Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-19-2016, 04:44 PM   #1
Member
 
lckeehne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 80
Water heater causing generator to overload.

We have 5th'r and use it to dry camp. Hook'd up honda 2000 generator and got an generator overload error. I have isolated it to the water heater. Whenever I hit the electric switch on unit (not propane switch) it causes the overload.
Any guidance? Do I need to replace entire w/h unit? Causes?



The Keehne's
Forest River Sierra 300RL
5th Wheel
2008 Ford SuperDuty Diesel
__________________

__________________
2011 5thWheel Sierra
F250 Ford 2008 Diesel

Larry & Sharon
lckeehne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2016, 04:50 PM   #2
Site Team
 
wmtire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Northeast Louisiana
Posts: 21,529
Quote:
Originally Posted by lckeehne View Post
We have 5th'r and use it to dry camp. Hook'd up honda 2000 generator and got an generator overload error. I have isolated it to the water heater. Whenever I hit the electric switch on unit (not propane switch) it causes the overload.
Any guidance? Do I need to replace entire w/h unit? Causes?



The Keehne's
Forest River Sierra 300RL
5th Wheel
2008 Ford SuperDuty Diesel
Does the water heaters electric element work? If not, then you could have burned up the electric heating element (very common). Also depending on what else you have running in the RV, the Suburban electric heating element is 1440 watts by itself or 12 amps when heating. That's going to be a good load on the little Honda itself.

This FAQ may help:

Suburban's electric switch and much more

Most people don't try to use the water heater on electric when dry camping, and you are going to be very limited on just what you can use with a small Honda like that, which I think is around 1600 running watts. (don't quote me on that)

These are also some good articles to help understand watts/amps/etc.

Basic RV Electricity - RV Information (RV Maintenance)

as well as the watts/amps your converter uses when hooked to a 120 volt power supply (either shore power or a generator), which many people overlook:

RV Converters and Amp Draw - RV Information (RV Maintenance)

IMHO, I just think you are overloading the Honda. May want to only run the water heater on propane since using the electric heating element would also consume 90% of your generators running capability just by itself. 1440/1600= .90

That wouldn't leave you much to power anything else.

This wattage calculator by Honda, may help you too:

Honda Generators - Wattage calculator
__________________

__________________
2011 Flagstaff 831 RLBSS

Words are powerful.
Choose them good.
wmtire is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2016, 07:12 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Mountain Foothills of Southern Alberta
Posts: 1,155
Your water heater will use 12 amps, your converter can use up to 8 amps (if battery is being charged) for a total of 20 amps. Your generator will put out 13.3 amps.

As wmtire stated, you are overloading your genny.
__________________

2007 Surveyor SV230
- 200 Watts Solar/MPPT Controller - 230 AH Battery Bank - 600 watt PSW Inverter - (2) 2000 watt Inverter Generators - LED Lighting
2009 F150 - 5.4 Litre - Tow Package
Boon Docking 99% of the time.
boondocking is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2016, 08:38 PM   #4
Member
 
lckeehne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 80
Gents,
Thanks for the input and guidance. Appreciate the help! I can correct the Honda situation since I have two. I have a large inverter n charger so your estimate is right on with number of amps.
lckeehne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2016, 09:03 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Mountain Foothills of Southern Alberta
Posts: 1,155
You're welcome buddy.
Happy Camp'n !
__________________

2007 Surveyor SV230
- 200 Watts Solar/MPPT Controller - 230 AH Battery Bank - 600 watt PSW Inverter - (2) 2000 watt Inverter Generators - LED Lighting
2009 F150 - 5.4 Litre - Tow Package
Boon Docking 99% of the time.
boondocking is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2016, 09:04 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Taranwanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: NEPA
Posts: 1,468
Agree on the overloading opinion. If you plug in to shore power and turn on the WH on electric, does it work? If so, and you're only having issues switching it to electric while using the genny, it's too much for the genny. Try it on shore power and tell us what happens...
__________________
2015 XLR Hyperlite 30HFS5 (mods being performed regularly)
2009 Salem LA 292fkds (gone)
Nights- ('12)23 ('13)23 ('14)15 ('15)31 ('16)27 ('17) 20 (18)21 (19)23
2019 Honda CRV (camping support vehicle)
2014 Harley Davidson FLHX (XLR cargo)
2011 Ram 2500 CC 4X4 CTD, B&W Companion (toy hauler hauler)
Taranwanderer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2016, 01:20 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Telstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: La Mirada, CA
Posts: 474
You can only run so much when using generator. Air conditioner, microwave and electric water heater are major drain on available power. Switch off the electric element and run heater on propane.
__________________
Gary and Donna
2005 Cardinal 33TS-LX
Trail Air pin box
Center Point suspension
2018 Ram Laramie 3500 6'4" box 2WD
Demco AutoSlide 18k
Telstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2016, 02:56 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 526
Use propane for hot water Turn off the wh electric switch and problem should go away.
Harkerr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2016, 04:06 PM   #9
Gold Miner At Heart
 
Papa-t's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: N.C. Blue Ridge Mtns.
Posts: 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harkerr View Post
Use propane for hot water Turn off the wh electric switch and problem should go away.
X2
__________________
I have tried to live my life so that my family would love me and my friends would respect me. The others can do whatever the Hell they please! John Wayne
Papa-t is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2016, 05:22 PM   #10
Member
 
lckeehne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 80
Here is a follow up. Just got home and plugged in shore power. The issue with overload gone.
You guys Rock! Thx
lckeehne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2016, 06:02 PM   #11
Site Team
 
wmtire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Northeast Louisiana
Posts: 21,529
Good deal. As an aside, please remember to turn off the switch to the electric heating element if there is any chance the heater tank is void of water. Many a camper has burned up their element by forgetting the switch is on and their tank is drained either by removing the anode/drain plug or sometimes even the low point drains.

