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Old 12-29-2018, 12:52 AM   #1
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Balmar alternators on Perkins 354's

We are planing a trip up the inside passage this summer. I'm thinking that a high output Balmar alternator on at least one (if not both) of the two Perkins 354's would be a good idea. Presently, she has internally regulated automotive alternators on each engine. They do NOT seem to do a good job charging the house bank and I have been reading that they are insufficently reglated for such. (I have had my batts heat up and ruined them) The primary draw on the two 8D wet cell house batts will be the 12 volt refrigerator and possibly an inverter for a 5 Cu. Ft freezer on the deck. Has anybody had any experience with the these on Perkins or Lehman 6 cyls? Im intrested in the Balmar 6 series 70 or 100 Amp output at low RPM alts. I do realize that I could use more batteries, but I have limited space availbable. I will also likely be changing out batteries. I imagine golf cart batts will be best when wired in series? Could some of you please shed some light and experience into this?

Thanks

sam
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Old 12-29-2018, 04:45 AM   #2
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Top right of the bar hit “search” and type in Balmar and you will see many posts come up involving batteries and Balmar chargers. That said we have a Balmar 100 on our Lehman (new to us). Very impressive 80 amps at 800 RPM. It appears to be using the stock Lehman belt and single pulley. I might install the double or serpentine belt later on as I am seeing a little too much dust.
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Old 12-29-2018, 06:18 AM   #3
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You can also go to an electical shop and have the internal V regulator discarded and a field wire installed.

Then you can keep the existing alts and simply purchase the much needed needed 3-4 stage V regulator.

Do the math , even if you get 100% recharged I doubt (2) 8D will do a fridge and a freezer for much more than O-nite.

On the loop it will be easy to stop for supplies , seldom to need a 2 day endurance if moving, so unlike the Bahamas ,where a month or more supply of food is good, a freezer may see little use.
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Old 12-29-2018, 06:37 AM   #4
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First your batteries got hot due to internal sulfate sloughing off the plates and building up enough to short the plates. This was caused by chronic undercharging, probably because you relied upon the single voltage regulated alternators.


I don't agree with taking a light duty alternator and requiring it to put out 80 amps continuously by having an electrical shop provide an external regulator connection. It won't last very long in that service. Balmar and other high output alternators have heavier windings, better cooling and heavier diodes to let them put out high current continuously.


So yes, I would replace one of the alternators with a high output, externally regulated one.


GCs are much better at deep cycle use and 4 wired series/parallel will give you 440 amp hours or about 220 AHs useable. Whether that will run your appliances is a tough question. Maybe, maybe not. Try it and see. If the battery voltage drops to 12.0 or less overnight before you can charge then that is too low and you need to reduce load, increase batteries or increase the charging frequency.


Also a 100-200 watt solar panel even in the inside passage would help top off the batteries during the day.


David
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Old 12-29-2018, 06:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Restitution View Post
We are planing a trip up the inside passage this summer. I'm thinking that a high output Balmar alternator on at least one (if not both) of the two Perkins 354's would be a good idea. Presently, she has internally regulated automotive alternators on each engine. They do NOT seem to do a good job charging the house bank and I have been reading that they are insufficently reglated for such. (I have had my batts heat up and ruined them) The primary draw on the two 8D wet cell house batts will be the 12 volt refrigerator and possibly an inverter for a 5 Cu. Ft freezer on the deck. Has anybody had any experience with the these on Perkins or Lehman 6 cyls? Im intrested in the Balmar 6 series 70 or 100 Amp output at low RPM alts. I do realize that I could use more batteries, but I have limited space availbable. I will also likely be changing out batteries. I imagine golf cart batts will be best when wired in series? Could some of you please shed some light and experience into this?

Thanks

sam
Yes, I installed Balmar 6 series alternators on our DeFever 44 with Lehman 120s. They work quite well. During a five-hour run, they will return my 932 amp-hour (nominal) house bank to 95% from 55%-60%. You will need Balmar's Centerfielder alternator manager to control the output from both alternators. Without it, one alternator will dominate the other and, effectively, you will have only one putting out current.

