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PostPosted: July 18th, 2017, 4:40 am 
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Location: Northern NJ
rjudice wrote:
OK now I'm going to show my ignorance. The three electrical components in the attached photographs were all found near the passenger side firewall under the hood. Are any of these three a circuit breaker?

- Connector
- Solenoid (whose contacts need cleaning!)
- Sensor probably

rjudice wrote:
I have a similar breaker at that location. I am assuming that that is the circuit breaker between the generator output and the house batteries, and not the breaker that sits between the chassis batteries and the generator starter. Correct me if I'm wrong.

The generator only outputs 120v, which goes to the converter-charger, which then outputs 12v to the batteries.

The direct battery connection is only to power the generator's starter. So that is indeed likely to be the starter breaker.

EDIT: not always!! see post below

Blue, those two diagrams can be confusing because the red arrows point from the gen to the batteries, instead of from the batteries to the gen (starter) :)

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Last edited by kdarling on August 2nd, 2017, 3:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: July 18th, 2017, 8:52 am 
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Oh good point on my annotations. Since in my mind I know that power only goes TO the generator from the start battery (whether that be house or Ford start), I didn't think to make the arrows go the other way! My bad. Thanks for pointing that out. I went back and edited the post with the drawings to mention that. My photo annotator doesn't have just a line feature. So I have to use arrows as lines. But of course I should have run them in the opposite direction.

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PostPosted: July 18th, 2017, 5:50 pm 
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Have you actually tried testing for voltage at the step or that breaker and solenoid? It would help if you actually trouble shoot the issue and share your findings if you want it resolved. It might also help to know that those wiring diagrams do not show every fuse or relay on these vehicles. Behind the main switch panel is a relay that runs the rear step, there is also a 3 amp fuse for the carbon monoxide detector. Unless you assist by responding to the post you created all your going to get is speculation and guess work.


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PostPosted: July 18th, 2017, 6:37 pm 
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Some people travel and don't find WiFi to check in, for days.

I think first we should suggest getting a simple analog voltmeter if there's any Radio Shacks or hardware stores nearby.

Good point about the diagrams missing stuff.

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PostPosted: July 18th, 2017, 6:57 pm 
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Looking at the photos of the Hi-Amp start breaker something doesnt look right. Maybe its just an illusion of light and dirt, but to me it looks like its been very hot and starting to melt the housing?


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PostPosted: July 18th, 2017, 7:21 pm 
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Joined: October 26th, 2016, 8:01 pm
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Location: Bend, OR
Thanks for the feedback. I’ve been fixing a few issues including a leak under the sink requiring that I remove the shelving, replacing the water pump, and dealing with a propane issue (I replaced the furnace with a Wave 6 heater). Next up: addressing the generator issue. I’ll give feedback soon. Thanks for all the input.

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PostPosted: July 19th, 2017, 7:21 pm 
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OK, so my problem with the generator has been solved, and I feel a little stupid.

Somehow in my head I thought that the generator sent one wire to the distribution panel to charge the A/C outlets, one wire to the house batteries to charge them, and one wire to the chassis battery to get a charge for the generator starter.

I now realize that the wire to the house batteries charges the generator starter, and that the batteries are charged AFTER conversion to 12V by the charger/converter.

I had installed an 80A fuse at the battery and that fuse was blown. Now I realize I don't need a fuse at the battery because there is already a circuit breaker protecting that line.

Thanks to everyone for the guidance.

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2017, 2:30 am 
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Blue~Go wrote:
Oh good point on my annotations. Since in my mind I know that power only goes TO the generator from the start battery (whether that be house or Ford start), I didn't think to make the arrows go the other way!

Turns out things are not as clear cut as we all thought. The common internet wisdom is that the Onan only outputs 120 AC, and thus the coach converter / charger is always responsible for recharging the starting battery. But what about those of us who start from the Ford battery?

I just found out that the KY Spec A generators DO have an internal 12v output that feeds back 1 Amp to the starting battery. This takes over for ignition and control board power from the starting battery once going. Later Specs do not have this DC output.

(The Spec is the last letter of your Onan model number, which starts with 4KY. You do have photos handy of all your appliance model plates, right? If not, then you have a weekend project! grin. Generator, water heater, fridge, under AC filter, etc.)

So if the starting battery is the house battery as is the case of 2000 onward Chinooks, or if the chassis battery can be charged from the AC converter /charger like later Chinooks with a separator /combiner (beginning ???), then Spec B and higher Onans without DC output are fine... as their AC output will be used by the coach system to recharge the starting battery and help power the ignition.

OTOH, my 94 Chinook uses the chassis battery for starting and has no way for the coach system to recharge it. So it has an Onan KY Spec A with internal 12v feedback to the starting Ford battery.

Here's the Spec A circuit. You can see the 12v AC winding takeoffs (B1,B2) from the generator (G1) at lower left, which go through a DC rectifier (CR1) and charging resistor (R1) back to the starting battery (BT1).
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Learn something new every day! This info should help with debugging older Chinooks.

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2017, 6:16 am 
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kdarling wrote:
OTOH, my 94 Chinook uses the chassis battery for starting and has no way for the coach system to recharge it. ..... Learn something new every day!


Good intel above. One thing though: my 94 Premier started the Onan with the house battery. There's a slim possibility that it wasn't stock, but I'd bet it was original because it looked like Trailwagon's work. 80 amp breaker right behind the little under-hood house battery, then 6g wire going along passenger frame rail.

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2017, 1:05 pm 
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Hmm. Doesn't sound stock. Wiring diagrams of the time all show the generator using the chassis battery.

Plus I thought Blue had mentioned that the power line to the generator starter had always gone down the Driver side. (Honestly, I haven't looked at mine yet. It's on the to-do list.)

OTOH, since you could special order stuff back then, maybe the original owner asked for it to be that way!

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