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Proper Use of Generator

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Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby JQSpree on Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:47 pm

OK, I got the generator----now what do I do with it and how? We got a Yamaha 2400 but are not sure of the best or most efficient way to use it? Just plug in the 30amp trailer cord with 15amp adaptor? Will this allow us to run 110 appliances in trailer as long as we don't exceed max? Or do we have to plug those directly to generator? Anything else we need to know to use correctly? There seems to be general consensus that it will run my 13,500 AC but again, not sure if it has to be plugged directily or just thru trailer hookup?

We have used a Honda 2000 on two trips recently to charge our batteries, but haven't tried anything else and we didn't try TV or microwave. We used only for lights and fan a couple of times.

Thanks in advance for help. Have a 10 day trip coming up next month and half if it will be with no hookups.
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Re: Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby Fire Instructor on Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:09 pm

I plug my 30A 110 into one of the 15a plugs to run whatever appliances that I want to (or the A/C), but I also plug the 12v charging cord directly to the battery, so that it's charging directly.
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Re: Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby Zinger on Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:45 am

My iprhas a big twistlock plug they claim 30 amp but I am told that isnt possible anyhow I have an adapter to plug the trailer into the big plug I wouldnt try running AC and Microwave at same time might give you problems It did with mine and it is 3000 watt.
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Re: Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby JQSpree on Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:16 pm

HI Firefighter,
Hope I don't start one with my new toy. I think my book says that I can not plug in 110ac and use the 12v dc plug at same time? Does that sound right?

So I can just plug my 30 amp plug with adaptor into the regular 15amp plug and it should run air conditioner. I have read somewhere where some were using something to plug into both 15 amp plugs and then to trailer? Or did I misunderstand? I guess Skip is on a trip or is tired of generator questions!

Thanks, I will see what other info shows up and I will check in detail on our next trip with the campground experts nearby.
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Re: Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby Fire Instructor on Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:27 pm

Hhhmmmm... I never picked up on that! And I've used both 12v and 120v simultainiously several times! Is that in the Yamaha book? (My book is in the TT, which is about 2 miles from the house right now). I'll have to look at the book when the TT comes home next week.
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Re: Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby JQSpree on Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:45 pm

Hi Firefighter,
I couldn't remember if you had the Yamaha or something else. The manual says under battery charging section, "do not use AC and DC power at the same time or the generator may be damaged". What else would you use the dc plug for?

I have a battery charger and if I plug that into the 15amp ac plug and hook up directly to my batteries, that wouldn't be using dc power, right? Seems like dc power would only be the battery charging cables they included?

Still haven't figured out best way to charge the batteries--trailer converter or my battery charger? Both are tri mode. Seems like either of these will charge them faster at 16.7 amps rather than using the 8amp dc.
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Re: Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby Fire Instructor on Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:49 pm

I'll have to check the simultainious use question when I get my TT (and book) back. As for which is quicker, the battery charger will be much faster, but if the converter/charger built into the TT is a "float" charger, it will do a better job of not over-charging or creating a "memory" in your battery.
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Re: Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby JQSpree on Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:03 pm

They both have a 2amp setting on them for float charge. The battery charger will go all the way up to 20amps if available but don't know how the trailer one works. It is a 50 amp converter, whatever that means.
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Re: Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby Fire Instructor on Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:07 pm

Sounds like in your case, either charger would be quicker and more efficient than the 12v plug from the generator.
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Re: Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby Limey on Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:19 pm

Fire Instructor wrote:Sounds like in your case, either charger would be quicker and more efficient than the 12v plug from the generator.


I agree - the 12v charger option on my Hondas is a waste of cable. Much better to let the trailer converter charge the batteries. Quicker too!
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Re: Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:39 pm

If your generator does not have a high-amperage plug designed for TT's (some do now, such as Champions) then you will find that using only one of the 15A receptacles will be limiting - even running your TT's converter and AC at the same time is likely to blow the generators breaker.

You will need to make yourself a "Y" cable that can draw amperage from *both* plugs on the genny at once, and then feed that to a single plug to feed the trailer from - you'll then be able to draw the entire rated capacity of the generator (about 20 amps) instead of only 15A that the single receptacle will output before tripping it's breaker.

