Electrical question

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

GARYJ

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 18, 2016
Posts
54
Location
Mexico
When boondocking; can one connect the generator (running outside) to any of the 120 v outlets in the rv?
Would that energize the other outlets?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
76,153
Location
West Palm Beach, FL
That's called backfeeding and is a very bad idea. Meaning risky.  Just plug the RV into the genset (with suitable adapter) and let it power outlets normally.
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
26,281
Location
Davison Michigan
As gary said DO NOT do that. NEVER have a cord with two male plugs.

Better to use the proper adapter to plug the RV's shore cord into the generator and feed it as it was designed to be fed. Better. Safer. And neater.. All around good idea.

Just remember you may not be able to use Air Conditoners (or microwave) depending on the size of the generator and the state of charge of the 12 volt batteries (The converter can suck up to about 1,000 watts if the batteries are hungry)

Additional advantage. Feeds batteries.
 

Isaac-1

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Posts
5,859
Location
SW Louisiana
As said it can be done, but is a very bad idea on several levels, there is a reason such rigged electrical cords are called suicide cords.
 

Gizmo100

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2018
Posts
3,029
I can't even wrap my mind around why you would want to do this.....

If I need the generator (3000 Watts)  I just plug the shore cord into it with a Adapter.

If I need/want to use my inverter (1000 watts)  I plug the shore cord into the inverter with a different adapter...But I do shut off all but 1 breaker. I just power a TV and a couple phone chargers.
 

GARYJ

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 18, 2016
Posts
54
Location
Mexico
You may not be able to understand, but I want to learn, what you can do and what not
And even in the case that I cannot do something, I want to know why
 

IBTripping

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Posts
1,702
Location
Virginia
It wasn't a dumb question as you didn't know how the RV ac electrical system works. Don't know what generator you have, but mine doesn't have an RV 30 amp outlet. I had to buy a $3 adapter so I can plug my external RV cord into the generator to power my TT.
 

Rene T

Site Team
Joined
May 20, 2011
Posts
19,492
Location
Farmington NH
I've heard of people doing that in their home and it is a very bad idea. The reason is that during a power outage, there are linemen working up on the poles trying to restore power. If you back feed through one of the outlets and you don't shut off the main breaker in the entrance panel, you could electrocute the guy working on the pole outside. So don't do it.
 

GARYJ

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 18, 2016
Posts
54
Location
Mexico
That was what I thought
At home it is a dangerous idea, you can kill someone or get yourserf killed, but in a travel trailer it would be very different
I have a honda EU 2000i
That could be done with an inverter as well doesn?t it?
Once again, it?s not something that I want to do
Just want to know if it can be done and why
 

SeilerBird

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Posts
16,702
Location
St Cloud Florida USA
GARYJ said:
That was what I thought
At home it is a dangerous idea, you can kill someone or get yourserf killed, but in a travel trailer it would be very different
I have a honda EU 2000i
That could be done with an inverter as well doesn?t it?
Once again, it?s not something that I want to do
Just want to know if it can be done and why
What would be the point? You could just plug the trailer into the generator and be safer.
 

SLOweather

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Posts
340
The safety issue has already been raised. I will raise a practical electrical one, for the record.

In your breaker box, there is a main breaker from the shore line or generator that feeds electricity to all of the other breakers in the box. The value of this breaker is greater than any other one in the box. IF you were to backfeed the unit through an outlet, that circuit's breaker becomes the main breaker, and the wiring becomes the main feed wire. So, you have a good chance of overloading that circuit by using lights and appliances on other circuits. You certainly wouldn't be able to run any big loads, like an A/C this way.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
76,153
Location
West Palm Beach, FL
The fmajor "no-no" is that it requires the suicide cord that lynnmor mentioned, a plug that will have live 120v power at its exposed pins. Related to that, the RV's shore cord also has live 120v power on its pins, potentially shorting out or killing someone.

Actually backfeeding into the RV system may work, i.e. power feeds through the branch circuit to the load canter and then out to the other branches. There are some wiring situations where one or more branch circuits might not be capable of that, but generally it would work. However, you will likely be overloading the branch circuit, taxing it with more amps than it is designed to handle. Mot branch circuits will have a 15A max. IThe branch breaker should trip before any damage is done, but why push your luck?
 

GARYJ

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 18, 2016
Posts
54
Location
Mexico
SLOweather said:
The safety issue has already been raised. I will raise a practical electrical one, for the record.

In your breaker box, there is a main breaker from the shore line or generator that feeds electricity to all of the other breakers in the box. The value of this breaker is greater than any other one in the box. IF you were to backfeed the unit through an outlet, that circuit's breaker becomes the main breaker, and the wiring becomes the main feed wire. So, you have a good chance of overloading that circuit by using lights and appliances on other circuits. You certainly wouldn't be able to run any big loads, like an A/C this way.
Now I get the idea
Thanks!
 

Gizmo100

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2018
Posts
3,029
GARYJ said:
What if it?s raining?

I think I see why you are exploring other options...

When it's raining and I need to use the generator this is the process I follow...

Make sure that the generator is in a spot where it's not getting wet.
Shut off all 120 breakers in RV.
Dry all the prongs and the plug on the shore line.
Plug in shore line to Generator.
Start Generator and let it stabilize the voltage.
Turn on breakers that are needed.

I use the same process for the inverter
 

HappyWanderer

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 21, 2014
Posts
2,896
The two reasons you don't do this are life safety and fire safety (which aren't mutually exclusive).

From the life safety standpoint, putting electricity onto the male pins of a power cord can kill you if you make contact.

From a fire safety standpoint, back feeding a circuit places the circuit breaker after the load, instead of where it belongs, before the load. That means the wiring becomes a fusible link, because the breaker is no longer protecting the circuit. Without a breaker, an overloaded circuit will remain energized until the wiring overheats and catches fire.
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
26,281
Location
Davison Michigan
GARYJ said:
What if it?s raining?

Carry an umbrella of course.  I have plugged in in the rain. Turn circuit breaker off if you can on the Genny. or Turn off main breaker inside  plug in THEN Start genny then turn breaker on.
 

grashley

Well-known member
Joined
May 7, 2015
Posts
6,591
Location
Western Kentucky
GaryJ
If you do not know the answer or why, this is a GREAT question!  Please keep asking.  Not only do you get the answer, but others will also read this thread and get the answer and reasons.
 
Top Bottom