Need help fixing my alternator at anchor. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 27 Old 04-06-2020 Thread Starter
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Need help fixing my alternator at anchor.

Yanmar 2gmf13.

Alternator was replaced about a year ago so it's not old. Still looks shiny and clean. It stopped pumping amps yesterday while motoring up eleuthera. For the first time in my 3mo of the Bahamas I have 48hrs of solid cloud cover and I'm not sure my freezer full of mahi is going to make it (one of my 100w solar panels died a few days ago too...).

Checked the wiring and posts, looks good. Pulled the alternator hoping I could open it up but for the life of me I can't get it open and I started worrying if I break the rotor or case and it can't be bolted back in to hold my belt on then I'd be 100% dead in the water. I removed the screws (3) that hold the case together, the case seemed to twist a bit but would not split. I thought maybe the pulley wasn't allowing it to split (but I didn't see it bottoming out) but it's not an easy job without an impact, I also wasn't sure if it was a reverse thread or not.

I reinstalled the alternator and bingo everything worked again, 22a to my house bank. Shut down the engine to make dinner in peace, fired it up again and 0amps. I thought I would feel better, plus have done this to starters, and I smacked it with a wrench while running and boom 22a back again. Before I could even text my friend it went to 1.5a then 0 again.

I think a brush is stuck or dirty. Any other ideas? Anyone split one open? It's a 35a one. Not stock but same output same bolt pattern same everything far as I can tell.

NO I can't go to auto zone and get it tested no I can't go get it rebuilt or buy a new one right now. I'm staged to leave the bahamas at anchor and the lockdowns in place won't allow me on shore and no one is answering their phones here.

I wish it wasn't another 48hr of cloud lol. My remaining solar can keep me going without issue even in partly cloudy weather but this will be day 3 of no alternator and poor weather adding up to bad things.

Pic https://ibb.co/sqnPG2S

Last edited by Guyfromthenorth; 04-06-2020 at 08:54 PM. Reason: Adding image
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post #2 of 27 Old 04-06-2020
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Re: Need help fixing my alternator at anchor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guyfromthenorth View Post
Yanmar 2gmf13.

Alternator was replaced about a year ago so it's not old. Still looks shiny and clean. It stopped pumping amps yesterday while motoring up eleuthera. For the first time in my 3mo of the Bahamas I have 48hrs of solid cloud cover and I'm not sure my freezer full of mahi is going to make it (one of my 100w solar panels died a few days ago too...).

Checked the wiring and posts, looks good. Pulled the alternator hoping I could open it up but for the life of me I can't get it open and I started worrying if I break the rotor or case and it can't be bolted back in to hold my belt on then I'd be 100% dead in the water. I removed the screws (3) that hold the case together, the case seemed to twist a bit but would not split. I thought maybe the pulley wasn't allowing it to split (but I didn't see it bottoming out) but it's not an easy job without an impact, I also wasn't sure if it was a reverse thread or not.

I reinstalled the alternator and bingo everything worked again, 22a to my house bank. Shut down the engine to make dinner in peace, fired it up again and 0amps. I thought I would feel better, plus have done this to starters, and I smacked it with a wrench while running and boom 22a back again. Before I could even text my friend it went to 1.5a then 0 again.

I think a brush is stuck or dirty. Any other ideas? Anyone split one open? It's a 35a one. Not stock but same output same bolt pattern same everything far as I can tell.

NO I can't go to auto zone and get it tested no I can't go get it rebuilt or buy a new one right now. I'm staged to leave the bahamas at anchor and the lockdowns in place won't allow me on shore and no one is answering their phones here.

I wish it wasn't another 48hr of cloud lol. My remaining solar can keep me going without issue even in partly cloudy weather but this will be day 3 of no alternator and poor weather adding up to bad things.

Pic https://ibb.co/sqnPG2S
Is it possible you have a loose connection. Ground? I’m sure you checked. Do you have a current tester on board? Do you have any air pump you could blow the brushes off without taking it apart.

I know you said you are not able to get parts, does that mean you can’t have on shipped to you. Yours is relatively cheap.

When you get things fixed and back to civilization buy another so you have a spare.

I always have a few spares on board alterntor, both water pumps , thermostat, fresh water pump. Many of them are rebuilt older parts.

Hope you find the glitch.😀


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post #3 of 27 Old 04-07-2020
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Re: Need help fixing my alternator at anchor.

Been thinking about this all night.

Can't think of an alternator fix. Check belt tension, sometimes they slip more when they warm up a bit.

