how much time/effort do you want to put into Managing your power; usage and replenishing.
All three battery options allow you to boondock for extended periods of time. Three options: type of batteries: AMG; AMG upgraded with Lithium replacements;
Volta Pure 3 Lithium.
AMG systems require multi-daily eyes on the system to manage the power. A/C requires running the generator (which since 2021 is a “quiet generator”). The batteries generally should only be depleted 50% before recharging or risk damage to the batteries.
12v Lithium upgrades require daily eyes on to manage but can be depleted to almost 100% before recharging. Might provide limited A/C. If the upgrade included installation of a large inverter. Generator running would be required for extended A/C.
Volta needs very little management: if not running the A/C, looking at it every 3 or 4 days. If running the A/C, looking at it once a day.
Enable the Volta Auto-Start, and the Volta system will manage itself as needed.
With the Volta fully charged, you can run the A/C from 5 to 24 hours before needing a recharge, depending on how much time the A/C compressor is on.
Under that bottom line is where you evaluate YOUR personal cost benefit.
Thank you William.
Can I add an “auto start” to my generator in my Travato?
Yes, since in 2021 Cummins has offered this feature for sale and aftermarket installation.
Here is Daniel Senie’s writeup on his installation:
How can I find the fault codes on my generator?
There is a Start/Stop/Prime switch on the generator itself behind the access panel. Press Start there. If you see 3 flashes from the switch, that’s a service code fault. Press Stop/Prime on the control switch once to have the actual 2 digit service fault code flash. It’s 2 sets of blinks with a pause in between. You need to count the blinks to get a two digit number.. Then look up that code in the Troubleshooting section of the Cummins Onan Generator HGJBB Operator Manual section 6.2 “Fault Codes”.
Will I run out of gas if I run the generator or the Volta high idle manual or auto start cycle.
No you won’t. The generator runs on gas from the same tank that the engine uses, however, it stops sending fuel to the generator at about the same time the red light shows up on the dashboard telling you that you only have about 4 gallons of gas left. That way, you can’t completely run out of gas for the engine when using the generator.
Here’s a good-to-know fact:
The traditional “noisy” generator used in the Travato from 2014 – 2021 (The QG2800) uses about 0.4 gallons/hour at half load and 0.5 at full.
The new “quiet” generator used in the Travato since 2021 ( The QG2800i) uses: No load — 0.14 Gal/h. Half load — 0.21 Gal/h. Full load — 0.46 Gal/h.
So, for example, if you run it for 8 hours overnight to have air conditioning while sleeping you would use about 4 gallons of gas.
For the Volta Pure 3 equipped Travato, the one hour manual or auto high idle cycle will also use approximately 1/2 gallon of gas per hour.
When do I need to perform maintenance on the generator?
You perform generator maintenance per the schedule in the Onan Generator Manual.
Can I change the oil in the generator myself?
Yes, you can if you follow these instructions. (The document has instructions for the original Onan 2800 generator in the Travato. There are some differences for the new “quiet” Onan 2800i, introduced late in the 2021 model year.)
NOTE: In 2021 Cummins updated their oil viscosity recommendations so that 10W30 (with a lightly larger operating range) is recommended for gas and lp generators and 10w40 for diesels. 10w30 is generally easier to find.
I started my generator but I can’t get anything to run . . what am I doing wrong?
Once the generator is up and running you need to wait for it to come “online” before you can run things. Keep your eye on the PCS (Power Control System) and when the status buttons light up you are ready to go! This may take several minutes. Some people like to start the generator while driving so that by the time they stop they can run the appliances – especially helpful when it’s really hot and you want to run the air conditioner.
How do I start the generator?
With the OnePlace monitor (LCD display and buttons):
- Press and release the start button
Yes, that’s it. The OnePlace will send the signal to prime the fuel pump, wait a bit, then start the generator.
With the older panel (LED lights for levels, no LCD display):
Hold down the start button for about 5 seconds until you hear it running, and then release. If it is really cold you may have to hold it down a little longer, and may have to try a few times.
Should the generator work in cold temps?
Your generator should work fine in freezing temps. If you are having trouble running it, there is a “choke setting” that may need adjusting.
Also, some owners have reported difficulty getting their generators started at high elevations.
How do you exercise the generator?
For details on this, please read the Onan owner’s manual.
In a nutshell, Onan recommends running the generator at least once a month for two hours to “exercise” it. This needs to be done “under load”. Owners tend to use the Truma Combi on EL2 or the roof air conditioner to provide the load.
Does my generator need monthly exercise?
Yes, your generator needs to be run periodically or it will not be happy. Every month you should run the generator for two hours. There should be a load on the generator, which can be the roof air conditioner in the summer or the Truma heating system in the winter. (NOTE: It is okay to run the generator when you are driving.)
Or, as TOWB Admin Scott Baldassari said:
How often does my Onan 2800 generator need oil changes?
The manufacturer of the generator says the first oil change should occur at 20 hours. That is considered the break-in period. After that, oil changes should be done once a year or every 150 hours of operation, whichever comes first.