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Old 09-19-2019, 02:59 PM   #1
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Generator

All of a sudden my generator hardly turns over and of course does not start. What could be causing this.
At first i could hear it turn over just a bit and now most of the time nothing happens when I try to start it. A few days ago it was trying harder to turn over but it is getting g less and less???
What are the most common causes of this issue.
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Old 09-19-2019, 03:09 PM   #2
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Can you be more specific about the generator? What make and model is it? Is it installed in a motorhome, or is it a stand alone unit? If in a motorhome, what is the condition of the house batteries?
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Old 09-19-2019, 03:17 PM   #3
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Age would also help, drive through any deep water, excersize it every month? Get your multi meter out and check for voltage.
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Old 09-19-2019, 03:18 PM   #4
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Since you have a Lexington, check your house batteries if properly charged.
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Old 09-19-2019, 03:36 PM   #5
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Itís in a motorhome... 2004 Lexington . We have been using it regularly over the past 3 months on our cross country trip.

Should the house batteries not recharge while I am driving?

I donít have the tools to test the batteries but there must be a way to check them. The slide and lights all work fine!
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Old 09-19-2019, 04:12 PM   #6
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First thing I would test is batteries.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:53 PM   #7
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First thing I would test is batteries.
After checking batteries check for loose or dirty connections on the generator's starter, start solenoid, and solenoid to battery wire, including ground.
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:53 PM   #8
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Thanks

Thanks everyone... tomorrow I am borrowing a battery tester and that is the first thing I am going to do!

Thanks
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Old 09-20-2019, 03:41 PM   #9
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Tested batteries and they are fine!
Opened generator door and I can hear the selenoid making a clicking sound whenever I try to start it so I ordered a new one and hopefully when it comes in tomorrow it will solve my problem!
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Old 09-20-2019, 04:06 PM   #10
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have you checked voltage at the solenoid to make sure your getting the right voltage? also, did you just measure voltage at the battery or use a load tester? I just went through a battery failure where charging voltage never changed, battery looked good, failed load test and would not start the generator it was attached to.
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Old 09-20-2019, 04:09 PM   #11
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Tested batteries and they are fine!
Opened generator door and I can hear the selenoid making a clicking sound whenever I try to start it so I ordered a new one and hopefully when it comes in tomorrow it will solve my problem!
If you want to make sure it's solenoid and not starter, bypass solenoid briefly to see if starter engages. One way to bypass is to remove battery cable from solenoid post and momentarily touch to starter lead on other side of solenoid. If starter engages, bad solenoid confirmed. If not it's starter.

As starters wear out they often display same problems as originally described

A single jumper cable can do this too, connecting to one side and touching other briefly.

On the farm we'd often just use a pair of pliers with uninsulated handles. Sometimes for months at a time because we never got around to changing the solenoid.
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Old 09-20-2019, 04:44 PM   #12
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Tested batteries and they are fine!
Opened generator door and I can hear the selenoid making a clicking sound whenever I try to start it so I ordered a new one and hopefully when it comes in tomorrow it will solve my problem!
Did you put on a load when testing each battery? If more then one battery did you separated them when testing them ?
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Old 09-20-2019, 05:04 PM   #13
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Start the mh engine and the try to start the gen with the engine running. works on mine.
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Old 09-20-2019, 06:40 PM   #14
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We used a voltage meter from a friend who owns a garage! Put the black clip on black and red on red and pushed the button and the needle went up to the green area showing good.

I expected that as they are only 1.5 years old!
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Old 09-21-2019, 03:08 PM   #15
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you've been given some good suggestions.

1. get a voltmeter that displays the actual voltage, not red or green.
2. measure the batteries with nothing on.
3. start the mh engine and remeasure the batteries. this will tell you if the mh engine is recharging the batteries or not.
4. if the mh engine is recharging the batteries try to start the generator.
5. if you get the generator running stop the mh engine and take another battery voltage reading to confirm that the generator / converter are charging the batteries.


you said the generator was getting harder and harder to start. if i had to guess it is not receiving the proper power from the batteries.
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Old 09-21-2019, 05:48 PM   #16
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you said the generator was getting harder and harder to start. if i had to guess it is not receiving the proper power from the batteries.
Don't overlook a starter that has started to fail due to worn brushes or bearings (that let armature drag on fields). "Hard to Start" is somewhat subjective too.

