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-   -   Good god... I'm losing it. Battery switches?? (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f14/good-god-im-losing-it-battery-switches-3426.html)

ssullivan 11-03-2006 10:13

Good god... I'm losing it. Battery switches??
 
Yet another electrical question. Sorry.....


I have two of those large, round switches that allow you to select 1, 2, or all batteries. You know... they say on them not to turn to off when the engine is running? (to avoid damage to the diodes/alternator)

One of the round switches is for the house bank. The other is for the starting battery. Would it be acceptable to have the house bank in the "off" position while I start and run the engine? I would have the starting battery in the "on" position during the entire exercise.

I ask because I'm working on my starter issue (bendix doesn't engage flywheel) and I need to isolate the starting battery system from the house system.

Seems whenever I bring the old, crappy Interstate house batteries into the circuit, they drag the voltage on my starting battery down to 13.2V, which I think is what's causing my starter problem (not enough power getting to starter).

So can I run the engine with only one of my battery switches in the "on" position?

Jon D 11-03-2006 11:29

Sean

Without a wiring diagram I can't say for sure but you should be able to. In effect you have the alternator pointed at the starter bank only. That should not be an issue. The big caution is not to switch while running as that can potentially cause an issue with the alternator.

ssullivan 11-03-2006 13:03

Thanks, Jon. That is what I suspected, but somehow... due to very little rest... I'm losing it! :)

Could not recall if the alternator somehow needed to see 2 banks on it, or if just the starting battery was sufficient.

Thanks!

Rick 11-03-2006 14:28

Separating the myth from facts
 
Sean,
Internally regulated alternators ALL have built-in "load-dump" transient protection which absorbs the energy stored in the alternator stator winding (as well as the energy transformer coupled from the field winding). By the time that the "load dump" caused by opening all of the alternator load (inadvertently or advertently) is absorbed by the protection device the internal regulator has time to cut down the field winding current and no damage occurs either to the alternator diodes or other components designed to tolerate load dump transients.

Externally regulated alternators, however, need external load dump transient protection (called Zap-Stop devices sold by Ample Power, Cruising Equipment (now owned by Xantrex) and THEY need to be slo-blow fuse protected with blown-fuse indicators. This alone is insufficient protection for more than several hundred milliseconds before the field winding must be disconnected else damage will occur to some circuit elements.

For that reason I recommend that externally regulated alternators which, in general, have a voltage sense line connected to a specific battery, never be wired so that the alternator output can be disconnected from the battery with the voltage sense wire. In addition, ALL alternators are, by their very nature, current limited and, therefore, do not ever need fuses directly on their outputs as long as the output wire size is sufficiently rated to carry maximum current (why would anyone do otherwise?).

At the battery end of the wire one could argue that a fuse is needed and, in that case, I recommend that a single diode rated to carry maximum alternator current be placed in parallel with that fuse so under all conditions your electrical system is protected from damage (also with a blown fuse indicator). This is often overlooked.

Using battery disconnect switches with field disconnect switching is not ultimately reliable as a solution to prevent damage to the alternator output diodes.

capt lar 11-03-2006 14:35

Hey Sean - you guys need a day off and a dinner out. You have been hard at it for months. Remind your wife that this is not sailing - this is a major construction project.
Usually a "Guest" type switch would be used with position 1 for one bank and position 2 for the second bank. Unusual that you have 2 separate switches, each with the ability to control 2 banks (plus "all" and "off"). My point is you seem to have the capability for 4 banks. Some boats have separate bank for windlass and some for another major 12V appliance like refrigeration. You might want to run down those feeds to figure out if some other equipment is isolated. i would also be curious to understand how those two swiches are interconnected, if they are. This may lead you toward your initial problem.
My boat has a weird set-up. The previous owner could not remember to put switch to "all" so he never charged his house bank. He changed, at considerable expense, to a single bank system with 3 separate switches (house, engine and parallel) so the alternator always charges all 3 batteries (one bank) but the switches control which batteries are feeding to the main panel.
As to your question, if there is juice to the starter, you are good to go. I think size of alternator and output and if there is a regulator would determine if you could overcharge one bank, but this is a dark hole for me as well.