Also, consider this recent experience. Because of a failed rubber shaft coupler, I was forced to run 40 miles on one engine. We had anchored out the previous night. Our State-of-Charge meter showed us to be at 57% when we started our 7-hour run to a marina. We arrived with the bank charged to only 68%. I would have expected more than that but perhaps the fact that we were running at only 1,400 RPM resulted in much lower output. Methinks so.

We are very happy with our two externally-regulated Balmars.
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Old 12-29-2018, 07:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post
You can also go to an electical shop and have the internal V regulator discarded and a field wire installed.

Then you can keep the existing alts and simply purchase the much needed needed 3-4 stage V regulator.

Do the math , even if you get 100% recharged I doubt (2) 8D will do a fridge and a freezer for much more than O-nite.

On the loop it will be easy to stop for supplies , seldom to need a 2 day endurance if moving, so unlike the Bahamas ,where a month or more supply of food is good, a freezer may see little use.
You don't say what your overall electrical demands are but I agree with FF that two 8D's are insufficient for what you have aboard. We have 932 amphours aboard in the form of golf car batteries. I admit to not caring to be fanatical about conservation on overnights so consider that when I share what we run on our boat.

We have two TV's with satellite receivers, the receivers, that we leave on overnight along with the satellite dome which frequently moves to retain the signal. Then there are the two 4.4 cubic inch refridgerators, the Engel fridge-freezer, a five cubic foot freezer, and various lighting needs. That use of battery reduces our bank overnight to 55%-60%.

However, I do not agree with FF about the usefulness of a freezer while cruising the hinterlands. Yes, access to resupply is generally not a problem. But, what the freezer affords is ready access to a greater variety of meal choices and not having to worry about preservation of the few meals one might be able to keep refridgerated. We are 4,000 miles into doing the Great Loop. We love having a freezer. Absolutely necessary? No, but it has made living aboard much, much nicer.

Also, as FF states, you can have your existing alternators modified for external regulation - a must - but you will have a much lower output than a nice, but expensive, Balmar 100-amp set-up. Plus, how much life is left in those old alternators?
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Old 12-29-2018, 07:53 AM   #7
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My Perkins 6.354 came with a standard Delco 10Si alternator. When that died I changed to an ARCO 60122 105 amp alternator (based on a Leece Neville 8MR alternator) and 6 Trojan T105's replacing 2 8Ds. The ARCO is internally regulated at 14.4 volts (adjustable setpoint) and handles the GCs fine. The only problem was the single groove 10 mm x 2.6 inch pulley kept slipping and would need tightening every 30-40 hours. Problem cured by changing pulley to 13 mm x 3.0 inch which takes 1/2" belt. Leece Neville pulley part #107-87. My setup also needed an extra washer used as a spacer to get the belt alignment correct. Not hard but you would probably need to do the same.
The alternator output wire to the starter solenoid terminal will need to be upsized for the additional amps. I believe it was increased to #4 gauge.

My overnight loads are similar with a refrig/freezer and a 5 cu ft freezer box on an inverter.
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:42 AM   #8
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I had a Ballard 100 amp alternator powered by a Yanmar 3GM30 in the sailboat (the PO’s choice). The pulleys were Yanmar’s originals. Too small; the life expectancy of a belt was about two months and the black dust covered everything.

Our 70 amp as-supplied alternators on our 6.354s seem to keep our house bank happy.
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Old 12-29-2018, 01:53 PM   #9
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Fun times......I have the stock Motorola Alts on my 3208T/As.
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:00 PM   #10
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If you stay with 8d batteries, there are 2 types 8dc and 8dd. 8dd is deep cycle. 8dc is starting. Most places sell 8dc only. Dyno batteries, made in Seattle, are one of the best lead acid batteries made. I usually get 8-10 years of constant use out of them. Sold by Fisheries Supply https://www.fisheriessupply.com/dyno...deep-cycle-8dd
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:24 PM   #11
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Sheesh! Thanks for nuthin’ Apple! I typed Balmar and it corrected me to Ballard.
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Old 12-29-2018, 03:06 PM   #12
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I've got twin Perkins 4.236s that I recabled directly to the battery banks and installed a Balmar Series 6 (120A derated to 100A) on the stbd side to feed the house bank. My stock port alternator feeds the start battery.

