When we arrived at Wrightsville Beach, the cloudy conditions didn’t allow Yacht A Fun’s, our Gemini catamaran’s) solar panel to create sufficient charge to top off our house bank of 3 AGM batteries. Critical to the life of AGMs is to eliminate discharging below 50% charge. So, I ran the Westerbeke engine to charge the batteries- but noted that the amperage yield was way too low.
I feared that the alternator was dying, or that the regulator was failing. But, being diagnostic, I decided to inspect the connection to see if corrosion was resisting the current flow.
Sure enough, the threaded stud on the alternator was very rusty. Using my Dremel’s wire brush wheel, I was able to clean the threads and surface of the connector and the nut. Once that stud was clean, the alternator’s yield thru the Xantrex battery monitor with amp meter jumped up to 20+ amps until the battery charge level increased.
Further into our trip it was time to change the engine’s oil and filter. My system works pretty well. I have a Harbor Freight marine pump attached to a length of cable which reaches the house battery bank. A hose with hcopper tube is inserted into the dip stick hole. A discharge tube is run into a one gallon jug. With the engine warmed by running, the oil still takes a few minutes to be drained. Even so, pumping the oil out and replacing the filter only took 10 minutes.
When the task is over, the pump and tubes return to a dedicated tool box.
The story / blog of Yacht a Fun, a Gemini catamaran sailboat, traveling the ICW and east coast with insights to the extended cruising life. Alternator service and oil change