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  #1  
Old 07-31-2010
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Post Inverter issue (maybe alternator based)

Hi guys

I have a Cal 28' 1966 "The Pelican" sailboat moored in Seattle WA. I have been a live aboard for around a year now. (cheap rent) in Seattle anyways lol

I'm not a engine head at all, and not great with electric, computers are my specialized field so bare with me on the explanation please. I'll do my best

OK here goes:


I have been running a SPT Refrigerator on the Dock whilst being powered by the on shore power.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sunpentown...erator/5982314


I am using the boat more frequently this year, so I went out and purchased a 1000W (2500W peak) Inverter so my fridge can be used out on the water.

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...classNum=11284

Whilst i'm plugged into the shore power, if I connect the fridge to my inverter and power it on, it starts no problems at all...

If i'm not connected to shore power and engine is running, when I plug in the inverter, the inverter beeps tell tell me (low volts) and will not power the fridge...

So I checked my on-board Volt meter, and when i'm connected to shore power it reads at around 13.6 (analogue sorry) volts.

When i'm not connected to shore power and just running on engine at around 1000 rpm my volt meter is showing around 12 volts...


When I spoke to the inverter manufacturer tech, he said that the inverter needed max volts to start heavy things like the fridge, and the beep was a low volt warning, and thats why it was not starting...



A little about my setup:

I have a 12 volt starter battery, and 2 6volt deep cycle golf cart battery's in serial for the house batteries, on a 1, 2, 1+2, off switch. And then I have a Dual battery charger pro from guest to charge those batteries from shore power.

http://www.marinco.com/product/10-am...rgepro-charger

And my engine alternator to charge whilst running...



OK so my questions and queries:

How to I get my volts up when only running the engine so my inverter will power my fridge?

I've read about people having lots of batteries and such, if this needed?

Is my alternator working properly? How can I check?

I heard about people having different size alternators, How can I check what size mine is?

How much give should be in the Alternators belt?, mine seems tight but can push it in a little bit... I heard about these:

Indigo Electronics Atomic 4 Belt Tensioning Device

Maybe I could use one to tighten mine, but it looks like my Alternator is on upside down or something lol, sorry i'm know absolutely nothing about engines...

Anyways, that should do for now, Any Input and suggestions would be great, and thank you for any help or info provided. If you need more info just ask.

Thanks


Dave
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Old 07-31-2010
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It's possible that your inverter is connected to one bank (probably your house bank) and while your motor is running, the alternator is connected (charging) your starter bank. If you have your battery switch set on either 1 or 2, the alternator is probably only charging that particular battery. You could try setting your battery switch to "both" and see if that gets your voltage up.
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Last edited by erps; 07-31-2010 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 07-31-2010
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Your alternator may not be working or hooked up properly. A fully charged 12 v battery should measure 12.6+V, a battery at 50% will read 12 volts and you should not use it much below that. Charging voltage will be over 13V, even as high as 15V with some chargers.

How heavy and how long are your wires from battery to inverter? You need heavy wires to carry that much current, heaver the longer the wires are.

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erps:

My battery switch is set to 1 + 2..


Gene T:

I'm using the wires that came with the inverter maybe 2-3 foot in length max, and they say AWM 105°C, 600V on them...

I'd think they'd be ok, since they came with it, but no idea...


Thanks guys

Any other info?
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Old 07-31-2010
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What's the voltage at the alternator when the motor is running? Should be around 14 volts if it's charging.

For what it's worth, my 12 volt fridge draws around 5 amps when it's running. 5 amps x 12 volts = 60 watts. Your 1000 watt inverter should have no problem running your fridge. Your alternator should have no problem putting out 5 amps.

What kind of engine do you have? Is it an inboard or an outboard? Some of the little outboard alternators don't put out much juice.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erps View Post
What's the voltage at the alternator when the motor is running? Should be around 14 volts if it's charging.

For what it's worth, my 12 volt fridge draws around 5 amps when it's running. 5 amps x 12 volts = 60 watts. Your 1000 watt inverter should have no problem running your fridge. Your alternator should have no problem putting out 5 amps.

What kind of engine do you have? Is it an inboard or an outboard? Some of the little outboard alternators don't put out much juice.

My fridge is a 150W fridge, i have been told its need x4 of that to kick in the compression pump so thats 600W, , hence i bought a 1000W inverter. My multimeter is not with me, should have one by Monday again.

Not sure what part of the alternator to touch tho, I know absolutely noting about engines...


*edit*

Oh and sorry my Engine is a rebuilt Atomic 4
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as was pointed out to me,an inverter is about 25 % less efficient than your 12 volt batteries directly,and unless you have a monster of an alternator it will suck your batteries down in no time,sailors in small boats are dammed to warm beer and no aircon
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Originally Posted by sawingknots View Post
as was pointed out to me,an inverter is about 25 % less efficient than your 12 volt batteries directly,and unless you have a monster of an alternator it will suck your batteries down in no time,sailors in small boats are dammed to warm beer and no aircon
Sadface

I've heard of it being done before, and inverter works fine when it gets full volts to it, must be a way of making the engine be strong enough, thanks for your info tho
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Old 07-31-2010
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To check the alternator you put positive on B+ which is usually the heaviest wire attached to an alternator. It will go to either the common output on the 1/2/both/off switch or to the starter solenoid. If you have a problem with this measure the batteries individually when the engine is running.

The 600 watts AC your fridge needs to start is about a 60 amp draw from your batteries and the 150 watts when running is about 15 amps from your batteries, plus a bit for inefficiency.
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Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
To check the alternator you put positive on B+ which is usually the heaviest wire attached to an alternator. It will go to either the common output on the 1/2/both/off switch or to the starter solenoid. If you have a problem with this measure the batteries individually when the engine is running.

The 600 watts AC your fridge needs to start is about a 60 amp draw from your batteries and the 150 watts when running is about 15 amps from your batteries, plus a bit for inefficiency.
Thanks very much for this info

Where do i put the negative on the alternator, or do I use the engine ground?

Is the 60amp draw alot? I don't know much about amps and volts and such.

Thanks.

Should have one by Monday, will post results then, any more info is appreciated.
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