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Charging Blues - or lack there of

PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 7:29 pm
by dfansler
I have a complete Ample Power charging system on my sailboat Annabelle - the complete schematic can be seen at

I last used the boat in April, and was leaving for a trip with my Mother and niece last Wednesday - until I tried to start the engine to back out of the slip and nothing happened. After making a few checks, I discovered that my two house batteries (a pair of 4D AGM running in parallel) and the starting battery (a group 27) were all dead. In addition, the 4D's were running at 116 degree F.

I talked with the dealer I purchased the system through, and he confirmed that if one battery had died, it would take all of them down due to overcharging. I ordered a pair of new 4D AGM from the local West Marine and went to install them today. Piece of cake, drop two 130 lb batteries 6 feet from the deck to the sole and toss two old 130 lb batteries 6 feet from the sole to the deck and overboard - no I did not - they went back to WM for core charges. The new group 27 was also installed.

I thought that was the end of the story, but then the B1 Low Voltage alarm on the EMON II kept going off. Seems there is a problem with the wire from the batteries to the EMON II, so I installed a temporary wire until I can get back tomorrow to check the crimp ring connectors on the wire for corrosion.

The story still is not over - the output from the PCS45-12 is only about 13.3v with the control plug removed - 12.2v with the control plug installed. With the control plug removed, I can never get a positive reading on the amps on B1, but I can get close to 0A (-.6A). Put the plug in and the amps will jump to what ever I am running at the moment - no help from the PCS45-12.

I fired up my Genie-150 and the amps on B1 jumped to +55. I have not tried the main engine alternator, but will do so tomorrow.

It appears to me that my PCS45-12 is on the blink - any other tests I can perform to verify this?

Re: Charging Blues - or lack there of

PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 6:30 pm
by dfansler
After a restful night at home, I came back to the boat today and found the problem in less than 5 minutes. I noticed that the SCM error light was blinking and the code was no battery voltage. It seems the wire I had replaced thinking it was going to the EMON II was actually going to the SCM battery sense. Hooking that back up the charger, with the plug in immediately jumped to 45 amps. The low voltage to the EMON II was a corroded fuse. After a few hours I was charging at .2A


Re: Charging Blues - or lack there of

PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:59 pm
by Coulomb
Good troubleshooting. Most problems are mechanical in nature - loose wires, corroded connections, bad contacts, etc. Many of these problems can be found with nothing more than sharp eyes.
Some can only be found with a voltmeter and ammeter. Every cruiser should have them in the tool box and know how to use them.