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Old 03-12-2015, 08:53 PM   #1
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Driving with generator running

I've seen RVs on the road with their generator running. Is there a law against it? Does anyone here do that? I don't have a problem with it but don't know the laws.
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:42 PM   #2
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I have done it many times with a conventional RV.
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Old 03-12-2015, 11:27 PM   #3
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Never heard of any law against it.
Done it many times.
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Old 03-13-2015, 12:27 AM   #4
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No such law in California. I see it all the time.

My Crown bus conversion has a generator that is capable of running while going down the road. It gets its diesel directly from the bus fuel tank. I wanted to do this because I wanted to be able to have one of the roof air conditioners going when it was hot.

We purchased computerized inverter and charger system to connect to our generator. The concept is that when you turn something on in the bus that is electrical, this system figures out what the draw is going to be and then decides whether to pull from the battery bank or turn on the generator. it all happens in a split second. We are told by experts that we can set up the system so that the bus alternator will also be charging the bank of agm house batteries while the engine is running. A big enough alternator putting out over 150 amps will allow up to a 15,000 btu roof top air conditioner to be on without the generator going. This is conditioned on you having a large enough bank of house batteries and a big enough alternator that is set up to be charging those house batteries as you move down the road. My Crown has a 170 amp alternator. Although above the minimum I also know that a bigger alternator would make sure that this double duty does not strain it and reduce its useful life or even worse, burn it up. I am paying for a 250 amp alternator from one of my client school districts. So, I am told by these electrical experts that this will work as follows:

1) It is 100 degrees outside, and I am driving my Crown down the highway and I am hot, sweating like a stuffed pig, and generally miserable.

2) I ask my lovely navigator (also known as She Who Must Be Obeyed) to turn on the front roof air conditioner.

3) She graciously gets up from her comfortably inclined navigator's chair and turns on the front air conditioner.

4) The computerized generator system (ours is from Onan) and its components sense that an electrical demand has hit the system.

5) It instantly checks what is available (shore power, battery bank, generator), senses that the battery bank is available, checks the available charge, sees that the charge can handle the load, and turns on the AC.

6) The system will be constantly checking to see if the battery bank can still handle the load. The AGM battery bank can since it is being constantly replenished by the larger alternator.

7) The occupants are happy and sweat free.

I have been told that this setup will work easily. They also told me that a second roof top AC running at the same time would be out of the question unless I want the generator to come on while moving. Again, it depends on key factors such as a large and efficient house battery bank (we have AGM's), a computerized interface with the generator/inverter/charger setup, and a large enough alternator. We don't see a situation where we would need to turn on the second AC unit while on the move.
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Old 03-13-2015, 07:53 AM   #5
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O.k. Thanks everyone! I'll be running the gen so we can cook, keep the fridge cold, run the bath fans, lights etc.
Great news!
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Old 03-13-2015, 08:38 AM   #6
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only issue you may have is if it is a gasoline engine

The needle in the carburetor may bounce off the seat causing engine to flood out and die

easiest solution for that would be a dual fuel gas/propane conversion for the carb

this could allow propane going down the road and gas while stopped or propane all the time

Make sure whichever direction you go to install a couple CO detectors
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Old 03-13-2015, 10:10 AM   #7
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gmarvel

Only some big coach alternators are able to push a continuous 150 amps +.

If you try that with most alternators, they will burn up.

I would see if there is some way to add a temp prob to your alt, connected to the system management. Or some way of restricting the output of your alt to a safe, continuous output.

I have a few one wire Chevy alternators in the small case form. Some are as little as 50 amps, one is 120 amp, a 160, and a 220 amp. As the ampage increases, the duty cycle drops.

Nat
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Old 03-13-2015, 10:36 AM   #8
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Yep, I learned that the hard way with my 150A powermaster POS. By the way, powermaster guaranty is worthless and they will not repair or send you a new alternator. Still pissed about that deal and its been several years now.
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Originally Posted by nat_ster View Post
gmarvel

Only some big coach alternators are able to push a continuous 150 amps +.

If you try that with most alternators, they will burn up.

I would see if there is some way to add a temp prob to your alt, connected to the system management. Or some way of restricting the output of your alt to a safe, continuous output.

I have a few one wire Chevy alternators in the small case form. Some are as little as 50 amps, one is 120 amp, a 160, and a 220 amp. As the ampage increases, the duty cycle drops.

Nat
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Old 03-13-2015, 10:47 AM   #9
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Yeah, that duty cycle is super important. Pushing 150A for a short time to charge a battery is way different than pushing it constantly. Think about it, 150A @ 13.8V is 2000 watts (P = E * I). A 2000-watt generator head looks like the lower-right here. This is designed for continuous duty:



Alternators are great little devices, but they're not magic.
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Old 03-14-2015, 06:46 AM   #10
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ambulance alternators are designed for high output/continuous. but they have their limits also. another note, usually, the higher output alternators perform poorly at lower engine speeds.
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