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Problem with new Sterling 40 amp Charger


Problem with new Sterling 40 amp Charger

by chuckhoulihan » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:06 pm

First I wanted to reach out to other members of the group to see if anyone is experiencing the same issue and lack of customer support from Sterling. i have posted this on cruiser forum as well.

I recently received a Sterling 40 amp battery charger from Defender being sent Fed Ex to Tahiti. I know I know when I use the word Tahiti in anything I am complaining about I get no sympathy. But after paying the freight and customs it came close to the price of a charger.

Since then I have written to Sterling at least 7-8 times trying to get some tech support regarding my issue. In all fairness I have been hearing from the Sterling guy in the US who is does not have the technical background to answer my questions and just today referred me to the UK. That took 7 emails

Rich from CruiseRO a friend for many years and distributor of Sterling Chargers said he never had a reported failure of the 60 amp chargers that he sells.

I have heard from another yachtie who has gone thru 4 Sterling 40 amp chargers because of almost identical issues.

Here is my summary

Model: Sterling Power 40 Amp ProCharge Ultra Marine Battery Charger
Purchase Date: 2-20-18
Company: Defender Marine
Cost: $316.99
Shipping: $134.25
Customs: $130
Received: 2-26-18
Installed: 2-27-18

Unit was replacing a ProNautic 40amp battery charger that was 6+ years old. Pronautic and Sterling jointly shared development and units are identical except for labeling. Older Pronautic was w/o auto conservation mode.

Install was simple and basically a drop in.

Battery Bank
4@ 6V golf cart wet deep cycle configured into 2 12V banks
Battery cables from charger to battery are #8 length of run < 3’

Charger is used while at the dock using 220V or while at anchor using our Honda 1000 110V generator.

Both older Pronautic 40amp and new Sterling 40 amp are run in same exact method.

When installed the unit was configured as:
Setup as PS
Custom Setup Bulk 14.7 Float 14.6
Battery Temp lead connected
All lights looked normal and no errors encountered
Power supplied by: Honda 1000 110V generator

Problems & Issues

Day 1 & 2
When first installed I ran a Equalize cycle on battery bank 1 and the next day on battery bank 2. No issues with equalize cycles on 2 separate days

Day 3
Battery charger was turned on
Voltage 14.1 Amps 40 fast charge fan 2 lights
Unit ran for maybe 5 minutes then voltage dropped to .5 and amps to 00
Fan continues to run after failing at full speed 3 lights
Absorption light is on
Occasional flash from DC Low Voltage all other lights on & normal

Voltmeter tests at BC at time of failure
AC leads coming into unit 127V
DC output from BC 13.67

Restarted and immediately returned to 00V 00amps. All lights show normal restart Fan is on high (3 lights) Absorption light is on

After 4-5 minutes unit switched back to charging 14.1V 40 amps then after about 3-4 minutes returned to .5-.6V 00 amps. This continues to happen over a 1 hour period until BC is turned off.

Note: Voltage showing would be between 00V – 0.5V

Temperature readings using Raytech heat gun
Air Temp 87F
Upper Case 100-101F
Lower Case 96F
Fan on 2 of 3 lights before failure 3 of 3 lights when failed

Attempts to isolate problem

Reviewed You Tube trouble shooting video link provided by Adam - Sterling
Removed lower red cover and put dc fan on high (same failure)
Reset charger to Open Lead Acid (same failure)
Reset charger to BC mode (same failure)
Removed battery temp sense wire (same failure)
Honda 1000 set to full output mode (same failure)
Honda 1000 set to Eco mode (same failure)
Turned both solar panels and wind generator off (same failure)

When batteries get charged up by solar and wind and battery charger is started. If the battery charger output is < 33-34amps it will run thru its full cycle.

Any suggestions or comments on my problem?

Thank you

Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:45 pm

Re: Problem with new Sterling 40 amp Charger

by chuckhoulihan » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:48 pm

Interesting all of a sudden I am getting a flurry of emails from Sterling.

Last night I called the manager in the UK (midnight my time) and came away with a number of ideas for further testing.

Will follow up with further updates

Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:45 pm

Re: Problem with new Sterling 40 amp Charger

by danasims » Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:25 pm

I'm still sympathetic even if you are in Tahiti and I'm sitting here in 40 degree weather. How'd it go? We're currently waiting for our Sterling charger to arrive. Would love to know what we might be facing.
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:59 pm

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