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Thread: Generator prep package

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    Senior Member dave10a's Avatar
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    Generator prep package

    I am new to the world of fifth wheels and I am trying to determine the best approach for using a generator. My unit has the generator prep package, but I have no clue what it consists of other that a generator start switch and hour meter that is in my control panel. Are transfer switches used in 5th wheels and where is the ground and neutal bonded? If I use an external generator should it supply the bonding of the ground and neutal or should it be isolated. For some strange reason important information that I need to make sure I meet the electrical codes is very obscure :-0
    Thankyou
    2012 Landmark San Antonio
    2012 Ford F350 King Ranch SRW
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    Senior Member wdk450's Avatar
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    Re: Generator prep package

    Dave:
    The generator prep consists of a mounting base and vapor isolating shroud in the front storage compartment, an automatic electrical transfer switch in the front compartment, the start switch and monitoring controls at the lighting control panel, and associated wiring. According to what I have heard about the codes, Neutral is NOT to be bonded to ground within the trailer's standard wiring, but the neutral IS to be bonded to ground at the trailer's power source (shore pedistal or generator). Trailer mounted generators are to have the neutral bonded to ground within the generator, but this is contrary to standard code for portable generators. If you have the high-end, add-on, trailer electrical protection devices added to the trailer wiring they will cut off the power supplied to the trailer if the supply neutral is NOT bonded to the ground wiring.
    I guess if you want to be completely legal with a portable generator, you would open the case and bond the neutral to ground whenever you use it with your trailer, and remove this bond when using the generator in any other way. I found a discussion on the neutral/ground bonding of portable generators on RV.net, and the (controversial) solution given there was to make a jumper plug from a power plug with a neutral-ground jumper wire in it, and plug this plug into the 2nd generator outlet when using the 1st outlet to supply the trailer.
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    Re: Generator prep package

    Wow. Never heard of the neutral / ground issue. Very interesting. Did hear many people mention that you can't use the electrical protection devices with the generator... so now that makes sense.

    We use a portable generator (Honda EU2000), and are very happy with it. Most campgrounds we go to have power, so don't need it there - not interested in listening to a generator in the woods, either.

    We use it when tailgating. The EU2000 has enough juice to run 2 complete TV setups (DirecTV/DVR/TV) and all the lights and water pumps in the RV, for about 10 hours on one tank of gas. We run the fridge off propane, and don't use the microwave. Being portable, we can move it to where it's least likely to bother people (it's also a very quiet generator), and aim the tailpipe out to the street.

    Works well for us - but we don't have the generator prep in our rig, so that's not a current option.
    Dave & Tina, plus our back-seat driver, Denna (the mastiff)
    2011 Elk Ridge 29RKSA
    2008 F350 SD 4x4 Crewcab, LB, SRW, 6.4L Diesel

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    Senior Member brianharrison's Avatar
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    Re: Generator prep package

    Bill did a great job of summarizing the issue, as I understand it as well.

    Neutral/ground issue very common for portable generators. As mentioned, it creates concern when a power protection device which monitors open neutrals detects and shuts off power from the generator source. Not a concern for trailers/units without a power protection device. Some of the newer Landmarks are coming from factory with a power protection/surge suppresor device, however I am unaware of the actual start date for this option, or the particular brand/model.

    I do a lot of boon docking and run a Honda gen (EU3000i) with floating neutral. I have over come this issue with installing the Progressive Industries 50 amp Hardwire Surge Protector EMS-HW50C, which allows me to bypass (shut off the power protection with remote display switch) when on generator power. The surge suppression is still active in bypass.
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    Senior Member dave10a's Avatar
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    Re: Generator prep package

    Thanks for the inputs and my ohm meter confirms that neutral and ground are not bonded in the trialer which is good thing and safe. I guess I have to find the transfer switch because it not in the front comparment where the hydrolics are. At least if is there it is very small ;-) It must be hiden somewere else. Anyway I am glad that 5th wheels use or intend to use transfer switch and I assume that it must be cabable of at least 50 amps. I wished the manufacturers would not play "find it if you can" with customers. It would be nice if they would make documentation like schematics and plumbing layouts available so my life could be a little more easier. I have what Heartland calls the "full timers" package which is supposed to include a voltage suppressor, but I don't know where they hide that as well--- if it really has one. I am starting to queston Heartland's credibility at this point.
    2012 Landmark San Antonio
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    Founding MA Chapter Leader-retired recumbent615's Avatar
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    Re: Generator prep package

    Dave - I can not help you with the location of items in your rig or what came with it -Because I own a Cyclone. When ever I have an issue I call Heartland Customer Support and they have always been able to tell me where things are and what was in my unit's build. You may want to look for the transfer switch behind the panels in the basement storage. That is where mine is.

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    Heartland: Director of Owners Interests jbeletti's Avatar
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    Re: Generator prep package

    Dave,

    The transfer switch is located behind the utility bulkhead wall (behind the water heater if you will). Couple of screws and you'll be able to locate it.

    If you haven't taken that wall down yet, there are 4 or so white painted screws in the back left corner of the UDC to remove. Then a couple of black screws on the black felted wall panel on the left side.

    With the wall off, look straight back into the coach, about center. It's a silver box with three 50 amp cables connecting to it (shore in, gen in and an output). Most likely, Progressive Dynamics brand. Same brand as your Converter.

    The gen input terminates in the front generator area, but outside of and to the right of the gen box. You'll see a 4"x4" electrical box. I believe that's where the gen input is terminated. It's there that you would begin to fashion your own termination for your portable gen(s). But you can always tear into the transfer switch, pull the gen in line out and route your own into it.

    Have fun and be safe.

    Jim
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    July 28th, 2018 porthole's Avatar
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    Re: Generator prep package

    Get in the basement - have someone plug your trailer in and wait a few seconds - when you hear the load "clunk" you will know where the transfer switch is.
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    Doug S
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    Re: Generator prep package

    Dave, I have a 2011 LM and I believe yours might be close in layout as mine. I found it easy to get to my transfer switch by taking the white battery box out. The transfer switch on my unit is right behind this box. Taking the battery box out was a trick the first time, but I have trimmed the tabs down so it now comes out and put back in easy. I just wired in a surge protector before the transfer switch by taking out the battery box. I guess I have had the battery box out half a dozen times doing different wiring projects.

    As for generators, I have two 2000 Honda gen which I run from the truck bed through a 30 amp shore line at the pin box connected to the 4 x 4 electric box that Jim talked about. I ordered my unit with just the wiring for the generator, minus the generator box in the front basement.
    DougS

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    Senior Member dave10a's Avatar
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    Re: Generator prep package

    Thanks for the reply, I just ordered a Yamaha inverter generator to carry in the bed of the truck. It will be backup for my stick house and trailer. I have to install a switch to allow unbonding of neutral ground for my home and bonding for the trailer it comes with neutral grounds bonded. I will assume that a transfer switch exist in my trailer because I have a connection for a generator in the front compartment, but I am still wondering about the surge suppressor that is suppose be included in the full times option when using campground power. I have made a neat little tester, thanks to this forum, to confirm campground power is proper with appropriate neutral grounds and phasing. Also I have Hughes auto former to boost power when needed and I am not sure I want to build it in. So I think I am good to go....
    2012 Landmark San Antonio
    2012 Ford F350 King Ranch SRW
    DW and the cat

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