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Old 06-25-2022, 11:32 AM   #1
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ONAN Generator

I have a Cummins Onan 2500 Watt Microquiet LP Generator in my 2019 Winnebago ERA. I am having trouble keeping my house batteries charged. Not even enough juice in the batteries to start the Generator.

I am going to replace the house batteries.

Does the Onan generator have its own battery that I need to replace? Or will replacing the house batteries be enough to reliably start my Onan generator?

Thanks. (I am new to this RV world.)
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Old 06-25-2022, 03:15 PM   #2
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House batteries usually start the genset - it depends on how the coach manufacturer wired it.

Replace your batteries with AGM’s.

Check your convertor - if it says “MagnaTek” on it, it needs to be upgrade to one of the newer convertor’s. Those old linear convertor’s will cook your batteries.
Progressive Dynamics makes a drop-in replacement for most all of the old convertor’s. Very easy to do, and they provide good instructions.
Cheapest I’ve found is on Amazon.
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Old 06-25-2022, 04:56 PM   #3
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Normally the house batteries are used to start the generator. Sometimes the chassis battery will be used and some generators have their own starting battery. If your chassis battery is good you should be able to press the boost switch and start your generator.
Replacing the batteries will help , only if the batteries have failed from over discharging or old age. Make sure your charging system is working properly as soon as you replace the batteries or your new batteries will have a short life.
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Old 06-25-2022, 11:12 PM   #4
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Onan uses coach battery, and trick many use when run down too far is BOOST SWITCH, OR crank main engine first. Good Luck
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Old 06-26-2022, 12:52 PM   #5
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I added a marine 3 bank float/charger to the last motorhome so that any time it was plugged in or the gen was running all the batteries would charge
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Old 06-26-2022, 06:53 PM   #6
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The Onans in a motorhome rarely have their own battery and I'm quite sure the one one in your Era does not. The Onan may crank from the chassis battery or the house. In recent years RV manufacturers have tended toward using the chassis battery, but I don't know about yours. You can test by disconnecting the ground cable on either the house or the chassis battery and trying it out.
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Old 06-27-2022, 12:55 AM   #7
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Sounds like your house batteries are low or dead.


It is very likely that your chassis alternator charges your house batteries when your chassis engine is running. Start up your RV and let it run for a minute or two (don't turn it off). Then try to start your generator (which your chassis engine is also running....the alternator will provide power to your house batteries (and also your generator at the same time)). Doing this will hopefully let you know whether or not your generator is working.


For your house batteries...after your test to see if your generator is working then I would suggest you pull your house batteries and bring them home and put a battery charger on each and give them all a good charge. (before charging them, you might want to check the water level and add distilled water if needed). THEN, take them to AutoZone (or equivalent) and ask them to test your batteries. They have a device that can test them to see if they are good or not.


It is VERY common for RVs that sit in storage for the batteries (especially house batteries) to get drained by small phantom loads. This is very painful for your batteries and will lead to an early death. Solutions are: When putting into storage, you can disconnect your batteries (so they don't drain). Or, put some solar on them to keep them charged.


Good luck!
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Old 06-27-2022, 07:56 AM   #8
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Thanks to everyone for your inputs. Very helpful.

Cheers
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Old 06-27-2022, 08:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMark52 View Post
House batteries usually start the genset - it depends on how the coach manufacturer wired it.

Replace your batteries with AGM’s.

Check your convertor - if it says “MagnaTek” on it, it needs to be upgrade to one of the newer convertor’s. Those old linear convertor’s will cook your batteries.
Progressive Dynamics makes a drop-in replacement for most all of the old convertor’s. Very easy to do, and they provide good instructions.
Cheapest I’ve found is on Amazon.
The Magnatek in ours is going on 20 years. And yes, I know that keeping it going 24/7 while in storage requires a lot of battery maintenance. But the OP's rig is less than 4 years old. I would have thought his had been refined over the years and would be much better than my oldie.
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