A. You can use almost any of the “jump-start” units sold for
automotive use. The current drain of the starter on the outboard
will be much less than that of a vehicle engine. Since you have two
batteries, the following management approach may be of use to
Engine starting: Use one battery at a time, not both in parallel. (This will not only start the engine but tell you if the battery
is good and disclose one that is weak or failing). Switch the batteries to “both” when running under power (this will charge both
batteries). Operate your electronics from the battery you did not
use for engine starting on that trip. Consider restarting the engine
when the voltage of the battery powering the electronics decreases
to 12.0 volts. Alternate the battery used for starting each time you
use the boat.
Not Sensor Compatible
Q. I have a Garmin 540s connected to my VHF. I also have a
Garmin 492 and want to know if I can connect a Garmin fuel flow
sensor to it, and if so how? — Preston Morgan
A. After checking the specifications for the Garmin 540 and
the 492, I find no indication that either unit is compatible with a
fuel flow sensor.
Q. I own a 5-kW Northern Lights diesel generator that puts
out about 160 vac instead of 120 vac. Do you think the automatic
voltage regulator is causing this problem? Or is it possible something else may be causing it? The automatic voltage regulator cost
is $400. — William Dieffenbach
A. The current model 5-kW Northern Lights genset uses an
automatic voltage regulator (AVR) that is powered by an auxiliary
AC stator winding isolated from the main windings. A 160-volt
AC output, when measured with an RMS reading voltmeter, would
indicate a failure in the control circuit. Some of the older gensets
were self-excited, using capacitors to set the output voltage. I suggest you ask a service technician to check the genset to determine
which control method is used. Further, be sure the voltmeter you
are using to measure the output voltage is reading the RMS value.
The waveform from gensets can be distorted, resulting in erroneous readings.
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Chuck’s Here To Answer Your Questions We’re grateful to Chuck for his extensive research in answering members’ technical ques- tions. He tries to e-mail a response for each ques- tion for this column via
AskChuck@BoatUS.com. We only present a fraction of them here; the rest are personal responses to members,
which you can read at “Ask The Experts,” http://
my.BoatUS.com/askexperts. Read more articles
by Chuck at www.BoatUS.com/Husick.
Engineer, sailor, pilot,
and former president