Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 12-03-2018, 14:58   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: French Polynesia
Boat: Allied 39
Posts: 567
Problems with new Sterling Battery Charger

First I wanted to reach out to other members of the group to see if anyone is experiencing the same issue and lack of customer support from Sterling.

I recently received a Sterling 40 amp battery charger from Defender being sent Fed Ex to Tahiti. I know I know when I use the word Tahiti in anything I am complaining about I get no sympathy. But after paying the freight and customs it came close to the price of a charger.

Since then I have written to Sterling at least 7-8 times trying to get some tech support regarding my issue. In all fairness I have been hearing from the Sterling guy in the US who is does not have the technical background to answer my questions and just today referred me to the UK.

I have heard from another yachtie who has gone thru 4 Sterling 40 amp chargers because of almost identical issues.

Here is my summary

Model: Sterling Power 40 Amp ProCharge Ultra Marine Battery Charger
Purchase Date: 2-20-18
Company: Defender Marine
Cost: $316.99
Shipping: $134.25
Customs: $130
Received: 2-26-18
Installed: 2-27-18

Background
Unit was replacing a ProNautic 40amp battery charger that was 6+ years old. Pronautic and Sterling jointly shared development and units are identical except for labeling. Older Pronautic was w/o auto conservation mode.

Install was simple and basically a drop in.

Battery Bank
4@ 6V golf cart wet deep cycle configured into 2 12V banks
Battery cables from charger to battery are #8 length of run < 3í

Use
Charger is used while at the dock using 220V or while at anchor using our Honda 1000 110V generator.

Both older Pronautic 40amp and new Sterling 40 amp are run in same exact method.

Setup
When installed the unit was configured as:
Setup as PS
Custom Setup Bulk 14.7 Float 14.6
Battery Temp lead connected
All lights looked normal and no errors encountered
Power supplied by: Honda 1000 110V generator

Problems & Issues

Day 1 & 2
When first installed I ran a Equalize cycle on battery bank 1 and the next day on battery bank 2. No issues with equalize cycles on 2 separate days

Day 3
Battery charger was turned on
Voltage 14.1 Amps 40 fast charge fan 2 lights
Unit ran for maybe 5 minutes then voltage dropped to .5 and amps to 00
Fan continues to run after failing at full speed 3 lights
Absorption light is on
Occasional flash from DC Low Voltage all other lights on & normal

Voltmeter tests at BC at time of failure
AC leads coming into unit 127V
DC output from BC 13.67

Restarted and immediately returned to 00V 00amps. All lights show normal restart Fan is on high (3 lights) Absorption light is on

After 4-5 minutes unit switched back to charging 14.1V 40 amps then after about 3-4 minutes returned to .5-.6V 00 amps. This continues to happen over a 1 hour period until BC is turned off.

Note: Voltage showing would be between 00V Ė 0.5V

Temperature readings using Raytech heat gun
Air Temp 87F
Upper Case 100-101F
Lower Case 96F
Fan on 2 of 3 lights before failure 3 of 3 lights when failed

Attempts to isolate problem
Reviewed You Tube trouble shooting video link provided by Adam - Sterling
Removed lower red cover and put dc fan on high (same failure)
Reset charger to Open Lead Acid (same failure)
Reset charger to BC mode (same failure)
Removed battery temp sense wire (same failure)
Honda 1000 set to full output mode (same failure)
Honda 1000 set to Eco mode (same failure)
Turned both solar panels and wind generator off (same failure)

When batteries get charged up by solar and wind and battery charger is started. If the battery charger output is < 33-34amps it will run thru its full cycle.

Any suggestions or comments on my problem?

Thank you

Chuck
__________________

__________________
www.jacarandajourney.com
chouliha is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2018, 08:00   #2
Zil
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 327
Re: Problems with new Sterling Battery Charger

Have you walked through the settings on the charger? Just to check they are correct.
Have you tried using dip switch settings rather than a custom program?
Have you checked all the cable connections from charger to bank?
__________________

Zil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2018, 10:17   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: French Polynesia
Boat: Allied 39
Posts: 567
Re: Problems with new Sterling Battery Charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zil View Post
Have you walked through the settings on the charger? Just to check they are correct.
Have you tried using dip switch settings rather than a custom program?
Have you checked all the cable connections from charger to bank?
No dip switches but have tried standard settings with same results
Checked all connections and they are tight

Have finally been getting some traction from Sterling. A number of emails came in yesterday afternoon.

I called and spoke to the UK (midnight my time) and a few suggestions.

1. Sterling is saying its the Honda 1000 issue and they want voltage at the unit when it fails. Good idea.

2. Suggest setting the unit to run at 75% and see if it still has same issues.

3. Try running from a solid land source 220-240V and we will be moving to a marina next week so can try then.
__________________
www.jacarandajourney.com
chouliha is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2018, 11:15   #4
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Santa Cruz
Boat: Boatless Again
Posts: 4,541
Re: Problems with new Sterling Battery Charger

It sure sounds like the Sterling is going into charger overheat mode when you ask it for its full rated output. It is taking it a few minutes of resting with fan to cool off and reset.

