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Old 07-17-2010, 08:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Battery Charger Question

My husband and I recently sea trialed an Azimut 42. The generator was started while underway and the alternator lights and alarms were going off the entire time we were out on the boat. Consequently, none of the gages worked.

The Captain/Broker and the Surveyor both contend that with an Azimut you must turn the battery charger off while underway with the generator running. Could any Azimut owners confirm this for us? Thanks for any advice on this subject.
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Old 07-17-2010, 08:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No, I have run a lot of azimuts and have never heard of such a thing. However, on all of the azimuts I have run it was quite normal for all kinds of weird alarms to go off at different times for no apparent reason or cause.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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BS... the charger will sense the higher voltage in the batteries due to the alternator running and stop charging.

the surveyor should have known that.... unless of course he was recommended by the broker then his findings will usually back up the salesman lies...
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:20 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydian
The Captain/Broker and the Surveyor both .....
told the same story and intend to split the commission when the boat sells.

They can also offer to tell you where to get things repaired after sale :-)
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Old 07-18-2010, 02:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Run, don't walk away from that captain/broker, surveyor and boat. Sounds like they're all on the commission agreement. Azimuts are known for electrical problems and that one sounds like it had a bunch.
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks, everyone. My husband took the boat out again yesterday on another seal trial and it ran fine but, then again, they did not run the battery charger and the generator at the same time. I'm hoping an Azimut owner out there may confirm this apparent quirk with the Azimuts or maybe it's just the smaller vessels since Capt. J has not encountered this. The surveyor says he called someone down in Miami and this is in fact how the Azimuts work but he is going to research it more for me today.

Even more strange though is that the Azimut bilges appear not to have floats so there is no automatic setting. The bilges are either on or off and there is a "high water" alarm so you can manually pump. I'm told by a boating friend we can have US ones installed and have automatic switches installed. Thoughts???
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:46 AM   #7 (permalink)
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boat size doesn't matter. a properly installed charger will detect the higher voltage produced by the alternators and stop charging. it should not trigger any alarm. what kind of charger is it and how is it connected? the survey should show the charger model.

what kind of alarm did it trigger? high voltage? low voltage?

as to bilge pumps, i can't imagine not having automatic pumps on any boat, whether 15' or 150' ! you may not see the float switches because they are either using pumps with built in switches or electronic switches. there should be an OFF position to disable each float switch although it's not that critical and sometimes the siwtches are wired straight to fuses or breakers. But these should be marked and installed at one of the electrical panel.

leaving the charger off when the engines are running is not normal, there is a wiring fault or installation issue somewhere, have them fix it before closing.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi,

From what I remember on little boats there doesn't always need to be a float switch to operate the bilge pump, I have seen these boys used

http://www.safety-marine.co.uk/Bilge...e-Pump-12v.htm
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydian
Thanks, everyone. My husband took the boat out again yesterday on another seal trial and it ran fine but, then again, they did not run the battery charger and the generator at the same time. I'm hoping an Azimut owner out there may confirm this apparent quirk with the Azimuts or maybe it's just the smaller vessels since Capt. J has not encountered this. The surveyor says he called someone down in Miami and this is in fact how the Azimuts work but he is going to research it more for me today.

Even more strange though is that the Azimut bilges appear not to have floats so there is no automatic setting. The bilges are either on or off and there is a "high water" alarm so you can manually pump. I'm told by a boating friend we can have US ones installed and have automatic switches installed. Thoughts???
I deal with mostly small (under 80') boats. There are two schools of thought on battery chargers. 1) leave them on all the time 2) use them only at the dock to avoid cooking the batteries because they're also being charged by the motors. I recently had a mechanic whom I respect recommend (2). So I read the literature that came with the charger (something very few people do). It said leave them on. They are designed to do nothing more than is called for (smart chargers). Again though, Azimuts are known for electrical problems.
I find it very hard to believe there are no float switches on the bilge pumps. That would be beyond dumb and dangerous (What happens if the boat starts taking on water when nobody is on board or the high water alarm doesn't sound?). The float switches may be out of view (which would also be stupid, but not unhead of) or enclosed with the pump. They will probably be in a closed looking box as opposed to the open float switch you may be more familiar with.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:13 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pascal
boat size doesn't matter. a properly installed charger will detect the higher voltage produced by the alternators and stop charging. it should not trigger any alarm. what kind of charger is it and how is it connected? the survey should show the charger model.

what kind of alarm did it trigger? high voltage? low voltage?

