How to Use RV Generators

An RV generator supplies power when you're off the grid.
An RV generator supplies power when you're off the grid.
RV generators provide you with power even when there isn't a hookup available at your campsite. An RV is fully self-contained and comes with everything that's needed for off-grid travel so that you shouldn't have to go out and buy a generator. However, just like a home generator, it's important to use the unit correctly and keep it well maintained to prevent problems.


Difficulty: Moderate
Things You'll Need:
  • Fuel
  • Fuel
Step 1

Use the same fuel in the generator as you do for the RV. The generator should be equipped to get its fuel from the same tanks that fuel the rig. It has an automatic kill switch to keep you from accidentally running out of fuel when traveling.

Step 2

Read the manual carefully when using the generator for the first time. There will be instructions on how to start the unit. Some have an electric starter which is linked to a remote start panel inside the RV. Once started, they charge their coach batteries with a DC charging system so they can continue running.

Step 3

Break in the RV generator by running a 50 percent load for two hours. After that, increase it to a 75 percent load for another two hours. This will allow the generator to break in a cycle before you pull heavy loads on it.

Step 4

Run the generator for two hours every month with at least a 50 percent load to keep it working smoothly. A 50 percent load entails running your roof air in the summer or portable space heaters in the winter on the generator.

Step 5

Exercise RV generators regularly or they can have fuel problems. This can occur with as little as one month of non-use. The additives that are mixed with fuel will react to the outside temperatures, and adding fuel additives will not solve the problem.

Step 6

Run the shore power and RV generator separately. According to, connecting both power sources is unsafe and can cause severe damage to your electrical system or cause a fire.

Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.
rv,motorcoach image by Greg Pickens from

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