I think their suggestion #2 should work.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Honda 1000 is part of the issue--you are asking the charger to put out 40 amps at 14.4 volts, or 576 watts. Using their efficiency and power factor numbers (which can be optimistic) you will need on the order of 650 watts from the Honda. Using their full load input current spec of 9.8 x40/60= 6.53Amps at 110v, you will need about 720 watts. While the charger input specs allow a voltage sag to 80VAC, I wouldn't be surprised if the charger overheated at that level, and the Honda wouldn't be happy at the required 9 amps AC.

It would be best if you could measure both AC voltage and current into the charger when you are trying to run it flat out.
donradcliffe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2018, 11:34   #5
Zil
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 327
Re: Problems with new Sterling Battery Charger

Interesting. Honda not large enough for charger. I run my Pronautic on my 2000W generator with no trouble.
Zil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2018, 13:01   #6
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Santa Cruz
Boat: Boatless Again
Posts: 4,541
Re: Problems with new Sterling Battery Charger

I'm sure that Jacaranda would be willing to swap their 1000W generator for your 2000W one if you want to take it to Tahiti.
donradcliffe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2018, 13:16   #7
Registered User
 
Reefmagnet's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: puɐןsuǝǝnb 'ʎɐʞɔɐɯ
Boat: Nantucket Island 33
Posts: 2,711
Re: Problems with new Sterling Battery Charger

My Honda 1000 (which is actually 900 watt continuous rated) runs a Sterling 50 amp charger fine as long as eco-mode is off during the early phases of charging when charger output is highest. Sterling are one of, if not the most, efficient chargers. I'd guess more likely an issue with the charger then genset in the described circumstances.
Reefmagnet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2018, 13:45   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: French Polynesia
Boat: Allied 39
Posts: 567
Re: Problems with new Sterling Battery Charger

I have run my old pronautic 40 amp charger with the Honda 1000 for the past 6 years without failure.

It sometimes had a little trouble at start up on eco mode so switched to full power until it started.

Charger overheat mode light did not come on at time of failure

The discussion with Sterling UK last night via Skype and the recommendation to check AC voltage at time of failure (Geez I knew that but why I didnít test that?) got me thinking this morning.

I eliminated the AC ships wiring and went directly from the Honda to the battery charger using a short 10G extension cord.

It ran fine thru all phases of the charge and did not fail.

Hmmmmm maybe this is the problem? I will continue to run it this way for the next 3-4 days to see. Hopeful but holding off on success check off.

Tomorrow I will plug back into ships AC circuit and measure voltage when the bc fails.

Feel that I might be getting closer.
__________________
www.jacarandajourney.com
chouliha is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2018, 15:19   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Home port is San Diego, California, but Rutea is currently in Panama for the hurricane season.
Boat: Contest 48
Posts: 747
Images: 1
Re: Problems with new Sterling Battery Charger

Chuck- sorry youíre having a problem. I installed a Sterling regulator on a 150-amp alternator (similar remote location: we were in the Maldives. Maldivian Customs didnít want to allow the regulator to enter the country because they were certain that it was a Ďrectifierí. I guess theyíre suspicious of rectifiers there.). The regulator wasnít easy to install but I finally got it in only to find that it didnít work properly. Once we got to a location where we had access to reasonable freight, we had Sterling send us a new one. That one isnít working either (LED says the alternator isnít grounded - I can easily prove that it is). Sterling tech support says that their products rarely fail and the problem must be somewhere else. Frankly, Iím not going to give it anymore energy, even though it was expensive.

I hope you find a good, quick solution. Enjoy your stay in French Polynesia. My best regards and warmest wishes to Linda and you. Fair winds and calm seas.
nhschneider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2018, 17:30   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: French Polynesia
Boat: Allied 39
Posts: 567
Re: Problems with new Sterling Battery Charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by nhschneider View Post
Chuck- sorry youíre having a problem. I installed a Sterling regulator on a 150-amp alternator (similar remote location: we were in the Maldives. Maldivian Customs didnít want to allow the regulator to enter the country because they were certain that it was a Ďrectifierí. I guess theyíre suspicious of rectifiers there.). The regulator wasnít easy to install but I finally got it in only to find that it didnít work properly. Once we got to a location where we had access to reasonable freight, we had Sterling send us a new one. That one isnít working either (LED says the alternator isnít grounded - I can easily prove that it is). Sterling tech support says that their products rarely fail and the problem must be somewhere else. Frankly, Iím not going to give it anymore energy, even though it was expensive.

