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nbBox12

Electrician in Worcester area required

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Hi,

 

Can anyone please recommend a good electrician in the Worcester area? I'm currently experiencing problems with my 12v supply on my boat and need someone to take a look at it. 

 

It started playing up a couple of weeks ago, when I noticed the voltage on my Victron meter started to plummet down to around 6v. But the thing is, this meter has been known to be a bit glitchy in the past, with me sometimes having to unplug it and plug it back in again for it to starting working properly. I didn't panic at the time, because when I pressed the 'domestic' button to check the charge of the batteries, that meter is still reading 13v or so, and everything else on board seemed to be as normal. I presumed it was the Victron meter which had finally packed up and would need replacing.

 

I normally know if there's something wrong with my electrics or my batteries are low, because as soon as I put something in the microwave, everything trips out on board, and then I have to go outside to flip the switch back up again. If power is low, I will also notice the water pump struggling to pump, the lights dimming, etc, but I've had no indication of anything like this.

 

Everything else appeared to be fine until this morning when I noticed a lot of the food had gone off in the 12v fridge - even though it sounded like it was still working - but when I switched it off and on again, it started to blink, which I seem to recollect is the low voltage warning light.

 

So it looks like I might have an issue with my 12v system - does anyone have any suggestions as to how to diagnose this, or can recommend a good electrician in the area, as I need to get this fixed as soon as possible so I can get my fridge and everything working properly again!

 

Many thanks

 

Nick

 

 

 

Edited by nbBox12

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More information needed from you. For starters are you on shore power and if not how / when are you re charging your batteries?

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6 minutes ago, Taslim said:

how / when are you re charging your batteries?

Not nearly often or long enough, judging by...

 

2 hours ago, nbBox12 said:

If power is low, I will also notice the water pump struggling to pump, the lights dimming, etc


Suspect poor charging regime resulting in heavily sulphated batteries which require replacement asap. 

  • Greenie 1

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2 hours ago, nbBox12 said:

Everything else appeared to be fine until this morning when I noticed a lot of the food had gone off in the 12v fridge - even though it sounded like it was still working - but when I switched it off and on again, it started to blink, which I seem to recollect is the low voltage warning light.

That is highly indicative of low voltage.

 

I had similar with my fridge, only about 11v was actually getting to the fridge (in my case due to undersized wires) It was running virtually running permanently but the ice-box was melting. It just would not get down to temperature.

 

But when the engine was running it was getting sufficient 'volts' to work properly.

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27 minutes ago, Taslim said:

More information needed from you. For starters are you on shore power and if not how / when are you re charging your batteries?

Yes, I'm normally always plugged in to the shoreline, as I have a permanent mooring. The boat was new when I bought it, and I've been hooked up to the mains for 8 years. I must be getting power through from the mains for the rest of the boat to be functioning, which is why I can't work out why the meter and fridge don't seem to be working. Is it maybe a problem with the inverter/charger not working properly?

 

From what I remember, the inverter is this model:

 

https://www.cclcomponents.com/victron-energy-multiplus-12v-3000va-120a-16-230v-ve-bus-inverter-charger?gclid=Cj0KCQjwpPHoBRC3ARIsALfx-_LrUi19Xq5seZcSCxQj_aM8JklvVTM1IWrewpfBORwtvKh7Llww530aAmxbEALw_wcB

 

I currently have a green light on the top left of the light panel, indicating the mains is on and functioning as it would do normally. If I get any problems with the mains supply, the light will switch over to the right hand side to indicate the inverter's on - but that only happens on rare occasions, and it hasn't done so for a long time.

 

Cheers

 

Nick

Edited by nbBox12

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59 minutes ago, WotEver said:

Not nearly often or long enough, judging by...

 


Suspect poor charging regime resulting in heavily sulphated batteries which require replacement asap. 

I agree - get the batteries on charge 8am to 8pm for the next two days with the engine running at around 1200 rpm or a mains charger form a shoreline that you can force into equalisation mode and you just might be lucky and restore sufficient capacity to do you for now. Whilst doing that read and understand the battery charging primer pinned at the top of this sub forum.

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36 minutes ago, nbBox12 said:

Yes, I'm normally always plugged in to the shoreline, as I have a permanent mooring. The boat was new when I bought it, and I've been hooked up to the mains for 8 years. I must be getting power through from the mains for the rest of the boat to be functioning, which is why I can't work out why the meter and fridge don't seem to be working. Is it maybe a problem with the inverter/charger not working properly?

 

From what I remember, the inverter is this model:

 

https://www.cclcomponents.com/victron-energy-multiplus-12v-3000va-120a-16-230v-ve-bus-inverter-charger?gclid=Cj0KCQjwpPHoBRC3ARIsALfx-_LrUi19Xq5seZcSCxQj_aM8JklvVTM1IWrewpfBORwtvKh7Llww530aAmxbEALw_wcB

 

I currently have a green light on the top left of the light panel, indicating the mains is on and functioning as it would do normally. If I get any problems with the mains supply, the light will switch over to the right hand side to indicate the inverter's on - but that only happens on rare occasions, and it hasn't done so for a long time.

