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Old 07-07-2008, 05:32 AM   #1
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One problem I forgot to mention in my other thread is my generator not wanting to start.

I had the coach on 50 amp power for a week at Yogi's place with the inverter off (but it showed it was charging).

When I went to leave, I primed the generator and wanted to start it so I could run the front a/c. The generator starter clicked like starters do when the battery is low. Maybe I didn't let it crank long enough?

After running the engine for a while, the generator started. This same thing happened after I stored it for 10 days with the house batteries shut off.

I didn't get a chance to check the water in the batteries yet, but they are brand new.

What kind of voltage is "fully charged"?
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:32 AM   #2
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One problem I forgot to mention in my other thread is my generator not wanting to start.

I had the coach on 50 amp power for a week at Yogi's place with the inverter off (but it showed it was charging).

When I went to leave, I primed the generator and wanted to start it so I could run the front a/c. The generator starter clicked like starters do when the battery is low. Maybe I didn't let it crank long enough?

After running the engine for a while, the generator started. This same thing happened after I stored it for 10 days with the house batteries shut off.

I didn't get a chance to check the water in the batteries yet, but they are brand new.

What kind of voltage is "fully charged"?
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:40 AM   #3
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:13 AM   #4
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69Roadrunner, you have some strange symptoms happening.

A fully charged 12V cell at <span class="ev_code_BLUE">no load</span> should read 12.6 to 12.7 VDC.

I am assuming that you RC7 (inverter remote) selected to 50A shore power, with your battery charger in the standby mode (off). Your digital readout on RC7 should have showed house batteries being float charged at around 13.2 VDC.

Your generator starts from your house batteries so under the above scenario they should have been at optimium charge level (voltage) and your gen-set should have cranked right up after completing the preheat cycle. It could take several seconds for your gen-set to start up after it has started cranking depending on how long it has set since last use. Onan has a safety on it that will not allow over cranking of your gen-set. Running your engine will not immediately start charging your house batteries, the alternator will charge the chassis battery until its voltage reaches a preset value, then your BIRD relay will start routing (sharing) some power with your house batteries.

I would start your troubleshooting with checking the status of your house batteries. This is best done with a battery hydrometer, check the state of charge of each cell of your batteries, they should be relatively the same. If you have one cell that is extremely different than the others, it is bad and the battery needs to be replaced. A bad cell will cause the remaining cells of all connected batteries to self discharge, (trying to equalize (charge) the lowest cell) therefore rapidly lowering voltage over time (death spiral). When put under load battery voltage will drop rapidly. If this checks OK check the tightness of both positive and negative cables from your house batteries to your generator, including chassis grounds.

Running of engine alternator could increase your terminal voltage high enough overtime just enough to overcome the effects of a hi-resistance connection in your batteries (bad cell) or cables. Another possibility is a bad gen set starting solenoid but rather doubtful.

Hope this helps with any troubleshooting you may attempt to do, or with your problem ID to your dealer.

Spike
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:32 AM   #5
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Maybe I wasn't cranking the generator long enough, and it was just a coincidence that after the first couple of tries, it later started after I ran the engine a while. I assumed it would start as quickly as the MH engine. I didn't want to overcrank.

I had the inverter set to off, but it automatically charges. I might have a bad battery because the inverter would sometimes show float, sometimes full and sometimes the third option (forgot what it was). I never unplugged during the week.

I never knew inverters were so mysterious. I just thought they converted 12v to 120v.

The EMS for 2009 is new, and it automatically detects 50amps. I didn't realize I needed to set the inverter as well. I'm sure the salesman walked me through it (I did videotape the PDI). I'll have to check the manual.

Thanks for the chart, too!
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:12 AM   #6
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When you press the button the red light will flash. While it is flashing you are just warming the system and priming. You will see it go solid red and kick over when it is ready. Until you get to the solid red and hear it crank you are fine to hol dit down. Cold weather or running it below the fuel line will slow that process down.
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:21 AM   #7
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I was told to hold the switch down (in the "off" position) until the light turned red to prime the generator.

Then push the switch up to start it.

Is this correct?
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:28 AM   #8
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If you have an Onan, this is the correct procedure.

Normal starting is by holding the switch in the up position until the generator starts. The light will flash during the preheat and cranking phase.


Holding the switch in the down position to prime the generator is only done after changing the fuel filter.
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:46 AM   #9
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Route 66:
If you have an Onan, this is the correct procedure.

Normal starting is by holding the switch in the up position until the generator starts. The light will flash during the preheat and cranking phase.


Holding the switch in the down position to prime the generator is only done after changing the fuel filter. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Sounds like I might have misunderstood the salesman, or he gave bad instructions. The former is more likely than the latter.

I think that's probably the real source of my generator problem.
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:58 AM   #10
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I agree with Dirk. This is how I use mine also.
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Old 07-08-2008, 05:10 PM   #11
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route66 has it right. Press and hold the ON switch until it starts. Whichever genstart switch location you use, they all work the same.

You might actually hear a subtle clicking sound (almost just like a low battery click) while it preheats. This is just the Onan/Kubota fuel pump working.

Also note that in cooler weather it could take up to a minute of fuel pump clicking and preheating until it starts. I think Onan will even spec normal preheat time of up to 2 mins in freezing weather - though mine has never taken more than 30 seconds or so.

If you still think you have a battery prob, try the "batt boost" switch at the same time you are starting the genset. It simply connects both the house and chassis banks together and you'll be able to tell if there is a battery bank problem.
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Old 07-08-2008, 05:42 PM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RVDude:
route66 has it right. Press and hold the ON switch until it starts. Whichever genstart switch location you use, they all work the same.

You might actually hear a subtle clicking sound (almost just like a low battery click) while it preheats. This is just the Onan/Kubota fuel pump working.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think that was my problem all along. I assumed that sound was the starter not having enough juice. I've heard it a few times over the years when batteries on cars have died.
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:28 PM   #13
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OK, it's clear that I was wrong about the generator sound. I've started it a couple of times today, and just held the button down long enough.

However, irony of ironies, my Road Runner had been at the restorer for several months without being run for any extended period of time.

Between that, and I think the convertible top button was stuck, and the battery on my Road Runner died while we ate dinner. It tried to turn over VERY slowly, and then I just got the clicking.

I had to pop the clutch to get it started. I stopped at the parts store to get some jumper cables and a battery maintainer to charge up the battery. I had to leave the engine running with the family in the car.

Then I got back, and tried to put the top up. Even with the engine running, the top wouldn't go up. I either fried the top motor or the battery just couldn't get the top up.

My wife and I had to manually lift that VERY heavy top and the hydraulics for the power top make that really hard.
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