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Old 02-16-2020, 07:54 PM   #1
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Generator wont start?

2000 Suncruser generator has started not starting! House batteries up and I push the button for generator to start and nothing. If I hold the check battery condition when I push the generator start button I see the voltage fall off five or six volts but no sound, no start. I then start the chassis Engine and then push the generator to start, it will come on then??? Any suggestions would be appreciated...
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Old 02-16-2020, 08:27 PM   #2
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The starter cable for the generator is tied to the coach battery side of the 12 volt system in the chassis electrical box. The starter will want to draw well over 70 amps DC. It sounds like your coach batteries current condition is not able to deliver that amount of current and maintain enough voltage to crank the generator anymore. This is often caused by the batteries becoming sulfated, or it can just be due to many deep discharge cycles over time.

When you start the chassis engine the chassis and coach battery systems are being tied together so that the generator is now able to get power from the alternator and the chassis battery as well as from the coach battery.

You may want to pull your RV into a NAPA or other auto parts store such as Advance Auto Parts and get your coach batteries load tested, my guess is that they'll fail a load test. Looks like it's time for some Costco Interstate 6V Golf Cart Batteries. Best value for RV replacement coach batteries, well under $ 100 each.

If you replace your batteries, you might consider installing a BatteryMinder Model OBD-12 12 volt On-board desulfator, cost of about $ 80. It turns on and de-sulfates the batteries whenever there is charging voltage applied across the batteries. It draws no power when batteries are not being charged. It will extend the life of the replacement batteries. I have had one wired across my Costco batteries and they are still going strong after 3 years of use.
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Old 02-16-2020, 08:42 PM   #3
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So your saying that my generator does not use the house batteries to start but uses the chassis battery to start?
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Old 02-17-2020, 09:44 AM   #4
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I think the situation is that the genset does use the coach batteries but when we start the RV engine, those batteries are being charged off the engine alternator and that gives them enough extra boost to start the genset. Your topic and another are currently active on the same basic question.
So final solution is to find why the coach batteries are not holding enough charge to start the gen. possible the charging equipment from plugged in is not doing enough or more likely the batteries are getting down to end of life and not holding that charge. What gets confusing is the voltage reading may not be telling us the full story. We may see 12+ volts but that being only "surface" charge which doesn't hold up long under load. I rarely go in for load testing as it is kind of easy to spot by doing a "poor man's" load test.
Charged and seeing more than 12 volts, we can put a load on by trying to start the genset without any other charging working. If we load the batteries and then stop the load and retest the voltage and see it's way down, we can say we have done a load test and the batteries are bad. Just we put an actual load on, rather than using a ready made load tester.
Being a cynical sort, I find I like to get my own answers as I know of places which test batteries and fail them on the idea that you will then buy their battery!
Being a simple thinker, if I want the batteries to start the generator, I use the generator as the load for load testing and avoid the potential of getting sold something that I don't need!
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homeless View Post
So your saying that my generator does not use the house batteries to start but uses the chassis battery to start?
I'm saying that when you can start it with the engine running it's using ALL the batteries AND the alternator. When it won't start it's using ONLY the coach batteries.
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Old 02-23-2020, 06:58 PM   #6
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Real available power indication

Quote:
Originally Posted by powercat_ras View Post
The starter cable for the generator is tied to the coach battery side of the 12 volt system in the chassis electrical box. The starter will want to draw well over 70 amps DC.
I've contacted Onan directly to get the starter draw on their 4kW generator. The official answer was 280 amps. I've actually monitored the draw, during warm weather, and it was 180-190 amps using lithium batteries (slightly higher voltage than lead acid). Add cold weather, heavier weight oil and lead acid batteries and you are looking at the potential of well over 200 amps. Length of cables and size will also be a factor.

If the generator doesn't turn over, aside from a defective starter, you are looking at corroded starter cable connections or batteries that aren't as "charged" as you may think. Battery voltage measurements can be misleading. Monitor the voltage under load only for a truer reading on battery capacity, voltage AND amps equals power.
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