 

Cheers

 

Nick

Just the usual questions. How old are the batteries? Have you “exercised” the battery switchs by turning on and off a few times to dislodge any build up of corrosion on the contacts (a temporary fix)? Have you checked the cable terminations for security and signs of discolouration caused by corrosion or overheating?

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Maybe one or more cells have developed a short so the charger is working flat out and getting nowhere. Are any batteries or parts of a battery very hot?

 

Is the charge part of the inverter switched on? If so turn it off/unplug the shoreline, read the battery voltage as you turn the charger on again. The voltage should then jump up and the ammeter function should show a decent charge. let us have the figures/.

 

8 Years  is a good life for typical flooded batteries.

Edited by Tony Brooks

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OK, thanks for your replies. I will have a good look at the batteries over the weekend to see what's what.

 

I'm due to take the boat out tomorrow to get the tank emptied, so that will give me a good chance to test the electrics etc. while unhooked from the mains, and see if I get any different results while running the engine.

 

Cheers

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If you are permanently moored with a shoreline and only take infrequent trips away it would surely make more sense to have a mains fridge running directly from the shoreline, and just use the invertor to keep it going when you are away.

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Eeyore is right about the possibility its the domestic master switch playing up, especially if it has a red plastic key.

  • Greenie 1

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OK, I have managed to do a bit more investigating at the weekend. A visual inspection showed the batteries look in generally good condition, they're not getting hot, and there's only a small amount of deposits showing around one of the terminals - which I managed to brush off using a wire brush. I also switched the isolator switch off/on in the engine bay to eliminate any issues it might be causing.

 

I have 3 x Victron 12v 220Ah AGM domestic batteries, and a Numax 100Ah starter battery.

 

I conducted the test of switching everything off and back on again, and the voltage reading shot up from 12.6v to 14.6v, and the battery monitor shot up from 3.5v to 3.9v. I also noticed the charger box switched to 'bulk', then it went to 'absorption' after only a minute or so, and then finally went to 'float' after about 20 minutes. The monitor was only showing just over 4.0v at the time, so it's like the batteries are struggling to accept the charge.

 

I then tried running the engine to charge the batteries. A similar thing happened, but the monitor this time went up to around 4.5v, where it seemed to stop and couldn't go any further. After 3 hours of running the engine, the monitor started to drop again, back down to 3.9v. I eventually switched it off completely as it obviously wasn't helping, and now I'm plugged back in to the shoreline, it's sitting around 2.5v.

 

 

Edited by nbBox12

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8 minutes ago, nbBox12 said:

 

OK, I have managed to do a bit more investigating at the weekend. A visual inspection showed the batteries look in generally good condition, they're not getting hot, and there's only a small amount of deposits showing around one of the terminals - which I managed to brush off using a wire brush. I also switched the isolator switch off/on in the engine bay to eliminate any issues it might be causing.

 

I have 3 x Victron 12v 220Ah AGM domestic batteries, and a Numax 100Ah starter battery.

 

I conducted the test of switching everything off and back on again, and the voltage reading shot up from 12.6v to 14.6v, and the battery monitor shot up from 3.5v to 3.9v. I also noticed the charger box switched to 'bulk', then it went to 'absorption' after only a minute or so, and then finally went to
'float' after about 20 minutes. The monitor was only showing just over 4.0v at the time, so it's like the
batteries are struggling to accept the charge.

 

I then tried running the engine to charge the batteries. A similar thing happened, but the monitor this time went up to around 4.5v, where it seemed to stop and couldn't go any further. After 3 hours of running the engine, the monitor started to drop again, back down to 3.9v. I eventually switched it off completely
as it obviously wasn't helping, and now I'm plugged back in to the shoreline, it's sitting around 2.5v.

 

 

 

Can you just confirm that the 'red' figures are AMPS not Volts ?

 

You have a 660 Ah battery bank

When you are charging at between 1% and 2% of capacity the battery is considered to be full.

 

Charging at anything below 6amps (at 14.6 volts) shows the battery is full.

 

Just remember it is the batteries that control the charge rate - NOT - the battery charger.

When the batteries are full , they say 'no more', it wouldn't matter if you have a 100 amp, 200amp or 500 amp charger.

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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1 minute ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Can you just confirm that the 'red' figures are AMPS not Volts ?

They read to me exactly as if they are volts but with 10 missing. 
 

There doesn’t appear to be much wrong, if you look at the voltages and add 10. 

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1 minute ago, WotEver said:

They read to me exactly as if they are volts but with 10 missing. 
 

