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Old 11-28-2012, 03:36 PM   #1
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Onan runs fine, but puts out no voltage

We have an Onan 5500 diesel generator. It starts and runs just fine, but I get no voltage at the generator electrical terminals at the automatic transfer switch.
I had not run it for a couple of months before this time.
I reset the 2 circuit breakers at the generator. They don't snap over like you would expect from a breaker. Instead they move softly, like a light switch would, (but they always have).
Do you think a critter got inside it and messed up the generator inside?
What would be my next step? I am handy and have a pretty good electrical and mechanical general knowledge. But, this is something I know nothing about, so I hope you can share your knowledge.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:04 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pogo View Post
We have an Onan 5500 diesel generator. It starts and runs just fine, but I get no voltage at the generator electrical terminals at the automatic transfer switch.
I had not run it for a couple of months before this time.
I reset the 2 circuit breakers at the generator. They don't snap over like you would expect from a breaker. Instead they move softly, like a light switch would, (but they always have).
Do you think a critter got inside it and messed up the generator inside?
What would be my next step? I am handy and have a pretty good electrical and mechanical general knowledge. But, this is something I know nothing about, so I hope you can share your knowledge.
Hi Pogo, I have an older model 6500 Onan Emerald LP gas. Mine also has a regular old style glass fuse in addition to the two breakers. I also had to replace the voltage regulator. This sounds like the cars of the 60's and older, but it regulates the output of the generator. hope this helps. old trucker
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:08 PM   #3
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Onan

Model Number?
Year?
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:17 PM   #4
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I had the same problem on an Onan 7000 and found that one of the brushes was stuck in the brush holder and not making contact with the rings underneath.I simply pulled the brush out and cleaned the rings with a small stick with a piece of emory cloth taped to it.I pulled the gas line loose so it would not start and turned it over and let the emory shine up the rings and replaced brush when done.Never had anymore problems out of it after that.Hope this helps.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:10 PM   #5
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Snap those 2 circuit breakers on and off a few times. sounds like they have tripped and did not mechanically reset when you moved them from off to on..
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:55 PM   #6
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Can you tell me how to polish the slip rings?? (followup)

This is my followup from yesterday. I removed the 2 30 amp breakers and checked them for continuity. They were fine. The Onan model is 5HDKBA-3590B, Spec B. It is a 2004 model.
I am thinking that I did not run it enough under a load.
Does anyone know how I would polish the slip rings? Or what else needs cleaned up? I read where they can get tarnished if the generator is not run often enough. Have any of you done this before?
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:37 AM   #7
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Although I don't have an Onan generator, look for a seperate reset switch on the generator. Mine would not come online after working on the water heater of all things. I reset the breakers and still nothing. Finally notice a seperate switch on the generator just below the breakers. Re-cycled this switch and the generator came on line. Hope this helps.

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Old 11-30-2012, 08:45 AM   #8
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Yes I have done it before and it fixed my problems.You will need to find where your brushes are installed this will should be on Gennie and usually has a rubber plug in the access hole.Once you find this I think is were 2 screws that held the brush assembly in place remove them and the assembly.Once the assembly is removed you should be able to see the slip rings. I took my fuel line loose to keep genny from trying to start,took a small piece of wood about 1/2 wide,cut a piece of 3M pad and wrapped it around the end and taped it so it wouldn't come loose.Turn genny over and place the pad against the rings and it should should clean them right up.Also check to make sure your brushes move inside the assembly and aren't sticking.Hope this helps, worked for me.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:12 AM   #9
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Your Onan 5500 should be showing an error code if it is not producing power. The light should blink three times indicating service required and then a secondary code indicates the reason. The codes are usually very precise on the "Quiet Diesel" series on gensets. Your owner manual should have the procedure and the codes.

If you aren't seeing a Code 3 (service required), chances are the generator is producing power just fine but somehow it is not getting to the coach load center. That could means the generator breakers or the auto transfer switch or wiring in between.
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:06 PM   #10
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Thanks for your help, gentlemen.
I am getting no signal flashing at all on the lamp on the starter switch. While the generator is running, I get zero voltage at the transfer switch generator terminals, and the 2 circuit breakers checked out fine. It always did work great before, and the RV has just been sitting parked. (probably parked too long without running the generator)
I think 06georgieboy is on the right track, since that worked for him. I will let you know.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:05 PM   #11
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If the slip rings are not making cotact and there is thus no 120vac out the engine will shut off soon as you let loose the start button.

Neighbor of mine a few years back had exactly that happen, we were out in the desert with no power lines in sight (Even with field glasses we could not see any) Thankfully there was one active (part time) TT30 near him (well two of them to be exact) so he had 120vac whenever my Generator was running, between that and his panels (Solar) he survived quite well.
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Old 12-02-2012, 05:37 PM   #12
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As wa8yxm says, the generator itself is producing power if it doesn't shut down and you have no service code. Therefore I would be looking at the wiring harness between the generator itself and the transfer switch.

Your Onan QD5500 is an inverter-generator, i.e. it mechanically generates DC that powers a pair of inverters that then produce 120vac for each of two hot legs on the output circuit.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:42 PM   #13
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Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

I will get back to the MH tomorrow. I would never have imagined that the enclosed wiring in the Sealtite would have a problem. But, I definitely will check it out, starting at where it connects to the generator.
I sure didn't know that the generator would shut down if it was not producing electrical power.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:55 AM   #14
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Problemed solved, thanks to your help

I love this forum. Thanks to your help, I fixed the problem of getting no voltage at the transfer switch terminals. I examined all of the wiring.
Yes, two of you were correct. There was no problem with the generator, but with the wiring inside the metal enclosure box around it.
Some one in the past had worked on it, and they solved an issue of loose spade terminals by using an old plastic bottle cap and some tie wraps to hold up the wires to keep them holding onto the breaker terminals. The space is cramped and that was their solution.
The wires had come off. I fixed it right and now it works.
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