Originally Posted by sainted
I own one of these generators and I work
on them for a living.
The caps do go bad. You'll need a multimeter that can measure capacitance to check them. Do be careful to discharge them first by shorting across the terminals.
However, the most common problem I've seen with these generators is that the stator fails. To check you will have to disconnect the various stator windings and measure their resistance. The manual gives the procedure for doing this.
Stators are expensive, about $2k, and you'll have to remove the generator from the capsule to replace it. It's generally easier to do on the bench rather than on the boat.
Anywho, diagnosing problems with these generators is not easy. You might want to get a pro involved.
Agreed from first impression the two most likely issues are the capacitors or the loss of residual magnetism for self excitation [in which case the machine need a DC bump]; I often needed to DC bump an old 1940 vintage Westinghouse 35 kW genny on our hydroelectric power plant at our remote
cabins in the mountains as the magnetism would dissipate if the machine was not run for several months; we would use a 12 volt automotive battery
and jumper cables
to bump start that genny and over abundance of required current
potential but it got the job done. We just kept the battery and cables
adjacent to the exciter so as to not have to go find them in the dark of night upon arriving in the family
Whoa, as an executive of a company that produces permanent magnet motors and gennys and associated motor
controllers, rectifier/inverters power electronics
, I am always amazed [read shocked] at the vast degree of mark ups that occur by the time the end product reaches the consumer. An estimated cost of $2k
for just the replacement stator!!!! That got my ill attention.
We work in the motor
industry reality of supplying automotive tier one suppliers and vehicle OEMs where margin expectations are modest but volumes are high. We have recently devised a 4kW system of relatively comparable performance specification to that of the nominal 3.4kW / 3.0 kW continuous rated Fischer Panda
[FP] generator head
, whereas for our modestly higher power system, we are projecting a cost upwards of about $130 for fabrication and assembly of the complete generator machine and about $90 - $110 for the rectifier / inverter
with an expected pass through sale price
to the OEMs being about $325 to maybe $400 [wishful think that] for the entire system, albeit again our system is targeted for the high volume, small vehicle electric propulsion
applications with regenerative braking and to provide for the on-board battery charging
, e.g., golf and utility carts. $2k is more than the price
of the motor to be used for powering an electric
bus, albeit those will be produced in units of tens of thousands. Time to get real.
Technically what intrigues me is the relative ease of cooling
a boat's genny given that there is raw water cooling
onboard a boat, whereas the EV sector prefers just air cooling / radiators being a highly frowned upon necessity; hence we design foremost to derive much less power losses within our machines so as to avail less heat dissipation requirements. Watts should go to benefit instead of adverse heat. From the appearance, the FP generator appears to be a standard radial gap induction machine, therefore the FP genny machine likely weighs in and is volumetrically about three times greater than that of the comparable permanent magnet machine [if I recall
correctly our totally enclosed 4kW machine weighs in at 9 kilograms, just under 20 pounds, utilizing much less material than the heavy, old tech, induction designs and would measure in at about 4 inches in axial length which shorter length should provide downsizing the length of the PF generator packaging].
Is smaller form factor better aboard a yacht?
Seems like space is always a premium value inside a hull
. There are times I wish my hull
would expand like the slide-out sides or pop up tops of a recreational vehicle.
Quite certain the the efficiency of the PF genny's power conversion will be comparatively poor, but heck yachtees have lots of diesel
to burn, right? I haven't priced red dyed diesel
purchased at the dock
recently as I so rarely utilize my engine
on the boat, two minutes out od, or into the marina then it remains off. I generally don't take the boat for a sail unless there is a breeze. On my land yacht, I don't much like the out of wallet cost of filling my 45 gallon gas tank on the Chevy Suburban at $2.75 per gallon, so looking forward to converting to hybrid or all electric drive vehicles in the near future.
I am no expert in boat generator packages but Fisher
Panda is a producer that I recognize and I suspect is of better than fair, good or even excellent quality.
What OEM engine manufacturers are the preferred for marine genny applications?
My experience has been largely limited to cursing them for being placed in spaces on boats that are inaccessible or engineered such that repairs
and routine maintenance
of components is made unnecessarily difficult. I swear their engineers have never performed worked on an installed machines or God forbid remove an engine / generator from a boat. I have a similar issue presently as to trying to access the two bolts that hold the starter motor of my JD 350 front end loader / back hoe which machine is located way up in the mountains so as to be able to replace the stater. You can't see or feel either of them. John Deere must think their starters never wear out as they seem to have desired to build the rest of the machine around them.
ARGHHH. Y'all been there done that too as to sharing in such frustration.
I've been told that there is some specially bent wrench made specifically for loosing one of the two blind bolts
; I would like to bend the neck of the engineer
that put the bolt in that location of the engine.
Power is power, one if by land, two if by sea. And 4kW is truly modest power, certainly much less than our largest generator machine built to date which was rated at 3 megawatts, while running at only 13 rpm
, that be thirteen rpm
peak via direct drive from the prime mover, no gears. A truly torquey bastard. At 12 meters diameter it looked and spun like a Ferris Wheel
, yet very light weight.
One earlier technology design of our motors has been used aboard US Navy
ships as a replacement to a standard TEFC induction motor powering ventilation systems, I believe one ship's refitting realized something like 90,000 pounds displacement
weight reduction after swapping out their original heavy iron induction motors with our Permanent Magnet machines. That being 90,000 pounds of water
not being displaced ever inch the ship transited in the ocean, i.e., makes for a smaller hole, equivalent to about 11,000 gallons of sea water
. There apparently being a lot of value in lightning
a ship as to enhancing its efficiency of propulsion
power load demand, I'm told that diesel delivered for refueling a ship at sea cost about $10+ per gallon. The Captain
said he could find alternative and more beneficial uses for an additional 90,000 pounds of displacement
. I suggested larger rum storage
capacity [tuns] and accordingly larger daily rations for the crew. He chuckled. If the crew had heard my suggestion I likely would have become very popular. That older motor technology was licensed to a massive multinational defense contractor for military ship field of use and we haven't been aboard ships since. Montana being a long ways from the large shipyards.
So the US Navy
seemed to like our older technology, maybe time to reconsider the maritime sector with our now decade newer technology. Dang, I'm getting old.
And for the benefit yacht owners. Hey, I am one.