There doesn’t appear to be much wrong, if you look at the voltages and add 10. 

I could understand missing the '1' once but 6 times ?

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5 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

I could understand missing the '1' once but 6 times ?

Consistency :)

  • Haha 1

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1 hour ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Can you just confirm that the 'red' figures are AMPS not Volts ?

 

 

The figures in red are volts, read from the Victron battery monitor - which is the BMV 600s model.

 

I admit, it does look like I've just knocked a '10' off all those values, but those are the readings I got yesterday. When I get home tonight, I'll double check everything and take some pictures of the values I have on my displays so you can see for yourselves. The other reading I sometimes refer to on the Victron monitor is the state of charge (SoC), which at the moment is just reading '----'. As I said earlier, this monitor has been known to glitch from time to time - but I've pulled the plug from the back and put it back in again, and also done the same thing on the shunt outside, just in case there was a fault with either one of them. 

 

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3 minutes ago, nbBox12 said:

The figures in red are volts, read from the Victron battery monitor - which is the BMV 600s model.

You have a serious problem with either your batteries or your monitoring equipment.

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4 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

I could understand missing the '1' once but 6 times ?

Couple of segments on the display gone AWOL?

 

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OK, well my eyes were not deceiving me.

 

All the figures I reported yesterday were correct. The photos attached show the Victron battery monitor (which I'll just call the BMV from now on) with a value of 1.99v, the SoC giving '---' and a current of 0.18 amps. And yet, you can also see the Voltage Reading off the batteries on the top display is giving 13.5v. The charger/inverter was currently on 'float' at the time.

 

As far as I can tell, there's no issues with segments missing off the BMV display, as I can flick through all the other settings and menus and everything else displays as expected. Could it be the shunt itself is not giving the correct reading? I've included some photos of the condition of the batteries and shunt I took at the weekend. Like I said, I unplugged the shunt briefly just in case this was causing the issue.

 

I did another test this morning by unplugging from the shoreline/mains again. The inverter kicked in like it should, and everything stayed up and running. I put everything on at once - lights, tv, microwave, taps and shower. It all worked fine off the batteries, no sign of any power shortage. I left the bathroom tap running for several minutes and there were no signs of the pump struggling. The Voltage Reading directly from the domestic batteries dropped to 12.1v, and the BMV showed a value of 1.98v - but I find it hard to believe anything would still be working if it was truly running off of 1.98v!

 

It might be worth doing a hard reset on the BMV to see if this corrects things. I've written down all the settings, so I can always set them again. You can manually synchronise the monitor to the batteries too, so this might also be worth a shot.

 

Of course, none of this explains why my fridge has stopped working - which does not run properly regardless of whether I'm on mains, inverter or running the engine. Could this be a separate issue which just happens to have occurred at the same time?

 

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Edited by nbBox12

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Without doing tests I certainly can't say if they are separate issues but based on what you have said re the 12.1 at the battery volts under load they may be related but separate. If this boat is relatively new to you the fridge issue might be related to undersized cables causing voltdrop as it starts. The starting surge will be of too short a duration to see the voltdrop it causes on a typical multimeter but try measuring the voltage at the fridge itself when its running. That might give an idea if the cables are too thin.

 

I think the voltage is measured via that telephone type plug on the shunt Which would also carry the voltdrop used to infer current flow but I suspect the voltage cable and current flow cables are different. Have you tried unplugging and re-plugging that plug a few times in case the contacts are corroded? I also thing there are some components on the little green PCB that might be playing up.

 

12.1 volts under load does not look like a healthy fully charged battery to me, I would suggest its around 0.4 volts or more too low.

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Yes, you're right, the wires on the fridge are very thin, but it came installed like that from the factory and has worked fine for the last 8 years until now. I'll get the multimeter on it tonight to see what it says.

 

The connectors on the wire going from the shunt to the BMV have what looks like an RJ11 connector at both ends, and I've unplugged both several times, but it might be worth another look to see if there's any corrosion or debris preventing it from working normally. Resetting everything back to the factory settings on the BMV might also help, but I've always avoided messing around with it, so I'm not sure why they would have changed anyway.

 

It's also worth noting that if I have a low charge when using the inverter, it would normally flash a red light with the 'low battery' warning - but I haven't seen this happen for a very long time. The inverter seems to behave as if everything's normal, it's the BMV readings which are confusing.

 

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If, despite all the exellent help from posts on here, you are still having problems, I have had a couple of visits from Paul at Loom-Tech who is operational in the Worcester area. I am one of his very satisfied customers and have no hesitation in recommending him.

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OK, thanks very much for the suggestion, this is very handy. Holt Heath is only a 20 minute drive from me, so if I can't get anything resolved by the weekend, I'll see if I can get him to take a look.

 

Cheers

 

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