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Old 27-06-2010, 09:50   #1
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Inverter / Charger Not Charging Off the Genset

I installed a Freedom SW 2000 Inverter charger. I am aware of problems with customer service, but it was a budget decision when my old charger died unexpectedly. Works great on shore power, charges, inverts and allows current pass through. On the generator, it doesn't work. It doesn't charge, and it won't allow current to pass through. It will still invert. The display reads 000, and the charge light does't go on. I have 108 V at the breaker, and all other electric works. The manual has a range of 85v to 140v for the charger to work. The outlets are isolated at the panel, and are the only items connected to the inverter. The generator will run a hotwater heater and AC. It is as if the inverter isn't sensing the current from the generator.
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Old 27-06-2010, 10:08   #2
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What kind of generator? If it's a small 2-pole one, like my NextGen 3.5KW, it may put out "dirty power" until it has a resistive load on it.

Mine is so bad that the Victron MultiPlus inverter/charger behaves the same as your Freedom 2000, i.e., it won't either pass AC or charge until I put enough resistive load on the generator to smooth out its output.

I posted some oscilloscope pix of this a few months back...not sure where.

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Old 27-06-2010, 10:31   #3
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Generator is an older Westerbeke 4kw, nothing fancy, just an older one.
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Old 27-06-2010, 11:14   #4
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Will the Freedom charger work when the hot water heater is on?
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Old 27-06-2010, 11:22   #5
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No. The h2o heater is seperated so it isn't through the inverter, but the heater and the AC work on the genset. The inverter won't charge or allow 110 to pass through to the outlets. Everything is good on shore power, and there is a selector switch to go between shore power and genset.
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Old 27-06-2010, 13:44   #6
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OK. Presumably, the heater or AC would put enough load on the generator to clean up it's output so the Freedom would be happy.

Soooo....hard to diagnose from a distance, but maybe the genset's frequency regulation is off enough so the Freedom doesn't like it? If you could put a frequency meter on its output and, perhaps, an oscilloscope as well, that might give some clues as to what's wrong.

Beyond that, I'd say you need to find a good marine electrician.

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Old 27-06-2010, 14:04   #7
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Bill is correct about ensuring qualified power is available; however, there is an old Xantrex Technical Note attached that will show that your genset is too small. You may be able to reduce the power sharing function so that only 10 or 15 amps of incoming power is available for charging but I do not hold out much hope.

Inverter-Charger Genset Sizing.pdf

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Old 27-06-2010, 14:13   #8
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If the inverter is wired for pass thru operation on shore, the shore power usually goes to the inverter before it goes to the electrical panel, in which case when you select power supply from the gererator, the inverter is not getting any power. I would first check the path of the shore power from the inlet and see where it goes first. If it goes to the inverter first, that is your problem. The shore power should first go to the power selector switch, then to the inverter, and then to the panel, so that whether you have power from shore or from the generator, it passes through the inverter and allows it to charge.
Hope this helps,
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Old 27-06-2010, 16:45   #9
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Exactly Brian,

That reference to the selector switch type in post 5 got me scratching my head.
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Old 27-06-2010, 17:00   #10
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The selecter switch is a mechanical switch, by Westerbeke that has Shore Power, Off, Ship's Gen. Everything works properly on shore power. Prior to the installation of the SW2000, all appliances (calling a recepticle an appliance) worked with both sources. I split off the recepticles from the panel so as to not be able to attempt to run AC or heater through the inverter, also, so that the inverter was being back fed. There is a 30 amp breaker for the inverter, which works as the power to the inverter. That is on the original panel.

I believe that there is automatic power sharing, so that the charger would run at a lower output, with less amperage. Even if there isn't, the power should pass through the inverter to power the recepticle when on the Gen. setting on the selecter switch.

I won't be back to the boat until next weekend, and at that time I will do a physical trace of the wiring from both the shore power input recepticle, and trace the wiring from the genset, to see if somehow the neutral isn't connected.

I do have 108v at the breaker when the gen is running. I haven't tested it at the inverter, but am confident that it is to the inverter, because it is when shore power is on. Same breaker and cabling.
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Old 03-07-2010, 07:19   #11
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Checked the output of the generator and the frequency is off the charts, about 210hz. shore power checks out at 60hz as it should be, so it is not my meter. That's the problem why the inverter rejects the power source. What can cause this to be so far off? Would that be the Bridge Rectifier? Can't call customer service til tuesday, but looking for input.
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Old 03-07-2010, 07:41   #12
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Generally, frequency is a direct result of generator speed. When the generator is driven at 1800 RPM, the AC output frequency is 60 Hz. Run at 1500 RPM the gen puts out 50 Hz.

Westerbeke Generator Manuals
westerbeke, marine generators, engines, Official Site
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Old 03-07-2010, 07:45   #13
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Going to borrow a tach and check engine speed, but the voltage output is about 109 to 112, and that is speed related also. It is inconsistant that voltage is low and frequency is high.
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Old 03-07-2010, 08:08   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keepondancin View Post
Checked the output of the generator and the frequency is off the charts, about 210hz. shore power checks out at 60hz as it should be, so it is not my meter. That's the problem why the inverter rejects the power source. What can cause this to be so far off? Would that be the Bridge Rectifier? Can't call customer service til tuesday, but looking for input.
If the power output is dirty (common), you won't get a true frequency measurement with a typical multimeter. If a non-resistive load is applied while measuring (battery charger?), this will make the readings look high.

Apply a resistive load like a water heater and see if the frequency returns to normal. Also make sure all other loads are off.

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Old 03-07-2010, 08:39   #15
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I agree with Mark. Small 2-pole generators -- which often at 3600RPM -- are prone to dirty power output when they're not loaded.

As Mark said, put a resistive load on it and see what you get.

My NextGen 3.5KW went from 86.4 Hz with no load (measured on a digital storage oscilloscope) to 63.7 Hz with a 20A load. Still a bit high...I need to adjust it...but MUCH better.

By the way, the NextGen uses a belt system and runs at 2800RPM.

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