No centerfielder needed since my alternators do not compete for the charge. I have a switchable combiner that can direct the charge to both batteries during all single charge source operations. I replaced the 2 8D house batts with 6xGC2s for a 660AH house bank - a ~50% increase in AH.

I derated the alternator using the Balmar MC-614 external regulator to avoid needing to upgrade from the 1/2 inch standard belt. Mine works well without belt wear or dusting. It provides a full charge at a high idle of ~1100 RPM.

A nice feature of the Series 6 Balmar is that there is actually an internal voltage regulator that is bypassed when using an external VR. In the event that the external VR fails, the internal reg can be switched on to take over the regulation. I haven't connected this brown wire to a switch yet but it's on the to-do list as other higher priority items are completed.
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Old 12-31-2018, 06:37 AM   #13
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"Balmar and other high output alternators have heavier windings, better cooling and heavier diodes to let them put out high current continuously."

Back when I was in the business Balmar sold rewound auto alts by Les Tech , dont know what they sell today.

The hardest system to install is to replace the alts with truck alts.

These are Prestolite or Leece Neville 135A units that coat about $140 at your local OTR truck dealer. They are wired for an external V regulator and are fine for cont duty .

But they need a engine mount to handle their larger size.


Not required for an 8D , but great if the batt bank is larger and time counts .
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:49 AM   #14
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Flywright,
What did you do with your old amp gauge for your stdb engine that has the Balmar? Switch out for larger ammeter? Voltage meter?
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:26 AM   #15
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My recabling disabled the old ammeters so they sit in a box of used parts gathering dust. I installed a Xantrex LinkPro SOC meter in the hole from the stbd ammeter and a depth sounder in the hole from the port ammeter.
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Old 12-31-2018, 02:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
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"Balmar and other high output alternators have heavier windings, better cooling and heavier diodes to let them put out high current continuously."

Back when I was in the business Balmar sold rewound auto alts by Les Tech , dont know what they sell today.

The hardest system to install is to replace the alts with truck alts.

These are Prestolite or Leece Neville 135A units that coat about $140 at your local OTR truck dealer. They are wired for an external V regulator and are fine for cont duty .

But they need a engine mount to handle their larger size.


Not required for an 8D , but great if the batt bank is larger and time counts .
I was talking with a friend about Leece Neville as I am in OTR truck dealers frequently. I was told that one of the pluses of a Balmar is that they put a lot of amps at a low RPM. Rated in belt feet per minute? Never heard of that rating. However my 100 amp Balmar gave me 80 amps at 800 rpm on the Lehman. Pretty impressive.
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Old 12-31-2018, 05:20 PM   #17
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Lots of specs here from Balmar.

2018 Balmar Catalog | Balmar
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Old 12-31-2018, 06:41 PM   #18
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Balmar alternators and regulators are the go to source for a high output alternator. But other suppliers, Hehr and Hamilton Ferris, supply similar alternators. Also Leece Neville makes inexpensive high output alternators but these generally have a J80 mount which would require adaptation for most engines.


Even though they are probably the most expensive choice, an appropriate Balmar alternator with a Balmar external regulator is the simplest and best choice for most applications.


Balmar also has excellent cutomer service that can help you select the right alternator for your application.


David
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHeckrotte View Post
I had a Ballard 100 amp alternator powered by a Yanmar 3GM30 in the sailboat (the PO’s choice). The pulleys were Yanmar’s originals. Too small; the life expectancy of a belt was about two months and the black dust covered everything.

Our 70 amp as-supplied alternators on our 6.354s seem to keep our house bank happy.
I have a Balmar 100 amp on a Yanmar 4jh, replace the belt once a year "just because". When I got the boat the alignment wasn't right and I got a lot of dust, adding a spacer to align better I get no dust in 600 hours of run time.

Two 4D AGM's and I run a refrigerator, stereo, and Webasto heater for two days on the hook before I need to recharge. Usually the charging is in "float" mode two hours into cruising after a two day interval on the hook.
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:28 PM   #20
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You could go Balmar and pay the big bucks or get an external regulator for an Amptech 125, which is more than adequate.
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