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Old 11-20-2016, 03:26 PM   #1
menzies's Avatar
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Xantrex Inverter and Generator Auto Start

So we went out on Friday and spent the day and night on the hook. We ran off the inverter all day (including full size fridge freezer and watching TV etc.). Used the microwave a bit too. Didn't top up the batteries using the genny before bunking down.

I woke up during the night and looked at my AC bedside clock to see the time and it was off. So I got up to see what happened. The 24V system was down to ~20V. The error light on my inverter remote was flashing.

So I started the genny made sure the batteries were charging and went back to bed.

Got up in the morning and all of the batteries were fully charged and the Inverter showing float. However the red error light was still flashing.

We got back to the dock, plugged everything into shore. The Inverter red light still flashes. So I went down into the ER to read the error messages on the Inverter itself and found that the error was "Generator Start."

Researching this it seems that this Inverter can be programmed to auto start the genny when the batteries draw down to a certain level. Seems the last owner had it set to do that and it tried to do that but the genny didn't start.

However my genny is tied into the blowers and will not start unless the blowers are on.

So I am a bit stumped on how programming the Inverter to start the genny would ever work on this boat - unless I always left the blowers on - which obviously I wouldn't do.

So now I need to work out if I should reprogram the inverter to not try and start the genny, or see if somehow (and I don't know how) the Inverter can somehow start the blowers and the genny, which seems unlikely. Of course if it can then I have some other kind of error.


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Old 11-20-2016, 03:30 PM   #2
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I am not sure whih Xantrex you have but most of them offer a reset to default settings which I assume would not include the genny start option

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Old 11-20-2016, 03:44 PM   #3
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Well first, how is your blower interlocked to the genset start? The blower is 12V I presume.

You could just rewire the blower so it is powered from the genertor's battery charging circuit, assuming it has one. Some don't.

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Old 11-20-2016, 04:01 PM   #4
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Or you could start up your genset well before the house bank drops into the danger zone. I don't turn in for the night unless house bank is +85% as measured by BMK.

Auto start on the genset could lead to all sorts of issues if you were not on vessel. Heaven forbid if the sea cock were closed. .
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Old 11-20-2016, 04:02 PM   #5
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The generator auto start should show up as a separate device on your system control panel.

You should see this if you back out of the menue's. You should reach a point where you can select your inverter, or the gen auto start.

Then I think you can reset the auto start unit, which should clear the alarm.

I'm not a big fan of the Xantrex gen auto start module. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with it, only because there are in my opinion better gen auto start modules on the market, such as the units by Deep Sea Electronics, and only then because I'm super familiar with their controllers, having a couple decades hands on time with them.

I do not have a challenge with using a auto start on your boat, but the ones I mentioned in my opinion have a more positive "auto" vs "Manual" or "lockout" mode. As Tom mentioned above a gen start on a closed sea cock would put you in a forced outage situation on your generator.

On another note, if your generator is diesel there is zero need for the blowers to run during its operation.
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Seward, Alaska
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Old 11-20-2016, 04:14 PM   #6
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Gen is Northern Lights diesel.

I too have zero idea why it was wired that way - maybe to keep any diesel smell out of the boat? Who knows.

I am not quite sure how they wired it. If you leave the blowers off, press the warm and start button the genny will start and run until you let go then it immediately dies. Blowers on, it keep running.

I do see the gen top menu when cycling through. I may print out that menu page from the manual and go and reset the error, then see what I want to do re removing the blower set up or cancelling the auto start. I think I am leaning to leaving the auto start - but setting the quiet time so that it doesn't frighten the bejaysus out of us in the middle of the night!

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