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Old 11-10-2019, 06:45   #1
WDR
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Portable Generator / AC

I found a thread on this but itt turned out to be nothing but arguing and eventual closing of a 7 page thread, and no answer.

I have a ‘RV Ready’ 3.5 kw portable Champion Generator that the shore power cable plugs right into, and it is able to run many things, save two critical items that I need to resolve.

1.) With everything off, and only trying to run the AC, it never starts cooling. The fan works but it was never able to kick on the compressor.

2.) I also noticed that the battery charger, when turned on, shows ‘revers polarity’ on the breaker panel.

Nothing was damaged and all worked like it should on the shore power at the slip.

I am assuming it has something to do with the grounding, or lack there of. However, I know very little about boats and grounding.

I am including photos of the AC unit, the generator panel, and the charging controller so the identity of these units might be ascertained by those knowledgeable.

Am I supposed to have a ground line running from the generator to one of those ground zincs or whatever they are?

Also, is that a 20k BTU AC and if so, is 3.5kw large enough to run that?
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:52   #2
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Re: Portable Generator / AC

For the bat charger, try running it without the boat ground connected to the generator ground.
As for the 3,5 kw capacity for the AC, the compressor is pulling a lot on startup, maybe more the the genny can provide. Good luck.
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Old 11-10-2019, 07:24   #3
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Re: Portable Generator / AC

I have been using a Honda 2K on 2 boats over the last 12 years and have the same issue with both boats. I also have never had an issue. I've learned to ignore it.

You might be able to install an EasyStart to help with the initial load during AC start-up. Once running, it should not draw a ton. Only the initial startup is large.
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Old 11-10-2019, 07:40   #4
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Re: Portable Generator / AC

As far as the A/C, you will need to install a Micro Air Easy Start.

I am now able to run my 12K A/C on a Honda 2200 companion model.
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:08   #5
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Re: Portable Generator / AC

What type of A/C unit do you have? I have a Webasto 5k and it pulls 21 amps to start and then 2 amps to run. I had a 2kw gen that wouldn't run it, but upsized to a 3.6 kw gen and it does fine. As others have said a start capacitor might help. You might want to check the resisitance in your sore power cable as well. For one thing, they are usually pretty long and that causes a drop in current. Wear and tear and corrosion can also increase the current drop.
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:11   #6
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Re: Portable Generator / AC

Ditto on the Miro air Easy Start. I tried everything else. That solved the problem.
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:34   #7
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Re: Portable Generator / AC

Another issue to check is if the generator has a floating neutral or a bonded neutral. Should be on the panel near the outlets and also in the manual. Some equipment with electronic controls will not run with a floating neutral.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:16   #8
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Re: Portable Generator / AC

We’ve used a Honda 2000 to power a companionway 5000 BTU window unit. Works fine but I have never heard a reasonable explanation as to by the red polarity light illuminates every time the generator is used.
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Old 11-10-2019, 11:42   #9
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Re: Portable Generator / AC

Quote:
Originally Posted by WDR View Post
I found a thread on this but itt turned out to be nothing but arguing and eventual closing of a 7 page thread, and no answer.

I have a ‘RV Ready’ 3.5 kw portable Champion Generator that the shore power cable plugs right into, and it is able to run many things, save two critical items that I need to resolve.

1.) With everything off, and only trying to run the AC, it never starts cooling. The fan works but it was never able to kick on the compressor.

2.) I also noticed that the battery charger, when turned on, shows ‘revers polarity’ on the breaker panel.

Nothing was damaged and all worked like it should on the shore power at the slip.

I am assuming it has something to do with the grounding, or lack there of. However, I know very little about boats and grounding.

I am including photos of the AC unit, the generator panel, and the charging controller so the identity of these units might be ascertained by those knowledgeable.

Am I supposed to have a ground line running from the generator to one of those ground zincs or whatever they are?

Also, is that a 20k BTU AC and if so, is 3.5kw large enough to run that?
Most portable generators are not meet ABYC standards as the come from the factory. Per ABYC, the neutral must be connected to ground at the source. On most portable generators neutral is floating. Easy enough to connect Neutral to ground at the generator, but note you can only have one neutral/ground connection at any given time. Same applies to inverters or an AC source.
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:25   #10
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Re: Portable Generator / AC

That is some great information from all. Gives me plenty to go on and I am not exactly sure of the AC type and BTU but it is on a 36’ Trawler and it is not the window type or other portable type.

Also the manual for the generator does say something about the possibility that ‘sensitive’ electronic devices might not work properly, but I never thought of HVAC type systems as sensitive.
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:32   #11
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Re: Portable Generator / AC

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Originally Posted by ramblinrod View Post
Most portable generators are not meet ABYC standards as the come from the factory. Per ABYC, the neutral must be connected to ground at the source. On most portable generators neutral is floating. Easy enough to connect Neutral to ground at the generator, but note you can only have one neutral/ground connection at any given time. Same applies to inverters or an AC source.

Thanks but to be honest, that is the same type stuff you had posted in that other thread and that is way beyond my comprehension.

I could definitely see myself getting electrocuted trying to accomplish something like that.

Now if there was some type of plug or adapter that accomplishes your neutral to ground suggestion for operation of only the AC , then knowing what it is would be much more helpful.
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Old 11-10-2019, 13:07   #12
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Re: Portable Generator / AC

Micro Air has a "Generator Bonding Plug" ..... would that help? Perhaps you could get in touch with them for a solution?


https://www.microair.net/collections...12272654155860


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Old 11-10-2019, 13:32   #13
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Re: Portable Generator / AC

I have a tri-fuel converted (gasoline, propane, natural gas) Honda 2200 never used (new) and a Soft start if anyone is interested, in Ohio (Lake Erie). Was going to use it for A/C but never installed the soft start so no need for the generator. Would save you $250 or so. If interested PM me.
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Old 11-10-2019, 16:36   #14
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Re: Portable Generator / AC

Quote:
Originally Posted by tpkas View Post
Micro Air has a "Generator Bonding Plug" ..... would that help? Perhaps you could get in touch with them for a solution?


https://www.microair.net/collections...12272654155860


Regards,


Brian

Oh thank you. Never heard of such but I guess it does what Rod was mentioning and others had mentioned.
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Old 11-10-2019, 17:39   #15
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Re: Portable Generator / AC

You can just go to your local hardware or Home Depot and buy a bare plug. Connect a wire between the neutral and ground. That's all a generator bondingl plug is.
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