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Old 08-08-2013, 05:20   #16
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Re: Electrical Issues

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Originally Posted by Swiss sailor View Post
Actually I didn't find an inverter aboard. This is maybe due to the fact that the generator has been factory installed. Although there are additional red cables running to the charger compartment, the battery switches are not the ones, Hunter has built in when a inverter is installed.
The inverter could be the same unit as the charger (mine is), but is sounds like you just have a charger. But if you do have inverter the switch would be under the nav seat.

Since you don't appear to be able to charge with either the shore power or the engine alternator you need to look for where those are common. I don't know the wiring for your arrangement (would be in my manual on the boat, and if you email/call Hunter they could send you a copy if you don't have your manual), I would next check the battery isolator and see if there is charging power at the supply lug and compare it to the outlets.

PS - I don't think those corroded lugs have anything to do with your charging problem. It is a separate issue.
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:20   #17
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Re: Electrical Issues

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The planned approach

My Approach: Theres nothing wrong with the electrics except for a few bad connections.

That will fix you boat, I am sure. and save you lots of money

Some are a pain to get to.
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:32   #18
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Re: Electrical Issues

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Originally The boat ha a small panel above the companionway, but they were of very poor quality and I have not found a replacement for this one yet.

BTW - that panel is just a trickle charger that supplies to the start battery only.
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:51   #19
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Re: Electrical Issues

I hope MarkJ is right! I'll double check the wires, connections and such before replacing anything. But this will take a while until I'm back on the boat...

Don L do you have a source from where I could get replacement for the solar panel that fits in? Even if it's just a trickle charger for the starter battery it would be nice to have at least something that charges (given the charger is back to work again) the starter battery while under way and to make sure being always able to start the engine and the generator.

I do have the manual at hand. But there are both options included - so pretty generic for all types they made. But I'm pretty sure there is no inverter in place.

As you have a Hunter 410 as well, do you know the exact part number for the alternator? Do you think the one I've mentionned would work?
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:08   #20
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Re: Electrical Issues

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Originally Posted by Swiss sailor View Post
Don L do you have a source from where I could get replacement for the solar panel that fits in? I have not had to replace mine (and I wouldn't as I have a 290W solar panel that charges the start battery back though the isolator), but I've read from other owners that orginal panel isn't available anymore and others have replaced with various other little small panels.

I do have the manual at hand. But there are both options included - so pretty generic for all types they made. But I'm pretty sure there is no inverter in place. I don't think you have an inverter either as you would then have a bigger alternator.

As you have a Hunter 410 as well, do you know the exact part number for the alternator? I have the invereter with 100amp alterntor setup
The various setups are a little confusing in the manual, but you need to figure which applies to you if you have any hope. I think you are going to find that the charger and alternator both connect to the battery isolator and that that is your common point to the house and start battery.

If I were you I wouldn't be looking to replace anything till I had located the problem!
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:28   #21
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Re: Electrical Issues

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Thank you all for the comments!
To be honest, electrical systems are not my strongest discipline... but I'm trying to improve it

But the link to the explanation of the bonding system was helpful. Certainly I will reconnect this cables. But they do not seem to be part of the charging problem, since they do not belong to the electrical circuit as I have just learnt. The more I'm looking the cbles and considering the fact that all 3 cables are "corroded" away - could this come from a lightning strike? But would such a strike not kill all electronics on board (they are all in proper working condition).

And yes, I followed the installation documentation of the Sterling battery charger very carefully. What a nice instruction!

Many of you voting to install the biggest charger, suitable for the setup.
I read in other threads that this could cause other problems. As I'm away for longer periods and nobody can look after the water in the batteries, would a much stronger charger, say 80 or 100A not lead in to overcharging / cooking up the batteries over time? The boat is hooked up on 110VAC / 30A shore power all the time while on the dry. So sufficient power for the charger.

The boat is located in Florida. This is the reason why I did not consider solar panels on the boat yet. If a hurricane or a though tropical storm comes across, I would need to remove the panels for safety reasons. But this would be a difficult task when being 6'000 miles away. Originally The boat ha a small panel above the companionway, but they were of very poor quality and I have not found a replacement for this one yet.

For the time being on the boat, the generator would help me out to top up the batteries whenever required. If I finally go on the cruise, solar panels would be definitely something I would add on.
On a used boat, you can't assume that the wiring has been done to any particular standard, including the manufacturer's manual or the link that was provided to the tech info from West. You need to look & see what you have. If you found wires that are shot, then replace them first, then continue troubleshooting from there.

