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Old 07-31-2020, 09:32 AM   #1
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Electrical power questions, maybe the transfer switch

Hello fellow Alpine Coach owners.

I've finished reading through all the threads I can find relating to my issue, but I'm still uncertain about a couple things. As my signature says, we have a 2005 40FDTS

First, the symptoms...

We are currently plugged in to 50A service, and all is functioning fine.
If I power up the generator, I do not hear the ATS 'click over' and we're not getting generator power into the coach.

Question #1
I've read about a junction box located near the generator. I cannot locate that. I traced the wires. They go from the generator to 2 lugs on the firewall above the washer fluid reservoir on the passenger side. From there the wires disappear into the coach. They look like the same wires heading into the ATS, so I am assuming they are a straight run from those lugs to the ATS.
Is it possible WRV didn't have that junction box in '05?

Question #2
I have a Lyght brand ATS installed. I removed the cover, and it looks good visually, but I have not yet checked the terminal tightness. I plan to do that later today while the wife is out and I can shut off the ACs.
It is humming a little. I can't hear it in the coach, but I could hear it fine when I was in the basement. Is this normal? Is it a sign of age?

Question #3
I'd like to add checking electrical connections to my annual maintenance plan. From my reading, I should be checking the ATS connections, the connections at the circuit breakers (both panels I assume), the inverter connections, and the elusive generator junction box connections. Any others? If so, where are they?


I suspect my ATS is faulty, but I thought I would run it by the knowledgeable folks here too.

We are going to be leaving FL soon to drive to CA and then back up to WA. Since I have replaced my house batteries with lithium, I use the generator to charge them when we are "off grid" to avoid damaging the alternator. Eventually I'll be adding a DC-DC converter, but that's part of a larger project I won't be able to complete before we leave. (I work 7 days a week here between camp hosting and my programming job)

I need to make sure the generator is charging the batteries before we roll out next week.

Thanks in advance for any shared experience and wisdom.
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Old 07-31-2020, 09:38 AM   #2
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Start by turning OFF and back ON the on-generator breakers.


Then with lid off the ATS, start the generator.


With your voltmeter, check for 120 VAC IN from the generator and then power out.


Let us know what you find.


And ABSOLUTELY, tightening all 120 VAC electrical connections should be part of annual maintenance.
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Old 07-31-2020, 12:04 PM   #3
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Thanks Brett

Used a lunch break from the M-F programmer gig to do some more testing.

I turned off the AC's and basically shut things down, and unhooked from the pedestal.

Then I fired up the generator. I didn't hear the switch click, so I took everything out of that basement compartment, grabbed my meter, a screwdriver and a flashlight, and crawled under there and removed the cover on the ATS. I put the meter on the generator inputs and see nothing.

I decided to go look at said breaker on generator. I had to move our car and the golf cart (and it's charger and stock of battery water) so I could get the slide out.

Guess what I found? It was off.

I turned it on, and voila, power.

I crawled back into the basement and replaced the cover and put away my tools.

So thanks again Brett. You nailed it first try.

2 of my 3 questions are still in need of answering though.

Q1
Before I closed the generator slide, I hunted for this junction box with wire nuts inside that I keep reading about. I still can't find it. It's pretty tidy up front, so I don't think I'm missing it. Where is this elusive possible fire hazard?

Q2
I think buzzing is normal for an AC coiled relay. I'll just eventually acquire a new DC version of what I have. This one I think I've answered

Q3
You said I should tighten all the AC screws. Are there any I'm missing from this list?
ATS
Circuit Breaker Panel
Inverter

Which brings me to my moment.

I'm typing this post while I let the generator exercise a little...

In a few minutes, I will turn it off, and plug back in the shore power. Now is a perfect time to tighten up those screws while the power is off. You know... the screws inside the box that I just closed and put everything back in the basement?

