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Old 19-11-2019, 09:48   #1
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SterlingPower 12v60a - not working

I am writing this experience hoping some kind soul in CF can help me.

Boat came with a Xantrex 12v30a battery charger probably installed in 2002.

I have 900Ah Trojan 8D gel.

When Xantrex battery charger failed in 2014, I bought 3 units Sterling Power 12v60a call it A, B and C. Installed one unit A which failed after 6 months.

Unit B was put in service.

The faulty unit A was replaced by factory under warranty - unit D. The warranty for units purchased in Singapore is 1 year and not the standard 2 years.

When unit B failed and was return to factory - reply came back "the unit B was no longer in production so they cannot do any repair" . I insisted they should do the repair and charge me or some how give me a discount for a replacement new unit as I have bought 3 units SterlingPower.

When unit B failed, Unit C was put in service.

The dealer in Singapore, Joerg, was good - he supported my appeal and I got one unit for half price - unit E.

End of 2018, I have some time to install the 2nd battery - open up the box and installed the unit D to find out the unit would not power up with all the led lighted up as seen in the pic attachments with serial numbers.

Did all the usual reset etc. Still no effect.

Send emails to charles@sterling-power.com no reply. I surrender as I told the Singapore dealer if there is another failure I will not trouble him.

At this time I have unit C and E in service with a faulty unit D (warranty replacement unit).

By this time I have seen a total 5 units SterlingPower 12v60a, 4 units old model and 1 new model. You will notice the start up sequence and messages are different.

What would you do next? Any suggestion?

Eric
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Old 19-11-2019, 10:52   #2
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Re: SterlingPower 12v60a - not working

What is the temperature inside the charger compartment during the day when the charger is working hard? I am suspecting that the units are getting too hot.
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Old 19-11-2019, 11:06   #3
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Re: SterlingPower 12v60a - not working

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
What is the temperature inside the charger compartment during the day when the charger is working hard? I am suspecting that the units are getting too hot.
The chargers are installed under the galley sink on the bulk head visible from the saloon sette and another under the chart table bulk head visible when you look under . Both has good ventilation and in room temperature - tropical.

I have never leave charger on permanently. They are switched on for an hour or two hours for charging. The rest are handled by the 200w solar.

Eric
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Old 19-11-2019, 11:43   #4
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Re: SterlingPower 12v60a - not working

Hi buddy.


I am sorry to report that I have never seen a "solid state" looking battery charger that lasted for more than a few months. I so totally loved the "sealed block of plastic" battery charger idea. Used them all over the place. Regretted every installation. A cheap car charger modified with some flame arrester screen material replaced every one of them early on.



By all means, buy an external fancy battery charging regulator, but the thing that actually has the transformer and puts out the charging voltage should be inexpensive, and should be really, really heavy. It should not look like it is immune to salt air, nor should it have a lot of buttons, lights, or crystal chandeliers. Purchase battery chargers by WEIGHT. Same goes for lead acid batteries.
There are heavily corroded ancient battery chargers in my shop that still work after 40 years. They are masses of copper, and a handful of diodes. They also put out power even if there isn't any power on a circuit...a thing that "smart" chargers prevent you from doing. This means that you can charge or get power out of it to the boat even when the battery reads no voltage at all.
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Old 19-11-2019, 22:46   #5
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Re: SterlingPower 12v60a - not working

^. Yes let’s go back to single stage constavolts and fry batteries...

I’ve put lots of the promariner version of that charger in and had no issues. Those are a good charger.

That 60a charger is going to be running a lot to charge a 900ah bank. A 900ah bank should have 200a+ of charging.

Are you using a gen or shore? What size?
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Old 19-11-2019, 23:35   #6
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Re: SterlingPower 12v60a - not working

I purchased a 50A charger in 2014. Despite having barely being used it destroyed itself (possibly) when a bolt of lightning that failed to destroy any other devices struck approximately 50 metres from my boat a couple of years ago. The best service advice I could get was to bin it and buy another. I made an attempt at repairing the blown MosFETs but the replacements blew again within a few minutes so I ended up taking the advice of the distributor and binned it. However, after the general experience and having delved into the guts of the thing, I opted to purchase an alternative brand as a replacement.



Very disappointing experience considering the price of the units.
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Old 21-11-2019, 08:58   #7
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Re: SterlingPower 12v60a - not working

[QUOTE=Aethelwulffe;3019299] By all means, buy an external fancy battery charging regulator, but the thing that actually has the transformer and puts out the charging voltage should be inexpensive, and should be really, really heavy. QUOTE]

Agreed. I am very tempted to strip one of the transformer from the faulty heavy units of inverter/charger and add a few bridges, add a voltage regulator and a rheostat to limit the current. This should be a bombproof unit in addition to my other chargers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
Are you using a gen or shore? What size?

The units were install when tested using shore power. Genset is Kohler 4kva 230v 50hz.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
However, after the general experience and having delved into the guts of the thing, I opted to purchase an alternative brand as a replacement.
Very disappointing experience considering the price of the units.
I have the same feeling too. That is what I am going to do.

Just got a quote from China manufacturer (referred by a friend ) for a low frequency inverter/charger 12v/65a/220v/50hz/2000w cost only USD 285 vs SterlingPower 12v60a USD 603 (amazon) . Will see if the cheap stuff is any better than SterlingPower product and quality.

Thank you for taking the time to write.

Eric
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Old 21-11-2019, 11:49   #8
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Re: SterlingPower 12v60a - not working

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Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
^. Yes let’s go back to single stage constavolts and fry batteries...

I’ve put lots of the promariner version of that charger in and had no issues. Those are a good charger.

That 60a charger is going to be running a lot to charge a 900ah bank. A 900ah bank should have 200a+ of charging.

Are you using a gen or shore? What size?

Not constavolts. Just use a bulletproof transformer/rectifier/charger separate power source and use the external regulator to manage the batteries. Same as for your alternator, which you could bash the same way. It is a trick of using the battery bank as a power source at sea vs. using the battery bank as a constant ballast for the 12V shore side. Or just have the thing fail and get your insurance claims handled...whatever. Just my suggestion.


But: You do have a good point. That is a large battery bank. The charging profile might not be tuned to it. That is another case for using a continuous duty regulated DC power source and a separate regulator...also the same as you would use for solar panels or other "constavolts" as you put it. An ABT (automatic buss) can watchdog what DC power source it should be using, and provide failover. No shore power provided DC? Switch to using the batteries. Viola. The huge bank of batteries should only require high loads from that fancy charger is you are pulling down the batteries a lot. 900AH is about what I use for the "big" battery bank for the Foosa electric drive motors on my Mystic20 catboat refits from the original diesel. That is about 7 hours of motoring. Those use a four bank charger, and split the 8 6v batteries into four charging banks, even though they are in series as a 48V bank. 12V is not tapped off of that bank, but instead we use a 12 or 24v DC/DC converter to provide aux systems, such as the winch that raises and lowers the mast, lighting etc.


So, why is he experiencing large draw that the charger would fry itself over without the overtemp protection circuit tripping? Hmmm. Answers are simple and numerous. That thing has minimal windings, it has terrible thermal management due to the sealed case, and it has inexpensive control boards. Those boards are made using the "blue" low temperature solder bath. Those boards, most of which were designed between 2007 and 2013, use this same manufacturing process that a lot of very short lived computer motherboards of the period used. They desolder themselves the first time the cooling fan gets clogged with dust.


My feeling is if it ain't bulletproof, and you are not there to watch it all the time, don't have it.
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