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Old 08-20-2012, 12:24 PM   #1
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What did we do BEFORE pure sine wave

Here's a question-
What did we do before pure sine wave generators?
Or square wave just limited to "contractor style" portables?
Did all MH gens from 30 years ago have "pure sine wave" output?
Just thinking.
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:54 PM   #2
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Good question, I'm anxious to see the replies. My guess is that some answers could be:
Modern appliances and electronics are more sensitive, forcing the upgrade.

Older generators were built better and produced more consistent power levels, coupled with less sensitive components this wasn't as much an issue.

Or:

Shortened equipment life due to lack of knowledge of this technology and it's effects.

I'm looking forward to more technical and in-depth answers. My rig doesn't have EMS or any "smart" power system and I don't completely understand why a regular contractor style generator won't do the job for me. I know people with EMS systems talk about having to trick the system to use a standard generator.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:22 PM   #3
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Generators make "Pure sine wave" power and they always have. The only variables with generators are "cycles", (60 hertz in the USA) which is a function of generator RPM and voltage/watts which are a function of generator design..

"Square sine wave is usually supplied by Inverters in your MH. Higher dollar Inverters may be capable of "Pure sine wave". In 17 years of living with "square wave" I haven't needed anything else.

Living on Boats since the late 80's, inverters have been part of my electrical systems since about 1995. An old fashioned square -wave that ran my computers, reefers, and what have you did a fine job.

Currently my MH has a square-wave output inverter which has no problems with TV's, Microwave as long as I keep careful track of the battery charge state. I should say the microwave, TV's have no problem with the inverter.

If you and your neighbors are willing to put up with the noise, a quality 7.5KW construction generator is as good as a Kohler 7.5.

The biggest problem with Living with Inverters/Generator/Batteries as apposed to the power supplied to your house is the extra awareness required by the user as to what his mobile power system can and can't do.
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Old 08-21-2012, 01:20 PM   #4
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Did all motor home generators from say 30 years ago have pure sine wave output?

Well, Basically, YES. Generators come in not two, but 3 basic flavors (4 or 5 total)

The cheap contractor's models (Less than 5,000 watt, 3600 RMP motors) are known for having very "Dirty" output, it is not a square wave, it is basically a sine wave but it's a s very fuzzy sine wave and often has spikes of many hundreds of volts.

Larger (Say 5KW and up) generators with engines that run at 1800 or 1200 RPM tend to be much cleaner. (even some of the better built small ones are cleaner). and yes they do approach a pure sine wave, IN THEORY any generator is pure sine wave. Quality makes the difference.

Since most RV generators even 30 years ago were in the 5KW and up range (Well 4KW and up) and most were belt driven with motors that ran at less than 3600 RPM they were, even as they are today, Quality power, a near pure sine wave.

The biggest thing that can mess you up is letting it sit too long.. What happens is the slip rings on the armature "Tarnish" a bit, (normally they are polished shiny by the brushed in operation) now as the ring turns the brush finds a tarnished spot and the connection is broken,, this causes a SPILE as the magnetic field first collaspes and a second spike in the other direction when it is re-established.

How bad can these spikes get: Well on a car from say the 60's there was a DC circuit that established a magnetic field in a coil of wire.. Then a switch opened and the field collasped...... And caused the spark that ignited the fuel/air bomb inside the cylinder.

(Breaker point ignition) Today's engines... Well my 8.1 has 8 of those coils under computer control they work the same way.
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Old 08-22-2012, 05:27 PM   #5
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Home many motor homes of 30 years ago had the level of electronics today's world has? It isn't about was or wasn't pure sine wave power available 30 years ago or whether you needed it or not. As was mentioned electronics are much more sophisticated today and require much cleaner power.

Simply take a cheap modified sine wave inverter and try to charge your cell phone with it. It will work, but touch t he transformer and you will see just how hot it becomes. This is is because of the dirty electricity. Heat degrades electronic components.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:58 AM   #6
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Most of this is way over my head,, but I'm learning from these post's. A very few years ago we were "surviving" a record breaking ice storm here (before we had our motorhome, a 1995 model), and I hooked up our Beautiful little Briggs 4K generator to one of our APC battery backup's, to maybe run the tv or pc. (I had heard of dirty power) . The fault light instantly started flashing. So no go there. I'll say though , that little Briggs and Stratton ran the propane furnace, some lights, heated meals, etc. So we were Great ! (camping in your house)
We now have a Onan model 4.0KY genny in the motorhome, would that be a "cleaner" output ? Not that I would hook up my pc, but just asking the difference. I can charge up cell phones or the lap top on either I figure.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:54 AM   #7
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I had a 1K "Genrac" (Briggs & Stratton no matter what it said on the outside) and when I first hooked it to an APC did exactly the same thing.

After running lights and the like for a tank of gas,, The APC was very happy sucking power off the little thing.

I'd love to have it back.. But alas it grew legs and wandered off.. I think I know who's legs it grew but thinking and proving... Two different things.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:21 PM   #8
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Thanks for the reply wa8yxm, That was when it was new. Never tried it after it ran for 3.5 days straight... And I understand 'growing legs'. I keep ours chained up....
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:48 PM   #9
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Smile

Well I inherited the 1930's Colman lantern and Preway three burner white gas stove my parent bought. But then we had a tent too
We recently graduated to a large teardrop LED lights sat radio TV... three burner cook top, water heater, shower point... A LOT less work.
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Old 10-17-2012, 03:21 AM   #10
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I tried to use three different VCRs in my 5er with a Generac 4500 and all I got was a blue screen. Never found out why that was. I haven't tried one in my MH. It does have the DVD player that came with it, so I'm assuming it will work if I used it. I'll try it tomorrow. It has a 5500 Onan.

I have used three different laptops in my 5er and MH just fine. They ran/run off of a MSW inverter or the generator. They all went through an AC to DC power supply/charger, so that may have made a difference.
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:55 PM   #11
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DVD plays just fine either on my Onan or a cheap 400 watt MSW inverter.
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:09 PM   #12
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What's the problem with powering a pc from msw? The power supply takes ac and rectifies it into dc through a set of capacitors.
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:59 PM   #13
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That would be a set of diodes, but capacitors are used to filter out any remaining AC.
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