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Old 10-09-2010, 07:53 AM   #1
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Generator Questions from a Rookie

Hi Everyone.
First let me say how helpful so many of you have been. I am new to all of this, but I am learning, thanks to many of you.

Ok...
I have purchased a Honda EU2oooi generator and the companion EU2000i.
I have them connected with parallel cables and everything works fine.

Supposedly, I am able to run just about anything in my 28' Safari with this set up. Here is my current dilemma. When I am hooked up to shore power everything works...microwave, Air Conditioning, Fridge, convenience outlets etc. However, when I disconnect from shore power and hook up to the generators I am not getting power to the microwave, Air Conditioning, and convenience outlets etc. I have the proper adapter to plug into the 30 amp twist lock receptacle. So as far as I know I have things hooked up properly but I still do not get any power into the Stream. The microwave does not work and the fridge will not work on the AC setting.

What am I doing wrong? Thanks in advance.

Bert
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Old 10-09-2010, 08:18 AM   #2
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I would suspect the adapter of being bad. I would check the output of the generators with a meter, and if the output is good, I'd change the adapter.
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Old 10-09-2010, 08:29 AM   #3
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The problem sounds like it is in the generators. Start by taking a multimeter and see if you are getting 120-130 volts at three places: the generator outlet itself, the outboard side of the adapter that plugs into the generator, and at the end of the 30 amp cord where it enters the trailer.

I don't know the innards of Airstreams electrical system but use one of those plug in monitors to make sure your polarity and ground are OK.
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Old 10-09-2010, 08:37 AM   #4
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One more thing, but may be too obvious...make sure any circuit breakers on the generators are not tripped.
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Old 10-09-2010, 10:34 AM   #5
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

I also have 2 of t Honda 2000's, and I had a similar problem a couple of years ago. Mine had the very same symptoms, but they had worked previously. I have the external (add on) parallel unit. The 30 amp breaker in this unit had gone bad. In the new companion generator, there is probably a built-in 30 amp breaker that may be tripped or is not functioning at all like mine was.

As previously posted your RV plug adapter could be bad.

Check the generator out. Using a 30 to 20 amp adapter, plug your Airstream into one of the 20 amp outlets on one of the generators. Test your 110 outlets, your television, refrigerator, etc. Test each of these outlet successively. If these all work properly, it is one of the two problems outlined above.

Let us know what happens.

Brian
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Old 10-09-2010, 02:00 PM   #6
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Thanks Folks...
I have a feeling it is either the locking adaptor or the 30 amp receptacle on the generator that is bad.

I will try the 30 to 20 amp adaptor in one of the 20 amp outlets. Good advice.
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:15 PM   #7
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Reverse polarity?

We dry camped for the first time in our new AS with the Honda combo 2K units (wired correctly in parallel) and found that when plugged into the front access electrical port that the current input monitor inside the AS alarmed. The alarm indicated a possible polarity problem?!

All the appliances worked fine including the microwave and coffee pot while connected to the generators.

When in a camp ground I connected the shore power to the front of the AS and there was no indication of a problem, so that would rule out the AS port as ? defective.

The catch on this dilemma is that I ran the current from the twin Hondas through a Surge Guard as I always do......! Any ideas on what to do next?

I am of course concerned about the "polarity" warning when connected to the generators, but if there had indeed been a problem the Surge Guard should have detected it and cancelled transmission into the AS. no?
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:21 PM   #8
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As an aside, we installed a 145 Watt solar panel. We have 2 "27" AGM batteries which carry up to 14.4 V. Running the furnace overnight ( cold this time of year in Yosemite) drained the batteries to 1/2, and during the day the panel restored the battery to 3/4 of full charge. Seems like an adequate recharge. Running the Honda's for an hour seemed to bring the batteries up to enough charge to run the furnace the next night.

Zigi
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:39 PM   #9
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Don't Panic

Zigi--I can't do justice in a response due to my lack of technical smarts, but the short of it is that I suspect your warning is caused by your system's not detecting a proper ground from your Honda's.

Had the problem and ignored it, but finally fixed it by creating a "shunt" that had the appearance of creating a ground - methink this is done by running the ground and neutral (white) together by one of several means. Your generators do not create a ground to earth as your monitoring system expects to "see". This is normal and short of creating an earth ground (not practical or recommended), you'll have to do a work around.

