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Old 10-27-2012, 06:32 PM   #1
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Thumbs down Generator Start/Start Switch Issues

So far I have had my "new to me" 96 Monaco Signarture RV, 45' , all electric RV for about two months. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I have not had a happy day since I have owned it, and most of it is not particularly the fault of the RV, probably moreso my ignorance, but either way, I have to overcome whatever regrets that I have with it, and am hopeful, as I have so often told others in some collector car clubs I belong to, "The first time that you can get it to operate correctly, you will begin the relationship with it all over again and not have an unhappy day. Fingers are crossed. Right now, I'd settle for being able to get everything on the RV working so that I can actually use it for a change. This is my first large Class A RV, but I have about 12-14 years of RV opeating in a smaller, Class C RV. I just needed the extra space for spending more time in in now that I am on Sabbatical and writing my book, and may just to decide to completely retire in the not too distant future.

My current "critical stumbling block" relates to the somewhat, or what should be simple, task of starting the Generator from any one of the three interior switches. It starts up just fine if I run it out front and use the switch on the back panel of the RV [Sorry, it is a "Singature" model with the "all electric package" I have torn my soul out trying to figure out what I am doing wrong, as the generator starts right up, stablilizes after 3 mins, the inverters come on, the refrigerator comes on (or the light, etc. does, I know that they should be turned off at all times while trying to get the generator on line initially, and they appear off, but I cannot find out where the on and off switches are to make sure that they are fully disconnected when the generator is started. But now to the heart of the problem. I get absolutely no response from any of the three switches inside of the coach, nothing, no dimming, not grinding, nothing that indicates that the starting circuit on the generator starter motor. Nor can I turn the generator off from any of the switches. The little lights come on in the switches when it is operating, but nothing happens while trying to such it down. I can go outside, run the generator out front and then use that switch to rurn the generator off. I careully try everything that I know, can hypothersize, follow the instructions in the manual explicitly, but nothing happens inside of the coach. The worst thing about owning an RV that one is not smart enough to operate is that is then becomes "Yard Art", a further irritant because one has to look at it daily which is guarenteed to accelerate one's blood press up into the "approaching futility zone". Soo, as a new member, new owner, Good Sam member, disabled Vietnam Veteran, etc. I am pleading with ANYONE out there who may be able to tell me what it is that I am doing wrong, and what I must do differently to be able to use the RV as designed. Mea clupa's in advance, as well as a plea for forgiveness for my ignorance, stupidity, or whatever term that the individual who can assist me with this problem so that I may, for the first and hopefully not the only time hereafter, I can actually begin to to better enjoy ownership by virtue of actually being able to use it once or twice? Worst of all, I had gotten out front of myself and promised my Grandson a trip during the Thanksgiving School Break.

I am usually the "Go To" guy when it comes to "Due Diligengence, but this time my problem is that I "failed to do diligence".

Dr. Steve
[as my friends call me to differentiate me from my son who is also named "Steve"]
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:54 PM   #2
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You said "It starts up just fine if I run it out front and use the switch on the back panel of the RV". I don't know any specific details about you coach, but, on that panel you refer to, is there a switch that that allows or disallows starting the generator from a remote location?

Jim E
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:21 PM   #3
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Could be the 12 volts that is supposed to supply the interior devices is not getting power. A cutoff switch such as a "salesman switch" etc. may be off.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:48 PM   #4
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Generally speaking, all RV generators have an interior start switch(s). These are usually a 4 wire harness which runs to the genny and plugs in. Because the genny is exposed to the elements, they are very subject to corrosion and the major problem with starting from within the coach.

Find this connector, unplug and clean all connections. Also inspect the wires going into the connector. They can corrode and break and not be seen.
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:21 PM   #5
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ExplEngineer,
First off just a suggestion for you. Go to your "UserCP" link in the menu and in your signature, put in the make, model, year and engine in your coach. This will show up at the bottom of your posts and help others get information back to you that is more accurate.

As far as your generator goes, I am guessing you have either the 10kw or larger generator by Onan. If so, stand in front of the generator and look at the wiring coming in from the top left side of the generator box. As Clyon51 said, there should be a connector with multiple wires. It is a snap connector. Look at it closely and at the tabs that hold it together. They may be broken off from earlier service. That is not a problem. Separate the connector and make sure it is cleaned, snap it back together and if necessary attach some wire ties to hold it together. If the generator is on a slide, check to make sure the connection is not under a strain when the slide is out. Let us know what you find out.
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Old 10-28-2012, 11:12 AM   #6
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Page 19 will give you an idea of the connection mentioned. You should be able to take a couple of voltage readings on the plug and then check on the inside switches.
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Old 10-28-2012, 11:16 AM   #7
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I just want to add a note of encouragement. My advice to anyone owning an RV or thinking about it. You need to be good with tools or a check book. These are not built like space shuttles but are about as complicated some days. Heck, if I don't have something to tighten, fix, or modify after a trip I probably need to grease it or change oil. As a pilot of a helicopter what was the ratio of air time to maintenance??? Remember ten thousand parts flying in close formation? Well an rv rattles and shakes almost as hard it seems and is not built to military standards.

So, keep a note pad near, the beer close, and this forum at your fingertips. Heck, this has become my main hobby. Troubleshooting electrical issues.
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Old 10-28-2012, 11:38 AM   #8
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I wouldn't worry about turning off AC appliances before starting the generator, your transfer switch should delay switching on power until generator warms up and stabilizes. Is it possible you have the 3 interior generator switches tied into a relay that is malfunctioning?
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:26 AM   #9
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Here is a general schematic of how my generator remote switch works. The number of switches does not matter. They are all in parallel. Since the indicator lights work the problem is likely near or on the generator.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Generator Start ckt.pdf (55.9 KB, 33 views)
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:05 AM   #10
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Are you certain that the LP detector is on? Had a 99 Bounder that would not start teh Gennie from inside switches if the LP detector is off. Would start fine under the hood.
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:12 AM   #11
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1. Do not worry about features beginning to operate once your surge protector allows electric to flow from the transfer switch when the generator starts. I do prefer to have the roof AC units off, but they come on in a fan mode only, not the compressor mode so probably not a big deal.

2. The inverter can be on at all times even during genset startup.

3. You have three remote starts for the genset and none work. Having had that problem, I found that the wire from the remotes to the genset was broken because the genset was on a slideout and the wires had to move and bounce. Pick a remote switch, and run a cheater wire from the remote switch to the genset. If the genset then reacts to the switch you just need to find the break in the original wire and repair it. The break could be in the positive or negative wire from the switch.

In my case, I have a dedicated starting battery for the genset. If you do not have that set up, then your positive cheater wire may, but not likely, need to run from the remote switch to a battery and then to the genset.

Or, you could also check to see if there is a fuse in the remote switch wiring scheme and it is operational.
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