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Old 11-16-2019, 04:11 PM   #1
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Generator Starting Problem

Generator has started to not start on house batteries. Grunts as if batter is dead. Only after I start Engine will the Generator fire right up. Do I have a loose or bad connection? Where should I start to look?
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Old 11-16-2019, 04:25 PM   #2
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first blush it sounds like not enough voltage is getting to the genny. i'd start with simple things first.

- check each cell of the battery(ies) with a hydrometer, imo the only way to truly know the state of charge. if low charge them overnight, let them rest for 20-min, disconnect the cables and re-check. if still low replace the bad battery(ies).

- check/clean the battery cables and the posts at the battery and at the genny.

reconnect making sure the connections are tight and give 'er a try.
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:12 AM   #3
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I took a look at your web page to see if you listed your coach specifications. You may want to add this information below your signature on this site and I bet you'd get more information.

Your problem is most likely very simple, but folks need a baseline. Does your generator start off of the house batteries as mentioned or the chassis battery? How old are your batteries and do you have a multimeter?

If your gen starts off the house battery(s) then a quick check with a meter would give you a better idea. Since your engine starts it does sound like the gen may be cranked by the house battery bank.

Good luck and let us know how things go.
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Old 11-17-2019, 09:11 AM   #4
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I was told the generator starts off of the chassis battery. So, starting the RV would add voltage to the generator start. Correct?
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Old 11-17-2019, 11:56 AM   #5
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I was told the generator starts off of the chassis battery. So, starting the RV would add voltage to the generator start. Correct?
This would be the case if his generator starts off of the chassis battery. I would think this would be how it's wired up but after reading more about this topic some RV generators start off of the house batteries.

My generator starts from the chassis battery.
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Old 11-17-2019, 12:27 PM   #6
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Disconnect the chassis battery and, if the generator doesn't try to start at all, then it starts off the chassis battery. Otherwise it starts off the house batteries. If the batteries in question are OK, I'd be looking at poor connections at both ends, including ground connections.
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:25 PM   #7
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Your batteries ARE virtually dead or you have a corroded connection that is not allowing quite enough current to the generator's starter. The generator's starter will draw 150-250 amps at 12.8 VDC (Onan supplied data for my 4kW generator) depending on temperature and grade of oil (ex. 10/30, 30HD) used in the generator.

That said, you may be seeing 12.8 volts (voltage alone is meaningless) on your meter when there is no load on the batteries, but look at the battery voltage while the generator is trying to start. That will be the true condition of your batteries. Voltage drop below 12 VDC under load is a good indicator of weak battery(ies). You may have one good and one bad battery in parallel which will render the combined batteries nearly useless. Load test each battery individually by disconnecting the parallel connections. If the battery voltage stays high during the generator starting sequence, then you have a bad connection to the generator.

If you have one bad and one good battery don't just replace the bad one with new as the process will repeat itself again in the near future as the older battery will be doing most of the work going forward. Parallel batteries should be replaced all at once using the same make/model or at the least, batteries of identical specifications.
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:31 PM   #8
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My Journey uses the house batteries to start the genset as I believe most Winnebagos do. Your house batteries are near depleted and lack the power to start the genset. The fact that they will start the genset with the engine running would confirm their low state. Try charging them for 24 hour to see if they will start the generator. If your house batteries are more than a couple of years old and have been depleted more than a couple of times, unfortunately you are likely looking at replacement.
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Old 11-25-2019, 10:52 AM   #9
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My Journey uses the house batteries to start the genset as I believe most Winnebagos do. Your house batteries are near depleted and lack the power to start the genset. The fact that they will start the genset with the engine running would confirm their low state. Try charging them for 24 hour to see if they will start the generator. If your house batteries are more than a couple of years old and have been depleted more than a couple of times, unfortunately you are likely looking at replacement.



My '08 Sightseer is the same- gen starts off the house batts. Chk water levels in the cells and fill with distilled only, then charge and test again. I get six years out of them just by keeping the water levels good- they are never charged except when camping off the house converter. Good luck, by the sound of it the batteries just need attention/replacement.
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:32 PM   #10
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Generator not starting

I have a 2012 Winnebago vista. My generator starts off coach batteries (2-12v). It was not starting so had dealership look at it while doing some other work covered by extended warranty. They found terminals dirty so cleaned and reattached. That seemed to work until I tried to start.a week later.

Pulled the two interstate batteries and had them checked by interstate dealer. Despite being 4 years old (at their limit) they said ok after checking them a total of three times. Put back in, charges with external charger, and still failed to start. Acting like not enough amps to do the job.

Pulled them two more times and had 2 other heavy equipment dealers check. One said bad and one said ok just like interstate.

The fix. I bought two new batteries and installed-and no issues since.

It was confusing as some said ok and others said bad. I even checked shore charging system.

Long story but wanted to give you as much 411 as possible.

Bruce
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:57 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Gentracker View Post
I have a 2012 Winnebago vista. My generator starts off coach batteries (2-12v). It was not starting so had dealership look at it while doing some other work covered by extended warranty. They found terminals dirty so cleaned and reattached. That seemed to work until I tried to start.a week later.

Pulled the two interstate batteries and had them checked by interstate dealer. Despite being 4 years old (at their limit) they said ok after checking them a total of three times. Put back in, charges with external charger, and still failed to start. Acting like not enough amps to do the job.

Pulled them two more times and had 2 other heavy equipment dealers check. One said bad and one said ok just like interstate.

The fix. I bought two new batteries and installed-and no issues since.

It was confusing as some said ok and others said bad. I even checked shore charging system.

Long story but wanted to give you as much 411 as possible.

Bruce
This is precisely the reason why I do my own work. Most all (90+%) "service" institutions, are staffed with incompetent people. It is a simple process to test the viability of a battery through load testing, the ONLY way to test a battery. You could have tested it yourself, using two people, one measuring battery voltage with a decent voltmeter and one trying to start the generator. This would be equivalent to a 150-200 amp load test on the battery. Voltage should not drop below 12 volts on good batteries or 11.5 on marginal batteries. Any lower, scrap the batteries. It is possible that only one battery was really bad but you need to change both, or all batteries if more, at the same time.
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