Marine Power generation

Thread Starter

JMW

Joined Nov 21, 2011
134
I've been working on a good sized boat. There are several issues:
First there is a voltage converter that doesn't convert. This device (depending upon model) will accept 170 - 520 VAC 40 - 70 Hz and convert it to 120/208 3Phase 60Hz. at 100 amps max. These are specs on the name plate. Still working with the factory to determine the issue(s). The previous owner did "something at the pedestal" and the unit failed. Pedestal meaning shore tie.
Now for the interesting part, the boat has two Kohler generators, only one is operating. The output meter on one reads 53 Hz, the other 54 Hz. The boat lighting circuits as well as the outlets are all European style at 220 VAC at 50 Hz.
Here in P.R. the marine shore tie is 220 60Hz and 50 amps at the pedestal. That too has an issue, there is a "110" three prong outlet that actually outputs 220 VAC (don't bother to ask how I discovered that).
I have never seen 50 and 60 Hz systems wired this way, have any of you? The "converter" may in fact output 50 HZ, the nameplate having been changed to protect the innocent.
I shall update this as more info becomes available. The boat has been in the Caribbean for some time, and is of European extraction.
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,152
...and convert it to 120/208 3Phase 60Hz. at 100 amps max.
...
The boat lighting circuits as well as the outlets are all European style at 220 VAC at 50 Hz.
That's confusing. If all the loads are 220/50, why does the converter make 120/60? It sounds like a hybrid, or Frankenstein system originally made for Europe but then modified for U.S.
Your system must include a battery management system? If you run off battery, there must be an inverter supplying the cabin with 220?

I suggest drawing out a 'schematic' of your system with as much detail as you can. It will help your own sanity if nothing else. If you sketch it by hand, just get a good cellphone photo of it posted here.
 

Thread Starter

JMW

Joined Nov 21, 2011
134
@wayneh. To the best of my knowledge there are no battery(s) except for emergency lighting. And for the Kohler gensets. I'm thinking the MDE's (Twin 12 cylinder MTU's) are air start. The boat had been in charter service for several years and the engineer left in a bad way. The former Captain has no idea. The new owner is trying to contact the engineer and is willing to pay him to come over for a month and walk him through the various systems.
I'm glad someone else is confused, as for me, been that way for a long time.
I'm guessing the anchor windlasses and bow thrusters, A/C davits, etc., are all 3 phase. But the windlass are a good place to see what is what. I'll get up there next week. They are about 90 feet away from where I've been holed up.
What do you think of the idea the converter actually outputs 50 Hz? And the nameplate was never changed. Once I get it running, I'll be able to tell.
Oh and thank you for the prompt response.
 

Thread Starter

JMW

Joined Nov 21, 2011
134
We have spent a fair amount of time. Replaced several modules. The symptoms have changed but it still doesn't function. I am now boxing up the controller as well as the 3 12KVA inverters to return to the factory. Hopefully they will tell us what happened.
 

Thread Starter

JMW

Joined Nov 21, 2011
134
Another update. The items have all been repaired and awaiting payment and return when another wrinkle appeared. I was watching a movie last Sat when the owner called and told me the A/C outlets had failed on the night stands in his stateroom. I showed up Monday and started looking for the problem, and found the fuse/distribution panel. The wire going to the outlets was 2mm. Thought nothing of it until I checked the fuses and found one to be open. It was 10 amps, WOW that meant the outlets were capable of 2.5Kw, a bit more than sufficient to charge cell phones or run a vacuum. I went to the local chandler and discovered 10 Amps was the smallest made in this configuration. A quick check of the cable in the head revealed it too was 2mm (about 14 gauge). And then it hit me. The cable is more than sufficient to power a cell charger but woefully inadequate to power hairdryers, or a microwave in the galley if changed to 120 VAC!! So, we are at an impasse. Looking at the A/C distribution panel I noticed a 380VAC 50 Hz section. Windlasses and bilge pumps were clearly labeled. (380 50Hz is 3phase in 50Hz applicactions). My recommendation is to have the A Sea system maintained at 170-520 AC 40 -70 Hz input and the output changed to 250/380 AC @50 HZ 3 phase. The hard part will be replacing the 3 60 Hz transformers. With an estimated weight of 250-300 lbs each, and whether or not the 50Hz transformers will fit in the existing cabinet.
 

Janis59

Joined Aug 21, 2017
1,332
My yacht I rewired not long ago. The solar panel is put to the Chineese MPPT digital SMPS producing from panel 48 V toward 12 Volt. It includes the battery safety controller. Price 7 Eur for max 50 Amps system. For seeing the battery voltage by eye, I used digital 4-digit panel containing ADC and LEDs, cost 1 USD. For charging from motor I not interrupted in wiring of original Swedish regulator however it contains about 50 corpuses DIP logics (for what!!) but when it will give a least signs of fault I shall change toward VW car regulator relay, cheap, precise, and clear how it works. To serve the 220 V on board, I used 20 USD worth car device 12->220 V for 400W. All the main network is working on 12 V including the motors.
 

Thread Starter

JMW

Joined Nov 21, 2011
134
Another update: All modules have been installed. The unit powers up but will not generate electricity. The factory stated there was some "salt water' damage??? At any rate the next evolution is to replace 11 contactors and two relays. The two relays show definite signs of corrosion on the spade lug type connectors (no sockets???). The MDE's are 24 VDC start. I have been told this unit creates 3 Phase 50 Hz from single phase 220 60 Hz. Meaning the cover plate is incorrect. More to follow
 
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