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Old 12-13-2017, 10:15 PM   #1
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Advice for Kabola owners

We have a 40,000 BTU Kabola B-17 boiler. We love it. Very efficient, quiet and it supplies all the heat and hot water we need.

However, there is a defect that owners with 24 vdc units should understand. Our B-17 ceased to light up last week. After poking around, I found that a connector to the main board had signs of scorching around the + and - 24vdc supply.

In talking with the distributor - Marinetec in Anacortes, WA - he said that the 24vdc model had been discontinued by Kabola and there were no replacement boards available. Turns out, the Dutch fellars only sell 240 vac units in Europe and they created the 24vdc model for the U.S. market. However, because dc voltages on boats are subject to a fair amount of fluctuation, it is very hard on the board and they poop out.

So, the advice part - inspect the main board on your Kabola if it is supplied with 24 vdc. Look for any signs of the connector getting hot, and if you see signs invest in a voltage smoothing device to ensure steady 25 vdc volts to the unit regardless of what level the batteries are at.

Incidentally, the distributor of Kabola at Marinetek has been fantastic. He is caught in the middle and has done everything he can to help sort out a solution. In my case, that turns out to be a conversion to a 240 vac burner supplied via a 24vdc to 240 vac transformer. Not cheap, but since the Kabola is very robust it will be essentially a new and more reliable boiler when the conversion is done.
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:57 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Delfin View Post
We have a 40,000 BTU Kabola B-17 boiler. We love it. Very efficient, quiet and it supplies all the heat and hot water we need.

However, there is a defect that owners with 24 vdc units should understand. Our B-17 ceased to light up last week. After poking around, I found that a connector to the main board had signs of scorching around the + and - 24vdc supply.

In talking with the distributor - Marinetec in Anacortes, WA - he said that the 24vdc model had been discontinued by Kabola and there were no replacement boards available. Turns out, the Dutch fellars only sell 240 vac units in Europe and they created the 24vdc model for the U.S. market. However, because dc voltages on boats are subject to a fair amount of fluctuation, it is very hard on the board and they poop out.

So, the advice part - inspect the main board on your Kabola if it is supplied with 24 vdc. Look for any signs of the connector getting hot, and if you see signs invest in a voltage smoothing device to ensure steady 25 vdc volts to the unit regardless of what level the batteries are at.

Incidentally, the distributor of Kabola at Marinetek has been fantastic. He is caught in the middle and has done everything he can to help sort out a solution. In my case, that turns out to be a conversion to a 240 vac burner supplied via a 24vdc to 240 vac transformer. Not cheap, but since the Kabola is very robust it will be essentially a new and more reliable boiler when the conversion is done.

Hi,

I highly recommend you contact the manufacturer's maintenance customer service, surely the extensive knowledge to help you with the problem. Write them your problem here with e mail or phone connection.

NBs


info@kabola.nl or phone the Kabola head office on: +31 (0) 347-320 030 during office hours (8.00-16.30) EU time.
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:03 AM   #3
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Does Kabola offer a 12 V design?
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:06 AM   #4
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Delfin
Does Kabola offer a 12 V design?

My understanding is that all models are 240VAC now, and that DC operation is accomplished via a dedicated inverter. I see no reason why a 12V inverter couldn't be used just as well as a 24V unit.
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:02 AM   #5
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Does Kabola offer a 12 V design?
No, they stopped making dc control boards because of the voltage consistency issue. Apparently Honeywell made these for them, and they aren't able to (or won't) get more. I am checking with the factory per Baltic's suggestion, but have no reason to think the distributor's information was incorrect.
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:12 AM   #6
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No, they stopped making dc control boards because of the voltage consistency issue. Apparently Honeywell made these for them, and they aren't able to (or won't) get more. I am checking with the factory per Baltic's suggestion, but have no reason to think the distributor's information was incorrect.
Which begs the question as to how other diesel furnace suppliers happily get by with DC systems. I'll have to plumb my memory for why my shore bound water heaters have no pilot light and no power supply.
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:46 AM   #7
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Which begs the question as to how other diesel furnace suppliers happily get by with DC systems. I'll have to plumb my memory for why my shore bound water heaters have no pilot light and no power supply.
They may not have the kind of ROM control processes that Kabola has that necessitate a PCB full of integrated circuits. Beats me, but I know that given the choice between an a/c motor and a d/c motor, for longevity the a/c motor and controls will outlast the d/c by a considerable margin. Perhaps the same applies to complex circuitry.
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Old 12-14-2017, 10:58 AM   #8
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After poking around, I found that a connector to the main board had signs of scorching around the + and - 24vdc supply.

