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Old 09-19-2007, 02:25 PM   #1
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OK I have a couple of questions about my generator and TT. My generator is a Champion 4800 watt(5500Peak), my TT is an '07 Keystone cougar.

1. On a trip this summer I went to Southern Colorado for a week of dry camping. The day time temps were between 105-110. Needless to say the A/C (and generator)was running pretty much 8 am to 10 pm. I ran into an issue where the generator would trip it's breaker at random times throughout the day. I picked the genset mainly because it was cheap, and maybe that is my problem. I also made sure it had a 30amp service plug(L5 outlet). I noticed the L5 outlet is a 30 amp plug but the generator only has a 20amp breaker and that is the breaker that would trip from time to time. It would never trip during A/C startup only after running for sometimes 5 minutes or sometimes it would go hours. I was also running an additional 30 amp RV extension cord so that I could leave the generator in the bed of the truck. All together I had 60' of 30Amp RV cable running to the trailer(30' built into the trailer and a 30' RV extension cord). I figured the heat was increasing my resistance in the power cord and thus causing the breaker to trip. I tried moving the generator and removing the extra extension cord and just using the trailer's cord, but that didn't really help things. It did seem to trip the breaker more often when it was the hottest part of the day.

So my first question, Is the heat causing my breaker to trip under load? At home in the driveway the generator will run the A/C without ever tripping the breaker although the temperature was in the high 80's/low 90's when I did this test.

Next question is since the plug on the generator is rated for 30amp, could I swap out the 20 amp circuit breaker for a 30amp breaker? maybe I need to talk to the generator mfg. to ask if generator wiring can handle the extra amps.

2. On this generator I also have a 12v 10amp DC battery charger built in. I thought it would be cool that way I wouldn't have to pack the regular battery charger. The first time I went to use it both my TT batts were low so I got out the cord which is basically a plug that looks like a standard 110v male end except the blades are on about a 45 degree angle so that you can't plug them into the wrong power source. The rest of the cord is just 14 gauge wire with aligator clips attached. My first thought is "this ain't going to do it". I connected it to the batts and checked it with a voltmeter. It started out at 14.8V but then quickly climbed to 18V when the 10amp breaker on the genset tripped. I tried again charging only one of the batteries thinking maybe both batts were putting too much load on the unit, but the same thing happened. I assume I need a heavier wire like 8 gauge to charge the battery and again the small wire is causing the breaker to trip. What do you think?

3. I also have a 240V "twist lock" plug on the generator, it has 2 20amp breakers for the outlet. Is there any adapter I can use to step the 240V down to 120V at higher amperage?

4. There is an earth ground connection peg on the generator. What does this connect to? The ground(via a spike in the ground) or does it ground to the negative side of the battery on the TT? Or does it even matter? I've never seen any one connect a ground wire to anything from a generator before?

Sorry for the long post, any help would be appreciated!
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:25 PM   #2
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OK I have a couple of questions about my generator and TT. My generator is a Champion 4800 watt(5500Peak), my TT is an '07 Keystone cougar.

1. On a trip this summer I went to Southern Colorado for a week of dry camping. The day time temps were between 105-110. Needless to say the A/C (and generator)was running pretty much 8 am to 10 pm. I ran into an issue where the generator would trip it's breaker at random times throughout the day. I picked the genset mainly because it was cheap, and maybe that is my problem. I also made sure it had a 30amp service plug(L5 outlet). I noticed the L5 outlet is a 30 amp plug but the generator only has a 20amp breaker and that is the breaker that would trip from time to time. It would never trip during A/C startup only after running for sometimes 5 minutes or sometimes it would go hours. I was also running an additional 30 amp RV extension cord so that I could leave the generator in the bed of the truck. All together I had 60' of 30Amp RV cable running to the trailer(30' built into the trailer and a 30' RV extension cord). I figured the heat was increasing my resistance in the power cord and thus causing the breaker to trip. I tried moving the generator and removing the extra extension cord and just using the trailer's cord, but that didn't really help things. It did seem to trip the breaker more often when it was the hottest part of the day.

So my first question, Is the heat causing my breaker to trip under load? At home in the driveway the generator will run the A/C without ever tripping the breaker although the temperature was in the high 80's/low 90's when I did this test.

Next question is since the plug on the generator is rated for 30amp, could I swap out the 20 amp circuit breaker for a 30amp breaker? maybe I need to talk to the generator mfg. to ask if generator wiring can handle the extra amps.

2. On this generator I also have a 12v 10amp DC battery charger built in. I thought it would be cool that way I wouldn't have to pack the regular battery charger. The first time I went to use it both my TT batts were low so I got out the cord which is basically a plug that looks like a standard 110v male end except the blades are on about a 45 degree angle so that you can't plug them into the wrong power source. The rest of the cord is just 14 gauge wire with aligator clips attached. My first thought is "this ain't going to do it". I connected it to the batts and checked it with a voltmeter. It started out at 14.8V but then quickly climbed to 18V when the 10amp breaker on the genset tripped. I tried again charging only one of the batteries thinking maybe both batts were putting too much load on the unit, but the same thing happened. I assume I need a heavier wire like 8 gauge to charge the battery and again the small wire is causing the breaker to trip. What do you think?