I hope you find a good, quick solution. Enjoy your stay in French Polynesia. My best regards and warmest wishes to Linda and you. Fair winds and calm seas.
Hi Neil
Maybe while you are in good email and phone range might be worth pursuing. I know they are not cheap.
Warm regards to both of you as well
Chuck
__________________
www.jacarandajourney.com
chouliha is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 14-03-2018, 09:17   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Cornwall
Boat: Gaff Cutter 28
Posts: 5
Re: Problems with new Sterling Battery Charger

Please email Sterling Uk..

Charles is well known for answering all emails with the correct solutions..

charles@sterling-power.com
TiggerTwo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-03-2018, 10:12   #12
Moderator Emeritus
 
nigel1's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Manchester, UK
Boat: Beneteau 473
Posts: 5,448
Re: Problems with new Sterling Battery Charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by TiggerTwo View Post
Please email Sterling Uk..

Charles is well known for answering all emails with the correct solutions..

charles@sterling-power.com

Chuck is already in contact with Sterling UK.
I agree, the technical support at Sterling UK is very good. They have done a lot of trouble shooting for me.
On top of that, just recently I noticed that one of the indicator LED's on the Alternator Splitter (Pro Split R) was not illuminating. The unit had been installed for 3 years. I called Sterling UK, and even before I could ask about trouble shooting the problem they said they would send out a replacement.
My 60A Sterling Charger has been in use for over 5 years and had no problems with it (hopefully that was not the kiss of death).
__________________
Nigel
Beneteau 473
Manchester, UK
nigel1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-03-2018, 21:39   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: French Polynesia
Boat: Allied 39
Posts: 567
Re: Problems with new Sterling Battery Charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by chouliha View Post
I have run my old pronautic 40 amp charger with the Honda 1000 for the past 6 years without failure.

It sometimes had a little trouble at start up on eco mode so switched to full power until it started.

Charger overheat mode light did not come on at time of failure

The discussion with Sterling UK last night via Skype and the recommendation to check AC voltage at time of failure (Geez I knew that but why I didnít test that?) got me thinking this morning.

I eliminated the AC ships wiring and went directly from the Honda to the battery charger using a short 10G extension cord.

It ran fine thru all phases of the charge and did not fail.

Hmmmmm maybe this is the problem? I will continue to run it this way for the next 3-4 days to see. Hopeful but holding off on success check off.

Tomorrow I will plug back into ships AC circuit and measure voltage when the bc fails.

Feel that I might be getting closer.

Well a few more tests and I am still confused.

All tests are run with the Honda 1000

After the above post I connected the charger back to ships wiring and ran it again the following morning. It ran without failing thru full cycle.

In the evening I ran it again and it ran without failing.

This morning it failed once and before I could test ac voltage it restarted and ran thru completion without failing.

This evening I ran the charger and it ran full cycle to completion without failing.

Full cycle means I run the charger at 14.7 until the amps going in are 10amps or less and turn it off. Because we are on the Honda I only want to run it as little as possible.

Thinking I had the problem nailed down the other day I am back to trying to find a solution.

I need to have the voltmeter on the charger AC input when it fails. This will either eliminate the Honda as a problem or ?

I will continue to post as I get any further along in testing.

Chuck
__________________
www.jacarandajourney.com
chouliha is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 15-03-2018, 02:59   #14
Moderator
 
Pete7's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Solent, England
Boat: Moody 31
Posts: 10,071
Images: 14
Re: Problems with new Sterling Battery Charger

Chuck, you might inspect the lead from the honda to the boats mains circuit and inside the plugs to see if they have over heated or corroded if the fault is intermittent.

Pete
Pete7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-03-2018, 16:19   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: French Polynesia
Boat: Allied 39
Posts: 567
Re: Problems with new Sterling Battery Charger

Thanks Pete

I did pull the plug apart that attaches to the boat and also closely inspected the plug that is part of the short power cord lead from the Honda to the boat (3í). All looked good and no heat build up on either.

Charger failed 6 times today and finally able to capture AC voltage at time of failure 125V. Charger case was 115F. Output was 14.7V 40amps.

Have sent my results off to Sterling.

Now itís looking more like there is a problem with the charger???

I didnít realize in the beginning of this process that tech support is in the UK not in the US.
__________________

__________________
www.jacarandajourney.com
chouliha is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
battery, charger

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sterling Pro Alt C Alternator to Battery Charger 12V 130A Cyrus Safdari Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 6 02-02-2018 14:00
For Sale: For sale: Sterling 12v-30a Battery charger sully75 General Classifieds (no boats) 13 15-12-2016 14:27
Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger Seighlor Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 47 19-11-2016 17:28
Sterling Procharge Ultra Battery Charger Problems Yofy Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 23 09-02-2016 21:51
Sterling alternator to battery charger. Gerry Connolly Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 3 03-05-2014 10:05



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 23:57.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.