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Old 07-10-2024, 10:25 AM   #1
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Generator help...

Grinding it out in Houston, no power going on 3 days. Where does a generator go on my 21 Jayco 38 FLRB up front where the batteries are. If that is not an option, what generator would you recommend. Between the freeze and not out of the woods with these hurricanes yet trying to plan. I took off the plug and see the 4 wires. Ground, neutral and 2 for 120vac circuits. Assuming there is no 240 in the RV. Is this a correct statement. Thanks
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Old 07-10-2024, 11:03 AM   #2
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If you have GEN prep, yes it goes in the front compartment under the goose neck. The reason you have 4 wires is 50 amp gen's have 2 individual 120 outputs, one to feed each leg of your transfer switch and breaker panel.
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Old 07-10-2024, 11:11 AM   #3
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Thanks, I'm not sure of Generator preparation wiring; however, I didn't examine it closely.
So I didn't see any signs of that. So, do you have a recommendation for a transfer switch?
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Old 07-10-2024, 11:29 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gordaskipper View Post
Thanks, I'm not sure of Generator preparation wiring; however, I didn't examine it closely.
So I didn't see any signs of that. So, do you have a recommendation for a transfer switch?
If you don't have geny prep I think you have more work to do than you really think. The shore power cord has to go into one side of the switch and the geny output into the other and then the supply run to your breaker panel.

Progressive Dynamics is one WFCO is another.

Good luck.
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Old 07-10-2024, 06:08 PM   #5
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GO to Harbor Freight and buy a generator that at least a 30 amp plug. You may need a 30 to 50 amp adapter as well.
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Old 07-10-2024, 07:21 PM   #6
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A normal standard generator for a 50 amp RV is 5500 watts. But it depends on what you want to operate. If 2 AC units, the 5500 should be your minimum size.
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Old 07-11-2024, 04:42 AM   #7
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Our Onan 5.5K Genny runs all 3 AC's with nary a blip, along with normal lighting and such.
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Old 07-11-2024, 07:46 AM   #8
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We bought a Firman quiet 4KW at Costco for less than $600. It fits nicely in the space where the Onan normally is and I can lift it in and out no issues. Upside is it was cheap, runs on propane or gasoline, is very portable so I can use it for a bunch of other tasks if I want to, and it's fairly quiet <60db (I wouldn't call it TQG quiet).
Downside is it is totally manual so I can't use the auto-start function on my gen prepped 355, I have to manually hook it up to the propane tank as it takes tank pressure (I can probably modify the plumbing to make this easier, but I just don't use it that much to warrant the effort), with 30amps it can run both ACs but not much else and even that is pushing it. What helps the situation for us is we have 400W of solar and a 300Ah LiFePO4 battery. Unfortunately the invertor is only 1800W and won't run the ACs though. But even if it could, a 300ah battery won't last very long running the AC and the solar doesn't provide enough power to help that much. ACs are power hogs.
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Old 07-11-2024, 09:52 AM   #9
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Our Onan 5.5K Genny runs all 3 AC's with nary a blip, along with normal lighting and such.
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should IMHO. Two AC's are on one leg which is maxing out the 30 amp breaker and 10 awg wire from the Onan gen on that leg. In Addition to, maxing out the total output of the Gen.

Not saying don't do it, your choice obviously, just raising some points.

Also, might now work above 5000' or so, due to decreased power output at altitude.

I personally don't run the two AC's that are on the same leg off of the gen or run 3 at a time due to concerns of maxing out that one leg and or total power required from generator.
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Old 07-11-2024, 10:08 AM   #10
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Just because you can, doesn't mean you should IMHO. Two AC's are on one leg which is maxing out the 30 amp breaker and 10 awg wire from the onan gen on that leg. In Addition to, maxing out the total output of the Gen.

Not saying don't do it, your choice obviously, just raising some points.

Also, might now work above 5000' or so, due to decreased power output at altitude.