3. I also have a 240V "twist lock" plug on the generator, it has 2 20amp breakers for the outlet. Is there any adapter I can use to step the 240V down to 120V at higher amperage?

4. There is an earth ground connection peg on the generator. What does this connect to? The ground(via a spike in the ground) or does it ground to the negative side of the battery on the TT? Or does it even matter? I've never seen any one connect a ground wire to anything from a generator before?

Sorry for the long post, any help would be appreciated!
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Old 09-19-2007, 08:11 PM   #3
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Question 1 Maybe the hotter it is the A|C will draw more amps because the high side pressure goes up with temperature.
Question 2 No. The Generator rateing is at 220 volts so 4800 / 240 = 20 amps. This is 20 amps on one leg of 120 volts and 20 amps on the other leg of 120 volts.

2 The size of the wire will not make the breaker to trip. 18 volts is too much to charge batteries with you should not go above about 15 volts. Apparently the generator does not have good regulation on the 12 volts.

3 You could get a step down transformer from 220v to 110 v but big $$$ for this size.

4 This should be connected to a spike in the ground. But as you saided ( I've never seen any one connect a ground wire to anything from a generator before.)

I hope this helps.

Tom
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Old 09-20-2007, 08:04 AM   #4
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Couple more questions:

What was the elevation where you were running this genny? The higher elevation decreases the efficiency.

Were you running anything else? Your Ac was probably drawing about 13 to 15 amps - - doesn't leave you much. It will normally start the AC due to a slow reacting breaking to allow for motor high starting current.

Comments about charging batteries from the genny - - don't do it unless it is highly regulated. If voltage went to 18v, I can almost guarantee it is NOT regulated. You will quickly burn up some batteries and blow other 12v electrical components in the rig such as motors, light bulbs, etc.

Bob
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Old 09-20-2007, 10:02 AM   #5
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The elevation was only about 5000ft. Not much different than at home.

Maybe the TT convertor was turning on or off sucking up a few more amps as I was watching a DVD from the coach 12V player and I had an LCD TV on, as well as the occasional water pump run from the toilet, sink, etc...

Maybe I did just run over the 20 amps, still I wish I would have seen the plug rated at 30 but the genny only circuited at 20amps.
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Old 09-20-2007, 01:21 PM   #6
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run the AC fan on high , make sure the fins on the out side coil are as clean as poss and set the ac colder to see if its haveing hard start issues with high head pressure . Sound like the Gen set is marginal if not undersized , many manufactures over rate there gens buy a fair amount . Honda and Yamaha are some of the best and lightest on the market... you get what you pay for.
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Old 09-20-2007, 02:27 PM   #7
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Very well could be the genset. I rarely camp where it is this warm, usually we go camping to beat the heat and rarely use the A/C.

I simply couldn't afford a honda or yamaha.

The majority of the time I use my genset just to keep the batteries up especially if the heater has been running a lot over night, or to run the TV while watching a few movies.

It sounds like its not really a big deal to worry about and for the small amount of time I use the A/C I can live with it being a bit troublesome on my genset.

Thanks again guys!
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Old 09-20-2007, 07:43 PM   #8
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I would guess that your batteries get low enough for the converter/charger to go into bulk charge mode it might draw enough extra amps to trip the breaker?

When the batteries are up, you might try running the AC on the generator with the converter unplugged or shut down.

Other possibility, is the fridge set to propane mode, so it doesn't automatically switch to 110?

Anyway, I wouldn't replace the 20 amp breaker with anything bigger. The manufacturer probably picked that size for a reason. If the thing has tripped a bunch of times, though, it might not hurt to try replacing it with another 20 amp breaker... Breakers can get worn out, or go bad.
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Old 09-23-2007, 05:29 PM   #9
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One more thing I just thought of My Dad has a cheaper gen set that the voltage regulator is only active on one leg of the 240v output. He was having a issue geting his AC to start also. I made up a cord that uses the 120/240 4wire twist lock but only connects 120 v at 20 amps to the trailer on the side that has the voltage regulator on it , the strait blade 120v outlet on the gen set was unregulated. Why it was made this was is just crazy but someone thought it was a good idea. What was happening was the voltage would drop to around 90 volts when the ac started and wouldnt kick over it just humed. With it pluged into my custom cord it has 125 volts with no load and holds 108 volts under load. Again I think his "3800 watt" gen set is rated higher then it really is , its a china copy of a honda 4000 watt unit.
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Old 11-24-2007, 11:52 AM   #10
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The problem with cheaper generator is they are wired like to small generators instead of one larger one. You can only get 20 amps or 2500 watts max out of your 4800 watt generator. Where a 4000 watt RV generator will give you it's total output on 1 125 volt outlet.
You would have to run a 240 volt load to have the total power of your generator avalable.
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