Larry

Jon D 11-03-2006 14:49

Sean

One other thought came to me when I was at my boat. You might consider changing your wiring a hair.

Set it up so the starter draws directly off battery bank 1[start bank]. Buy an Echo charge or equivalent and install across the back of the switch as instruction say. Set the selector so alternator is seeing bank 2[house bank]. This will allow the alternator to charge the depleted house bank according to its needs and the echo charge will top off the start battery. This should solve your 1/2/both issue and allow for better charging...

FWIW

capt lar 11-03-2006 15:03

Jon - Do you have any idea why he would have 2 Perko or Guest battery switches, each with two bank positions, with only 2 banks of batteries ?

Larry

ssullivan 11-03-2006 15:42

I'll elaborate on the dual switches:
 
For the sake of where the thread is headed, I want to take the time to elaborate on the 2 switches:

They are twin Perko switches, sitting side by side. One switch is solely for the starting battery. The other switch is for a house bank that currently consists of two junky Interstate batteries. (got the Trojans to replace just the other day)

So... I wanted to just turn the starter battery on by itself to see if I could isolate some things as the pertain to my starter problem. (Starter motor spins, but does not engage flywheel)

I tried starting the engine with just the starter battery switch on (and the house bank off). Well... I couldn't have blown anything since the enging never started! :) :)

Just a big whirr as the starter motor spun up and didn't engage the flywheel.

I carefully measured voltages at the starting battery, at the solenoid, ignition, and starter posts. All measured the same voltage (13.8) so I have no voltage drop (dirty connections) between the batt and the starter. At least one thing is ruled out.

Next, I'm in the process of pulling the starter to try and lube up the Bendix, as has been suggested to me as a possible solution.

Someday... we'll be sailing. :) Just as Larry says... we desperately need a day off. We plan to keep on pushing through until May, then maybe have a couple weeks off before the summer season starts. To those thinking about chartering as something to do in retirement: FORGET IT! Unless you want to work full time. :)

capt lar 11-03-2006 16:00

Gotcha Sean - I misunderstood the configuration.
Larry

CaptainK 11-03-2006 17:43

Hey Sean.

I know you hell bent on getting that boat of yours "up-n-ready" for sailing season.

But, dude!! I really think you need a day or two off. I have seen people in the past, make mistakes. And even make their work harder on themselves. Due to not getting enough rest!! I have even done that, to myself in the past!!

You still have plenty of time on your hands to finish the remainder of your boat tasks til next season.

How much more work do you really have. Til "you" consider it all complete?

GordMay 11-03-2006 17:46

Simle answer:
House Battery 'Off' & Start Battery 'On' - NO possible damage to alternator.

ssullivan 12-03-2006 08:36

Captain K.... you know... you are totally right!

I think we'll give ourselves an extra month to get all the other "details" finished. You make a good point about making mistakes as fatigue sets in.

What's really misleading is that I keep thinking that this boat is like my old 30 footer. Just spend a couple weeks, and you can re-fit everything. Not the case anymore. Plus... everything is to a much higher standard for charter.

Thanks for the input. I'm taking it to heart and saying "screw it!" We'll get the basics done for our early season (April) charter that's booked, then work on the boat some more during april to be ready for May. We are already book up for May. Wow!






Quote:

CaptainK once whispered in the wind:
Hey Sean.

I know you hell bent on getting that boat of yours "up-n-ready" for sailing season.

But, dude!! I really think you need a day or two off. I have seen people in the past, make mistakes. And even make their work harder on themselves. Due to not getting enough rest!! I have even done that, to myself in the past!!

You still have plenty of time on your hands to finish the remainder of your boat tasks til next season.

