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Running a RV Generator

First time rider and we are bringing a motorhome. Has anyone who experienced running a generator an issue?? I read that some people may be upset if we ran our generator. The reason is that we would need to run the generator is for Medical Equipment and air conditioning. Thanks!

6 Replies

Thom M, April 24, 2022 at 9:06 am

The reason people might be upset is because generators can be loud and disturb sleep/conversations of other people, which is why many campgrounds have a no generator use after certain hours rule (the times vary by campground).

I’d try to arrange/rent places to park where you could get electricity hookups and thereby avoid the generator use. I know If was parked/camped near you and had to listen to your generator all night, I’d knock on your door asking you to stop using it. And I’d keep doing so because If I couldn’t sleep because of your noise, I’d want you to understand you are disturbing people.

And it isn’t just evening hours, that are a problem, many RV owners will wake up early and start their generators at 5 or 6am because they are up without any consideration for disturbing the morning quiet for other people creating a noise issue all over again.

Please be considerate and find alternate options for powering your Medical gear – I know many CPAP machines and Oxygen concentrators have battery backup options, and there are solutions like Goal Zero/Yeti battery options which can be charged while driving from town to town and power your devices overnight. Powering the AC is harder because they consume significantly more energy.

Good luck and have a great RAGBRAI.


KWBLS, April 24, 2022 at 3:51 pm

Thanks Thom M for taking the time to respond to my inquiry. This gave me the insight I needed and solutions I have not considered.


KenH, April 25, 2022 at 10:25 am

If you park only in the RV designated campground then it is common practice to run generators all night because usually they are isolated from other official campgrounds. People may choose tent camp on or near those campgrounds and those people presumably are ok with the noise. Sometimes the RV campground is right adjacent to official tent campgrounds and when that happens you should be more circumspect about shutting down the generators after hours. There should be plenty of time in the evening to charge devices from the generator. Frankly, in some campgrounds it is debatable which is worse: a) the generators or b) the din from the official entertainment ven
ues which can go pretty late. In some towns worse than either one is the din of passing freight trains!
That is the policy that I have followed for years and I have never had any complaints. When my generator is running and the AC is on the loudest spot on earth by far is the bed right over the generator and that is where I have often slept. The white noise of a generator is not really an issue. The one year I tent camped with a charter the biggest noise issue for me was the late night chatter of the night owls and the very early morning chatter, movement, and did I mention tent zippers of the early birds. Even in very quiet camps those noises are unavoidable and for me at least nearly impossible to “tune out”. The constant drone of generators just disappears from my consciousness after a few minutes.

Try to do your critical charging as early as possible so that if you are in an area where courtesy to others dictates that you shut down by some curfew you can do so without running out of charge on medical equipment.


KWBLS, April 25, 2022 at 10:42 am

Thanks KenH for your response. I will bring battery backup for my CPAP just in case there is an issue so I can be prepared. Hopefully we can run the generator most evenings and have the A/C running assuming it will be a typical July day. I would rather hear the white noise of a generator than the noise of the partiers late at night.


garywilk, April 25, 2022 at 11:31 am

Most of the generators get turned off when it cools off. With the small towns this year, they may really get parked close together and with all the generators running, many are old, the fumes may get bad.
Our CO detectors went off from all of the exhaust in a town last year. We may need to do some scouting of parking locations when the maps start to come out.


KenH, April 25, 2022 at 1:29 pm

It all comes down to doing what is appropriate in the situation each night presents you. Be mindful of the needs and desires of others in situations where we are all forced to share the same space.

There have been years when we only ran the genny to charge things and had nice cool nights to sleep with the windows open. Then there was last year…. There is also the “fact”, or is it a theory?, that sleeping in the heat keeps you acclimated to the heat which helps you out on the road. The hot year that my team deserted me and left me to tent camp with a charter was the year I dealt most successfully with the heat. AC isn’t always your friend.


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