I may wait until I finalize Q3 and do them all at the same time.
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Old 07-31-2020, 12:06 PM   #4
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Ok--couple of things: 1- as mentioned, need to confirm genset is putting out voltage--reset breaker on genset and verify voltage with voltmeter; 2-your first question isn't tracking--genset 120v connection [usually] goes through gray flex conduit from top, right corner of genset cabinet to a junction box on the ceiling of the genset area, then on to the transfer switch?????; 3- Lyght is a good product and some hum is normal [sure the hum isn't from the inverter????]; 4- interesting question about charging your new Li batteries, if fully charged when you leave, alternator should do fine, genset doesn't charge bats directly--inverter/charger does, so inverter/charger needs to have/use an Li charging profile to "protect" the batteries????
PS--how did you disable the OEM Vansco-based alternator charging system that "normally" charges both chassis and house bats?????? yet keep the inverter [genset] charge link intact????
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Old 07-31-2020, 03:29 PM   #5
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Since you’ve been using the generator, presumably with success, to charge the lithium house batteries, and for off-grid power, what may have caused the breakers on the generator to trip?

The best time to do the work is some time around 4:00pm, ideally when the sun is directly assaulting the work zone.
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Old 07-31-2020, 03:45 PM   #6
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On my 2001, the Junction box where the generator connects is on the roof of the space the generator slide into when you close the front. When you tighten those hot lugs, don't forget to check the grounds and neutrals too.


The gray flexible conduit goes from the front left of the generator to the box in this photo.

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Old 07-31-2020, 09:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Scout View Post
Ok--couple of things: 1- as mentioned, need to confirm genset is putting out voltage--reset breaker on genset and verify voltage with voltmeter; 2-your first question isn't tracking--genset 120v connection [usually] goes through gray flex conduit from top, right corner of genset cabinet to a junction box on the ceiling of the genset area, then on to the transfer switch?????; 3- Lyght is a good product and some hum is normal [sure the hum isn't from the inverter????]; 4- interesting question about charging your new Li batteries, if fully charged when you leave, alternator should do fine, genset doesn't charge bats directly--inverter/charger does, so inverter/charger needs to have/use an Li charging profile to "protect" the batteries????
PS--how did you disable the OEM Vansco-based alternator charging system that "normally" charges both chassis and house bats?????? yet keep the inverter [genset] charge link intact????
1. Genset and ATS are working correctly now.
2. I don't have any grey conduit.
3. I am sure it is the switch. I pulled the cover off the switch twice now and am positive the noise gets louder. While in the basement, I can hear the inverter/charger fan(s) noise coming from the basement compartment further aft.
4. My Onan Equinox system does not have a lithium profile, but I set the charge rate as high as it will go, and it seems to work.

PS, huh?
The Vansco's are a bit of a 'black box' to me. I understand what multiplexing is and how it works theoretically, but I'm unaware of most of the specifics related to the ones in my coach.

To protect the alternator, I always try to charge the batteries with the generator before we drive somewhere, ie in the morning I would charge before we rolled away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RVPioneer View Post
Since you’ve been using the generator, presumably with success, to charge the lithium house batteries, and for off-grid power, what may have caused the breakers on the generator to trip?

The best time to do the work is some time around 4:00pm, ideally when the sun is directly assaulting the work zone.
I am unsure what tripped the genset breaker. I was in AZ while my wife was in the coach in FL when it happened.

LOL I tried to do my testing before 4PM. My goal was to start before noon, but I was waiting for my wife to go swimming in the springs. Eventually I just told her I was shutting down the AC for a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andy29847 View Post
On my 2001, the Junction box where the generator connects is on the roof of the space the generator slide into when you close the front. When you tighten those hot lugs, don't forget to check the grounds and neutrals too.


The gray flexible conduit goes from the front left of the generator to the box in this photo.

hmmmmm... mine does not look like that. I will take some pictures in the daylight and post them. I have 2 wires leaving the generator, one red and one black. They go into the area under the cockpit, then come back to the lugs on the firewall on passenger side. Rather than type 1,000 words, I'll try to get some pictures posted tomorrow before my camp host shift.





Thanks everyone for the help.

