Shore Power & Generator... - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 12-24-2014, 09:21 PM   #1
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Shore Power & Generator...

Ok, I just heard something from a few of my neighbors here at the RV park that I'd never heard before... and since I don't really wanna screw anything up, I thought I'd seek the collective wisdom here.

At home, I have one of those built-in whole-house generators in case the power goes out. And I was told to either manually exercise it once per week, or allow the built-in program to exercise it.

Well, I assume the generators on our rigs should be also exercised occasionally. As such, I usually exercise my generator for a few minutes right before every trip... or at least once while on in transit. When I do this, I'm usually off of shore power, and connected to the truck.... usually at a rest stop or truck stop where noise isn't a problem.

Well, since it's been a few weeks since I was on the road, I was mentioning to the neighbors how I intended to exercise the generator for a few minutes here in the park sometime today... to which one replied: "Don't forget to unplug your shore power before you do."

I mentioned how I thought the rig has an automatic cutover switch to handle that for me, making unplugging from shore power unnecessary. He looked at one of the others who was shaking his head 'no', and said "I don't think so".

So, needless to say, I haven't run the generator yet... and, of course, I'm wondering if I need to disconnect first? Am I incorrect in thinking this is necessary?
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Old 12-24-2014, 09:38 PM   #2
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I was always taught to start and shut down the generator "no load". So if the breakers on the generator are off, crank it up! Some units have switch over some don't. If you don't it might be a good idea to unplug shore power before putting the generator on line. I am not familiar with the set up on the current Dutchmen trailers that come with generators. I would suggest checking the manual...

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Old 12-24-2014, 09:50 PM   #3
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I have run my generator on my '08 FR plugged in to power with no problem and I am aware of a switch that keeps things separate. With that said, seems easy enough to just cut shore power if you are concerned about it.
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Old 12-24-2014, 10:31 PM   #4
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It's not unlike me to fire the generator while plugged in. I have two components in my basement, one the converter and the other, I only assume, is the transfer switch. I did this when the hauler was new just to see how seamless the switch from shore to gen set was. Not bad at all, didn't lose the microwave clock and the TV didn't fall out.

I will say one thing, RVers and people like us can't know all there is to know about every RV out there. We know from experience here that we learn what Voltage used last year isn't the same as this year even within the same model. If the dealer and sales people can't keep up with the changes how can Joe Blow that drives or pulls his favorite brand know what's in yours.
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Old 12-25-2014, 01:22 AM   #5
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I can understand where you would be concerned given Dutchmens history. Like Sundancer said, there should be a transfer switch. I'd pull the wall in the basement and check to see what's there by the converter. Dutchmen idiots can't be that stupid not to have installed an automatic transfer switch.
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Old 12-25-2014, 02:02 AM   #6
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There has to be a transfer switch...there is a transfer switch ! The generator is not wired directly into the main panel.... if it were, you'd have major electrical problems. Both shore cord and generator line run through transfer switch. From transfer switch to main panel. Typically on most RV's the generator is the master source when running. When shut down shore power cord is transfered to load center. Check your owners manual maybe they elaborate on this issue???

To give input to ATC Guy "Tom's" question... unless something is wrong with your transfer switch you can run your genny when plugged in because as I stated its the genny overides so to speak the shore power. Once genny is shut down power is switched over. If this doesn't occur you would get a back feed. If folks dont feel comfortable running generator just unplug power cord. I might add, running the generator needs to be done at least once a month with a load... before shutdown unload let cool and shut her down.
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Old 12-25-2014, 02:58 AM   #7
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You should always use a new crush washer. Wait, that's for the other forum. lol
My trailer is always plugged into 30A shore power at home but still run the generator for an hour or so each month without unplugging. So far no issues.
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Old 12-25-2014, 12:19 PM   #8
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I think the issue your neighbors may be concerned about is putting generator power to the transfer switch under load. The generator overrides shore power so if you turn on your generator while plugged in it switches under load. This can cause arching that pits the contacts and can cause them to fail over time.

I culled this response from an extensive post about an ATS failure that I followed on another forum last year.
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Old 12-25-2014, 01:03 PM   #9
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I have the trailer plugged in at home, and occasionally "exercise" the generator. I know there is a transfer switch, but as to how fast it works, not sure. Last time I started the generator with the trailer plugged into a 30A home circuit, I blew the GFCI. So something didn't switch over fast enough. Based on that, if I'm going to run the generator, I first turn off the shore power breakers, or pull the shore plug.

As far as running for a few minutes, any engine that is run without getting up to full operating temperature runs the risk of leaving moisture inside. Be it the generator, or a motorcycle, or any engine for that matter, I try to run it up to operating temperature to burn off any moisture. I find 15 or 20 minutes seems to suffice.

Tom, enjoy AZ. It's going to almost hit 50 here in NJ on Saturday. Planning a dual spot ride.
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Old 01-30-2015, 07:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HornedToad View Post
I think the issue your neighbors may be concerned about is putting generator power to the transfer switch under load. The generator overrides shore power so if you turn on your generator while plugged in it switches under load. This can cause arching that pits the contacts and can cause them to fail over time.

I culled this response from an extensive post about an ATS failure that I followed on another forum last year.
Here is another response that addresses the question culled from this forum...

Quote:
Originally Posted by calewjohnson View Post
I had sent in an email to Precision Circuits Inc concerning this problem. Below is a copy of the email I sent with the tech's responses....

When I start the generator, I have immediate AC in the trailer, but it takes a couple minutes for the power to be applied to the monitored circuits. My system is a two digit display panel and a select button for power selection. Is this normal operations for this unit?

"Yes. This is a soft start feature, allowing the Generator to warm up before turning on all the loads. This feature also helps the Transfer Switch life. When Mini-PCS senses generator it turns off the controlled circuits, allows the transfer switch to switch the relays without a massive sparking load, and then turns the loads back on."
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