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Old 02-11-2013, 08:39 PM   #1
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Inverter Education

Will using your generator charge your house batteries through the charging cycle in your Inverter?
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:42 PM   #2
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No, you are using your Converter/Charger. It changes 120 v AC to 12 v DC. An Inverter uses 12 V DC to make 120 V AC. Inverters are not 100% efficient and some power loses occur.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:25 PM   #3
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Also be aware that most generators run off your chassis (engine) batteries, not your house batteries. So if you're dry camping for several days, you may find the generator suddenly quits and you can't start it or your engine! This happened to me in downtown Houston, TX . . . late at night . . . on a weekend.

I've since installed an "Echo" charger which once your house batteries are topped off, will then trickle charge the chassis batteries and keep them topped off too. This was the best $250 investment I've ever done.

Your coach may come with it, mine didn't. So you'll have to check your manuals or ask your dealer.
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
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Will using your generator charge your house batteries through the charging cycle in your Inverter?
The answer is , yes. Obviously, you have a charger/ inverter since you know it has a charging cycle. The generator will supply 120 volts to the charger/ inverter and the charger will charge your house batteries. It will most likely but not always charge your chassis batteries. I think that is the real question. You need to beak out a voltmeter and measure the voltage of both sets batteries with and without the generator running. This will tell you if they are charging or not.
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:30 PM   #5
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Will using your generator charge your house batteries through the charging cycle in your Inverter?

I don't know about your motorhome but on mine the inverter/converter (charger) does charge house batteries when either shore power or generator is used. My generator starts off the house not the chassis batteries. If the house batteries get real low I use the dash aux battery combiner switch to provide power to start the generator.
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:43 PM   #6
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Can you ruin your inverter if your house batteries are bad or if you disconnect your house batteries? Does any of the conditions I mentioned affect the life of your inverter?

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Old 02-12-2013, 06:47 PM   #7
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Clear as mud, eh, What kind of inverter do you have? my Gulf stream has the Xantrex and from the display you can see if the batteries are charging, as far as the chassis batteries that would depend if you have an isolator charger of some kind, like the Bird system, or if you generator does start of your chassis batteries the charging system in the gen should charge the batteries, not real sure on that havent check to see if generator has a charging system just assuming it should,let us know what you find out
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:22 AM   #8
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On my MH (2005 Fleetwood Providence) the Inverter does not show that it is charging when the Generator is running green light which should go steady when AC power is available continues to flash; however once you start the diesel engine in the MH the house batteries are charged by the alternator and charge up very quickly.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:29 AM   #9
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Mike,
I have a Xantrex Freedom type Inverter similar to yours in a 2005 Fleetwood Providence DP Does your charging function charge your house batteries when your Genset is running? Mine still shows the green charging light flashing meaning it has not accepted AC power and therefore is not charging the house batteries. Thx
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:38 AM   #10
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Now, speaking purly as someone who has an in-line inverter.

YES. If the generator and transfer switch are workign properly, If not circuit breakers are tripped (Which is a common thing on the generator's breakers, there are breakers on teh generator itself) then the inverter will sense "120vac is incoming" and switch to battery charge mode.

IF, that is, it's that kind of inverter (I gather yours is)

There is one device (The automatic transfer switch) that cares about the difference between shore power and generator power.. Far as everything else is concerned shore and generator power are the same.

So whatever works on shore power, works the same way on Generator power.

Does this help?
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:12 AM   #11
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Thanks for the clarification!
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:55 AM   #12
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Found out why this was the situation--green light flashing verses steady green (0n Xantrex Inverter) should have been steady green because Genset running. (A/C power available). Well Genset was running but C/B on it was tripped. (I didn't know that with C/B tripped Genset would still run. duh
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:12 AM   #13
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The circuit breaker is protecting the output power of the Generator. Mine has 2, one 20 amp and one 30 amp. Lets say that there is a problem with your AC unit and is trying to draw an excess of amps from the generator, the circuit breaker will trip and protect your generator and a save you a costly repair bill. Circuit breakers are good.

On my MH, the rear AC and electric water heater are on the same circuit and will trip my 20 amp breaker on my generator if used at the same time. I can use them together on shore power but not with the generator. I can use my rear ac and water heater on propane with the generator no problem.

If you have 50 amp service on your MH, you have (2) 120 volts lines connected to your main circuit breaker panel. You can look at your main circuit breaker panel and every other circuit breaker is connected to 120 volt line 1 and every other circuit breaker is connected to 120 volt line 2. So, if are using 2 or more high current draw devices on circuit breakers 1,3,5,7... or 2,4,6,8 this could trip one of the circuit breakers on your generator.

IMO- every circuit breaker needs to be properly labeled with every outlet or device it services. Even if it is on a separate piece of paper. Use a lamp to test every outlet and label each outlet with the circuit breaker it is connected to. When the power goes out, you will know exactly which breaker could be tripped. The GFCI circuits also need to be labeled too. Many GFCI circuits feed multiple outlets.

Figure this stuff out now, not in the middle of a cold, storming night, you will be glad you did.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:35 AM   #14
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Good suggestion on labeling those items. Better now than later as you suggested.
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