smooth-cruiser avatar image

Phoenix 50A charger damaging generator??

I have recently purchased a Phoenix 12/50 (1+1) 240V Smart battery charger and installed it on my boat which has 480AH of AGM batteries. I used to have a Projecta 50A charger which failed. I run the charger from either mains shore power at the marina or from a 2000W inverter generator when out sailing. After three days of charging (1 hour per day) from my original generator (a generic version of the Honda 2000i) it failed - it showed overload and stopped generating AC. However even after I disconnected the load I still couldn’t get the generator to run again. The engine runs fine but within two minutes of starting it the AC overload light comes on and the AC circuits cut out. Numerous resets and restarts don’t change this.

So I came back into port and borrowed a generator from a friend to head out again. This is a fairly new Yamaha EF2000is.

On the second day of running this generator it started labouring and the AC cut out though it didn’t show overload. Now the generator will start but runs very slowly and won’t produce power, with the engine cutting out after about two minutes.

I know this isn’t a generator trouble shooting site but my question is - could my Phoenix charger be causing these generator issues as it seems too strong a coincidence that two otherwise perfectly fine generators have failed within hours of having the Phoenix charger plugged in- after years of successfully running other chargers in this way.

Using quality clean fuel so this is not the issue. I am in Australia if this influences frequencies etc.

Would be interested in any suggestions or advice!

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Are you absolutely certain about the clean fuel assertion? It's far more likely to be a fuel issue than it is for a low power charger to damage two generators rated for far more power than the charger requires.

Have you done basic troubleshooting on the generators? Drained fuel, checked plugs, checked/filled oil, checked/cleaned air filter?

Agree that fuel is often the cause - but fairly sure it isn't in this case. I bought the fuel in a clean container and at the same time as fuel for the boat outboards which have run perfectly. I checked the fuel I used in the generators in the dinghy outboard and it is all good. Drained and cleaned carburettors, spark plugs and checked air boxes on both generators.
snoobler avatar image snoobler smooth-cruiser ·
Oil level? Most have low oil level switches that either prevent running or cause poor running.

Oil is right at the fill level - both have oil level cut out and warning lights which didn't activate. I am going to get the newer generator repaired and then I will know more about the cause of its woes - happy to post back here what is found.

3 Answers
smooth-cruiser avatar image
smooth-cruiser answered ·

Just to give some feedback on this - thanks for the comments and suggestions.

It has turned out that the generators each had separate issues causing their failure, so the charger doesn't appear to have been responsible at all - which is the logical outcome but seemed a bit coincidental!

Not sure what the issue was with the first generator but it is now running fine.

The second generator which i borrowed had the wrong spark plug in it - it was a 10 instead of a 6 so the gap was too wide and this seems to have caused it to produce a lot of soot - the spark arrester and muffler filter were both completely choked with carbon which was causing it to labour and cut out. After cleaning these and changing the spark plug to a 6 it runs sweetly again. I was probably running it more loaded than it had been previously which seems to have brought the issue to a head.

So - very happy with my Phoenix 50A charger now - it is much quieter than the brand I had previously and runs well.

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trevor-bird avatar image
trevor-bird answered ·

Hello, that does sound like a very unlikely coincidence but unfortunately I think that is what you are facing. The charger is providing about 600 watts to the batteries and even allowing for 80% efficiency that is only 750watts. The gen sets are rated at 2kW so your load is well within their capacity and even if it weren’t, the generator should simply overload and disconnect the load.

I don’t think the charger has killed the generator sets.

Not what you wanted to hear maybe but I can’t think of any way the load could cause this sort of failure.

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Thanks for the reply. I feel you are likely correct. I just don't want to plug in another $2000 generator and have that one die as well!
kevgermany avatar image
kevgermany answered ·

Might be worth checking out the wiring, could be a fault blowing the generator.

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