... Look for any signs of the connector getting hot, and if you see signs invest in a voltage smoothing device to ensure steady 25 vdc volts to the unit regardless of what level the batteries are at.

.
This reads a lot more like a Amps issue with current drain, much less like "voltage fluctuations". House Battery supplied mains typically have much less issue with surge voltages. I would be interested to know what uses electricity with this boiler. I suspect the ignitor? If so, those could draw quit a current from a LV DC source. I might submit this is a pure and simple connector underating issue. Can't be sure without more data.
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:02 AM   #9
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This reads a lot more like a Amps issue with current drain, much less like "voltage fluctuations". House Battery supplied mains typically have much less issue with surge voltages. I would be interested to know what uses electricity with this boiler. I suspect the ignitor? If so, those could draw quit a current from a LV DC source. I might submit this is a pure and simple connector underating issue. Can't be sure without more data.
Voltage fluctuations mean more amperage to deliver the needed energy for the board. The controls for the Kabola are complex, involving delays, sensing for flame quality - a bunch of stuff. Very low wattage - 200 or so, but since 24vdc board failure is common on these units, which is why the manufacturer doesn't sell them any more, whatever the issue is it is not amenable to any fix that doesn't repair the board, and that looks to be pretty tough to do.
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:16 AM   #10
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Yep, I fully appreciate this "complexity", as I design industrial controls.
briefly: turn on inductor motor, check for vacuum pressure, if ok, check flame sensor for OFF, turn on ignitor, turn on gas, wait a few seconds, check for flame sensor active. turn off ignitor. and so on. very similar to a home propane fired water heater. Anyway, just a suspicion, but I still going with a basic PCB design for the euro market of 230V, and then some hack makes it work for 24V, using 10x the current, but uses the same connectors. just a WAG...
business op for an enterprising soul for retro/replace market.
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:44 AM   #11
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Yep, I fully appreciate this "complexity", as I design industrial controls.
briefly: turn on inductor motor, check for vacuum pressure, if ok, check flame sensor for OFF, turn on ignitor, turn on gas, wait a few seconds, check for flame sensor active. turn off ignitor. and so on. very similar to a home propane fired water heater. Anyway, just a suspicion, but I still going with a basic PCB design for the euro market of 230V, and then some hack makes it work for 24V, using 10x the current, but uses the same connectors. just a WAG...
business op for an enterprising soul for retro/replace market.
Thanks Dave, but there is nothing this boiler will do without a working control board, and it is kaput. Everything was fine, then intermittent function as the board failed, then lights out.

I suspect you're right about the adaptation, which they did for the North American market.
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:48 AM   #12
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I suspect the root issue is that the Kabola, and many other heating systems used in boats, are principally meant for domestic use, so designed to run on AC power. As a euro company, that means 230V/50hz for Kabola. I wouldn't be surprised if the inverter is a 50hz output.

We have an Olympia diesel heater that is a re-packaged domestic oil furnace, and it AC powered. We have AC on the boat via inverters, so that's fine.

Smaller capacity heating systems typically have their origins in the automotive world and are more likely to be designed around DC power.
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Old 12-14-2017, 12:27 PM   #13
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I suspect the root issue is that the Kabola, and many other heating systems used in boats, are principally meant for domestic use, so designed to run on AC power. As a euro company, that means 230V/50hz for Kabola. I wouldn't be surprised if the inverter is a 50hz output.

We have an Olympia diesel heater that is a re-packaged domestic oil furnace, and it AC powered. We have AC on the boat via inverters, so that's fine.

Smaller capacity heating systems typically have their origins in the automotive world and are more likely to be designed around DC power.
Kabola builds them for the boat market, as a lot of people in Holland live on those barges in the canals and these boiler run 24 x 7 x 365 for a very long time. The current unit runs straight off 24vdc, but when I convert to 240 vac, the inverter will be a 24vdc - 240 vac 50 hertz.

