Have you ever puzzled why your RV generator keeps running but doesn’t generate any power? Look no further.
We’ve got your back.
When you’re off the beaten path with your RV, the generator you installed will most likely be your main source of energy.
It will power all of your appliances in your RV or camper trailer, determining whether or not your excursion into the wilderness will be pleasurable.
There are few things as uncomfortable as gently boiling in your RV as your perishables spoil due to a lack of electricity in your AC and fridge.
The generator’s job is to deliver power to you by combining an internal combustion engine with a generator.
However, it is possible that it is functioning but not providing any electricity.
So, why does your RV generator turn on yet not produce any electricity? If your RV generator is functioning but not producing electricity, you should do the following checks:
– Step #1: Inspect the breaker panels on the generator.
– Step #2: Examine the output leads
– Step #3: Double-check the circuit breakers.
– Step #4: Check the voltage at the terminal blocks
– Step #5: Make sure the RV’s main fuse box is in good working order.
– Step #6: Examine the generator transfer switch
– Step #7: Locate an appliance that is shorting out.
– Step #8: Your generator has been overwhelmed
Continue reading to learn when and why this might happen, as well as how to prevent it.
Table of Contents
- Why Is It Possible For A Generator To Run Without Power In An RV?
- What Can You Do If You Don’t Have Enough Power?
- Identifying and Resolving the Issue
- Alternator Failure
- Electric Power Lines Fail
- Step 1: Inspect The Breaker Panels On The Generator.
- Step 2: Examine The Output Leads
- Step 3: Double-Check The Circuit Breakers.
- Step 4: Check The Voltage At The Terminal Blocks
- Step 5: Make Sure The RV’s Main Fuse Box Is In Good Working Order.
- Step 6: Examine The Generator Transfer Switch
- Step 7: Locate An Appliance That Is Shorting Out.
- Step 8: Your Generator Has Been Overworked.
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Why Is It Possible For A Generator To Run Without Power In An RV?
An electrical generator in an RV’s duty is to convert chemical energy in the fuel into mechanical energy, which is subsequently converted into alternating current.
Chemical energy is converted to mechanical energy in the same manner that internal combustion engines convert chemical energy into mechanical energy in your vehicle or RV while driving down the road.
There are two reasons why a generator might continue to function even if your appliances are not receiving AC electricity.
The most typical one is a break in the electric lines, which is normally not a cause for alarm.
The second explanation is a malfunctioning alternator in your generator’s engine.
Both of these problems have no effect on the generator engine’s capacity to function correctly and safely, thus it does not shut down.
Generator is running, but there is no power to the RV >> Take a look at the video below:
What Can You Do If You Don’t Have Enough Power?
When there is no shore power outlet to connect to, the generator is the primary source of electrical power for all of the equipment you may have in the RV.
Your appliances will not be able to give you with their advantages if they lose electricity.
If you aren’t familiar with generator maintenance, this might be a very scary scenario.
However, there are a number of factors that might lead to this predicament, none of which indicate a malfunctioning generator.
You may also feel certain that the generator is in good functioning order.
So, let’s go to work figuring out what’s causing your RV generator to behave this way.
Identifying and Resolving the Issue
As previously stated, there are two possible reasons why a generator may continue to operate but your RV is still not getting 120 volts alternating current energy.
It might be a malfunctioning alternator or a power line break after the generator.
Because, in both of these scenarios, everything with your generator is OK, and it will continue to operate.
However, a specific diagnosis and solution to the issue remain.
So let’s get started on the real troubleshooting of the issues by beginning with the one that’s usually the simplest to diagnose.
In the event that the alternator fails, most generators will enter ERO mode, which stands for “engine running only.”
Some generators feature a very basic and straightforward approach for alerting the user if there is a problem while they are working.
When everything is operating well, some feature an indication light that illuminates continually.
If there is an issue, it will begin flashing a repeated sequence that represents the problem’s fault code.
“This indicator light will begin quickly flashing on and off if there is an issue with the alternator and it changes to ERO mode.”
The most frequent alternator issue is a blown diode, which can be readily detected and fixed by almost any vehicle shop.
If you see the indicator light flashing fast, you should turn off the generator and take it to a repair shop.
Because various brands and types of generators have different ways of reporting alternator problems, the best thing you can do is study the user/operator handbook to see how it is reported.
Some generators will have the indication light on all the time if everything with the alternator is OK.
Other kinds will use a different method to indicate that everything is operating well, and you should check the handbook for your model to see how it will accomplish it.
Electric Power Lines Fail
This might be frightening if you’ve never worked with electricity before.
Most of the time, though, it implies that the circuit breaker was tripped someplace, which is what it’s supposed to do in the first place: break the circuit under particular situations.
