Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sunset Boating Center – The genset gets fixed!

Bass Outdoor World - a fun store to explore
I met our Panda repairman this morning as he came to the boat to re-look at fixing the genset. Now that at least it is pumping water, he can focus on fixing the electrical over-voltage condition. This morning he was convinced it was in the electronics, perhaps a stuck relay. After a couple more hours and calls to his backup expert he couldn’t find the problem. Eventually his expert came to the boat and together they found the problem.

On the Panda genset, the speed of the motor determines the frequency of the output voltage. It ought to be 62 to 63 Hertz under a no-load condition. The genset was producing 64.2 Hertz and 139 volts, much too high. Looking at the engine, they found a worn spot where the rpm adjustment lever rests against the metal of the engine block. After 7 years of use, the lever had rubbed a small depression in the metal of the engine block at that spot. This allowed the lever to depress more than originally set and sped up the engine rpms. When the expert put a screwdriver under the lever to raise it to the level originally set, the genset output the right voltage and Hertz cycles!

Bass Outdoor World in-store aquarium
Armed with that information, they put a set screw through the lever and raised it to the originally set level and brought the genset back to spec on voltage and cycles per second (Hertz). Thinking about it after the fact, it all makes sense. It was basically a wear down issue, metal to metal. The later model Pandas have a set screw to address just such a problem but not mine, an earlier model. Furthermore, Panda technical support never suggested looking at the lever which can be seen external to the engine block. They have since been updated and hopefully will be able to help in solving similar problems in the future, I was the guinea pig.

Meanwhile, I took Ann to the local walk-in clinic and was I ever surprised! The clinic was outstanding. It looked like the future of medical support. You signed in on a computer touch screen so all your information was free of typos and we were spared the constant request to “spell Sherer”. Once inside, Ann was tested for weight, heart rate, blood pressure, O2 content and sent to a waiting room. Not more than 5 minutes later, the doctor appeared and carefully examined Ann, asking pertinent questions followed by a diagnosis and prescriptions which he filled out on the spot after sliding a panel to open a door to a computer where he typed in all the information including the prescriptions. I was very impressed with the efficiency and friendliness of all the staff. Before Ann could leave, she was asked to rate the performance of the staff including the doctor on a scale of 0 to 5 on a computer monitor. So the entire staff got instant feedback on how they did that very day, very impressive. Ann is now fixed up with meds for her trip north and she feels much, much better about that!

Friday we’re off north again, sailing with the Bunches and hopefully a south wind.