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Old 07-04-2014, 02:03 AM   #1
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Finally!! Balmar 120A alt installed!

Well, today was the day that I've been dreading and looking forward to for a couple of years, ever since I bought my buddy's 120A Balmar alternator. He had operated his sailboat with a 4.108 Perkins for about a year with the Balmar before needing to replace his engine. After installing his new engne, he found there was not enough room for the Balmar, so I inherited it at friend pricing.

I sat on this Balmar for a couple of years dreading the installation since I know nothing about alternators and, after reading the instructions, knew that this was clearly "out of my wheelhouse." I bought the external regulator and, like I often do, contemplated the job as I procrastinated. Some of my wires didn't seem to match up with the connections on the Balmar alternator and regulator. Finally I decided to hire a professional to assist with the job.

Steve of CNI Marine Services showed up today for the job. He's a great guy to work with on engine and electrical issues. Together we agreed on a methodical plan of attack. After 2 1/2 hours in the ER, and a call to Balmar Tech Support, we had the job finished and working as expected! I now have plenty of juice for my 660AH house bank while underway to compliment my recently installed Iota 55A shore charger.

Until now, with stock alternators and a 30A charger, I've always felt "electrically challenged" after 3-4 days on the hook. My little charger, which had been malfunctioning for a year or so without my knowledge until I installed the SOC meter, just couldn't seem to keep up with my increasingly amp-hungry little boat. I finally feel like I'm now really ready for some extended stays on anchor. Bring on the summer California Delta anchorages! I'm ready for some summer fun on the hook!!
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Old 07-04-2014, 02:23 AM   #2
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Al-
In the discussion there has been mention of double pulley for amperage over 100. Were you required to make that change and part of the ER involvement? It is assumed that with 120 amps you did change your wire to heavier gage. How much and far did this become a necessary if so?
Not a thread change: Al, I have the anchor winch mounted and about wired, only change will be to do as we discussed, move the battery leads from the house to the start battery bank. Now I am ready to move on this charging amperage challenge.

Currently making local inquiry to and for a 70 to 90 amp alternation without having to go online in support of our local outlet. Intend to have a professional install a proper charger to handle both banks (Smart Charger?) and a SOC meter. So your post Al, have been and continue to excite the projects moving forward. Any additional thoughts are welcome.
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Old 07-04-2014, 03:02 AM   #3
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FlyWright- Take a gander at this monster. 220 amps. No. it will not fit my (our) mounting space. I have a 1GM Yanmar engine in my Poulsbo Skiff. I swear, a alternator of this size would seemingly suck the RPMs down on a 6 hp engine. Would not take long to have full bank of energy

(Note- Single pully!!!)


. Alhttp://www.ebay.com/itm/HIGH-OUTPUT-ALTERNATOR-Fits-YANMAR-INDUSTRIAL-MARINE-ENGINES-1GM-2GM-3GM-4GM-/261105039531?pt=Boat_Parts_Accessories_Gear
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Old 07-04-2014, 04:16 AM   #4
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Al,

I have a single 1/2 inch pulley and belt which, according to Balmar, is limited to 110A. The external smart regulator has a "Belt Load Manager" that allows for alternator field reduction in 5% increments to 45% reduction. I'll adjust the setting to achieve the desired load if it becomes an issue. Right now it's set to no reduction, but with the battery at 80% charge, it only would put out about 60A before ramping down.

Is this the perfect electrical setup? No it's not. Ideally, I'd have 25% charging capacity on my alternator and shore charger. But it's closer to optimum than I've ever had and is sized appropriately for the limiting factors of belt size and Honda eu2000i generator limited output. That just means I'll have to charge a little longer, but that's an acceptable trade-off in my mind.

When I installed my larger house bank a while back, I installed 4 AWG cable for the 8-10 ft run needed to run the cables directly to their respective battery bank. I also bypassed the stock ammeter and installed the LinkPro SOC.

