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Old 12-17-2020, 09:44 PM   #1
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How long can you run a Generator

How safe is to run a generator overnight. Or how long can you run one without having CO or other safety issues on a regular RV. Pulling over a rest area during cold night nice to have some warm heat!
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Old 12-17-2020, 09:48 PM   #2
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Is it built into the RV or a portable you put on the ground and run?
Yes, run it overnight if you want to. But you should be able to run the heater off the battery and propane overnight.
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Old 12-17-2020, 09:48 PM   #3
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If the generator is outside, there is no CO problem. People in natural disaster affected areas run generators outside for days/weeks at a time, as long as they keep feeding it fuel. Same is true of military units. We have run massive diesel generators for weeks at a time.

As kcmusa stated, though...I don't see the need to run a genny all night long if you have batteries and propane.
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Old 12-17-2020, 10:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by kcmusa View Post
Is it built into the RV or a portable you put on the ground and run?
Yes, run it overnight if you want to. But you should be able to run the heater off the battery and propane overnight.
The OP's profile says they have a Sunseeker MH so I assume they have a built-in generator.
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Old 12-17-2020, 10:37 PM   #5
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If it is properly installed, it should be able to run as long as it has fuel.
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Old 12-17-2020, 11:14 PM   #6
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The OP's profile says they have a Sunseeker MH so I assume they have a built-in generator.
All. Yes is a build in Gen. Total elec HEAT & AIR. Running D/Cicl batteries all night is not a choice. RIG had a build in CO sensor but is 5 yr old.
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Old 12-18-2020, 11:46 AM   #7
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All. Yes is a build in Gen. Total elec HEAT & AIR. Running D/Cicl batteries all night is not a choice. RIG had a build in CO sensor but is 5 yr old.
It's highly debated if RVs are safe to run the generator overnight or now. In fact, I've watched some heated debates on the topic. I won't argue it, but I do it.

We have run our generator straight for almost 24 hours before in our toy hauler with built-in generator. In addition to the carbon monoxide detector the camper came with, I added new ones in each living/sleeping area.

At 5 years old, I would be replacing your existing CO sensor.
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Old 12-18-2020, 01:36 PM   #8
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How safe is to run a generator overnight. Or how long can you run one without having CO or other safety issues on a regular RV. Pulling over a rest area during cold night nice to have some warm heat!
They should be designed to run it as long as you want without any CO entering the coach.
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Old 12-18-2020, 01:36 PM   #9
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I don't know if our genny exhaust was installed wrong but I can smell diesel exhaust inside our rig whenever we run it with any windows open. It's gross and keeps us from running it for long periods if we have windows open, which is basically most of the time. Hubby moved the exhaust pipe further back but still a problem. So we would not run ours overnight. I wish we could use one of those things that you can run the exhaust up over the roof but there is nothing to hook it onto the side of the rig.
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Old 12-18-2020, 01:44 PM   #10
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I don't know if our genny exhaust was installed wrong but I can smell diesel exhaust inside our rig whenever we run it with any windows open. It's gross and keeps us from running it for long periods if we have windows open, which is basically most of the time. Hubby moved the exhaust pipe further back but still a problem. So we would not run ours overnight. I wish we could use one of those things that you can run the exhaust up over the roof but there is nothing to hook it onto the side of the rig.
If you have the windows open, what do you need the generator running for? I adapted most everything (TV, laptops, chargers, power recliners, etc) except microwave, air conditioner, and electric heaters to run off of the batteries using an inverter.

As for hooking it to the side of the rig.. there are suction cup mounts:
https://www.amazon.com/Camco-44850-G...dp/B00PAIMXLQ/

I just use a couple of suction cup hooks and then a bungee across it. Worked well for 2 weeks in Albuquerque with only minor issues every few days when the wind would get a little too ruckus.
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Old 12-18-2020, 01:50 PM   #11
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Generator use

As per an Electrical Engineer and an Onan Generator mechanic: Any portable generator or built in Onan were not designed for continous use.
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Old 12-18-2020, 01:54 PM   #12
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As per an Electrical Engineer and an Onan Generator mechanic: Any portable generator or built in Onan were not designed for continous use.
Did they say what is the definition of continuous use? 4 hours, 8 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours, more?

