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ESP failure; SAR V2 failure

PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:44 am
by robedl

Ample Power Support

Dear Sirs:

I recently bought a sailboat with a sophisticated 24/12 volt electrical system (shore power, genset, dual alternators, solar, wind generator, 3 battery banks). The house bank is charged (separately) by one hi amp alternator regulated by a 24 V SAR V2 when under power but of course shore power, genset, solar, and wind can charge as well. An ESP unit monitors everything. The ESP is also set to control the SAR, though this function has always been switched off, allowing the SAR to control itself. All was professionally installed about 14 years ago and upgraded somewhere around 2002. It is a beautiful installation and everything has worked flawlessly for for all this time.

It also worked flawlessly for a couple of months after I bought the boat. Unfortunately, during a recent trip, the batteries went into a high temperature charging fugue ("voltage runaway") and failed. After hours of work with the volt meter, it is now clear that these batteries had been chronically undercharged for some years and sulfated/failed early. At the point of failure, the SAR controlled alternator was producing very high amperage, trying to charge the batts, which would not hold the charge.

Now, having replaced the batteries, after testing, the alternator works fine when a field current is artificially induced (per SAR manual). But the SAR gives a continuous green light and refuses to function. Terminals TB1-2, TB1-7, and TB1-8 show 26.4 V with respect to ground (TB1-6). The field output terminal TB2-10 reads about 6 V under all conditions and I presume this is the abnormal circuit. Supposedly, the SAR is dead.

In troubleshooting the above, I disconnected P1 and P2 from the ESP in order to get to its terminal board. After reconnecting, the screen shows a "0." on the left and a "?" on the right side of the screen. Nothing I can do with the buttons can make it function. There is nothing in the manual that describes this condition. Possibly the Li ion battery inside is dead? Also note that a few weeks before this, the V1 reading for house bank stopped functioning. All other ESP functions worked perfectly and the sensing wire showed 26.4 V all the way to the ESP terminal board (I disconnected P1 and P2 then with no issues). No fuses or wire connections are broken or corroded.

I REALLY don't want to tear all of this out and replace it with a new system. Solar and wind as well as shunts for various other amp measurements are meticulously installed and the wiring monitors nearly everything in the boat (even 2 refrigerators). It would be a massive task. So I have some questions.

1) Can you repair the SAR V2?
2) If not, how difficult will it be to rewire for the V3? Are there common and similar connections?
3) Can you repair the ESP? Or is there a way to get it back on line? The only thing that happened to it is that P1 and P2 were disconnected for an hour or so. Nothing else was touched.

I don't mind paying for the repairs, if they are possible.


Re: ESP failure; SAR V2 failure

PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:40 pm
by Coulomb
The Li-ion battery is dead and lost the menu system when power was removed. It cannot be repaired. The technology of 1990 is several generations obsolete.

The SARV3 is much improved over the V2. You already have the wires in place to connect up the V3., so it's any easy upgrade.

Contact Ruth to get a trade-in discount on a V3

Re: ESP failure; SAR V2 failure

PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:56 pm
by robedl

Re: ESP failure; SAR V2 failure

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:22 am
by robedl
Another quick question. Do you anticipate having a replacement for the ESP monitor? If so, when (roughly) may it be available?

Re: ESP failure; SAR V2 failure

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:19 am
by Coulomb
There is work being done, but no schedule yet.