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Old 07-29-2021, 05:22 PM   #1
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Generator use question

Hello, we are boondocking with a generator. Worked fine for the first two days now nothing electric works in the Airstream. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
The generator is working as it should.
Thanks!
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Old 07-29-2021, 05:35 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Navodlum1 View Post
Hello, we are boo docking with a generator. Worked fine for the first two days now nothing electric works in the Airstream. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
The generator is working as it should.
Thanks!
There are 2 types of electrical things in the Airstream... lights/fans/water pump etc. that run on the 12v system from either the batteries or the converter-charger, and the 120V outlets, the 120v side of the refrigerator and the air conditioner that run off of AC from shore power (or your generator.)

If BOTH of those things are down at once, it's possible that your batteries were dead all along and you've been relying on power from the generator for everything. If that's it, start from the generator. There's likely to be a breaker or two on the generator that would open in an overload situation. Once the breaker opens you have to manually reset it, even if the engine is still running. *SOME* generators may make you stop and restart the engine to get electrical power flowing. If you think the generator is putting out power, verify this by plugging in a fan or some similarly simple item directly into the generator, or test with a multimeter if you have one and know how to use it.

Next thing to check after that would be the trailer's main breaker, etc. What was in use when the power went off, and what sort of generator is it?
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Old 07-29-2021, 05:54 PM   #3
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Hi

If you have a meter of some sort, that's helpful. If not, something as simple as a 120V fan or a 120V lamp will do. Plug it into the generator, see if it works. Next, hookup up an extension cord to the generator. Check it with the device.

Next plug the cord into the trailer (possibly via an adapter, maybe with the normal cord). Now check a socket in the trailer. Best bet, it's dead. Cycle ( turn of then turn on) all the breakers in the AC panel). Now check the socket again.

If it's still dead and the cord was ok, you have a wire issue between the breakers and the power inlet. If you could not check the cord, that may be the problem.

If the socket is ok, then the breakers likely had tripped.

As noted above, the 12V stuff may be dead simply because the batteries are now flat.

Bob
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Old 07-29-2021, 07:09 PM   #4
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Thanks for your replies. The generator is working fine and I've reset all the breakers. When everything shutdown the air conditioner was working and our coffee maker. Now nothing, no outlets, etc. The batteries are new and fully charged.
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Old 07-29-2021, 10:18 PM   #5
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Thanks for your replies. The generator is working fine and I've reset all the breakers. When everything shutdown the air conditioner was working and our coffee maker. Now nothing, no outlets, etc. The batteries are new and fully charged.
You're saying that your batteries are new and fully charged, but none of your lights work, none of your fans work, and none of your 120V outlets work? 2 things have to have cratered here.

It's reasonable to think you may have either a failure in the shore-power cable, in the shore-power inlet itself, or between the inlet and the breaker panel. However, none of that would affect your fans and lights and other 12V systems, though it would affect your ability to charge the batteries back up.

If you don't have much electrical experience, I'd recommend finding an electrician who understands RVs (perhaps a mobile service tech who has skills on the 120V side.).
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Old 07-29-2021, 10:51 PM   #6
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Generator use question

Assuming your interior wiring and power cable didnít just magically fail without rhyme or reason, there are only 3 things that could be wrong:

1. Your generator stator completely failed and it is not actually putting out any voltage. (Get generator in for service or replace it if itís a cheap one). Easy to test - plug a hair dryer or something like that directly into the generator- does it work?

2. Your generator gfci or overload has tripped. Reset it. Back in action. Easy to test - plug a hair dryer or something like that directly into the generator- does it work?

3, Your main 30/50A breaker is tripped. Reset it and you are back in action.

Thatís it. You are dealing with an extremely simple AC system here. No power is coming from your generator or your breaker is off or has itself failed and keeps tripping.

If itís not 1/2/3 something has failed catastrophically in your AC wiring so call an RV electrician as suggested above.

My bet is on the generator. Overload or ground fault tripped.
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Old 07-30-2021, 07:39 AM   #7
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Air conditioner and coffee maker simultaneously likely overloaded the generator.
If all of the Airstream breakers are ‘on’ my guess is there’s a reset on the generator you need to poke.
“The generator is working fine” is not very descriptive. The engine can run without actually producing electricity. As others have said, plug something straight into the generator to see if you really have power.
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Old 07-30-2021, 08:45 AM   #8
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You do not say what size generator you are using. But if was powering your A/C AND coffee maker, it is either very large, 4000+, or it was overloaded and it tripped its own breaker. As has been said, the generator will run, at idle, but not produce any power until the loads have been removed and the generator breaker reset.

Once you get this sorted, I would recommend that you do not try to place such a high load on your generator in the future. A/C and coffee maker together is a lot. Either of those appliances by themselves is a pretty high load.
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Old 07-30-2021, 08:51 AM   #9
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Breaker in the trailer or breaker or fuse in the generator or something fried in the generator. A little outlet test light will tell you. Or plug a light into the generator and see if it works. Then mover to the trailer if the generator works.
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Old 07-30-2021, 09:00 AM   #10
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Hi

If indeed none of the 12V lighting works (but was working / battery charged) *and* it all went out at the same time as the 120V stuff, you have a massive problem. Get the trailer over to a shop and let a pro see what's going on.

If indeed, we are just talking about the 120V and the 12V is ok, then an overload could have tripped a breaker (they need to be toggled to be sure they are on), burned out your power cord (thus the checks on it), burned out the connector on the generator, burned out the shore power plug on your trailer, or burned out a wire running from the plug to the breaker panel.

In order to fix the problem, you track the voltage from the source (generator) to the load and see where it goes away.

Bob
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Old 08-02-2021, 12:44 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the comments back! I did find out the shore power cable going from our trailer electric cord and the generator went bad. When I plugged the trailer cord in directly to power it works fine. Crisis averted....for now! Thanks Tim.
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