as to bilge pumps, i can't imagine not having automatic pumps on any boat, whether 15' or 150' ! you may not see the float switches because they are either using pumps with built in switches or electronic switches. there should be an OFF position to disable each float switch although it's not that critical and sometimes the siwtches are wired straight to fuses or breakers. But these should be marked and installed at one of the electrical panel.

leaving the charger off when the engines are running is not normal, there is a wiring fault or installation issue somewhere, have them fix it before closing.
Actually, 15' boats will often have only a manual bilge pump, especially if it has an open bilge design or is self-bailing and has positive flotation. Not sure where the cutoff is for ABYC & NMMA certification. I believe it may be at 21' or 23'.
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:10 AM   #11 (permalink)
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yeah that's why you cant get in a small whaler without getting your feet wet! no well to collect water for an automatic bilge pump to kick it out! when i built my 13' tender i made sure i had a large well at the transom for rain water or spray to drain there so that the automatic pump can keep the boat dry...

anyway, back to the original topic... indeed checking out the charger specs is the first thing to do. but even the old non smart ferro pro mariner on my own boat coexists with the alternators.

bilge pumps float switch should be easy to reach to replace and to test... if they are not, they need to be relocated. it's that simple.

system installation and easy of maintenance is often overlooked for style, drink holders and flat screen TVs... that drives me nuts. on a boat, you may not have the luxury to be able to wait to repair something...
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Old 07-19-2010, 10:24 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydian
...the alternator lights and alarms were going off the entire time we were out on the boat. Consequently, none of the gages worked.

The Captain/Broker and the Surveyor both contend that with an Azimut you must turn the battery charger off while underway with the generator running.
Why didn't one of them just shut down the generator or the charger to show that the guages worked - or not?

Why didn't one of them then turn on the generator without the charger and show what works or doesn't?

Why didn't one of them then turn on the battery charger without the generator and show what works or doesn't?

It is amazing but not too hard to believe they would happily drive along with all the alarms blaring and no instrumentation while showing the boat to a prospective buyer.

Pesonally, I would have suggested a return to the dock to replace the captain and the broker. You can fix broken machinery but a moron is forever.
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:12 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot
Why didn't one of them just shut down the generator or the charger to show that the guages worked - or not?

Why didn't one of them then turn on the generator without the charger and show what works or doesn't?

Why didn't one of them then turn on the battery charger without the generator and show what works or doesn't?

It is amazing but not too hard to believe they would happily drive along with all the alarms blaring and no instrumentation while showing the boat to a prospective buyer.

Pesonally, I would have suggested a return to the dock to replace the captain and the broker. You can fix broken machinery but a moron is forever.
Don't forget the surveyor.
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:41 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydian
Thanks, everyone. My husband took the boat out again yesterday on another seal trial and it ran fine but, then again, they did not run the battery charger and the generator at the same time.
This lapse in time btwn the 1rst & 2nd sea trial, might have allowed for some devious connections or dis-connections of said alarms etc.

Never underestimatea greedy, strapped broker.

Don't fall in love with the boat either, they make them every day and in every shape and size.

If this issue was not resolved really clearly to you & your husband, I think I look around a little more.......
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Wow...thanks so much for all the great feedback. As it stands today our surveyor has changed his mind about the battery charger/generator issue and decided that they should work simultaneously like they do on his Hatteras and therefore has sent us a revised survey! Imagine that

The marina has agreed to fix everything that was listed as critical prior to this new "revised" survey, so we'll be asking that they fix the generator/battery issue also or we won't purchase the boat (even though I do love it). I'll also look into all the good ideas you gave me about the bilge floats and see what I can come up with.

But we also found out Sunday on the second sea trail that the Racor fuel filters are very dark and this had been reported to the owner since 2008. This was discovered by my husband's long time friend who's been boating for over 15 years who went along with him. The survey reports that the fuel "appears clear." When we emailed the surveyor about this, his comments were:

"old fuel, algae, it could be treated, we did not experience any stalling issue, new Racor filters and fuel conditioner should be sufficient."

What's your thougths on this? Does anyone know if fuel conditioner would be sufficient or our friend suggested the tanks and lines be cleaned out (can't remember the correct terminology for this but it sounds very comprehensive). I'm afraid of all the things wrong, this one worries me the most.

We've owned two previous boats so I know there's always something that needs repaired and they all have issues. I'm not discourged as long as everything is fixable and the boat runs well when we get it.

Looking forward to all your great comments!!

Thanks again,
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