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Old 11-22-2019, 10:08 AM   #1
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2015 Interstate Grand Tour
Nags Head, NC , North Carolina
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Generator power lagging after start up

While boon docking with my 2015 Interstate, I'm noticing that when I start the generator it takes as much as three or four minutes for the power be available to the microwave, HVAC, coffee pot outlet, heater. The power management panel will show power within seconds but the individual panel lights for the microwave, HVAC, coffee pot outlet, and heater take minutes to light. I recently had the generator serviced: oil change, spark plug, and filter but it didn't much reduce the time it takes for power at the devices. Does anyone have any experience or thoughts about this? I've really noticed this year when we are waiting for the power to the coffee pot in the morning. I hope it won't get worse or fail.

Gotta have Java
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Old 11-22-2019, 10:21 AM   #2
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It's programmed that way. Probably to let the generator warm up. Check the time again. I agree it seems like forever, but probably more like 2-3 minutes. Of course in colder weather, that time might increase.
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:34 AM   #3
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In the "old days" when all that ran on electricity from the generator was the AC unit, the fridge an electric space heater, or the coffee pot fluctuations of ten or fifteen volts until the genset stabilized weren't a big deal. The automatic switch would just wait thirty seconds or a minute presuming that the genset power was "close enough" and turn on the coach AC. Today, devices have much closer tolerances and there are a lot more of them. Most of them are, of course, 12v but I'd suspect that appliances in general are less tolerant to surges and shortages. Some coaches also have inverter power supplies that also have to be compensated for.

I'd conjecture that the current crop of auto switches have some technology that senses when the voltage is steady and within parameters before it kicks on. Again, that's merely conjecture without a shred of evidence or research.
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Old 11-23-2019, 05:02 AM   #4
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Ours gets power momentarily after a few seconds (microwave clock lights) but then the clock goes out for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes (I have timed it, but agree that it certainly seems longer). As stated above, this is done to protect something. Not clear to me if the delay is built into the generator controller or the PCS panel. Also not clear to me why this protection is needed since emergency standby generators come on-line in seconds, and some of them are no different than the generator used in the Interstate. It is frustrating when it takes longer to get power than it takes to use that power if all you want to do is zap something in the microwave. But I've learned to live with it.
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Old 11-23-2019, 06:06 AM   #5
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I suspect the delay in the startup is to protect the AC capacitor against a sudden restart.
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Old 11-23-2019, 06:13 AM   #6
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Charge the house first

I believe it is set up to put some charge to the house batteries first. Watch the gage for the charge level to see what I mean.
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Old 11-24-2019, 11:37 AM   #7
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Hey, thanks for the great feedback. I got the chance to time it and it did come out to about 2 1/2 minutes. I does seem a lot longer when you're waiting for that first cup of coffee. While I have the attention of this pool of knowledge and experience, does anyone know if the freezer in the Grand Touring works better in inverter mode?
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Old 11-24-2019, 12:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgejockey View Post
While I have the attention of this pool of knowledge and experience, does anyone know if the freezer in the Grand Touring works better in inverter mode?
In my 2018 GT, I haven't noticed any difference between running on 12v and running on AC.
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Old 11-24-2019, 12:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pez Vela View Post
I believe it is set up to put some charge to the house batteries first. Watch the gage for the charge level to see what I mean.
On our 2010 Interstate, this is precisely what's happening. Yes, there are some "timeout" features to prevent overloading the generator immediately after startup, yes, there are some other safety factors built in to the system. But the major component of the delay on our 2010 is clearly devoting the power toward recharging the batteries before other systems are enabled.

I experimented with this by doing the following. 1) Fully charged the batteries via shore power, disconnected shore power, turned on the generator and timed how long was required until the appliances could be turned on. In this scenario I could turn on appliances is just a few minutes. 2) Allowed the batteries to discharge by running several 12V fans, inverter, etc. to reduce the battery charge to 80% or so. Started the generator and it might take as much as 30 minutes before appliances could be turned on.

I didn't take note of the battery charge (%) but I think our Interstate has to have a charge well into the 90% range before the brain will allow us to operate appliances.

We recently replaced our house batteries. The new batteries hold a charge longer under similar conditions compared to the old batteries. In addition, the new batteries charge more quickly. This will minimize the time delay before we can operate appliances.
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:59 PM   #10
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. . . While I have the attention of this pool of knowledge and experience, does anyone know if the freezer in the Grand Touring works better in inverter mode?
The freezer and refrigerator have 12VDC compressors. When you connect them to 120VAC as provided by the inverter it just gets converted to 12VDC inside the freezer/refrigerator electronics. The performance will be no different.

What you will do by using the inverter is drain your batteries fast due to efficiency losses in the inverter converting 12VDC to 120VAC. I completely removed the 120VAC plug on my refrigerator and only run it on 12VDC.
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Old 11-25-2019, 05:40 AM   #11
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I do not think that our delay time varies as a function of battery SOC, but is something that I will keep in mind.
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Old 11-27-2019, 03:14 PM   #12
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Thanks for the feedback. I haven't notice the time delay varying with state of charge of the battery in my 2015 model.

Regarding the freezer/refrigerator, those two units really sap the battery power and I can't get more than an overnight when boondoggling. I tried keeping frozen water bottles in the freezer (which I freeze before leaving home), but the freezer does not do a good job of keeping them frozen. For what those two appliances cost, it's not a good value. Airstream could help the situation by providing better heat exhaust being the units.

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Old 12-18-2019, 06:03 PM   #13
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Still havenít taken time to determine the relationship (time delay) between state of charge vs. power available to microwave and A/C but there is a very obvious correlation on our 2010 Interstate with the Tripp-Lite inverter/charger.

On a recent trip we used the microwave several times when we were not connected to shore power.

In one instance the batteries were fully charged so the power from the generator was directed to the microwave in a matter of 5 minutes or less.

The second instance was much different. The batteries were at 75%, maybe lower. In that case we ran the generator for over 30 minutes and the power still wasnít available for the microwave.

At some point Iíll investigate this further but it certainly seems like thereís a correlation.
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Old 12-18-2019, 07:51 PM   #14
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Where you have a generator as well as shore power, there usually is an ATS (automatic transfer switch). Built into this switch is a time-delayed relay to ensure that the power coming from the generator has stabilized.

I used to have a '94 AS LY diesel pusher that had a 30-amp shore power cord with a 6,500-watt propane-powered generator. It had 2 a/c units with 2 30-amp ATS modules. A tech I knew rewired the 2 30-amp ATS modules into a single 50-amp ATS module. He was lt to do this since the original ATS modules also switched the neutral (white) wires. By eliminating the switched neutral no further parts were needed. He did, as well, call and speak with CSA (the Canadian version of UL) and they concurred with the change - it was just Airstream overkill.
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