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Old 06-24-2021, 03:11 PM   #1
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Exclamation Generator Start Button Short Circuits all power

Hi,
I am a new RVer with very little experience and also not much Mechanic skills. Have had this happen several times now where when pressing Generator start button while driving/ motor running that everything short circuits.... motor, dash displays, and motor quits. Afterwards I am unable to start motor or generator. Turning the key just gives a short click noise and nothing happens. All other functions in the back of RV are good. Any advice? Its a scary experience when this happens while driving down the highway at night and all of a sudden every driving function quits, including lights and I am unable to start again. I drive a 34' 1995 Newmar Kountry Star on a Spartan Chassis with Cummins engine. All coach and chassis batteries are new and connections on batteries are good too.

Any help is greatly appreciated
Thank you
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Old 06-25-2021, 08:45 AM   #2
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I first would check other gen start buttons to see if they do the same thing BUT NOT WHILE DRIVING!... parked w/ engine running. Button on gen, and probably another on a panel in the coach. If they work as they should, the dash button you are pushing is bad. If the other buttons do the same, there is a relay or wiring issue. With new batteries, I would want to verify they are properly connected ... installer could have messed up the connections.
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Old 06-25-2021, 11:26 AM   #3
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Some connection is heating up momentarily and you are losing contact. Even if you checked your battery terminals you probably have not physically chased those wire and you should also tighten those battery cables. Simply giving them a wiggle will not do it.

This is obviously a very dangerous situation and you need to take a very careful look at it yourself even with limited skills.

Chase every wire off the batteries. Take pictures and post them here.

Once you find any connection where the wire goes, tighten that connector. Make a mental note of anything that you can tighten even a little bit or worse, a full turn or more.

Twelve volts just has very little pressure/push and will not push through a weak connection.

Follow the negative leads off your batteries to wherever they go. When and if you find them on a frame bolt etc., remove those and clean everything clean and shiny. Use sandpaper, wire brush, dremel tool with drum sander, or whatever works for you. Get them shiny and clean.

If you have any battery cut off switches, you may need to dismount them to tighten wires that may be connected on the back.

Be safe working on batteries. Always wear safety goggles.
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Old 06-27-2021, 11:41 AM   #4
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Generator start button should go to generator only and not affect any other component in your motorhome. As said above you need to try to start the generator from the switch on the generator. If there is a problem there then disconnect the coach wiring plug at the generator and try again. If the problem disappears then it's in that generator wiring circuit and you will need to track it back to the source of the problems.

I've seen something similar to what you describe but it's not the generator switch but the emergency start switch that bridges both batteries to start coach or generator in a emergency. Could that be the switch you are trying to start generator with?

I'm going to edit to add! The only way the generator will kill all other circuits in the coach is if it directly shorted the batteries to ground long enough for engine to die. If for some reason the starter in the generator has a dead short to ground internally it could possibly draw enough current to kill all other circuits. That's only going to happen if the starter button is pushed and the starter solenoid has engaged to run the starter.

Again, there are no other circuits controlled by the generator start button so save yourself a lot of time looking for something that isn't there.
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