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Author Topic: Running our RV off an Generator  (Read 672 times)

ksnipes

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Running our RV off an Generator
« on: September 11, 2017, 11:40:53 AM »
I have a Powermate 6000 with 120/240 V ,30 amp plug. If i use that will this run my whole camper safely? The AC is 3000 BTU. Did the math and I think this will do but someone out there may know first hand. :)) (:(

Kevin Means

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2017, 11:45:15 AM »
You didn't say what kind of RV you have (some consume a lot more power than others) but a 6000 watt generator, that puts out 120 volts of clean power, would be able to power most RVs.

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kdbgoat

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2017, 12:14:05 PM »
Does your RV have 30 amp service, or 50 amp? 30 amp is 120 volts only, something to keep in mind.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2017, 01:53:14 PM »
From what I can see on the Powermate website, the 6000 can only provide 20 amps @ 120v, which ia 2400 watts.  The only way to get the full 6000 watts is via the 240v/30A outlet. That's ok for a 50A shore power RV, but a 30A RV can only use the 120v source.
http://www.powermate.com/generators/product_detail.php?model=PM0126000

You states a 3000 btu a/c unit but that is tiny.Are you sure?  Most rv a/c units are at least 8000 btu. But even a 15,000 btu a/c only needs about 13-15 amps (less than 1800 watts), so the genset is plenty as long as you don't have other high-power things running.
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ksnipes

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2017, 07:53:13 PM »
I have a mallard 30 amp camper. Has one AC unit and  i checked it is 15000 btu. This plug on this generator has a cord with 4 plug-ins on it. I have the adapter to plug in to that(In the generator) with  my campers plug-in. It has 120/240v on it and is 30 amp per owners manual. So am I good or do I need to use the cord and plug into one of the 4 110 plugs or go with the adapter and go right to generator? I don't want to mess anything up on the camper side. Thanks

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2017, 08:53:01 PM »
This is difficult to explain to someone with no understanding of alternating current power.

You can't use the 240v outlet - your coach isn't wired for it. So yes, plug to one of the 120v, 20A outlets using an adapter.

No worries, that will run the a/c. It just won't run much of anything else at the same time.
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QZ

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2017, 08:58:46 PM »
I started to type out a book but quit. Short answer is use the 20 amp plug with a heavy gauge extension cord. You can use one leg of that 240 v  four pin plug  but you would have to do it correctly or risk blowing out hundreds of dollars worth of stuff in the RV. If you are not familiar with this dont do it. Also remember that a lot of electricians mistake RV rated plugs for 240 and blow stuff out all the time. NO, just because they are electricians does not mean they know this stuff. My son had it happen and luckily it only took out the converter $200. The dipstick came back to fix it and reversed the polarity and my son said his ac unit kept shutting off. I straightened it out for him.

I have also had electricians tell me that my 12 volt batteries need to be completely discharged down to 10 volts or so  to work properly.

xrated

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2017, 05:02:48 AM »
ksnipes......Just because some guy calls himself an Electrician, that doesn't make it so.  Be careful who you choose to get advice from or do work for you.  I've done minor work on cars and trucks that I've owned over the years....that doesn't make me an auto mechanic.....actually, I'm far from it.

You've gotten some good advice here.....don't risk ruining a bunch of stuff in your trailer by hooking up something incorrectly....not to mention a risk of fire or electrocution.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 05:15:17 AM by xrated »
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John From Detroit

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2017, 08:52:32 AM »
If that is a  6,000 watt generator odds are it WILL run a 50 amp RV, you will need the proper adapter plug is all. I can tell you how to make it if you can't find it (4 wire all the way)

However... Today there are many RV's that are "All Electric" that do actually use the FULL 50 amps.

You mentioned only one A/C. this suggests your RV is only 30 amp.. On a 30 amp RV. you may only get 3,000 watts from that generator depending on how it was set up (you may be able to switch to 120 volt only mode.. or not) in that case it Might NOT run your A/C. but I think it will.
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Patnsuzanne

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2017, 05:54:38 PM »
Ok. Now I'm confused. I also have a general purpose (job site) generator, a 5500KW. I bought a dog-bone type adapter to use it to power our TT while we're waiting for the power to be restored after Irma. One end of the adapter has the 4 prong locking plug (L1430) that goes to the generator, the other has a three prong 30 amp receptical the the rv power cord plugs into. It's made by Camco and marketed as a generator to RV adaptor.  I haven't used it yet, we're keeping the trailer charged on a 20 amp receptical while the generator runs the house. If DW decides we need to be sleeping in air conditioned comfort, I had planned to use the dog bone to power the trailer and it's a/c, and run an extension cord into the house for the fridge. I just want to be sure that using this adapter won't fry anything in the trailer with 220 instead of 110. Thanks in advance......
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wackymac

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2017, 06:30:37 PM »
WOW!!!!!!!!  With a 5500kw generator you could power the whole town.  Do you mean a 5500w or 5.5kw generator?
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SeilerBird