Any chance you can rely on your remaining solar? Is the fish critical, or can you let it go? Georgia and South Carolina seem to be still pretty operational.

Good luck.
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post #4 of 27 Old 04-07-2020
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Re: Need help fixing my alternator at anchor.

Is it externally regulated? If so do fault testing on the regulator.

I believe that when the field is energized by for example a key ON switch the core is magnetized. Check that it's magnetized when the field has +12 volts.

Look up the online manuals for the alt and the reg.... they should have testing and trouble shooting procedures.

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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post #5 of 27 Old 04-07-2020 Thread Starter
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Re: Need help fixing my alternator at anchor.

Thanks guys, the remaining solar will hold me but after multiple days of no sun its questionable which is why I'm seeking all options.

It's not just the fish arc, food here has been incredibly hard to come by. Can't go ashore and haven't been able to in a week now due to lockdowns in the Bahamas. I managed to scavenger some food items back in the exumas and it barely fit into one of those hand carry baskets you see at grocery stores and cost me 300$ USD. Food is important right now until I hit the US (next weather window).

I have so many spares lol but no spare alternator. Dang thing was brand new and I didn't get a chance to grab a backup. No way to order and ship one here that's for sure.

I like the air compressor idea, I'll give it a go. Definitely checked all wires all grounds all fuses belts bearings you name it. Definitely a fouled brush inside. The one lucky thing i suppose is that with the clouds the temp dropped substantially so we don't need fans and the reefer is working not nearly as hard. It's all part of the adventure isn't it lol

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Re: Need help fixing my alternator at anchor.

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Originally Posted by Guyfromthenorth View Post
Thanks guys, the remaining solar will hold me but after multiple days of no sun its questionable which is why I'm seeking all options.

It's not just the fish arc, food here has been incredibly hard to come by. Can't go ashore and haven't been able to in a week now due to lockdowns in the Bahamas. I managed to scavenger some food items back in the exumas and it barely fit into one of those hand carry baskets you see at grocery stores and cost me 300$ USD. Food is important right now until I hit the US (next weather window).

I have so many spares lol but no spare alternator. Dang thing was brand new and I didn't get a chance to grab a backup. No way to order and ship one here that's for sure.

I like the air compressor idea, I'll give it a go. Definitely checked all wires all grounds all fuses belts bearings you name it. Definitely a fouled brush inside. The one lucky thing i suppose is that with the clouds the temp dropped substantially so we don't need fans and the reefer is working not nearly as hard. It's all part of the adventure isn't it lol
Another thought: you said one of your 100W solar panels failed. Except if you stepped on it or it was smashed in some other way, the only way I can think of a solar panel failing abruptly is a bad connection. Might be worth to check out, it could be easier to get working again than an alternator that you can't into, with the ultimate risk of becoming engineless if you mess up the mechanics too much.
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post #7 of 27 Old 04-07-2020 Thread Starter
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Re: Need help fixing my alternator at anchor.

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Originally Posted by MastUndSchotbruch View Post
Another thought: you said one of your 100W solar panels failed. Except if you stepped on it or it was smashed in some other way, the only way I can think of a solar panel failing abruptly is a bad connection. Might be worth to check out, it could be easier to get working again than an alternator that you can't into, with the ultimate risk of becoming engineless if you mess up the mechanics too much.
One of our buddy boats is basically an electrical engineer. We went over the panel with a fine toothed comb and can only figure somewhere inside the cells has delaminated and failed. Its a King Solar flexible panel. Doesn't get walked on and is virtually flat on a white surface. It's pretty much in a perfect spot and was working since October. Tested the connections and also opened up its box and tested directly off the panel and never see more than 7v in direct sunlight. She's a goner and I can't seem to get in touch with the seller. 175$ down the tube.

Some youtube videos, nothing fancy


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Re: Need help fixing my alternator at anchor.

Did you remove the protective film from the panel
If not, it oxidizes
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post #9 of 27 Old 04-07-2020 Thread Starter
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Re: Need help fixing my alternator at anchor.

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Did you remove the protective film from the panel
If not, it oxidizes
No film on these ones. They have some special UV resistant dimpled surface the company bragged about. Maybe the dimples work maybe they don't, I did learn cleaning bird crap out of them is not a good time.

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Last edited by Guyfromthenorth; 04-07-2020 at 10:11 AM. Reason: AutoINcorrect corrections
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Re: Need help fixing my alternator at anchor.

The offending panel

https://ibb.co/x286kR5

Some youtube videos, nothing fancy


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