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Old 08-05-2017, 03:19 PM   #1
donaldblanchard
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Generators and control modules

So I do quite a bit of back country camping where I use my 3100 watt generator to power my camper, it is not ran continuously only when needed. I have a 2017 hideout 32 BHTS. Two times now when using my generator I've ran out of propane and had to switch to spare tank. First time after using generator and switching propane tanks my control board for my furnace took a crap. The second time using my generator and running out of propane my control board for my hot water heater room a crap. Obviously I know the generator and running out of propane have nothing to do with each other. But has anyone else had problems with their ignition control boards after using a generator or after running out of propane? I don't leave the generator on all-day as we run off the battery power during the day but hardly anything is on. I read in the manual that the ignition for both runs of my battery power so it could get weak enough to not use but once the batteries are charged back up I would think it would light again but it wouldn't. Had to replace both ignition control boards, at separate times. Any help would be great.
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Old 08-05-2017, 03:29 PM   #2
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Which generator, if it's not a good inverter generator electronics can be damaged. Some of the cheaper inverter generators still put out dirty power.
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:55 PM   #3
donaldblanchard
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It's a powers house PH3100ri. Is there anything I can attach to the generator to prevent this or "filter" it.?
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Old 08-05-2017, 05:27 PM   #4
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It's a powers house PH3100ri. Is there anything I can attach to the generator to prevent this or "filter" it.?
Nope.

It is an inverter generator albeit a cheap one. I did a quick google and couldn't find anything complaining about it blowing up electronics but by your description it looks like a smoking gun.
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Old 08-07-2017, 02:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by bill-e View Post
Which generator, if it's not a good inverter generator electronics can be damaged. Some of the cheaper inverter generators still put out dirty power.
I would think neither the furnace nor the water heater are subject to damage from poor sign wave output from a generator.

They are both 12 volt appliances and have the camper converter and batteries to "shield" them from that.

The TV, microwave, AC, etc... possibly, 12 volt items, not so much.

I am not sure what model furnace or water heater we are talking about, but mine give up trying to light after 2 or 3 cycles with no success.

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Old 08-07-2017, 04:22 PM   #6
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I'm in agreement with the previous poster, Brian. More likely the common denominator is the loss of propane rather than the generator having been on (or off) when the propane ran out. Were the control boards replaced after testing or on suspicion?? I'm guessing they were replaced under the warranty? If so not much diagnostic testing. Just repalce the part and move on...
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Old 08-07-2017, 05:07 PM   #7
donaldblanchard
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When the furnace board went out I took it in for warranty and they said it was a bad board. Not sure if they tested or not. I just assumed they would know. The hot water heater board I had tested and it is/was bad. Both are suburban brand models.
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Old 08-07-2017, 05:41 PM   #8
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I thought about what I had posted during the day but you guys beat me to the punch as both those boards are 12v.

That being said it seems unlikely that two control boards on two different appliances would die just because propane had run out....something that happens all the time to campers.

Perhaps one of the forum's EE's can weigh in but it seems to me the common denominator is still power. It could be a faulty converter or it still could be dirty AC causing excessive ac ripple on the converter's 12v DC output.

As a previous poster commented, when you run out of propane the appliance tries to ignite for some number of cycles before it quits. Perhaps the load of the constant ignition tries exacerbate a bad power condition causing some component to overheat.

It would be great if you could put a scope on both the AC and DC while on shore and generator power and see what it looks like.

If it really was two bad control boards you should be OK in the future, if not it's likely to happen again even if you never run out of propane.
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:11 PM   #9
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I'm thinking if another board goes bad while using my generator then I've definitely got a problem. I'll make sure both propane tanks are full before I go out to rule this out, just for the reason bill mentioned above that maybe it over heats some component when it constantly tries to light. Or at least does so when I start the generator. Hope my fridge board isn't next.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donaldblanchard View Post
I'm thinking if another board goes bad while using my generator then I've definitely got a problem. I'll make sure both propane tanks are full before I go out to rule this out, just for the reason bill mentioned above that maybe it over heats some component when it constantly tries to light. Or at least does so when I start the generator. Hope my fridge board isn't next.
Did either of the boards fail when the generator was on? Or did they fail only when the genset was started i.e. initial start up? Or, just what were the conditions?
Where these boards are on the 12v side fuse protected from over power plus behind the convertor and the batteries, I just can't see how the gen power is at question. That said, the symptoms appear electrical in cause.
Here's a stab at a possible cause. Open the power distribution panel and check to see if all the connections are tight. Including the neutrals. Be sure to turn the disconnect switch off and unplug the shore power FIRST!
We had some weird electrical issues in our Cougar. Found all the connections on the neutral buss bar were loose including the main.
Easy to check and worth a shot
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