Blown Charging No shore power

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Well, we started up the engine after our happy fix yesterday only to find out the Balmar regulator blew the fuse again and shut down our replaced spare alternator. So, we said….”Who needs an Alternator?” We do not, and we disconnected the positive output from it and pulled the power on the 614 Balmar regulator and started the engine. We have 400 watts of solar and 450 watts of wind turbine to power the 12 volt electronics. The engine will run as long as it has fuel and cooling. The alternator belt is needed to turn the coolant pump, so it needs to stay in place. So, we start up YEAR #9 of boating retirement cruising with several challenges.

Our happy photo departing Clark’s Court and heading for the cut thru the reef

What is going on?

This problem should not be that big of a problem. It is a simple regulator and a standard alternator. The problem is that the 10 amp fuse that is in the red positive line to the regulator keeps blowing. Then when I unplug the regulator from power, and I replace the fuse and then plug back in the regulator, it smokes and sparks and blows the fuse and I pull the plug again. Tech support at Balmar had me measure the ohms on the field wire (blue wire) to ground. If this showed a very low ohms reading then it must be a short in the alternator. So, that is WHY we pulled the alternator and replace it. The really odd aspect is that when rebuilt, it all ran fine for 30 minutes producing 14.4v, then down to 13.9v so the new rebuild was working fine. We were happy. The next AM, we fire up the engine and POOF, blown fuse, dead regulator and the same situation when replacing the fuse. 

No charging when the engine is on, this is not good. We need a regulator and alternator working

So, we depart, Let’s Go

We do not need an alternator or regulator to run the engine. That is only needed to produce 12 volt power and we have wind and solar for that. The engine is starting, the engine is running fine, the alternator belt is turning the coolant pump, so let’s go. We did. We ran out thru the reef, performing our engine checks as taught my Tom Tursi of and made it to sea. There we turned downwind and rolled out the jib. We motor sailed most of the way west and around the south corner of Grenada.

Rolled out the job on starboard as we motor sailed west in 10-15 knots
Radeen is always so positive and so happy and she is a great sailing GrL. This photos makes me smile.
We round the south corner and jib to port.

SQUALL, here we go…

Shortly around the corner we had a rain squall and the winds came up to 25 knots dead on the bow, so we turned downwind to 120 angle and set the jib on a nice broad reach and then we furled the jib. Of course the furling line was not run properly so it was far more difficult, but we got the sail in an then turned back into the wind pushing on into limited visibility. Our start has been and continues to be challenging. It is Dec 12, 2019, seven days after flying in!

The visibility is limited due to the rain on the canvas
This was our view making this run. We even docked in the rain

Welcome to Port Louis, Grenada

We roll up the enclosure and suit up with foul weather jackets, set up the dock lines and get out the fenders. We are docking at a marina with shore power, water, laundry, restaurants, and a pool. YES, this will really be nice. We mainly want to plug in the boat to run the Air conditioning to dry out the boat from all this humidity.

Happy Radeen in the rain heading into St. Georges, GRenada
We are docked on the NEW docks with water, power and view of the marine supply store called ISLAND WATER WORLD where we have an account!

Let’s plug into shore power

Well not so fast there sailor. You are in the Caribbean, power is tricky down here. It took 2.5 hours to get my plug plugged in and to turn on the power switch from the other side of the world. Via numerous radio calls, managers, electricians, service workers, etc, they finally were able to plug us in. Well, HOLD ON says Island Spirit, I might have another problem.

YUP, we now have no 120 volt on the boat. We have proven power is to the end of my cord. The cord is plugged into the shore power plug like we have done since 2001. NO power into the boat. No worries, I have two plugs, lets forget the battery charger plug, let’s plug into the air conditioning plug because that is all we really need. NOPE, no power going into that plug either. So the dock team leaves proving with a volt meter that they have delivered 120 volts to the end of my shore power plug.

So, we now have a NEW challenge. Why is there no 120 volt power going into the boat? It all worked last year, because we used it. OK, time to tear apart another electrical system.

