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My RV generator runs but does provide power to the motorhome

by Craig
(Point Pleasant, NJ)


Can someone help me out? I have a 1996 Chevy FourWinds 5000 with a 454 Motor- The Generator had worked fine powering the unit - Until we plugged it into a hard line at a campsite and left it for a few months.

When I disconnected the land AC Power and drove the RV Home- I tested the Generator, it runs FINE but there is no power to the unit- I found the fuse box, it seems okay as well- I plugged into the House outlet and it works with direct AC Power-

The GENERATOR is running perfect, but no power in the unit when I just use the GENERATOR-

Does anyone know why? Any help would be appreciated!

ANSWER: Greetings Craig thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page.


I have a feeling you may have a bad RV Generator Transfer Switch. But, we need to eliminate a couple of other possibilities first.

1. You stated that you looked at some fuses and all of them are good. You need to be looking for tripped circuit breakers that look like the ones you have in your house. Let's start in the generator compartment. Depending on the model of generator you have; the generator itself can have a couple of circuit breakers on it.

Look at the generator itself and see if you see a circuit breaker(s) on it. If you do and it is tripped; reset the breaker(s) and restart the generator. If there are not circuit breakers on the generator or if they are not tripped, move on to step 2.

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2. You need to check the circuit breakers of the motorhome. The circuit breakers for the motorhome are located in the electrical compartment of your motorhome. The electrical compartment is usually located in an outside storage compartment of the motorhome.

I cannot tell you exactly where yours is located, but if you start opening up the outside storage compartments of your RV you will run into it. You will know because you will see electrical wiring, a series of breakers, some fuses, etc. All of these electrical components are what control the 120 volt and 12 volt power in the house portion of your motorhome. Check all of the circuit breakers in this compartment and reset them as needed. Then run the generator and see if this resolves your problem.

If you do not find any tripped circuit breakers in your RV or if you reset the circuit breakers and they trip off again when you start the generator then you could have a short or ground problem with the generator. You will need to take it in and have it diagnosed and repaired by a qualified RV Technician.

If all of the above does not work then there is a very good chance that the RV Generator Transfer Switch is bad. The RV Generator Transfer Switch automatically lets the generator power the RV when the generator is turned on. If it is not working the generator will run but no power will reach the appliances in your RV. You should take the RV in and have it repaired by a Qualified RV Technician.

Just a note here for older RVs without Generator Transfer Switches you actually had to plug in the electric cord for the RV to an electrical outlet located on the generator itself.

Hopefully the above information has been helpful to you.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here To Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

Comments for My RV generator runs but does provide power to the motorhome

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Strange set up
by: Tim M

Yesterday I started up the generator to check the heat option on the roof top. The generator started just fine and the heat worked well. Living in upstate NY the weather chances by the minute, in saying so it was very humid and warm today so again I started up the generator, no problem, and inside.....nothing. After reading this blog about similar problems, I checked and the only thing I did to the rv today was pull out the shore power cord to clean and re stow it. I didn't realize it was plugged into something inside the compartment where it goes.

Thank you to all for the wonderful advice and information, I plugged it in and it works great and so does the rooftop a/c. I am new to the rv world and this site and folks on it are giving loads of great advice.

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Fixed
by: Anonymous

My circuit breaker was 2 inches below the fuse right on the front but you had to stick your head close to look down. Fixed the problem that I caused by turning the air off while on the phone and not waiting long enough before turning it back on again.

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Easy fix THANKS!
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the tip. Who knew there was a breaker hidden under all that dirt! Easy fix for once.

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No power from the generator
by: Glen

We were running a air compressor of the generator when every thing stopped. I have no current from the generator to anything except the fans on the top air conditioners .what could be wrong and where do I look?

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Generator starts, no electric
by: Anonymous

Make sure your electrical plug inside your exterior A/C door has been plugged back in after your shoreline usage. If not that, hold your start button at least 3 seconds down when you start your generator.

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Generator not providing 110 to coach
by: Anonymous

My Onan generator works properly. The camper has a compartment for the generator that is hard wired into the motorhome. I disconnected the wiring from the generator and hooked it up to a 300 watt light to make sure the generator was working properly. Worked fine. Everything works fine when hook up to land power but doesn't switch to 110 when the generator is on. Don't see any other switches to turn on etc. All breakers are on, can hear the relay switch when I plug in land power but not when I start the generator. ????

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tesla 3970
by: Anonymous

Mine is intermittent on when it works and doesn't. is it the transfer switch as well?

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Plug your power corde in coach
by: Sam

Remember to plug your power back in in your coach . Other wise no 120

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My RV generator runs but no cool air from air conntioning the motorhome
by: Jay Sri

My RV generator runs but does provide power for air conditioning to the motorhome

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onan generator
by: kcarter

My onan generator starts and runs fine but all the sudden quit putting power to my horse trailer.

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generator problem
by: John in vegas

Generator runs. Have the shore line plugged into generator. Checked breakers. When I fire up the generator, the time on the microwave comes on for 5-10 seconds, go off and the generator speeds up without ant load. I turned off all the breakers so tgere was no load at startup and the generator does the same thing. I'm stumped

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Thanks
by: Anonymous

This helped me a lot. I went camping and left the onan on when I plugged into the campsite. After camping I cranked over the generator and it would not turn over the ac or anything else. It was the circuit breaker on the onan after a stressful drive home.

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Generator runs but house doesn't get power.
by: Anonymous

Did you plug your external cord back into the RV ?

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thanks a lot
by: Anonymous

The same as others here you saved me time stress and money thank you so much. Flipping the breaker on the generator itself solved my problem. I didn't know of it having its own breaker. Was on the right side of Onan in a 1996 Coachmen Catalina.

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did the trick
by: John

Thank you, I had the same problem and I didn't realize there was a breaker on the generator. You saved me alot of time and money!

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May have your solution
by: Mike

Make sure the external power receptacle is plugged into your power outlet box or you will have that problem. That's the power cord that is used for plugging into campsite power 20A. There is a receptacle inside the box that's somewhat hard to locate. Once you plug the cord into the box, you should have power when the generator is running. How do I know this? I had the same problem..

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gen run no power to air conditioner or microwave
by: sharon

I have an older RV .After reading your tips my RV is running perfect again.I didnt know the genereator had to be plugged into itself to work properly and reset circuit breaker on generator.Thank you so much, I'm sure this saved me a lot money.

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Gen runs but no power
by: Barry

I had the same problem, my wife had the A/C on,electric water heater on and turned on her hair drier, while Gen was running. All power went off, but Gen kept running. I checked all the inside circuit breakers. Did not check Gen, since it was running. After reading your tips, I went out and re-set breaker on Gen Set. Everything back to normal.

Thanks

QUORUM

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generator BRUSHES
by: Anonymous

Regarding what was last stated in the first post if what was recommended does not fix the problem then I would check the portion of the generator which makes the power.

The generator is powered by a gas ect. engine. The generator has brushes which make contact with the armature.. Check these brushes they do wear out and when they do you will not have current,,

It is a easy fix you can replace them yourself or have them replaced.. Depending on the brand of generator will dictate how many brushes need replaced, usually four brushes should be abour right..

I hope this helps..

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