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Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 10/25/21 09:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

@ Bobbo and Dutch, I understand the concept, but real world, the concern is virtually none.
Examples, just the recent ones with my own generators, 7kw backup power for the house. It's probably 15 years old? Runs when the power goes out. Sometimes, several times a year, during the rainy periods. Sometimes sits for a year or more.
Honda 2k, hadn't used it in like 2 years and used only during summer trips occasionally. Just fired it up a couple weeks ago to use it briefly. No issue.
Our "new" camper, 4+ years old. Onan genny had a total of 8 hours on it as of this spring when we bought it. Owner hadn't camped in it or used the generator since 2018. Somehow it fired up and ran ok on the 4 year old gas in the tank...and no issues with the generator, generating.

Is it better to use it than let it sit indefinitely? Absolutely, I believe so. Not unlike any other ICE powered anything.
But if one takes the right care (draining fuel or treating fuel, run carb dry if possible, etc) then no harm will come to the generator by sitting over the winter.

Also, OP is in NY. It may not be a good idea to heat up the camper in the middle of winter. Or may be more effort than it's worth. If you heat up a camper covered in snow, once you start melting the snow, you kinda need to get rid of all of it, so it doesn't turn to ice.


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Sagebrush

Jacksonville AL

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Posted: 10/25/21 09:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Its not good to run the generator unloaded for long, you want to have at least a light load on so its not bouncing or surging off the governor. Just enough to hear the RPM drop a little. A little cube heater works fine, doesn't take much. I can turn on the AC fan and hear the RPM drop some, plus the lights and the battery charger loads it some. The main thing is good fuel if its a gasoline unit! I exercise mine at least once a month or more year round. I'm still on the original 2005 carb. Been using Marine Stabil and an occasional dose of Berry's for a long time with good results.

Skibane

San Antonio, TX

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Posted: 10/25/21 01:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dodge guy wrote:

fill the tank with stabil or seafoam and drive it to stir it up. then run the generator long enough to get it into the carburetor. it will then be fine to sit all winter.


Yep.

Most problems with hard-starting (or not being to start the engine at all) are due to ethanol in the fuel.

The ethanol gradually absorbs moisture from the air, which eventually forms water pockets.

Fuel treatments can help prevent this (or at least delay it long enough to avoid problems).

Another approach is to use ethanol-free gas in the generator, which can be purchased at many gas stations nowadays: Pure-Gas.org

wa8yxm

Davison Michigan (East of Flint)

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Posted: 10/25/21 04:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grab a few space heaters. Set 'em on LOW and make sure no two of them are on the same circuit breaker. 3 of them will be about 55%

If your rig is wired for a washing machine use that outlet for one of them. That one may be a 20 amp breaker if it is you can go to HIGH on that one and one more

Other wise keep 'em on low. and as I said Spread the load across 3 breakers

Don't have that many outlet circuits. Well two may be enough to get the heat up on the genny.

Re the Pure gas suggestion

There are TWO reasons to run a generator often ONE is gasoline, the other is electronic.


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KD4UPL

Swoope, VA

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Posted: 10/25/21 04:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As Dutch pointed out and everyone else ignored the main point of running an Onan per the manufacturer's recommendation it to keep the electrical parts in good shape. Sea foam, draining the carb, etc. have absolutely nothing to do with moisture and corrosion in the slip rings. They have nothing to do with moisture and corrosion in the windings.

OP,
I always used a little electric heater to load my 2,500 Onan. The 1,500 watt heater was a bit above 50% load. If you have a 4,000 watt generator a 1,500 watt heater is still probably fine. A larger generator may need two heaters to get approximately 50% load.
Is this RV parked near your house? Run a cord into your house and run the heater in there. This will help keep your house warm for you.

Silas Carpy

Elmira N.Y.

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Posted: 10/26/21 06:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks again all. KD4UPL, Rig is in driveway, why didn’t I think of that? Gen is 3600 watt so I guess I’ll need 2 1500 heaters, run one on full, one on 750 to get enough draw. Also gen is propane fired so I don’t know how that figures in with all the talk about gas and carburation.

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 10/27/21 03:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It means you don't have to worry about any fuel quality issues or deposits in the carb.
I wouldn't get too wrapped up in trying to approximate load. If you must run it to sleep well at night, plug in, whatever. And if you don't think that's enough, plug in a few whatevers.

Used to be the "recommendation" was to keep the field windings from de-magnetizing. Honestly can anyone who is adamant about this relate an actual experience where the windings needed re-magnetized or corrosion kept the generator from operating properly?

JaxDad

Greater Toronto Area

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Posted: 10/27/21 06:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grit dog wrote:

Used to be the "recommendation" was to keep the field windings from de-magnetizing. Honestly can anyone who is adamant about this relate an actual experience where the windings needed re-magnetized or corrosion kept the generator from operating properly?


Funny you should bring this “recommendation” up.

A good friend of mine inherited the family summer place, on an island in the Great Lakes. Electricity is supplied by an old Onan genset. Maintenance involves changing the oil every fall (mid October) and then running the carb dry till ts sparked back up the following Easter.

It is well into mid 5 figures on the Hobbs meter, never an issue, ever.

The only difference between those old units and today’s units?

Cummins has more / better lawyers than Onan did……..

Dutch_12078

Winters south, summers north

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Posted: 10/27/21 06:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grit dog wrote:



Used to be the "recommendation" was to keep the field windings from de-magnetizing. Honestly can anyone who is adamant about this relate an actual experience where the windings needed re-magnetized or corrosion kept the generator from operating properly?


I haven't seen a de-magnetized RV generator in years, but I cleaned the corrosion buildup off a pair of Onan 7000 slip rings for a fellow just last month because it wouldn't keep running when he let go of the start button. The generator hadn't been run in 4-5 months.


Dutch
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KD4UPL

Swoope, VA

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Posted: 10/27/21 07:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I too have seen several Onan generators installed at off grid cabins need their slip rings cleaned. It usually happens a couple years after I install solar systems in the cabins and the owners stop running their generators all the time. They just sit their unused while the owners enjoy the new solar system. Then, a long cloudy stretch comes along and the gen will start but not stay running until the rings get cleaned.

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