How much more work do you really have. Til "you" consider it all complete?


CaptainK 12-03-2006 08:40

No problem Sean.

Just looking after my fellow yachtsmen. That's all!!

Besides, you're not 20-something anymore. Just thought I'd give you a reality check!!:D

Also, you and you're lovely wife needs to spend some quality time out on the town. Go watch a movie. Or if ya into sports. Go catch a game. And see who's playing. If there are any bars, with any live music. Go out and hang out there. Relax!!:cheers:

CaptainK 12-03-2006 08:49

Oh yeah Sean.

Congratulations on having your first two months booked!!

You never did tell me how much more work you got left on your boat?

ssullivan 12-03-2006 10:07

I'm not sure how much we have left.... ha ha ha

It's hard to tell. Now that you have the new boat, you know what I mean. There's a list of things you "must do" to be seaworthy. There's a list of things you "want to do" to make it more comfortable, and then there's a list of "gee... it's be nice to have" things.

Here are my lists:

Seaworthy:

1) Get the starter working
2) Get genset/chargers/Trojan batts all running
3) Bolt in u-bolts to dinghy/dink so it can be lifted higher out of the water on the davits
4) Put sails back up - they are down for winter
5) Check anchors, etc...
6) Engine tune up
7) Get mast boot ordered / installed
8) Get Johnson 9.9 cooling pump kit and fix that

Must do for Charter:

1) Finish up master head/ceiling in there
2) Install new cabin sole
3) Install lighting in cockpit
4) Wax topsides/deck/etc...spring work
5) Bottom paint (could go in the seaworthy list, but could be put off until after April charter)
6) Install new refrigeration
7) Re-bed ports that run along salon/galley - they were done by an amateur last time - silicon everywhere!


Nice to do:

Well.... this list could go on forever... ha ha ha

That's where I'm at. Since there is only one early charter in April, I plan to squeak by without getting 100% of this stuff done. Then, using your advice... I'll take the rest of April to do this stuff. May is booked with chaters, and we'll be ready to go. I had been trying to get all this done by April 1st. Looks like no way that would happen.

CaptainK 12-03-2006 10:16

Yeah.

Just like with Kai Nui. He has pushed his launching date for his trimaran, (Kai Nui 3). He's still at the sanding and fairing stage.

So I know where you guys are coming from!!

CaptainK 12-03-2006 10:38

My List!!
 
To get Panga seaworthy:

#1. Demast mast. Remove masthead. Remove sheeves, and replace with new ones.
#2. I have a couple of stanchion mounting holes, that are oversized. I have to put in epoxy in the holes. Let them harden. And redrill holes. And mount all the stanchion poles.
#3. Run the stanchion wire cables through their holes. Mounting them.
#4. Get a outboard. I have no inboard engine.
#5. Get dock lines for boat. And prepare them at apporiate locations.
#6. Get batteries for boat.
#7. Connect and hook up VHF radio.
#8. Connect my multimeter. Depthfinder/Knotmeter device. All in one electronic device.
#9. Check anchor. And rig line to anchor chain.
#10. Hookup gas containers to the outboard. And setup and fasten down to their spot.
#11. Connect toilet and related plumbing to holding tank. And install front wall with door. To the bulkhead.
#12. Install new bulbs into the overhead cabin lights. And put covers back on them.
#13. Clean and setup propane stove. Hookup propane tank. Test the system.
#14. Install hard water tank. Remove bladder water tank.
#15. Test battery charger. Making sure that it's hooked up to the system properly.
#16. Rig bimmini (dodger) over the cockpit area.
#17. Install stern rail. (My boat does not have original stern rail. Does not even have one..Period!!
#18. Install fire extingushers.
#19. Replace running rigging.