Looking at my Onan owner's manual, at a glance I don't see any kind of cautions for extended run times:
https://www.cummins.com/rv-generator-manuals
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Old 12-18-2020, 01:58 PM   #13
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How safe is to run a generator overnight. Or how long can you run one without having CO or other safety issues on a regular RV. Pulling over a rest area during cold night nice to have some warm heat!
You can run your generator until the gas tank gets to around a 1/4 tank then it automatically shuts off.
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Old 12-18-2020, 02:04 PM   #14
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If the generator is outside, there is no CO problem. People in natural disaster affected areas run generators outside for days/weeks at a time, as long as they keep feeding it fuel. Same is true of military units. We have run massive diesel generators for weeks at a time.

As kcmusa stated, though...I don't see the need to run a genny all night long if you have batteries and propane.
Of course you will need to change oil fairly often. That could be 50 hr for some low end thing to maybe 200 for a higher quality whole house generator. Consult your owners manual.

In the good old days when I learned to drive my dad had me changing oil every 3000 mi. That was when the manufacturer was recommending 5000-7500 between oil changes. I'm about 10k mi now on a car for a recommended 15k mi synthetic oil. I think I would be a little more conservative than they suggest.
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Old 12-18-2020, 02:06 PM   #15
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Did they say what is the definition of continuous use? 4 hours, 8 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours, more?

Looking at my Onan owner's manual, at a glance I don't see any kind of cautions for extended run times:
https://www.cummins.com/rv-generator-manuals
Even better, does Onan state this in any of the literature/manuals for the specific generator(s) in question? Might be different for some smaller units.

FWIW, I doubt that any mobile/portable generator is used continuously. They get shut down regularly for fueling, oil changes, and filter service. Some have this enforced by onboard computers.

Even large stationary units are shut down regularly and if power can't be shut down there is another generator warmed up and ready to take the load while the first is being maintained.

Absent any documentation from Onan, I think it's the usual case of personal opinions being substituted for manufacturer's directions.
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Old 12-18-2020, 02:22 PM   #16
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Of course you will need to change oil fairly often. That could be 50 hr for some low end thing to maybe 200 for a higher quality whole house generator. Consult your owners manual.

In the good old days when I learned to drive my dad had me changing oil every 3000 mi. That was when the manufacturer was recommending 5000-7500 between oil changes. I'm about 10k mi now on a car for a recommended 15k mi synthetic oil. I think I would be a little more conservative than they suggest.
Car manufacturers usually recommend two change intervals. First is Mileage, second is "time".

My Chevy Volt almost never runs the gas engine as I use battery for over 90% of my mileage. Chevy (through Dealer memo's) recommend just changing oil once per year.

Back in the really old days it was recommended that oil be changed every 3,000 miles or 90 days.

Better oils, computer controlled fuel injection, and more advanced engine construction has extend that to intervals that would have been scoffed at "back then".
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Old 12-18-2020, 02:23 PM   #17
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[QUOTE=ependydad;2467320]If you have the windows open, what do you need the generator running for? I adapted most everything (TV, laptops, chargers, power recliners, etc) except microwave, air conditioner, and electric heaters to run off of the batteries using an inverter.


Mostly to charge up the batteries. We do have an inverter that runs everything. We only have 2 100AH batteries and a residential fridge so the genny goes on almost every morning to charge up. I found it a huge help to actually shut off the inverter during the night. The fridge will stay cold since no one is opening the doors at night. It was not enough just to turn the fridge off. Battery was still way low in the am and I need my Nespresso first thing, too impatient to wait for the solar to charge up.
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Old 12-18-2020, 02:29 PM   #18
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Two times after hurricanes in Florida we arrived to no power. Generator ran 5 days continual . Just kept adding fuel to the MH.
Next time it was 3 days. No problems during those times. AC also ran continually !
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Old 12-18-2020, 04:43 PM   #19
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Generator run time

After Hurricane Laura came knocking on our door, we ran two Honda EU2200i inverter generators for 240 hours each(10 days) before shutting them off. I have a extended run fuel tank that feeds both generators running in parallel. These generators were sitting outside of our 5th wheel on a stand.
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Old 12-18-2020, 07:34 PM   #20
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Hurricane Irma left us without power for 7 days. I ran the built-in Onan on my toyhauler for days at a time and ran a cord to the house fridge/freezer. It runs off the 30 gallon tank built into the toyhauler, so no refueling problems. I did change the oil and clean the air filter half way through the week.
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