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Old 10-22-2014, 10:33 AM   #1
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Generator Phantom

Something strange happened last night and I wonder if anyone has experienced the same.

I’m plugged into 30a and sitting level in a friend’s driveway and I have a 50a surge protector in the line. My coach was locked and I had been visiting in the stick house for several hours when I went outside to the motorhome and found the 7.5KW Onan diesel generator running! How did the generator start itself and why? I don’t know if the following provides any clue but for the sake of the discussion:

Before I had gone into the house:

I had tested both roof A/C units since neither had been used in months. I tested both individually and each worked though taking a couple of minutes to start up. I then shut both off AND turned the slide switch on the controller to OFF.

My Winegard Traveler sat dish on the roof had been on and the TV had been working normally. The Winegard control box panel light was lit. The TV was off.

When I entered the coach and turned the generator off I noticed the Winegard panel light off but the dish still up and pointing in the same correct direction. I turned the TV on and DirecTV “rebuilt the scheduler” and in a couple of minutes the TV was back to normal. I never did anything with the Winegard box and the panel light is still off.

Everything electrical in the coach works as normal. It appears as if I just had a power surge of some sort which disturbed the Winegard system. The only thing not normal with my “routine” heres that I had tested the two A/C units a short time before I found the generator running.

Also, I have a year old Magnum 2000W inverter but DO NOT have the optional automatic gen start feature.

Sorry for the long winded explanation. Any ideas?
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Old 10-22-2014, 10:52 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvjimzhr View Post
Something strange happened last night and I wonder if anyone has experienced the same.
when I went outside to the motorhome and found the 7.5KW Onan diesel generator running!
How did the generator start itself and why? Any ideas?
rvjimzhr
Two questions:
1.) Do you have a AGS, (automatic generator start), system?
2.) If you do, is it set correctly?
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Old 10-22-2014, 11:35 AM   #3
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Well he already answered the AGS question (re-read "I do not have the automatic Generator Start Option")

Possibility of a short, or mositure on a switch or rodent damage to wires. That about covers what I can tell you without more info and I'm not a diesel expert so...
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Old 10-22-2014, 12:21 PM   #4
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Well he already answered the AGS question (re-read "I do not have the automatic Generator Start Option")
wa8yxm
I missed that.
Sorry.
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Old 10-22-2014, 12:31 PM   #5
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Any cats in the neighborhood. Have heard more than one story of a cat or some other critter crawling up inside the gen compartment and hitting the start switch.
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Old 10-22-2014, 12:38 PM   #6
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Many folks have reported this--the problem apparently is that moisture gets into the control wire connector near the right front (as mounted in the coach) of the generator. Folks have reported good luck with opening up the connector and adding some dialectric grease before putting it back together again.
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:01 AM   #7
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Havent seen any cats around. The area around the gen doesn't look wet but I was in lots of heavy rain up until a week ago. Since then warm and dry weather. With luck if it's moisture that will disappear and I won't have the issue again.

Chris do you mean as I face the front of the coach looking into the generator compartment ? Can you describe the "connector" and how it "opens up"? I see the start switch there on the right but don't recognize other stuff. I see a bunch of wires coming out the left side toward the passenger door. Thanks guys!
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvjimzhr View Post
...
Chris do you mean as I face the front of the coach looking into the generator compartment ? Can you describe the "connector" and how it "opens up"? I see the start switch there on the right but don't recognize other stuff. I see a bunch of wires coming out the left side toward the passenger door. Thanks guys!
The wires coming out towards the passenger door should be the ones. There should be a connector in that bundle of wires fairly near the generator--that's the one that can cause this problem.
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Old 10-27-2014, 07:28 AM   #9
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Called Cummins/Onan and they verified that my gen doesn't have an auto start feature. Same with Magnum for the inverter. Cummins pointed me to that wire buss and I checked the plug for moisture and corrosion....none of either. They told me that this phantom start is not unusual but to consider this incident a "fluke" and not to worry about it. In the event that it happens again I should unplug the wire connection, wait for the next 'incident' and when it happens unplugged that identifies the problem as in the generator itself and not the coach wiring. In the meantime I'll just hope it doesn't happen again and carry on.
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