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Andy Spiceley

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  1. Hi @Tony Brooks to be honest I had no idea it was there(!), I have to credit Dave Thomas at Aldermaston wharf for tracing the wiring through and locating it. Having said that, it is probably irrelevant to the original thread which was about the starter battery alternator, whereas the Beta controller is coupled to the domestic battery alternator which, other than the brief (and so far un -reproduced) observed over-charging, would appear to be OK.
  2. Thanks again for all your thoughts on this. For what it's worth (in case anyone might browse this thread for clues in the future?) I can report that, when checked over at a boatyard, the diagnosis was (a) one or more dry joints causing intermittent bad connections to the control panel, plus (b) suspect dodgy regulator in the alternator. Various joints re-made, multiway plug given a stern talking-to and re-braced with cable ties, and a new alternator. So far - 10 hours later - all seems well. There was one confusing moment during initial checking over where both the alternators (starter and domestic) seemed to be pushing more than 15v. Disconnected and re-connected the external domestic control/regulator (2nd pic) and no more sign of that misbehaviour at the moment - a passing folly? With it off the engine, I was able to get a picture of the retired alternator (don't know if this angle is adequate for the critical identification?). Tempted to get this checked over by an alternator specialist in case it's possible to get a more concrete and specific diagnosis of the fault. Anyway, there it is, for now!
  3. The thread title is probably bogus - I wrote overheating because all these symptoms became apparent on a very hot day so I wondered if it was an overheating problem. Since the problem persists after everything cooled down and on much cooler days, this is probably an irrelevant co-incidence. So should probably re-title the thread, if that is possible.
  4. A much cooler couple of days boating, and we still have the symptoms, so I guess we can rule out the weather! I can report the following: the multi-way plug looks nice and clean, no muck or gunge, everything seems firm and no amount of jiggling seems to make any difference. we cruised for around 3 hours on two days and the rev counter and battery warning light were out for all of that time. However, we carried out some more organised measurements whilst moored up and during that the rev counter & battery warning light re-appeared. When the rev counter is off and there is no warning light, the starter alternator appears to be outputting 12.7v. When the rev counter is on and the battery warning light is lit, the alternator output was measured at 13.5. Both measurements tallied with the battery monitor voltage reading at that point. On the back of the tacho I measured 12.9v on the +ve and 6.55v on the signal wire when the rev counter was registering, but I didn't get the chance to take any readings at the tacho when it was not registering (at that point it stayed on until we had to leave the boat!) I am wondering if there are two faults (intermittent connection somewhere on the signal wire) and an under-performing alternator? Of course, the bad connection could be within or on the alternator itself. so the two things could both be associated with a failing alternator.... Does that make any sense?
  5. Thanks very much to you all for your advice - when I get back to the boat, will check out the multi-pin connection as advised first, and then work through the other suggestions.
  6. Hi Tony, thanks for the swift response and apologies if my ignorant use of terms confuses things!. It's a twin alternator engine, (betamarine 38) two warning lamps, (17 years old, 5200 hours on the tachometer). Solar panels with MPPT controller were added in 2015 but I have not worked out from the documentation we acquired with the boat (no updated wiring diagrams!) whether they are charging just the domestics or both sides (the latter would seem to imply some kind of splitting so perhaps it is more likely it is just on the domestic bank?)
  7. There is solar charging - I turned this off at the isolator to see if it would make a difference, but it didn't seem to. I'm guessing there is split-charging across the domestic and starter batteries, but don't know how that works. There are two battery warning lights - I am pretty sure it is the starter battery light that is coming on. Oddly enough, last summer on bright days the domestic battery bank light would flash on and off steadily, generally only when the engine was idling, but I have not seen that recently. Do I understand it correctly that, somehow, there is (or should be) a system that measures the charging (voltage? current?) and if this exceeds some threshold, acts in some way to limit it? And if the limit takes effect by dumping the alternator output, this would cause the battery warning light to come on? Given that the alternator is still spinning, what happens to the unwanted power output? (You can see that I don't know anything about these kind of systems - recommendations of links for on-line study very gratefully received!)
  8. will be back on board after the weekend, so will take pictures of the alternator and the meter.
  9. I hope you folk will forgive me raising something that might have been at least partially answered in the past - I've little experience in boat ownership and none at all in engine electrics! The symptoms I noted (yesterday) are these: engine battery warning light comes on (strongly, not flickering); this is at gentle cruising speed, say 1,000 - 1,300 rpm. the meter showing the charge rate for the engine battery is way off the (max) scale after a while, the rev counter drops to zero and at the same moment the warning light goes off; then both come back; then both disappear. charging still seems to be max engine battery volts are c 12.7/13 as reported by the Merlin Smart gauge No obvious signs of loose connections on the back of the alternator, no change in behaviour with a bit of amateur jiggling. I have not yet managed to understand the wiring fully and do proper continuity testing (gonna wait for everything to cool down a bit first!) Belts to both alternators seem good (i.e. physically), no screaming sounds. Possibly the belt on the domestic bank alternator is a bit tight... It was an exceptionally hot day. At one point we had rev counter working and the battery light went out. However any time the battery light was on, the rev counter was working. I guess there could be more than one problem here simultaneously e.g. there is genuinely a charging issue, and there is also an unrelated intermittent connection issue that affects the warning light and the rev counter. Just a coincidence that they appeared at exactly the same time.... If the battery light comes on from time to time, what's the worst thing that can occur if we keep moving until we reach a boatyard with a competent electrician? Flat battery, or something worse - cooked and ruined components....? Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
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