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Old 02-14-2019, 12:26 AM   #1
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Do I have a Generator or Trailer Issue???

So we changed from a Class C RV to a Travel Trailer and are on our first shakedown camping trip. We have a 2013 Forest River RockWood Mini Lite 2502S. Everything is working fine except when we use the generator (purchased new) and the Microwave together. When running the microwave the surge light on the generator constantly lights up when it is only supposed to light up when the load is first applied (This happens every time no matter what). When running the microwave the following has happened, three times the generator has turned off, twice, the circuit breaker for the microwave has tripped and once the circuit breaker for all the other appliances tripped while the microwave was running, sometimes it runs ok but the surge light is always on.

So on a whim I decided to connect my Progressive Industries SSP-30X Smart Surge protector to the generator to see if it recognizes any issues. Nope, Got a green light. So I hooked the trailer up to the generator with the Progressive Industries SSP-30X and have not had any issues running the Microwave since. No generator shutting off, No red surge light coming on, no breakers tripping, nothing.

What could be causing the issues without the surge protector?

Thanks

Dave S
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:45 AM   #2
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Neutral/ground bonding?
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:00 AM   #3
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Generator type?

Size?
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:46 AM   #4
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the ems is not a factor. sounds like you are overloading the generator. what make / model of generator? what make / model microwave? you probably have other things on already using generator power when you turn the microwave on. most likely nothing wrong except overloading the generator. turn all the other stuff off and try just the microwave on the generator.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:50 AM   #5
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As eluded to above, what genny do you have, and what all else was running (including the converter) while running the M/W?

My initial thought is that you were unplugged, so your battery(s) were low and the converter was drawing a lot of power trying to recharge it/them. Then you ran the microwave while that was happening and that loaded the genny to capacity or above.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:21 PM   #6
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I have a Champion 3500-Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator.

Like I mentioned above, ever since I plugged in the PI Surge protector everything has been fine now for 48 hours.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:25 PM   #7
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your power usage is a little too high for your gen. when microwave kicks on the voltage probably drops causing the errors. The voltage surge suppressor is doing it's job by keeping the voltage levels from varying as much.

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Old 02-14-2019, 02:30 PM   #8
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I was going to suggest the same as many of you, that the OP was overloading the generator......

Then I noticed he said " So on a whim I decided to connect my Progressive Industries SSP-30X Smart Surge protector to the generator to see if it recognizes any issues. Nope, Got a green light. So I hooked the trailer up to the generator with the Progressive Industries SSP-30X and have not had any issues running the Microwave since. No generator shutting off, No red surge light coming on, no breakers tripping, nothing.

What could be causing the issues without the surge protector?"


So back to the OPs question why does his generator run fine when using the Smart Surge Protector??
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:49 PM   #9
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Any 1500 watt generator should run any microwave. All micros are built to run on a 15 amp household circuit...what you have in your camper.

In fact, that's my test to see if my generator is functioning properly. I setup the genny outside my home kitchen and run an extension cord to the over-the-range micro. If the large microwave won't run properly, the generator is bad.

With no other loads (VERY IMPORTANT) the RV microwave draws far less power than a home micro. It should be a piece of cake for your generator to run that micro.

NOW...if you want to be absolutely thorough, pull the plug on your RV micro, run a 12/3 extension cord straight to the generator, and give it a try. That will rule out problems in your trailer. Now plug that extension cord into a 15 amp (not 20 amp) circuit in your house (shore power) directly and see what happens to rule out problems with the micro itself. Chances are it's the generator.

Other factors: When I setup, I run a 100', 12/3 extension cord from my 1500 watt generator to my (adapted) shore power cable. At 100 feet, 12/3 will easily handle transient 15 amp loads...e.g. the microwave at startup. With that extension cord in line, however, I can't RELIABLY run a 1500 watt hair dryer. It will occasionally trip the overload breaker, and in the case of my generator (a Generac), the only way to reset it is to shut down the generator then restart it. It was March in the Rocky Mountains when this happened, so the furnace may have been running, too....in which case, that would be a pretty serious overload.
But I NEVER have trouble running the micro or an espresso machine - one at a time - on my generator.

You'll get a raft of crap when you try this, but I'd bring it back to the seller and demand a replacement or refund. Explain that it doesn't deliver the advertised power (won't run a microwave oven), and you're not about to deal with warranty repairs or the manufacturer's nonsense. The seller can do that. Note that on your paperwork, the documents explicitly state that the seller is not responsible once you add fuel and oil, but most (e.g. Home Depot, Harbor Freight, Costco, and so on) will, in fact, reluctantly take it back. I returned...just returned...my first one to Costco, and bought the next one at Home Depot.

ANY GENERATOR can fail to perform up to standard...including a Honda. Get a new one, and do the home micro test on it. If it works out of the box, it will likely give you years of trouble-free service after that.

Look into the Predator brand at Harbor Freight. Consumer Reports says they compare VERY favorably with Hondas for half the price. Champions are really good and inexpensive as well. But any single generator can be a dud. The inverter technology is the weak link in the chain. So if you have a Predator, just get another one. A close friend has a Honda and a Predator, and he loves the Predator...and it pairs with the Honda.
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Old 02-14-2019, 04:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmoore13 View Post
Any 1500 watt generator should run any microwave. All micros are built to run on a 15 amp household circuit...what you have in your camper.

In fact, that's my test to see if my generator is functioning properly. I setup the genny outside my home kitchen and run an extension cord to the over-the-range micro. If the large microwave won't run properly, the generator is bad.
Rather than running extension cords why not just plug in an electric heater and set on high. Most (at least both of my "ceramic" heaters) draw 1500 watts on high. If a 1500 w generator can't carry a 1500 watt heater without showing a fault then it's bad.

What I've found is that there are often other loads on the power input that are overlooked. As others have suggested the converter may be in the middle of charging a battery which is usually the case when first plugged in and the charge current is at it's max. My biggest oversight is the electric heater element in the water heater. Another overlooked load is the refrigerator which is always going to select "Electric" if plugged in unless you take it off "Auto".

Back to microwaves, they are like electric motors. They take more power to start up than they need to run. If generator is marginally sized they often struggle to run even the small microwaves.
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