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eroyal

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Oct 9, 2018
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Hi all, I'm a motorhome newbie as you will realize quickly after my question. I am at a campground plugged into a 50 amp, and I want to exercise my generator for about an hour. Must I turn off the 50 amp breaker first? The answer has got to be no, but I want to be 100% sure.
 

NY_Dutch

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As Tom said, there's usually no need to trip the breaker or unplug from shorepower. Most RV automatic transfer switches will switch to generator power when available, so it's best to make sure you have no heavy loads from A/C's, etc., running when you start the generator to minimize contact arcing. Once the switch over takes place, that is the time to load the generator to properly exercise it. At the end of the exercise period, turn off the loads before switching back of course. If your transfer switch does not switch to generator power, then you will have to shut off the breaker first to load the generator.
 

Larry N.

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The above answers are assuming an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS). Since you don't mention your rig, if you have to change the shore plugin to use the generator, then the answer would be yes. However from your question you probably have an ATS, but I mention this just in case, not only for you, but for people who see this topic in the future.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Agree with the above, the short answer is NO.

LONGER ANSWER:  However, the best practice would be to turn off the breaker on the power pedestal first to avoid arcing at the relays in your auto transfer switch.  That puts any wear & tear on the campground equipment rather than your coach.

In practice, turning off the breaker is helpful only when relatively high amps are in use, e.g. an air conditioner running. In most cases, the amps are low enough that there will be no arcing to worry about.  In my own coach, my general rule was to avoid starting the genset with the a/c running.  I violated that rule from time to time too, if doing so was more convenient for my needs.
 

Utclmjmpr

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Check with campground management first,, most commercial campgrounds DO NOT allow generator running within the grounds.>>>Dan
 

HappyWanderer

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I always turn off the breaker before firing up the generator. Minor arcing of the ATS contacts can have a cumulative effect, so why do it on purpose?
 

eroyal

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Oct 9, 2018
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Thanks all, I really appreciate your feedback. This is my first post and I think it is awesome knowing you guys got my back. Thanks so much!!
 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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SW Louisiana
There are some automatic transfer switches that don't like the generators to be started while on shore power, and will cause problems if you try.  I met a guy about 6 months ago that tried this and burned out something.
 

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