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Old 06-26-2015, 01:03 PM   #1
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generator not powering A/C

Hello All,

Were on a 12 day excursion - yosemite and yellowstone. Our first trip in our '11 airstream interstate. We were running the generator and the A/c was running but then after 20 minutes the A/C promptly stopped. The generator still works but I can't run the microwave or A/C. Also, oddly the "fantastic fan" also stopped working. Bit hot now...

Any help is appreciated. Could this be a fuse? Please help
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Old 06-26-2015, 01:13 PM   #2
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Try turning everything off then try the AC. Check for a blown breaker.look in the owners manual or generator manual for help.
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Old 06-26-2015, 01:37 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by 02interstate View Post
Hello All,

Were on a 12 day excursion - yosemite and yellowstone. Our first trip in our '11 airstream interstate. We were running the generator and the A/c was running but then after 20 minutes the A/C promptly stopped. The generator still works but I can't run the microwave or A/C. Also, oddly the "fantastic fan" also stopped working. Bit hot now...

Any help is appreciated. Could this be a fuse? Please help
Most likely a 120v circuit breaker. The Fantastic Fan is 12v, though, so that would be a fuse.

The on-board Onan generator only puts out 20 amps, not 30. If you run the AC, you need to run only the AC and some lights, and maybe a television. No water heater (unless it's on propane), no microwave. Also, check your EMS (Energy Management System) and make sure it's set on 20amp, not 30amp.
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Old 06-26-2015, 05:16 PM   #4
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Since the fan shut off and if it's not a fuse, check your house batteries. If they get too low, the propane valve may have shut off as it takes 12V to stay open. Probably not but easy to check.
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Old 06-26-2015, 11:41 PM   #5
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All,

Thanks for your great info. I see a solid red light on "D5" is the location. I attempted to upload a photo. This is under the bed.
Thanks

BTW - Yosemite in the interstate it wonderful even without the A/C or Magic Fan
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Old 06-26-2015, 11:52 PM   #6
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If the generator runs but there is no power to a/c or microwave, it sounds like the breaker ON THE GENERATOR. There is a cover plate on the generator that houses an on/off switch, possibly a fuse, and below the switch a breaker that is most likely the culprit. Reset the breaker, if yours has a fuse check it, have the a/c off. Restart the generator and wait several minutes for the microwave to show power at the clock. When microwave shows power start a/c on low cool but NOT to maximum cooling EVER. Do not try to use microwave and a/c at same time. If you go to max cooling there is a very good chance of it freezing up depending on the humidity and outside temps. Forgot to tell you access to the generator is from under the Interstate on my 2005 rig. Tough to get under unless you have blocks or can hang it over a low area or maybe weigh only 125 pounds. Good luck but be careful and SAFE.
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Old 06-27-2015, 12:06 PM   #7
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It sounds like you overloaded your generator, perhaps running the A/C then trying to use the microwave.
I have a Yamaha 2800 watt inverter generator and when I do something similar, the generator keeps running, even though it has tripped out on overload (there will be an "overload" light on on the front of the generator). The reset for this generator is you have to turn it off, then restart it. That is how you reset the overload trip on a Yamaha.
Perhaps your generator has a similar trip.

Keep in mind that it takes a pretty big generator to be able to handle both an air conditioner, microwave AND hotel load (hotel load can be as high as 600 watts due to a 50-amp converter trying to recharge batteries, etc.). On this last parenthetical statement, I have had to, or rare occasions, actually open the breaker at the breaker panel that feeds the converter, then start the generator, THEN start the air conditioner, and after the current surge required to start the air conditioner, then re-close the breaker supplying the converter. Oddly, subsequent restarts on the air conditioner seem to be fine without tripping the generator off on overload.
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Old 06-27-2015, 01:00 PM   #8
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Presumably your Interstate has a Precision Circuits Power Control System? If so, what lights are on after the generator has been running for 2-3 minutes? When things are running OK, I would expect to see the "GEN" light on, and all 4 status lights on.
If the system is being overloaded, it sheds the AC, microwave, water heater, and coffee maker (if you have it), one at a time until it can manage the load.
So this control system is supposed to protect the generator itself from being overloaded. But you never know. There is a fuse on the generator which may have blown.


