K.William

What Is Considered Low, Medium, High Generator Usage?

18 posts in this topic

Hello!

I am looking to buy a used Class A or Class C and have seen varying levels of generator usage ranging from 25 hours to 500+ hours.

Can some of you expereinced folk out there tell me what you think qualifies as Low, Medium, and High generator usage?

Thanks!

K.William

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our RV is almost 8 years old. I exercise the generator monthly without exception.

When traveling from A to B, I run it all night during the summer. Trips are usually 3-5 days. Traveling other times, 3-6 hours during trips.

We have done some limited boondocking, and during those times we observe generator hours, probably run the gen 2-4 hours.

After almost 8 years I just hit 600 hours.

That's just my experience and use.

Determining usage, probably depends on the age of the RV the generator is in, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

K. William, Like Explorer mentioned, the number of hrs one accumulates depends on how you use the coach and when generator power would be used and for how long under different conditions.

No one really uses there generators the same or camps and travel to the same locations.

Rich.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks very much!

But it seems like there is an hour indicator on the generator, is this correct?

So I am just curious as to the life expectancy of the generator.

Seems most are using the same brand generator.

Any ideas on generator life expectancy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It should have at least 6 hours per year - that's 1/2 hour per month.

The genny manual calls out two hours per month under half load or 24 hours per year. If it sits 3 or 4 months without running, the fuel used now can gunk up the carb.

Mine is ten years old and I have about 400 hours on it - about 3 hours per month average - although when sitting I only run it about 1/2 hour per month.

We don't boondock but ran it while driving in hot weather so we can run the house ACs.

I have seen 2000 or more hours on a lot of gennys and they still ran great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another consideration is whether is it a diesel genset, or gas, or propane generator. If it is a gasoline or propane generator, is it an 1800 rpm, or 3600, and some are 2500 rpm, which use a belt to drive the generator head at 3600 rpm. 3600 rpm have two sets of windings, 1800 have 4 sets of windings. You can expect a least 4 times of life expectancy from an 1800 generator, due to the fact that it turns half the rpm, and 4 windings can withstand heavier loads than 3600 rpm.

With all this in mind, one would have to know a lot more than has been stated in the op's post to give an educated answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, all very good input.

I was just trying to see what would be reasonabale usage for a generator when looking through the many used Class A ads.

With a minimum life of 2000 hours, 500-1000 hours on a 10-12 year old coach may be okay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

K. William,

Ah ! that clears the water!

There are a number of service intervals, depending on who's generator is installed and the fuel used.

LP burns the cleanest so the oil does not get as dirty, but one still needs to change it once a year along with the filter per the hr.meter and change air filter according to the hr information in the owners manual.

With Gas and Diesel units one also needs to change the oil, air and fuel filters according to the manuals.

The larger units need to have the coolant changed on a regular bases.

Most generators have set maintenance intervals, like 250 hrs, 500hrs and 1000hrs. the 500 and 1000 hr repair intervals can require removal of the larger units to replace the water pump belt and possible cab. work, spark plugs and wires.

Diesel units would include injectors, glow plugs and some other items.

Hope this information gives you a good baseline.

Rich.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was in the tugboat business, we ran our generators mercilessly

.
As a general rule of thumb, our machines we not considered 'old' until they had reached 10,000 hours. Even then, I've known some to last
15 years with proper care and maintenance.

We live full time in our 2007 HR Neptune as we renovate a 19th century farmhouse in rural Virginia. When the power goes out, we think nothing of running the gen until power is restored.

It is a 7500 watt Onan, and we use it most of the time traveling in the summer to run the a/c units. It has just 1700 hours, after all that time and usage.

I change the oil every 300 hours, and the cooling system twice a year.

Knock wood, she has never let us down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Attended the generator seminar at the Perry Rally. They flatly stated that non-use is the biggest enemy of your generator. Stressed the importance of at least monthly exercising under load. Told story of numerous generators running strong with more than 7,000 hours. But you must do your maintenance which is minor and not very time consuming.

KirkDavis post above is also good information about how long they last.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In our shop some years ago when we were an Onan dealer we rebuilt a 6.5 Onan that was in a tool truck. It had some 10,000 hours on it as it ran all day long to power the a/c. We replaced the pistons and valves and it ran like new. I would think that it would be almost impossible to wear one out in an r/v application.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the Gen-Set is diesel, Run it loaded often and long. Plug in to plug in is the enemy. An Entertainer usually has the same number of hours on the Gen-Set as the bus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Plug in to plug in is the enemy". What does this mean please?

"An Entertainer usually has the same number of hours..." What is an Entertainer?

I know, its early and Ive only had one cup of coffee so maybe my brain hasn't kicked in yet but I'm curious.

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim, Plug in to plug in is when you go from one resort or campground to another. An entertainer is a band or Star bus, usually leased. Always Prevo's or MCI's. You can always tell....no awnings and lots of roof tops.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The answer to the question is: if it's a diesel gen-set, run it loaded and often.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I run the gen at least a couple hours a month... usually try to load it with either 1 or 2 A/C pr a couple 1500 watt heaters...

Its a early 2009 with approx 450 hrs on it right now... obviously , I need to be running it more and hope to be doing more of it... I suspect this 80 hrs /yr would be considered "normal" usage...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our older (1997) Monaco has an Onan diesel 7500 genet with 3700 hours on it. In a recent visit to the Cummins service center, they reported a similar unit with over 10,000 hours was still running fine. Run them often under full load to keep them fresh is our motto. Ours runs perfectly and we hope to have many years ahead.

On the west coast, we see lots of coaches with generators that have been hardly used (maybe 10-20 hours annually). I suspect those genets suffer from lack of use more than others do from frequent usage.

Best wishes, and happy travels,

Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now