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Old 07-07-2020, 09:58   #1
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Need Help with my Blue Sea Charger/Batteries

I have a Blue Sea P12 Battery charger hooked up to 6 golf cart batteries for my house power.

It's been working like a dream since we installed it about 5 years ago.

Last night I noticed red lights flashing and an error message: "Reverse polarity or short. Turn off AC power Check DC connections.

I unplugged it, waited a while, and after plugging it back in, there are no red lights and no error message, but no indication that it's working either. The screen just flashes every 5 seconds, but no charging lights (bulk/absorb/prefloat/float). Having read the users manual it simply says to do exactly what the screen says, turn off AC and check DC connections.

Now for the fun part. I'm alone on the boat right now, my electrically savvy husband is on a business trip for at least another week. I am not only an electrical moron, I have an irrational fear of electricity having seen a childhood friend electrocuted many years ago. Yes, I know, it's time to grow up and get over it.

My questions are - since nothing really has changed, do you think it may be a failure of the charger? If not, since nothing really changed, how do I go about checking DC connections - uh, since nothing has changed?

I hate being this dense, but am hoping someone will help. I doubt I can get an electrician out here in less than 3 or 4 days. Right now the 12 volts lights, etc are working, but I unplugged the charger so that's not going to last forever. I'm at a dock, so AC is fine.
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Old 07-07-2020, 12:28   #2
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Re: Need Help with my Blue Sea Charger/Batteries

I am going to assume that you are charging (or were) your batts from the Shore Power AC??? Are you sure you have clean AC power coming from shore into the boat? Is there a polarity test switch on your AC panel? If so, test that. Alternatively, for less than 5 bucks a local hardware store or chandlery will have a device you can plug into your outlets.


Do you have an inverter onboard and connected or are you only getting DC current from the batts to certain plugs/connections?
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Old 07-07-2020, 12:59   #3
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Re: Need Help with my Blue Sea Charger/Batteries

My husband has a tool that looks like a screwdriver but when you put it on an outlet the handle lights up if it's good, is that what you're talking about? (sorry for the lack of vocabulary).

No inverter. Shore power to charger to battery bank.
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Old 07-07-2020, 13:04   #4
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Re: Need Help with my Blue Sea Charger/Batteries

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My husband has a tool that looks like a screwdriver but when you put it on an outlet the handle lights up if it's good, is that what you're talking about? (sorry for the lack of vocabulary).

No inverter. Shore power to charger to battery bank.
Unless the screwdriver probe has multiple lights/colors, I think it will only tell you if the plug is "hot", i.e. has current/voltage at it.


The plug in I am thinking of is about the size of a car key fob and has 2-3 lights on it. Are you able to take a picture of your circuit panel from the boat and post here?
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Old 07-07-2020, 14:01   #5
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Re: Need Help with my Blue Sea Charger/Batteries

Worst case you should be able to start and run the motor at a high idle for a few hours each day until you can get someone out to look at it.
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Old 07-07-2020, 14:10   #6
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Re: Need Help with my Blue Sea Charger/Batteries

Here is your manual but it doesn't say much that resembles what you are seeing.
http://assets.bluesea.com/files/reso.../980012000.pdf

It sounds like a bad charger at this point.

Do you have other things on the boat that run off of shore power like a microwave or TV, or maybe something you can plug in like a fan or hairdryer (The hairdryer comment was not intended to be rude. We have two, one for hair and one for boat projects)? If so, do any of those work?

There is often an AC panel with switches including one for the charger. Is there a red light for "Reversed Polarity" lit?


Give Blue Sea a call.


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Old 07-07-2020, 16:19   #7
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Re: Need Help with my Blue Sea Charger/Batteries

When a bit of kit starts behaving in a manner not covered by t he manual, I'd suggest calling the mfg's help line. Blue Seas has a good reputation, I bet they will try to help you.

And BTW, having a sudden polarity reversal issue seems very unlikely to me.

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Old 07-07-2020, 17:49   #8
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Re: Need Help with my Blue Sea Charger/Batteries

instead of bad charger--you said your batteries are 5 yrs old. that can be an issue. they may no longer work. have an electrician check em for ye. positive terminal when constantly on shore power charging does a thing whereby it fails..
when batteries are not viable they will not charge. your charger maybe fine, but your batteries may be bad. neighbor had this issue a couple few year ago--had to buy new batteries and issue was easily fixed/. his were only 4 yrs old. mine are 6.5 yrs old and i am anticipating same issue soon
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Old 07-07-2020, 17:56   #9
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Re: Need Help with my Blue Sea Charger/Batteries

Can a Battery Reverse Its Polarity? Yes, it can happen. If the battery cells are out of balance, some cells will discharge before the others. As it continues to discharge, they will start to reverse polarity
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Old 08-07-2020, 11:42   #10
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Re: Need Help with my Blue Sea Charger/Batteries

Update - all AC on the boat works just fine. The only thing I need battery bank for is pumping bilge and grey water each day.

My boat neighbor is a naval architect and his wife volunteered him to come over and take a look. I really hate being this ignorant. I have to change that.

More will be revealed.
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Old 08-07-2020, 12:05   #11
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Re: Need Help with my Blue Sea Charger/Batteries

Your lights and refrigeration aren’t DC?
Your not charging the bank, I recommend starting the engine and running it in neutral at a high idle, maybe say 1200 RPM and letting the alternator recharge the banks some, before the charge gets too low to crank the motor.

I second calling Blue Sea

It could I believe even me a shore power fault, Unrelated to the boat.
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Old 08-07-2020, 12:46   #12
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Re: Need Help with my Blue Sea Charger/Batteries

I use regular AC lighting here at the dock. Refrigeration is runs on either with default to AC. So I'm still fully functional as far as quality of life goes, the one thing that isn't covered are the bilge/gray water pumps.

Worst case scenario, use the showers up at the office, fill jugs with fresh water from the dock and use paper plates to cut down on dishwashing. I can last until my husband comes back on Monday. But, hopefully, my neighbor can isolate the problem and suggest a fix.

Thanks everyone, it's not easy feeling like such an idiot about electricity.

oh, and I'm calling Blue Sea now....
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Old 08-07-2020, 14:14   #13
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Re: Need Help with my Blue Sea Charger/Batteries

Perhaps call/email/text husband?

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Old 08-07-2020, 14:19   #14
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Re: Need Help with my Blue Sea Charger/Batteries

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Perhaps call/email/text husband?

John
Oh he's aware of it, that's probably why he booked the flight. I am embarrassed because I'm always the one in corner ranting on about "there are no blue jobs, there are no pink jobs..." and here I am waving my hankie and saying hesitantly "OK I really hate electricity, and without it my boat will not function". Bah humbug, I'm going to go read Nigel Calder now....
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Old 08-07-2020, 14:57   #15
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Re: Need Help with my Blue Sea Charger/Batteries

The charger manual is not too helpful, but its trouble shooting maybe says the problem could be a shorted cell in one of the batteries. The way to check that is to disconnect the batteries in the bank and see if one is at a lower voltage. If so, reconnect things leaving that battery out of the bank, and things should be OK.
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