Frequently Asked Questions About Cummins RV Generators

Engineered for years of trouble-free service and available in a wide variety of sizes and fuel types, Cummins generators provide you with the quiet and reliable power that you need for all of your RV adventures. Read below to learn about frequently asked questions and how to best take advantage of the easy-to-own performance of a Cummins generator. 

Q: Is a Cummins generator capable of charging my RV house battery?

A: Not directly, but the generator can provide power to your converter or charger which can then charge batteries.

Q: Is generator power clean enough to run a laptop?

A: Yes, this is not an issue with Cummins generators. The generator should be turned on and warmed up before turning on the computer, and usual precautions for home use should be followed for RV use as well.

Q: Can an RV generator be used in a National Park?

A: Yes, all Cummins-installed generators meet National Park sound level requirements.

Q: Why am I not getting as much power as I think I should?

A: Many conditions affect the amount of power your generator will produce including load, temperature, and altitude. It is also necessary to keep in mind that battery chargers run as “invisible” loads and are capable of drawing as much power as two air conditioners, so this may affect available power.

Q: How can I keep mice and rodents out of my generator during long-term storage?

A: We recommend using rodent prevention techniques around the generator compartment in the same way you would treat any other area of your RV.

Questions Related to Air Conditioner Use

There are many factors that need to be kept in mind regarding air conditioner use with your Cummins generator including running additional appliances, the wiring of your RV circuit breakers, preventing short-cycling, and more.

Q: Is it effective to use the generator to power a roof air conditioner while traveling on the road?

A: Yes – a generator is meant to provide portable, electrical power. It also uses less fuel than your vehicle engine, so it will help lower fuel consumption. This use also provides an opportunity to exercise the generator.

Q: Can an air conditioner and microwave be operated at the same time?

A: This is possible in lower temperatures and altitudes or with high-efficiency ACs. Cummins 2,500- and 2,800-watt generators may be overloaded when the AC unit cycles off if the microwave is running. However, all other Cummins generators can operate both appliances at the same time.

Q: Will a high-efficiency air conditioner provide more power in reserve?

A: Yes, because high-efficiency air conditioners use 30% less power and are easier to start, more power is available for other uses and better fuel economy. High-efficiency units also have higher cooling output than standard air conditioners.

Q: What happens if I “short-cycle” my air conditioner unit?

A: While an air conditioner is running, the compressor builds refrigerant pressure. When the compressor is shut off, it must stay off for a period of time to allow pressure to equalize. Short-cycling occurs when the air conditioner is restarted before the pressure equalizes. If this happens, a circuit breaker may trip on the generator or breaker panel, the generator engine may stall, or the air conditioner compressor could trip its overload.

Exercise and Maintenance

It may be surprising that not using your generator can cause performance issues, but that’s exactly the case with RV generators. Regular “exercise” is an integral part of keeping your generator running for years to come. Ignoring exercise suggestions can cause moisture buildup and fuel system degradation that will affect performance.

Another part of maximizing performance includes keeping up with regular maintenance intervals. Maintenance information for your generator can be found in the operator’s manual.

Q: How often do I need to exercise my gasoline/diesel/LPG generator, and why is this necessary?

A: Under ideal conditions, Cummins generators should run for at least two hours every month. Once started, apply as much load as possible including air conditioner, heat pump, appliances, etc. to place 50 to 70 percent load on the genset. This is necessary to heat up the alternator windings and remove or expel excess moisture. On gasoline and diesel gensets, running the genset brings fresh fuel to the carburetor.

Q: What do I need to do if I will not be using or exercising the generator every month?

A: This will depend on the type of generator. There are no special requirements for LPG generators.

If an RV with a diesel generator will be stored for longer than six months, treat the fuel tank with a diesel stabilizer then run the genset for two hours at 50 to 70 percent load to circulate the treated fuel through the entire system.

Q: How often should I perform maintenance on my generator, and will doing maintenance myself affect my warranty?

A: You can refer to the operator’s manual for your generator to learn more about proper maintenance intervals and procedures. To ensure warranty coverage, proper maintenance is required and may be performed by any engine repair establishment or individual. We also recommend keeping an accurate log of any maintenance.

Q: Do I need to do anything to the generator oil before putting it in long-term storage?

A: Yes, before putting your RV in long-term storage, make sure to change the oil to match the anticipated temperature conditions when it will be put back in service.

Cummins originally aired article.

Contact your Lichtsinn RV Service consultant today for additional questions on your Cummins generator. 

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