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Old 07-08-2017, 11:46 AM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Four Winds 31L
State: Indiana
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THOR #1477
Adding a Second Generator Switch

I would like to add a generator switch to the dash of my Class C. The existing switch is at the control panel next to the side door, and adding a switch to the dash would allow me to start the gen you while driving.

Has anyone done this, and if so, documented what they did? There's a thread here about adding a custom panel into the storage slot on the Ford chassis. That's what I'm wanting to do, and installing the gen switch in that.

Any help or guidance from the veterans here?

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Old 07-08-2017, 12:40 PM   #2
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THOR #1765
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Originally Posted by Toad Haul View Post
I would like to add a generator switch to the dash of my Class C. The existing switch is at the control panel next to the side door, and adding a switch to the dash would allow me to start the gen you while driving.

Has anyone done this, and if so, documented what they did? There's a thread here about adding a custom panel into the storage slot on the Ford chassis. That's what I'm wanting to do, and installing the gen switch in that.

Any help or guidance from the veterans here?
All Thor Class A's have that as standard equipment so the switch and wiring is out there. I bet a call to the generator builder would get you a readily available part number. After that it is just running the wire and hooking up the switch in the dash.
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Old 07-08-2017, 07:20 PM   #3
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THOR #908
I replied to you dup post over at rvforum.net, with pictures
short answer though, for folks benefit here.....

I did it. Onan sells switches, even panels complete with light and one with hour meter....You can find them on ebay as I recall......but I just pieced it together. Much cheaper. Turned out well and very useful. The only thing missing is the ability to control the house AC so that I don't have to kill the genny with the AC running

Anyway, I put a momentary switch and small light on the panel down by my left knee. The panel popped right off, and I found that the black plastic well down under the door popped out easily too. Ran the wire down there, fond a place to pass the wire out just behind the driver's seat, and back to the genny. Easy job and I did it at a beach campground while enjoying a beer and having fun.

4 Conductor 18 Gauge SJTO Type Oil Resistant Power Cable ordered from ebay, about $18 for 25 feet of it
Cole Hersee 58027-04 Marine SPDT 3 Position 2 Blade Momentary Rocker Switch also from ebay, $9.95
PLB6-R ATI 6mm 1/4" Red 12V LED Metal Indicator Pilot Dash Light Black Body....yep from ebay, $6.45
picked up some crimp on blade connectors and such at the hardware store.
Oh, and I ordered some label plates from Legend-Plates.com...less that $10 for a nice touch to make it look like it was meant to be.....
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Old 07-09-2017, 09:45 AM   #4
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THOR #1477
Adding a Second Generator Switch

Thank you all for the tips and guidance. It just didn't occur to me to contact Onan for a kit! Duh!

My plan is to do the in-dash panel mod by FW28z I which is very useful. It replaces that worthless little storage compartmentment with a custom plate.

I'll use the info provided to run the cabling and mount the switch in that plate. One more question someone raised tho... is it a bad thing to just start the generator with the AC already turned on and just let it kick in when it has power? Same question, I guess for shutting down the generator...should I shut down the AC, first?
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Old 07-09-2017, 11:18 AM   #5
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THOR #1150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toad Haul View Post
Thank you all for the tips and guidance. It just didn't occur to me to contact Onan for a kit! Duh!

My plan is to do the in-dash panel mod by FW28z I which is very useful. It replaces that worthless little storage compartmentment with a custom plate.

I'll use the info provided to run the cabling and mount the switch in that plate. One more question someone raised tho... is it a bad thing to just start the generator with the AC already turned on and just let it kick in when it has power? Same question, I guess for shutting down the generator...should I shut down the AC, first?
I do that all the time: Unplug from the house, turn on the A/C and then use the generator on/off to control the overhead A/C. So far I haven't seen any problems with the overhead A/C. I can't see any other way to do it while driving aside from stopping somewhere to turn the A/C on or off (or having someone get up and walk over while on the road).
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Old 07-09-2017, 11:39 AM   #6
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I'm the one that brought it up.

I, like Jamiegeek, do it all the time too and so far have seen NO ill affects. (knock on wood)

I have read in the manual though, that the generator should be run unloaded before stopping, and that it should be allowed to run a while before adding big loads.....
sort of a warm up and cool down period.
I'm a mechanical guy and don't claim to fully understand how the windings, brushes, and all of that work....so all I can say is that it seems plausible to me.

Also, it seems possible to me that the Generator when shutting down, will have some time while it's running slower than 60hZ but still outputting power. I'm figuring this may not be good for the AC compressor.
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:52 PM   #7
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THOR #1765
I disagree with starting the generator with the AC on. While it is true that the Onan generator has a 30 second delay before it allows the transfer switch to switch over to generator power, as soon as that switch is made, all the systems that are normally on 110v power come on all at once. In my Axis that includes the converter that recharges the batteries, the microwave (at least the clock), the refrigerator, the AC fan and the AC compressor. When I start my AC, I always make sure that my refrigerator is in the gas only mode. After the microwave comes on, indicating that the generator is providing 110v power to the coach systems, I let the generator stabilize with the initial load. The. I turn on the fan and let it run for 30 seconds or so, making sure that the generator is running correctly. Only then do I turn on the AC compressor. Allowing everything to turn on at once puts a tremendous surge onto the transfer switch all at once. The initial AC compressor start up can take one and a half times as many amps as it takes to run the AC unit once it gets started. When you add this to the amp draw of the converter, refrigerator and microwave, you can easily be drawing more amps than the generator is putting out - especially if it is not warmed up and running at full power. Over time, this could damage your AC compressor (brown out) and your transfer switch. While I understand why you want to be able to start the generator/AC while underway, I think you are risking damage to your AC and /or transfer switch that may not show up right away, but over time may "bite you". Just my two cents.
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Old 07-09-2017, 02:58 PM   #8
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THOR #1123
I read somewhere before adding a load to the generator, one should let the generator run approx 10 minutes as a warm up and afterwards turn off the loads and allow the generator to run another 10 minutes or so as a cool down period. I've been doing this when exercising mine monthly. Comments?
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Old 07-09-2017, 07:39 PM   #9
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THOR #908
I think I read something on the order of two minutes, not 10, but I agree with onielkeys... in theory at least. That is what I generally try to do more or less.

Not knowing the exact numbers, but I'm guessing that the overall load isn't overtaxing the generator really. I don't think the AC + the other loads all added up come even close to the full capacity. So, even though there is higher start-up loads I'm not so sure it's still getting over the genny's capability.

So while I try to minimize doing it, I have been starting and stopping the genny with loads on. I don't like it and would prefer not to do it....but that is the junk set-up I have so I work with what I have. I can only hope the damage each time is slight
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