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Joe, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 7121
Experience:  ASE, electronics, Marine mechanical and electronics, pwc, wiring, all around repair tech,
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I have twin Volvo Penta 380 on my Chaparral 327ssc. After

Customer Question

I have twin Volvo Penta 380 on my Chaparral 327ssc. After putting the batteries back in from the winter I am getting low voltage on the steering actuator. I have 6 batteries- a port ,a starboard, two house batteries and two stereo batteries. Both motors crank and fire up instantly with no problems but I have no steering. I also have the Volvo joystick and I believe the power is not coming out of the master computer and going to the steering control boxes for each motor. Also I am not sure if this is related but when I turn my starboard and house batteries on I get 12.3 volts on the battery meter which is on my switchboard. When I turn the port battery on the light on the switch comes on, the motor cranks strong and runs but the meter on board doesn't move a centimeter. However both port and starboard gauges at the helm read 12.3 when the motors are off and 14.4 when on.
I am also having a problem with my westerbeke 3k gen. I get power to the gen but when I hit the switch to start I have a green light that immediately goes to two red lights that say check engine, engine overheat. It does not even try to crank. However I put power directly to the gen starter and it turn over but will not fire up due to the power being off.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Boat
Expert:  Joe replied 6 months ago.


Thank you for allowing me to assist you, my name is Joe and I will be happy to assist you with your concern today.

To start we need to look at your batteries as they may be the source of the problem. 12.3 volts is actually low, 12.6 is static battery voltage, each battery should be disconnected, fully charged and then put on a professional load tester. You may have one or more batteries that are bringing the entire system down, esp when not running the engines.

If a battery is found bad then you should inspect all batteries, if they are all from around the same date and lets say 4 or 5 years old then it is really a time to consider replacing them all at the same time as you do not want to wait for them to go bad.

The generator is a separate question, however, since there is an overheat light on I would start by checking the temp sender for it and the wiring.

Thank you!
- Joe

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Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Ok I am going to load test each one but why would my port motor not show a reading at all on the on board battery meter but the port motor starts with no problem? The port battery was brand new last year. Also once the motors are running wouldn't the steering come back because the system is running on 14.4 alternator amps?
Expert:  Joe replied 6 months ago.

With newer digital systems and some newer systems in general they can still sense a problem if if the over all voltage is normal. However if you test all batteries and they are all god and not the problem then it would be a matter of testing voltage and ground at the unit to see where the problem lays.

In terms of the port side volt meter I would test voltage and ground at the meter to confirm if it is not getting voltage or if the gauge is to blame.



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