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Old 06-30-2013, 11:39 PM   #1
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Problem with ProMariner 30A charger

I'm out on the water with friends for the week and am having a problem with my ProMariner 30A charger. This unit is a charger only...no inverter.

When I run my generator (Honda eu2000i), I only get 2.5 - 3 amps of charging current to my house bank in bulk charge mode. Both banks, house and start, are slow to rebuild voltage. I've checked all connections, charger mode lights look normal, can't find the problem.

The generator runs all other systems normally including water heater, AC outlets, etc. The battery monitor shows normal charging on the alternators. I plan to swap the charger leads from house to start and vise versa tomorrow morning to see if the indications change.

I'm running the generator for large AC loads like coffee maker and microwave to help the batts. Also running the stbd engine to boost the batts. All is well with the battery monitor, Honda eu2000 generator and alternator charging.

Any ideas on what I can check or test on the water to troubleshoot or solve this problem?

Thanks for your thoughts and ideas. Here's a shot of our playground for the next week.

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Old 07-01-2013, 12:20 AM   #2
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What is the voltage going into the batteries in bulk charge mode? Did you try turning off the water heater and other AC loads? What is the AC voltage going into the charger?

Edit: Check your DC ground at the bus bar and the grounding point to the engine. Also check your AC ground.
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Old 07-01-2013, 04:39 PM   #3
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What is the voltage going into the batteries in bulk charge mode? Did you try turning off the water heater and other AC loads? What is the AC voltage going into the charger?

Edit: Check your DC ground at the bus bar and the grounding point to the engine. Also check your AC ground.
This morning I ran the engines to replace the electrons in my house bank. It's about 100 degrees here now and the ER is being vented with a fan and open hatches to cool it down to ambient before I climb into the belly of the beast. When I can get in there, I'll check the charger AC connections and get back to your on the charger output voltage.

In the meantime, here's answers to some points you raise, Don.

Water heater and other AC loads all off and the charge remains at a few amps. AC voltage to the charger is 124V at 60 Hz. Grounds all checked yesterday on the batts and big cables to the engines. All is well and all other systems are normal.

My buddy and I took a dinghy ride to our marina and picked up his 10A clip-on smart charger. I'll have another to place on the start battery on Wed. I'll connect that to place a small charge on the batts when the gen is running.

I was getting a solid 80A out of both alternators this morning during my engine run. That put me back to 80% on the battery monitor.
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Old 07-01-2013, 04:59 PM   #4
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Al,
I'm sure you've thought of this, but it sounds like you've connected your portable generator in some way to the AC system on your boat. Can you un-plug the rest of the AC using items on the boat and have the generator powering only the batt charger with a direct connection?
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:03 PM   #5
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Not sure of your exact set up but I believe the pro mariner can charge up to 3 separate banks of batteries independently. You may have a blown fuse for one of the banks and are reading the low current being drawn on a different bank. I ran my batteries down extra low once by mistake and the fuses blew on the pro mariner for all banks
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:27 PM   #6
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Good thought, Tim.

I hooked into my buddy's 10A charger and we get the same symptoms while the generator was connected to the shore power plug. Even wired directly to the generator, we have similar symptoms. The ground is looking more suspect, so I have to look more closely there.

104 degrees in the shade. Damn it's hot!!
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:34 PM   #7
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Good thought, Tim.

104 degrees in the shade. Damn it's hot!!
I hope you can connect an air conditioner to that generator.

We don't anchor out a lot here in FL in the summer. Too dam* hot. And it only get's into the 90's.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:29 PM   #8
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I hope you can connect an air conditioner to that generator.

We don't anchor out a lot here in FL in the summer. Too dam* hot. And it only get's into the 90's.
We don't have much humidity here so "it's a dry heat."
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:25 AM   #9
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PG's right. A lot different without humidity. It's 105 during the day and then down as low as 65 at night. Our numbers this week: M 104/63, T 96/65, W 98,64, Th 100/66. We hydrate regularly and swim as needed. Another plus: No alligators!!

I disconnected the house bank from the boat and charged with the 10A charger. All went well. Reconnected to the house and found I had lost my battery monitor reference, so it doesn't know the percent of charge. Oh well...I have a fair reference of the voltage from the past 3 days. Will reset when this charger issue is solved.

Met with DSwizzler today and he might have a spare charger he's willing to part with. He's testing it today on the bench in his 58 Vantare! Gotta love those TFers!!

Will revisit this issue tomorrow in the cool AM. Thanks to all for your input and ideas. I'll update tomorrow.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:29 AM   #10
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Not sure of your exact set up but I believe the pro mariner can charge up to 3 separate banks of batteries independently. You may have a blown fuse for one of the banks and are reading the low current being drawn on a different bank. I ran my batteries down extra low once by mistake and the fuses blew on the pro mariner for all banks
Thanks duvie. I'll look at that today when I'm down there. my mode lights indicate normal but I'll pull the unit and check the fuses
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:48 AM   #11
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Al, since it is very hot check the cooling fan on the charger. (if it has one). If it is not working, put a fan blowing on the charger to see if it will make it work. Then you can replace the fan in the unit. Sometimes they are just a small pancake fan similar to one in a computer. Don't ask me how I know.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:59 PM   #12
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This morning I found a slightly loose connection on the ground buss bar. I tightened it but no change. I disconnected the clean ground on the stbd engine. I scrubbed it anyway with a sanding disc, then put it all back together. It checks good with the ohmmeter.