We find corrosion on the breakers, but the plugs looks fine
We have two plugs with two breakers. One plug and breaker are original 1994 on the right. The other plug and breaker to left are new 2001 for direct to air conditioning. Neither are working

We think we have problems? Ha

Check this out. This yacht owner has problems too, and he is a billionaire from Russia. Look at this! He is missing the E on his OCEAN VICTORY yacht sign board. Can you imagine the stress and frustration of that? We are so lucky, we just have no way of charging out boat and no way to plug in our boat…ha ha 

Russian Steel billionaire Ocean Victory Yacht is soooooo beautiful. That is 6 stories above the water
See, even mega yachts have challenges, she is missing a letter!

We also do not need 4 fuel truck

This is also NOT our problem. This mega yacht named DAR, another Russian billionaire needed not one, not two, but four fuel trucks to take on 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel. So, we think we have problems, ha, not like this. 🙂

The 4th fuel truck to empty into motor yacht DAR, 30,000 imperial gallons loaded
Motor Yacht DAR, google that Took on 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Merry Christmas. Remember, these are all a wright off for tax evasion, as they are “charter boats” and book as a business. This yacht has a crew of 30 and takes 12 guest. So that is 2.5 crew per guest. WOW!

We will figure this all out

We are safe, we are warm, we have solar, we have ice in frig, we have water and food, who needs power? We will now replace the regulator and next we will look into replacing these plugs and breakers after we trouble shoot them with our volt meter checking if they are working or not. Welcome to the Caribbean, where your boat takes a beating from storing it in the hot humid tropics!

The local street bar that we need to check out
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8 Replies to “Blown Charging No shore power”

  1. Hayden, you are so positive all the time. Most of us would have lost it by now. Hope everything turns around for you. Good luck.

  2. Wow!…you need a vacation from your vacation!
    I’m wondering if the alternator wasn’t the problem but it was the regulator all along and somehow you messed up the resistance measurement (perhaps you hadn’t disconnected the alternator from everything when you made the measurement)? Makes more sense that there is something wrong with the regulator (which you’ll find out when you replace it).

    Really crazy that you can’t get power to the boat. If there really is power at the Dock and there is no power at the boat and the breakers aren’t breaking…the story seems to point to the power cord….just for fun could you try (borrow) another power cord to see? (or you could measure the impedance of each of the 3 wires of the cord to see if one is broken….

    But what you really need is some alcohol in any form (beer, wine, rum) taken internally in liberal amounts! As we say in Brooklyn “in vino veritas”

  3. Only in Grenada !
    I 2nd the idea of borrowing a shore cord.
    In the meantime I would be a Squatter on Ocean Victory until things are sorted out
    Capt Dan

  4. Break out another BOAT unit as we always said. You guys must be going crazy. Remember, boat ownership is fixing your boat in cool places (or humid places in your case). Love your positivity. Good luck.

  5. That sucks, Hayden. We were going through the same problem last year. I think the transfer switch that goes between the inverter energizing the onboard AC and shorepower was failing. It would work sometimes but not others. We replaced our ancient Xantrex Freedom 10 with a modern Victron 12/3000. Problem solved… with plenty of boat-bucks.

  6. We’ve been in the Caribbean since 2012 with none of the problems you are having so I am no help to you only to encourage you to persevere and it will not always be like this.. That said, we return to our boat in Antigua after a 20 month absence in February and I am worried as to what we may encounter. BTW, if you do not have a spare regulator perhaps a cheap automotive one will do the trick temporarily. On my boat the 110V goes into and thru the inverter but only if the inverter detects valid polarity, ground, voltage and frequency. The AC and water heater take it directly however. Good luck for Windswept Dreams.

  7. Yikes, Hayden,
    I can’t even understand all the electronics talk and vocab. so, of course, I have my own electronics engineer aboard to handle the volt, ohms, polarity questions. Good luck. We only have a dinghy outboard that doesn’t work for now. Keeps me from exploring the area. Merry Christmas.

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