While sourcing the main propulsion hydraulic system for nb Tanya Louise in the summer, we thought that it would be convenient to have an on board generator that didn’t require dragging off the boat & highly explosive petrol to operate.
As the hydraulics were already being fitted, we decided to add a hydraulically driven generator to solve this issue.
And this is where the problems began…
We were referred to Mike Webb of hydraulicgenerators.co.uk to supply the equipment required for this part of the project, this was to include the alternator itself, hydraulic motor to drive the alternator, the required adaptor plates to mate the motor to the generator head & a control valve block to regulate the oil flow & pressure to the motor.
After a phone call to Mike on 16-07-2013 to discuss our requirements, we settled on a system. I received the following E-Mail the next day from Mike:
Good morning, reference our conversation, Martin from BSP has given me details as to what he will be supplying, on that basis and in light of the special price I have offered, this is what I propose to supply,
1 off New 8kVa – 7kW Hydraulic driven generator 220v single phase 50hz c/w flow control valve, pressure relief valve and on/off solenoid valve, Martin did say that the engine idle is between 1000 and 1200 rpm and max speed is 3600 rpm, valves will be rated accordingly. I have the alternator and parts available now, in order for me to be able to offer this at a significantly discounted price of £ 1.200.00 nett, I will need to utilise the components I have in stock now, so I will need payment asap, delivery will be approx. 7 days, primarily due to the fact that the coupling is fabricated to suit, I can either deliver the unit to you when ready or BSP or hold onto it until everything else is in place. The alternator is a Meccalte S20W that I bought for another customer a few weeks ago, but he cancelled and I don’t have, at this time, anyone else interested in it, so either I do a deal with you at the above price or wait until someone else comes along and wants the unit.
With regards to installation, let me know if you need any help, but it would be best to install when the engine is being installed and the rest of the system hosed up, I assume BSP will be sorting this, in which case I’ll liase with Martin.
I trust that this meets with your approval and look forward to hearing from you.
At this point an order was placed with Mike, & the money transferred so he could begin building the unit for us. As can be seen from the E-Mail, a lead time of 7 days was stated.
After a few phone calls over the following month, firstly being told that the custom parts to mate the generator to the motor had not come back from the engineers, I sent another E-Mail to Mike on 10-09-2013, and got no reply.
Following another phone call, I was told that the generator had been shipped, however Mike would not give me any tracking details for the shipment, and would not initially tell me who it was shipped with.
Again the generator didn’t turn up.
More phone calls ensued & I was told at this point that the shipping company had been confused by the address given, shipped back to Mike. At this point I was informed that the shipping company had actually LOST it. Several more phone calls later I was promised that a replacement generator would now ship no later than 08-10-2013. A follow up E-Mail two days later also generated no reply.
At this point I was beginning to wonder if I would ever see the goods we had paid for, but finally a shipment arrived from Mike
~15-10-2013, over TWO MONTHS after our promised delivery date. However, even having been delivered, all was not well with the goods.
Above is the generator supplied. No mounting bracket, no integrated valve block, in short, nothing like what was described in Mike’s documentation & website. The original documentation is available here for reference: Genny Documentation (571 downloads)
The valve block supplied was this:
Flow control: check.
Pressure relief: check.
Control solenoid valve: Gaping hole….
As can be seen, there is an open port on the side of the valve block. This is where the ON/OFF control solenoid valve is supposed to be located.
After several more unanswered E-Mails & phone calls, I had to get somewhat more forceful in my messages, as now Mike had begun outright lying about what was specified in the original order. In which that there was no solenoid valve required. So the following E-Mail was sent 21-10-2013:
Having had a conversation with Martin, about him attempting to contact you regarding what you have supplied to us, I need this resolving ASAP now, as I am being held up by the fact that there is an open port on your valve block where the solenoid control valve is supposed to be located.
As it stands the valve block & therefore the generator you have supplied to us is useless for it’s intended purpose & I will be seeking legal advice on this matter if a resolution cannot be made this week, considering you have not replied to any E-Mail I have sent since the unit’s massively delayed arrived.
In your original correspondence it is certainly indicated that this valve was to be fitted, which was also Martin’s instruction to you.
I await your expedient response.
This threat of legal action actually spurred a response from Mike, who finally replied with the following on 25-10-2013:
Sorry about all this, I have been away and down with a bug for the last week, I will sort this today and will have the required parts shipped to you on Monday for Tuesday delivery.
Another promise of a delivery date, so I waited a little longer, until the Friday of that week. Still no delivery. No surprise there then.
(I didn’t believe the story about illness either).
At this point I again attempted contact, but got nowhere, even with legal threats. So I’ve given up completely on this & been forced to source the parts elsewhere at extra cost.
This company is not the one to go to if you require a hydraulic generator unit for any application, as you’d be lucky to get any part of what you order on time, if at all.
Operations are run by an all out liar who seems to be happy to accept money but not ship the goods that had been paid for.
Mike having explained to me that the shipping company had lost a generator, and he would have to build me another one to replace it also does not make sense, as in the initial phone call & mail he stated that the Meccalte generator that we eventually received was a single unit that was specially ordered for another client, and the factory build date on the unit certainly gave away the fact that the generator head had been sat around for some considerable time before I came along & made a purchase.
Hopefully this post will get a high Google ranking, to ensure that anyone else who happens to be looking for a similar piece of equipment does not have the misfortune to trust this man.
We were referred to him on good faith & unfortunately in this case it did not go well.