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Old 07-04-2021, 05:39 PM   #1
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Generator runs but stopped providing power

Generator starts and runs fine, but has stopped producing power. It was under relatively heavy load, powering the air conditioner and recharging the batteries when the aIr conditioner stopped with an E7 (no AC power) error on the thermostat. When I looked at the power panel, it was clear the generator had stopped producing power, even though it continued to run more smoothly than ever (likely due to no load anymore). I'm thinking it could be a breaker, maybe on the generator? No idea where that would be or whether such a thing even exists. Thanks in advance for any ideas, hoping for simple trouble-shooting, and that the problem is nothing too dramatic.
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Old 07-04-2021, 06:08 PM   #2
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Some more data would be useful, like the name and model and rating of the generator, and a nice clear picture of the electrical control panel on it Ö

Otherwise guesses will be all SWAGÖ
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Old 07-04-2021, 06:25 PM   #3
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I should have said this is for a 2016 Interstate EXT 3500 Lounge.
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Old 07-04-2021, 06:28 PM   #4
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It sounds very much like you have a breaker that popped someplace. Of course, check first at your main breakers under the seat to the rear of the bathroom.

Assuming the Onan 2500 that my 2016 AI has, the generator itself has a circuit breaker, which is just plain awful to reach. It could have popped.

And these generators are designed to shut down if there is too little oil pressure.

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Old 07-04-2021, 06:32 PM   #5
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Hi

The typical generator these days is an inverter generator. There are various sub-systems that can break. One *could* troubleshoot them. The gotcha is that getting parts to actually fix a problem ..... not so much.

What's inside:

You have an alternator ( = ac generator) that runs however fast the motor is turning. It has a field winding that needs to get DC current. There certainly is a rectifier involved. There might be a fuse. Finding that fuse ... good luck.

Next the AC is rectified to DC. Yes that sounds weird, but that's what they do.

The DC feeds into a solid state block of "stuff" that turns the DC back into nicely formed 120V AC. There probably is a switching regulator involved in that block to come up with whatever the output stages are looking for.

That's what you have. If the MOSFET in the switcher blows out. The system dies. finding a replacement and replacing it .... yikes .....

So what's left:

The very normal "shut it down and let it reboot" process that you use on any modern gizmo.

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Old 07-05-2021, 01:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
. . .
The very normal "shut it down and let it reboot" process that you use on any modern gizmo.
. . .
Thanks for the detailed post Bob . . . amazing how often that last KISS broad-brush "hard reboot" solves many problems IMO.

Peter
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Old 07-05-2021, 04:10 AM   #7
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Generator runs but stopped providing power

Quote:
Originally Posted by eubank View Post
It sounds very much like you have a breaker that popped someplace. Of course, check first at your main breakers under the seat to the rear of the bathroom.

Assuming the Onan 2500 that my 2016 AI has, the generator itself has a circuit breaker, which is just plain awful to reach. It could have popped.

And these generators are designed to shut down if there is too little oil pressure.

Lynn

Yes, I'm confident this would be the standard Onan 2500 generator, same as on your 2016 AI.

That difficult-to-reach breaker sounds a likely candidate. The generator engine never stopped running, so I'm betting against oil pressure being the issue. I'll back it up onto a set of Lynx blocks in the coming days, crawl under there and have a look.

Nevertheless, beforehand I will of course simply restart the generator and see whether it has "cooled off," and started generating power again.

I neglected to mention that we had our van's electrical system upgraded to lithium with a 3kW Victron inverter / charger, so between the generator and the load balancing display in the control panel, things might be a little different. 🤷

As for causes, I have a theory that our Victron inverter / charger pulls power from the generator to charge the lithium batteries before that power gets to the load management display that's featured in the control panel. So, next time we need air conditioning in a hot parking lot I'll try turning down the Victron so it won't draw more than a few amps to charge the batteries, leaving plenty of amps for the air conditioner, and we'll see what happens.
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Old 07-05-2021, 06:26 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
. . .
I neglected to mention that we had our van's electrical system upgraded to lithium with a 3kW Victron inverter / charger, so between the generator and the load balancing display in the control panel, things might be a little different.
. . .
Bingo IMO.
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Old 07-05-2021, 06:37 AM   #9
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Sounds like you may have pinpointed the problem! Let us know how it turns out!

