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Old 08-20-2015, 04:09 PM   #1
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Generator

Hello experts!

We have a 2013 extended. We're planning a trip to the South and have a question.

We are taking 18 cases of wine all stacked up in the back of the vehicle. There is going to be one day/night that we are not going to be able to plug into a 30 amp, and naturally we do not want to cook our wine.

I'm pretty sure that the "inverter" should be in the OFF position in order to run the generator. Also, we know that the propane must be ON. Please let me know if this is correct, and also what about the red knob? I don't really know what the other switch does in the main control compartment. It seems to me that something there was labeled inverter also.

We will probably run the generator for 16 to 20 hours that night. Do we have enough propane for that amount of time running the air conditioning?

BTW, we have really not used the generator other than to test it. It only has 3 hours on it.

As always, thanks for your help.


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Old 08-20-2015, 05:15 PM   #2
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What campground are you going to be at, and when are you going to NOT be at the trailer? (I could use 18 cases of wine)
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:22 PM   #3
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I'm pretty sure that the "inverter" should be in the OFF position in order to run the generator.
No. In the "Line Charge" position, the inverter/charger will charge the house batteries while the generator is running, and that's a good thing. In the "Auto/Invert" position, the inverter/charger will detect the source of charging current and automatically switch itself to charge mode to charge the batteries, and that's a good thing. In the "Off" position you will NOT be able to recharge the batteries with the generator running, and that's a bad thing. So put the inverter/charger in any position EXCEPT "Off."
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Also, we know that the propane must be ON. Please let me know if this is correct, and also what about the red knob?
Propane solenoid must be on, yes. Big red knob is your house battery disconnect. It too must be on, otherwise you will not have power to even start the generator.
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We will probably run the generator for 16 to 20 hours that night. Do we have enough propane for that amount of time running the air conditioning?
Barely. If you start with a full propane tank and haven't used any propane for any other purpose, you should just barely have enough propane to run the A/C for maybe 24 hours, possibly a little less. But since nighttime temperatures are cooler, the A/C should not run continuously during the night unless you set the thermostat down in the 50F range. Still, figure that you'll run out of propane by morning and have someplace in mind where you can refill the tank.
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BTW, we have really not used the generator other than to test it. It only has 3 hours on it.
You really should run the generator about an hour a month to make sure it's in good operating condition. It takes about 25 hours of running just to break it in properly.

Be advised that some Onan generators use excess oil during the break-i period until the piston rings seat themselves properly, so your generator may shut itself down due to low oil if you run it all night. If you're trying to keep your wine cool that could be a bad thing.

I strongly recommend going someplace where you can get several hours of generator run time BEFORE your trip, and run the generator as many hours as you can to help break it in, and then check the oil to make sure it has enough, adding more if necessary— and refill your propane tank afterward as well, of course. If it is critical that you have generator power during your trip, that is the wrong time to break it in; so break it in first.

Finally, a handy hint courtesy of Maggie (who posts under "Lily & Me"). Start the generator while your engine is running. The current from the engine alternator will help to "jump start" the generator if the house batteries are low.
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:48 PM   #4
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No. In the "Line Charge" position, the inverter/charger will charge the house batteries while the generator is running, and that's a good thing. In the "Auto/Invert" position, the inverter/charger will detect the source of charging current and automatically switch itself to charge mode to charge the batteries, and that's a good thing. In the "Off" position you will NOT be able to recharge the batteries with the generator running, and that's a bad thing. So put the inverter/charger in any position EXCEPT "Off."Propane solenoid must be on, yes. Big red knob is your house battery disconnect. It too must be on, otherwise you will not have power to even start the generator.Barely. If you start with a full propane tank and haven't used any propane for any other purpose, you should just barely have enough propane to run the A/C for maybe 24 hours, possibly a little less. But since nighttime temperatures are cooler, the A/C should not run continuously during the night unless you set the thermostat down in the 50F range. Still, figure that you'll run out of propane by morning and have someplace in mind where you can refill the tank.You really should run the generator about an hour a month to make sure it's in good operating condition. It takes about 25 hours of running just to break it in properly.
Wow, Protaganist, you're the best! I really appreciate your wealth of knowledge. Just one more thing...the "line-charge" you're referring to is up in the controls where the generator button is right? I understand that should be in the "line charge" position. What about the switch that's down there with the red knob? I think the choices there are off, auto, and on.

Thanks again,
Laura


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Old 08-20-2015, 06:50 PM   #5
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Also,


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Old 08-20-2015, 06:51 PM   #6
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Also, how do you add oil to the generator?


