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Old 01-05-2011, 11:54   #1
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Blown-Up Battery Charger

I'm in Weymouth harbor and my battery charger just went poof as I connected to shore power and switched it on. I changed the input fuse, and it went poof again. The first time it went poof, it tripped the breaker on the pontoon and blew the fuse, but did not trip my GFCI and did not trip the 15 amp breaker on my main electrical panel. The second time it went poof it created an awful noise in my transfer switch, without tripping or blowing anything, so I shut it off.

I measured the shore power and it is 270 volts compared to normal 230 volt single phase power here. I wouldn't think that would be enough to damage anything; the Newmar battery charger is supposed to be able to handle 265 volts according to the specs.

The next boat down from us has no power at all so clearely something is wrong with the power system here.

What could it be?

Is the charger toast?

AND -- I don't want to be a cad (I love this place), but is the harbor authority at all responsible??!!
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Old 01-05-2011, 13:50   #2
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Re: Blown up Battery Charger

It dosnt sound good for the battery chargee but hopefully fuse popped agin. could be the chargers the problem in the first place if enternally shorted. I'd go and check with the other people around the docks and see if they are having problem to. good luck(hopefully other will chim in soon)
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Old 02-05-2011, 09:13   #3
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Re: Blown up Battery Charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I'm in Weymouth harbor and my battery charger just went poof as I connected to shore power and switched it on. I changed the input fuse, and it went poof again. The first time it went poof, it tripped the breaker on the pontoon and blew the fuse, but did not trip my GFCI and did not trip the 15 amp breaker on my main electrical panel. The second time it went poof it created an awful noise in my transfer switch, without tripping or blowing anything, so I shut it off.

I measured the shore power and it is 270 volts compared to normal 230 volt single phase power here. I wouldn't think that would be enough to damage anything; the Newmar battery charger is supposed to be able to handle 265 volts according to the specs.

The next boat down from us has no power at all so clearely something is wrong with the power system here.

What could it be?

Is the charger toast?

AND -- I don't want to be a cad (I love this place), but is the harbor authority at all responsible??!!
Common occurrence in marinas where the 220v supply is taken from the same box as 3 phase.
short story....
I had the same problem.
This problem can happen to anyone anytime when the shore power is 3 phase and 1 phase is used to provide the 220v single phase.

All that is needed is an electrical fault either in the shore box or somewhere else and you can have more than 400 volts running into your 230v systems.

the breakers wont trip as they are amp sensitive not volt sensitive.

On my boat the effect over 1 minute was damage as follows
all brick type transformers pcs, cell phones etc (but no damage to the pc or cellphones themselves)
12v battery charger, (400v rated capacitor split in half, smoke everywhere)
microwave
the 24v victron survived but 2 years later failed.... the technician said it had suffered high voltage, it was easy to fix.

After some research I came up with a sollatek device which I installed on my boat. It only accepts a/c between 190 and 260 volts, outside this range power does not get through.
here is the UK link
AVS30 - Voltage Protection

Dockhead... I thought you had an isolating transformer... if you had this would have given some protection, however the isolating transformer can also not handle high over voltages.
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Old 02-05-2011, 13:56   #4
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Re: Blown up Battery Charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuss View Post
Common occurrence in marinas where the 220v supply is taken from the same box as 3 phase.
short story....
I had the same problem.
This problem can happen to anyone anytime when the shore power is 3 phase and 1 phase is used to provide the 220v single phase.

All that is needed is an electrical fault either in the shore box or somewhere else and you can have more than 400 volts running into your 230v systems.

the breakers wont trip as they are amp sensitive not volt sensitive.

On my boat the effect over 1 minute was damage as follows
all brick type transformers pcs, cell phones etc (but no damage to the pc or cellphones themselves)
12v battery charger, (400v rated capacitor split in half, smoke everywhere)
microwave
the 24v victron survived but 2 years later failed.... the technician said it had suffered high voltage, it was easy to fix.

After some research I came up with a sollatek device which I installed on my boat. It only accepts a/c between 190 and 260 volts, outside this range power does not get through.
here is the UK link
AVS30 - Voltage Protection

Dockhead... I thought you had an isolating transformer... if you had this would have given some protection, however the isolating transformer can also not handle high over voltages.
Hi: Thanks for that.

I DO have a Victron isolation transformer. Its circuit breaker is very sensitive and trips at the drop of a hat. I don't get more than 0.1% more than the rated 16 amps before it pops, which is a real nuisance. It didn't blink an eye. Nor did the circuit breaker for shore power, nor the GFCI breaker. The shore power breaker tripped and the fuse on the charger blew. What the **** does that mean?

What needed to be fixed in your charger? Are they repairable after such an incident or are they toast? It's an expensive bit of kit.
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Old 02-05-2011, 14:57   #5
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Re: Blown up Battery Charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I'm in Weymouth harbor and my battery charger just went poof as I connected to shore power and switched it on. I changed the input fuse, and it went poof again. The first time it went poof, it tripped the breaker on the pontoon and blew the fuse, but did not trip my GFCI and did not trip the 15 amp breaker on my main electrical panel. The second time it went poof it created an awful noise in my transfer switch, without tripping or blowing anything, so I shut it off.

I measured the shore power and it is 270 volts compared to normal 230 volt single phase power here. I wouldn't think that would be enough to damage anything; the Newmar battery charger is supposed to be able to handle 265 volts according to the specs.

The next boat down from us has no power at all so clearely something is wrong with the power system here.

What could it be?

Is the charger toast?

AND -- I don't want to be a cad (I love this place), but is the harbor authority at all responsible??!!
Do a Google search (Electrical safety in Marinas)

Find your country

http://www.google.com/search?q=Electrical+safety+im+Marinas&sourceid=ie7 &rls=com.microsoft:en-GB:{referrer:source}&ie=UTF-8&oe=#hl=en&sugexp=ldymls&pq=electrical%20safety%2 0im%20marinas&xhr=t&q=Electrical+safety+in&cp=20&p f=p&sclient=psy&rls=com.microsoft:en-GB%3A%7Breferrer%3Asource%7D&source=hp&aq=f&aqi=&a ql=&oq=Electrical+safety+in+Marinas&pbx=1&bav=on.2 ,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=c114b5df3c1901b1 (YOU MUST COPY AND PASTE THIS URL)

http://www.commanderbob.com/art51.pdf

http://www.qualitymarineservices.net/safety.html

http://www.ebbco.co.nz/downloads/Mar...il_version.pdf

Yes they are responsible if it is in the UK they have a legal obligation if they provide electricity it must be safe. there are two or three people killed every year for this very reason and if it is shorting into the water and you jump in for a swim then pouf you are dead.

If it is a good charger it will have overload and under load protection.

Disconnect the charger taking all electrical precautions

Most have an internal fuse and a label on the outside that says "No user serviceable parts" Ha Ha!!

Take the fuse out test the fuse reinstall the fuse if its ok if not change it, smell inside the box for a burnt smell. if ok proceed. now cross your fuse with your multimeter on the outside if you get current proceed. then its all down to bad battery connections clean your terminals the extra power going through might just have been enough to increase the resistance. Shorts and high resistance are reason for the charger to shut down. Unfortunately to test it you have to have a safe good working shore supply
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Old 02-05-2011, 15:03   #6
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Re: Blown up Battery Charger

I looked at the specs

http://www.newmarpower.com/PDF-Catal...e%20Series.pdf
Newmar Chargers Meet Your ABS Requirements
Features
• “Smart” circuitry provides three stage charging—bulk, absorption, float.
• Wide model range covers battery system ratings from 14-950 amp-hours
• Gel-Cell/Flooded Lead-acid/AGM battery type switch selects optimum charge/float voltages.
• Multiple isolated output banks; ammeter indicates total output current. (except PT-7)
• Optional sensor adjusts output voltage based on battery temperature. (except PT-7)
• Current limiting-prevents damage from overloading.
• Charger status clearly displayed with L.E.D. and/or audible indicators or optional remote panel.
• Use as a power supply; can power loads without a battery in line.
• Built to last—rugged stainless steel case with a durable white powder coat finish with an optional
drip shield and marinized internal circuitry.
• Numerous Safety and EMC Compliances
• Two year parts and labor warranty
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Old 02-05-2011, 15:28   #7
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Re: Blown up Battery Charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Hi: Thanks for that.

