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Old 02-23-2019, 02:28 PM   #1
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Generator Eating Fuses?

When we bought our 2008 Tiffin from PPL in Houston last year, there was a fairly long list of things that they had to fix before we would take delivery. PPL made the situation very arduous and confusing. One issue sort of escaped my attention at the time but has my full attention now.

Before delivery the genny wouldn't start because of dead house batteries. The dealer replaced the batteries and it was still no crank. They discovered that the house battery fuse under the steps, a 250A AMG, was blown. They replaced that fuse but it blew as well. So they replaced it with a 300A ANL fuse and called it done. This whole solution was just one problem of many that PPL was dealign with very, very badly and I let it go in order to concentrate on bigger issues.

Okay.

Tried to start the genny this morning and it was no crank/no light. The 300A fuse is blown.

As far as I can figure, the only thing that could bake a 300A fuse would be a defective starter or solenoid. Maybe an corroded ground. The main generator ground looks pretty recently cleaned (probably by the techs at PPL last year).

I've removed the starter and will be taking it to a shop to have it tested. New fuses should be here by Monday or Tuesday and we'll see what happens.

Question: Can any of you think of other reasons my coach would be blasting through 300A fuses? Right now it looks like the starter might be the issue but it's entirely possible it has nothing to do with it. Any other common culprits?

!!-THANKS-!!
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Old 02-23-2019, 05:00 PM   #2
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Only a short to ground, in the cable from the fuse to the generator starter.
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Old 02-23-2019, 05:28 PM   #3
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Let us know if you find the culprit. My 10KW Onan blows this fuse on occasion.
Mine only runs 150A ANL fuse, so I suspect someone has just kept going to larger and larger fuses on yours.
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Old 02-23-2019, 05:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
Only a short to ground, in the cable from the fuse to the generator starter.
twinboat, you are usually right, but I'm hope'ng your not this time !
I'd hate to have to trace that cable thru the chassis from one end, to the other ! There is some additional length at the gen to allow for the slide. Good place to start looking.
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Old 02-24-2019, 08:01 AM   #5
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Let us know if you find the culprit.
Will do!
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Old 02-24-2019, 10:11 AM   #6
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twinboat, you are usually right, but I'm hope'ng your not this time !
I'd hate to have to trace that cable thru the chassis from one end, to the other ! There is some additional length at the gen to allow for the slide. Good place to start looking.
If you think this might be the problem, could you run a test wire? If that solves the problem, maybe you could pull a new cable through with the old one?
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Old 02-24-2019, 04:22 PM   #7
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Someone I knew would always have to start his engine, boost the batteries beore starting generator.
If the generator starting battery was down just a bit the starter would labor and blow the fuse.
We checked all the ground and positive connections, all good.
It seemed the long run and low voltage contributed.
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Old 02-24-2019, 05:53 PM   #8
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Someone I knew would always have to start his engine, boost the batteries beore starting generator.
If the generator starting battery was down just a bit the starter would labor and blow the fuse.
We checked all the ground and positive connections, all good.
It seemed the long run and low voltage contributed.
Funny you should mention that. I found a copy of the original work order from last year and there's a note that the generator didn't run unless the coach engine was running. I can't be sure how accurate this note is (PPL's service department is kind of a mess) but if it's true, then that would kind of play in to your hypothesis. Good to know!!

I'll get to testing this later on in the week.
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Old 02-24-2019, 05:56 PM   #9
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If you think this might be the problem, could you run a test wire? If that solves the problem, maybe you could pull a new cable through with the old one?
That's definitely something to look at. I'd need some kind of monster wire to be sure but it may come to that.
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Old 02-25-2019, 06:58 AM   #10
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That's definitely something to look at. I'd need some kind of monster wire to be sure but it may come to that.
What you could do is set a battery on the ground at the generator and use shorter or auto jumper cables and see if that helps.
It would help if you could access a DC clamp on ampmeter.
Today you can get a 50 dollar 400amp AC/DC clamp on meter on amazon. A link to a typical meter.
https://www.amazon.com/Meterk-Auto-r...dc+clamp+meter

DC shunt resistor can also be used, cheaper but you have to know how to use it.
https://www.amazon.com/SMAKN%C2%AE-C.../dp/B00GH7QYRI
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Old 02-25-2019, 07:06 AM   #11
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Before you buy testing equipment you need to see if the fuse is failing during startup or just randomly.

If you find it blown, because it doesn't crank, is different then blowing it while attempting to start it.

If its a cranking issue, It should take some cranking time to overload the fuse.
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Old 02-25-2019, 07:36 AM   #12
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If you find it blown, because it doesn't crank, is different then blowing it while attempting to start it.
Right. At this point I don't know for sure what's causing what.
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Old 02-25-2019, 09:19 AM   #13
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Right. At this point I don't know for sure what's causing what.
Wire a 12 volt bulb anywhere after the fuse. If the bulb goes out, figure out what you did to make it happen.
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Old 02-25-2019, 09:37 AM   #14
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Wire a 12 volt bulb anywhere after the fuse. If the bulb goes out, figure out what you did to make it happen.
One thought... This may take a while to find the root cause... I'd plan on using the coach less the genny for a little while.

I'd temporarily disconnect the problem wire at the genny and tape it off. Replace the fuse with the factory suggested value, not the oversize that you have now. Maybe even something lower... Maybe just a 30 amp ATO fuse with some clip leads. Wire a common 5-prong relay up with the coil across the load side of the fuse, the armature fed from the hot side from the chassis battery (just a different and constant +12 source) and a buzzer fed by the normally closed contacts. The new buzzer will sound when the problem fuse blows and you will know that whatever you just did caused it. Maybe the actual problem is a slide rail chafing a wire, and that may not blow it until you are on the road and go over a bump.

We used that relay-and-buzzer trick a couple of decades ago in a 2-way radio service van - a raised 1969 Dodge 4x4 van used for hilltop radio site servicing (the 4x4 van was a locally made beast)... an hour on the freeway at 60 mph, then an hour on the bouncy unmaintained rutted Forest Service dirt "road" to a site... the "roads" were anything from 5 to 45 miles one way...
Some days we'd hit three different sites in three different counties. And there were days we'd have more off-road miles than on-road.

The 12v fuse feeding the workbench in the back of the van kept blowing to the point we swapped it for an aircraft 30 amp breaker. The actual problem turned out to be a hidden place where the 10-ga wire turned a corner around the backside of the bench and a rough edge had chafed through the insulation...

It will be interesting to hear what the problem in your coach turns out to be...
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