Later projects:

#1. Repair worn down areas on top of cabin nad deck. Using epoxy as the main material.
#2. Paint the cabin and deck areas with White gelcoat paint.
#3. Remount seat/cover for lazerettes in cockpit. One of them is loose. Hinge is not mounted to cockpit bulkhead seating area.
#4. Replace misc. hardware in cockpit.
#5. Paint cockpit with white gelcoat paint. Continuation from earlier paint job.
#6. Sand down all teak wood, at the entrance way to cabin.
#7. Build new drawers for settees and other areas with drawers.
#8. Build new shelves and stoarge bins for the portside bulkhead. Forward of the galley area.
#9. Remodel navigation area. Add shelves, drawers and lighting there.
#10. Install fire suppression system for entire boat.

Alan Wheeler 12-03-2006 12:18

To the Starter issue Sean. There are two types of starters. A soliniod engaging one and a bendix engaging one. The solinoid is easy to spot. It is a little unit mounted on top of the main starter motor. Ensure this is being thrown out. It will go clunk when you apply 12V to it.
The other is Bendix and is what I imagine the most likely. The starter uses resistance to momentum to throw a gear along a spiral shaft. The shaft needs to be greased. Use grease sparingly. Or it will casue the gear to not shoot along the shaft fast enough. No, it should not be a battery voltage issue. 13V is waaay high enough as long as the internals of the starter are Ok.
When you pull the starter apart, you will most likely find it corroded inside. Pull it apart and give it a good clean with a wire buff wheel and then lightly lubricate.
Give me a yell if yoiu need to know how to pull the internals apart.
CUATION:, try not to pull the armature out of the case unless you have to. It is always a pain in the neck to get it back into the brushes.
Also, check all bearings when it is apart. They can casue the starter to not turn over fast enough and stop the gear from engaging. They will most likely be brass bushes and they wear. There should be very little slop in the shaft.

ssullivan 12-03-2006 12:21

Whew!!! I got tired again just reading your list. :)

You have some pretty good sized projects ahead of you too. So will you be able to have some time off of work to do them, or do you have to do them on nights and weekends?

CaptainK 12-03-2006 12:29

It'll be nights and looonnnggg weekends, Sean.

This will start around late August or Early September of this year.

After I move out of Phoenix, Arizona. I will be temporarly be in Moss Landing, California. Home base of Kai Nui. And fix her up while I'm there.

After that I'm moving the boat under power and by sail to the "Delta" region of northern California. Near Stockton, California.

That will be my homeport.

ssullivan 12-03-2006 17:23

Wheels... very kind of you to come in on this thread with advice on the starter problem. I am quite thankful. This is one task I feel I'm really pushing my limits with... but I need to know how to fix it, so I must blaze on! :)

My starter is new as of 1 month prior to my taking delivery. It was always flaky... it would often not engage the flywheel on the first push of the start button. Now... it was worsened. (The starter was installed less than 1 year ago.. and it's brand new.. Still very clean)

I think it might be the solenoid type because it consists of a large cylinder where the motor is located, and a smaller cylinder atop that where the power comes in. The larger cylinder clearly has the part that protrudes into the engine to reach the flywheel. Based on what you said... I think this is a solenoid type.

I'm having trouble recalling if there is a "click" before the whirr of the starter spinning without flywheel contact. There used to be. I think possibly there is no click anymore. I'm going to finish taking it out tomorrow (took the day off today - kind of) and see what things look like inside. I definitely do not plan to disassemble the whole thing right off. I'll observe it a little bit and possibly take it to a shop for testing.