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Old 06-27-2015, 06:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by 02interstate View Post
Hello All,

Were on a 12 day excursion - yosemite and yellowstone. Our first trip in our '11 airstream interstate. We were running the generator and the A/c was running but then after 20 minutes the A/C promptly stopped. The generator still works but I can't run the microwave or A/C. Also, oddly the "fantastic fan" also stopped working. Bit hot now...

Any help is appreciated. Could this be a fuse? Please help
When that happened to us it was the automatic transfer switch which failed so none of the 115v was getting to the I it. Do they work plugged in to shore power?
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Old 06-28-2015, 08:09 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by unifreck View Post
If the generator runs but there is no power to a/c or microwave, it sounds like the breaker ON THE GENERATOR. There is a cover plate on the generator that houses an on/off switch, possibly a fuse, and below the switch a breaker that is most likely the culprit. Reset the breaker, if yours has a fuse check it, have the a/c off. Restart the generator and wait several minutes for the microwave to show power at the clock. When microwave shows power start a/c on low cool but NOT to maximum cooling EVER. Do not try to use microwave and a/c at same time. If you go to max cooling there is a very good chance of it freezing up depending on the humidity and outside temps. Forgot to tell you access to the generator is from under the Interstate on my 2005 rig. Tough to get under unless you have blocks or can hang it over a low area or maybe weigh only 125 pounds. Good luck but be careful and SAFE.
That made me laugh. I am 130 pounds and I can get under our 2007 but it's a tight squeeze. The rate-limiting factor for me is depth of rib cage. If someone had a big belly, they would be doomed on any such attempt.

A fuse problem doesn't sound like it's the OP's issue but it is worth mentioning anyway because it is generally relevant:

"possibly a fuse" - yes, there is at least one fuse... a 5 amp fuse on the starting circuit for the model of generator used on the older Interstates. And it is reportedly notorious for blowing. It hasn't happened to us yet, but we have been strongly warned by other owners that it tends to occur without any rhyme, reason, or pattern. And you have to scoot under the vehicle to change it.

Now, whether or not that's the ONLY fuse or whether any other transmission issues may be due to a breaker issue... that I can't comment on.

I will confirm that the entire system is sensitive and not always intuitive. As Unifreck observes, if you are running the generator, you have to wait for the microwave light to come on before you attempt to add any load. Sometimes that can take a few minutes, too - for some reason, the time required is not always predictable. My husband wanted to remove the microwave so that we could have the space to upgrade to a larger refrigerator. I didn't want to do that for several reasons, one of which is that my microwave is my de facto indicator that the electrical system is ready for use. Because God help me if I attempt to plug in my toaster before that microwave light comes on.
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Old 10-20-2017, 11:07 AM   #11
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Generator needs oil and service every hundred hours.

Generator needs oil and service every hundred hours. Our AC was not working. And I got up under the vehicle and thought it was the fuse but ended up calling the Campers Clinic and the generator need service every hundred hours. I checked my getting up under there parking on a bump (so back end higher) and my oil was low. Mine is the Cummings 2500 and doesn't need a fuel filter but should have the air filter blown out on occasion. It will not work on low oil or if the air filters clogged. Unfortunately it's really hard to do the work without removing the spare tire. But I was able to add oil with a turkey baster (its tight) and get it working. The oil that my needed was SEC 30. It was tough to get cap with dip off with spare on but possible.
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Old 10-20-2017, 11:42 AM   #12
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The first thing I'd try is to see if the AC works on "fan only". If not, I'd start backtracking the circuit to see where the power stopped flowing.
Then, see if everything works on shore power. One step at a time.

BTW, I had an on board generator on the MH, and it terrified me to do oil changes under the chassis. I had to lower the jacks to raise the chassis, and even with a jack stand, I'd have been squashed like a bug if it came down. I'm not claustrophobic.....up to a point. I fear being trapped.
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