Lynn
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Old 07-05-2021, 10:13 AM   #10
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Assuming it is the Onan 2500 or 2800 open the access door on the side. On the right side of the start panel is a circuit breaker for ac and a fuse for DC. Reach down and see if the breaker has tripped. Like a regular light switch, up and down.
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Old 07-05-2021, 10:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
Generator starts and runs fine, but has stopped producing power. It was under relatively heavy load, powering the air conditioner and recharging the batteries when the aIr conditioner stopped with an E7 (no AC power) error on the thermostat. When I looked at the power panel, it was clear the generator had stopped producing power, even though it continued to run more smoothly than ever (likely due to no load anymore). I'm thinking it could be a breaker, maybe on the generator? No idea where that would be or whether such a thing even exists. Thanks in advance for any ideas, hoping for simple trouble-shooting, and that the problem is nothing too dramatic.
Perhaps fuses on the battery are the problem. Widely reported BTW.
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Old 07-05-2021, 10:58 AM   #12
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If I recall, you have to remove the same panel that you remove to check the oil - and it is easier to do that if you first drop the spare tire. I recall the breaker being inside to the right - not all that hard to flip on and off, but would be a bear to replace. I assume this breaker is on the outlet side of the generator - a tripped breaker would allow the generator to run but it would not produce power. I'm told there is a small (5A?) fuse in the generator control wiring, but have never encountered it. I don't know what that fuse does - assuming that it exists.
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Old 07-05-2021, 08:39 PM   #13
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wts, all other aspects of the battery bank are working perfectly, so I'm doubting the battery fuse theory, but I will keep it in mind. Thanks.

Starting the generator this morning produced a smoothly running engine, but no power, so it's under the van I go in the coming days to find and hopefully reset the AC breaker as my first likely suspect. Thanks to Eubank, Steamracer, and Titus, in particular, for excellent responses that will help me get that done.
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Old 07-05-2021, 09:04 PM   #14
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Generator doesn't

I didn't see anyone mention ground circuit problems. A failed ground wire anywhere in the generator systems could also cause a no output situation if the generator is equipped to monitor for ground problems
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Old 07-06-2021, 08:06 AM   #15
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If your generator is like mine -- no reason to suspect otherwise -- you'll find a cover in the front (that is, facing the front of the RV) and another in the back. Going on the memory contained in my one remaining neuron, I think the suspected breaker must be behind the front cover. (Process of elimination. I mucked around more than I wanted to behind the back cover and don't recall seeing a breaker there.)

The covers are held in place by twist latches. Bring a wide flat-blade screwdriver or a quarter with you as you crawl underneath.

If you need them, I have full docs on the Onan LPG 2.5 HGJBB. If you want them, email me at myname at yahoo.


Lynn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
wts, all other aspects of the battery bank are working perfectly, so I'm doubting the battery fuse theory, but I will keep it in mind. Thanks.

Starting the generator this morning produced a smoothly running engine, but no power, so it's under the van I go in the coming days to find and hopefully reset the AC breaker as my first likely suspect. Thanks to Eubank, Steamracer, and Titus, in particular, for excellent responses that will help me get that done.
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Old 07-06-2021, 04:29 PM   #16
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Having some inverter anomalies today and wondering if we arenít reaching temps the new lithium batteries are shutting down. Iím starting to wonder if itís the power control system not allowing things to run because itís not seeing the correct voltages. Could be totally off but if you find no answers, just a thought. I wouldnít have thought any of our power systems were so interconnected but found out differently this past weekend. Good luck. Lousy time to be without AC.
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Old 07-06-2021, 06:29 PM   #17
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Having some inverter anomalies today and wondering if we arenít reaching temps the new lithium batteries are shutting down. Iím starting to wonder if itís the power control system not allowing things to run because itís not seeing the correct voltages. Could be totally off but if you find no answers, just a thought. I wouldnít have thought any of our power systems were so interconnected but found out differently this past weekend. Good luck. Lousy time to be without AC.


In my situation this is definitely not the case, but your situation may be different. I'll know more for sure about my case when the weather improves and I have time to crawl under the chassis.
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Old 07-15-2021, 04:57 PM   #18
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Sure enough, my problem was a simple breaker on the generator. Thanks for suggestions in this regard. By way of illustration, the breaker was behind the access door in the photo below. Twist the flathead screw 90 degrees, open the door a bit, and catch it when it falls out. Breaker was in lower right corner. I flipped the breaker, started the generator, and voila!
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Old 07-15-2021, 05:02 PM   #19
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What an inconvenient place for a circuit breaker! My Cummins/Onan doesn't even have a user operated breaker, it just shuts down and the display reads "OVERLOAD!!!". Once you clear the display and re-start all is good.
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Old 07-15-2021, 05:14 PM   #20
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With the 2016 we have, the generator definitely has a user-operated breaker, though I would infinitely prefer one that operates like yours.
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