Thanks for the offer of help. Since we're in the "Power Equipment & Electricity" section... lord knows I'll need it! ha ha ha


Quote:

Alan Wheeler once whispered in the wind:
To the Starter issue Sean. There are two types of starters. A soliniod engaging one and a bendix engaging one. The solinoid is easy to spot. It is a little unit mounted on top of the main starter motor. Ensure this is being thrown out. It will go clunk when you apply 12V to it.
The other is Bendix and is what I imagine the most likely. The starter uses resistance to momentum to throw a gear along a spiral shaft. The shaft needs to be greased. Use grease sparingly. Or it will casue the gear to not shoot along the shaft fast enough. No, it should not be a battery voltage issue. 13V is waaay high enough as long as the internals of the starter are Ok.
When you pull the starter apart, you will most likely find it corroded inside. Pull it apart and give it a good clean with a wire buff wheel and then lightly lubricate.
Give me a yell if yoiu need to know how to pull the internals apart.
CUATION:, try not to pull the armature out of the case unless you have to. It is always a pain in the neck to get it back into the brushes.
Also, check all bearings when it is apart. They can casue the starter to not turn over fast enough and stop the gear from engaging. They will most likely be brass bushes and they wear. There should be very little slop in the shaft.


Kai Nui 12-03-2006 17:50

Sean, First, no apologys. Your threads have contributed a tremendous amout to this forum.
As for the starter, you have a GM style as opposed to a Ford type (to simplify). The selenoid mounted on the starter is likely the culprit. These are notorious for failing even on a rebuilt starter. If I recall, you have a Perkins? Perkins uses the attached selenoid.
The selonoid is an electromagnet that pushes the bendix gear out to meet the flywheel. There is a secondary circuit that simaltaneously applies high amperage current to the starter motor. If this is not working properly, the starter will spin, but not engage the flywheel. The selenoid is available as a seperate unit, and is not very expensive. Having a spare is not a bad idea, so you may want to replace it, and see if it solves the problem (simple procedure). If not, you have a spare. 13.2v is, as Wheels noted, plenty of voltage to start the engine.
FWIW, the tri will be Kai Nui, not Kai Nui 3. Recent change, as the original Kai Nui has met her end.

ssullivan 12-03-2006 19:12

Wow, Kai Nui!

You really know your starters. You are correct. the starter actually has the words AC Delco etched into the side. GM all the way.

I'll look into the solenoid tommorrow and grease up that Bendix too, since that won't hurt.

I'll have to find a place around here to get the solenoid. I'm pretty happy to hear they aren't expensive. This re-fit is really over budget for us!


Thanks for the insight!

Kai Nui 12-03-2006 19:37

It sounds like you have good access, so you are fortunate. The only true downside I have found to the Challenger is engine access. Topend is no problem, but I also have a failed selenoid, and the only way to access it is to pull the engine. A project for another day:( A little light grease on the shaft is a good idea, but do not over do it. too much can slow down the return, causing the starter to hang.

ssullivan 13-03-2006 05:55

And to think I was complaining about my engine accesss. I suppose it is pretty good compared to having to pull the engine. I have to go in through a 1' x 1' square opening that is used both to access the oil filter and this area of the engine. The access panel is located on the port side in the master stateroom's shower. Picture a marine shower, then put a small hole in the very bottom of one of the walls. Now cram in there and try to reach through to the engine, a good foot inside this access panel.

It has actually taken me hours to remove 2 bolts. I'm on the third now, but you have to hold your body up on your elbows through the 1' x 1' opening and then use your wrists alone to spin wrenches.

Ahhhhh boats. So much fun. So when does the sailing start?? :)

I'll post a little follow up today when I find out what's going on with the starter.

Alan Wheeler 13-03-2006 12:01

Sean, PRACTICE!! Go buya jap car and practice by removing a component and replacing it. As you increase your skills, try a component deeper down in the mess. I swear that Japs don't build cars. They grow them from seed. Cause there is no human way to get at anything.;) :D

markpj23 13-03-2006 12:51

Hmmm... tough access to engine room .... that reminds me..

Maybe the biggest mistake I made in my life was that I never married that Navy Engineman I was dating in Guam. She was 5'4", loved to party and was a top-notch diesel mechanic. She was flexible enough to stuff in a bilge too..

If only I could have gotten used to kissing someone who smelled like diesel fuel....

Oh the stupid mistakes we make in life....
:D

:cheers:

ssullivan 13-03-2006 13:18

Ha ha ha...