I personally don't run the two AC's that are on the same leg off of the gen or run 3 at a time due to concerns of maxing out that one leg and or total power required from generator.

Just FYI regarding the "legs", there is actually only one leg on the Onan 5.5kw (and the Onan 4k and I suspect other models as well). I suspect they setup the breakers at the generator the way they do in order to feed a two leg breaker panel (50A panel). In any case, there is only one leg of power being generated and that leg feeds into the two breakers commonly a 30 and a 20 which then feeds both sides of the breaker panel. ~CA
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Old 07-11-2024, 10:12 AM   #11
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Just FYI regarding the "legs", there is actually only one leg on the Onan 5.5kw (and the Onan 4k and I suspect other models as well). I suspect they setup the breakers at the generator the way they do in order to feed a two leg breaker panel (50A panel). In any case, there is only one leg of power being generated and that leg feeds into the two breakers commonly a 30 and a 20 which then feeds both sides of the breaker panel. ~CA
I knew someone would bring that up, the unit on my pinnacle is the dual 30 amp breaker model. Yes, they are tied to the same source inside the generator so you can not get 240 volts.

Still my concern is sending almost 30 amps continuous through the 30 amp gen breaker and 10 awg wire.

I need to open up the junction box at the generator and see how Jayco feed the transfer switch with the "Neutral", either two 10 awg per Onan specs for the Neutral to the transfer switch are a big enough single wire to handle the total capacity of the generator.
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Old 07-11-2024, 10:23 AM   #12
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I knew someone would bring that up, the unit on my pinnacle is the dual 30 amp breaker model. Yes, they are tied to the same source inside the generator so you can not get 240 volts.

Still my concern is sending almost 30 amps continuous through the 30 amp gen breaker and 10 awg wire.

I need to open up the junction box at the generator and see how Jayco feed the transfer switch with the "Neutral", either two 10 awg per Onan specs for the Neutral to the transfer switch are a big enough single wire to handle the total capacity of the generator.
I agree, 2 a/c's, especially in very hot conditions, can certainly exceed the 80% breaker continuous load of a 30a breaker. I "suspect" that with 3 a/c's that they are not all running continuously, at least not the compressor, but they certainly could be in certain locations in the heat of the summer temps. ~CA
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Old 07-11-2024, 10:28 AM   #13
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Just because you can, doesn't mean you should IMHO. Two AC's are on one leg which is maxing out the 30 amp breaker and 10 awg wire from the Onan gen on that leg. In Addition to, maxing out the total output of the Gen.

Not saying don't do it, your choice obviously, just raising some points.

Also, might now work above 5000' or so, due to decreased power output at altitude.

I personally don't run the two AC's that are on the same leg off of the gen or run 3 at a time due to concerns of maxing out that one leg and or total power required from generator.
Was the third AC on your Pinnacle 32 optional? I’m thinking that with three units, you may not have 15K btu AC units. You may have 11 or 13K units.
Your concern about the #10 wire and the 30 amp breaker is unnecessary but admirable. #10 wire is 90C rated at 40 amps. Because the breaker is rated 75C at the lug you can’t use the 40 amp rating. With all three units running, it is highly unlikely that they will run continuously for three hours. That means the breaker is rated to handle 30 amps for 3 hours without tripping. Since they cycle you should have no issues. But it’s your rig and you must do as you feel. I just wanted to give you some information. Respectfully, Kevin
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Old 07-11-2024, 10:40 AM   #14
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Just FYI regarding the "legs", there is actually only one leg on the Onan 5.5kw ~CA
The 5.5 has two legs...it comes with dual breakers on the control panel. That's what our Pinnacle had.
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Old 07-11-2024, 11:03 AM   #15
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Was the third AC on your Pinnacle 32 optional? I’m thinking that with three units, you may not have 15K btu AC units. You may have 11 or 13K units.
Your concern about the #10 wire and the 30 amp breaker is unnecessary but admirable. #10 wire is 90C rated at 40 amps. Because the breaker is rated 75C at the lug you can’t use the 40 amp rating. With all three units running, it is highly unlikely that they will run continuously for three hours. That means the breaker is rated to handle 30 amps for 3 hours without tripping. Since they cycle you should have no issues. But it’s your rig and you must do as you feel. I just wanted to give you some information. Respectfully, Kevin
I take back what I said please. The info is correct for 30 amp breakers. But the 5500 Onan generator, depending on model number may have a 30 amp and a 20 amp breaker. Still safe. The breaker will let you know when it is overloaded.

