On board Aeolus when we bought her, was fitted a Fischer Panda 4200 marine generator. On the day of our initial inspection, this had failed to start, but the control panel was replaced by the previous owner and all appeared ok, until our second test, when it again failed to start. I found that by fiddling with the wires of the start and fuel pump relays, that I could get the generator to start, but we needed to do this almost every time that the generator would run.
A little investigation led me to believe that the main problem was the poor installation of these relays, both in terms of the quality of connection and the mounting location. Standard 12 volt relays are in use, fitted with mounting blocks, but connected with standard spade connectors, not those specifically intended for use in these blocks. A better option would be to fit spades with a locking tab, which holds the spade somewhat solidly in the mounting block and helps to maintain a good connection between cable and relay. Compounding this problem is the mounting location, in order to make the Panda 4200 a true “Generator in a box” type product, these relays were mounted to the generator end of the machine, being solidly attached here, the relays are subject to the same vibration as any other part of the machine.
My solution was to find a seven core marine grade cable, suitable for use as an extension to remove these two relays to some place outside of the generator box, therefore removing them from the vibration that was causing so much trouble. In addition, I source the proper automotive standard spade connectors for use with the mounting blocks. The job itself was simple enough, splicing all of the cables at the machine end, feeding the new multi core cable through an existing hole in the base of the panda casing, then locating the relays in a suitable accessible position close to, but independent from the machine.
The result has been an astounding success! Our troublesome Panda 4200 generator now starts perfectly every time without fail.
I did send this solution on to a Fischer-Panda agent in the hope of perhaps improving this situation for other customers, but received no reply whatsoever, so I am not sure whether or not this information got any further.
I do hope that if any of you have or know of anyone with a Panda 4200 which does not like to start, that you could share this with them prior to using the generator as a mooring weight.