Gizmo’s alternator, tune-up & upgrade

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

14 Responses

  1. Cattledog says:

    Also look at these regulators:
    Regulator V3 by AmplePower:
    http://www.amplepower.com/products/sarv3/index.html

  2. Mark says:

    Two thumbs up on your choice of alternator and regulator! Pay attention to wire sizing, drive belt arrangement, and the voltage sense connection to the regulator.
    I’ve always had great results with the Balmar 600-series regulators. The Ample Power regulators are also good (often seen rebadged as Charles). I had repeated failures of Powerline regulators on a 24-volt system (now using an Ample).

  3. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    This could be a busy year for those people in the alternator industry, both rebuilds and new sales, if any of the new battery products introduced over the last two years are adopted by even 1% of boaters.
    The ability of these new batteries to take everything the alternator can put out, almost right up to the point of being fully charged, is going to make them run harder and hotter.
    Keeping a spare alternator while testing new power components is a very good idea!

  4. Allan Seymour says:

    Ben, after seeing charge voltage of 16 as we put the SallyW in the slings last fall I’ve gone with a new Balmar ARS-5. Its in but not fully wired but I will tomorrow. I think you’ve got the new model, darn for me. We can compare programming notes this summer. I think Balmar is a great brand and they are very helpful on the phone. A real place.

  5. Charlie J. says:

    Ben-Great setup!
    Some suggestions:
    1. Install the battery temperature monitor to ensure temperature compensation for your battery bank. This even improves the service life of flooded lead acid batteries.
    2. Install the alternator temperature monitor, especially for AGM batteries. As pointed out in a post above, AGMs, thin plate pure lead (TPPL) AGMs and the lithium batteries “look” almost like a short circuit to the alternator an it will get hot, not warm, but hot! The temperature sensor will reduce the output of the alternator and allow it to cool off before applying field current to continue the charge cycle.
    3. Look at the wiring of the built in regulator on the data sheet for the Balmar 6 Series alternators http://www.balmar.net/alternators.html. You could easily include this get home capability with the legacy regulator that your shop removed.
    4. The MC614 regulator has a lot of programming capability built into it to match your alternator to your bank and to really optimize your system. Talk to someone with real world experience on programming the regulator to truly exploit all of its capabilities.
    Hope this helps.
    Charlie

  6. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Happy to report that Alden is already planning to install battery and alternator temp sensors, and I suspect that he’s going to do an extra careful install as he knows that I won’t be the only one looking over his shoulder 😉

  7. Oceanplanet says:

    I’ve always been a fan of Ample Power, having used one of their 130A x 24V alts and the SAR-V3 for my two circumnavigations.
    However in recent experience with lithium systems have run into some odd probs with the regs cycling the alt field from off to full in 10 to 20 second intervals.
    On a client’s boat in Panama right now, just installed 250A x 12V American Power alts (one on each engine…this is a catamaran). Since the battery system is a Genasun lithium, switched from the SAR-V3’s to the Genasun AR2 alt regs (set for lithium).
    The reg and alternator combo works great, getting 400+A when running both engine…:-) A few tweeks coming (refine pulley ratios, and current-limited voltage sensing relays from the start to the house banks to allow using the “stock” alts output for the house bank), so soon should have 500+A charging for minimal fuel consumption.
    Anyone want a deal on a couple AP SAR-V3’s?

  8. Reed Erskine says:

    Hi Ben,
    Speaking of alternators here’s an interesting source of Hi-Amp hardware. http://www.alternatorparts.com/Extreme%20Duty%20Dual%20Rectifier%20CS-144%20type.htm
    I’ve been using one of these 12 diode 140 amp alternators on a home built 12V genset with a one cylinder Kubota diesel (eBay purchase) that puts out about 6 or 7 hp. It charges my sailboat’s 500 amp hr. AGM battery bank in an hour. It’s regulated by a Balmar ARS-5. So far so good. This set-up cranks out more amps than my 110VAC shore-power charger and consumes 1 1/2 pints of diesel per hour. Currently waiting in Bermuda to start a passage to the Azores, this little genset is the beating heart of our boat.

  9. Reed Erskine says:

    Hi Ben,
    Speaking of alternators here’s an interesting source of Hi-Amp hardware. http://www.alternatorparts.com/Extreme%20Duty%20Dual%20Rectifier%20CS-144%20type.htm
    I’ve been using one of these 12 diode 140 amp alternators on a home built 12V genset with a one cylinder Kubota diesel (eBay purchase) that puts out about 6 or 7 hp. It charges my sailboat’s 500 amp hr. AGM battery bank in an hour. It’s regulated by a Balmar ARS-5. So far so good. This set-up cranks out more amps than my 110VAC shore-power charger and consumes 1 1/2 pints of diesel per hour. Currently waiting in Bermuda to start a passage to the Azores, this little genset is the beating heart of our boat.

  10. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Reed! But I guess your news means no excellent rum drinks aboard “Cayenne” in Camden Harbor, unless — like my friend Tom Amory — you’re just going to the Azores for a look see and then coming back again? Look for his J35 “Flash of Beauty”: http://goo.gl/7ZMe7

  11. bosunj says:

    Do yourself and your readers a serious benefit by getting and testing a Zena alternator and charge controller. Simply the BEST out there.
    http://www.zena.net/htdocs/alternators/mar_alt.shtml
    Tony Blazina is the proprietor and is top notch.
    I bought two of his 24v 80A alternators two slave and one master controller to put on my new BetaMarine to charge my 6 Odyssey PC 2250s.

  12. Bruce Schwab says:

    Bosunj,
    Why would you use such low-power alts to charge that approx. 250Ah x 24V Odyssey bank? The Odysseys have a very high CAR (Charge Acceptance Rate)…for the bulk charge phase as 3C(!).
    I would have used dual APS 42i-180-28’s like I’ve set up for the Volvo 70’s Telefonica & Camper, etc. With both alts turned on they can charge at over 300A x 28V continuously which gets the job done in a hurry…;-)
    Bruce

  13. bosunj says:

    Bruce,
    Great question. I have a 20hp engine. Each alternator will use roughly 7 hp so to run them at the top of the engine’s power curve I’ll be loading the engine almost to its maximum.
    bosunj

  14. Bruce Schwab says:

    Ah, good point. The APS alts draw 9-10hp each at full pop so two of them would be too much for that engine.
    Cheers,
    B

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