A common cause of trouble in RV generators is a loose main drive belt. Most larger-capacity generators (5,000 watts and above) will have one of these belts. This belt transfers power from the generator engine to the main alternator. This alternator is what makes 120v AC power for your RV’s vital systems, including air conditioners and battery chargers.
When the belt becomes loose, symptoms start gradually. You may notice a squeaking sound: occasional at first, and becoming more frequent as time goes on. Eventually you’ll see dim lights, low voltage to appliances, and air conditioners that won’t start or won’t cool effectively.
If the belt is not tightened, it can lead to burn-out of the generator’s AVR (automatic voltage regulator). This part can cost up to $800 plus installation, so it pays to prevent damage to the AVR. If your generator has more than 750 hours of runtime or is more than 3 years old, your belt probably needs to be tightened or replaced.
Working on an RV generator is somewhat difficult and requires special tools and training. To tighten the belt, the generator must be removed from the RV in almost all cases. There simply isn’t enough room to access the belt otherwise. But once it’s done, your generator will be much more reliable and will prevent damage to the coach electrical system and the generator itself.
If you’re traveling through Southwest Florida and need service for your RV generator, give Tropical Generator a call at 239-206-4509. We’re your Fort Myers and Naples generator experts. Generator expertise is very specific, and hard to find. You need an expert to correctly diagnose generator trouble. We’re happy to help.
This one is hard to believe. In a previous blog posting we talked about a local surgery center in Cape Coral and how their previous generator company performed inadequate maintenance. As it turns out, it’s worse than we thought. In addition to the previous company, there was in fact a third generator company involved. This company is a huge, regional distributor for a major generator manufacturer. It appears from their own documentation that they faked a load bank test on a medical facility.
Read more ›
We got a call from a local surgery center in Cape Coral, Florida. Their generator was having problems and their existing generator company wasn’t taking care of it. Any location in Florida performing surgery is required to have a backup power source. You can imagine how bad it would be if the power failed during a critical surgery. Lives could be at stake. Despite this, some of our competitors don’t treat medical generators with the respect they deserve.
The existing generator company was under annual contract to handle everything related to the generator. They failed to do so, neglecting even basic maintenance items. When we arrived, the generator barely started and ran poorly. Not what you’re hoping for when power fails during a surgery.
Here’s a picture of the inside of the distributor cap, an important part of the engine which requires regular maintenance:
Generator distributor cap showing severe corrosion and electrical pitting.
You may notice the little silver tabs (there’s 4 of them in this photo). This distributor cap is original to the generator, over 7 years old, and has received no maintenance in that time. It was desperately in need of replacement. You can see the heavy corrosion and roughness on the little tabs. Without a new distributor cap, this generator could have failed at any moment.
It is sad to see customers get burned by unprofessional generator companies that take money every year, but are unwilling or unable to perform the basic maintenance needed to keep a generator working properly.
If you’d like to get a competitive quote on generator maintenance or repair, call Tropical Generator at 239-206-4509 (press option 2 for service). You’ll talk with an expert who can get your generator where it needs to be — ready for power outages.
From time to time we get calls from customers that are unsatisfied with other Southwest Florida generator dealers. But why are they unsatisfied? Every company is going to run into difficulties occasionally. Customers don’t typically mind when something goes wrong. They DO mind when problems are not promptly and professionally solved. They DO mind when the business doesn’t seem to care. Moreover, there is never an excuse for shoddy installation practices and poor quality. That’s not a “difficulty”. It’s unprofessional. Here’s an example from a recent job. Tropical Generator was called in to repair an installation done by another contractor.
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We sometimes get phone calls from customers that need to power medical equipment during a power outage, or while traveling. Things like oxygen concentrators and CPAP machines. Powering medical equipment requires a clean power signal from a quality generator. Using a cheap, low-quality generator to power these devices can damage the device. The good news is that you can easily power medical equipment with a high quality home standby like Cummins or Kohler, as well as portable generators with inverter technology such as Honda, Yamaha or Kohler. Read more ›
We received another phone call today from a customer that had a problem with “XYZ generator company” in Naples. I’m genuinely sorry to hear when customers are dropped, even though it does sometimes mean we gain a new customer. The sad part is, the customer doesn’t usually find out they’re in trouble until a power outage strikes and the generator doesn’t work.
Here is what to look for in a generator company (Naples, Fort Myers, Estero or elsewhere): Read more ›
When we install generators in Cape Coral, we get a few unique questions.
First, security. I’m not sure whether crime is really higher in Cape Coral, or if customers there are just more security-minded for other reasons. How difficult is it to steal a standby generator? Pretty hard. A standby generator weighs about 600 pounds and requires at least 4 people to pick up and move by hand. This makes it almost impossible to load into a pickup truck without a crane or lift-gate. We have these on our trucks, but most crooks probably don’t. Read more ›
It takes about 3 weeks to install a generator system if you already have propane or natural gas at the home; or 4 weeks total if you don’t have gas and it needs to be added. This takes into account time needed to pour a concrete slab, place the generator on the slab, and perform many other tasks like electrical and gas connections. Obtaining the necessary permits from your local municipality can extend this schedule if they aren’t prompt in issuing permits.
Currently, the City of Cape Coral is taking 2-3 weeks just to process our permit applications. The Town of Estero, about 10 days. Collier County, 2-3 weeks. So, if there’s a hurricane, what happens to installation times?
A hurricane will disrupt the local permitting department, as they are inundated with requests pertaining to repairs of roofs and structures. Expect several weeks for permitting as well as the usual 2-4 weeks for actual generator installation. The additional delays after a hurricane make it all the more important to install your generator now.
If the worst does happen, give us a call. We may be able to get a temporary solution for you while waiting for permits and other holdups.
It’s tempting. You’re trying to size a generator for your home, and you come across an online calculator from a generator manufacturer. You plug in your appliances, what you want to run, and it spits out a recommended generator size. Unfortunately, these generator size calculators are almost always wrong. Here’s why, and what you should be doing to get an accurate generator size. Read more ›
We’ll just have to hope there isn’t a hurricane this year. That’s what a potential customer says when they decide to wait until next year to get prepared for power outages. Sometimes it’s for budget reasons, but many times it’s because life’s other priorities make thinking about power outages a little inconvenient. The sad part is seeing these same folks suffering later on, in the aftermath of a major hurricane. Read more ›