I also had installed a 100A Yandina combiner but changed that out yesterday for a 160A model that is much beefier and capable of handling the charge over 100A. I have an AUTO/OFF switch installed and normally leave it in OFF unless the start battery needs a boost. I will reinstall the 100A combiner when I split my single 8D start battery to separate Group 31 batteries after my 8D dies.

I think you made a wise choice in placing the windlass on the start battery since the engine is running during use. Plus, if your house is depleted from a lengthy time on anchor, you can still retrieve your anchor.

Have you looked into having your alternators rebuilt to a larger output? Adding windings can improve your amperage and might be a more affordable alternative. Installing a smart shore charger will go a long way to helping you quality electrical system you're shooting for. The SOC meter will quickly point out any shortcomings in system performance, as mine has.

BTW, I forgot to mention the tach which is driven off the alternator. My Balmar 621 has 12 stators and apparently the Delco it replaced did, too. The tach indicated accurately without adjustment. I did take the original alternator's pulley off and place it on the Balmar replacement to keep the alternator RPM the same.
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Old 07-04-2014, 04:27 AM   #5
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Just my 2 cents worth.
Like everyone who has a boat I also had charging problem, or maybe it too much consumption from too little battery size ? ?
I fitted an Adverc alternator controller which has worked flawlessly for 20 years and also 240w of solar panels feeding into a 660 amp battery bank and thankfully no more problems.
A lot of factors go to make an answer and not least is how and where you use the boat and so each case is on it's own merits.
The great thing about this forum is the sharing of experience for the betterment of all as the brotherhood of the sea.
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:05 AM   #6
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Congrats Al, hopefully the alternator control will save you from eating belts. It sounds like a pretty good system overall. Hopefully the tach buffer will prevent any tachometer problems/ issues.
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Old 07-06-2014, 02:24 PM   #7
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I just did the Balmar Series 60 100A alternator and external regulator upgrade on my Yanmar 4JH2E. I am so happy! I find that I am topped up (not topped off) after less than 2 hours of run time (night at anchor, electronics, refrigerator, and stereo on) at 1850 rpm's and hopefully the Honda will be relegated to housecleaning (running the vacuum). Single 1/2" belt, no downgrade in belt loading, and the ARS-5 external regulator indicates that I switch quickly from bulk to absorb over a couple of hours and go to float mode, which it will never go out of while running the engine.

I can't tell if the Digital Duo-Charge is topping off my start battery, as I have no device connected to measure it. It has been working fine for over a month, about 120 hours on the system and nothing but satisfaction so far. That's as good as it gets :-)
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Old 07-06-2014, 02:46 PM   #8
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AKDoug, no voltmeter on the start battery? Maybe it's time for a 2-bank SOC. It's a great tool.

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Old 07-06-2014, 06:46 PM   #9
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I have one of those! In the box. Under the new pilothouse port side seat I also just built. I was so tired of messing with things with wires when I got done installing 4D's where two group 24 house batteries were, and removing and replacing the one/two/both switch with one start, one house, and one crossover battery switches along with a group 26 AGM for the start battery AND figuring out the Balmar Alternator, regulator, and Duo Charge that I am "wired out"!

The original battery system had a voltmeter with 1/2 house batteries on a switch, now it only monitors the house bank. I have been more interested in watching the external regulator and it's cycles than in more messing with wires and cutting holes. It's time to use it!
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:00 PM   #10
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Well it's a different animal but the Balmar Smartgauge SOC meter monitors the SOC of the house and start battery systems.
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Old 07-07-2014, 12:01 AM   #11
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I believe the Balmar Smartgauge does a better job at measuring the state of charge (SOC) but the other SOC meters provide a more complete and ongoing picture of what's going into and out of your house bank. Smartgauge is like a super-accurate fuel tank quantity gauge for the battery, but the Victron and LinkPro monitors provide a less accurate quantity gauge with a very detailed fuel flow meter. Both together would provide the most accurate info, but given the choice of one or the other, I'd pick the battery monitor.
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