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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Battery Charging Problems
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Thread: Battery Charging Problems Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-26-2013 05:41 PM
Maine Sail
Re: Battery Charging Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by sony2000 View Post
I can live with his alternator in the 13's,but there ain't no amps in the batteries. His engine is the only charger that is working. So why get a half volt more from the alternator, when his shore charger useless?
Voltage = pressure. Low voltage = SLOW charging and batteries that will never charge fully. This leads to sulfation and an early demise of the batteries. The batteries will take piles of current with 14.4V at the battery terminal but squat for current at 13.0V to 13.1V...

We also don't know for sure that his shore charger is inoperable or if he even tested it while plugged into shore power. He hinted that he expected it to work when the alt did, which won't happen unless you are running the engine at the dock while still plugged in with the shore charger on.

He still has a serious voltage drop issue in his alt circuit and likely has the old ammeter wiring which is flat out unsafe. These old Catalina's are notorious for charging circuit issues, failing alternator brackets and a dangerous engine wiring harness that can literally melt if the issues are not addressed.
07-26-2013 01:11 PM
sony2000
Re: Battery Charging Problems

I can live with his alternator in the 13's,but there ain't no amps in the batteries. His engine is the only charger that is working. So why get a half volt more from the alternator, when his shore charger useless?
07-26-2013 11:13 AM
Maine Sail
Re: Battery Charging Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by sony2000 View Post
13.1v at battery is expected from a 13.7v alternator.


No it is NOT. Only in a HORRIBLY wired system would you expect a .6V drop....

Battery terminal voltage should closely match that of the back of the alternator. +/- 0.1 - 0.2V drop MAX....
07-26-2013 09:23 AM
sony2000
Re: Battery Charging Problems

csharp56, any luck yet?
07-25-2013 02:15 PM
hellosailor
Re: Battery Charging Problems

"I know the quickest way to check to see if my alternator is putting out the correct voltage and amps would be to take it out and bring it to be tested"

Not really. The quickest way to find that out would be to buy a $20 multimeter from the nearest store and just read the alternator voltage while it was running. If it isn't 13.8-14.4 you've got a problem. If it is, then amperage becomes secondary. Buying a clamp-on ammeter (online will be cheaper) makes that a two-minute job also, and again, nothing has to be disconnected.

This is why buying one of the classic cheap books and reasing up on charging systems is the best way to go. Even if you took the alternator out to a shop, I'd say your odds were maybe 50-50 that they'd give you an honest answer or a correct one.

Once you know how the system works, troubleshooting it is about as difficult as saying "Why doesn't my garden hose work?"
07-25-2013 01:37 PM
sony2000
Re: Battery Charging Problems

I highly suspect your only charging is from your alternator. 13.1v at battery is expected from a 13.7v alternator.
Your shore battery charger is totally inactive. Probably because one of the many fuses is burnt. If it can't sense continuity between a pos. and the neg. terminals on a battery, it shuts down. Thinking its charge may be, or will go, to a ground.
If it is connected to 3 batteries it may have 6 fuses and one going to the charger from the pos. power bar.
07-25-2013 09:19 AM
Maine Sail
Re: Battery Charging Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by csharp56 View Post
My Interstate engine battery is one month old, my WM house is 2011 and my Napa house #2 is 2010. Output reading at the alternator is 13.7v but the readings at the batteries themselves while the engine is running is 13.1v.
Your alt is working but you have severe voltage drop in your charging circuit. It will takes days not hours to charge at 13.1V. Being an older Catalina it is likely you have an ammeter in the charging circuit. You may also have the old and dangerous alternator bracket that needs an upgrade (if it is an M-25). The ammeter needs to go to the scrap heap and the alt output re-wired with MUCH larger wire. You will also want a dedicated alt ground wire run direct to the battery bank neg bus or the bank itself..

Your batteries may also be sulfated and your battery monitor incorrectly wired. What we do know is that you need to eliminate this voltage drop or nothing will get any better. This is a well known chronic problem on many Universal & Westerbeke engines..

P.S. With everything OFF you should have a 0.0A draw except for those short instances when a bilge pump kicks on......
07-25-2013 08:52 AM
csharp56
Re: Battery Charging Problems

My Interstate engine battery is one month old, my WM house is 2011 and my Napa house #2 is 2010. Output reading at the alternator is 13.7v but the readings at the batteries themselves while the engine is running is 13.1v.
07-25-2013 08:28 AM
sony2000
Re: Battery Charging Problems

Your alternator is working with an output of 13.7 volts. The engine battery is good.
The house batteries loose their charge when engine runs.
Skip the study on amperage draw, and retrace each cable.
Try this:
With engine battery charged, shore charger disconnected, and engine running, do the house batteries take a charge? (13.7v or so).
Or this:
The shore charger is suspect. Monday my friend called me over to look at his dysfunctional charging system. Turned out his shore charger had one fuse blown at a house terminal. My Volvo donated a 30 amp fuse to replace the blown 40 amp , and all worked thereafter!
07-25-2013 01:53 AM
celenoglu
Re: Battery Charging Problems

You should take your alternator out. Even to change the belt, the bolts and nuts should work. Although the problem seems to be from the batteries. They look old and need replacing.
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