Do a Google search for "Honda generator grounds" and you'll find several sources for a fix - -I know there is one on the Woodall discussion site and I also think you'll find one on the Honda discussion group on Yahoo.

Check the several sources and/or others smarter than I who will chime in here.

Good luck, Bill
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:45 PM   #10
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Having only one 2K Honda, we use it to recharge our batteries (using the AS shore power 30 amp connection) all the time - it works great for this purpose, and a 2nd Honda would ONLY be needed to run the AC unit...

We also fire up the Honda to use the microwave - works great...

Those of you with 'paired' Honda's - do you run them both all the time? If so, why? It would seem to me running both for anything but powering the AC, is a waste of fuel and extra wear and tear on the 2nd unit...

Our old AS isn't equipped with the 'generator option' I've seen on new AS's - As I understand it, the 2nd (generator) receptacle is used for the generator 'input' to the AS - as such, is there a 'control' switch or relay that connects the 2nd receptacle to the AS's AC circuits? Or are both AC 30 amp input receptacles merely wired in parallel? If there's a 'control' device involved, I look here for AC input problems, as well...
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:48 AM   #11
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We had a problem with one our two Hondas right after purchase; no power. Took it back to the dealer for warranty repair; loose wire.

Also; check the RV adapter plug and the receptacle.

Ed
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:50 AM   #12
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As Bill points out correctly upthread the alarm is due to the floating ground because of the absence of bonding between ground and neutral.

With shore power the ground and neutral are connected together (bonded) somewhere in the campground's wiring. There can still be a small to moderate voltage between the neutral and ground because of the voltage drop between the bonding point and the shore power receptacle.

With a generator the ground is isolated and not connected to neutral anywhere. In theory, if you have a transfer switch, the transfer switch is supposed to bond neutral to ground when the generator is supplying power. Not all of them do.

Some older generators bond the neutral.

RVers blame all kinds of failures on bonding problems though IMO there's rarely any relationship (Just as the guy who sells you an air conditioner likes to blame failures on low voltage, the guy who sells you a generator likes to blame failures on grounding problems. In both cases they find it inconvenient to blame a shoddy product). The lack of bonding can potentially create a safety problem, as can the lack of a true ground. The extent to which this is a practical problem in the real world of RVing is disputed.

To do it by the book in the U.S. you're supposed to drive a ground rod 6' deep and connect a ground wire from that to the generator, and then bond the ground and neutral at either the transfer switch or breaker panel. But, you can't bond at the breaker panel when you plug into shore power.

I don't think I've ever seen that done. I don't do it.

And I don't believe that bonding in an RV being powered occasionally by a generator, with modern wiring and GFCIs, provides a safety benefit, in the absence of a ground rod. In fact it may worsen the risk of shock.

The situation is different in a campground because the ground connection is shared and proper bonding prevents bad stuff from happening due to a combination of wiring faults in two or more trailers.

By international standards the way grounding is handled in the U.S. is kooky even in houses and commercial buildings. The RV, campground, and generator portions of the NEC being unruly stepchildren of the more widely applied portions of the code means that these regulations are even worse.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:36 PM   #13
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Jammer,

I believe the Honda and Yamaha inverter generators have bonded neutrals. The generator in question is a Honda 2000 being run in parallel mode.

When for example a Yamaha ef6300isde is used as a backup home generator, Gen Tran requires a Switched Neutral Kit be added to their panel to overcome the bonded neutral of the Yamaha inverter generator unless the owner removes a wire from the generator to create a floating neutral. The wire must be put back when the generator is being used as a portable generator.

Barry
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:43 PM   #14
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I believe my previous post regarding a Yamaha EF6300iSDE is accurate. Other than that model, all bets are off as to Honda and Yamaha inverter generators.

I found the following information in a Yamaha document regarding Yamaha inverter generators. EF1000iS, EF3000iSE, EF3000iSEB have floating neutrals. EF2000iS, EF2400ISHC, EF4500iSE, EF6300iSDE have bonded neutrals. Very confusing information.

I have not found such a document for Honda inverters except that everyone says the EU2000 has a floating neutral. Other people say that to parallel two generators the neutral must be floating. But the Yamaha EF2000iS can be paralleled but the Yamaha document says it has a bonded neutral.

I think I will bow out now since my head is exploding.
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