I specialise in the repair and service of Electrolux and Dometic 3.5 230V Travel Power generators which were often fitted throughout the ’00s.
Update: 1/4/21… Unfortunately due to the age of the units and inability to get hold of good 2nd hand parts I no longer offer any repairs to the Powerbox’s. If there is a Powerbox fault there’s an option to fit a larger 12V alternator replacing the Travel Power either a 175 Amp Mahle (Iskra) or a 200 Amp Bosch which fit on the same bracket and require a little shimming, & new freewheeling alternator pulley/belt. It’s a very good option particularly if there’s a large Victron or Mastervolt Combi already fitted.
I still carryout troubleshooting and rebuilds to the engine mounted Alternator. Most alternator parts are available and I still have a good 2nd hand stock of the bespoke Dometic/Electrolux items.
Travel Power Notes.
- It’s a good idea to have a TP alternator serviced from time to time as the rotor bearings can fail which can potentially destroy the expensive alternator with custom stator windings. As a general rule I recommend 2-3000 hours for the Bosch alternator and slightly longer for the later Iskra unit.
- When carrying out an oil change service or if the belt has to be re-tensioned always remove the TP belt and check for any roughness or play. If there’s any unusual ticking or whining noises switch off ASAP and check it out. The Bosch alternator is a old design and was never intended to be driven by a poly-V belt and the higher loads they apply. It’s very important not to over tension the belts on both types of TP alternator.
- The jerky motion of a diesel engine particularly with a large crank pulley as fitted to TP installations cause driving forces along the poly V belt in both directions. This causes the belt to bounce, snatch, slip and squeak and over-tensioning the belt helps to stop this. Fitting a freewheeling alternator pulley (a pulley which only grips & drives in the clockwise direction) allows forces along the belt in the driving direction only and makes the belt run dramatically smoother, increasing grip at a lower tension. The engine also runs smoother and the small (50mm) freewheeling pulley can increase generator output at tickover. Here’s a YouTube video that showing Freewheeling pulley fitment to a Beta 43 engine.
- Beta used to fit aluminium pulleys to Travel Power and domestic alternators. These pulleys very often become worn loosing their precise profile. Once the poly-v belt profile starts to wear, contact area decreases and wear accelerates. Tell tail symptom is black belt dust around the front of the engine. If you have problems with squealing belts and you think you might be over-tensioning the belt it’s best to fit a freewheeling pulley. The small (~45mm) diameter steel Travel Power pulley on some Barrus engines are also susceptible to profile wear.
- Fault diagnosis should be made on the boat. Fault’s can be with the wiring looms, connections/terminals, rocker switch, alternator, powerbox or appliances on the boat.
- The Alternator can be tested in-situ on the boat or run up on the bench and no Powerbox is needed.
- The 5 core cable is often overlooked. With oil/fuel/water contamination the insulation breaks down and this can cause serious problems and potentially destroy the Powerbox. If there’s any doubt the cable should be cut back at the alternator end and re-terminated.
- I carry new original spec quality 5 core tinned generator cable and the original spec uninsulated spade terminals for the early units (not the cheap brass or blue insulated terminals used by some repairers). As a safety point the outer braid of the 5 core loom should be clamped and connected (grounded) at the alternator and powerbox end.