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ELECTRICAL ISSUES!

Sep 3, 2017
12
Catalina 30 MK III Lake Pepin, WI
I arrived last night for a holiday weekend of sailing. I'd left the shore power plugged in when I was here two weeks ago to keep the frig operable and to be sure the the batteries would be recharged.
When I entered the cabin, the fan I leave running to keep the humidity down was plugged into an outlet and running like it should be. The other outlets we also operable. But when I tried to switch on the lights, water pump, bilge pump, etc., nothing worked. I checked the battery meters - both were dead. Just to be certain, I tried to start the engine - no go. Batteries are completely spent.
Here's what I've done so far:
1. Master power switch is turned on.
2. Checked the batteries (they're both a year old) - water level is good.
3. Checked the shore power cord connection - all seems to be in order on that front.
4. Checked the power module that I believe converts the power from AC to DC. The indicator lights show that the batteries are recharging (which they're clearly not.)
I just bought the boat last month so I called the previous owner for ideas. He had never experienced this problem and was stumped also.
Any suggestions? I'd like to salvage at least part of this Labor Day weekend! LOL!!
Thanks.
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,231
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Is there a fuse on the wire between the charger and the batteries?
 
Sep 3, 2017
12
Catalina 30 MK III Lake Pepin, WI
Not that we found (I had my neighbors working on this with me - one of them a long-time Cat owner). But I'l go look again. Thanks.
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,231
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
I think you are right in your diagnoses, that the batteries are not being charged by the shore power charger. Try charging with the engine.

Do you have basic electrical knowledge, and a multi-meter?
 
Nov 8, 2010
10,898
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
I would check to make sure that ALL your battery connections are tight.. on both sides. A loose ground wire can cause this.

Then check the battery with a volt meter.

And your charger can still be bad.

Most battery chargers ARE fused between the charger and the battery.
 
Sep 3, 2017
12
Catalina 30 MK III Lake Pepin, WI
Hi JV,
Can't start the engine - no battery power! My electrical knowledge has gone as far as I have but I'll still searching.
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,231
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
BTW, "the power module that I believe converts the power from AC to DC" is the shore power charger.
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,231
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Hi JV,
Can't start the engine - no battery power! My electrical knowledge has gone as far as I have but I'll still searching.
Whoops sorry. I would see if I could borrow a jump start battery pack, and get the engine started. I'm guessing your alternator will work, and that will bring the batts up, but it will take a while.
Meanwhile, a regular car battery charger could be used from shore power. But it will take quite a while before there's enough power to start the engine.
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,079
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Mike, sounds like you are approaching this systematically, that's good. It appears from what you've said either your shorepower charger is dead or blew a fuse. Can you tell us what the charger is? Make, model if you can find it on the unit. Do you have the manual for it in your ship's papers or can find it online?
 
Oct 22, 2014
12,381
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Mike... Welcome to the forum... See you joined today. No better time. You are talking to the Electrical Wizard when your message gets Stu to comment. He knows Catalina boats and their electrical systems.
 
Jan 4, 2006
2,873
Hunter 310 West Vancouver, B.C.
I checked the battery meters - both were dead.
Do you mean 0.0V or do you have any V reading ?
If you shut off your charger, is there a change in your battery voltage measured at the terminals ?
Can you get to the charger to disconnect the DC output and take a reading. If so, please supply ?

Sorry for the lack of suggestions at this point but more information is needed before we can diagnose this head scratcher.
 
Sep 3, 2017
12
Catalina 30 MK III Lake Pepin, WI
You guys are awesome! My neighbor (a long-time Cat owner who was trying to help me last night) told me that the Catalina Owner's Group was the best there is. That's obviously the case.
Okay, back to work............
JV - I just borrowed a battery jumper from the Marina and am getting ready to try that.
Stu, here's the info on the charger:
- Xantrex TrueCharge2. 20 amp
- Charing output light shows <5
- Charger status shows "charging"
- Charger mode shows 3 stage
- Battery Type shows flooded
- Battery temp shows warm
I'm looking for a fuse but no luck yet. I'm checking the manuals too.
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,231
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Be quick with the jumper pack, as the dead batteries will draw a lot of current, unless you can isolate them.
 
