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Old 07-26-2020, 08:30 AM   #1
MissingLink
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AC and generator

We had camped at a campground that had no electricity. I did take a generator (Champion 2800). The procedure for operation of the generator, is to start, let run until green light comes on and then connect load (30 amp) for the trailer. As soon the connection is made, the generator goes under a load. (I do not know what that load is). I turn on the AC and it trips out the generator. I tried again, waiting for the generator to idle down, which it does after about five minutes. Ran the AC and it does run. After about a couple of hours, the load in the first instance returns and trips out the generator again. I have used this same procedure for this generator and ran the AC in my last trailer all year long last year. The AC in this trailer is smaller BTU wise than my previous trailer. Anybody have an idea of what Im missing? This trailer has a battery disconnect. The trailer is a 2015 Cougar High Country 333MKS. Thanks in advance to all who respond. Have a great day and be safe.
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Old 07-26-2020, 08:40 AM   #2
flybouy
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Either the load is to great or the generator is starting to fail. I'd start with all the breakers inside the trailer turned off. Start generator and wait for the "go" light.
Turn on main trailer breaker
Turn on breaker for air conditioner and let the generator settle down.
Turn on the breaker for the converter.

fridge and water heater should be on gas, if either is on electric you will most likely not have enough generator to run it all. A 30 amp service = 3600 watts (30 amps X 120 volts = 3,600 watts) Your generator is rated 800 watts below that or (23 amps). If that's peak and not running amps then it's substantially less.
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Old 07-26-2020, 09:11 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by flybouy View Post
Either the load is to great or the generator is starting to fail. I'd start with all the breakers inside the trailer turned off. Start generator and wait for the "go" light.
Turn on main trailer breaker
Turn on breaker for air conditioner and let the generator settle down.
Turn on the breaker for the converter.

fridge and water heater should be on gas, if either is on electric you will most likely not have enough generator to run it all. A 30 amp service = 3600 watts (30 amps X 120 volts = 3,600 watts) Your generator is rated 800 watts below that or (23 amps). If that's peak and not running amps then it's substantially less.
Exactly what I was going to say. Not enough watts to run everything that is probably turned on.
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Old 07-26-2020, 09:23 AM   #4
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As Marshall posted, you're probably overloading the generator with something that you "didn't realilze is on and drawing power"...

First, I'd suspect the refrigerator. If it's in "AUTO" then as soon as you plug in the generator, it will switch to shore power (ELEC) mode. You need to turn it to GAS mode to stop it from automatically switching.

Second is the water heater. Many people use the electric element as a way to save on propane and then "forget to turn it off" when there's no shore power, they just "carry on by turning on the propane"... As soon as you connect the generator, the water heater will immediately start "cooking water on electricity"...

The two items, refrigerator and water heater, will draw about 500 watts and 1100 watts from the generator. That's 4.2 amps for the refrigerator and 9.2 amps for the water heater. Using the wattage figures, that's 1600 watts, over half the generator output, leaving way too little for the air conditioner to run, certainly far too little for it to start. Even with the "surge/momentary capacity of 3100 watts, those two items will be drawing more than half the generator "surge capacity"...

Additionally, the WFCO converter will draw "somewhere between 4 amps (480 watts) at "minimum power" and 10 amps (1200 watts) at full capacity, depending on the charge state of the battery bank and the amount of 12 volt power being consumed by lights, control system or remote control systems in the trailer, you could be using "every available watt" without even trying to start the air conditioner.

As you can see, if all three of the above are on and drawing power or if any two or even one of those are on when you try to start the air conditioner, you'll overload the generator and cause it to "shut down" to prevent damage.

So, as Marshall suggested, turn off all the "extra draws" and see if the air conditioner will run with "only the main power panel circuit breaker and the Air Conditioner circuit breaker" in the on position. After that, try to turn on the converter circuit breaker and see if that will run...

Dometic, a manufacturer of RV air conditioners, recommends a MINIMUM generator output of 3500 watts for a single air conditioner and 5500 watts for a RV with two rooftop units.... The reason for those "much greater wattage outputs" is to compensate for some of the "unseen wattage users" like the refrigerator and the converter.....

