96 Fleetwood Southwind electrical issues

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by badrandy, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. badrandy

    badrandy New Member

    Hi All,

    The last time I used my RV for the year in the Fall of 2007, the generator ran but would not put out any juice. When I took it out for he first time in the Spring of 08, the generator ran fine, put out electric and worked fine the entire season. The last time I used it in the Fall of 08, the generator did the same thing, ran fine, no juice.

    Another issue, which may be unrelated, reared it's head during the middle of Summer 08. The coach batteries stopped charging whether I had the RV plugged in or the generator running. The coach batteries are 2 years old, I keep them filled with distlled water and charge fine with a trickle charger when plugged into shore power.

    Two weeks ago I had the generator repaired at the local Onan dealer. For $700 they cleaned the slip rings and installed a new voltage regulator. I took the RV on a one day trip last week and the generator worked fine for two hours in the morning. That night on the way home, all electrical issues returned. The generator ran fine but no juice, and the coach batteries went dead aftet a full (12 hour) day.

    I am taking the RV back to the Onan dealer tomorrow. I believe the issues are unrelated but does anyone have any thoughts or what might be the issue with the coach batteries?

    Thanks, Brad
  2. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Re: 96 Fleetwood Southwind electrical issues

    Onan gensets do not keep running unless they are putting out a voltage. They are designed to do that so I find the replacement of the voltage regulator to be just groping about and not very logical at all. To me it sounds more like some problem in the area of the circuit breaker on the Onan it's self. Depending upon the KW rating of the Onan, they always have one or two circuit breakers that are mounted on the set and that must be closed for power to go anywhere, but the set will run with them open. I would look first at that, then I would take a hard look at the ATS.

    The ATS(automatic transfer switch) is supposed to stay in the shore power position at any time that the genset is not putting out power. If that is hanging up or failing it would not close to the genset side when it runs and that too could cause your symptom. If the coils were failing on it, then it might be intermittent, but if the contacts are failing then it very well could be. It may be that the contacts are burned or sticking shut in the power cord side.

    A quick way to check that is to connect the RV to shore power, then be sure that all significant loads are turned off, and start the genset. After the set comes up to speed, the power should shift from the shore power cord to the set. If it does not, then the problem is the ATS.

    The battery problem could easily be a problem with the converter. Since your converter is now 12 years old and most RV builders use the cheapest one available, it may very well have failed.

    Just between us, I don't really think that your RV tech knows RV electrical systems very well.

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