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Old 02-17-2017, 03:59 PM   #1
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Westerbeke generator question

I have a Westerbeke 4.4 kw generator with 500 hours that came with the 1987 Marine Trader 38 I purchased a couple years ago. This week, it decided to only generate 2.6 volts instead of 115 volts. The generator engine looks and runs fine. My questions are:
  • Should I be looking for a generator electrician or a boat electrician or a Westerbeke electrician?
  • Will the electrician unbolt the back end of the generator and take it to his shop, or is he going to want the whole engine pulled out of the boat?
  • Is it significant that there is a placard on the generator that says it was rewound by Broward Armature in Ft Lauderdale?



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Old 02-17-2017, 04:38 PM   #2
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Call Broward Armature
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:00 PM   #3
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Only the back end of generator may have to be removed for service not the entire unit with engine
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:47 PM   #4
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I have that vintage 8kw WB and the manual to go with it... there are exactly zero pages in the manual dedicated to troubleshooting the generator end of the unit.. Not much to go wrong there.. 2.6v probably means zero when measuring AC.. double check your panel maybe?

Also, peanut gallery comment: You should use phase tape on your cables if you like black so much.
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Old 02-17-2017, 07:05 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kev_rm View Post
there are exactly zero pages in the manual dedicated to troubleshooting the generator end of the unit.
I noticed the same thing in my manual. Seems crazy. Maybe the AC power generation stuff is just too complicated and/or dangerous to tinker with.
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Old 02-17-2017, 07:06 PM   #6
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Only the back end of generator may have to be removed for service not the entire unit with engine
Well, that is encouraging.
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:19 PM   #7
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I'd get a generator guy to look at it. It's much more likely to be something simple with n generator end removal required.
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:34 PM   #8
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From the photo posted of the winding end, it appears to be a capacitor regulated output. If cap failed there will be no AC voltage. The bridge rectifier, to the right of the capacitor, could also be an issue. On my Westerbeke 8KW, I had half of the bridge out and as I added load, voltage dropped way down. If both sides of rectifier are out, no AC output. The cap and rectifier are easy to verify with a multi meter, without major disassembly. I was able to find a .pdf service manual copy for mine on line.
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Old 02-18-2017, 08:28 AM   #9
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Check capacitor. Rectifier is just for batt charging on this, not part of AC circuit. Broward rewinds have a good reputation, worth a call to them.

How long ago did it make good power? If a long time, residual magnetism may have decayed and it could use a reflash.
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Old 02-18-2017, 05:44 PM   #10
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check and see if it makes 115 while you are pushing the start button or at least a lot more than the 2.5. If so then the control components are the problem.

It may be just be a relay or a diode or even brushes.
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Old 02-18-2017, 06:38 PM   #11
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I sent my WB 7.7kw to Broward several years ago for a rewind and it's run great since.
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Old 02-19-2017, 04:42 AM   #12
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I sent my WB 7.7kw to Broward several years ago for a rewind and it's run great since.
Did you somehow unbolt the "electrical end" of the generator and ship it via UPS, or did you have to give the whole generator to some shipping company?
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Old 02-19-2017, 06:29 AM   #13
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seattleboatguy:

Before you even think about removing and shipping to Broward, check or replace your capacitor. Most are 40 mfd and Amazon has them for less than $10.

To check, disconnect the wires and hook up an analogue ohmmeter set to low range to the terminals. The resistance should start out low and then slowly rise as the capacitor charges to the meter's resistance sensing voltage. If it is immediately high, it is bad.

These fail routinely on marine generators due to heat. So if you have that kind of capacitor excitation, and it looks like you do, then 99% of the time a bad capacitor is what causes no ouput voltage.

David
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Old 02-19-2017, 08:36 AM   #14
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No idea how to repair the generator, but I had the very same model for a few years. I found it to be a real workhorse. Stay with it if you can.
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Old 02-19-2017, 08:49 AM   #15
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I noticed the same thing in my manual. Seems crazy. Maybe the AC power generation stuff is just too complicated and/or dangerous to tinker with.

By the way you have to go on westerbekes website to get the proper tech manual. This is the 4.4bcd's... It has everything you need.

http://www.westerbeke.com/technical%...hnical_man.pdf

if yours isnt a bcd then look down under "older models"
Diesel Generators - Westerbeke
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Old 02-19-2017, 09:17 AM   #16
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seattleboatguy:

Before you even think about removing and shipping to Broward, check or replace your capacitor. Most are 40 mfd and Amazon has them for less than $10.

To check, disconnect the wires and hook up an analogue ohmmeter set to low range to the terminals. The resistance should start out low and then slowly rise as the capacitor charges to the meter's resistance sensing voltage. If it is immediately high, it is bad.

These fail routinely on marine generators due to heat. So if you have that kind of capacitor excitation, and it looks like you do, then 99% of the time a bad capacitor is what causes no ouput voltage.

David
Might also want to discharge (short) cap first and also digital vm's have worked for me on this test.
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Old 02-19-2017, 11:21 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
seattleboatguy:

Before you even think about removing and shipping to Broward, check or replace your capacitor. Most are 40 mfd and Amazon has them for less than $10.

To check, disconnect the wires and hook up an analogue ohmmeter set to low range to the terminals. The resistance should start out low and then slowly rise as the capacitor charges to the meter's resistance sensing voltage. If it is immediately high, it is bad.

These fail routinely on marine generators due to heat. So if you have that kind of capacitor excitation, and it looks like you do, then 99% of the time a bad capacitor is what causes no ouput voltage.

David
That sounds like something even I could do. I'll give it a shot. Thanks very much.
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Old 02-19-2017, 11:22 AM   #18
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No idea how to repair the generator, but I had the very same model for a few years. I found it to be a real workhorse. Stay with it if you can.
Good to know. I'll do my best to get it fixed. Thanks.
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Old 02-19-2017, 11:24 AM   #19
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By the way you have to go on westerbekes website to get the proper tech manual. This is the 4.4bcd's... It has everything you need.
Your link to the service manual is fantastic! That should prove very useful to either me or (if necessary) the repair guy. Thanks very much.
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Old 02-19-2017, 11:26 AM   #20
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Might also want to discharge (short) cap first and also digital vm's have worked for me on this test.
Understood. I will also be using a digital meter, but I think that will tell me what I need to know. Thanks very much.
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