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Old 05-24-2009, 12:11 AM   #1
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Unhappy Genset won't accept coach load

First, this could have happened because of something I did. This is a long post, so bear with me please. We brought the coach home to work on it last Friday, wash, vacuuming, you know the honey do stuff so it is clean. We did not want to hook up the shore power, so I enabled the inverter so we could run the vacuum cleaner from the house. It’s a canister, with a power head. We ran it for about 10-15 minutes tops. No other electrical devices were working off the inverter, so the load would have been 1200 watts starting current then down to 600 to 800 watts while it was running. Everything was fine before this so did not figure I had any issues. But the fates were working against me – as you will see.

First - Opened the DS Rear Smartbed to put something in there, (this is the large one) and hear weird noise, so I stopped it and looked, and low and behold the Nordic-Track Ski Machine the BH takes with us for exercise had grabbed some wire looms. So I crawled in there and freed the one wire that was hooked around it. The wire is like CAT-5 or phone wire, 8 conductors, but only 4 being used (I think this is part of the Inverter network wire or Silverleaf control wires). It just so happened there is a place where it is spliced right where it was hooked to the Exercise Machine, but none of the wires were pulled out or broken. I don't know what this wire bundle does. It appears to be some kind of control wires, but did not trace it out.

Second - I got the BH to send me in to the inside of the coach via this smartbed so I could tie up the wires pulled around in there. What a mess, not my mess, but the way WRV put all those wires together, hither and yon, no rhyme, no reason, just stuffed them any way possible to get them out of the way, problem they were not out of the way, again, crappy quality control strikes again. Ok so I tucked them up, using wire ties, did it in such a way, the SB (Smartbed) would not catch them again.

Third – After this repair episode, the DS front SB would come out, but not go back in, so, I figured I must have pulled something a little too tight in my tucking and stuffing process above. So BH sent me back into this area via the SB, and I cut those ties for the wires which appeared to control all the wiring of the HWH smartbed actuators control box, and the solenoids controlling the SB’s. Figured out which one was not working so gave those wires more space and it now works. To be safe, I also tested the other SB’s (passenger side front and rear) they worked fine. To be double safe, I also ran out the slides (of which I have 3-galley, Bed and vanity) they also worked fine. Since the jacks were already down, they retracted fine as well. Believe the main HWH control panel (which is PS right behind front wheel) controls the Jacks and Slides. So I don't think those systems will/are affected in this case.

I am adamant about trying to exercise the Generator for two hours a month if we don’t use it, so I try to do it, coming down the road from camping, with it providing power for the refer, and running an a/c unit or something, then when we get home or to our storage place, I take the load off and let it cool down for 3 minutes or so, then shut it down.

So yesterday, when we were going to take the coach back to storage after doing all our chores, I wanted to run the GS, but it would never take over and keep the coach electrical load. It would try to pick up, the front fans would run, the Microwave panel would light up, and then it would drop the load, but the GS kept running, after a very short period, it would again pick up the coach load, keep it for about 20 second or so, then drop it again. So I figured the Silverleaf was acting up, so shut down GS, turned off the ignition and turned off master switches to reset SL. No change, GS would not keep coach load.

So now, the question, could those wires I mentioned above being pulled have any kind of “control function” (not heavy enough to carry any kind of serious current, as they are like phone wire) and because that circuit might not be complete, something tells GS to drop the load?

Other than that Cummings did work on the genset about 3 weeks ago replacing a water hose which was split under warranty. They tested unit when the repair was complete, and I ran it when we went camping for over 50 miles so it was working as expected before the above just fine. I have previously done the electrical checks everyone should have done, with the wiring junction box up front, and the transfer switch connections. So those wires are tight.

Any ideas would be appreciated. Everything else seems to be working in the coach as it was previously except this GS issue. Sorry to be so long winded, but you need the whole story so you are aware of what actions I have taken which might be causing this to happen.
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Old 05-24-2009, 12:43 AM   #2
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Monty- My first reaction is that somewhere in the series of wiring terminations you de-assed after you got the coach, there is one left (or back again) that isn't contacting correctly. That's easy to recheck (or at least easy for me to say it is easy).
If that doesn't turn up anything, start at the Alpine Coach Owner's Forum page, and do a Search on "generator shut down" and you should get a bit of reading and several new ideas to occupy a weekend.
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Old 05-24-2009, 09:26 AM   #3
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If I focus solely on the symptoms, rather than all the other possibly irrelevant stuff you mention, then I would suspect the transfer switch (contactors or circuit board in the switch) or some connection to it from the GenSet. I suggest that you use a volt meter to check voltage to both the input and output of the transfer switch and work your way up to the GenSet checking voltage.

