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Old 10-05-2014, 01:27 PM   #1
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'90 Itasca 120v appliances only work on shore power

Hi; I have a 1990 Itasca Sunflyer 28' motorhome with an Onan 4000 generator that I may be having a problem with. When I was living in it all the 120v appliances worked fine on shore power (from the RV park's outlet). After disconnecting the shore power and leaving the RV park to park the RV in storage a few miles away later I discovered that running the generator will no longer power the 120v system at all (no microwave, dorm type replacement refrigerator, roof air conditioner or 6 gallon water heater). I went over to the RV one day while it was parked in storage and tried to run a vacuum cleaner from one of the external power outlets while the generator was running to no avail; this is how I discovered this.

Upon doing some research on the Internet I am suspecting the transfer switch is either bad or inoperative.

I have checked all the circuit breakers that I could find (inside the RV as well as under the front hood and at the generator) and none appeared to have been tripped. When I unplugged the 30 amp power cord from the RV park's box everything was either turned off or not using much more than standby mode current (microwave oven display) with the one exception of the refrigerator which was still plugged in. Could this have been a factor somehow?

The only other thing I haven't yet checked is the inverter which is located underneath a heating vent inside---perhaps that is where the transfer switch is located or perhaps another circuit breaker?

I am new to RVs and can use some good advice as to where to look for the culprit and how to fix or at least diagnose things further. I have some basic electrical knowledge and a digital multimeter if that helps.

Hopefully my unplugging the 120v shore power didn't foul things up but I'm not sure how that would or could in the first place; any enlightenment will be appreciated. If anyone knows where the transfer switch is located (near the generator?) that will be most helpful, too.
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Old 10-05-2014, 01:42 PM   #2
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Try following your shore power into your RV to find the Transfer switch. It should be between the shore power and your 120V circuit breaker panel. After you find it take it apart with power off and check all connection. They are notorious for getting loose.
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Old 10-06-2014, 10:28 AM   #3
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I'm heading over to the RV later today and will look for the transfer switch. The circuit breakers are inside the bedroom (back of the RV) beneath the side cabinet drawers and I have no idea how to get behind them unless the panel is screwed in.

There is no power anywhere in the storage lot so now worries there. I'll try to take a picture of the generator/power connection area to post here; maybe someone can tell me what the transfer switch looks like from that, fingers crossed.

Thanks for your help, I'll see what I can find or figure out.
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Old 10-06-2014, 07:55 PM   #4
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Are you sure you a transfer switch? On coaches without a transfer switch the shore cord has to be plugged into the generator receptacle to power the coach.

Chuck
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Old 10-07-2014, 09:16 AM   #5
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I used to have a 28' Dutchmen class C and you had to plug the cord into the receptacle at the rear when unhooked from shore power or no generator power. Also it was under some tension and sometimes would vibrate out enough to lose the 110. If the microwave clock was out I knew to go reseat the plug.
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Old 10-07-2014, 02:19 PM   #6
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I'm hoping you both sort of hit the nail on its head here; perhaps my Itasca doesn't even have a transfer switch in the first place. If so, plugging the power cord "back into itself" might just be what I need to do in order to power the 120v appliances off of the generator.

I was out at the RV yesterday but I was busy inside cleaning out stuff as I'm getting ready to put it up for sale---and I didn't have enough time or energy left to delve into the power situation---but I will go again and take a good look at the power cord panel on the back and see if looks like the solution is staring me in the face.

If I am in doubt I will definitely take some photos of the panel and the generator area which might help here later on. Thanks for your help and I'll report back either later or tomorrow.

When I bought this RV last year it was all done rather quickly---I flew up to Wisconsin, the owner picked me up and drove me over to the RV and showed me the ropes---all in about an hour or two at the most. It was a lot of new information for me to take in so suddenly and I can't remember what he might have told me about running off the generator at the time. I looked through the big owner's manual and couldn't find anything more on the subject so that's why I ended up on this great forum.

Fingers crossed!
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:11 PM   #7
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Sure enough---that tip paid off big time! I plugged the big power cord into the socket at the back power panel and fired up the generator. The clock on the microwave came to life as did the water heater lighted switch (which I immediately turned off)---so now my problem is solved.

Chuck and Duoglide1; Thanks very much for pointing the right way out to me!

I took some pictures which I will try to post tomorrow in case anyone else is faced with the same dilemma; it could save a lot of headaches knowing the right way to hook things up. (when I disconnected from shore power I had forgotten that the big plug should be plugged back into the generator socket, duh!)
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:24 PM   #8
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Zagando, thanks for the update. Just curious, when you sell the coach are you planning to buy another one?

Chuck
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Old 10-08-2014, 08:47 AM   #9
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Glad you're back in business.
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Old 10-08-2014, 11:31 PM   #10
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Zagando, thanks for the update. Just curious, when you sell the coach are you planning to buy another one?

Chuck
No, although I really enjoyed living in it for five weeks my wife and I have no real need for it as we seldom have time for road travel; so once it is sold that's it.

But if I win the lottery (I play every time I buy gas) I would get another in a heartbeat! It is like a private rail car or being on a sailboat, in my opinion. I can see why so many people love their RVs.

Thanks again, Chuck (and Duoglide)!
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