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Old 05-21-2012, 01:55 PM   #1
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Shore power and generator together

Can I run my generator while on shore power. 2004 Bounder with 5500 watt generator.

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Old 05-21-2012, 02:13 PM   #2
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Yes, however the generator takes over the system. In other words the generator rules over your shore power!

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Old 05-21-2012, 02:14 PM   #3
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Yes you can so long as your rig has a auto transfer switch. I use to have a 1989 Bounder and it had a auto transfer switch. I would say most class A motor homes today are so equiped.
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:52 PM   #4
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The answer is both yes and no and don't.

YES: you can do it
NO, you can not do it when CONNECGTED to shore power because for this discussion there are but two types of RV's.

One you have the physically move the plug from the park pedistal to the Generator outlet

The other has an automatic transfer switch.

In either case you will be DISCONNECTED from Shore power when using the generator.

And you SHOULD NOT start (or stop) the generator with big ticket items like air conditioners, microwaves or water heaters active. You can ruin a transfer swith this way.
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Old 05-21-2012, 04:32 PM   #5
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With our Onan Equanox EMS, the transfer switch defaults to shore power and automatically shuts down the genny. As you can see there are different systems.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:00 PM   #6
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Its considered really bad form to switch power sources while connected and loaded.

I never start my genny while connected to shore power, nor do i plug in before stopping my genny.

It just seems to make sense.
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Old 05-27-2012, 11:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Carolina Fun
Can I run my generator while on shore power. 2004 Bounder with 5500 watt generator.
Our dealer for our 05 Georgie Boy said never, ever start generator while plugged in that it would destroy the generator.
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Old 05-27-2012, 02:31 PM   #8
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It all depends on how the coach is wired. On mine, I can start the gen any time, and once it starts running, if it happens to be plugged in to shore power, the transfer switch goes to gen power.
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:27 AM   #9
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If you have a transfer switch or other means to prevent the generator from connecting to shore power YES YOU CAN. I have a transfer switch which defaults to shore power. If we are parked for more than a month I will start the generator and let it run for 15 minutes just to keep the fuel in it fresh. Every other month I will shut off shore power and run the generator with a load to keep it in good operating condition. Having a generator that doesn't start when you need it is like not having one at all.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:13 AM   #10
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Our Allegro xfer switch favors shore power, and it only makes sense...

A generator has 'limited' output, and therefore is prone to RPM and voltage drop when say, you dump the load of 2 AC units and a refrigerator onto it suddenly simply by starting it. Also, a genny, it needs time to warm up before having a substantial power load hit it. Low voltage won't hurt the genny, but it CAN do harm to some electric items...

Conversely, say you're parking in 102 heat with the genny and both AC units running, then plug into shore power. A stiff shore line can absorb the sudden amperage hit with little or no problem.

It absolutely makes no sense for the xfer switch to favor the generator if power is applied to both.

Regardless of priority, the whole purpose of a transfer switch is to safely allow and distribute power from 2 incoming sources. So whatever dealer said 'don't do it' is just another victim of a wives tale...
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:58 AM   #11
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The reason for a transfer switch to favor a generator makes absolute sense to me.. Depending on the design of the switch..... However, that said. You are correct in what you said.

Some explanation may be in order....
The word "Default" has two meanings.

The transfer switch in my rig uses a set of Double Throw Relays (Solonids, contactors, you chose the word) Their "Default" (At rest, non-enegerized) condition is SHORE POWER.

When you fire up the generator, and the control electronics senses the presence of the generator, it pauses a bit (30 seconds) for the thing to stablizie (This makes sense on many levels) and then sends power on to the relay coils pulling them in and transfering loads.. This is the "Default" condition for the switch assembly.

The alternative would be to have shore power pull in the relays, but if this was done, then the generator would be starting under load, would be running up under load and would not have time to stableize before load was applied, NOT a good thing at all.
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:18 AM   #12
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I prefer the setup where the generator takes priority over shore power, which is what we have. There are times when I would like to switch to generator power even while we have shore power present. Usually it's when we're on a 30 amp circuit (or a poorly wires 50 amp), and I need more power than I can get from the pedestal. Like for all three AC units or to use the 240v dryer. Or I just want to give the generator it's monthly exercise.

If the shore power has priority, I need to go to the pedestal to switch over. Either by unplugging to using the circuit breaker. If the generator has priority, all I need to do is turn the generator on/off. I can manage the loads to protect the transfer switch from inside the coach.

Oh - I have a 12.5Kw generator, so it can provide the same (if not more) power than I'd get from the pedestal, so I'm not worried about loading it down. And it doesn't turn it's output on until it's up to speed.

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Old 05-28-2012, 12:02 PM   #13
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I guess the answer would depend on whether the OP meant run the gen to exercise it, or to supplement the shore power. Yes to the first, no to the second.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:08 PM   #14
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The answer in any case is that he cannot use power from both simultaneously. He can turn the generator on while still plugged to shore power, but the Auto transfer switch will prevent one of the two from actually supplying power to the RV. So the genrator can run while shore power is plugged, but he can't draw power from both at one time.

If the ATS ever messed up and let both sources try to power the RV at the same time, major sparks and smoke would ensue. You don't ever want to let that happen!

Gary Brinck
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Homebase in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
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