Setup sequence at campsites help

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RVSSNAKE

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We are picking up our NTU motorhome Saturday and going to a campground. With it being a owner purchase we are not sure how much of a walk through we will get, so just a simple walk through from the forum geniuses would help.

Our biggest concern is AC power connections. We will be driving with the generator on for house ac to work. When we arrive at the campground.
What should be the steps for proper switch over to shore power? We have a 2000 Monaco Diplomat. It has the "typical" config, transfer switch, inverter etc.
Or is it as simple as plug in shore power cord and shut off generator?

Thanks in advance.
 

Back2PA

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The power transfer should not be done with high load items (such as AC) running. I would suggest:
  • as you pull up to camp site, shut off AC, leave genset running to cool a little (3-5 min)
  • get rig situated in spot, shut down genset
  • ensure pedestal breakers are off
  • plug in shore power
  • turn on pedestal breakers
  • start AC
Assuming AC is running when you're about to leave, I would suggest this order of events when disconnecting:
  • shut off AC
  • turn off pedestal breakers
  • disconnect shore power
  • start genset, allow to warm up 3-5 min
  • turn on AC
 

Lou Schneider

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Notice the point about waiting 3-5 minutes between turning the A/C off and then back on.  Like all A/Cs, you have to wait a while for the head pressure to bleed down before attempting to restart the unit.

You don't want to plug in the shore power cord before you shut off the generator.  There's nothing synchronizing the two sources of power, so changing over while both sources are active will send damaging current surges throughout the system.  Like Scott said, shut off the generator first, then plug in the shore power cord.

The reason for shutting off the pedestal breaker before you plug into the shore power socket is to avoid arc damage to the plug pins as you slide the plug into place.  Same thing when you leave ... turn off the breaker first, then unplug.

You also don't want to shut down the generator while it's under load.  It needs a few minutes of no load time for the engine to cool down, plus trying to power a load while the generator is slowing to a stop puts extreme stress on it's voltage regulator board, a $300 replacement when it fails.
 

NY_Dutch

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Lou is pretty much spot on about shutting down one power source before turning on the other, but plugging in the shore cord with the onboard generator running will not send damaging surges throughout the system if the transfer switch is functioning correctly. The transfer switch completely disconnects one source before connecting the other source, so both sources are never connected at the same time. Quality transfer switches delay the transfer so there's no need to synchronize the two sources and to allow the generator voltage to stabilize. Making the switch under a heavy load is not recommended though, since it can be hard on the switch contacts causing arcing that can damage them.
 

John From Detroit

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Stop generator. Turn off breaker at park pedistal (if you can) connect shore cord to Pedistal outlet. after at least 3 minutes (From Generator shut down) turn on breaker.

Alternate (And improved and recommended) is to shut off A/C's before you stop generator and turn them back on after shore power is live.

 

blw2

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One point to consider...the 3 minute thing is a rule of thumb.  Some AC's might not need that long (maybe all RV AC's do, I'm not that familiar with the options)....& some ac's will have it's own built in timer logic to delay the compressor re-start....I'm pretty sure my Mach 15 does.
I also have my progressive industries power management system set delay...I can't remember how long that is but I'm pretty sure it's under 3 minutes.  Whatever it is, the purpose of that function is precisely to protect AC compressors from short cycled re-starts(and I suppose fridges too)
and really even if you had no such protective logic, you could still plug in and switch over the power before three minutes...you just want to delay starting the compressor.  Nothing wrong with running a fan, or microwave, or coffee maker right away.

about the only other thing I can add that varies from what's already been written here, is that I'll make a point to shut down the genny before pulling into the campground area or loop... like at a state park.  Often when pulling up to the ranger at the park gate, and I'll just leave it off from there unless it's a seriously long haul to the camp site.  I do the same when pulling into my neighborhood at home.  Only as an effort to be a little more 'polite' to others.  Really though, the thing isn't that loud and I would run it if rally needed...I just find the sound annoying personally and so I try to minimize my impact on my neighbor in the next site who might have been into full silent nature mode listening to the birds or napping in her hammock...
 

Lou Schneider

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blw2 said:
About the only other thing I can add that varies from what's already been written here, is that I'll make a point to shut down the genny before pulling into the campground area or loop... like at a state park.  Often when pulling up to the ranger at the park gate, and I'll just leave it off from there unless it's a seriously long haul to the camp site.

I hope you turn off the A/C and let the generator cool down for a couple of minutes before before you shut it off at the park gate.

Abruptly stopping the engine without a cool down lets all of the accumulated heat deep soak into the engine and all of the components like the starter, carburetor, etc.

Leaving the A/C or any other large loads running while the generator is slowing to a stop is a good way to blow up the voltage regulator board.
 

NY_Dutch

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As Lou said, shut the A/C and other heavy loads down and give the genny a cool down before shutting it down. If we don't get a chance to do that shortly before arriving at a park, we sometimes leave the genny running with the loads off while we register, and then shut down before we head to our site.
 

blw2

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Yeah, I know....and it's a pain in the neck in my coach.  But is it really heat?  I mean really how much cooler is an idling engine in that box compered to one running at 50% load or so? I'm guessing crankcase oil temps roughly in the 250F ballpark under load, and 200F ballpark low/no load.  It's all nice and cozy and stabilized in that nice little box, so it's not like it's under some sort of hyper-rapid cool down.  So I can't imagine it's a shock cooling/cracking issue like you have with aircooled aircraft engines for example......Just intuition though, I could be way off.... especially since  I just don't enough know about the electronics end of things to have a good feel for it.  I've theorized though, the potential problem might be more from the slowing generator running havock with the 60Hz that everything is designed for.  Regardless, I know it's a potential problem shutting down with load...so whenever I can I'll have someone shut off the AC first....but I will admit to shutting it down sometimes under load. :-\

Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, it shuts itself down under load sometimes, due to the vapor lock problem or whatever it is that plagues these hot running genny's making them fault and shut down in hot weather..(and it was doing this long before I was ever guilty of doing it)

I wish I had a master control panel at the helm, so I could control everything....AC, water pump, fridge, furnace, etc... for lots of reasons including this one of genny control, pulling into gas stations and needing to shut off the fridge, etc...

I installed a generator switch on the dash, pretty easy job.... but the rest of it isn't realistic to do.    Regardless of the risk, having genny control has been wonderful.
 
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