Be very, very careful in testing live wires.
Dale & Karin
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Old 05-24-2009, 11:03 AM   #4
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First let me say that I would never recommend "riding" in a Smart Bed, it would not be great to get stuck inside. Of course, I am claustrophobic. I always put the SB all the way out and crawl in behind it, there is lots of space to work.

I would guess that the wire you describe, 8 pair, is for the Xantrex network, the Surgegard/transfer unit uses a RJ12 cable, to connect to the readout, which is 6 pair. I doubt that is your problem.

The DS front SB is bed#1 and is controlled by the rear solenoids. There are connectors in each pair of wires going to each solenoids, the wires on the coach side of the connectors should be marked. Look for loose connector.

As to your problem with the GenSet, I would have to agree with Dale777. The only thing that I know of in the 115 volt system that would cut out the power to the system and reset itself, in the Surgegard/transfer unit. I don't think that the Silverleaf ties in to the Surgegard, except maybe to act as the readout, but can't be sure.

I would look in the area that you pulled wires and see if there are any 115 volt wires that might have been stressed or moved. If you see any, look to any junction box close and check for a loose or shorted connection. You might also see if you can find the RJ12 cable and check for connection or damage.
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:01 PM   #5
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Are only the inverter loads the ones that come on then drop off? If so, the problem may be the inverter's transfer circuit. Occasionally I will have similar symptoms. The fix is to turn off all battery and ac power. then if not corrected when battery power is restored, reset the red button on the Xantrex. The wiring thing may be a "red herring". Good Luck.
Matt & Lorraine Moniz
'05-36MDDS Alpine / '14 Honda CRV
Sunnyvale, CA
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:26 PM   #6
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Thank all of you for the suggestions.

Never thought to reset the Xantrex.

Dale your suggestion to put the SB all the way out is also a good idea. I was also checking the clearances between the SB and the wiring I had repaired, so that was my second reason for riding it in/out.

Never thought to see if any 115V wiring have become loosened, will do that as well. May just go get the thing and re-do that rats nest in that area today as the weather is perfect, and we are going to cook a turkey anyway so need to stay home.
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Old 05-24-2009, 02:27 PM   #7
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Well. as for riding the SB in and out... No comment without observation of your install.. I might, or might now, I'm claustrophobic by the way.

As for the generator: Question: DO you have an EMS on that coach? I can think of only Three things that would cause the symptoms you cite

1: Generator failure: To test measure the output of the generator AT THE GENERATOR using either a test lamp or a voltmeter (Lamp should be fairly steady)

2: Bad Automatic Transfer Switch. To test measure voltage at two points, 2A the Generator in terminals on the ATS, 2b: Line out on ABS

3: Bad EMS... Now.. that Cat-5 line could be involved there, frankly I don't know enough about 'em. but I'd sooner think it's the Silverleaf comm lead

NOTE: you could, in theory, have snagged one of the power leads but where as the wires you are looking at are like 20 something ga. the main power leads are like six Ga, (over a quarter inch in diamater) and you'd know them for what they are straight off.. They are also routed differently from low-voltage wires as a general rule.
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Old 05-24-2009, 08:18 PM   #8
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Everyone - the suggestion to reset the Xantrex system using the little red button fixed the genset issue. So I wanted to thank everyone for all the help. I ran the GS for 30 minutes, then it shut down on its own, I restarted it and it ran until I shut it down 45 minutes later. I tried various loads to make sure I could not cause it to go out on its own. I believe that sometimes code 27 makes an ugly appearance (search for that code) otherwise I live with it this way. We are going to take it out in a couple of weeks, and I will start and run the GS for the whole trip one way to make sure it's working. I also need to check the batteries water level, to make sure they are up. They are charging now, so one day this week I will go over and check them after taking it off charge. Thank you all again, this forum rocks.
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Old 05-25-2009, 12:13 AM   #9
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Glad the reset worked for you. It seems to happen, on occasion, after the inverter is turned on, turned off, and then AC is applied either fron the generator or shore power. I don't know why; nor did the folks I talked to at Xantrex.
Matt & Lorraine Moniz
'05-36MDDS Alpine / '14 Honda CRV
Sunnyvale, CA
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