Dave Solberg

Quick Overview of an On Board RV Generator

Dave Solberg
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The on board RV generator has many different functions that we as RV owners must be aware of before using our unit on the road. Most RV generator models can be easily accessed from the outside of the unit. Most models can often be turned on from the inside and outside of the unit and can take several tries when brought out of storage. Newer models have a primer position on the start button located on the generator itself. Simply depress the start/prime side of the button until the light comes on, and then start the generator. This is a handy feature to help prime the generator after it has sat for a long period of time.

The RV generators usually have two circuit protected with a circuit breaker. Larger units with two roof air conditioners have a 30-amp circuit breaker that goes to the distribution center and a 20-amp breaker that goes to the back air conditioner. This makes it possible to run the front air conditioning unit on the 30-amp and the bedroom unit on the 20-amp all from the same RV generator. It is not uncommon for these circuit breakers to trip due to vibrations and bumps while traveling down the road. So if there is an issue, check to make sure they are flipped on before continuing any other troubleshooting steps.

The On Board RV generator has a fuel filter and is typically fueled by the on board fuel tank through the sending unit. Most on board RV generator sending units are plumbed higher than the automotive engine sending unit. This is a safety feature that does not allow the generator to run the main fuel tank out of gas and leave you stranded at the campground.

Check to see if your unit has an altitude lever to help adjust for thinner air in higher altitude, and a winter/summer lever. Use the manufacturer’s recommended air and oil filters to ensure you are getting the proper filter and not getting an inferior product. There are secondary filters and a spark plug that is easy to get to on top of the RV generator.

The oil filter and dip stick are both very accessible on the front of the unit and the drain is located just under the dip stick. Check the manual for maintenance recommendations based on hours and months.

Checking the generator should be part of your pre-departure checklist. With a little maintenance and proper care your generator will last a long time.

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