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Old 04-15-2018, 10:45 AM   #1
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Generator question

Another newbie question here. I know that the "lack of running" the generator once in awhile is a common problem. In my boat (when I had one) I always ran the generator to keep the salon cool while running the boat. I have heard from a friend that he always runs the generator in his motorhome while driving. Any comments pros and cons on this?
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:53 AM   #2
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The only time we will run the generator is if we are going to put a load on it. So if on a travel day we don't need the coach air's running then the gen set doesn't get ran. If we stop for lunch and are using microwave and/or airs then gen set would get ran. But just to run it while driving with little or no load on would be a waste of money IMHO.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:33 PM   #3
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right, and I don't go out and just 'run' my lawnmower if my grass doesn't need cutting...

but many folks do what they want because that's how they do it, to each his/her own...

my view is that if an engine is not needed, why 'run' it?

but if you need additional air conditioning, or the family wants to make lunch while driving... then certainly use the generator, that's what it's there for.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurnerFam View Post
right, and I don't go out and just 'run' my lawnmower if my grass doesn't need cutting...

but many folks do what they want because that's how they do it, to each his/her own...

my view is that if an engine is not needed, why 'run' it?

but if you need additional air conditioning, or the family wants to make lunch while driving... then certainly use the generator, that's what it's there for.
Agreed. Up until joining this forum, I had never thought of running the generator to cool the coach while driving. I had an instance with our 1998 Thor where it was too hot (inside & out) when we parked and the A/C would not start.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:08 PM   #5
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If your generator is gasoline-powered: it's a good idea to run it at least once a Month. This is to keep fresh fuel circulating through it. (Modern fuels turn to... crap; in no time flat! )
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:22 PM   #6
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from what I've read its much more than just about flushing the fuel....

running it under load is also considered maintenance on the electrical side of things..... I don't understand it well enough myself so I'm not about to try to explain it. Driving out moisture mostly, as I understand it but maybe other things too?

I don't run mine every month exactly, but i do make a point to run it often while driving, often when i don't even need the house AC or anything just because that's the only time available and I won't be running it at a CG plugged in....
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:39 PM   #7
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Good point!
But my brain is wired to accept only the simplest reasons possible...

So I use fuel quality as the best one that I can understand...
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:45 PM   #8
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Most manufacturers recommend running the generator for at least 1 hour under load each month (diesel or gas). Several reasons for this:
Drive out moisture
Run fuel through system
Prevents excess carbon deposits
Maintains lubrication

One is always free to do as one wishes.....

FWIW
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:54 PM   #9
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The drive out moisture: The generator is basically an "electric motor in reverse". As such it has windings, bearings, brushes or contactors, etc. Typically these are all exposed--the generators are open to the air and not sealed.

Thus moisture/condensation can get in there and begin to corrode things. Running the generator long enough for it to get hot will evaporate all that moisture in there...
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
The drive out moisture: The generator is basically an "electric motor in reverse". As such it has windings, bearings, brushes or contactors, etc. Typically these are all exposed--the generators are open to the air and not sealed.

Thus moisture/condensation can get in there and begin to corrode things. Running the generator long enough for it to get hot will evaporate all that moisture in there...

FOr these reasons I run the gen and a/c at least 1 hour a month. Plus it charges the batteries. My mh is in the driveway so its easy to do. I turn both on then go about my business. When I remember I turn it off.

Gens want to be run. Not running them will cause problems down the road


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Old 04-17-2018, 07:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
The drive out moisture: The generator is basically an "electric motor in reverse". As such it has windings, bearings, brushes or contactors, etc. Typically these are all exposed--the generators are open to the air and not sealed.

Thus moisture/condensation can get in there and begin to corrode things. Running the generator long enough for it to get hot will evaporate all that moisture in there...
You put this argument in a description that even I can understand...
From now on: it's fresh fuel, and less moisture!
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:53 PM   #12
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And if you are going to leave your gasser parked for a month(or3), USE Sta-Bil or similar fuel stabilizer for storage to reduce the chance the fuel goes to pot on you..(will reduce the chance of the genny carburetor jets from "gumming up" with varnish)
(Add when you fuel for the last time before storing the RV, then fire off the genny and drive long enough that the "doctored" fuel has a chance to flow thru the big engine and the genset engine)
A few dollars of prevention is preferred over a few mega bucks of cure..
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:05 PM   #13
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And if you are going to leave your gasser parked for a month(or3), USE Sta-Bil or similar fuel stabilizer for storage to reduce the chance the fuel goes to pot on you..(will reduce the chance of the genny carburetor jets from "gumming up" with varnish)
(Add when you fuel for the last time before storing the RV, then fire off the genny and drive long enough that the "doctored" fuel has a chance to flow thru the big engine and the genset engine)
A few dollars of prevention is preferred over a few mega bucks of cure..
Exactly
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:44 PM   #14
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Exactly
Please throw a couple more on the pile from me!
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Old 05-12-2018, 03:37 AM   #15
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My new unit has an onan 3600LP. being that it's propane if I run out of propane I can't just top up the fuel or bring a spare tank and hook it up correct? I have a chateau 24fs

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Old 05-12-2018, 03:49 AM   #16
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I run my generator for 30 minutes a month under load (air conditioner). I also add a can of SeaFoam in the gas tank every 6 months.
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Old 05-12-2018, 04:08 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by 99dart View Post
Agreed. Up until joining this forum, I had never thought of running the generator to cool the coach while driving. I had an instance with our 1998 Thor where it was too hot (inside & out) when we parked and the A/C would not start.
LOL ! The '99's weren't any better, For us the gen set wouldn't start, or stay running when we traveled, The A/C units tried but would not "cut the mustard" so to speak..
Combined with the spring ride chassis, no leveling system, build and component qualities of the coach, and atrocious handling issues ..don't forget the 6mpg down hill with a good tail wind.....Did not keep it long... (3 years)
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Old 05-16-2018, 04:54 PM   #18
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Also, if you have a diesel generator and have biodiesel in your tank, it can start to grow bacteria. This will, in turn, cause problems inside the generator. If you run your coach often enough to keep the fuel pretty fresh, it isn't an issue. The diesel available at most pumps can contain up to 10% biofuel, and can cause problems when it sits. This is another good reason to run the generator monthly.
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Old 05-16-2018, 05:18 PM   #19
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I have a total of 7 generators...whole house, 8,000 Honda, several portables and now the QD6 in the coach. I always...always...run every unit every month with a load on it. A saw, drill...anything...just run them often. The parts in the alternator need to stay clean and dry. Rust will build up on them. Haven't had much use for running the onboard while under way. The two center dash vents of Ford cab A/C keep the entire coach comfortable as no sun hits any of the glass due to overhead cab. Of course...I haven't traveled in this in July and August yet either. Generators, wives and boats do not fair well when left alone for extended periods.
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