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Old 07-18-2014, 04:02 PM   #1
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RV Generator

I own a '08 Jayco Designer with an onboard Onan 5500 generator. Recently I've developed battery problems with the battery not charging. Does the generator charge the battery when dry camping?
Thanks in advance. I purchased a new battery at Camping World and everything seemed fine, but after a couple of days the battery went dead.
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Old 07-18-2014, 04:39 PM   #2
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The generator should power your entire camper. Sounds like the charging system is faulty
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Old 07-18-2014, 05:02 PM   #3
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The generator generates 120vac same as shore power.. When the generator is running and engaged (Usually 30 seconds four minutes after you start it depending on the set up) the on-board CONVERTER, which is the device that charges your batteries when you are on shore power... Does it's job, Same as if it was on shore power.

Does this help?

(30 seconds to one mintue is the auto-transfer switch delay, up to 3 minutes may be added to that if you have a Power Line Protector device such as a top end Progressive Dynamcis Surge Protector AFTER the ATS,, (WHich is one of the reasons I will hard wire mine in FRONT of the ATS when I hard wire it.. Later this year)
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Old 07-18-2014, 05:29 PM   #4
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Does the battery charge up with the trailer is plugged into a socket? If so, confirm that the generator breakers are not tripped. This will also isolate a generator problem from a charger problem.
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Old 07-18-2014, 05:52 PM   #5
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You should have a monitor panel that indicates the charge state of the battery(s). What does it show? When running the gen, after a short interval, the panel should indicate the batter is charging--if all is right with the system.
Also, if you are doing a lot of dry camping, one battery is not really ideal--should have two of them.
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Old 07-18-2014, 06:12 PM   #6
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2, 4 or 6.
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Old 07-18-2014, 06:24 PM   #7
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My brother in laws moho does not have an automatic transfer switch. He has to manually plug in the generator when its running.

Maybe something to check on.

Good luck!
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Old 07-18-2014, 07:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z714X4 View Post
My brother in laws moho does not have an automatic transfer switch. He has to manually plug in the generator when its running.

Maybe something to check on.

Good luck!
Those setups usually just plug the AC cord that plugs into the post into an on board socket. Batteries still charge via the Converter Charger. I wonder if there is a breaker or fuse problem.
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Old 07-19-2014, 06:19 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies. The battery seems to charge when it's plugged into the truck and onshore supply. The monitor shows full to 3/4, but then dies after a bit even if the generator is running., thus causing everything to shut down. I've changed the 3- 30 amp fuses on the inverter, but still no luck. Could the inverter be faulty?
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:53 AM   #10
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If the monitor shows the battery to be charging when plugged in, the the CONverter is working.
Does everything on 120volt work with the gen, or not? Have you checked the breakers ON THE GENERATOR ITSELF? The 5500 has a start/stop switch and breakers under the front cover that just pulls off at the top, then lifts out to remove.
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:57 AM   #11
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That's a really good idea, I hadn't thought about checking the generator itself. I also read in the converter manual that it would take 12 hours for the battery to be at 90%, maybe I don't let it run long enough.
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Old 07-20-2014, 12:13 PM   #12
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The generator itself is not an efficient way to charge the battery--way too much fuel consumed for power output. A better way is to get a multi-stage battery charger (Schumacher makes good ones) and use the generator to run the charger--using the charger to provide the amps to charge the battery. You can charge the battery much faster this way by not going thru the converter.
When out camping for over 5-6 days, I usually need to run the gen/charger setup for about 2 hours @ 10 amps to build it back up some. Batteries are like a savings account--what comes out has to have been put in first--and it is measured in amp/hours.
Also, you need to have the battery checked to be sure it isn't a dud--happens sometimes.
If the gen runs on propane, 12 hours of use can deplete a 40lb tank...
Joe
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Old 07-21-2014, 08:54 AM   #13
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If you have AC from the generator (I usually check the microwave display) then you should have AC to the converter. No need to dig into the generator.

You really should put a meter on the 12 V system for trouble shooting as the lights are somewhat arbitrary. There are several web pages that tell what the voltage profile is for charging wet cell batteries.

An easy first pass would be to turn on a light then start the generator or plug the unit in. (Maybe flip the breaker on the pole.) If everything is working you should see the light get brighter when the power is turned on or the generator starts. Assume regular light bulbs not LED. If the light does not get brighter (voltage increase) then the charger part of the converter is not working. Could be a bad converter or could be a wiring problem. I'd check the voltage at the converter output, at the battery connection and on the battery posts themselves. All should be about the same. Cheap meters will work for this as you are looking for differences.
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Old 07-23-2014, 11:25 AM   #14
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Thanks again everyone, I can't believe the amount of information I was able to get from one post, you guys are amazing. Campers really do stick together.
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