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Old 07-15-2015, 11:07 AM   #1
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Electric issues and others

Issue # 1 headlights so dim it's hard to see.#2 generator shuts off after an hour or so.
#3 no dash lights
#4 generator won't charge the two 6 volt house batteries
1996 Pace Arrow Vision 454 gas


Any help would great!!!
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Old 07-15-2015, 11:40 AM   #2
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The generator powers the converter that charges the 12V system. Does the converter charge the batteries when plugged in?

Do you have ~120 VAC at the outlets when on generator?

Headlights are probably related to the state of the starting/chassis battery not the house battery. What shape is it in?

The generator might be shutting off because the house batteries are low. They usually run off the house batteries and need 12 V power for the control board.

FWIW I would start by checking battery charging with shore power. You might also have a switch that disconnects the batteries for storage. Some units require they be on for the batteries to charge, some have an automatic bypass. The easiest way to figure that out is to connect a voltmeter across the 12 V line. With no power applied check the voltage. Connect the shore cord and see if the voltage goes up about a volt or so. If not flip the storage switch and see if it does. If that does not work start trouble shooting the converter.

FWIW2 check the voltage on the starting battery. If it is low put a charger on that and see what happens after a few hours. That should be a separate system from the house system.

FWIW3 - your house problem could also be bad batteries. You might want to disconnect them and try charging with a shop charger. **DO NOT try running the system without batteries connected to the 12 VDC line.** Some chargers depend on the battery load to keep the voltage down to safe levels.
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Old 07-20-2015, 01:11 PM   #3
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I am trying your suggestions I will let you know thank you so much!

Tony
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Old 07-21-2015, 08:53 AM   #4
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Electric issues

There is also a solar panel on roof, could this have any bearing on my issues?
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Old 07-22-2015, 08:51 AM   #5
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Maybe. Probably not but maybe. I'd disconnect it and get the rest of the system working. I'd start by measuring the battery voltages. You should have two different systems. House and chassis.

The chassis is starting battery(s) charged by the alternator. They also feed the regular car/truck type loads like head and dash lights. Check the voltage and if it is low put a service type charger on the battery and let it run a few hours. Maybe overnight. The voltage should come up and the unit start and run with bright headlights or you have a typical automotive bad battery or alternator problem. If the voltage on the battery does not come up pull the battery for load testing as it it probably bad.

For the House batteries (2 - 6 V deep cycle) there should be a converter in the system that charges those batteries when the system is plugged into shore power. Measure the battery voltage. Plug it in and measure again. If it goes up the charger is working. If it does not go up you probably have a battery disconnect switch in storage mode. Find it and flip it and you should have your batteries charging. If not tell us what you found and somebody will probably have a suggestion. If either 12 V battery bank is below 10 VDC when you measure them you may not be able to charge them but they can be assumed to be dead.
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Old 07-26-2015, 09:34 PM   #6
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Ok, disconnected and charged house batteries fully, fired generator,it ran maybe five minutes and shut off. Tested inside circuits with generator running and had power.Fuel tank is full.
Charged chassis battery and aux battery,no problems starting motor.
So gen won't run longer that about five minutes.
Still looking as to why I have no dash lights.
Headlights still Seem very dim,they are halogen.
Brought it to mechanic tonight he is putting new tires on and replacing brake master cylinder.
Any suggestions once I get it back on my problems?
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:15 AM   #7
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What voltage at the chassis (starting) batteries when sitting, what voltage with the engine running? Any voltage between the center post on the battery and the clamp on terminal? Any voltage between the negative terminal and chassis? All those last places are potential bad connections.

You are messing around where 1 volt is a lot of drop. What you want to see is the chassis battery voltage around 12.7 VDC before you start the engine then it should rise to around 13.6 - 14.2 VDC as the alternator recharges the battery and the headlights should be bright. If not find out why. I assume you have already cleaned the battery connections but if not then do it. Then start following the wiring. There is a fuse box somewhere with the dash fuses and you could have a bad/dirty/corroded connection there. It will probably be a PITA to find and fix because electrical stuff is often stuck where there is a spot not where it's easy to get to.

Get the generator model number and check the Onan site assuming it is an Onan. They have a error codes if you figure out how to read them for your unit.
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:43 AM   #8
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You aren't getting much, if any, 12v power from the engine alternator. Even the genset needs some 12v to run (it has an electric fuel pump)- that's why it quits after awhile.
Chassis battery should be 12.6 or so at rest and upwards of 13.6 when the engine is running. Normal alternator output is 14.4v.
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