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Old 12-02-2020, 05:36 AM   #1
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Generator question

Not sure if this is the right place for this question but I have a 30 amp 28 ft trailer and a portable Honda generator. I can never remember the sequence for starting it up. Do I plug in power cord to generator and then start the generator or the other way around? Also, should I turn off trailer breakers before starting or is keeping everything off ok?
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Old 12-02-2020, 06:10 AM   #2
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With nothing connected, start the generator and let it warm up. Then start making your connection, going from load (trailer) to source (generator). Then turn on your camper main breaker with all other breakers off. Next turn on the breaker putting power on the cord. Lastly, start turning on the breakers in the camper.
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Old 12-02-2020, 06:32 AM   #3
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Awesome. Thank you
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Old 12-02-2020, 01:59 PM   #4
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I connect the generator to the trailer (no breakers are off) then fire up the generator. Have been doing it this way for years, with no harm to trailer or generator.
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Old 12-02-2020, 02:32 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by boondocking View Post
I connect the generator to the trailer (no breakers are off) then fire up the generator. Have been doing it this way for years, with no harm to trailer or generator.
I've done the same but every once in a while, mostly during cold weather, the generator can stumble if the batteries are down and water heater electric element is turned on.

Ideally one should just turn the main breaker off at the distribution center and let the generator warm up a few minutes then turn it on. Even if just the amount of time it takes to stroll in to the power distribution panel and turn the breaker on. Good time to check to make sure that unwanted loads like the water heater are turned off too.

Even large generators that provide emergency power have delays before they take on load. Lets engine become fully lubed and able to handle load without struggling and producing low voltage.

I too have done it the same way as you and have not had problems but not having problems so far doesn't mean there can't be some in the future.
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Old 12-02-2020, 02:32 PM   #6
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I never shut off any breakers. Start your generator and let it warm up a bit and then plug it in.
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Old 12-02-2020, 02:44 PM   #7
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Logic would dictate that you start a generator with no load. Also what the manuals say. To include the TMs

Turning off a generator with the load connected is a big no, no! Do it more than a few times and you will damage the alternator in your generator.

Your mileage will vary.

From the InterWeb:
Remove Loads. Unplug all extension cords from the generator. ...
Ignition OFF. Turn the generator off by moving the ignition switch to the “OFF” position.
Cool. ...
Check Oil. ...
Fill the Tank. ...
Restart. ...
Reconnect.
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Old 12-02-2020, 02:44 PM   #8
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I never shut off any breakers. Start your generator and let it warm up a bit and then plug it in.
x2! It's that simple.
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Old 12-02-2020, 02:49 PM   #9
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Just like when plugging into a pedestal, the same is true for a generator. You should never do so with a load in place.

Pedestals have breakers at the pedestal that allow you to make the connection and then latch the breaker, saving any arcing of the plug as it goes into the receptacle. I've actually seen part of the blades burned off from plugging in under load.

Most generators don't have a 'main' breaker so to speak so you should turn off your main breaker in the R/V BEFORE plugging into a running generator. Once the generator is running and stable and as long as your generator is capable of handling the combined load(s) of any of the branch breakers with something on their circuit(s) that might be on, you can then simply flip the main breaker on.

If your generator can not handle the combined load of the branch breaker's circuits, you'll need to flip those off before latching the main and then turn on only what the generator can handle.

I've seen folks plug in the generator and then start it but that process really isn't good for the generator or the loads that power up as the generator starts and comes up to speed. This, coupled with not wanting to subject my cold generator engine (immediately upon startup) to a demanding load, has me doing what I described above.
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Old 12-02-2020, 09:24 PM   #10
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The owners manual for my Honda EU2200i doesn't say anything about starting or stopping the generator without a load. I do start and stop it without the AC running though.
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