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Old 09-13-2021, 10:53 AM   #1
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What does the Onan Generator do?

Hello all,
2nd owners of a nicely kept 2016 Itasca Navion 24J. The Onan propane generator seems to work fine. At least it starts and runs nicely, but what use is it? What does it do for the RV?

I checked with a VOM, and when the generator is running nothing changes about the state of charge of the house or chassis batteries. That seems odd, since plugging the RV into shore power does charge those batteries as does the main engine while driving.

When the Onan generator it does provide AC power to all the outlets - except the one by the vanity which doesn't seem active. And I suppose that since it obviouly can generates 120 v, it will power the microwave and AC....both of which we rarely use.

But shouldn't it directly charge the house and chassis batteries? Or do I have to carry a separate battery charger and plug it into the 110 outlet?

BTW, does the Onan have its own starting battery? Or does it use the house batts?

Thanks,
rScotty
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Old 09-13-2021, 11:01 AM   #2
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It should run everything.

Doe stage receptacle that does not work run ok in shore power?
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Old 09-13-2021, 11:12 AM   #3
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My Onan uses the house batteries to start, and when I start it up the house battery voltage goes from 12.6 to 13.6 volts immediately, so it is charging. Mine has a 3-stage converter that will charge from either the generator or shore power, and from the alternator while driving. Your bathroom outlet is CFI, so maybe it needs to be reset?
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Old 09-13-2021, 02:20 PM   #4
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Seriously what does it do? It provides power to all of the 120 volt services and appliances, plus charges the house batteries.

If there is no transfer switch, you may need to plug the power cord into a plug in the generator box.

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Old 09-13-2021, 02:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tap4154 View Post
My Onan uses the house batteries to start, and when I start it up the house battery voltage goes from 12.6 to 13.6 volts immediately, so it is charging. Mine has a 3-stage converter that will charge from either the generator or shore power, and from the alternator while driving. Your bathroom outlet is CFI, so maybe it needs to be reset?

Hmm.... well, today it seems to be working as you described. So thanks to you I now know how it should work - and so I know I am looking at an intermittent or hopefully just a connection.
I've always been a bit suspicious of all the wiring in that compartment back where the shore power/generator power cord plugs in. This will also give me an excuse to change the shore power lead to a better quality one. The OEM cord is way too stiff at low temps.

I'll also check the GFCI.
Thanks again
rScotty
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Old 09-13-2021, 03:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rScotty View Post
Hmm.... well, today it seems to be working as you described. So thanks to you I now know how it should work - and so I know I am looking at an intermittent or hopefully just a connection.
I've always been a bit suspicious of all the wiring in that compartment back where the shore power/generator power cord plugs in. This will also give me an excuse to change the shore power lead to a better quality one. The OEM cord is way too stiff at low temps.

I'll also check the GFCI.
Thanks again
rScotty
Just curious of what makes you suspicious of the wiring in that compartment. Does it look like somebody got in there and did something funny? You could also open up the junction box and just do a continuity check on that long cord, unless you really want to replace it.
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Old 09-13-2021, 04:15 PM   #7
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Do you disconnect your shore power plug before you start the generator?
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Old 09-13-2021, 05:31 PM   #8
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The generator is a substitute for shore power.

What ever shore power does, the generator will do.

It takes 30 seconds after starting to send power to the system thru the Auto Transfer Switch and does that even if plugged into shore power. It has priority ( Its the boss ).

In most cases it does not charge batteries. Thats because it powers the battery charger already in the RV. Why have 2 ?
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Old 09-14-2021, 06:35 AM   #9
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Your generator does not directly charge the batteries. It powers the converter/charger that in turn charges the batteries and provides power for the 12 volt systems. If your converter/charger is like most installed by Winnebago it's what's referred to as a "smart" system that monitors the batteries and only charges them when they go below a preset voltage.

Our 2013 Adventurer has a Progressive Dynamics 9200 power converter. If I remember correctly it starts charging the batteries only when they get down to 12.4 volts or lower. If they're in the 12.6 to 12.8 range from driving the converter will just monitor them and display the voltage on the meter. Once they hit the 12.4 range, or are lower from battery use without shore or generator power the charger will come on and start charging at 13.6 volts.

The outlet by your vanity may be on a ground fault circuit. We have 3 outlets in our coach that have ground faults. The ground fault may have tripped for some reason and may need to be reset. If you have an inverter (not the same as a converter charger) for running 120 volt systems like a TV when not connected to shore power or without the generator running it also has a ground fault circuit that may need to be reset.
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Old 09-14-2021, 07:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rScotty View Post
Hmm.... well, today it seems to be working as you described. So thanks to you I now know how it should work - and so I know I am looking at an intermittent or hopefully just a connection.
I've always been a bit suspicious of all the wiring in that compartment back where the shore power/generator power cord plugs in. This will also give me an excuse to change the shore power lead to a better quality one. The OEM cord is way too stiff at low temps.

I'll also check the GFCI.
Thanks again
rScotty
I don't know if your RV is 30 amp or 50 amp. But, if your RV is a 50 amp coach, I replaced the original very stiff power cord with this super flexible power cord from Surge Guard.

https://www.amazon.com/Surge-Guard-5...76209334&psc=1

What a difference it made! I can still pull the cord out when temperatures are well below freezing with no problems at all.
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Old 09-14-2021, 02:17 PM   #11
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Huh?
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Old 09-14-2021, 03:30 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Hikerdogs View Post
.

Our 2013 Adventurer has a Progressive Dynamics 9200 power converter. If I remember correctly it starts charging the batteries only when they get down to 12.4 volts or lower. If they're in the 12.6 to 12.8 range from driving the converter will just monitor them and display the voltage on the meter. Once they hit the 12.4 range, or are lower from battery use without shore or generator power the charger will come on and start charging at 13.6 volts.

.
Here is how the 9200 works.Click image for larger version

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Old 09-14-2021, 03:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rScotty View Post
Hello all,
2nd owners of a nicely kept 2016 Itasca Navion 24J. The Onan propane generator seems to work fine. At least it starts and runs nicely, but what use is it? What does it do for the RV?

I checked with a VOM, and when the generator is running nothing changes about the state of charge of the house or chassis batteries. That seems odd, since plugging the RV into shore power does charge those batteries as does the main engine while driving.

When the Onan generator it does provide AC power to all the outlets - except the one by the vanity which doesn't seem active. And I suppose that since it obviouly can generates 120 v, it will power the microwave and AC....both of which we rarely use.

But shouldn't it directly charge the house and chassis batteries? Or do I have to carry a separate battery charger and plug it into the 110 outlet?

BTW, does the Onan have its own starting battery? Or does it use the house batts?

Thanks,
rScotty
Your generator if a 4000 also should have a breaker mounted on it 2 breakers if 5500. Also if you donít have an auto transfer switch you need to plug the power cord into the generator plug.
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Old 09-21-2021, 05:03 PM   #14
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You will need to plug the shore power cord into the generator receptacle in the power cord storage compartment. Unlike most class A's, the 2016 Navions and View did not come with an automatic transfer switch for power unless the first owner installed one. Ours is the diesel model Onan but it works the same way. Info is in the owners manual. Here is a pic from mine...


Alan
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