Friday, 19 June 2015

A strange thing happened on the way from Brisbane to Manly

We left Brisbane Thursday morning heading for Manly.  It was very foggy, but this story starts before this trip.

You can just see how the top floors in the two buildings are in the sun.

The KISS generator failed in Sydney as it shook itself to pieces in the "really big winds" in Pittwater in April.  I took it apart and ordered some parts to fix it including new magnets for the rotor and a new stator.  Rotor and stator had met catastrophically when the front bearing failed causing the magnets on the rotor to overhead (through friction) losing their oomph.

While waiting for the parts I stored the bits of the generator including the rotor (with the old, failed magnets) on the quarter berth.

The parts arrived while we were in Brisbane (thanks Phil!) and I replaced the magnets on the rotor and stored it back on the quarter berth.  The new magnets are really strong by the way and very difficult to handle as they desperately, maliciously and single mindedly wanted leap into contact with anything metal or each other!  Awesome fun :-)

Anyway to get back to the story, we left Brisbane and headed for a marina in Manly where we're going to hang for a week or so and on the way, we found the expensive Balmar 110A alternator on the engine did not seem to be working any more.

Bugger..  No charge to the batteries and no tacho.  We left it till we got to Manly and I started trying to sus out what was wrong and we worried all the way that we were going to need an injection of a boat unit at least to fix this.

Everything looked fine, no fuses gone and manually "exiting" the field coil on the alternator generated a magnetic field so the alternator was probably ok..  The regulator also seemed alright apart from not actually kicking the alternator into gear (exiting the field coil).

So I'm trying to figure out what's going wrong without paying for a marine electrician, reading the manuals forwards and backwards looking for clues when it hit me..  The regulator has a magnetic reed switch for programming and guess what, it's mounted on the other side of the bulkhead from the KISS rotor stored on the quarter berth!

So, move the rotor, turn the motor over and all's good with the world :-)

The rotor was stored there for ages with no problems, it was only after I'd replaced the magnets that it caused me strife.

It's strange how mundane things can sometimes conspire to cause really complex and difficult to resolve issues.

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