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Old 03-16-2014, 05:27 PM   #15
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I use an oscilloscope, but I believe my kill-a-watt also measures frequency. (DISPLAYED IN HZ), The scope is the best IMHO, because it shows the waveform, voltage and you can determine frequency all in one shot, and you can freeze the screen and even take a picture of it, but the kill-a-watt should work. A Kill-a-watt is <$20 and you can get one at Lowes, HD or many other places, and it is sooo handy for a variety of power and current measurements.

You said it "revs up" do you mean goes faster? Usually you will hear a change in pitch as you put more load on it but I don't think it should go faster with more load. But I am an Aeronautical Engineer and not a diesel/Gen technician, so again, I would defer to someone who has more expertise than I do on this subject. My knowledge is say that of a "Lay Engineer", with more than 50 years RVing.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:59 PM   #16
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Yeah it just goes up in pitch. It's always done that though so it doesn't seem like that's an issue. With just the lights on it idles at a low pitch. Then if I make coffee the pitch will go up for a bit then come back down.

It did that before the lights started flickering.
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:01 PM   #17
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The transfer switch looks clean. No burnt parts or corrosion.
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:09 PM   #18
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That transfer switch looks clean, are the contacts clean also? While that panel is off, I suggest you tighten those screws on the wires, even though there is no sign of anything being loose it is good to keep connections tight.

A pitch change is normal with a load change.
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:17 PM   #19
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What do you mean by "contacts"?

You mean where the wires connect in the transfer switch?
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:21 PM   #20
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Also, if the voltage is dipping at the generator wouldn't that eliminate the problem being at the transfer switch?

Or is that bad logic.
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:27 PM   #21
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The contacts may not be readily visible. When you switch between shore and gen power, the ATS contacts switches between the shore cord and the gen wires as shown on the picture. Given everything looks clean with no discoloration, I suspect all might be OK there but a small mirror might allow you to see the switching contacts, They should be clean with no pitting. It is good to periodically check this item anyway.
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:28 PM   #22
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The HDK series is indeed an inverter generator AC to DC and back to AC - it varies it's rpm based upon load rather than a conventional which sets a governed speed of either 1800 or 3600 rpm.

The kill-a-watt requires being plugged into an outlet - I'd test with the main breakers off thus seperating as much as you can from the genset load without getting into dangerous stuff like troubleshooting the transfer switch. So using the kill-a-watt wouldnt be ideal, preferably using any good volt/ohm meter than can read Hertz.

Contacts are the points that connect together on the contactor there in the transfer switch.

The voltage dipping at the genset wouldnt necessarily eliminate a problem at the transfer switch or even further up the line.

Turn off your main breaker(s) inside the coach and watch the voltage at the genset again. Does it dip? If so, does the RPM increase when this happens?
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:31 PM   #23
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94 Newmar, sounds lie you have a good handle on this, I will sit back and learn, I was not thinking of an inverter gen. One could put a pigtail to plug the Kill-a-watt on the line, but if the OP has a multimeter that measures frequency, I agree it is easier.
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:35 PM   #24
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Ha! Im learning too Libero... every day it seems.. every day. If the voltage continues dipping with the main breaker in the coach off, and the RPM isn't increasing, Im afraid he's looking at a replacment inverter/controller board.... Very easy to change however they are NOT cheap...
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:16 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94-Newmar View Post
Ha! Im learning too Libero... every day it seems.. every day. If the voltage continues dipping with the main breaker in the coach off, and the RPM isn't increasing, Im afraid he's looking at a replacment inverter/controller board.... Very easy to change however they are NOT cheap...
Thanks, You might be right indeed, but re testing with no load, I would think testing the gen with some load, say a water heater or some other pure resistive load with other sensitive stuff off might be better. Just my thoughts. I know all my portable airfield systems generators always had dummy resistive loads when no real load was applied. I recall signing SOP's on this matter many years ago when I was the unit CO.
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:37 PM   #26
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OK I am going to be the bad guy here. Take it to a shop. It is almost impossible to troubleshoot electrical problems without some basic knowledge. Same for diesel engine problems. If the OP does not know that his diesel generator does not have spark plugs, Has no clue what you mean by frequency. Will not be able to operate the oscilloscope most people use to do that. Does not understand what is meant by contacts. He really does not have the general knowledge to be helped. I don't work on Diesel engines because I do not have the basic knowledge to understand how the various systems work. In addition to not having the knowledge to troubleshoot the poster is also working with dangerous voltages and could be at risk of being electrocuted. Send him to a shop that can safely troubleshoot his problem.
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:41 PM   #27
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Gamini5632

I think the idea of going to Onan etc was suggested and agreed to by the OP, but he was curious and wanted to explore options and learn. Perhaps you missed those earlier posts on this matter. However learning how things work often means listening, reading and looking and soliciting help from others. This is what I like about this forum. It is full of helpful savvy folks. We were all rookies once and it is a bad day when I don't learn something and I have been around RVs longer than most on this forum and I am still in the learning mode and dispense advice or make comments when I think I can add value.

And I agree, not everyone is skilled or knowlegable in electrical safety so GENTAL reminders are always welcome and appropriate in certain situations and is appropriate here.

I would imagine if a person owned an oscilloscope for example, one might assume they would know how to use it. On the other hand if they did not have one and thought it would help diagnose problems, this might be a further indication that taking the RV in to have it checked by an expert might not be a bad idea. I would be concerned about not only about low voltage and off frequency issues to a smalller degree but I would want to see the waveform of a generator that appears to be acting up. An oscilloscope would be able to demonstrate all of these..

While the OPs knowledge on certain systems might be less than others who have been in the business for a long time, I would expect someone who has the temerity to dig into this area and ask, might have some basic electrical safety knowledge, but again you have a point and sometimes gental tactiful reminders are a good thing. One cannot be too safe. But no questions are dumb IMHO and I encourage those who simply don't know just ask the question and not be admonished for doing so.

I too recomend it be taken to a shop or have a person who is savvy in this area have a look at the Gen.

It is difficult to pitch a ball game if you are not in the park or even try to instruct someone how to throw a knuckle ball by email. in essence we are not in the park on this one.

Good healthy dissertation. My comments are made from a most helpful and positive perspective. Please take it as such.

To the OP, please keep us posted on how you make out.
GOOD LUCK
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:27 PM   #28
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Basically I've found that specifically RV mechanics are more than happy to fleece you. One time (In Chicago) I left my RV at a shop for an oil change and to have the guy look for any other problems. I didn't give him permission to fix anything. When I came to pick it up he had replaced the brake pads, put new tires and brakes on my trailer (pulled behind the RV) and a big laundry list of things I didn't need. The trailer and tires were brand new... two months old.

He told me to suck it and if I wanted my RV back (I live in it) I had to pay $2400. Otherwise I could sue him which would be futile because I signed some small print that gave him permission to rob me blind.

Another place (in San Jose) I actually just hired to inspect this very electrical problem. They said they had a two hour minimum at $175/hr. Great... $350 just for an inspection. I wish. The bill? $1400. According to them it's $350 per item inspected... batteries, inverter, gen... Just robbery. I know they spent 10 minutes with a volt meter.

You know what they told me for $1400? I had a bad inverter/charger.

Guess what?!?

I removed the inverter/charger completely and replaced it with a breaker in a junction box and it's still doing the same thing.

I'm just sick of getting robbed so my last resort is to come here to get some basic knowledge to battle these gangsters. I'll take it to a Cummins service armed with some basic knowledge to isolate the problem so they don't charge me $1000 for inspection of my water heater or something else completely unrelated.
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