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Old 26-04-2006, 17:36   #31
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HyLyte-
I can't see why the misuse of heavier untwisted wire would CAUSE that kind of current drain, so I would take the "cure" with a grain of salt. If you don't already have a $20 digital multimeter ("DMM") pick one up at WalMart. A $200 Fluke is better but the $20 one will do. What you want to do is set it for the 2Amp or 10Amp scale (Cheaper meters only have the 2A scale) and then use the DMM as an ammeter to examine some of the circuits in the boat. You can remove a fuse, or remove a positive or negative lead, and insert the DMM in series to re-complete that circuit. It will then show you if there is any current flowing in THAT specific circuit.
Much the same job that the Link meter does, but without as much brains and no memory. The advantage is, of course, that you can use the DMM to check ANY power line anywhere on the boat. This can show you stray current causing electrolysis, or current that shouldn't be in your bonding wires, or power consumption ANYWHERE in any circuit on the boat, including a weak or failed alternator diode.
A $20 DMM and a basic book like "The 12V Bible" should be aboard every boat that has a battery on it. Much much cheaper than hiring an electrician. Much faster way to localize problems, too.
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Old 27-04-2006, 07:51   #32
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Late Breaking News...

HelloSailor et al...

Thanks for the suggestions. It seems the problem with our Link 10 was twofold. Foremost, the original wiring wasn't done properly and what was done was so with over sized wire that could not be properly connected to the device to make secure connections. Since our last post, Rick Young--a member of this board and the designer of much of the Xantrex equipment we all use--has given me quite an education on his gear. Among other matters, the differences measured by the equipment are so tiny that a variation induced by nearby electromagnetic influences--which the twisted wiring apparently defeats--can have significant impact on the results reported by the equipment. Garbage in, garbage out.

Being able to take accurate measurements with a Fluke, or other meter, are all well and good, but inefficient. When we go aboard the yacht, I simply want to be able to look at an instrument panel and see the state of our batteries, which the Link 10 and Link 1000 will do admirably if they are properly installed.

Subsequent to getting the yacht in the water, Electrician 2.0 reported that while the Link 10 then seemed to be working properly, the Link 1000 was reporting erroneously and he suspected a problem with the device. While I doubted that, I sent it off to Xantrex and was informed, yesterday afternoon, that one or more of the chips was, in fact, fried--damage most commonly caused by voltage spikes. As the tech explained, they have a good reason for including a directive to connect the wiring entirely before inserting the fuses. Fortunately, the repair and recalibration are only $85.00. Upon my arrival home last evening, I recieved an email notice that the unit was enroute back to us which is pretty spectacular given that they only received it on Monday afternoon. Needless to say, that the re-installation will be done exactly as provided in the instruction manual won't be a Fluke!

Later we will be undertaking all of the tests and checks that Rick, EngNate and others have suggested and implementing the fixes and practices suggested, where appropriate. (There's no sense getting the advice of experts if one doesn't plan to use it.)

The contributors to this thread, and this entire board, have proven a valuable resource for which I am most greatful. Hopefully at some point I can offer some advice in my own area's of expertise--which clearly isn't electrics--to someone else in need and pay the courtesy I've received forward!

Cheers,

s/v HyLyte
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Old 27-04-2006, 11:32   #33
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"Among other matters, the differences measured by the equipment are so tiny that a variation induced by nearby electromagnetic influences--which the twisted wiring apparently defeats--can have significant impact on the results reported by the equipment. "
Very interesting. I wouldn't have suspected an ammeter [sic] could be that sensitive to nearby noise.

"Being able to take accurate measurements with a Fluke,... but inefficient." I meant as a diagnostic, certainly not as a daily practice, fwiw.<G>

"the chips was, in fact, fried--damage most commonly caused by voltage spikes. As the tech explained, they have a good reason for" Sounds like the Link is a wee bit more sensitive than most shipboard electronics, and they should consider a warning in the box that this is a sensitive system and the instructions MUST be followed PRECISELY because the Link is not your typical gizmo. (Maybe the next generation will have an onboard "I'm Fried!" warning light?<VBG>)
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Old 27-04-2006, 16:23   #34
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Ammeter accuracy

All ammeters are sensitive to noise. Using twisted-pair wires helps to minimize, if not effectively eliminate, differential-mode noise before ever getting to the input circuitry. In order to minimize system voltage burden a current shunt must have a very low resistance and, therefore, to measure very low currents VERY low voltages are delivered to the meter. In fact, the E-meter and Link 1000 must be able to discern better than 100 micro-Volts in order to make accurate current readings. They are internally stable to better than 30 micro-Volts.

Fluke and Hewlett-Packard make good equipment (semi-portable) for making those measurements in the lab yet the hand-held DVMs are barely able to give accurate stable readings at that level in the field as are the ones like I use for verification.

Actually the manuals DO indicate correct installation wiring instructions and, even when violated, do not normally result in damage. I suspect that more than 12V was inadvertently applied to one or more of Scott's instrument by the installer or some other individual.
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