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Old 12-05-2013, 10:41   #1
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IP 460 charge light is on

Hi all

Just bought the above boat. The charge light near the tachometer comes on from time to time. After the 1st time the house batteries showed no real voltage loss even though my electronics were on for 5 hours motoring.

We plugged in on our slip and the next day the charge light was out.We anchored for a few hours using the inverter to make coffee etc, then started the engine and the charge light again came on.

We have tried to check all connections on the alternator (Balmor), the 2 fuses on the back, no belt slippage etc.

Maybe the light is normal? Island Packet manual is useless for information.

Thanks!
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Old 12-05-2013, 10:45   #2
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Re: IP 460 charge light is on

That usually indicates the alternator is not charging for some reason. Some alternators require you to rev the engine up a bit in order to get it to start charging, and then once the light goes out you can back off on the revs. and it will keep charging. Or, it could be your alternator is starting to go. Does the light go out at higher revs, like cruising speed, and only come on near idle?

Here's a short piece on the Balmar charge indicator lamp that might help explain things a bit. Are your batteries getting charged when the alternator is running?
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Old 12-05-2013, 10:55   #3
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Re: IP 460 charge light is on

If I start the engine after being on shore power it usually starts blinking a few times and then goes out and says off till I stop the engine for some reason. After restarting it will often then stay on. Higher revs dont seem to make any difference.

The first time it happened was during our trip from Seattle to Victoria. We entered the Straits of Juan de Fuca and after getting severely bounced around we had to shut the engine off to change our fuel filter. After restarting the light stayed on. We motored about 5 more hours to our destination with the auto pilot, plotter etc on and house battery voltage on our arrival was still about 12.6v.
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Old 12-05-2013, 11:03   #4
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Re: IP 460 charge light is on

Do you have an ammeter either built in or a clamp on one so you can determine if you are getting a decent amount of amps when charging? You might be getting enough charging to keep things running while the engine is on, but not getting full amperage. If your alternator was working properly your battery gauge should read around 13.8-14.2 volts while the engine is running, and more like your 12.6 volts after resting with no load for at least several hours. If they read 12.6 volts shortly after shutting off the engine they are probably not being fully charged.

May be your batteries are getting old too.
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Old 12-05-2013, 11:07   #5
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Re: IP 460 charge light is on

Maybe the alternator belt is loose or glazed.
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Old 12-05-2013, 11:16   #6
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Re: IP 460 charge light is on

I would roughly summarize possibilities with our limited knowledge in this order of things to check, assuming the light is indicating you are not getting an adequate charge:

1. Loose and/or worn belt slipping.
2. Corroded and/or loose connections somewhere either in alternator charging line to batteries or ground line (often it can be a bad ground). Clean and check all.
3. Batteries old and dieing.
4. Alternator on its way out.
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Old 12-05-2013, 19:54   #7
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Re: IP 460 charge light is on

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
I would roughly summarize possibilities with our limited knowledge in this order of things to check, assuming the light is indicating you are not getting an adequate charge:

1. Loose and/or worn belt slipping.
2. Corroded and/or loose connections somewhere either in alternator charging line to batteries or ground line (often it can be a bad ground). Clean and check all.
3. Batteries old and dieing.
4. Alternator on its way out.
Ya one of these sounds likely...

The belt was changed a week ago , it is perfect I think and not slipping.

All the connections I checked are like new, 2 fuses at rear of alternator are good.

Batteries are 5 year old. Although they only show 12.8v when running engine they do not discharge very much. We used auto pilot, plotter,radio,and used inverter to make coffee a few times and after 5 hours we were still 12.6v on the house batteries.

Maybe the alternator is bad but it has about 38 hours on it.

I will get my meter and figure out the alternator output tomorrow. Thanks all!
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Old 12-05-2013, 20:05   #8
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Re: IP 460 charge light is on

Quote:
Although they only show 12.8v when running engine they do not discharge very much.
That is not right. They should pretty quickly go up to 14.1-14.4 volts or so, depending on your battery type and regulator settings, when charging. Sounds like you are not getting full charging from your alternator for some reason, and my guess would still be the cables and connections.
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Old 12-05-2013, 20:32   #9
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Re: IP 460 charge light is on

A new belt usually needs tightening after a couple of hours of motoring. If the belt is slipping your IR thermometer will show that the pulley is the hottest part of the alternator.
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Old 13-05-2013, 15:57   #10
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Re: IP 460 charge light is on

Hmmm...I'm on shore power...batteries are charging at 13v indicated on the gauge...the 60 amp battery charger is pushing at 70 amps indicated.
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Old 16-05-2013, 22:17   #11
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Re: IP 460 charge light is on

Well after some 1st rate tech support from Balmar we found a problem with my voltage regulator and after $415CAN all is good and the boat charges as required.

Now if only I could get the old reg repaired....
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