Good input Mark. :)

I have the starter out, and I hooked it up to a 12V source. It turns out that the Benix is shot. The solenoid is ok, but there is a little spring and some kind of assembly that uses centrifugal force to engage the starter gear to the starter motor. This is not happening. It's just freewheeling, even though it is indeed in contact with the flywheel.

RATS... the more expensive repair. UGH

Kai Nui 13-03-2006 20:16

Not sure if I read you right, but the bendix is no big deal. It either has a circlip or a shear pin holding the gear on. A spring behind the gear. Pul it apart, and see if the problem is obvious. You should be able to buy a new spring, and/or gear as needed. Do not reuse the circlip or shear pin. If the probem is in the linkage, this too can be purchased. Simple to change. Worst case, save the pile of parts, and take it to the local starter rebuild place and say fix this. It shouldn't cost any more, and you increase your odds of a cheap fix, as well as you knowlege of how it works for future reference. Back in the day, when I was allot more flexible and allot thinner, I could get into places to fix anything, but these days, I would rather just pull the engine, and have easy access:D
As for diesel breath, it is a prerequesit! Won't marry a woman that won't siphon diesel:D

ssullivan 14-03-2006 07:04

Thanks, Kai Nui.

I was going to do as you suggested, but there is a severe difficulty finding things on Long Island. Nobody knows where to get parts... but there was a guy that had them 20 years ago. He retired yesterday... blah blah blah.....

It's plagued me through this entire re-fit.

So I have bring it to a re-build place since they will at least have the parts. Next time, I'll do it myself.

ssullivan 14-03-2006 13:28

Sweet! Turns out the place I went to to have the work done on the starter had the parts. For $40 I picked up a more heavy-duty Bendix (starter gear), took apart the starter, and installed.

Already done!

Time to spend a while getting it attached back to the engine..

CaptainK 14-03-2006 13:54

Yeah Sean.

After gettting that back together. You and your wife should take some time off. And have a few drinks to celebrate? :cheers:

ssullivan 14-03-2006 17:10

Captain K.... Thanks for the concern! :)

I'll return the favor when I see you working days at a job and nights and weekends on your new vessel. ha ha ;) It becomes a bit addictive!

We did take off Sunday and Monday this week. I guess I took the starter out on one of those days, but we really did relax a lot on both of those days.

I'm ready to kick some butt now and get things finished up.

CaptainK 14-03-2006 17:24

Well Sean.

You sound more chipper lately!! That's very good!!:)

Yeah before you know it. You'll be looking back at this. And you'll be tending to your customers soon enough.:cheers:

My projects won't be that big of a problem. And I don't have a time schedule. With the exception of at the begining there. When dealing with the stachions, getting the outboard mounted.

Other than that. It's just after work and weekend projects!!:D

ssullivan 15-03-2006 11:04

As a follow up... the starter went back in this AM and now it sounds like a diesel car or truck... PERFECT. Started up normally for the first time since I've owned this boat.

On a side note: When I took the old starter gear (Bendix) out of the starter, like 50 little pieces and a spring all fell out. They were all broken and loose. Apparently, the people who did the starter install cheaped out on the Bendix and put in a car-type one. Also, they cheaped out on everything, since I found the hardware from the old starter in the engine room strewn about where the new starter is.

Yet another instance for me of: "Never let a yard touch your boat." I've literally never seen one do a good job in all my years.

Alan Wheeler 15-03-2006 11:49

And doesn't it feel awesome that it was YOU!!! that did it.

CaptainK 15-03-2006 12:43

Here's a big cheers for Sean. Hip hip Hooray!!!:jump: :D :cheers:

ssullivan 15-03-2006 15:22

You're absolutely right, Wheels. I do like doing everything myself on the boat. I just got lucky finding the parts.

There's a peace of mind you get when you know your boat from bow pulpit to swim ladder. If any problems arise, you can take care of them, or at least jury rig a way home. :)


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