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2017, 06:35:05 PM »
NO, just because they are electricians does not mean they know this stuff.
YES it does. Electricians are brilliant people and only wrong occasionally. :o
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Patnsuzanne

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2017, 06:49:34 PM »
WOW!!!!!!!!  With a 5500kw generator you could power the whole town.  Do you mean a 5500w or 5.5kw generator?
[/quote
Whoops! My bad. That would be a 5.5kw. You're right, of course. With a 5500kw unit, we and all the neighbors would be cool and comfy, and selling power back to the electric coop! 
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ksnipes

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2017, 07:09:20 PM »
This is my take so far. If I plug my camper i.e. 30 amp to the 120/240 in the generator I will mess-up the camper side of the system. If I use a 110 plug-in on the generator I will be able to run the AC and lights. I would have to run the gas for hot water and refrigerator. Do I have this right. Next thing will the thermostat cutting off and on will the generator power be different than a normal hook up? Thanks once more.


QZ

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2017, 07:42:14 AM »
This is my take so far. If I plug my camper i.e. 30 amp to the 120/240 in the generator I will mess-up the camper side of the system. If I use a 110 plug-in on the generator I will be able to run the AC and lights. I would have to run the gas for hot water and refrigerator. Do I have this right. Next thing will the thermostat cutting off and on will the generator power be different than a normal hook up? Thanks once more.

Let me say this first....in my opinion when people start talking about running an rv with a household 240 v generator we or I sort of lock up and dont really want to say too much because we dont know if the person is going to fry their rv and be ticked at us or me.

Yes, ksnipes, if you are running on a 20 amp circuit you will pretty much only be able to use one heavy draw appliance at a time. If you use your 240 portion of you generator with the adapter that Pat posted you will then have 30 amps and may be able to run more than one item but the system is maxed out and may pop a breaker or cause heating ih plugs or connectors. I oly run one heavy thing at a time.

Also addressing what Patand Suzanne said. That is the adapter that you want to run the 4 prong generator to 30 amp RV. They have designed that adapter to ONLY use ONE hot leg. They are using the ground, neutral and one hot. If you use a digital volt meter you can prove that it's ok for your rig. If you look at the second drawing in this link http://noshockzone.org/accidentally-plugging-into-240-volt-outlet/you will see a red triangle which shows what you voltage readings you should have when you plug the adapter that Pat has into the generator.

It's good to know how to check voltage on all this stuff as it can let you check pedestals for problems BEFORE you plug in if you dont have a Electrical Protection Device such as Progressive Industries. Some people always pin out the pedestal before plugging in. Look at the 240 schematic that PJmax posted in this link http://www.doityourself.com/forum/electrical-ac-dc/528032-how-wire-240v-generator-plug.html and you will see that a 240 has two hot terminals. If you check voltages at you 240 generator plug be very careful because there is 240 volts between the HOT terminals. It can kill you.

A 50 amp RV uses a 4 wire cord because they use both of the hots. They dont power anything with 240, they just use both of those hots separately to power more 120 volt items. They have two strips or banks of 120 volt terminals vs one bank of 120 v in a 30 amp RV. I understand there may be some new 50 amp systems that power something with 240 but have never looked into it.

To understand your 30 amp system better research "Hot skin" and understand how to check for this condition as it can be deadly to anyone but  sometimes kills kids and dogs because of their smaller body. Having good connections through all the terminals in the power cord and the rest of the system is very important.  If you ever get the slightest tingle when touching your rig do not ignore it.

http://rvtravel.com/no-shock-zone-part-four-preventing-hot-skin-condition/

Your rig should also NEVER be bonded. The bond should only be at the source, which is the pedestal or your house. Learn about that too and how to test your RV.

Sorry to add so much but as said, most 120 isn't to complicated when just plugging into a Honda 120 generator but 240 is much more dangerous.

« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 07:46:59 AM by QZ »

ksnipes

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2017, 08:07:11 AM »
Thanks for all the help!!!!!!!!!!!! I called the manufacture for both the Generator and camper. I have a better under standing of what is going on. Volt meter will be the next thing I get.

John From Detroit

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2017, 08:55:35 AM »
Re the 5500 Contractor generator.. Now that matches the power of my ONAN only a whole bunch more noise.  My RV is 50 amps

Using that adapter you have that goes from 4 to 3 pins you get at most 1/2 the generator output in 240 volt mode.  IF the Generator has a 120/240 volt switch then it depends on how it's wired in 120 volt mode.. You should be good.
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Patnsuzanne

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Re: Running our RV off an Generator
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2017, 05:23:16 PM »
Thanks one and all for the excellent info and advice. So far, it's been cool enough here at night to just stay in the house with the ceiling fan on rather than retreating to the trailer and it's a/c.  (Not to mention that even with the trailer closed,up and a/c om, the racket from the generator that close would be enough to wake the dead!) we've seen power company trucks in the area so with any luck, it'll all be a moot point in another day or so.
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