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Old 07-12-2021, 05:04 PM   #1
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AC overload generator

Hi all,

New member here. I just posted an intro in the newbie page but need help with my new-to-me 2019 Forest River Wildwood Heritage Glen 272RL.

I purchase a Wen GN400i 3500/4000w inverter generator hoping to be able to run at least one of the AC units. Alas, I can only run either one for 5-10 minutes before the generator goes into overload condition and the AC shuts down.

I don't have the water heater turned on, as far as I know, only the two refrigerators are running. I'll be the first to admit I don't know a lot about the trailer as the previous owner seems to have lost all of the documentation and manuals for the trailer.

From a search of the archives, it seems like a 3500w gennie should run at least one A/C so I'm at a loss how to proceed.

My trailer is a dual A/C unit with 50amp power. I'm connected to the generator via a 50-to-30 amp adapter plug which goes into the 30amp socket on the gennie.

One A/C works fine stepping down to a 20amp shore power (I haven't tried running both) but the Wen doesn't seem to have the oomph to handle the air conditioner with whatever else may be running.

I have seen posts about the Microair Easy Start, I'm wondering if that would resolve the issue. Alternately, have I undersized my generator? Or am I overlooking something simple?

Any suggestions would be helpful.

Best Regards,
Larry
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Old 07-12-2021, 05:11 PM   #2
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it is possible that you have other loads using the generator power. how about doing an experiment. turn all of the 120 volt circuit breakers off except the one for the a/c you are going to run. turn on the generator and the a/c and see if it will run. by turning all the other circuit breakers off you are only allowing the generator to see the load from the one a/c.
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Old 07-12-2021, 05:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by CHICKDOE View Post
it is possible that you have other loads using the generator power. how about doing an experiment. turn all of the 120 volt circuit breakers off except the one for the a/c you are going to run. turn on the generator and the a/c and see if it will run. by turning all the other circuit breakers off you are only allowing the generator to see the load from the one a/c.
Thanks, that sounds like a good starting point. I assume if it runs fine with everything else off, I can turn on the other appliances one at a time until I find the tipping point.

I'm hoping I can at least run the main fridge along with the A/C, but I'm thinking the wife will want the TV and fireplace!

Larry
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Old 07-12-2021, 05:52 PM   #4
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A soft start mainly just helps with firing up the A/C. Once running it should be pulling anywhere from 11-15 amps. You can buy a Hughes Autoformer BX4370 which will allow you to see how much your trailer is pulling. I think you need more info your power in before you can troubleshoot the issue. Here's a screen shot of mine.
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Old 07-12-2021, 06:12 PM   #5
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That's very helpful, SacRV. I was able to find the 50amp version (for only $55.00 more). I have a brother who is an electrical engineer that I'm going to hit up for an amperage tester but failing that it looks like I'll be ordering the smart surge protector.

Thanks,
Larry
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Old 07-12-2021, 06:51 PM   #6
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My 50 amp ems displays amps being used. We feel better having it in service.

I too suspect you have other loads on.

As said. Turn all breakers off. Turn the one ac on.

Residential fridges with inverters use a lot of power. The converter can as well.

Can we assume the generator is not running on propane?
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Old 07-12-2021, 06:54 PM   #7
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I love my Power Watchdog. It is Bluetooth so when it trips due to too many amps, I can reset it from my phone. No going out to the power pedestal at night, in the rain, etc. I sit inside and reset it from my couch. Nice!!!
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Old 07-13-2021, 08:40 AM   #8
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two refrigerators? are they residential (use 120 vac only) or can the be run on propane?
if residential only they could also be a draw on the generator. your idea of getting something to report on amps being used is a great idea! there are lots of 30 amp rv's that are able to run a a/c off a generator of the size you have but they all have to learn to limit what other devices they have on at the same time.

other things that can put a load on the 120 volt power are:
residential refrigerators
microwave
converter
water heater on electric heating
fireplace
a/c's
120 volt tv's
anything you have plugged into a 120 volt outlet

i'm sure the a/c by itself will work just fine if it is the only load. as you said, get it running and then flip one other circuit breakers one at a time.
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Old 07-13-2021, 11:11 AM   #9
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Thanks for the replies, I'll try to answer them all.

Both refrigerators are residential - electicity only. There is a full-size fridge inside and a mini-fridge in the outdoor kitchen storage.

The generator is gasoline only.

The water heater is dual fuel but I had the switch on the main panel shut off. I haven't tried turning it off at the breaker.

Chickdoe, I'm not sure what you mean by converter. If you're referring to the battery inverter, I'm pretty sure I tried running with it on and off and it made no difference.

