How to Hook Up an RV Generator

by Steve Gregory ; Updated October 04, 2017

Hook up a generator to your RV.

rv image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com

One of the perks of RV travel is having access to your appliances and electronics while you're on the road – but your RV's battery alone won't be able to power all those devices. That's where an RV generator comes in handy, and fortunately for you, hooking one up requires just six simple steps.

The type of generator you purchase for your RV will depend on two major things: the cost, and the amount of electrical power your RV requires. Once you have the right materials, you can hook up a generator to your RV without much difficulty.

Select the location on the RV to attach the generator. The location should be sturdy enough to support the generator and be easily accessible – for example, the trailer tongue and rear bumper are good sites. Many RVs already have built-in space allocated to accommodate a generator.

Mount the generator. If your RV has a built-in generator tray mount, mount the generator onto the tray. If your RV is not equipped with a built-in mount, drill the holes for the mount into the location for the generator. Screw the mount onto the location. Make sure the mount is secure and sturdy before placing the generator on it. Secure the generator with the supplied straps, clamps and brackets, double-checking that each one is fastened tightly. Whether your mount is built-in or not, ensure that the access door is available and fresh air can enter the unit.

Attach the fuel supply to the generator. Some RVs have a fuel supply option for generators. The RV shares the vehicle's fuel with the generator. Screw the fuel line from the generator to the RV's on-board supply. Tighten to make sure there are no leaks. If your RV does not have a supply option, connect the fuel line to the on-board propane tank.

Connect a battery to the generator. A lawnmower battery will suffice for most RV generators. For larger generators, use a car battery. Secure the battery next to the generator with the battery clamp, ensuring that the clamp is screwed in tight. Connect the negative and positive terminals of the battery to the corresponding terminals on the generator. Place the protective cover over the positive terminal.

Dampen the sound of the generator. The generator can get quite loud when it is in operation. Unscrew and open the generator's enclosure. Paste industrial glue on one side of the sound dampening mats. Line the sound dampening mats throughout the entire enclosure, then close and seal the enclosure. Allow 24 hours for the glue to dry before using the generator.

Re-route the generator's exhaust. The exhaust from the generator could possibly end up in the RV if it is not redirected. Attach the length of PVC pipe to the side of the RV using clamps. The pipe should run from the generator to the roof of the RV. Clamp one end of the flexible hose to the generator's exhaust port and the other end to the PVC pipe. Turn on the generator and confirm that no gas is escaping.

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About the Author

An avid technology enthusiast, Steve Gregory has been writing professionally since 2002. With more than 10 years of experience as a network administrator, Gregory holds an Information Management certificate from the University of Maryland and is pursuing MCSE certification. His work has appeared in numerous online publications, including Chron and GlobalPost.