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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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  #11  
Old 03-23-2011
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As others have said shutting off the key on most factory wired engines won't harm the alt. It may however shut off your electric fuel lift pump, tach, volts, oil pressure & temp. If you have an electric lift pump you may eventually run out of fuel.

Some alts are key/ignition excite and some are self excite so you may also lose charging or not..

Some battery switches come with a field disconnect terminal so this is yet another way to protect the alt from the dreaded "pass through off"...
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Old 03-24-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmeador View Post
In many boats, the engine instruments are powered by they key switch, and this includes the hour meter. If you turn the key off, the hour meter no longer runs and doesn't track how long your engine has actually been running. The opposite problem is perhaps worse (though more ethical) when you go to sell, that is you left the key on when the engine wasn't running and your engine shows way more hours than it was actually used.
Damn....I knew there would be a catch! Funny thing is, I just connected the hour meter. It was disconnected when I bought the boat and for six years I assumed it didn't work (though, the fact it was zeroed out should have been a clue) . Discovered it was disconnected one day, connected it and it works fine (of course!). Someone apparently didn't want me to know the old diesel had a zillion hours on it. Fortunately, it runs like a top and I want the hour meter for maintenance. Wonder if I could run the hour meter off the hot of one of the pressure or Temp alarms. As I indicated they have their own feed from the alternator. They supply power to the alarm when the motors running right? Would that work? Any other ideas? I've also thought about replacing the key with a on off switch inside the boat.
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  #13  
Old 03-24-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fairbank56 View Post
An engine hour meter should be powered through an oil pressure switch. Hour meters that are integral to the tach will not count with zero rpm.

Eric
Oh....Maybe this answers the question I just posted. Sounds like this might be the answer to my hour meter problem.
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Old 03-24-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
As others have said shutting off the key on most factory wired engines won't harm the alt. It may however shut off your electric fuel lift pump, tach, volts, oil pressure & temp. If you have an electric lift pump you may eventually run out of fuel.

Some alts are key/ignition excite and some are self excite so you may also lose charging or not..

Some battery switches come with a field disconnect terminal so this is yet another way to protect the alt from the dreaded "pass through off"...
The fuel pump is mechanical, charge and oil sensors have separate leads from the Alt. Have to check the Tach.
So I guess I can turn off the key, test the voltage across the battery and if I'm getting the extra volt (approximate), as I do with the key on, the Alt's still charging right?
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