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Author Topic: Mysterious Generator Starting  (Read 4738 times)

00hrendevor

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Mysterious Generator Starting
« on: February 11, 2009, 01:10:02 PM »
Hello All, I got a head scratcher here.  (At least I think so.)

I have a 2000 Holiday Rambler Endeavor DP with an Onan 7.5 Quit run Diesel Generator. 

Today I walked outside and the generator was running, and no one was in the Coach.  I then went inside and shut it off.  About five minutes later it started back up, I went over and removed the remote generator start switch from the dash thinking that maybe it went bad, then it took about four hours and the generator fired back up.  I went out and shut it off with the switch at the generator and disconnected the house batteries so that it cannot start. 

The Coach is parked in my driveway and plugged into shore power, to keep the batteries charged up.  I have heard about systems that start the generator when the house batteries get low, but unless it is hidden I cannot find it and I do not have an inverter.  The house battery voltage is also 13.7 volts.  I checked to make sure that I do have 110v power inside the Coach from the shore connection and that the battery charger is sending power to the house batteries.

My question is has anyone ever had any problems like this or any ideas about where to start looking first, before I start just chasing wires.

Any help would be appreciated

Thank you in Advance

Tony D.

Gypsy Rovers

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Re: Mysterious Generator Starting
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2009, 04:40:38 PM »
Tony, not sure what you have for an inverter but on my Xantrex there is an option under Generator stop/start on the menu that does what you referred to regarding battery voltage.

If you have that option check to ensure that it's not programmed to start (for low voltage and also for certain time restrictions) If so, turn off the auto function.

Just a shot in the dark without knowing what you have but worth a look.

Dale
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John From Detroit

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Re: Mysterious Generator Starting
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2009, 04:49:29 PM »
There are two common things that cause this to happen.

Many (NOT MOST but 1,3,4,5,6,7,7,8,9,MANY, or more than nine) coaches have a battery management/generator control system that WILL auto-start the generator when the battery runs down if there is no shore power

(NOTE: that counting line above is from a song,  and the song is a joke,  but it illistrates my point,, perhaps 10%)

So, check your battery SOC and/or read the fine manuals.. See if you have such a system

Second,,, I've heard of short circuits.. Often caused by moisture getting into the connectors.
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Marsha/CA

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Re: Mysterious Generator Starting
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2009, 04:51:59 PM »
We have the same set up as Dale on a 2003 Allegro DP with the 7.5 Onan Quiet Diesel generator with a Xantrex inverter/converter.  We had the same situation you do, except at that time we were plugged into a 110 20 amp outlet and we had forgotten to flip the breaker on.  So our batteries were low and the generator started up to charge the batteries.

I'm wondering if your coach batteries might be low.  I'm not sure if the generator will charge them; but it's a thought.

Marsha~
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ArdraF

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Re: Mysterious Generator Starting
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2009, 05:25:28 PM »
I may be wrong here, but it seems to me I've heard of people with pets setting the generator to start automatically if the temperature goes above a specific temperature so their pets won't get too hot if they're not in the coach.  I've also heard of the automatic starts for charging.  Definitely check your owner's manual to see what switches may need to be changed.  I should think it would be under the topic of Automatic Starting.

ArdraF
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lost-n-ohio

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Re: Mysterious Generator Starting
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2009, 06:14:05 PM »
Tony I had a similar problem with my '98 Win Vectra with 7.5 kw Onan.  The consensus was that if you do not have an autostart system then it is caused by a dirty plug in the control wiring.  I cleaned mine with contact cleaner then lubricated with dielectric grease and have had no further problems.  The control wire and plug on mine were on the passenger side of the generator compartment.

But, you are the first that I've heard of that had frequent starts.  All of the others I've heard of have been just a single start. 

I plan on putting a disconnect switch on the generator 12V supply so the generator cannot start.  Unless I need to charge the house batteries while I am away from the coach, I disconnect the house batteries with the switch on the dash.  Although you can press on the generator switch and the green light comes on, the generator will not start with the house batteries disconnected even though you are plugged into 120v.

I called Onan and they said it was probably a bad control board in the generator.  The gen has to be removed, in my case since my generator is not on a slide, and that means a lot of labor.  That is why I plan on putting a cut off switch on the 12V supply line.

John Canfield

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Re: Mysterious Generator Starting
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2009, 08:42:09 PM »
Tony I had a similar problem with my '98 Win Vectra with 7.5 kw Onan.  The consensus was that if you do not have an autostart system then it is caused by a dirty plug in the control wiring.  I cleaned mine with contact cleaner then lubricated with dielectric grease and have had no further problems.

About a 99% chance the control cable connector needs to be unplugged, cleaned, and gooped up with a silicon dielectric paste (like Dow Corning 4.)
--John
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scottydl

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Re: Mysterious Generator Starting
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2009, 10:51:35 PM »
Second,,, I've heard of short circuits.. Often caused by moisture getting into the connectors.

We had this happen with a truck at work, that would spontaneously start itself out the in parking lot.  It had loud exhaust too, so we'd be sitting inside and all of a sudden *Vroom* engine would rev and rumble while we all looked at each other in bewilderment.  I was half expecting the thing to switch into gear and drive away, a.k.a. Steven King's "Christine". 

Anyway I believe it was isolated to a faulty ignition that occasionally thought it was "ON" even when no key was inserted.
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00hrendevor

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Re: Mysterious Generator Starting
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2009, 09:00:40 AM »
Thank you for All the Ideas, I can't find an inverter so I am eliminating that, talk to onan and they are sending me a manual for the generator, the house batteries are putting out 13.7 v and it is still plugged into shore power.  I will take apart the generator control switch and see what I Can find.

Again Thank you all for your help,

Tony

John From Detroit

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Re: Mysterious Generator Starting
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2009, 10:59:13 AM »
For the moment find the plug where the generator connects to the remote wiring, and pull it from the genrator.. This should be the only wire-harness you can unplug as all the others bolt on.

Foe Scotty

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00hrendevor

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Re: Mysterious Generator Starting
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2009, 12:14:53 PM »
Thank you all, 

Sorry I didn't respond sooner but that fierce windstorm last week left me with out power for 5 days, I got the manual and decoded the error code from the start switch, as it turns out where the 12v negative cable is bolted to the chassis was all rusty.  Apparently the rusty ground let the generator think that there was low voltage so it would fire up to try to charge the batteries.  Cleaned up all the rust and greased it up and "Knock on wood" it hasn't started since Monday.  That is the first I have heard that the generator itself would see low voltage and start, I thought it would have to be connected to an inverter for that.

Thanks Again

Tony

Ron

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Re: Mysterious Generator Starting
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2009, 12:51:42 PM »
Good to hear you got it fixed.  Thanks for the update.
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