The trailer is stored across town so it will be a couple of days before I can get over there to try running the A/C only on the generator. I'll report back as soon as I can.

50 amp Power Commander ordered, that should help sort things out.

Regards,
Larry
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Old 07-13-2021, 11:22 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Larry Wheeler View Post
Thanks, that sounds like a good starting point. I assume if it runs fine with everything else off, I can turn on the other appliances one at a time until I find the tipping point.

I'm hoping I can at least run the main fridge along with the A/C, but I'm thinking the wife will want the TV and fireplace!

Larry
At 3,500 watts, you have almost nearly as much power as you would on a 30amp campsite (120 volts * 30 amps =3,600 watts).

You should be just fine running A/C, both refrigerators, and TV. The fireplace LIGHT will be fine as well, but not the heat (though, that doesn't make sense- running the fireplace heat and air conditioner at the same time).

I like this chart for tracking how many amps are being used at any given point:
https://www.rvtechlibrary.com/electr...eloadchart.php
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Old 07-13-2021, 12:17 PM   #11
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Thanks for the link, ependydad, it's very informative. I can definitely see that with two fridges, a battery charger and a DC converter running that as soon as I fire up the A/C I'm up to 5,500 watts.

Now that I know what I'm looking for, I should be able to power off enough unnecessary sources to keep the generator from overloading.

I'll definitely be using the Power Commander to document the power draw of the appliances.

Larry
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Old 09-23-2021, 01:37 PM   #12
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So a bit of an update as I'm still having issues.

The Power Watchdog I purchased seems to only show that I'm using around 2500-3000 watts at peak usage but it's still tripping the overload on the generator. I'm baffled by this as I can't tell if the monitor is not showing the correct usage or if my brand new generator isn't putting out the wattage it should be.

Regardless, I have found that if I turn off the breaker switch marked "Conv" I can run the generator all day without tripping, including the main AC unit (I haven't tried running both ACs, it's not hot enough here in the PNW to need them).

Unfortunately, after unhooking from my tow vehicle I found the 12 volt appliances give up the ghost after a few hours. I assume this means that the "Conv" switch I turned off is the battery charge. Hoping someone can confirm that.

Another question I have regards the inverter located in the forward storage area. I find that I have to turn it off before going to bed as it will run down the battery and start beeping (loudly) in the middle of the night if I'm not connected to shore power. Does that sound normal? Also, should the inverter be on while running on generator? I'm wondering if I could leave the "Conv" switch on if the inverter is off, something I'm going to have to experiment with.

Any tips/hints would be appreciated.

Regards,
Larry
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Old 09-23-2021, 01:54 PM   #13
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Sounds like maybe you have a bad battery and it's causing the converter to draw a lot of power (amps) trying to keep it charged.

have you had the battery tested?
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Old 09-23-2021, 01:58 PM   #14
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Running a 100 amp rv on a 30 amp generator you have to manage loads carefully.

How large is the battery bank? We have 430 dc amps.

A sort of dead battery will run the converter drawing a lot of amps. Likely close to ten.

Inverters are power hogs. Waste 20% of your power. Thus if the fridge is 150 watts, that is likely 180 plus much more on startup. Up to 15 amps.

On standby they draw as well.

Whoops! That 25 amps is about all you have on the generator.

My 2200 Honda will run one ac unit in mine. Virtually nothing else.

Got to know the draws of stuff and plan accordingly.

Count everything.
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Old 09-23-2021, 02:33 PM   #15
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I think when one (or both) of the refrigerators cycles on it overloads the generator
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Old 09-23-2021, 03:04 PM   #16
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You will find that a gen rated for 3500 is the start up wattage it will most likly settle in at 2800 to 3000. so you may be falling short on what you need. Later RJD
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Old 09-23-2021, 04:15 PM   #17
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What he said.

A LOT of gennies have big numbers on them like 4000WATT and in real small letters they say:
starting load. 3000 watt continuous

I'll say this. I priced your generator. I can buy it at a couple places for about $420. My 3500 Predator was closer to $700 and it runs my camper on one air (and my cargo trailer, which has a 13K Air on it as well) with zero issues.

This might be a case of 'you get what you pay for'

Tim
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Old 09-24-2021, 01:27 PM   #18
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look at the bright side, it its an inverter generator, you can pair any make model size and manufacture with each other. you can even pair an inverter generator with a DC to AC inverter, they will all sync waves with each other.


accept Honda. they run a tenth of a volt or so higher voltage than the others.
but if you do use a Honda in the mix just know it will go to full output before the next paired device starts carry any of the load.
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