Bottom line, I'd suspect you're significantly overloading your generator with things you didn't even realize are using generator power......
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Old 06-14-2024, 04:47 PM   #5
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mine is doing the same thing. Brand new ac Coleman Mach 15000, installed and checked by technician. 2023 cougar 23mle, newish Westinghouse igen 4500 with only 15hrs on it. after ac has been running, not on start up, the generator gets over loaded and trips the overload protection. The only thing on in the trailer is the convertor and ac. ***the ambient temp is 95-110 degrees. It also does it when its in the mid 80's but may take a few mins longer. I believe the the over load protection on my generator is too sensitive. I have fresh fuel and synthetic oil, and clean filter...all done today. Still have issues.
my RV tech hooked the trailer up to his 3500 loud as a jet plane generator and it never hiccupped, ran fine.
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Old 06-15-2024, 03:52 AM   #6
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I have a Champion 2500W for my 28' Keystone Cougar. Originally when I was on the genset, turning on the AC would would bog down the AC almost to the point of stalling. I installed a knock off brand Soft Start. The genset now barely hiccups when the AC compressor starts. You can find knock offs on Amazon for $100.
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Old 06-15-2024, 04:11 AM   #7
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I just installed a soft start on my GE 1500BTU ac unit, It reduces the start up current surge. We can actually hear the difference when the ac starts
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Old 06-15-2024, 07:13 AM   #8
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Igen 4500 surge and overload

My issue is not the start up, my issue is while it's running just fine, with ac on, and about 15 -30mins it surges, and overloads.
It's not the AC, the tech and I sat on the roof measuring the amps when we were hooked to his genset and the AC was consistent 11.5 to 12.4 amps at 103 temp. I believe the igen has an issue.
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Old 06-15-2024, 07:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRTJH View Post
As Marshall posted, you're probably overloading the generator with something that you "didn't realilze is on and drawing power"...

First, I'd suspect the refrigerator. If it's in "AUTO" then as soon as you plug in the generator, it will switch to shore power (ELEC) mode. You need to turn it to GAS mode to stop it from automatically switching.

Second is the water heater. Many people use the electric element as a way to save on propane and then "forget to turn it off" when there's no shore power, they just "carry on by turning on the propane"... As soon as you connect the generator, the water heater will immediately start "cooking water on electricity"...

The two items, refrigerator and water heater, will draw about 500 watts and 1100 watts from the generator. That's 4.2 amps for the refrigerator and 9.2 amps for the water heater. Using the wattage figures, that's 1600 watts, over half the generator output, leaving way too little for the air conditioner to run, certainly far too little for it to start. Even with the "surge/momentary capacity of 3100 watts, those two items will be drawing more than half the generator "surge capacity"...

Additionally, the WFCO converter will draw "somewhere between 4 amps (480 watts) at "minimum power" and 10 amps (1200 watts) at full capacity, depending on the charge state of the battery bank and the amount of 12 volt power being consumed by lights, control system or remote control systems in the trailer, you could be using "every available watt" without even trying to start the air conditioner.

As you can see, if all three of the above are on and drawing power or if any two or even one of those are on when you try to start the air conditioner, you'll overload the generator and cause it to "shut down" to prevent damage.

So, as Marshall suggested, turn off all the "extra draws" and see if the air conditioner will run with "only the main power panel circuit breaker and the Air Conditioner circuit breaker" in the on position. After that, try to turn on the converter circuit breaker and see if that will run...

Dometic, a manufacturer of RV air conditioners, recommends a MINIMUM generator output of 3500 watts for a single air conditioner and 5500 watts for a RV with two rooftop units.... The reason for those "much greater wattage outputs" is to compensate for some of the "unseen wattage users" like the refrigerator and the converter.....

Bottom line, I'd suspect you're significantly overloading your generator with things you didn't even realize are using generator power......
Only the AC and converter are on, nothing else. We are not camping.
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Old 06-15-2024, 07:29 AM   #10
Canonman
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The converter is charging the batteries. If they are drawing from the converter it could be the issue. Try turning the battery disconnect to OFF. Also, be sure to check the water heater electric switch just in case. That's 10 amps by itself.
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Old 06-15-2024, 07:51 AM   #11
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I can see on the generator display how many watts it is using. NOTHING else is on, water heater is shut off at the water heater switch. The generator with ac and converter using about 1700 watts on the display.
It's runs just fine, then in about 15 to 25 mins the generator surges, the display goes to 3500-4000 and it over loads.
If I turn the battery disconnect off, I won't be able to control my ac on the in command panel.
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Old 06-15-2024, 07:55 AM   #12
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Do you have an EMS? They are necessary IMO to protect the camper from electrical issues. If the camper is operating normally on shore power then I would suspect the generator has an issue.
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Old 06-15-2024, 07:56 AM   #13
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What is a EMS?
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Old 06-15-2024, 08:24 AM   #14
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MOJO,
turning the battery disconnect to off is just a test. If the the problem is the batteries pulling to many amps through the converter, the switch disconnects the batteries from the converter and the problem will go away. The fix would be to diagnose the batteries for any problems.
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Old 06-15-2024, 08:24 AM   #15
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What is a EMS?
An EMS is a "in line power protection system". It monitors the incoming voltage to the trailer for high/low voltage conditions, power surges, missing neutral/ground, out of phase power and DISCONNECTS the trailer from that power source if there is a problem that could damage the trailer and its components.

