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Old 06-13-2022, 01:23 PM   #1
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Generator starts and dies immediately with short circuit

Cummins Onan RV QD 3200 in a 2021 Tiffin Wayfarer 25RW

I saw the previous owner cure this by pushing the reset button on the bath GFCI. And this worked for me, once. But not anymore.

Everything seems to be powered ok on shore power.

I have tried restarting the inverter and turning off the inverter. No difference.
Should the inverter be turned off before starting the generator?

Procedurally, when I leave a site with shore power, I have been turning off the main 30 Amp breaker. Then, when arriving at a boondocking site, the inverter is on, the batteries are charged, and the solar controller is charging the batteries. Then, try the generator, it runs a few seconds and shuts down with the "short circuit" message.

Any ideas?
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Old 06-13-2022, 03:28 PM   #2
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If it was a short you would expect the generator breaker to trip, but the generator should continue to run normally when the generator stops there is an error code that offers some hints of what is going on.

If you google reading onan generator error codes you will find lots of videos.
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Old 06-14-2022, 12:24 PM   #3
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Followup

The videos on a google search all show how to retrieve the fault codes on a
generator with a status light. My model doesn't have a status light, apparently the fault code is displayed as text on the control display inside the RV.

I have not been able to find out how to reset the fault code on this model generator, or if it is possible to do so.

I tested every outlet in the RV with a plug-in tester, all OK.
The GFCI seems to work as expected, TEST button results in no power, RESET restores power.

I expected that by turning off the main 30 Amp breaker, that would isolate any faults from the generator. Does that mean the problem is in the generator or somewhere between the generator and the breaker panel, like the transfer switch?
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Old 06-15-2022, 08:46 AM   #4
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Disconnect the gfi. See what happens. May have already damaged the gen control board. Disconnect the 12v to the gen for 10 or 20 minutes after disonnecting the gfi. That's how you reset an onan. The gfi or something downstream from it sounds like the problem.
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Old 06-15-2022, 05:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeAreThere View Post
The videos on a google search all show how to retrieve the fault codes on a
generator with a status light. My model doesn't have a status light, apparently the fault code is displayed as text on the control display inside the RV.

I have not been able to find out how to reset the fault code on this model generator, or if it is possible to do so.

I tested every outlet in the RV with a plug-in tester, all OK.
The GFCI seems to work as expected, TEST button results in no power, RESET restores power.

I expected that by turning off the main 30 Amp breaker, that would isolate any faults from the generator. Does that mean the problem is in the generator or somewhere between the generator and the breaker panel, like the transfer switch?
Again if it was an overload problem you would trip the generator breaker, generator stopping is I believe a generator issue.

Call Onan customer support if you can't figure out how to pull the fault code, they are generally very helpful.
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Old 06-15-2022, 05:33 PM   #6
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The generator will shut down with a direct short. Your first few seconds of running may be the delay in the auto transfer switch switching to generator power, thay all do that.

Switch off the breaker on the generat[ and see if it stays running. If it does, you have a wiring issue. It could be at the juntion box near the generator or at the Auto transfer switch.
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Old 06-20-2022, 07:53 PM   #7
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Update

Took it to Cummins/Onan for service. They disconnected the generator from the coach wiring and the generator started and ran fine, took a load. Then they reconnected the generator to the coach and same problem, short circuit. They recommend I take it to the coach manufacturer and have them find the short circuit in the coach wiring.
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Old 06-21-2022, 04:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeAreThere View Post
Took it to Cummins/Onan for service. They disconnected the generator from the coach wiring and the generator started and ran fine, took a load. Then they reconnected the generator to the coach and same problem, short circuit. They recommend I take it to the coach manufacturer and have them find the short circuit in the coach wiring.
I assume you tried turning off your main circuit breaker and it doesn't help. Since it runs fine off of shore power, but according to Onan is shorted it has to be either the wire between the generator and the transfer switch, or the transfer switch itself. If you disconnect the generator wire at the transfer switch and it still fails you know it's the wire to the transfer switch, if it doesn't fails it would imply it's tour transfer switch.
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Old 07-01-2022, 08:04 PM   #9
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Fixed

The RV Doctor in Pahrump came to us and found the problem: the cover to the auto transfer switch was pushing a bare ground wire up against a terminal connection, causing the short. He could see the blackened wire, where I didn't.

Thanks for everybody's help.
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