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Old 02-02-2023, 05:36 PM   #1
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Onan 5500 Generator question

Hello to all my fellow rv'rs out there. Quick question for those who know. I read in the owners manual that you are not supposed to start your generator with the 2/30 amp breakers in the on position, the same thing when shutting down. You are supposed to shut the breakers off first before shutting down. My question is, if there is no load on the generator what does it hurt leaving the breakers in the on position full time?
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Old 02-02-2023, 06:23 PM   #2
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I could be wrong, but as long as there are only light loads or none at all, it doesn't seem to hurt generators. Have not been turning off the breakers EVER in the last 20+ years of using them commercially and recreationally.

Sensitive loads connected may not like the startup sequence, but if light loads, I don't think the generator seems to care.
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Old 02-02-2023, 06:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by craigd853 View Post
Hello to all my fellow rv'rs out there. Quick question for those who know. I read in the owners manual that you are not supposed to start your generator with the 2/30 amp breakers in the on position, the same thing when shutting down. You are supposed to shut the breakers off first before shutting down. My question is, if there is no load on the generator what does it hurt leaving the breakers in the on position full time?
Are you sure you are reading this right? I have never heard of this. I have owned motorhomes since 1974 and have never shut off the breakers. I was service manager for 15 years and went to the Onan factory school and again I never heard this.
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Old 02-02-2023, 08:25 PM   #4
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I am not an electrician.. but I believe it is to save the caps inside the generator voltage regulator.. so it's to save the voltage regulator.. and they are expensive.. and a real pain to get at.. so I believe that is why.. also don't forget to let it cool down.. so take the load off and let run for about 5 to 10mins to let engine cool off..
Good luck and keep us posted
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Old 02-02-2023, 08:29 PM   #5
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That doesn't sound right to me. That could be a major task for some people. What if it's raining? I've never done this.
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Old 02-03-2023, 03:31 AM   #6
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That doesn't sound right to me. That could be a major task for some people. What if it's raining? I've never done this.
Thanks for all who answered I didnít think it was a big deal either as long as ur not shutting it off with a load on it. If I recall it states in the onan owners manual to turn the breakers on after starting and off before shutdown. Kind of negates the auto start button in the motorhome if u have to do this right? I have been shutting them off and turning them on for 2 years now. PIA Lol
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Old 02-03-2023, 04:01 AM   #7
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Just read all the pages (about 5) concerning starting and shutting down my 2022 Onan 5500.

Not one word about circuit breakers.

A couple pages later they discuss if they have tripped, it may be necessary to turn off fully before resetting.
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Old 02-03-2023, 05:28 AM   #8
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Your not starting the generator with power connected.

Any RV with an auto transfer switch will not switch to generator power until a 30 to 45 second timer runs out, after sensing generator voltage.
That's there to let the generator stabilize power.

You can see this delay yourself if you start your generator, without shore power, and then watch your microwave. It will not power on for at least 30 seconds.
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Old 02-03-2023, 05:37 AM   #9
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[QUOTE=craigd853;6415363]If I recall it states in the onan owners manual to turn the breakers on after starting and off before shutdown. Correct.

Can you start the genny with the breakers ON...of course you can. But best practice is keep them OFF till the genny warms up and begins to warm up and smooth out the proper RPM.

As someone else said “it is to save the caps inside the generator voltage regulator.. so it's to save the voltage regulator.. and they are expensive.. and a real pain to get at and repair..” This delay is to allow the generator to stabilize power first.

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Kind of negates the auto start button in the motorhome if u have to do this right? Nope
I have been shutting them off and turning them on for 2 years now. PIA Lol
No it doesn’t negate it because most Jenny’s that have auto start there is a built in time delay before the genny starts to produce power to the RV. This is a built in safety protocol that I mentioned above. So if you have auto start and the built in time delay is long enough for the genny to warm up and smooth out to a nice even rpm, before power starts to be delivered to the RV, then it’s fine to leave the breakers ON.

I don’t have auto start and I personally manually turn ON breakers after the genny warms up. Before I shut the genny OFF I give it a 5-10 minute cool down period, then turn OFF breakers and then shut OFF the genny. My 5500 is 13yrs.old with approx 1200hrs. on it.
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Old 02-03-2023, 07:42 AM   #10
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Most RVers don't even know the breaker exists.

If you think about how the Automatic Generator Start (AGS) works with the air conditioner it turns off when the air conditioner turns off, so no big loads. For turning on it depends on the fact that the transfer switch takes about 30 seconds before it turns on, thus there isn't a load on the generator when it first starts up.

It's a good idea to unload the generator before starting or stopping it. Unloading it when you stop it is more important, assuming your transfer switch has a delay to put the load on the generator.

Are you sure you have two 30 amp breakers on your Onan 5500? That's about 7000 watts and what my QG7000 has. I thought that the QG5500 had a 20 and a 25 amp breaker.
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Old 02-03-2023, 11:26 AM   #11
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Most RVers don't even know the breaker exists.

If you think about how the Automatic Generator Start (AGS) works with the air conditioner it turns off when the air conditioner turns off, so no big loads. For turning on it depends on the fact that the transfer switch takes about 30 seconds before it turns on, thus there isn't a load on the generator when it first starts up.

It's a good idea to unload the generator before starting or stopping it. Unloading it when you stop it is more important, assuming your transfer switch has a delay to put the load on the generator.

Are you sure you have two 30 amp breakers on your Onan 5500? That's about 7000 watts and what my QG7000 has. I thought that the QG5500 had a 20 and a 25 amp breaker.
The 5500 has two 30A breakers, at least mine does, and the spec sheet shows 30A.

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Old 02-03-2023, 12:30 PM   #12
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Ok, I've read the Op's post several times because I've never heard this. Then it dawned on me. I bet most readers are assuming he has a built in RV generator, not a portable. I can see this for a portable because they may not have a built in delay.
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Old 02-03-2023, 01:05 PM   #13
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I never turn on/off our breakers, either on the generator or in the coach, and have never heard of a need to do so. Generator is an Onan QD8000, and we use it often (exercise it monthly if not traveling).
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Old 02-03-2023, 01:07 PM   #14
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Ok, I've read the Op's post several times because I've never heard this. Then it dawned on me. I bet most readers are assuming he has a built in RV generator, not a portable. I can see this for a portable because they may not have a built in delay.
The OP's Onan 5500 is a built in RV generator.

Most ATS units (if not all ATS's?) have a 30 second delay when switching from shore power to generator power...that is where the delay is.
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