Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Marathon - Genset again, more wind

Angry sky at night
Well, I was so proud of the analysis of the genset problem of two days ago when the fuse appeared to fail from old age and not due to electrical overload. Last night the genset died once again in the exact same manner. All was fine for about an hour and then it quit, all of a sudden. At first I couldn't see anything wrong with the fuse I had put in to replace the one that failed from "old age". The fuse even tested "good" with the ohmmeter.

Hand-held shot with Canon 310HS
This morning I called the expert, the technical support at Panda and he suggested retesting all the connections which I did. I found that the fuse was intermittent. It would test good sometime and then test bad. It would not carry any current under load. Looking at the fuse with a 10x lens, one could see a hairline crack next to one of the insertion pins. There were no burn marks and it didn't look like a fail under high current but the break was there nevertheless. Two fuse fails in the same manner was very suspicious so I called Panda again. He was familiar with another cause from the diode bridging the fuel solenoid. If that diode starts to leak current (after 8 years!) then it could cause the fuse to fail gradually as in my case. There had been other reported cases of just that.

Armed with that input, I removed the cover on the fuel solenoid and cut away the diode bridging the two wires in the solenoid. Getting the cover off was supposed to just be "popping off" the base after removing the screw holding on the top of the cover. It was a bit harder than expected but it came off (I didn't want to break anything). The genset started right up but then it did that the last time too. The test will be whether or not I blow another fuse. Such are the things that occupy one on a boat! (and you thought we had nothing to do while waiting for the wind to die down!)

Meanwhile, Ann painted all day with her pastels. We had good sun and the weather was warm. We may be here a long time.