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Old 08-10-2012, 09:08 AM   #1
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Onan EC-30W Generator Auto Start

Earlier this year we purchased an Onan EC-30W auto start for our Onan 5500 generator. I installed it a few month ago, went through the preliminary testing and all seemed good.

Lately however I've noticed a few things that don't seem quite right. Every few minutes the control unit displays a message "re-establishing communications". Most of the time the message stays on the screen for a few seconds then goes back to displaying the inside temperature and the set point for the auto start.

With all the hot weather we've been having lately I decided to set it up to auto start then disconnect the shore power to verify it works correctly. When the auto start is set at the default of 75* it starts the generator at 78*. The internal temp according to 2 other thermometers has reached 83*. The air conditioning comes on and temporarily all is well.

It seems no matter where I place the EC-30W control panel it reads several degrees lower than any other thermometer in the coach. It's not a linear 5 or 6 degrees but rather the warmer the actual temperature the farther the gap.

The last time I tried it the control unit shut off the generator when the temperature in the readout was at 70*. The problem was that the thermometer on the AC unit (and 2 other thermometers in the coach) were still reading 77* which means the AC was still running.

Has anyone else encountered these types of situations? Is the re-"establishing communications" message an issue or is it normal? Also has anyone been able to get the start/stop temperature to better coordinate with the AC unit?
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:00 AM   #2
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Hikerdogs,

I am considering the Auto Start and would like to know if you found a resolution to your issue? Probably not worth the money if you have problems and they don't take care of it for you.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hikerdogs View Post
Earlier this year we purchased an Onan EC-30W auto start for our Onan 5500 generator. I installed it a few month ago, went through the preliminary testing and all seemed good.

Lately however I've noticed a few things that don't seem quite right. Every few minutes the control unit displays a message "re-establishing communications". Most of the time the message stays on the screen for a few seconds then goes back to displaying the inside temperature and the set point for the auto start.

With all the hot weather we've been having lately I decided to set it up to auto start then disconnect the shore power to verify it works correctly. When the auto start is set at the default of 75* it starts the generator at 78*. The internal temp according to 2 other thermometers has reached 83*. The air conditioning comes on and temporarily all is well.

It seems no matter where I place the EC-30W control panel it reads several degrees lower than any other thermometer in the coach. It's not a linear 5 or 6 degrees but rather the warmer the actual temperature the farther the gap.

The last time I tried it the control unit shut off the generator when the temperature in the readout was at 70*. The problem was that the thermometer on the AC unit (and 2 other thermometers in the coach) were still reading 77* which means the AC was still running.

Has anyone else encountered these types of situations? Is the re-"establishing communications" message an issue or is it normal? Also has anyone been able to get the start/stop temperature to better coordinate with the AC unit?
Depending on where you have chosen to mount the Remote Control, you may be losing the wireless signal frequently. I have mine mounted on the wall just behind the driver's seat. That area was chosen because it was the easiest place to install a non-inverter driven 120 VAC outlet for keeping the remote charged and for the remote to detect when there is no shore power.

With my remote, it was losing the communications frequently with the master control mounted on the firewall above my generator which is on a slide in the front of the coach. When I replaced the rechargeable battery inside the remote with a new one, that solved the communications problem. Some people have actually moved the master control to inside and under the dash to provide a better signal. I have not had to do that.

WRT the temp at which it is set at to start the generator, I would think that it would be just like any other thermostat. It most likely will not reflect the specific actual temp but rather some sort of differential factor. You just need to know what that differential is and factor that into your on and off set points.

What is confusing me is your statement about the EC-30W remote turning off the generator prematurely when there still wasn't any shore power to run the A/C's. It is NOT supposed to do that.

When shore power has been removed, the remote will detect that condition FIRST. Then when the temperature set point has been reached inside the coach, the generator will start. Once the transfer switch has detected the generator, it will switch over to that mode and allow power to the coach. The A/C's will come back on and cool down the coach. The generator will NOT turn off until AFTER it has detected 120 VAC shore power once again.

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Old 12-19-2012, 12:36 PM   #4
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First of all we did find a solution. I ended up placing the remote unit in the bedroom about 4' off the floor on the wall near a window. It's about the same hieght as the AC thermostat, and in an area where there's about the same amount of airflow as by the AC thermostat in the hall. It's about 8' in front of the generator compartment on the same wall so there's no loss of signal.

Now to the generator shutting off while the AC is still running. The remote unit is also the temperature sensing unit. There is no direct connection the the AC system. Where the remote was originally placed the temperature would cool down and heat up faster than where the thermostat for the AC is located.

When the area heated up it would rise above the temperature set for the AC to start long before the temperature on the AC thermostat reached that point. The generator would start, but since the thermostat on the AC hadn't reached the set point it wouldn't run.

When the temperature by the AC thermostat finally reached the set point the AC would start. As the air circulated the area by the auto start remote would cool down faster than the area where the AC thermostat is located. The the temperature by the auto start thermometer would drop to the shut off point long before the AC thermostat would reach that point. Since the remote unit thought the AC had reached the shut off point it shut off the generator even though the AC thermostat was still calling for cooling.

The key is to find a place where the AC thermostat and the Auto Start remote communicate with out interruption, have similar temperature readings, and also have similar temperature rise and fall rates. Once we found a "sweet spot" for the remote start unit everything works fine.

One improvement I would like to see is some type of interface with the AC thermostat. Right now the start and stop temperature readings on the remote are the only thing that determine when the generator will stop or start.
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