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Old 07-11-2024, 11:19 AM   #16
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The 5.5 has two legs...it comes with dual breakers on the control panel. That's what our Pinnacle had.
Yes and no, I suppose the correct answer is based on what you define as a "leg". Generally speaking, such as with the 50A shore power, you have a "split phase" which is two 120v legs 180 degrees apart and when combined they are 240v. However, the onan 5.5 only generates one 120v leg that is then fed into the dual breaker (which is why there are two hot connections out of it) which isn't really the same as the two legs of the shore power. Perhaps a better way to say it is that there are two breakers on the onan 5.5 that are both fed by the same leg.

In any case, I suppose it really doesn't matter overall. I will add though that I took a look at replacement onan generator breakers and just by looking at the label I am not sure that they are designed for an 80% continuous load and instead can handle 100% of the rated load continuously and only trip at 125%. The onan breaker I saw stated on its label 30A and that it trips at 37.5A (125%) where as a standard household breaker that is 30A will trip somewhere close to 80% (24A) at around 3hours or less. ~CA
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Old 07-11-2024, 12:05 PM   #17
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Was the third AC on your Pinnacle 32 optional? I’m thinking that with three units, you may not have 15K btu AC units. You may have 11 or 13K units.
Your concern about the #10 wire and the 30 amp breaker is unnecessary but admirable. #10 wire is 90C rated at 40 amps. Because the breaker is rated 75C at the lug you can’t use the 40 amp rating. With all three units running, it is highly unlikely that they will run continuously for three hours. That means the breaker is rated to handle 30 amps for 3 hours without tripping. Since they cycle you should have no issues. But it’s your rig and you must do as you feel. I just wanted to give you some information. Respectfully, Kevin
Good info and yes my 3rd AC was optional and I installed it myself. All three are 15K and I need all three running down here in the south when it's upper 90's. Much quicker initial cool down also.

Last year with 2 x 15k ACs, when it was 100 I could only keep the inside at 86 in full sun. This year I can keep it at 71 under same conditions. The wife is happy again!
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Old 07-11-2024, 01:07 PM   #18
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Old 07-12-2024, 03:35 AM   #19
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Wow! just got an electrical education lol. I will say I only run the genny to exercise it, and run the 3 units to put a load on it. We typically camp with full 50A service. Our unit did come from the factory with the 3 units, and as Learjet mentioned, makes a complete difference in hot weather. They cycle on and off and keep the camper cool regardless of the outside temps.
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Old 07-12-2024, 07:59 AM   #20
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Voltage power monitoring is a nice option to add. We use a Victron Cerbo to manage loads, also helps with troubleshooting. The attached photo shows the loads with 3 AC’s running on generator, batteries fully charged.

There are some other large loads to keep in mind. The one off short cycle toaster, microwave, or possibly hair dryer. Longer cycle could be the fridge, if set to electric, could draw 850 watts. Battery charger/converter, ours draws 1400 watts when batteries are low.

If you normally connect to 50 amp service, not as concerning to manage. If you camp off-grid, then you should manage. Just camped off grid at Grand Canyon. Day time temp 87, evening 60’s. Our normal operation was battery/inverter throughout the day, generator for 2-3 hours in the evening. Running 2 AC’s until the batteries fully charged, then running 3 until inside temp is 68.
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