The ProMariner manual states a loose ground could damage the charger and a short from + to - could blow the three diodes requiring a factory repair. I never saw a short but anything's possible at this point.

I checked the fuse on the charger and it's OK. The charger lights still indicated bulk charge mode, but the fans don't run. Maybe that's my problem. (Thanks, Don!) I placed a 110V fan in the ER blowing directly on the charger. At this time, I'm still only getting 3A from the Promariner.

I'm going to disconnect my Yandina combiner from the system to eliminate that as a problem. Don't know why it could be, but want to rule it out. I still have the ability to combine the banks manually with the battery switch.

If all else fails, I'll pull the charger for bench testing and repair/replacement.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:24 AM   #13
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I hesitated to post this but I will but check it carefully.


There is a quirk with the Honda/Yamaha inverter generators.


In the generator faceplate receptacles, the 15A ones, The U ground pin and the larger flat blade for the Neutral are not connected. You may need to make a jumper or pigtail between those two pins that is used between the cord to the charger and the faceplate receptacles.



Just be sure you do indeed connect or jumper the correct blades. The U ground and the larger of the two flat blades.


This jumper is the same as connecting at the shore power panel when plugged in at the marina. There the neutral and ground are connected at the main supply.


Some equipment can sense [not the right word] that there is not a connection and won't operate properly without it, a real ground. I don't know if this is the case here but may be worth trying it.


It would also be worthwhile asking the charger mfgr. ,Promariner, if the lack of the bonding can cause the charger to malfunction or maybe rather misfunction.


You can double check this, the lack of connection, with one of the polarity tester/checkers made by Ideal/Klein,Greenlee and many others. It will show an error, when plugged into the faceplate receptacle.


Just be sure to remove the jumper when you are not using the generator as the C source. When you are plugged in at the marina or another shore source you do not want that jumper.


This kind of problem has been found with RVs using the portable generators. Some of the onboard equipment will work but not well, some not at all. My little Yamaha has/had the same problem.


Try it after asking Promariner and see if it helps.

Of course don't forget to check that the batteries are themselves in good condition.
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:54 AM   #14
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Thanks for posting those detailed instructions, C Lectric. I do not have those two connections bonded but have been using this generator/charger combo for a few years without a problem.

Well, I did have a problem immediately after buying the Honda gen, but it turned out to be a reversed neutral/ground on the charger AC which was installed by the PO. Once I located and corrected that problem, it's been clear sailing until now.

DSwizzler delivered a spare Ample Power 55A charger today for me to use. It's charging on my gen, but only at 10A and, like my other chargers, is slow to increase the bank voltage. Even with ALL boat connections off the house bank, it still is slow to accept the charge.

All 6 golf cart batteries are balanced at 6.15V to 6.20V each. All connections check good on the ohmmeter.

I'm still scratching my head here trying to figure this out. Will triple check the grounds tomorrow. I'll also try placing the charger leads on the start battery to see how it reacts for comparison.
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:58 AM   #15
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Also saw Pineapple Girl and Guy tonight. P Guy had a good idea of jumping from the battery directly to the ground to bypass all other ground connections/busses. That's worth a try. Will grab my jumper cables tomorrow from the marina. In doing this, I will bypass the battery monitor's shunt, but hope to see a significant rise in bank voltage.
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:51 PM   #16
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You don't mention what age or model of ProMariner. Their older ferro-resonant type chargers are notoriously inconsistent, unreliable and are responsible for destroying many batteries or at least severely shortening their life span. Also note in the photo below there is no 3rd party certification (UL) on the label as required by ABYC and Transport Canada.

If this is the case, buying a more modern "smart" charger should be near the top of your shopping list.
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:39 PM   #17
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We don't have much humidity here so "it's a dry heat."
The next time you are home, Jennifer, pre-heat your oven to 105 degrees & put your head in. It's dry in there, too! (Old Johnny Carson joke.)
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:14 AM   #18
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Good point Boatpoker. Should have asked what kind of charger model you had. The rate of charge of these old chargers tapers off a lot as the battery voltage rises resulting in SLOW, SLOW full charges and it left on for too long battery life shortening. Ok at the dock for overnight. Not so good when run from a generator where you want max. recharge with minimum gen, run time.
I use one but never leave it plugged in day after day or it will cook the batteries.

The new 3 stage, although not so new any more, chargers do a far better job and faster.

So what do you have?
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:44 AM   #19
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You don't mention what age or model of ProMariner. Their older ferro-resonant type chargers are notoriously inconsistent, unreliable and are responsible for destroying many batteries or at least severely shortening their life span. Also note in the photo below there is no 3rd party certification (UL) on the label as required by ABYC and Transport Canada.

If this is the case, buying a more modern "smart" charger should be near the top of your shopping list.
Good thought. Mine is a 7-8 year old Pro Mariner ProTech 1230 smart charger, just like this one.

It looks like mine is DOA. I just returned from 7 days on the water and will speak to the ProMariner folks on Monday. Thanks to all who took the time to help me sort this out. I may soon be shopping for a replacement unless the ProMariner folks make me an offer I can't refuse.
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Old 07-06-2013, 05:04 AM   #20
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You may want to ask them if they have any reconditioned ones they would sell you. I had a simulator one and they sold me a couple of reconditioned newer models when I had a problem with their older one. They have always been very helpful and their customer service is always been good the past 10 years that's have used them.
Good luck
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