It doesn’t always imply you have bad wiring, so let’s start investigating them first, since they’re the most probable culprit.
Step 1: Inspect The Breaker Panels On The Generator.
Before you begin, switch off the generator by clicking the STOP button or following the instructions in the user manual for halting the generator.
Remove the access panel after the generator has been turned off and look for two breakers that safeguard the generator from overloading and short circuits.
These two are normally on the side of the plastic housing of the controls on certain models.
If any of these two have been tripped, you should reset them and restart the generator.
If nothing occurs, something caused your generator to become briefly overloaded, and you should attempt to recall if you switched on any devices immediately before you lost power.
If, however, the breaker trips again when you turn it on, you have a short circuit and should go to Step #7 to determine which item is to fault.
Step 2: Examine The Output Leads
If none of these breakers tripped, you should inspect the generator’s output lines, since some may have broken loose due to vibrations.
Proceed to Step #3 if everything is snug and secure.
Step 3: Double-Check The Circuit Breakers.
If circuit breakers are not tripped, they may be defective.
As a result, you should use a multimeter to verify for continuity at both terminals.
If one of them has no continuity, it is defective, and you must replace it according to the handbook for your specific generator type.
Step 4: Check The Voltage At The Terminal Blocks
This step should not be attempted unless you have prior expertise checking the voltage of live wires with a multimeter.
If you don’t handle 120V alternating current with care, it may be fatal.
If you’ve never done it before, you should delegate it to a professional and go to Step #5 to rule out other potential reasons.
Now that you’ve been informed about the hazards, here’s what you should do if you’re competent enough and know how to deal with live wires.
Generators often have two or three terminal blocks, and you’ll need to check your generator’s service manual to see how they’re connected.
While the generator is operating, use the multimeter to check the voltage across them.
They’re OK if the voltage is about 120V; otherwise, if any of them readings much lower voltage, the wiring should be examined to see whether it’s securely attached, and if it is, it should be replaced.
If the voltage is about 120V, the AC harness must be replaced; if there is no voltage, the control assembly must be replaced since it is malfunctioning.
Both of these issues are best left to the experts, so bringing the RV to a dealership is the best option.
If everything seems to be in order but you still lack power, go to the following step.
Step 5: Make Sure The RV’s Main Fuse Box Is In Good Working Order.
If the breaker and wiring on the generator are in good working order, there is a likelihood that there is an issue with the RV’s systems.
The next step is to see whether any of the breaker in the RV’s main fuse box has been tripped; if so, reset them to the ON position and restart the generator.
If the same breaker trips again after restarting the generator, it signifies that some of the appliances are shorting out, and you should go to Step #7.
If everything seems to be in order, try to recall if you had powered any gadgets immediately before your RV lost power; if yes, it was the source of the generator overload, and you should attempt to reduce the number of devices you have turned on.
Step 6: Examine The Generator Transfer Switch
When the generator is turned on, most RVs feature an automated generator transfer switch that begins taking electricity from the generator.
Whether you have easy access to shore power, plug it in to see if the generator transfer switch is working properly.
When linked to shore power, you will have electricity in the RV, but not when connected just to the generator.
In this case, you’ll need to take the RV to a shop to have the transfer switch replaced.
If your RV is an older model, it may not have a transfer switch, so you’ll have to manually connect the generator to the RV’s system.
“Your RV’s handbook will tell you where it is, but it’s usually a little opening on the side of the RV, about three feet from the generator’s hatch.”
If connecting your RV to shore power trips a breaker, you’re dealing with a shorting appliance and should proceed to the following step.
Step 7: Locate An Appliance That Is Shorting Out.
When an appliance shorts, the breaker on the generator or the breaker on the RV will trip.
And it’ll happen every time you turn on the electricity after resetting the tripped breaker.
Finding the broken device is a rather simple task, albeit it may be tedious.
All appliances must be disconnected from power outlets, the generator must be started, and then each item must be connected one at a time.
Make sure you only have one appliance plugged in at any one moment.
As soon as you plug in the defective item, it will trip the breaker.
Step 8: Your Generator Has Been Overworked.
If plugging in and turning on appliances one at a time doesn’t trip the breaker, start plugging them in one by one, rather than one by one.
After connecting in and turning on one of the appliances, the breaker will eventually trip, indicating that you have placed an excessive load on your generator.
This may happen for one of two reasons: your RV’s generator is too tiny, or you’re at a high enough altitude for the generator to achieve its maximum power.
Many generators, particularly propane-powered generators, are sensitive to elevations exceeding 5,000 feet, with maximum power output dropping by up to 15%.
Onan RV Generator Runs But No Electricity – Watch this fix
The Onan RV Generator works, but there is no electric power – see how to repair it >> Take a look at the video below: