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Old 24-06-2013, 12:31   #1
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Electrical: generators and batterries

Hi all

I own a Cal Cruising 46. It came with a MASE 5501 genset ( yanmar diesel generator )
Next, 4 years ago I had installed a XANTREX RS 3000, a puse sine wave charger/inverter
Connected to a Xantrex 250 amp 3 battery bank COMBINER

NOW THE PROBLEM IS, my generator is NOT charging the house bats!
Shore power and running the boats engine work fine
And the genset is not sending an error message

I had checked all connections. All looks good and tight, no sign of rusting or corrosion

What could be wrong ?


Edwin
Cal Cruising 46
Lahlia
Marina del Rey CA
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Old 24-06-2013, 12:50   #2
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Re: Electrical: generators and batterries

Does your generator have correct voltage and frequency output? You mention that the charger is not working on it, but do not mention if the generator has correct output.

Mark
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Old 24-06-2013, 13:11   #3
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Re: Electrical: generators and batterries

My first thought is the same as Mark's. Have you confirmed that the generator is working? Will it run any other electrical devices?

Do you have a volt meter? Know how to check the AC voltage where the generator connects to the Xantrex? If you aren't familiar with electrical be careful working on this stuff since AC power can kill you or worse cause damage to your boat.
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Old 24-06-2013, 16:12   #4
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Re: Electrical: generators and batterries

Circuit breaker on the genset tripped?
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Old 24-06-2013, 23:00   #5
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Re: Electrical: generators and batterries

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Does your generator have correct voltage and frequency output? You mention that the charger is not working on it, but do not mention if the generator has correct output.

Mark

The generator is functioning properly or it will show an error message on its display. My battery meters are showing negative numbers not positive when I turn on the genset. That's how I learned that the genset is not charging
When I run the engine or connect to shore power I get positive numbers on the amp reading
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Old 24-06-2013, 23:23   #6
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Re: Electrical: generators and batterries

Quote:
Originally Posted by edwmama View Post
The generator is functioning properly or it will show an error message on its display. My battery meters are showing negative numbers not positive when I turn on the genset. That's how I learned that the genset is not charging
When I run the engine or connect to shore power I get positive numbers on the amp reading
You should never, ever, place 100% trust in an electronic system. Murphy's Law: Whatever can go wrong, will. Trust, but verify. They lie, trust me on this.

Does the genset have any local outlets, test points that you can plug a lamp or VOM into to verify generated power? If not it (genset) may need to be isolated for further troubleshooting and things get complicated.
As was stated above, if you are not thoroughly competent with electrical systems, get qualified help; a (simple) mistake can be deadly.
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Old 24-06-2013, 23:41   #7
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Re: Electrical: generators and batterries

I'm assuming it charged before? I have seen inverter chargers installed on the shore line before the transfer switch before. (by dumbasses) and it would not charge with the genny.

if it just stopped recently, but still works on shore. and assuming other stuff is running off the genny. (though the outlets on the inverter passthrough probably aren't working) then it's possible the voltage or freq is out and the charger is rejecting it.

just because the genny is running, doesn't mean there is power coming out of it. could be genny main break breaker. bad transfer switch etc. you need to test for ac power around the boat. and also test the voltage and frequency.
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Old 25-06-2013, 06:47   #8
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Re: Electrical: generators and batterries

Quote:
Originally Posted by edwmama View Post
The generator is functioning properly or it will show an error message on its display. My battery meters are showing negative numbers not positive when I turn on the genset. That's how I learned that the genset is not charging
When I run the engine or connect to shore power I get positive numbers on the amp reading
Assuming the display on the generator is functioning correctly which indicates that the generator is functioning correctly, that does not mean that the power from the generator is actually getting to the charger.

You need to verify that the generator power is actually going to the Xantrex. If you don't know how to safely check voltage with a meter get someone qualified to do so.

Also, how detailed is the information on this readout? I would guess that at most it will show voltage and maybe frequency. There are failure modes where the generator can show proper voltage and frequency but not be working correctly. It can be making dirty power that the Xantrex doesn't like or it can be making voltage but not enough current (power) to run the Xantrex.

Here's what you need to do to start isolating the problem

1. First, easiest test. Try to run another appliance on the generator. Could be an air conditioner, water maker, space heater or anything else you have on the boat that runs on AC power.

2. Check the AC voltage at the Xantrex charger. Do several steps

a. With shore power on and off to make sure you are testing the right wires.
b. With the generator on and off to see if generator power is reaching the Xantrex.
c. With the generator on and the Xantrex on and off to see if enough power from the generator is reaching the Xantrex.

Until you start doing something to isolate the problem everything else is going to be pointless speculation.

NOTE!!!! As I mentioned before, 125V AC electricity can hurt or even kill. Do not start messing with this unless you know what you are doing. If you don't know how to safely work on AC power it's time to hire an electrician.
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Old 25-06-2013, 09:47   #9
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Re: Electrical: generators and batterries

Quote:
Originally Posted by edwmama View Post
The generator is functioning properly or it will show an error message on its display. My battery meters are showing negative numbers not positive when I turn on the genset. That's how I learned that the genset is not charging
When I run the engine or connect to shore power I get positive numbers on the amp reading
What does the generator display actually display? The remote display panel I found googling only shows errors for oil pressure and temperature and nothing about the power output of the alternator or its quality. The generator output could be bad without showing any errors on the display at all.

Most inverter/chargers will not operate outside of a narrow range of input voltage and frequency. They are also susceptible to not working when large harmonics are present in the power input. It is possible that the frequency of the generator has changed (have you measured the engine RPM's?) or that the voltage regulation is outside the parameters of the charger.

You cannot accurately say that the generator is operating properly without showing that it can operate other equipment with a voltage output of 120V +/-10% with a frequency of 60Hz +/-5%.

The generator is not charging your batteries, the battery charger is. To differentiate where the problem lies, you need to prove that one or the other is working well. Since the charger works on shore power, that shows that the charger is working well when it has clean power at proper voltage and frequency. Now you need to determine if the generator output even exists, and if it does is it clean and within voltage and frequency specifications.

To measure the voltage and frequency coming out of the generator, you need a suitable multimeter with frequency capability. You can do this from a powered outlet in the boat if you have one. It is more difficult to measure harmonics, but most of the time these are clean up a lot when a large resistive load is applied. If you measure proper voltage and frequency output, try turning on the water heater or plugging in a space heater and see if the charger kicks in.

From the manual, it looks like there are two fuses on board. If you do not have output, you might start there.

I detect that you do not have much experience with generators, inverter/chargers and AC power. Like others, I recommend you get experienced help because this is very dangerous stuff to be poking around in if you do not know what you are doing or how these systems are wired and operated.

Your alternator has nothing to do with the problem here - that is a completely separate and isolated charging system that doesn't involve the inverter/charger.

Mark
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