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Old 23-02-2010, 09:07   #1
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Generator Problem

We have a Phasor Marine LP2-6kw diesel generator that has blown 3 AVR voltage regulators over the past year. The output is regulated by a potted regulator, and does not use a capacitor (although a capacitor is part of the internal regulator circuit of course, but it isn't a high-voltage capacitor type regulator). A picture of the regulator is attached.

A new regulator will work just fine for 1-4 months and then start to go - resulting in a high voltage from the generator at random times until it stops regulating completely a few days later and the voltage stays at the high unregulated level.

The brushes are good, the commutator is clean and shiny and the windings look fine to me. I have ducted in forced cool air to the front of the generator head and have another ducted fan sucking hot air from the back of it. The head stays cool, so heat is not the problem.

The Kubota engine runs fine.

Does anyone have any ideas on why it is blowing regulators so often? The original regulator lasted 7 years, the second 10 months and the third 2 months.

Mark
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Old 23-02-2010, 09:50   #2
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One possibility is a heat problem. These potted AVR's don't like excessive heat. Mine (on a NextGen 3.5KW) blew after a year or so and a very hot summer.

Genset temps often go way up after you shut down. One thing you might do: try to cool the generator a bit before shutting down, by taking all loads off it. Let it run a few minutes like that. Also, do you have an exhaust blower on the genset? Is there a way to keep the blower going after the genset shuts off? Do you have an enclosure? These can really raise the heat level.

Good luck.

Bill
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Old 23-02-2010, 12:40   #3
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My original thought was heat, so I installed two blowers - one bringing cool outside air into the front of the generator head and the other removing air to the outside from the rear of the head (this is the normal flow of cooling air through the head). This still resulted in a loss of the AVR. I always let the generator run a few minutes after removing loads. There is no enclosure, although the generator is in a dedicated ventilated locker (that is much larger than the generator itself. After shutting down and waiting a bit, the locker temperature is almost ambient.

I don't think the temps are a problem, and the first AVR lasted 7 years without the additional cooling blowers.

Any other thoughts? I've exhausted all of mine.

Mark
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Old 23-02-2010, 13:29   #4
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Mark,

Seems you've done everything a reasonable man could. Now, I think I'd call Phasor and bug them until this gets resolved. They MUST have run across this before.

It's probably a good thing to start with the sales staff rather than tech support...more responsive. Then, move on to the real techies and find out what's going on.

Their contact in FL:

2090 SW 71 Terr. H-4
Davie,
Florida 33317
Sales: 954-684-4801


Bill
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Old 24-02-2010, 21:30   #5
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Might it be the AVR is assisted by some sort of mechanical governor ? To maintain rpms within a range where AVR is capable to actuate. I've seem some mechanical governors that lost spring resistance, thus fluctuating voltage and frequency, regardless AVRs. Have you noticed any rpm fluctuation ? Good luck.
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Old 25-02-2010, 00:10   #6
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My Northern lights is brushless except for that one brush... check if you have one too!

Also, let an electronics geek check it out to see what broke. From the picture it should be easy to find it and to repair it!!

Edit: I mean when you know what broke, you have a clue what can be wrong.

cheers,
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Old 25-02-2010, 09:07   #7
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Negrini: Yes, the engine speed is held constant by a solenoid controlled by a governor. I have not noticed any speed fluctuations, but can check it out further.

Nick: The generator head uses brushes. The brushes and commutator are good. I agree that it should be easy to fix the AVR, but what isn't apparent in the picture is that the whole thing is potted in epoxy except the trim pot and the top of the capacitor. This makes it quite a bit more difficult to fix.

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Old 25-02-2010, 11:26   #8
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Do you have a battery charger, solar panel, and or wind generator? I ran into a similar problem where my charging system would fry the voltage regulator. I had to make sure that the start battery was only charged by the engine. That cured the problem for me.

Tim
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Old 25-02-2010, 12:18   #9
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Originally Posted by Zephyr's Aura View Post
Do you have a battery charger, solar panel, and or wind generator? I ran into a similar problem where my charging system would fry the voltage regulator. I had to make sure that the start battery was only charged by the engine. That cured the problem for me.

Tim
Tim,

Could you explain further? That makes no sense to me at all, since unless the generator is actually running and connected to the AC circuit (via a proper transfer switch), there should be NO voltage on the AVR at all. Are you talking about an AVR to regulate 120VAC??

Thanks,

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Old 25-02-2010, 12:26   #10
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just to confim the heat idea get a laser temp probe from Home depot they are like 20- 30 dollars now. Test temp hitting the AVR direct and beside the temp probe comes in really handy for other stuff too.
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Old 25-02-2010, 12:42   #11
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With all those fans and the first 7 years without trouble I don't think it's heat. I think it's time to get a geek with a scope and check out the wave forms coming from the windings and on every wire connected to the AVR.

AVR repair: ah, I couldn't see it was potted on the photo.

cheers,
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Old 25-02-2010, 14:38   #12
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do you idle your generator.
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Old 25-02-2010, 15:02   #13
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My mistake...

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Tim,

Could you explain further? That makes no sense to me at all, since unless the generator is actually running and connected to the AC circuit (via a proper transfer switch), there should be NO voltage on the AVR at all. Are you talking about an AVR to regulate 120VAC??

Thanks,

Bill
Sorry Bill I guess I had a case of cranialrectumitis for a minute. I thought you were talking about the 12 volt alternator. That's what I get for scanning the text instead of reading it fully.
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Old 25-02-2010, 15:42   #14
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Sorry Bill I guess I had a case of cranialrectumitis for a minute. I thought you were talking about the 12 volt alternator. That's what I get for scanning the text instead of reading it fully.
Hey, no problem. Just wanted to be sure I wasn't missing something :-)

Re: the cranialrectumitis, it's a pretty common affliction amongst sailors. Sometimes I only have a few functioning neurons myself, and some of those connected by spirochetes!

Cheers,

Bill
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Old 25-02-2010, 16:40   #15
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Sometimes I only have a few functioning neurons myself, and some of those connected by spirochetes!
Lyme disease can be a bitch..

Mark
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