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Old 05-19-2014, 09:43 AM   #1
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No coach power from generator

Hi, just wondering if anyone had issues when running their Kohler generator on their MH. Like when you go from shore power to generator power and nothing happens inside the coach. I had the problem once and thought it was the transfer switch gone bad or some other issue with it. After not knowing any better I ordered a transfer switch box like a noob, because I read on other forums that my problem was probably a faulty transfer switch. Anyway, that did not solve anything. Still no generator power in the coach. If I had used a volt meter to begin with I would have found out there was no juice getting to the transfer switch box. Yes, I am still learning.
I crawled under the MH and was going to see if there were any wires loose or something. I saw this backing plate on the rear of the generator and thought I would take it off and look in there for problems. The first thing I saw were all these copper windings and in the very rear, center was a donut shaped brass ring with 2 electrical sending units on its outside surface. Excuse the wrong technical terms for what I was looking at. At any rate this brass ring, instead of being nice and shining, I saw what appeared to be a black film on its outer surface. Well, I thought it wouldn't hurt to clean this rings outer surface, maybe I would get better contact or something good may happen. With some very fine 3M thin foam pad sander I cleaned it all up like new looking. I then went back into the coach, not expecting anything good to happen and fired up the generator. Low and behold it was now sending power to everything. Wow, just a simple thing like that caused this, me thinks. I am just glad it wasn't a worse case scenario, that I would be spending big money on.
Thought I would pass this on, in case someone else had the same problem. I am new here and maybe all this has been addressed here in the forums. Thanks.
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:24 AM   #2
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Good tip. A much more common problem would be a tripped circuit breaker on the generator.
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:32 AM   #3
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I've also had the wires inside a junction box between the generator and transfer switch come loose which caused the same issue. Rule of thumb is check for voltage at the generator first, then trace it back.
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Old 05-19-2014, 08:43 PM   #4
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Just had this happen this week. I had an open neutral at the chassis connection box. Switches, breakers everything read 120VAC but no real power... Low and behold, loose wire nut. Tightened the wires, put on three fresh wire-nuts and presto - Perfect power. Measured it at 121.2VAC @ 60.4 hz with a full load. - Perfect and an easy fix - very rare
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Old 05-20-2014, 08:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qdup View Post
Hi, just wondering if anyone had issues when running their Kohler generator on their MH. Like when you go from shore power to generator power and nothing happens inside the coach. I had the problem once and thought it was the transfer switch gone bad or some other issue with it. After not knowing any better I ordered a transfer switch box like a noob, because I read on other forums that my problem was probably a faulty transfer switch. Anyway, that did not solve anything. Still no generator power in the coach. If I had used a volt meter to begin with I would have found out there was no juice getting to the transfer switch box. Yes, I am still learning.
I crawled under the MH and was going to see if there were any wires loose or something. I saw this backing plate on the rear of the generator and thought I would take it off and look in there for problems. The first thing I saw were all these copper windings and in the very rear, center was a donut shaped brass ring with 2 electrical sending units on its outside surface. Excuse the wrong technical terms for what I was looking at. At any rate this brass ring, instead of being nice and shining, I saw what appeared to be a black film on its outer surface. Well, I thought it wouldn't hurt to clean this rings outer surface, maybe I would get better contact or something good may happen. With some very fine 3M thin foam pad sander I cleaned it all up like new looking. I then went back into the coach, not expecting anything good to happen and fired up the generator. Low and behold it was now sending power to everything. Wow, just a simple thing like that caused this, me thinks. I am just glad it wasn't a worse case scenario, that I would be spending big money on.
Thought I would pass this on, in case someone else had the same problem. I am new here and maybe all this has been addressed here in the forums. Thanks.
Interesting post I am trying to figure out what you cleaned. When you say donut shaped brass ring did it look like someone had taken a hacksaw blade and made shallow cuts into the brass all the way around it. Did the sending units have a wire coming from them and have something sitting on the brass ring. What you are describing sounds like the brass ring was an armature and the sending units are brushes. I am just curious to see what you did. But if your armature was coated and you cleaned it that would definetly make a huge difference.
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Old 05-20-2014, 08:40 AM   #6
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Sounds like the slip ring to me.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qdup View Post
The first thing I saw were all these copper windings and in the very rear, center was a donut shaped brass ring with 2 electrical sending units on its outside surface. this brass ring, instead of being nice and shining, I saw what appeared to be a black film on its outer surface. . With some very fine 3M thin foam pad sander I cleaned it all up like new looking. I then went back into the coach, not expecting anything good to happen and fired up the generator. Low and behold it was now sending power to everything.
Thought I would pass this on, in case someone else had the same problem. I am new here and maybe all this has been addressed here in the forums. Thanks.
qdup
I'm happy to hear that cleaning the copper rings, on which the brushes ride), fixed your problem.
As you discovered, badly corroded copper rings prevent the generator from producing electricity.
BTW, one of the reasons for "periodic generator exercising" is that exercising helps prevent, (and cleans off), corrosion.
Mel
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Old 05-20-2014, 02:37 PM   #8
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Beleive the item that was cleaned was a commutator. JM2...
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Old 05-20-2014, 04:09 PM   #9
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Beleive the item that was cleaned was a commutator. JM2...
Onan calls them "slip rings".
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Old 05-20-2014, 05:01 PM   #10
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I believe it is a segmented commutator on a generator for DC but solid slip rings on the spinning field of an alternator. The two "sensors" were the brushes. I could be wrong but it is a fairly educated guess. ;-)
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Old 05-20-2014, 06:56 PM   #11
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Are you sure that you didn't plug the electrical line back into the RV. I did that once.
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Old 05-22-2014, 12:58 PM   #12
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Thanks for the correct terms used to describe what I was trying to communicate. Now I will not sound so noobish what I explain to someone else what my generator power problem was.
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Old 05-22-2014, 01:38 PM   #13
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Thanks for the correct terms used to describe what I was trying to communicate. Now I will not sound so noobish what I explain to someone else what my generator power problem was.
qdup
We were all newbies at one time.
I'm glad you where able to fix your generator problem relatively easily....
(some of us "oldbies" have paid a lot of $$ fixing our gensets).
BTW, thanks for posting how you did it.
Mel
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