May 24, 2004
6,275
CC 30 South Florida
One step at a time, you need to get the batteries charged. They might need a strong shop charger to jolt them back to accepting charge. It is important to know how the charger is wired to the batteries; with direct leads to the batteries or through the battery switch. Check with previous owner (PO) to make sure you are following proper procedure. The likelihood of a sudden failure with new batteries and a perfectly working system is not very common so I would insure all the switches and connections are properly set. Some of these chargers have an internal fuse that can be replaced or reset but before you start working on it make sure you turn all power Off. (I like to disconnect the shorepower cable for added safety).
 
Oct 22, 2014
12,381
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Mike, Heed the words of Benny. Power off is better that testing connections only to see a spark and jump 6 feet shouting... "that was a bit of a bite..."

Here may be some relevant info: TURN OFF CHARGER... DISCONNECT SHORE POWER
(http://www.xantrex.com/documents/Battery-Chargers/TRUECharge-2/975-0526-01-02_Rev-D(Truecharge2 Battery Charger Owners Guide).pdf)
To replace the DC Output Fuse:
1. Locate the fuse cover on the charger’s top panel (see “Front Panel” on
page 3).

2. Loosen the screw on the fuse cover using a Phillips screwdriver.
NOTE: The screw will not separate from the cover.
3.Pull out the blown fuse(s) gently, using the provided fuse puller.
NOTE: The fuse puller is located on the inside of the fuse cover.
4. Install a brand new fuse(s) with same type and rating as the old one.
See “Fuse Replacement Ratings” on page 49.
5. Replace the fuse cover making sure that it aligns and fits perfectly,leaving no space for moisture or small debris to enter the compartment.
6. Tighten the screw on the fuse cover but do not over-tighten.
7. Fix the reverse polarity fault which caused the fuse to blow prior to reconnecting all AC
and DC sources to the charger.
8. Reconnect all AC and DC sources to the charger.​
 
Sep 3, 2017
12
Catalina 30 MK III Lake Pepin, WI
After a lengthy period on a battery booster pack borrowed from the marina office, I finally got the engine started. However, I don't suspect the real problem is solved. I should be able to leave equipment like the refrigerator on during the week as long as shore power is plugged in, shouldn't I? (I believe the previous owner told me that what they did - I'm verifying that now.)
Any other thoughts on this "headscratcher" as Ralph calls it?
I have another question on the engine shifter but I'll start a new post on that.
Thanks all.
Mike
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,079
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
I should be able to leave equipment like the refrigerator on during the week as long as shore power is plugged in, shouldn't I?
Mike,
No. The reason is that the fridge is DC powered. It NEEDS DC from the batteries. The power it uses is replaced by the charger. If the charger is not working, your batteries will go flat if the fridge is running. Until you have this ifgured out, turn the fridge off when you're not there. Want a cold brew when you get to the boat? Stop at a 7-11 on the way!

You really need to do some research on your charger based on John's link to the manual. You need to tell us what the voltage at the batteries is. What is the output voltage of the charger?

And follow all the cautions folks have been explaining. If the fuse on the charger blew, it is important to find out why, too.

I also suggest you get a boat electrical book and start reading. Charlie Wing's is excellent.

Good luck.
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,231
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Regarding fuses, I had one blow on the output of my echo charger, and I can't figure out why it blew. May never know.
 
Jun 21, 2004
1,454
Beneteau 343 Slidell, LA
Mike,
I recently had the same problem. My Xantrex Tru Charge 2 40 amp charger died after 9 years of use; purchased a new one, installed, and good to go.
As others have mentioned, check out the trouble shooting section of the charger instruction manual; you can likely find it online if yours isn't readily available. Turn off the AC power to the charger and disconnect the charger output to the batteries. Check the output from the charger after turning on the AC power and battery charger AC breaker. If there is no output from the charger, check the charger internal fuses as described by jssailem; if the fuses aren't the problem, you have a faulty charger. I researched the possibility of having the charger repaired; however, Xantrex doesn't offer repairs on the older models. I did find one place in Hickoroy, NC that possibly offers repairs; however, by the time I shipped and paid a flat trouble shooting fee, I decided a new one would be more practical. Also, be aware that if you have a Xantrex remote battery monitor, the old monitors are not compatible with the new chargers--you have to buy both!