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Old 01-13-2013, 09:38 AM   #1
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Boondocking

My wife and I are new to RVing. We took delivery of our 3010ds last summer and the trips that we have been so far have been to campgrounds that had all the hookups. We will be going to a family reunion this spring and will be boondocking it there. My question is I'm not really sure when to run the generator, is the generator used to keep the house batteries charged or do I use the generator as the primary power source?
Thanks in advance,
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:53 AM   #2
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My wife and I are new to RVing. We took delivery of our 3010ds last summer and the trips that we have been so far have been to campgrounds that had all the hookups. We will be going to a family reunion this spring and will be boondocking it there. My question is I'm not really sure when to run the generator, is the generator used to keep the house batteries charged or do I use the generator as the primary power source?
Thanks in advance,
you don't say if you have ever run the generator. It is loud-to both people inside rv and people outside rv.

the generator is like a hookup but power is limited. it will power things in coach that are running and if any is left over will recharge batteries.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:55 AM   #3
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I do this very often (maybe 70% of my camping is "not connected").

My answer (no surprise here) is "It depends."

If it is 100 degrees you will be running that generator non stop until the last possible second of "quiet hours" to run the air conditioner and hope it stays cool enough to sleep until quiet hours end.

Otherwise, if you have installed an inverter to convert 12VDC power to 120VAC for the FEW items you can't live without (like the TV, computer, charge phones, and other low demand items) you can run the generator connected to a "fast charger" (NOT the converter) to recharge your batteries when the "GOOD" light goes out. (Don't wait any longer than that or you might damage your battery).

If it is COLD out and you need to run the heater for any length of time, you will find that with just one OEM battery you will need to have pretty much a full charge (to prevent a discharge below "G"ood) before you go to sleep in order to not wake up freezing. Plan accordingly.
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Old 01-13-2013, 11:41 AM   #4
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Boondocking

I did run the generator though the break in cycle. We winterized in December now I go out every 2 weeks and run the generator for about 45 minutes with about a 50 to 75% load across it and it seems to be running well.
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:11 PM   #5
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another thought, my Yamaha 2400 generator puts out only 52 decibels, its really very quite. so far, all the camping I have done has been without any hookups, in the winter.
Mike
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:28 PM   #6
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Most of my camping is in NY State Parks, which means boondocking. Although strides were made by manufacturers to quiet the noise level of generators, they still create a nuisance.

If I'm camped near people, in NY State Parks we are allowed certain hours to run generators. I usually keep an eye as to any neighbors are nearby even if I do run the generator during the allowed times. My generator use 99% of the time is to charge the coach batteries, about an hour a day keeps them pretty well maintained.

If people are nearby, I will also start the cab engine to charge the coach batteries that way. Not as noisy as a generator.

If you're going to be parked near somebody's residence, be cognizant that generator noise can be heard even in a house.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:35 PM   #7
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Be careful you don't run the coach batteries down too far before starting the generator to recharge them. I took mine to 1 light on the monitor and forgot that you need the coach batteries to start the generator. Needless to say it wouldn't start. Unfortunately it doesn't have a manual pull starter. Started the chassis engine. With it's 120 amp alternator it was enough to get the generator started without waiting. I did not try it but I think the emergency switch below the drivers seat which ties the chassis and coach batteries together might have worked also.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:11 PM   #8
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I took mine to 1 light on the monitor and forgot that you need the coach batteries to start the generator.
As you can see from the M-Panel display chart 1 light illuminated is a voltage less than 11.6 volts (when IT goes out the 12 volt battery voltage is less than 6 volts (the power required to light that LED).

From this chart you can see that your battery capacity remaining at 11.6 volts is approximately 15% and it can be MUCH less as ZERO capacity is 10.5 volts.

Not recharging your batteries back to 100% at the 50% point (when the second to the top light - "G" for Good - goes out) will result in a reduction in total in total capacity until the battery is replaced or "equalized" with a 4 stage charger with an equalization setting. Discharging below 10% will permanently reduce capacity and equalization will not give it back. Doing this more than a few times will ruin the battery and require its replacement.
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:46 PM   #9
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Back when I had to, I'd run the generator for an hour or so while we were prepping breakfast, as it allowed us to run appliances and charged-up from any overnight battery drain. I' do the same around dinner, to get the batteries full for the overnight. With the solar charging system, I no longer have to do that.
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:18 PM   #10
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Smile Boondocking

Thanks everyone for all the great information. I have to say that I was somewhat disappointed with the owner's manual that we received with the unit. Very generic. FI I think I'm going to check solar panels. Once again thanks everyone
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