As for battery charging, yeah, don't waste your time with the included battery charger - if you look close you'll see that most of them only put out a few amps at best. Just get the trailer wired up so that it can get a decent amount of amps from the generator and then use your trailers converter and let it do the charging. Others suggest buying a standalone high-amperage battery charger and using that plugged into the generators 110V plugs and connected to the batteries. You can use both an extrernal charger *and* the trailers converter to charge your house batteries if your in a real rush or don't want to run the generator for extended periods. If your going to use the AC though, that's probably not a worry, so just let the trailers converter do it's thing.
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Re: Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby JQSpree on Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:50 pm

Welcome back Pilot. Do you have any instructions or photos or a link for making or putting together a y connector? Seems like I saw someone talking about one of these somewhere but don't remember where.

Is you blog uptodate?
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Re: Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Fri Jul 25, 2008 10:40 pm

Two male plugs, one 30A (RV style) female plug. Wire the two male plugs together into the 30A female plug, plug both into the generator and then plug the trailer into the Y cord.

Now, of course, this would be frowned upon from a safety perspective since you could possibly electrocute yourself on the "live" side of the Y should one of the two plugs come unplugged, so do this at your own risk.

Alternatively, there are special generator "blocks" that will do the same thing but cover both plugs on the generator at once for the added safety perspective.
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Re: Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby skipnchar on Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:07 pm

JQSpree wrote:HI Firefighter,
Hope I don't start one with my new toy. I think my book says that I can not plug in 110ac and use the 12v dc plug at same time? Does that sound right?

So I can just plug my 30 amp plug with adaptor into the regular 15amp plug and it should run air conditioner. I have read somewhere where some were using something to plug into both 15 amp plugs and then to trailer? Or did I misunderstand? I guess Skip is on a trip or is tired of generator questions!

Thanks, I will see what other info shows up and I will check in detail on our next trip with the campground experts nearby.

If your RV has a "smart" charger as many newer ones do, using the 12 volt plug along with plugging the 120 volt system into the generator could really confuse the smart charger. It may read the input from the 12 volt system as "battery state of charge" and just turn off your faster, better charger completely, thinking the battery is fully charged when it isn't.
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Re: Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby JQSpree on Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:12 pm

So if I just plug the trailer cord into the AC plug on generator, it should charge batteries the same as it would if I plugged it into 15amp outlet at home, right? This is what I did when I used my son's Honda 2000 on the last two trips. I don't think we will have a problem with the batteries as long as we don't need to run the furnace. But I am still concerned about best mgnt practices when the weather gets colder and we need to use the furnace. Find a spot with hookups, right?

But still not sure if I plug my 3 stage battery charger into ac outlet whether I would be able to charge the batteries faster than running thru the trailer converter? I guess I will have to try.
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Re: Proper Use of Generator

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:19 pm

JQSpree wrote:So if I just plug the trailer cord into the AC plug on generator, it should charge batteries the same as it would if I plugged it into 15amp outlet at home, right? This is what I did when I used my son's Honda 2000 on the last two trips. I don't think we will have a problem with the batteries as long as we don't need to run the furnace.


Yes, it'll charge as it would at home.

As for what charger to use (the converter in the trailer versus your 3-stage) ultimately it would be decided on whichever puts out more amperage - if your trailers converter will charge at 50amps and your charger is only 20 amps, then use the trailers converter. Likewise, if your 3-stage will charge at 75A, 100A, whatever, then use it..just be carefull not to overcharge.

Unless your house batteries are really weak or you use your lighting inside a ton at night you won't have any worries about running the furnace..you should be able to go a few days with careful conservation, and if you run the genny everyday to keep the house battery topped up you'd be hard pressed to exhaust your house battery overnight even with moderate electric usage - we dry camped many nights on the way back from the coast and didn't run the genny. We used the lights, ran the inverter to power the TV, showered (water pump), and still had plenty of juice left over that could have run the furnace all night if we needed.
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