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Old 04-16-2014, 09:19 PM   #1
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Generator question

When running a generator with your AS do you plug in to the land line receptacle? How do you recharge the batteries? I must sound like an idiot, I'm just not familiar with how the generator is utilized. Thanks
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:24 PM   #2
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When you plug the Airstream into the generator, the converter in the Airstream charges the 12 volt batteries using the 110 volt power from the generator.

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Old 04-16-2014, 09:40 PM   #3
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It works just like it does when it is plugged into the campground power. Two or three hours will put a good bit of charge on the batteries.
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:47 PM   #4
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You are not an idiot. Here is some basic info I picked up on alternative power sourcing.

The generator is your power source so it acts as your land line. The important thing to remember is the load rating and the interval of need. I purchased a generator for times when I want to camp while not in a park. I calculated what I would most likely need it for (air conditioning) and added the smaller items (coffee pot, microwave) and went from there on size of generator. I know that the microwave, AC and hair dryers are the biggest energy drains and running any of those at the same time would pose a challenge. Regardless though, I decided to forgo the slight inconvenience of being able to only run two of those at the same time. Consider too the interval- AC continuous and microwave a few minutes or so. The need for an ongoing draw of power is when a generator is needed. BTW, my gen does not have a 30 amp plug but with a 110 adapter one plug is used to provide all that the generator offers in power. It works quite well. If your goal is simply to charge the batteries, then refer to the converter/charger for times for recharge.

On the other hand, if you just want to run a TV, power antenna or even a coffee maker (briefly) then an inverter suits the purpose. It will not charge batteries but uses them to provide AC power to smaller devices.
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Old 04-17-2014, 05:52 AM   #5
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A word of advice, if I may…

Don't run your generator at idle to charge the batteries. Idling for long periods of time is not good for the generator.

Ideally, you want to run the generator somewhere between 50% and 75% of the rated load. So for a 20amp generator (because that's an easy size to use as an example) a load somewhere between 10amps and 15amps is ideal. I do not believe you'll draw 10 amps just to charge batteries, so something else should also be on at the same time, to get the load into the optimum range.
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Old 04-17-2014, 07:37 AM   #6
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A minor point that caused me to wonder when I first started using our
Honda gennie.................

I keep one of those three light test gadgets plugged into an 110v receptacle in the trailer all the time, mainly just to quickly confirm that we do have power when I plug in the shore
line, and also that there is nothing amiss with the RV park wiring (a different sequence of lights illuminated would indicate a wiring problem.)

On my tester, Two specific lights out of three are lit when all is correct.


The first time I powered the trailer with the generator, I immediately noticed that only what light of the tester was illuminated and I was concerned something was not right - although I did have 110v power throughout the trailer.

I forget where I found out (maybe the Honda manual?), but it turned out that this is to be expected with a tester when using the generator, and supposedly it is not a problem.

Not really sure why this is but no doubt someone with mrs electrical insight might comment!

Brian.
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
The first time I powered the trailer with the generator, I immediately noticed that only what light of the tester was illuminated and I was concerned something was not right - although I did have 110v power throughout the trailer.

I forget where I found out (maybe the Honda manual?), but it turned out that this is to be expected with a tester when using the generator, and supposedly it is not a problem.

Not really sure why this is but no doubt someone with mrs electrical insight might comment!
Just speculating here, but…

When you plug into shore power, the Airstream's 120vAC wiring is grounded through the shore power cable's ground wire, and from there to earth at or near the service pedestal.

When you hook up to a generator, the Airstream's 120vAC wiring is grounded through the shore power cable's ground wire, and from there to…nothing…because most people don't bother to drive a grounding rod and ground their generator to it. Thus your tester should be telling you that there's something wrong with the ground.
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
Just speculating here, but…

When you plug into shore power, the Airstream's 120vAC wiring is grounded through the shore power cable's ground wire, and from there to earth at or near the service pedestal.

When you hook up to a generator, the Airstream's 120vAC wiring is grounded through the shore power cable's ground wire, and from there to…nothing…because most people don't bother to drive a grounding rod and ground their generator to it. Thus your tester should be telling you that there's something wrong with the ground.
Makes sense! I don't use any ground rod - if I recall, the generator manual said either it wasn't necessary, or not to do it, don't recall which!

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Old 04-17-2014, 03:42 PM   #9
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I think what the detector is detecting is that with a generator the white and the green never come together.

On shore power, the white and the green come together in the main panel nearest the meter.

(Don't read into my comments what I am not saying, I know white and green should never come together in a trailer or sub panel.)
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Old 04-17-2014, 07:50 PM   #10
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The text below is extracted from Honda Owners Manual for the EU2000i:

==========

GROUND SYSTEM

Honda portable generators have a system ground that connects generator frame components to the ground terminals in the AC output receptacles. The system ground is not connected to the AC neutral wire. If the generator is tested by a receptacle tester, it will not show the same ground circuit condition as for a home receptacle.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:30 AM   #11
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Great discussion. Helps me understand the physics behind the generator. Grounding question was bothering me as well. Leaning toward Yamaha 3000
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:53 AM   #12
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So is it safe to use the generator just by plugging the trailer into it?
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:55 AM   #13
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Yes.
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