I DO have a Victron isolation transformer. Its circuit breaker is very sensitive and trips at the drop of a hat. I don't get more than 0.1% more than the rated 16 amps before it pops, which is a real nuisance. It didn't blink an eye. Nor did the circuit breaker for shore power, nor the GFCI breaker. The shore power breaker tripped and the fuse on the charger blew. What the **** does that mean?

What needed to be fixed in your charger? Are they repairable after such an incident or are they toast? It's an expensive bit of kit.
My skylla 220v 15a 12v charger blew the capacitor immediately (which had 400v written on it), split it down the middle and oil came out...local electrician replaced it and its been working fine for 3 years now. The bigger 24v 80a phoenix charger seemed fine, then 6 mts later suddenly only produced 20a (inside they have 2 chargers). I was in marmaris and the local electrician said it had suffered high voltage at some stage.... he then fixed it. He had never worked on a victron before but knows his electronics and could show me the burnt part. It has now also been working for more than 2 years.

As a side point.... I rang victron a few months ago as I wanted to install a 16a isolating transformer...I asked if it could handle over voltage without damage and the answer was yes, to a certain point but not over 300v.

With the isolating transformer, even if the shore supply was 270, I would have thought the onboard power would have been no more than 250 as it exits the transformer.
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:55   #8
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Re: Blown up Battery Charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capitain Mike View Post

Disconnect the charger taking all electrical precautions

Most have an internal fuse and a label on the outside that says "No user serviceable parts" Ha Ha!!

Take the fuse out test the fuse reinstall the fuse if its ok if not change it, smell inside the box for a burnt smell. if ok proceed. now cross your fuse with your multimeter on the outside if you get current proceed. then its all down to bad battery connections clean your terminals the extra power going through might just have been enough to increase the resistance. Shorts and high resistance are reason for the charger to shut down. Unfortunately to test it you have to have a safe good working shore supply
Yes, the internal fuse was blown. I changed it with a spare one I had on had. When I tried to switch it on, it made a terrible noise in my transfer switch, although no breaker tripped and the fuse didn't blow. I was using good clean generator power of my own in order to be sure not to have the same problem all over again with shore power.

I've about decided that it is not a problem with shore power -- the charger just went poof. It's a good one -- a Newmar -- but it's too small, only 40 amps (*24v), which is not enough for living on the hook and charging with generator power. It takes many hours to replenish a 440 amps * 24v battery bank with the generator.

Besides that, I have no inverter on board. I have been planning for a long time to install a Victron charger/inverter to solve both of these problems. I don't really need the expense at this particular moment, but I think it's time to bite the bullet. I will try to repair the Newmar and sell it.
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Old 11-05-2011, 17:11   #9
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Re: Blown-Up Battery Charger

Earlier in this thread I mentioned the dangers of 3 phase and single phase in the same box and how this can result in overvoltage that fries all 220v devices switched on at the time.... here is a link to the problem occurring again for someone ....yesterday I think...
Pontoon power problem - Yachting and Boating World Forums
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:34   #10
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Re: Blown-Up Battery Charger

Dockhead-
Inside the charger are guaranteed to be capacitors, among the other parts. Capacitors always have a maximum voltage rating, i.e. 15V, 50V, 200V...and those ratings are considered nominal, plus or minus 10%. Makes a small explosion when you give them too much voltage and they literally burst.
So if your charge was rated for a maximum of 265V...I'd expect to see the capacitors inside rated at 300V, and 270 would still be enough to blow them up. Once you disconnect everything you might want to go exploring to see what they are rated for, or simply to eyeball the inside to see what screamed. There are of course other parts that could have fried, you'll need a tech to find out just what happened.
I don't know UK law but certainly would expect that if you "bought" 220 or 240VAC service and they supplied 270VAC, they'd be responsible for the damage and the cause of the damage would not be open to question. There's no reason to expect ANY "220"ish device to survive 270VAC.
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:58   #11
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Re: Blown-Up Battery Charger

Contact "Kap" Kaplan at Newmar. He's a great guy who can tell you what damage might have occured and your chances of fixing it.
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Old 12-05-2011, 13:17   #12
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Re: Blown-Up Battery Charger

Thanks for all of that. I already bought a Victron Multiplus charger/inverter, but I will certainly try to repair the Newmar and sell it and keep it as a spare. It appears to be a quality unit which ought to have some useful life left in it.
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