That Olympia looks like a very nice unit.
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Old 12-14-2017, 03:15 PM   #14
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Kabola builds them for the boat market, as a lot of people in Holland live on those barges in the canals and these boiler run 24 x 7 x 365 for a very long time. The current unit runs straight off 24vdc, but when I convert to 240 vac, the inverter will be a 24vdc - 240 vac 50 hertz.

That Olympia looks like a very nice unit.
The Olympia is good, and I hear all good stuff about Kabola too. But the two are also quite different. Kabola is much more spohisticated, and more efficient. But with that comes greater complexity and more vendor specific parts. The nice thing about the Olympia is that I can get most service parts in any hardware store, and any furnace repair guy can work on it - even me....
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Old 12-14-2017, 03:35 PM   #15
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The Olympia is good, and I hear all good stuff about Kabola too. But the two are also quite different. Kabola is much more spohisticated, and more efficient. But with that comes greater complexity and more vendor specific parts. The nice thing about the Olympia is that I can get most service parts in any hardware store, and any furnace repair guy can work on it - even me....
What I like about the Kabola is that it is quiet, produces zero smoke, as in none, ever and is robust enough to last a few decades. Except of course the sophisticated controls
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Old 12-28-2017, 06:13 PM   #16
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Warning: The following is provided for posterity and future reference by Kabola users and is guaranteed to be a soporific for all others.

Finally threw the towel in on getting the PC board repaired, and converted the system to 240 vac 50 hertz via a 24vdc to 240 vac inverter. The distributor has been great - Marinetec. I certainly ran into a few issues with the conversion, and learned a few things as well.

First, the 240 v burner is a different shape than the 24 vdc unit, and this necessitated moving piping to accommodate the new footprint. Second, the documentation from Kabola still sucks so if you are as anal as I am about understanding intended functionality you may get a bit frustrated. Third, while I have wired houses, installed 3 phase motors and control systems I had no idea that in Europe 240 vac is not composed of two 120 vac legs when measured to ground, but a single 240 vac leg when measured to ground and a neutral. Other than scratching my head trying to figure out the voltages I was reading, nothing untoward happened, but I guess you learn something new every day. Fourth, and most importantly, the intended functionality of the circulation pump has changed since I installed my unit in 2006. Then, the circ pump basically ran all the time just like a circ pump in a house, and I used electronical ball valves to shut off zones. Now, the thermostat starts the pump and turns on the boiler, so this requires a separate aquastat for the hot water heater that will act like a thermostat so that if you aren't using heat for heating the boat, if the water in the water tank drops you need to call for the boiler to light up and circulate water through the tank to keep it hot.

Everything seems to be working nicely, and I essentially have a new boiler.
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Old 12-28-2017, 08:35 PM   #17
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Is your unit set up to utilize engine heat so the boiler is not needed when you're cruising?
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Old 12-28-2017, 09:04 PM   #18
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Is your unit set up to utilize engine heat so the boiler is not needed when you're cruising?
Yes, I put a heat exchanger on the engine that provides all the heat needed when underway.
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Old 03-03-2018, 10:56 AM   #19
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In my previous boat we had Marinetec install a Kabola boiler--it had the 24VDC board and it failed a few times--always when we really needed the heat. For my new boat, we installed the same model Kabola as Delfin, but this time we went the AC route incorporating a 240V inverter. The furnace is operating flawlessly...for example, in November, I set the thermostat for 58F before leaving for California. We're now in March and the Kabola has been running continuously with no issues.
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Old 03-03-2018, 12:01 PM   #20
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In my previous boat we had Marinetec install a Kabola boiler--it had the 24VDC board and it failed a few times--always when we really needed the heat. For my new boat, we installed the same model Kabola as Delfin, but this time we went the AC route incorporating a 240V inverter. The furnace is operating flawlessly...for example, in November, I set the thermostat for 58F before leaving for California. We're now in March and the Kabola has been running continuously with no issues.
After a few months of usage I agree the 240vac burner is a while lot better. It is even quieter than the 24vdc burner. I made a wiring change on the new install to confirm to kabola's current recommendation, and that is to shut the boiler down if no zone is calling for heat rather than keeping the water hot all the time. The latter operation is consistent with the big boilers I am used to, but the kabola is close to an instant heat unit so it makes sense to save fuel when it is not needed since it comes up to temp pretty quickly when needed.
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