Click for McKinna Click for Bering Click for Nordlund Click for Nordhavn Click for Elling

Battery Charger Question

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by Sydian, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. Sydian

    Sydian New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Messages:
    19
    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.
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    6,154
    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.
  3. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,398
    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...
  4. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    6,396
    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 :)
  5. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    7,974
    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.
  6. Sydian

    Sydian New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Messages:
    19
    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???
  7. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,398
    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.
  8. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    6,396
  9. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    7,974
    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.
  10. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    7,974
    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'.
  11. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,398
    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...
  12. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Messages:
    3,005
    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.
  13. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    7,974
    Don't forget the surveyor.
  14. chesapeake46

    chesapeake46 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    Messages:
    546
    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.......
  15. Sydian

    Sydian New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Messages:
    19
    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 :confused:

    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,
  16. Sydian

    Sydian New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Messages:
    19

    All very good questions, Marmot!!
  17. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    7,974
    What should worry you about most is that surveyor. It sounds like he was furnished by the seller.:confused:
    Maybe he's been lurking on YF.
  18. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,398
    at this point, you can consider that survey worthless and have to wonder what else did he miss especially in the important areas like hull soundings, decks, etc... how old it the boat, what engines and how many hours?

    about the racors, assuming the dirty part you are referring to are just the bowl i woudn't be too concerned about that. they often are. is there any maintenance history/record or log book which woudl tell you how often the filters are being replaced? any vaccum gauge on the racors

    did you get an engine survey? done by a engine surveyor, not a hull surveyor? that's really critical on a diesel boat as repair costs can be very high...
  19. feeldavibe

    feeldavibe New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2010
    Messages:
    23
    azimut 46 same thing!

    Hello all!

    I have a 2002 Azimut 46 with caterpillar 3126B engines. We are having the exact same problem! When the generator is running and the engines are on, the battery is alarming and we have no tach on the PORT engine. If i switch the battery charger off the alram stops immediately and the tach returns to normal. I recently replaced the dolphin battery charger with the exact same one except brand new. Could i have the settings improperly set up causing it to not stop charging when i start the engines? Also, about the float switches, they are electronic sensors in the bilge that act as 'float' switches. Check against the forward bulkhead in the engine room and you should see one. Anyways if anyones know what i should check please let me know!
  20. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,398
    I don't recall any setting on thoses Dolphin chargers that would affect charging

    what kind of battery alarm do you get? High voltage? What is the voltage reading? Anything in the electrical diagram that would suggest az is using something else in there?

Share This Page