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Old 08-20-2015, 06:51 PM   #7
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Will you be running your generator while driving? Or is that the plan?

The reason I ask is I have done it on numerous occasions and the last time was for 1 1/2 hours. However today when I was finishing up an oil change on my generator I notice that my driver side mudflap was partially melted from the generator exhaust. The mudflaps are not that sturdy and evidently they blow back into the generator exhaust. Looks like a fire hazard to me. Not good.

I am probably going to bolt a metal bracket onto the u-bolt clamp to keep the mudflap from blowing into the exhaust. I don't think the heat transfer from the clamp will be sufficient to burn the flap IDK.
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:59 PM   #8
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Wow, Protaganist, you're the best!
All praise is cheerfully accepted!
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Just one more thing...the "line-charge" you're referring to is up in the controls where the generator button is right? I understand that should be in the "line charge" position. What about the switch that's down there with the red knob? I think the choices there are off, auto, and on.
Inverter/charger controls are a bit confusing on the Interstate.

The switch on the inverter/charger itself has three positions.
1 - Line Charge. This causes the unit to charge the batteries if there is a source of 120vAC power, but won't let it invert.
2 - Off. This shuts the inverter/charger off completely.
3 - Auto/Invert. This actually causes the remote control switch to work. If there was no remote control switch, it would let the unit decide for itself whether to invert or charge. But since there is a remote switch in the overhead locker, it activates the remote switch instead.

The remote switch in the overhead locker has two positions. If and only if the switch on the inverter/charger is in "Auto/Invert" position, this switch can be used to control the inverter/charger.
1 - Auto/Invert. The unit monitors whether there is 120vAC power available from an outside source, i.e. shore power or generator. If there is, it charges. If there isn't it inverts. It's automatic.
2 - Line Charge. This position allows the inverter/charger to charge the house batteries if there is 120vAC power available, but does NOT allow it to invert if there is no 120vAC power available.

So to keep things simple, when storing your Interstate, turn the switch on the front of the inverter to "Off". When using your Interstate, always turn that switch to "Auto/Invert" and then use the switch in the overhead locker to control the inverter/charger.
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:01 PM   #9
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Also, how do you add oil to the generator?


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You have to crawl under the motorhome. There is a panel that you must remove to gain access to the oil fill hole and the dip stick to check the oil. There is enough room to remove that panel without lowering the spare tire. However, adding oil is difficult with the spare tire in place, but not impossible. I use an old fashioned oil can squirter. It is a slow process but the generator only holds one quart of oil. The red piece in the photos below is the dip stick.









By the way, Onan wants the oil changed after 20 hours of operation.
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:09 PM   #10
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Good pics Jerry as always (:

On the 2015 Interstates the oil fill tube and dipstick are at an angle facing out and your pics explain why others have not had to drop the spare but on the 2015s (who knows when the generator changed) you have to.
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:30 PM   #11
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On our trip this summer, I ran the A/C and generator when on the road for three days and got about 26-30 hours on a full tank. Ran out about 40 miles from home and had to stop at a KOA to refill. Interestingly only got about 12.5 gallons in the 18 gallon tank. I think you're supposed to get 80% or 14.4 gallons. But it is was very hot so maybe the 80% is at 70*F.

Never have had any problem w/ the mud flap hitting the exhaust but my flaps don't flex. Maybe the newer ones are different.
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:57 PM   #12
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On our trip this summer, I ran the A/C and generator when on the road for three days and got about 26-30 hours on a full tank. Ran out about 40 miles from home and had to stop at a KOA to refill. Interestingly only got about 12.5 gallons in the 18 gallon tank. I think you're supposed to get 80% or 14.4 gallons. But it is was very hot so maybe the 80% is at 70*F.

Never have had any problem w/ the mud flap hitting the exhaust but my flaps don't flex. Maybe the newer ones are different.
Are you sure? They seem pretty well built on the outside but inside are pretty flimsy. I never thought mine was touching either and can't see it without climbing underneath.
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Old 08-21-2015, 02:05 PM   #13
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Are you sure? They seem pretty well built on the outside but inside are pretty flimsy. I never thought mine was touching either and can't see it without climbing underneath.
My flap hits the heat shield that's clamped to the exhaust pipe. I can see how it would hit the pipe if the shield wasn't there because the inner side of the flap is a lot more flexible than the outer part.
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Old 08-21-2015, 02:51 PM   #14
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Here is a bad, too close pic of mine. You can see it melted the mud flap.

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