A lightning strike will not cause corrosion. It will cause sudden catastrophic failure. It will cause the insulation to burn off the wires & frequently the wires will blow into pieces, with each piece having a copper ball at each end where a break occurred. Usually all electronics on the boat will be shot. You will be lucky if the motor starter still works.

Corroded wires, especially corroded negative wires, are usually caused by salt water exposure.

If the boat is in Florida, then you have bigger hurricane-related issues to worry about than solar panels. You will need someone to look after the boat in the event of a storm. If you don't already have someone in the area, I may be able to look around to find a suitable person for you.

Over-sizing an alternator is generally not a problem, as they are always regulated. Over-sizing a charger is not a problem if it is also properly regulated. Some types of fast chargers need to be matched to a specific capacity range of battery. Others do not. There are a lot of different types of chargers out there these days. You need to read the spec sheets on the one that you have.
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:57   #22
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Re: Electrical Issues

This might help you if you're electrically "challenged"

Electrical Systems 101 Electrical Systems 101

1. You really shouldn't leave the charger plugged in all the time, although the hotter it gets the higher the self discharge rate on batteries.

2. Therefore, your best bet, and it usually is for almost all sailors, is to get a proper solar setup. It's been discussed so many times on this forum, and there's a link to a solar installation on the one I just provided.

3. There's also a link to installing a charger and one for a battery monitor.

4. You might want to consider rethinking (or better yet eliminating) your "I need to at least get the start battery going so I can start the engine" train of thought. Your house bank is usually more critical if you're planning on actually using the boat. Indeed, having a completely healthy electrical SYSTEM in its entirety should be your goal.

Happy reading, hope it helps, there's a LOT of information there.

Good luck.
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:01   #23
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Re: Electrical Issues

I'm not sure of your cruising plans, so I hesitate to offer too many suggestions. If you will be long term cruising outside of marinas, then some means of solar and/or wind power provide a means for charging batteries without running auxiliaries or gensets. Lots of suggestions on this forum to help you out.

Since you have a 6 kW genset, I would use that as your primary source of diesel-burning power for charging batteries. I wouldn't worry about a large alternator on the auxiliary. The auxiliary will be a backup and only used to charge the batteries if the genset is out of service.

To use the genset, you need either a large battery charger or an inverter/charger. Either way, the charging unit should be sized to your battery bank. My suggestion would be to purchase one rated at 25% the size of your battery bank (I assume you will have flooded cell golf cart batteries). In other words, a 400 Amp hour battery bank would be well served by a 100 Amp unit to charge them. Any good quality marine unit (whether a battery charger or an inverter/charger) will have a multi-stage controller to minimize engine run time and prevent over-charging.

Cheers
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:19   #24
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Re: Electrical Issues

Knowing that this probably been discussed xxx-times. But I'm not aware of a thread about chargers in the 80A to 100A range.

What is a recommendable good charger for wet cells (golf cart and such) on the market, allowing an external charger monitor?

Almost not knowing the boating market in Florida yet, are there other reliable AND favorable pricing retailers? From my first experience, West Marine seems not to be always a real deal...
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:32   #25
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Re: Electrical Issues

Don't be in big rush to get a bigger alternator. Since you say you also can not charge via your shore power and charger you have some other problem.

Yes normally a charging source up to 25% of battery capacity is recommended. But that is mostly a max recommendation. In real use I have never seen my 100amp alternator or my 2KW charger put in more than about 50 amps, because the battery is going to limit the charge based on how low they are discharged. So unless you are planning to routinely discharge down to 50% state of charge your 60 amp alternator is probably enough (unless you are thinking changing to sealed batteries).

You need to fix the charging problem first. Then fully charge and equalize your batteries (if they are FLA) and see if they are still good. Then look into new batteries. I went with 4 6V golf cart GC15s that were 460AH and fit (just barely) in the stock box that my boat had, which were originally for 2 4D batteries.
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Old 08-08-2013, 20:22   #26
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Re: Electrical Issues

West is good on price if you buy what they have on sale, especially their house brand stuff. Their standard prices are usually a bit high. They have a nation wide chain of stores, so support & service on their goods is usually available most places.

If you tell me where in Florida your boat is based, I'll let you know about any better priced places that I know of in the area.
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