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Old 05-26-2014, 05:14 PM   #1
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Talking Running Elec w/ Generator

OK... rookie question. We are about to boondock it for the first time at my brother's place. We haven't used our generator yet. We notice that when we are on battery power, the electrical plugs don't function in the RV. Does this change when you fire up the generator? Any basic advice, how-to's for us? Amazing how the literature we got was all about the parts and product and nothing about running it.

We have a Cummins 5500 LP.

Thanks!
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:21 PM   #2
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Yes, the electrical outlets, as well as microwave, TVs, air conditioners and all other 110V appliances will work when the generator is running. The generator will also charge up your batteries.

Running without the generator, your two energy sources are 12V batteries and propane. 12v will power most of the lights, water pump, awnings, and combined with propane you get your refrigerator (assuming it is the Norcold and not Samsung), hot water tank, and furnace - the basics.

There are some limitations to the power supply from the generator, so I would advise you to keep the hot water tank on Propane rather than 110, and if you have the Norcold fridge, select LP to reduce the load on the generator.
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:32 PM   #3
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I disagree with AA on this one. While running my generator, I can run everything at the same time without a problem including both a/c and microwave. The generator does eat LP though. I think you can run about 3.5 days of continuance running on the generator.

We run the generator for charging up the batteries or the a/c in the evening. According to the cummins folks, you should run your generator at least 2 hrs a month.
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:42 PM   #4
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Our little generator on our camper (2500) is super loud, prohibitively so in a populated, quiet environment. I am hoping the new one is not so bad. I know the one on the camper is a muffler design problem that we need to try and figure out.
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:51 PM   #5
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Our little generator on our camper (2500) is super loud, prohibitively so in a populated, quiet environment. I am hoping the new one is not so bad. I know the one on the camper is a muffler design problem that we need to try and figure out.

If you've ordered the generator from the factory, you'll be surprised at how quiet it is.
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dave&Ginny View Post
I disagree with AA on this one. While running my generator, I can run everything at the same time without a problem including both a/c and microwave. The generator does eat LP though. I think you can run about 3.5 days of continuance running on the generator.

We run the generator for charging up the batteries or the a/c in the evening. According to the cummins folks, you should run your generator at least 2 hrs a month.
You lucked out Dave! You must have a well balanced panel on yours. The limitation with the 5500 is one 20A output to one leg and 30A to the other leg. It doesn't take much to kick that 20A if it happens to be powering an AC and hot water tank element.
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:55 PM   #7
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Whew thats good news! Thanks!
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:57 PM   #8
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I've only had mine kick a circuit breaker one time and right now I can't remember what we were doing to cause that.
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:57 PM   #9
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They are super quiet! I There have been times I have to go outside to hear if it started.
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Old 05-26-2014, 06:02 PM   #10
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I've only had mine kick a circuit breaker one time and right now I can't remember what we were doing to cause that.

Probably that Margareta blender
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Old 05-26-2014, 06:22 PM   #11
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WOW! That IS quiet, thanks AA! LOL Dave! Friends of ours have a redneck blender that is gas powered and has handlebars and a throttle like a motorcycle. HILARIOUS. To it's credit tho, it has not yet tripped any circuit breakers, but HAS caused a few people to TRIP! LOL!
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Old 05-26-2014, 06:28 PM   #12
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My son has made and sold blenders he's made by combining a blender and a weed whacker. They work well but too loud
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Old 05-26-2014, 07:02 PM   #13
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One thing that is important when operating on a generator is not to have everything set to come on when the gen starts. You don't want full load on a gen set at start up. So after starting let it warm up for a minute then add load one thing at a time. Once running everything automatic should be fine. Also keep your LP tanks full. When the tank volume gets low it will freeze and become unusable. The Onan specs say they burn 1.1 GPH full load and .6 GPH no load. If you figure about 1 GPH you are safe.

Also keep in mind these small engines will burn some oil under heavy use. You should have some recommended oil on hand and check the oil at the start of each day.
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Old 05-26-2014, 08:26 PM   #14
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I don't have a generator so I'm not sure what size you have, or if different sizes are offered, but you can figure out how much you can run at one time off the generator. Use the formula that VxW=A.
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Old 05-26-2014, 08:45 PM   #15
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One thing that is important when operating on a generator is not to have everything set to come on when the gen starts. You don't want full load on a gen set at start up. So after starting let it warm up for a minute then add load one thing at a time. Once running everything automatic should be fine. Also keep your LP tanks full. When the tank volume gets low it will freeze and become unusable. The Onan specs say they burn 1.1 GPH full load and .6 GPH no load. If you figure about 1 GPH you are safe.

Also keep in mind these small engines will burn some oil under heavy use. You should have some recommended oil on hand and check the oil at the start of each day.
Another thing to remember is to unplug from shore power before starting the gen. Will save the 20 Amp breaker on the Kolher 5500 from tripping.
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:16 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by rcflame View Post
I don't have a generator so I'm not sure what size you have, or if different sizes are offered, but you can figure out how much you can run at one time off the generator. Use the formula that VxW=A.
Don't you mean that VxA=W?
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:17 PM   #17
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Adamsvr, I've never had a problem with that. I just started mine today and didn't unplug.
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:27 PM   #18
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Adamsvr, I've never had a problem with that. I just started mine today and didn't unplug.
We do! Associate it to being a 2011 model build.
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:38 AM   #19
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We do! Associate it to being a 2011 model build.

You might have a problem with your transfer switch. When I start mine while plugged in, there's about a 1 minute of the generator running before it automatically switches over to the generator power. You can see and feel it when it switches. If you have a surge protector, it might not be hooked up right. I recall a thread sometime last year where some on here were talking about problems associated with that.
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:40 AM   #20
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I stand corrected. I was thinking about one thing and typing another. Thanks for the correction.
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