An EMS is "far superior to a "surge protector" device. Essentially, a surge protector may or may not monitor the same power conditions. The DIFFERENCE in a "surge protector and an EMS" is that an EMS will disconnect the trailer from a harmful power source. A SURGE PROTECTOR will start flashing red, green or yellow lights but leave the trailer connected to the harmful power. Essentially, with a surge protector, those lights will "happily blink away, warning you of a problem while your trailer burns to the ground but an EMS will shut down power "instantly" and protect it from damage.....

You want an EMS. You do not want a SURGE PROTECTOR.....

Now that said, what it looks like you're describing is "normal operation with an air conditioner"....

You say it starts OK, runs OK (for a while) then loads the generator and the generator shuts down.... That is probably normal operation...

Here's what I think is really happening:

You turn on the generator then turn on the air conditioner. It starts normally.
THEN, the thermostat reaches the set temperature and the compressor shuts down. The fan continues to run (masking the compressor noise). Then the thermostat senses rising temp above the set point and calls for compressor to run. There is a "locked rotor condition" in the compressor (from high pressure freon backup) and when the thermostat calls for cooling, the amperage needed to get the compressor running again is so great that it overloads your generator output.

What MIGHT be wrong is the start capacitors in the air conditioner may be bad, or you may need a "soft start" device to help manage the excessive amp load needed to get your "hot compressor" running again.....

Now, you also MIGHT have a problem with the "bleed down/pressure reducing system in your freon lines in the air conditioner system....

I'm no expert in air conditioner operation theory, but it sure sounds like you're system is initially starting and cooling properly, then when it gets the trailer cool and shuts down, upon startup, there's too much "compressor load" and it kicks out your generator while trying to get the compressor running again.... I'd check the start capacitors and use a ammeter on the compressor electric lines to measure the amps needed to first start the compressor and then again when the thermostat tries to restart the compressor. I'd suspect the compressor amps is 3 or 4 times greater on restart than on first start.... Maybe just a capacitor or maybe a bad compressor ?????

ADDED: Another possibility is that you're running your generator in ECO mode ??? If so, turn the ECO switch off. What might be happening is that the generator can't "ramp up output" fast enough to meet the demand of the air conditioner quickly and the generator system is shutting down to protect itself... If the RV Tech's "standard generator" will operate the system, your problem could be the ECO switch "ramp-up" is just too slow .....
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Old 06-15-2024, 08:31 AM   #16
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I really appreciate your help.
The compressor never shuts down because it never reaches desired temp.
The capacitors are all good, checked out by RV tech. AC is running properly checked out by RV tech
I don't know about an EMS if we have it or not
This is a newer fifth wheel, 2023 cougar 23mle with 400 solar.
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Old 06-15-2024, 08:45 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Mojocamping View Post
I really appreciate your help.
The compressor never shuts down because it never reaches desired temp.
The capacitors are all good, checked out by RV tech. AC is running properly checked out by RV tech
I don't know about an EMS if we have it or not
This is a newer fifth wheel, 2023 cougar 23mle with 400 solar.
If you bought the trailer new and you didn't install an EMS, then there's not one in the trailer. It is NOT an OEM device in any Cougar.

If all the air conditioner systems are working properly, Then I'd focus on the generator and especially on the ECO switch circuitry.
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Old 06-15-2024, 10:03 AM   #18
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If you bought the trailer new and you didn't install an EMS, then there's not one in the trailer. It is NOT an OEM device in any Cougar.

If all the air conditioner systems are working properly, Then I'd focus on the generator and especially on the ECO switch circuitry.
Thank you, that's what I think, it's the generator! BTW, eco switch is off.
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