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Generator Wiring and Power Transfer Relay

Aug 4, 2013
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Tags: Electrical

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I have a Honda EU3000i generator and I love the thing. I bought it in Dec 2002 and have over 1000 hours on it. If it quit tomorrow I would buy another one just like it. It runs the AC with no problem. When we are just trying to get some miles behind us we will often over night in a WalMart parking lot or a truck stop. Having power gives us a lot of flexibility.

When traveling in the western states I often run the AC all day long because it takes a long time to cool a hot camper in the evening. I place the generator in the truck bed. Check this post for the weather proof cover I made for my generator.

With my previous Wildcat 5th wheel I ran a cable from the front of the camper to the rear where the 30 amp service entered. You can read about the modification here.

I wanted to try something different with the Copper Canyon. I had read about power transfer switches and wanted to try one. Also the Copper Canyon did not have a rear storage area where I could install a 30 amp RV outlet.

I think I paid about $60 for the box from Amazon. Check the photo for the brand and model number.

With my model the power panel is in the kitchen cabinet in the middle of the camper. Luckily the cabinet backs up to the wall that separates the inside from the storage area. This gave me easy access to run wiring through the front storage area into the cabinet with the power panel. I just had to get cabling from my generator to the storage area.

I opened the front door to the storage area and looked around. I pried the thin plywood from the frame so I could look forward toward the fifth wheel pin box. The metal framing had some holes and gaps where I could safely run a 30 amp cable. I think I used an electricians "fish tape" to pull my 30 cable from the king pin area through the gaps and holes into the storage area. You can see the cable in the front storage area in this photo:

At the king pin area there was no hole or gap in the metal cross bracing area so I had to drill a hole in the exterior siding on the under hang. I wrapped the yellow cable in black electrical tape and caulked the hole with black caulk. I think it looks fine.

The rest was easy. My 30 amp cable from the generator connects to the transfer box as well as the 30 amp shore power cable. In the photo below the yellow cable is my cable I installed from the king pin area. The orange cable is the Copper Canyon 10 gauge wire for the shore power. It had previously connected directly to the power panel. The gray wire from my transfer box now connects to the power panel.

The transfer box has a delay of 20-30 seconds. With the AC running on shore power, I can fire up my generator, plug in the yellow power cable and after the time delay the power transfer box will disconnect the shore power and connect the generator to the Copper Canyon power system. And it happens so quick the AC keeps running. I can then store the shore power cable.

I really like this system and it has worked with no problems to date.


You may be interested in the next article, Water Filter.

The previous article is Backup Lights.

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