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  • generator safety

    Could someone explain to me what would be safe to run in my Solitude when hooked up to a generator. NOT AN INVERTOR, just a plain ol' generator. I understand "sensitive' electronics could be damaged, but outside of laptops, cell phones, etc., what CAN I run? My Solitude is a '16 so I don't have the one control, so would the refer be safe? House lights? The television? AC's? Our area was without power for 12 hours on Saturday and I'd like to know if in an emergency a generator would be safe to use , and are there some things I probably shouldn't use.

  • #2
    Depends on what generator.
    John & Kathy
    2014 Reflection 303RLS
    2014 F250 SC SB 6.2

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    • #3
      I'd use a volt meter to make sure it's putting out 110-125 volts. If so, I'd run with it. Can you run your refrigerator on gas, or is it a residential model?

      Jim
      GDRV Forum Moderator
      GDRV SW USA Rally Support Coordinator

      Jim and Ginnie
      2017 Reflection 297RSTS

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      • #4
        It's both. I just don't want to fry anything.

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        • #5
          Do you have an EMS? (Electrical Management System . . . commonly called a Surge Guard). Plug your RV into your generator through this and it will watch for voltage irregularities, loss of neutral, etc. If the generator output passes the EMS tests, it is probably OK. Note that you may have to bond (connect) the neutral and ground at the generator to pass the EMS checks.

          Rob
          Cate & Rob
          (with Border Collies Molly & Angel)
          2015 Reflection 303RLS
          2022 F350 Diesel CC SB SRW Lariat
          Bayham, Ontario, Canada

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          • #6
            I have the Champion dual fuel 3500w inverter generator. No problems with running this one. Will start and run both AC's, one at a time.
            I have the EMS and the bond plug is necessary. $10 on Amazon for the bond plug.
            USN Engineer Retired
            2020 RAM 2500 CC 6.7 Cummins
            2022 GD Reflection 315RLTS

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            • #7
              The key is to use an "inverter generator" the power is cleaner than a standard generator. When we first got our Champion 4500w inverter gen we tested it by running our 337 all day on it. AC (1 unit) was on, fridge was on AC and we watched TV and used it as we normally do and it kept up just fine, I monitored voltages and the Progressive EMS system showed no faults. Its so quiet I actually forgot we werent on shore power and this was with the gen sitting about 10 ft behind the trailer.
              2021 Reflection 337RLS, 2021 Silverado 3500HD 6.6 gas. Nellie the wonder boxer

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              • #8
                I agree I would not use anything except an "inverter style" generator. Your on board Converter, Air conditioner, TV or Fridge that run on 120V AC might not like the other style. Lets just say modern electronics get a bit picky on thier power needs.

                Keith
                2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel, SteadyFast system, Star White 2022 F350 King Ranch CC Long bed (HAL), B&W 25K OEM Companion

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by S&S View Post
                  Could someone explain to me what would be safe to run in my Solitude when hooked up to a generator. NOT AN INVERTOR, just a plain ol' generator. I understand "sensitive' electronics could be damaged, but outside of laptops, cell phones, etc., what CAN I run? My Solitude is a '16 so I don't have the one control, so would the refer be safe? House lights? The television? AC's? Our area was without power for 12 hours on Saturday and I'd like to know if in an emergency a generator would be safe to use , and are there some things I probably shouldn't use.
                  Along with the excellent responses you've received from others, what can you run is dependent on the capabilities of the generator. My small Champion inverter/generator, running on propane, is rated at about 1400 watts. Divide 1400 by 120 (volts) and that means the generator can provide just over 11 amps to the trailer. (Remember--your trailer has two 120V/50A lines so 11A is not much!)

                  The larger the generator (more watts) obviously the more amperage it can provide to the camper.

                  Your owner's manual has a list in it showing the approximate amount of amperage each device in your trailer requires. Managing what is powered on at any given time (don't forget about the converter and that it charges the battery and powers the 12V components!) is critical when on a limited power source. For example, it's a given that when on limited power the water heater and refrigerator (if it's an absorption) are on propane.

                  Howard
                  Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

                  2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

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                  • #10
                    All good stuff.

                    We run a 3400 watt inverter generator and run it in the back of the truck with the cover rolled back/tail gate down and the truck bed pointed down wind away from the rig. We have an extension cable to ensure this can be done.

                    Jim
                    2017 Imagine 2600RB
                    2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

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                    • #11
                      If an inverter generator is a must, why are those of us with a conventional whole house standby generators able to power home appliances without issue? I've run kitchen appliances, TV's, computers, etc. for several days at a time using a Generac generator. I do monitor voltage but it by no means supplys a pure sine wave. It's never damaged anything to my knowledge. How is an RV different?
                      2020 Reflection 273MK
                      2005 Dodge Ram 2500 CTD

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                      • #12
                        Lonestar -- a look at the least expensive Generac's specs shows it outputs clean (they call it "True") power. There isn't a difference (that I know of) between a house and an RV (re: the damage dirty or low voltage will do to appliances, computers, etc.).

                        From a spec sheet...

                        Click image for larger version

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                        Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

                        2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lonestar View Post
                          If an inverter generator is a must, why are those of us with a conventional whole house standby generators able to power home appliances without issue? I've run kitchen appliances, TV's, computers, etc. for several days at a time using a Generac generator. I do monitor voltage but it by no means supplys a pure sine wave. It's never damaged anything to my knowledge. How is an RV different?
                          A standard generator is essentially an electric motor being spun by an engine. They always produce pretty good sine waves at constant load, but frequency control depends on RPM control of the engine and sudden load changes can cause the engine RPM to drop then pick back up, overshoot, undershoot and finally settle where it needs to be creating brief periods of distorted power. This is worse when running the generator near capacity or with cheaper generators with engines barely able to turn the generator at full load. Better quality generators have better quality governors and produce better quality power.

                          A modified sine wave generator is an inverter generator, so inverter generators aren’t always good. It’s easier to filter a sawtooth or even a square wave to make something that looks like a sine wave than it is to create the low-harmonic content sine wave over the wide range of load the inverter might see. The advantage of an inverter generator is that changes in engine speed don’t affect the output waveform so it can throttle up and down to meet the load. The best inverters have very low Total Harmonic Distortion, but sadly, some manufacturers seem to just claim good numbers whether their product actually meets them or not.

                          John & Kathy
                          2014 Reflection 303RLS
                          2014 F250 SC SB 6.2

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