Its explained in the FAQ link from post #2 here.

Happy Trails.
__________________
2011 Flagstaff 831 RLBSS

Words are powerful.
Choose them good.
wmtire is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2016, 10:09 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Florida
Posts: 379
Quote:
Originally Posted by lckeehne View Post
We have 5th'r and use it to dry camp. Hook'd up honda 2000 generator and got an generator overload error. I have isolated it to the water heater. Whenever I hit the electric switch on unit (not propane switch) it causes the overload.
Any guidance? Do I need to replace entire w/h unit? Causes?



The Keehne's
Forest River Sierra 300RL
5th Wheel
2008 Ford SuperDuty Diesel
This can happen if you have your refrigerator set to Automatic. If your frig switches over from gas to electric it would be too much for the generator to power both the refrigerator and the hot water heater. You can fix the issue by manually placing your frig on gas. The refrigerator uses very little gas when operating it. Not much more than a pilot light.
__________________
OldBob

I may be old but I'm trying, very trying.
2015 RAM 1500 - EcoDiesel
Rockwood Ultra V 2715VS
OldBob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2016, 09:53 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 319
generator overload

I use a 3500 gen set, and always use the electric water heater.
You can tell when the water heater kicks on, since the genny "loads' up, then about 15 minutes later it "relaxes". We wait till it kicks off to start showering, in the morning, which always kicks it in due to the influx of cold water. Then after the showers, we wait till it kicks off again, to use the hair dryer. It won't run both.
Then while it is still off, we can run the microwave to heat pre-cooked sausage or bacon. then I shut off the water heater, and let the unit run for perhaps half an hour to top off the batteries, and let the sun get fully on the solar panels.
This routine happens about every 3-4 days. Otherwise we shower using the propane to heat water. Just depends on what is happening that day.
hankpac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2016, 10:03 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Oaklevel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Virginia
Posts: 5,446
Just asking when dry camping why don't you use your water heater on gas???

For us using the water heater on electric is a rare occurrence (30 A trailer) ...... In the long run you use very little gas using the water heater.

__________________

2005 Dodge 3500 Cummins
2017 Wildwood Lodge 4092 BFL
1966 Mustang GT
1986 Mustang SVO
Lillie Spoiled Rotten Boxer Mix
Oaklevel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2016, 11:04 AM   #15
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 319
I prefer to use the gen set, most mornings, since it also charges the battery while using the water pump. And since the gas water heater is such a huge use of propane. It is a minimum of 40 miles round trip to town, on mostly dirt roads, so I try to keep that to one trip per two weeks. We keep two 5 gallon cans of gasoline, two of diesel fuel, and two extra tanks of propane, for the 30 day season.
Since someone is going to ask, we use an outdoor privy that we dig, and bury, with a pretty nice set up, shielded, and roofed, with tarps, lots of hand sanitizer, fresh water for washing, and wipes, paper, everything. . That keeps the trips to town to empty the black tank to once if we absolutely have to. We have women in camp, and use three RV's. The inside toilets are for the women early in the morning or if it is snowing or otherwise too cold to go outside.
hankpac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2016, 02:23 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
Oaklevel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Virginia
Posts: 5,446
Quote:
Originally Posted by hankpac View Post
I prefer to use the gen set, most mornings, since it also charges the battery while using the water pump. And since the gas water heater is such a huge use of propane. It is a minimum of 40 miles round trip to town, on mostly dirt roads, so I try to keep that to one trip per two weeks. We keep two 5 gallon cans of gasoline, two of diesel fuel, and two extra tanks of propane, for the 30 day season.
Since someone is going to ask, we use an outdoor privy that we dig, and bury, with a pretty nice set up, shielded, and roofed, with tarps, lots of hand sanitizer, fresh water for washing, and wipes, paper, everything. . That keeps the trips to town to empty the black tank to once if we absolutely have to. We have women in camp, and use three RV's. The inside toilets are for the women early in the morning or if it is snowing or otherwise too cold to go outside.
Actually the water heater uses very little propane. We use less than two thirty pound bottles a year. 6 weeks of camping including using the furnace in March, October and November.
__________________

2005 Dodge 3500 Cummins
2017 Wildwood Lodge 4092 BFL
1966 Mustang GT
1986 Mustang SVO
Lillie Spoiled Rotten Boxer Mix
Oaklevel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2016, 08:39 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 1,502
Yes, the hot water heater doesn't use much propane and many folks forget all of the parasitic loads that a camper can draw on AC.

My camper has an 80 camp charger and 40-70 amp charge rates is not unusual between my battery banks. The charger alone can draw 1/3 of the available generator capacity of 3,000 watts in my situation.

Forget to turn the auto switch on the fridge, run the microwave, use the electric hot water heater and you are exceeding the max load of the generator(s).

I run fridge and hot water on propane all of the time and with the heater running all night, I have never gone thru an entire 30lb propane tank in any of my camping trips which range from 7-14 days. I've disconnected the a/c power cord from my hot water heater so it is never turned on by mistake especially when the tank is dry.

I am barely able to use two 30lb propane tanks each summer but out of habit, I top off each camping trip just to be safe.

BTW, I used to run my generator constantly to "save'" propane that the fridge would otherwise use....I found out that I am probably using 3/4 to 1 lb of propane a day if even that much.
__________________

Skyliner is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
generator, heater, water, water heater

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Forest River, Inc. or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:48 AM.


×