I feel confident driving back to the West now, but I still want to learn where all the potentially dangerous connections are that I should be checking annually.
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Old 08-01-2020, 06:17 AM   #8
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Interesting...the key phrase here is: "Onan Equinox System"....no wonder your genset config is different....my understanding is was an ill-fated attempt by Onan to produce and sell a combined genset/inverter system. Believe WRV installed this system on some early 2005s but owner concerns and trouble-shooting issues pushed them to replace it with the RS2000 as the std inverter/charger--which had issues of it own.....learn something new everyday!!!!!!
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Old 08-01-2020, 06:30 AM   #9
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Electrical power questions, maybe the transfer switch

First, the default position of the ATS is generator, so you will not hear a click with the genny, just when you plug into shore power. Second in 05 WRV was using Oman QD 7500, could a PO have replaced the genny?

Our 05 was built is Sept 04. The red/black wires are the starting battery, you will have a grey liquidtite coming off the front passenger side going to the ceiling of the space. Open that box and check the wire nuts, this is a known problem.
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Old 08-01-2020, 06:52 AM   #10
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...here is my prediction on all this--can you say "Avalanche"???????
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Old 08-01-2020, 05:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Scout View Post
...here is my prediction on all this--can you say "Avalanche"???????


All bets are off!
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Old 08-01-2020, 06:55 PM   #12
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Kevin,

Do you have a side radiator?
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Old 08-03-2020, 05:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Scout View Post
Interesting...the key phrase here is: "Onan Equinox System"....no wonder your genset config is different....my understanding is was an ill-fated attempt by Onan to produce and sell a combined genset/inverter system. Believe WRV installed this system on some early 2005s but owner concerns and trouble-shooting issues pushed them to replace it with the RS2000 as the std inverter/charger--which had issues of it own.....learn something new everyday!!!!!!
Not sure it's original. I have paperwork indicating the inverter/charger was replaced at some point. I'm unsure if it was replaced with the same equipment or something different. The remote panel inside the coach looks to be an original install, ie the wood doesn't appear to ahve been modified. Maybe the Onan display was larger then the original equipment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDaveMA View Post
First, the default position of the ATS is generator, so you will not hear a click with the genny, just when you plug into shore power. Second in 05 WRV was using Oman QD 7500, could a PO have replaced the genny?

Our 05 was built is Sept 04. The red/black wires are the starting battery, you will have a grey liquidtite coming off the front passenger side going to the ceiling of the space. Open that box and check the wire nuts, this is a known problem.
I have a QD 7500.

I always used to hear the click when I would fire up the generator. It's possible the default was swapped. This coach definitely has low miles, but evidence someone may have lived in it. Basically the couch is very worn, and someone spent a lot of money upgrading the home theater stuff.

Since it seems like they were likely "plugged in", it's possible it was changed when they replaced the inverter as I said above?

I just went to take pictures, and I DO have that grey conduit. I was looking at the starter wires it seems.

How do I get in there to work on that box?
I am guessing I have to crawl under.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RVPioneer View Post
Kevin,

Do you have a side radiator?
Yes. Our coach has a side radiator. We just had it replaced in march.





Well thanks for all the advice. Now that I see that box, I just need to confirm there are only 3 places with connections that need to checked periodically:
ATS
Genset Junction box
Circuit Breaker Panel.
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayduke View Post
Not sure it's original. I have paperwork indicating the inverter/charger was replaced at some point. I'm unsure if it was replaced with the same equipment or something different. The remote panel inside the coach looks to be an original install, ie the wood doesn't appear to ahve been modified. Maybe the Onan display was larger then the original equipment.







I have a QD 7500.



I always used to hear the click when I would fire up the generator. It's possible the default was swapped. This coach definitely has low miles, but evidence someone may have lived in it. Basically the couch is very worn, and someone spent a lot of money upgrading the home theater stuff.



Since it seems like they were likely "plugged in", it's possible it was changed when they replaced the inverter as I said above?



I just went to take pictures, and I DO have that grey conduit. I was looking at the starter wires it seems.



How do I get in there to work on that box?

I am guessing I have to crawl under.







Yes. Our coach has a side radiator. We just had it replaced in march.











Well thanks for all the advice. Now that I see that box, I just need to confirm there are only 3 places with connections that need to checked periodically:

ATS

Genset Junction box

Circuit Breaker Panel.


For access to that junction box, extend the slide to its max then drop the drive screw, you should fit in the space with a LOT of twisting and turning, it is a long way up to the ceiling.
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