Can you put a charger on the battery while running the Onan Generator? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 12-09-2014, 12:54 PM   #1
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Can you put a charger on the battery while running the Onan Generator?

I have a 2013 voltage 3950 with the Onan 5500. Main reason we bought this RV was because it had the Onan generator and it. Went to Dover this year for a race ran it almost all week (during the day) ran great until thenext to the last day when it died. Acted like it was running out of gas, if it set for a while you could start it up maybe to run for an hour or so. Took it to the Cummings factory service center in Maryland and they ran it for a week. Technician told me at the end of the week that the battery was low and that the system was not charging the battery well enough this is with no load at all. He also said he couldn't do anymore checking until I figured out why the system was not charging the battery but the converter inverter seems to put out 14 Volts. Added a second battery and tried running it on our way to Florida this year one night it ran two hours and then died and that was with a little load on.
So my question is if the inverter converter is not put enough charge to the battery can I hook up a battery charger why the generators running and charge the battery keep the battery charged without hurting The electrical system?
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:35 PM   #2
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That doesn't sound like a battery problem to me. If the battery was so low that the gen wouldn't run, then how does it start the motor after cooling down?

There have been a number of common problems with these generators. Most are just routine maintenance, others are not. Fuel filters get plugged up from junk in the tanks. Fuel pumps that go bad from the factory. Wiring that rubs or grounds on the throttle linkage, causing an under voltage situation that initiates auto shutdown. Bad fuel that gums up the carburetor after sitting for as little as a month. Alcohol fuel that is drying seals in the carbs. Even people mistakenly putting E85 fuel in the tank.

The problem you are describing sounds like the gen is having problems when it is loaded. If, as you said, the shop ran it unloaded, then shame on them for not doing some kind of load test.

Start at the beginning with the simplest problem, and working your way to the more difficult. (I would start with fresh fuel, then filter and work toward the electrical)

Just my 2 pennies worth.

PS. My routine is on the first weekend of every month, I start the generator, and plug in an industrial heat gun (2000 watt) in the garage, and an 1800 watt space heater (plugged into the bathroom) and run the generator for a minimum of 20 minutes, then shut off the heaters and let it cool down for 5 mins and shut it off. The load makes sure that the windings in the generator get good and warm, and burn out any moisture that might be in there, along with getting plenty of fresh fuel into the carburetor, and getting the motor good and hot.
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:40 PM   #3
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I think I am confused. The battery should only be necessary for starting the generator. Once the generator is running it has a magneto that takes care of providing spark to keep the engine running. The typical installations I have seen use the trailers battery as the starting source. Once running and providing 120 to the trailer then the system should handle charging the battery just as it would plugged into shore power. So, do the batteries charge just fine on shore power?
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:50 PM   #4
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I certainly appreciate your reply and that's was my thoughts also. So I did all those things I had to factory change the filter. I put in brand-new fuel, being a boater I always use fuel stabilizers. I keep leaning towards the fact that it could be the fuel pump. I'm just not sure how to test it. But now at home it's been running for 4 or 5 hours a day for 3 days at home.
And of course it's going to run here and not on the road for Where I really need it.
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Old 12-09-2014, 04:22 PM   #5
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If you still end up insisting on a battery charger - solar is THE way to go! Always monitors battery charge levels and provides the charge needed - never have to remember to hook it up, plug it in or vice versa. I love mine! But I agree 100% - this does not sounds like a battery/charger/inverter problem...
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Old 12-10-2014, 01:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chalkie View Post
I think I am confused. The battery should only be necessary for starting the generator. Once the generator is running it has a magneto that takes care of providing spark to keep the engine running. The typical installations I have seen use the trailers battery as the starting source. Once running and providing 120 to the trailer then the system should handle charging the battery just as it would plugged into shore power. So, do the batteries charge just fine on shore power?
Chalkie that's what I thought. but the factory guy told me it had to had 11.5 volts to keep it running.. my little Honda runs forever.....
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Old 12-10-2014, 02:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgoodman13474 View Post
Chalkie that's what I thought. but the factory guy told me it had to had 11.5 volts to keep it running.. my little Honda runs forever.....
I looked at the Onan website and may not have looked at the exact model you have but it was a 5500. It clearly states that the 5500 has a magneto. So if it needs that voltage, makes me wonder if the magneto is bad.
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Old 08-31-2015, 09:30 PM   #8
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I have a 2015 Dutchmen 3895. Does the Onan 5500 generator charge the battery (have 2) when the generator is running? I thought I read in the manual that the battery is only charged by shore line or vehicle. confused.
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Old 08-31-2015, 09:54 PM   #9
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Yes, it should be charging the battery if the Gen is providing house power i.e. breakers on and you can turn on A/C units then the charge controller should be working. I also found that my Onan requires a battery regardless that it is still providing its own power. It will not run without the battery hooked up (just unhook battery while running onan and it should kick-off). But this is what mine does, as everyone else has noticed every one of these damn things are wired or setup different. There is no standard it seems. Best of luck.
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