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Old 10-22-2021, 11:11 AM   #1
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Generator woes.....again! (Sorry for the long post)

Our QD 12.5kw Onan took a dump on us in northern Indiana on our way to Northern Michigan back in late August. It would start and then stop after 30 seconds or so of run time, then flash an error code, "low voltage". I went in and cleaned the contacts on the multiplex plug to the module and reassembled. The unit started right up, and ran for 30 minutes under load. Great! Problem solved (or so I thought!!). Shut it down as we were parked for a month.

Fast forward to departure day, the damn thing started the same behavior, ie; start and then die after 30 seconds. As we were headed south, I made an appointment at the big cummins shop in Grand Rapids Michigan, but had to abandon that plan when they had no space available to overnight with a plug in for shore power (after assuring me this would not be a problem, come on in!!), and due to medical devices on board, my batteries would not hold overnight.......so we soldiered on to Elkhart, Indiana, to try and get in to the Cummins-Onan shop there, where I had great results in the past on service issues, only to be told they were closing the doors forever, they could not get techs to come to work, couldn't make enough$$ to keep it open. AAARRRRGGGHHH!!!! WTH!!

I was able to get into a local independent recommended by Cummins. I explained our situation to them and they shuffled a few things around and got us in the next day. Their gen tech diagnosed it as a bad controller, which I suspected might be the case. Trouble was, they couldn't get one for at least a week, and we were on a time schedule. So I thanked them paid the bill, and soldiered on.

I was able to find a controller in stock in the Cummins-Onan parts depot in Memphis, and had it shipped to my son's house in Atlanta, who then delivered it to me in North Georgia, where we were stopped for a couple of weeks.

I had an appointment at NIRVC in Atlanta this week to replace a doa mach 8 air conditioner (eight-month old replacement unit), so I asked if we could get their generator tech to install the new controller module in the generator for me.

No problem....
so we now have the new module installed, now the generator is still starting then dying, and now throwing both a "low voltage" AND an "over-frequency" code!!! WHHHAAAATT???? And the tech says he has never encountered that before, would have to schedule a second appointment in so he could take a "deep-dive" into the issue.....no, thanks , he is not a certified Onan tech.....

This thing has been regularly serviced and only has about 450 hours on it. Has anybody in the Entegra community experienced anything similar to this behavior? It is a critical piece of equipment for me to power my wife's oxygen generator while enroute or off shore power. Pretty crappy reliability for a $12,000 boat anchor! Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated, no joy in getting into any qualified service centers for at least a month, and that's just the first blush to "look at it"......

No parts, no techs, and no service appointments available....what the hell am I doing here??!!
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Old 10-22-2021, 11:32 AM   #2
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Hi Ernie - Has the fuel pump been checked. If the pump is bad the low voltage code could be set by the rpm being off before the engine dies (as well as Hz). Other issue might be the voltage regulator but I'm more inclined to think you have a bad fuel pump. What sort of diagnostics were done before parts started getting thrown at it? Any additional information would be helpful.


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Old 10-22-2021, 11:43 AM   #3
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Sorry Ernie .... My Onans (I've had three of them) have never done any of that.


Just a thought, the only similar thing that I have ever experienced (the Onan turning off spontaneously) is when I put the VegaTouch into AGS mode. It will start the Onan if the voltage is low, but it will also turn off the Onan if the batteries are fully charged and the VegaTouch does not "feel" the Onan needs to run any longer during a test, and then the software simply shuts down the Onan without asking me if its OK.

Just a thought. If you are routinely connected to shore power and you enable the AGS, then the AGS would shut you down spontaneously on a test run.

Gary
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Old 10-22-2021, 11:52 AM   #4
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Ernie, so sorry to hear of that major problem for you. Also shocked to hear of the Elkhard Onan shop closing for good. That is almost unreal with all of the RV manufactures in the area counting on them.
If you decide to try the fuel pump, here is the DIY instruction that RubiconTrail was so kind to document and share. https://www.irv2.com/forums/f278/cha...ef-325105.html
Sure hope an answer is found soon.
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Old 10-22-2021, 12:06 PM   #5
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I know it doesn't solve the problem, but it seems like your inverter and battery bank could run the O2 machine indefinitely while driving and at least overnight while stopped if not plugged in.

If this is a fuel problem, it also seems like it could be a fuel filter problem. That sounds too easy, but if fuel pressure hasn't been checked...I hope you get this resolved soon.

I share your angst and dismay with our severely damaged work force. Inexcusable! Gone are the days of working three jobs or long hours to try to get ahead. I inherited my Dad’s work ethic - to him a job was one’s most valuable possession.
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Old 10-22-2021, 12:56 PM   #6
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generator woes.....again! (Sorry for the long post)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mymyst View Post
Our QD 12.5kw Onan took a dump on us in northern Indiana on our way to Northern Michigan back in late August. It would start and then stop after 30 seconds or so of run time, then flash an error code, "low voltage". I went in and cleaned the contacts on the multiplex plug to the module and reassembled. The unit started right up, and ran for 30 minutes under load. Great! Problem solved (or so I thought!!). Shut it down as we were parked for a month.



Fast forward to departure day, the damn thing started the same behavior, ie; start and then die after 30 seconds. As we were headed south, I made an appointment at the big cummins shop in Grand Rapids Michigan, but had to abandon that plan when they had no space available to overnight with a plug in for shore power (after assuring me this would not be a problem, come on in!!), and due to medical devices on board, my batteries would not hold overnight.......so we soldiered on to Elkhart, Indiana, to try and get in to the Cummins-Onan shop there, where I had great results in the past on service issues, only to be told they were closing the doors forever, they could not get techs to come to work, couldn't make enough$$ to keep it open. AAARRRRGGGHHH!!!! WTH!!



I was able to get into a local independent recommended by Cummins. I explained our situation to them and they shuffled a few things around and got us in the next day. Their gen tech diagnosed it as a bad controller, which I suspected might be the case. Trouble was, they couldn't get one for at least a week, and we were on a time schedule. So I thanked them paid the bill, and soldiered on.



I was able to find a controller in stock in the Cummins-Onan parts depot in Memphis, and had it shipped to my son's house in Atlanta, who then delivered it to me in North Georgia, where we were stopped for a couple of weeks.



I had an appointment at NIRVC in Atlanta this week to replace a doa mach 8 air conditioner (eight-month old replacement unit), so I asked if we could get their generator tech to install the new controller module in the generator for me.



No problem....

so we now have the new module installed, now the generator is still starting then dying, and now throwing both a "low voltage" AND an "over-frequency" code!!! WHHHAAAATT???? And the tech says he has never encountered that before, would have to schedule a second appointment in so he could take a "deep-dive" into the issue.....no, thanks , he is not a certified Onan tech.....



This thing has been regularly serviced and only has about 450 hours on it. Has anybody in the Entegra community experienced anything similar to this behavior? It is a critical piece of equipment for me to power my wife's oxygen generator while enroute or off shore power. Pretty crappy reliability for a $12,000 boat anchor! Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated, no joy in getting into any qualified service centers for at least a month, and that's just the first blush to "look at it"......



No parts, no techs, and no service appointments available....what the hell am I doing here??!!


Ok, a couple of things we should probably look at first. I am at NIRVC Atlanta, I was a generator tech for the Marine Corps, then for Kinsley power systems for about 6yrs working on generators of all shapes and sizes. That being said we have to look at what is happening and the way a generator works to kind of understand what is going on. If you were to look at the brushes and commutator rings on the end of the generator how do they look. These are 2 small pieces of carbon that take a signal from the controller and put it to the rotating rotor while operating. Because the rotor is spinning the carbon brushes are spring loaded and pushing against the commutator rings to send electricity down the rotor and create a magnetic field. The controller is receiving a signal from very small leads coming off the stator (outer windings) of the generator and depending on the output of the smaller wires the controller makes a proportional input to the rotor. This is voltage regulation. The way I would approach this is start out with making sure the rings are clean. A commutator cleaner that is usually the consistency of chalk is touched to the commutator while the gen is spinning. I would then take voltage reading on the brush holders (should be dc) and make sure that I am getting an output from the controller. Depending on what I see on the brush holder would dictate where I went from there. I can walk you through the steps if you would like.
Thanks,
Justin
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Old 10-23-2021, 10:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricci View Post
Hi Ernie - Has the fuel pump been checked. If the pump is bad the low voltage code could be set by the rpm being off before the engine dies (as well as Hz). Other issue might be the voltage regulator but I'm more inclined to think you have a bad fuel pump. What sort of diagnostics were done before parts started getting thrown at it? Any additional information would be helpful.


Tom
I'm inclined to think this is the next step, check for function on the fuel pump. Not an easy bugger to get to, but kind of makes sense to me it could be the culprit. One would think the much touted on-board diagnostic codes in that $1,000 controller would be able to detect and report that back accurately, but as in many other weird codes these things puke out, many have no rhyme or reason.....

I will report back!
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Old 10-23-2021, 10:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.Wold View Post
I know it doesn't solve the problem, but it seems like your inverter and battery bank could run the O2 machine indefinitely while driving and at least overnight while stopped if not plugged in.

If this is a fuel problem, it also seems like it could be a fuel filter problem. That sounds too easy, but if fuel pressure hasn't been checked...I hope you get this resolved soon.

I share your angst and dismay with our severely damaged work force. Inexcusable! Gone are the days of working three jobs or long hours to try to get ahead. I inherited my Dad’s work ethic - to him a job was one’s most valuable possession.
The inverter/battery bank run the 02 machine fine during travel days going down the highway. The battery bank will not support it and the fridge overnight without the generator to recharge. We had an extended shutdown of power in an RV park that happened in the middle of the night and lasted 12 hours. By the time the wife noticed there was an issue, the batteries were pretty much toast. Next item to be replaced!!
We're good as long as we are plugged into shore power or driving.....
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Old 10-23-2021, 10:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Townley View Post
Ok, a couple of things we should probably look at first. I am at NIRVC Atlanta, I was a generator tech for the Marine Corps, then for Kinsley power systems for about 6yrs working on generators of all shapes and sizes. That being said we have to look at what is happening and the way a generator works to kind of understand what is going on. If you were to look at the brushes and commutator rings on the end of the generator how do they look. These are 2 small pieces of carbon that take a signal from the controller and put it to the rotating rotor while operating. Because the rotor is spinning the carbon brushes are spring loaded and pushing against the commutator rings to send electricity down the rotor and create a magnetic field. The controller is receiving a signal from very small leads coming off the stator (outer windings) of the generator and depending on the output of the smaller wires the controller makes a proportional input to the rotor. This is voltage regulation. The way I would approach this is start out with making sure the rings are clean. A commutator cleaner that is usually the consistency of chalk is touched to the commutator while the gen is spinning. I would then take voltage reading on the brush holders (should be dc) and make sure that I am getting an output from the controller. Depending on what I see on the brush holder would dictate where I went from there. I can walk you through the steps if you would like.
Thanks,
Justin
404-314-9996
Justin; sounds like you would pretty much have to pull the generator to get this kind of access on an Entegra Cornerstone?? That's kind of outside my wheelhouse!!
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Old 10-23-2021, 10:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mymyst View Post
I'm inclined to think this is the next step, check for function on the fuel pump. Not an easy bugger to get to, but kind of makes sense to me it could be the culprit. One would think the much touted on-board diagnostic codes in that $1,000 controller would be able to detect and report that back accurately, but as in many other weird codes these things puke out, many have no rhyme or reason.....

I will report back!
Later on in RubiconTrail's post on replacing the fuel pumps was how to access it without removing the generator in a Cornerstone. I sure hope it is that simple for the fix.
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Old 10-25-2021, 09:33 AM   #11
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On my Classic Anthem we had the same issue for years and it was always 100% of the time the plug on the top of the brain. When it used to quit I simply went out popped the side cover off the generator removed 3 # 10 bolts holding the overflow bottle in place. Leander the bottle over and removed the large plug on top of the brain. Then I put the plug back on and it always ran for a few months. I have finally fixed this once and for all.

Remove the plug spray contact cleaner on the plug and reset it. Then on the side where the locking tab is fine a thin piece of rubber maybe 1/8” thick and push it between the clip on the side of the plug and that was all it took to hold the plug from loosing up

It never was the controller or fuel pump it was always this same issue. I have 3600 hours on my generator now and have had the coach since new
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Old 10-25-2021, 08:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.Wold View Post
I know it doesn't solve the problem, but it seems like your inverter and battery bank could run the O2 machine indefinitely while driving and at least overnight while stopped if not plugged in.

If this is a fuel problem, it also seems like it could be a fuel filter problem. That sounds too easy, but if fuel pressure hasn't been checked...I hope you get this resolved soon.

I share your angst and dismay with our severely damaged work force. Inexcusable! Gone are the days of working three jobs or long hours to try to get ahead. I inherited my Dad’s work ethic - to him a job was one’s most valuable possession.
All that work ethic is long gone, we are a different country now, can't get anything done now.
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Old 10-25-2021, 11:33 PM   #13
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Mine did that for years sorry to hear that and yes on.. �� Anchor
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Old 10-25-2021, 11:40 PM   #14
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If I remember right. Chuck you may have been the one who found out that shop did the above entrance door panels updates
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