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Old 03-18-2020, 06:03 PM   #1
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Generator Function

Hello

I am new to RV-ing.

I purchased a 2009 Forestriver Georgetown 374T(?) in September 2019. I started the 5500 Cummins (Onan) once in November and allowed it to run for a while then shut it down. I did this simply by pushing the generator button on the dashboard. To my recollection, the rig was not running. It was plugged into a 50A feed. I parked it December 22 and started the rig a couple of times between then and now (3 months).

I replaced both deep cycle batteries after discovering they each had one bad cell. Once I flip the switch that engages the auxiliary batteries I can start the generator. When I flip the switch off, the generator turns off. Did the generator start in September because the rig was plugged into a power source?

When the generator is running, is the power to the lights & slide-outs automatically coming from the generator? My generator has an auto-switch and has a permanent connection inside a service panel.
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Old 03-18-2020, 06:16 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by michiganian7412 View Post
Hello

I am new to RV-ing.

I purchased a 2009 Forestriver Georgetown 374T(?) in September 2019. I started the 5500 Cummins (Onan) once in November and allowed it to run for a while then shut it down. I did this simply by pushing the generator button on the dashboard. To my recollection, the rig was not running. It was plugged into a 50A feed. I parked it December 22 and started the rig a couple of times between then and now (3 months).

I replaced both deep cycle batteries after discovering they each had one bad cell. Once I flip the switch that engages the auxiliary batteries I can start the generator. When I flip the switch off, the generator turns off. Did the generator start in September because the rig was plugged into a power source?

When the generator is running, is the power to the lights & slide-outs automatically coming from the generator? My generator has an auto-switch and has a permanent connection inside a service panel.
Generator is producing 120 volts. Slides and lights are 12 volts.
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Old 03-18-2020, 06:42 PM   #3
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On my 2006 Sunseeker 2860ds with the 4Kw Onan genset, if my shore power is connected to a pedestal and I start the genset, the power source is from the pedestal, not the genset.


Put another way, on mine, if the shore power cord is not plugged into the motorhome, the genset will run, but not power any 110 outlet like the roof ac or microwave.

My coach baterry will power my slides and any 12V device like the coach lights or satellite dish motor.

Chris
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Old 03-18-2020, 06:50 PM   #4
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On my 2006 Sunseeker 2860ds with the 4Kw Onan genset, if my shore power is connected to a pedestal and I start the genset, the power source is from the pedestal, not the genset.


Put another way, on mine, if the shore power cord is not plugged into the motorhome, the genset will run, but not power any 110 outlet like the roof ac or microwave.

My coach baterry will power my slides and any 12V device like the coach lights or satellite dish motor.

Chris
That's because you do not have an ATS (automatic transfer switch) that automatically switches between shore power and genny with genny having priority. The GT of the OP's has the ATS. The shore power cable does not plug into the RV as yours does.
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:02 PM   #5
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i'm not totally sure all that you are asking. but here is some info.

an automatic transfer switch will use generator power if it is present. this is true if only generator power is present or if both shore and generator power are present.

the generator produces 120vac power which is fed into the rv as if it were shore power. this power would get to the converter which would use it to produce 12vdc power. this is used to charge your batteries and run the 12 volt devices. without the converter running using either shore or generator power your batteries provide the 12 vdc power.

the onan generator needs 12 vdc power to start it and to keep it running. you need battery power to get it started but once it is running this 12 vdc power can come from either the batteries and/or the converter.

hope this helps.
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:09 PM   #6
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Is the advantage of an ATS that there's no on board motorhome receptacle for the shore power cord, just a shore power cord to plug into a pedestal and when not plugged into a pedestal it just sits exposed in the storage compartment?
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That's because you do not have an ATS (automatic transfer switch) that automatically switches between shore power and genny with genny having priority. The GT of the OP's has the ATS. The shore power cable does not plug into the RV as yours does.
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:18 PM   #7
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Is the advantage of an ATS that there's no on board motorhome receptacle for the shore power cord, just a shore power cord to plug into a pedestal and when not plugged into a pedestal it just sits exposed in the storage compartment?
Well, stored in the compartment is more appropriate terminology probably. The cables other end is terminated at the ATS along with the genny power cable and the ATS output to the main circuit breaker panel in the MH. No on board motorhome receptacle.
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:23 PM   #8
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Additionally; When you say exposed are you thinking there would be power on the plug just lying in the compartment? The answer is NO. When the ATS switches there cannot be any power on the shore power cable. It is one or the other.
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Old 03-19-2020, 08:45 AM   #9
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No, I was just trying to provide a description.

Thank you for the information about an automatic transfer switch.
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Additionally; When you say exposed are you thinking there would be power on the plug just lying in the compartment? The answer is NO. When the ATS switches there cannot be any power on the shore power cable. It is one or the other.
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Old 03-19-2020, 04:27 PM   #10
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Thank you Chicdoe & Parise.

P.) It was stated outlets and A/C unit will not run off the generator. The 5500 Onan in my rig has 2-30A switches, both identified as A/C. Isn't the purpose of having auxiliary power to allow one to 'rough it?'

C.) Your answer to the ATS is that regardless if the rig is plugged into the pedestal or not, the ATS is the master when the generator is running. Is that correct? And, if the generator is running, it is only powering the coach lights and charging the aux batteries? Is that enough of a load to run the generator on a monthly maintenance schedule?

