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Old 07-07-2010, 07:08 PM   #1
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Generator won't start

I've got an Onan QD 12.5 that won't start. When I use the start switch on the generator, I can hear a clicking in the control unit, but it never cranks. After 30 sec or so it gives up and I get a service code 32:

STARTING FAULTóCODE NO. 32
(The Controller could not detect cranking speed [quadrature zero crossings] for 12 seconds)
Corrective Action:
1. Have the vehicle propulsion engine running while trying to start the genset. Its charging alternator may be able to maintain a high enough battery terminal voltage to start the genset.
2. Service the battery as necessary by cleaning and tightening connections, recharging or replacing the battery or replacing damaged battery cables.
3. Change the engine oil to oil of the proper viscosity for the ambient temperature. High oil viscosity can slow down cranking speed.

Since it never actually turns over at all, I don't think any of the above are appropriate. I'm thinking it must be the starter solenoid. I'd like to give it the "tap" test, if I can find it. Heck, it's worked on cars for me.

Anyone know where the solenoid is? Or had a similar experience?

It's a three year warranty, I guess I'll call Onan.

joe
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:13 PM   #2
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As with almost everything you should check cable connections and GROUNDS. I emphasize grounds because it seems they are overlooked by everyone. Do this first and Good luck!!
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by TandW View Post
As with almost everything you should check cable connections and GROUNDS. I emphasize grounds because it seems they are overlooked by everyone. Do this first and Good luck!!
Yeah, that's my project for tomorrow morning. Crawl underneath and check the battery connection cables.

joe
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:15 PM   #4
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I *think* you did this but to make sure, try to start it from the switch actually on the QD. That isolates all interior wiring out of the equation. BTW - That "clicking" sound you hear (at 2 to 3 clicks per second or so) is actually the QD fuel pump priming so power is getting to the QD.

I think you've got the QD that's buried in a noise box? Or was that just the London Aire? Not sure how the battery feed enters on it. On the EX w/o the noise box, the main two battery wires that connect on the lower rear of the QD often corrode up necessitating a cleaning.

You might also have a safety interlock on the noise box that might have a loose wire/switch. There isn't any other interlock except for the AGS interlock which is a switch on the QD slide rails on the DS toward the front of the QD. But that just defeats the AGS when the slide is open.

Finally settled on NAPA Battery Terminal Cleaner Macs 1072 and more importantly NAPA Battery Terminal Protector Macs 1073 (the orange stuff on the terminals in the battery bay) have stopped this corrosion problem for me and I use it on every screw/bolt type electrical connection, especially grounds.

It'll still be daylight up there, you can work on this all night! Yeah, right...

PS: Get a cocktail at the Grande Denali on top of the hill in town.
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:12 PM   #5
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Yeah, I was using the switch on the genset. That's the one you can read the service code from. According to the manual, the battery leads enter from the back bottom. I couldn't see that area without crawling underneath, so I didn't check it out.

The casing looks like the genset on the Onan website, so I don't think it's in any kind of noise box. According to the website, this model meets NPS noise regs without anything added on.

So tomorrow I'll check the connections, then pick up some cleaner and protector when I can get to an auto parts store.

joe
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:55 AM   #6
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Just want to make a suggestion. See if you can pull cover to the front control box a see if it's full of water. Dash air drain drips down on mine and shorts it out. There was no drain hoses off each side of Evans AC.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:20 AM   #7
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Just want to make a suggestion. See if you can pull cover to the front control box a see if it's full of water. Dash air drain drips down on mine and shorts it out. There was no drain hoses off each side of Evans AC.
Which control box are you referring to? I took the inspection port off the side of the genny, looks fine in there (but a bit dusty).

joe
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:17 PM   #8
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Please DON"T smack the starter case with a hammer or other solid object. The field coils in the small starters are ceramic magnets. When struck they (magnetic fields) shatter and the starter will be useless. I've seen too many boat & lawn mower starters ruined with a hammer. In the good ole days field coils were made of copper windings-you could smack one of those types and jar the brushes into one more start.
Good luck...
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:42 PM   #9
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Underneath the control switches. Here's a manual
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Onan HDKCB 12.5KW generator owners manual.pdf (2.72 MB, 60 views)
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:15 PM   #10
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Underneath the control switches. Here's a manual
Oh, I see. I opened the inspection panel to the right, but not the one under the switches. I'll probably do that saturday.

joe
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:18 PM   #11
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Well, I got underneath today and checked the battery cables running to the generator. The connections on the bottom of the generator were clean and tight. No corrosion, nothing loose. I was able to check the ground wire running from there to a nearby frame member. Also looked clean and tight. I wasn't able to trace the positive line, but I went back to the battery bay and cleaned all the dirt off the tops of the batteries and checked the posts. All the connections there were also tight, with no sign of corrosion.

So I think I've done everything I can at this point.

joe
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:24 PM   #12
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Let me see if I have your symptoms right:
You hear the clickity click click while holding the starter down but no indication of any starter action trying to turn over? I'll add good clean connection all the way to the genset. Is that right?

I'll call an Onan guy I know at Ft. Wayne Cummins and see if he can at lest give a couple thoughts so at least you'll know what to expect.
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Let me see if I have your symptoms right:
You hear the clickity click click while holding the starter down but no indication of any starter action trying to turn over? I'll add good clean connection all the way to the genset. Is that right?
Correct, as far as I can tell. Hmm. I should check the voltage at the battery connections. BRB. OK, got 13.05v at the terminals. That should be fine.

Oh, and same symptoms with or without the drive engine running.

Quote:
I'll call an Onan guy I know at Ft. Wayne Cummins and see if he can at least give a couple thoughts so at least you'll know what to expect.
Thanks!

joe
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:36 AM   #14
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We have an appointment at Cummins Northwest in Anchorage on monday. Just hope we don't need to boon-dock until then.

joe
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