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Old 02-23-2019, 12:13 PM   #1
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Does the Generator charge House AND chassis Batteries?

Sorry for the newbie question...Does my Onan Generator charge both my house and Chassis batteries? Or just the house?

I went out to start my 2014 Thor Tuscany XTE and the starting batteries were too weak to start it (It has been sitting plugged into the shore 30 amp service for the past 4-5 weeks). I know the starting batteries are getting towards the end of their life after about 5 year. I tried to use the switch to add the house batteries to help start the motor, but it still was not starting the main motor. I WAS able to start my generator, so (Question 1) I was wondering if the HOUSE or CHASIS batteries provide power to start the generator?? And (Question 2) once the Generator starts, does it charge both the house batteries and the chassis batteries? (Final dumb question) Is the 30 AMP shore service also charging the chassis batteries while charging the house batteries? Thanks in advance for the help!

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Old 02-23-2019, 01:17 PM   #2
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Hi PL-AY, until someone comes along with specific model information for you, I'll try to help with generalities.

Typically, shore power and generator power both will charge the house batteries. In some coaches the chassis battery is also charged, but that is not the norm. Also, the generator is started by the house batteries, typically.

Why don't you find out for yourself? Learning about your own coach first hand is invaluable knowledge. With a simple mulit-meter, even a cheap-o unit, you can use the leads to test the voltage of your batteries. Unplug from shore power, and/ or shut the genny down. Let sit for a bit, at least ten minutes. Test all of your batteries and write down the voltage readings. Retest them all while plugged in, then again with the generator running. It should be clear when a charge voltage is going to the batteries with the power sources connected, and you'll be able to tell what does what that way.

If you do find that you are in the norm of your chassis battery only charging while the engine is running, then you have a couple of options. 1) exercise the coach more often. Generally, it is recommended to take it out every 2 weeks for a 20+ mile exercise trip to get things moving and lubrication pumping and bearings turning. Top off fuel, etc. 2) Add a pig-tail lead to your chassis battery so that you can quickly plug in an external battery charger/maintainer. This can often be plugged into an available 20 amp outlet on the pedestal. 3) have a system installed on your coach that will provide charging of the chassis battery while you are plugged in.

Good luck, and happy camping!
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Old 02-23-2019, 01:37 PM   #3
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The generator is a substute for shore power.

What works on shore power will work on generator power, thru the automatic transfer switch. If your chassis batteries don't charge on shore power, they won't charge on generator power.

Your problem is that the switch to add the house batteries to the start batteries controls the same solenoid that automaticly charger the chassis batteries when on shore power.

Its called an isolation solenoid and they fail often. Find it by pushing the switch to add the battery assist, while listening for it to clunk. ( If it doesn't clunk, you have other issues with wiring of fuses. )

If it clunks, that solenoid will be bad, not passing current between the house and chassis batteries.

You may not have this exact layout but the center solenoid is the one that fails often.

Replace it with the same type and things may start working properly.Click image for larger version

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Old 02-26-2019, 06:49 PM   #4
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and charging the chassis batteries when on shore or generator is more typical than not. Even my bargain basement 13 year old Hurricane charges the chassis batteries from shore/generator power.
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Old 03-10-2019, 11:26 PM   #5
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I've got the same era coach as Sweetbriar & our generator will charge the chassis battery & house batteries. We needed to run the generator for a trip that included boondocking rather than stopping at a campground to use hookups, when we discovered the alternator was not doing it's job. Never thought about the alternator giving out, but then it was it's 13th season of use, so I guess it had a good life.

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Old 03-18-2019, 12:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
The generator is a substute for shore power.

What works on shore power will work on generator power, thru the automatic transfer switch. If your chassis batteries don't charge on shore power, they won't charge on generator power.

Your problem is that the switch to add the house batteries to the start batteries controls the same solenoid that automaticly charger the chassis batteries when on shore power.

Its called an isolation solenoid and they fail often. Find it by pushing the switch to add the battery assist, while listening for it to clunk. ( If it doesn't clunk, you have other issues with wiring of fuses. )

If it clunks, that solenoid will be bad, not passing current between the house and chassis batteries.

You may not have this exact layout but the center solenoid is the one that fails often.

Replace it with the same type and things may start working properly.Attachment 235811
don't know which solenoid you will need but I have found the ones I use on eBay, same brand and continuous duty, much cheaper than the other site
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:04 AM   #7
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The answer is, It depends on how the manufacture hooked it up, I know that Winnebago started setting theirs up so that Shore/Genny would charge both the House and Chassis batteries and the Engine would do the same when it's running.
Question, did you leave the batteries connected or did you disconnect them via the disconnect switches? Remember Disconnect means exactly that.
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Old 03-27-2019, 03:30 PM   #8
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On our Citation Sprinter, the shore/generator does not charge the chassis battery. There is a "Store/Use" switch by the side door that disconnects the house batteries. The chassis battery has it's own quick disconnect right above the accelerator pedal. Found this out the hard way a year and a half ago.
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