Mark
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Old 03-19-2020, 06:47 PM   #11
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let's try to clear it up again.

the function of the ATS is to select either shore power or generator power and feed one of them, and only one of them, into the distribution panel. what ever can be powered by shore power can be powered by generator power (subject to load limits). it the generator is providing power the ATS will use that power, even if shore power is present. there is no difference in the devices that can be run from either shore power or generator power.

there is often some confusion between a/c and ac. a/c is air conditioning, ac is alternating current. (god i hope i have this right, even i get confused, which is not all that hard to do).

the two things on the generator that you called 30 amp switches labelled a/c are 30 amp ac circuit breakers. they refer to 30 amp ac power. they do not control the a/c units . there will be circuit breakers in the distribution panel to control / protect the individual a/c units.

have you reset the circuit breakers on the generator itself? flip them all the way off and then back on to see if it will now supply power. there have been many posts where this was all it took to get the generator to supply power.

your coach lights are most likely powered by the 12 volt batteries, though a ceiling fan and light are probably powered by 120 vac which would be shore or generator.
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Old 03-19-2020, 07:12 PM   #12
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Agree with Chickdoe,

And my Onan although smaller in kw size does have a circuit breaker right on the genset. Once or twice in my 13 years of operating it the generator ran fine but wasn't producing any power. Cycling the breaker on the genset fixed that problem after I reset the breakers inside too even though they had not tripped.

If you have shore power where your rv is stored I would keep your battery disconnect switch "on". Your batteries will get trickle charged from your shore power source. When you are getting power from the genset you want this switch on anyway. Control turning your genset off at the genset start/stop switch. Look for error codes on your hour meter too. I've never had one in 650 hours but if you have an onan error it should display there.

Chickdoe - do you agree?

Chris
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Old 03-19-2020, 07:36 PM   #13
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we're moving a bit away from the original issue. i hope resolving it is as simple as resetting the circuit breakers on the generator.

i have an onan 5500 LP generator and i store our trailer at a location that does not have power. i also had a problem where the batteries would go dead when the trailer was stored, even after i had them disconnected using the factory disconnect switch. i installed my own disconnect switch to truly disconnect the batteries. now they do not rain and go dead in storage.

the onan manual says it should be run for an hour or two once a month to keep it lubricated and dry out the windings. so i go over once a month and run it and while doing this it tops off the batteries. when i leave i use my disconnect switch to disconnect them and they stay fully charged all month.

i did have the generator throw an error code and i took it to the onan / cummins service center and they replaced parts and fixed it for no charge under their 2 year warranty. no problems since.

since i have an lp generator i find that the easiest way to shut it down when in the storage lot is just to shut off the lp valve at the lp tank. much easier than bending down and pulling the generator cover off to get to the switch on the generator.
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Old 03-20-2020, 10:31 AM   #14
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Mark,
Yes having a generator will allow you to enjoy all the conveniences of home AC, microwave, TV, satellite receiver, etc while running your generator.

Private message me through the FR website if you have any questions or concerns.

In the meantime my advice is to read your owners manual for your MH, and the manual for operating your generator, plus all other manuals that should have come with your RV - if you haven't already.

Chris
Quote:
Originally Posted by michiganian7412 View Post
Thank you Chicdoe & Parise.

P.) It was stated outlets and A/C unit will not run off the generator. The 5500 Onan in my rig has 2-30A switches, both identified as A/C. Isn't the purpose of having auxiliary power to allow one to 'rough it?'

C.) Your answer to the ATS is that regardless if the rig is plugged into the pedestal or not, the ATS is the master when the generator is running. Is that correct? And, if the generator is running, it is only powering the coach lights and charging the aux batteries? Is that enough of a load to run the generator on a monthly maintenance schedule?

Mark
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Old 03-28-2020, 09:50 PM   #15
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Agreed, except that my ceiling fan and light in my rockwood were both 12 volt, to my surprise.
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let's try to clear it up again.

the function of the ATS is to select either shore power or generator power and feed one of them, and only one of them, into the distribution panel. what ever can be powered by shore power can be powered by generator power (subject to load limits). it the generator is providing power the ATS will use that power, even if shore power is present. there is no difference in the devices that can be run from either shore power or generator power.

there is often some confusion between a/c and ac. a/c is air conditioning, ac is alternating current. (god i hope i have this right, even i get confused, which is not all that hard to do).

the two things on the generator that you called 30 amp switches labelled a/c are 30 amp ac circuit breakers. they refer to 30 amp ac power. they do not control the a/c units . there will be circuit breakers in the distribution panel to control / protect the individual a/c units.

have you reset the circuit breakers on the generator itself? flip them all the way off and then back on to see if it will now supply power. there have been many posts where this was all it took to get the generator to supply power.

your coach lights are most likely powered by the 12 volt batteries, though a ceiling fan and light are probably powered by 120 vac which would be shore or generator.
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Old 03-29-2020, 08:35 AM   #16
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my omission. when i mentioned ceiling light and fan i was thinking of a residential 5 blade type ceiling fan with lights that runs off 120 vac. i realize that most of the ceiling lights and the ceiling vents fans will be 12 vdc. i should have been clearer. sorry.
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Old 03-29-2020, 09:00 AM   #17
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my omission. when i mentioned ceiling light and fan i was thinking of a residential 5 blade type ceiling fan with lights that runs off 120 vac. i realize that most of the ceiling lights and the ceiling vents fans will be 12 vdc. i should have been clearer. sorry.
And to go slightly farther off track... but for clarity... 'some model years' of Rockwood/Flagstaff R/Vs had residential style, wood blade ceiling fans/light that were 12v.

You just never know in an R/V.
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