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Old 10-02-2014, 07:03 AM   #1
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Generator vs. chassis charge sytem

Was going to post this on the National RV section, but issue may be more generic and not limited to Nationals, so here goes...

When I run the generator while driving the MH I have to put on several high draw items to keep the chassis battery light from coming on. I will try to expand on this, if I run the generator while driving the battery indicator in the dash cluster comes on, I assume either indicating over charge or under charge situation, so I start turning on "stuff", headlights and then dash fan, either on air or heat, and then the indicator light goes off. Headlights alone not enough need fan on to get light to go off. No other 12v items, i.e. house lights, fans, etc.. will create same effect. First noticed this when I wanted to run roof air while traveling in hot weather, don't do this much but wondering why this might be happening.

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Old 10-02-2014, 07:17 AM   #2
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Try turning off your converter, letting the engine alternator do the charging. Alternator may sense no output, and light the light.
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:24 AM   #3
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It would be nice to know the generator output values and the battery voltage. You can get a Kill-a-watt meter from amazon or harbor freight. and just plug it in to an outlet in the coach.
I would monitor the battery before and after turning things on and see if you see a change in voltage.
Sorry I couldn't be more help. Good luck.....You'll figure it out!
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:05 AM   #4
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Turn the charger off on your inverter/charger.
Remember to turn it back on when you shut the engine off.
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:48 AM   #5
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It sounds like you have a dual feed 12V problem with the generator running the converter. This is speculation that can be tested by turning off your converter when using the generator while driving as folks have pointed out. What I think may be happening is that when the converter is on and there is not much load on it the voltage is feeding back to the alternator charging circuit through the charging path from the alternator. That feedback creates the error your light is sensing. Loading the house 12V sags the DC so it drops a bit and no longer creates and error condition. Putting a real meter on the 12 V lines would also help diagnose the problem.
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Old 10-02-2014, 12:27 PM   #6
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Agree with what others have said, but I hasten to add this is not a normal thing. It appears your house charger output voltage or amperage exceeds the engine alternator output, causing the dash warning light for alternator output to come on. Is this Ford chassis or Workhorse? Maybe differences in the engine alternator system and dash warning lights.

One area of suspicion might be the alternator itself. A bad diode in the alternator can reduce its output to a trickle - voltage is OK but amps are low. What happens if the house genset is off and yu turn on coach headlights and such? Alternator light on then? Can you measure the voltage at the chassis battery with and without a load?
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Old 10-03-2014, 05:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
Agree with what others have said, but I hasten to add this is not a normal thing. It appears your house charger output voltage or amperage exceeds the engine alternator output, causing the dash warning light for alternator output to come on. Is this Ford chassis or Workhorse? Maybe differences in the engine alternator system and dash warning lights.

One area of suspicion might be the alternator itself. A bad diode in the alternator can reduce its output to a trickle - voltage is OK but amps are low. What happens if the house genset is off and yu turn on coach headlights and such? Alternator light on then? Can you measure the voltage at the chassis battery with and without a load?
Well let's see here, this is a ford chassis, and without the generator running all is fine with the electrical system (as far as on can tell with idiot lights), no issues on long trips with the chassis or house batteries draining wile folks are on board using 12v devices and such, I seem to get adequate output from alternator based on ability to run nearly everything like lights, a/c fan on full, radio, rearview camera/tv, dvd player for kids, and other 12v items during 5-7 hour runs with no ill effects on any batteries. I have checked voltage in past at battery and get near 14v when engine is running.

Heading on short run tomorrow, 200 mile run, and will try running generator with the charge/converter unplugged and see effect.
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