If it has to crank longer and longer before it starts it could also be time for a new spark plug.
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Old 09-21-2019, 08:08 PM   #17
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Should the house batteries not recharge while I am driving?
In your manual, you should be able to find the rate of charge while you're driving -- you'll probably be surprised at how low it is. Our camper battery is charged while driving, at rate of 1 amp. So if we've been boondocking for a couple of days, and used say, 15 amp hours of our 105 amp hour battery, then I'd have to drive for at least 15 hours to bring the battery up to full charge. So I know that counting on the truck to charge the camper battery is not going to be enough.

I have a 100 watt solar panel that I can put out on nice days. It charges at a max. rate of approx. 3.8 amps, so would charge up the battery if it was down 15 amps, in approx. 4 hours -- IF -- it's a really nice day.

I often camp off grid in bad weather, so can't count on the solar panel. I also have a 2000W Honda genny. The surprise for me was that simply plugging the camper's 110 AC cable into the generator, isn't enough. The camper's electrical system will only charge the battery at 1 amp so it would take 15 hours to charge our battery depleted by 15 amp hours. Again, not acceptable.

So I carry a high-capacity battery charger. To use it:
-- I plug the camper's 110 AC cable into the generator. Now all the camper equipment is being powered by the genny.
-- Then I turn off the battery disconnect switch which essentially disconnects it cleanly from the camper's electrical system.
-- Then I plug the high-capacity battery charger into a second extension cord, and attach the leads to the battery posts.

I can charge this way at up to 10 amps, and so only have to run it for a couple of hours or so per day.

The part about RV daily management on the road that surprised me the most, was the attention and charging required to keep the battery healthy. I 'killed' my first one, before finally figuring it out.

But that's just mine -- I would imagine that other larger RV's have more robust built-in charging systems for when driving, and when using shore power or a genny.
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Old 09-21-2019, 08:15 PM   #18
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In your manual, you should be able to find the rate of charge while you're driving -- you'll probably be surprised at how low it is. Our camper battery is charged while driving, at rate of 1 amp. So if we've been boondocking for a couple of days, and used say, 15 amp hours of our 105 amp hour battery, then I'd have to drive for at least 15 hours to bring the battery up to full charge. So I know that counting on the truck to charge the camper battery is not going to be enough.

I have a 100 watt solar panel that I can put out on nice days. It charges at a max. rate of approx. 3.8 amps, so would charge up the battery if it was down 15 amps, in approx. 4 hours -- IF -- it's a really nice day.

I often camp off grid in bad weather, so can't count on the solar panel. I also have a 2000W Honda genny. The surprise for me was that simply plugging the camper's 110 AC cable into the generator, isn't enough. The camper's electrical system will only charge the battery at 1 amp so it would take 15 hours to charge our battery depleted by 15 amp hours. Again, not acceptable.

So I carry a high-capacity battery charger. To use it:
-- I plug the camper's 110 AC cable into the generator. Now all the camper equipment is being powered by the genny.
-- Then I turn off the battery disconnect switch which essentially disconnects it cleanly from the camper's electrical system.
-- Then I plug the high-capacity battery charger into a second extension cord, and attach the leads to the battery posts.

I can charge this way at up to 10 amps, and so only have to run it for a couple of hours or so per day.

The part about RV daily management on the road that surprised me the most, was the attention and charging required to keep the battery healthy. I 'killed' my first one, before finally figuring it out.

But that's just mine -- I would imagine that other larger RV's have more robust built-in charging systems for when driving, and when using shore power or a genny.
What kind of converter do you have that only charges house batteries at one amp rate?

Most will charge low batteries at 10-15 times that rate, even crummy ones.

If your converter is charging at that low a rate you have some serious wiring or converter issues.

Just saying.
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:11 AM   #19
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Can I connect booster cables from my car to the rv 6 volt batteries and try to boost them to see if it will start the generator??? Or is this a bad thing to do?
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:37 PM   #20
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when i had low batteries in the trailer that would not start the generator (onan 5500) i use auto jumper cables from the car directly to the generator itself to start it.

now if as suggested earlier the problem is with the generator starter this might not improve things. but if the problem is due to low rv battery this should allow the generator to start right up.

i still think that getting actual voltage readings would help a great deal diagnosing the problem.
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