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Old 10-30-2013, 01:25 PM   #21
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Is the dual pulley necessary in my case for a 130 amp alt?
NO...I had my existing alternator rewound to increase the output to 140 amps and I drive it off the same belt that was on it before. It looks exactly like your belt.
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Old 10-31-2013, 05:51 AM   #22
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>At this point I guess I'll stick with the 55's as it appears we'll be using the 12v very little other than frig and heat<

One option would be to take your alt to a shop and have them remove the built in car V regulator and lead out a field wire.Not expensive.

This with any smart V reg will increase the charge rate while you operate for limited hours .

Depending on the fridge many will suck 100ah in 24 hours , which is a LOOOONG time to recharge with a one wire alt.

Again the SOC meter should be first upgrade , so you can know what is going on.
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:27 AM   #23
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I did an analysis of my largest upright oldest 120 VAC land based refrigerator freezer.

Over exactly 24 hours, opening the door six times, the 60 Watt light bulb switching on, I measured 1.5 KWH at 120 VAC.

1.5 KWH 1500 watts
120 VAC 125 Amps
25 Inverter loss
62.5 watts/hour 150 AMPs for 24 hrs refrigerator

It looks like at 12 VDC I would use 150 Amp/24 hours.

My math look correct?
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:33 AM   #24
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Again the SOC meter should be first upgrade , so you can know what is going on.
Aint that the truth! It only took me 18 years to learn that!
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:34 AM   #25
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My 2 cents. In 1998 I installed an Ample Power 180 amp alternator, regulator and EmonII. Set it up to output 170 amps at cruising rpm which it has done faithfully for 15 years. It replaced the original John Deere alternator, added six golf cart batteries and never looked back. Now the boat has 12 golf carts, one bank and still the same alternator. Learned a few things -- Ample Power makes good stuff. A big battery bank is OK but you'll run out of hot water! The generator won't get much exercise and you'll need to add a big battery charger or use multiple chargers so you can balance the loads. I think in retrospect that our 1320 amp hour bank is too big.
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:48 AM   #26
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"I think in retrospect that our 1320 amp hour bank is too big."

Once I had the charging under control, I reduced the no of batteries in use, from 2x 8D (bank 1) and 2 x 4D (bank 2) and 1 x 4D (start) to 4 x Golf (house) and 1 x 4D (start) and have never looked back.

First step in getting the charging under control is to reduce the loads by changing out the AC/DC fridge (150 amp hours in 24 hours avg) for a DC only fridge (32 amp hours in 24 hours avg).
Second step is a smart, 3 stage regulator for both the alternator and the charger.
Third step is upping the size of the alternator and the charger so 100 amps can be offered to the batteries when they need it.

The last part of that equation was accomplished 8 or 9 years ago. Battery life has also been extended, I don't yet know to what extent.
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:59 AM   #27
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New gel coat needed

I guess it's a good thing that I decided to hold off on doing the high AMP alternators. After having polished the brow on the FB from the previous two owners decals and painted on name the gel is way to thin and needing some attention. We are going to have our new name put on the boat and it just looks plain ole ugly. Not even a ten foot boat - so we are going to respray the gel so when the new name goes on it will look top notch! Pictures to follow our new to us Tolly shortly.
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Old 07-18-2014, 08:05 PM   #28
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I finished the installation of my Balmar 120A alternator with the Balmar Max Charge MC-614 external regulator. I learned that my alternator, model 621, is internally regulated yet external smart-regulator ready. There's a wiring option to install a double throw switch on the brown ignition wire to allow switching from the external reg to the internal reg in the event of an external regulator failure. I'll probably add this switch next month while enjoying a week or more at anchor throughout the CA Delta.
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:55 AM   #29
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I am confused, the article posted by FlyWright says the alternator should produce about 25% of the batteries capacity in a charging scenario, give or take.

However, I have just installed a new Victron, Inverter/Charger and according to the Victron engineer I spoke to they maintain the charging rate for lead acid batteries should be between 10-15 % of battery capacity.They reduced the Victron's charging capacity to my battery output.Anything above 15% is not recomended.

Is there a difference between charging through an alternator and a battery charger?

Andy: the 10-15% range used by Victron is conservative but well-suited to dockside charging. Alternator charging underway is often done more towards the upper end of the Acceptable range. In addition, your Victron has a MAX rated charging output of 100 or 120A (depending on model). That max is achieved only at 'standard temperature', which is 20C. As ambient temps climb above that, the Victrons (and most other quality chargers) de-rate progressively. In any event, experienced installers don't set the Victrons or MasterVolts up to operate at max output...they de-rate them by around 10%. So if you have a charger that is nominally 120A (say), I would expect the installer to have set the software to max out at 102-108A....which is probably 10-15% of your house bank capacity?..so all ties in well.
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Old 07-19-2014, 10:29 AM   #30
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My Magnum 2800 charges at full/acceptable rated (115 to 125 dependent upon in or out) amps with a 35 degree C ER. No two inverter charger brands seem alike in this respect, temperature related setbacks are built into the modern units but advertising mumble jumbo is trumped by the fine print. My older Xantrex 3000 also put out full rated charging amps at 35C.

BTW, ER cooling fans help a lot in the PNW.

Short hops like the CA delta can obviously benefit from a big alternator. In our case lots of 8 hour runs will charge things up, provided the lift the arm on the ice maker is up.
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Old 07-19-2014, 01:11 PM   #31
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I put in the Balmar 100A with external regulator this summer, and it is working perfectly and usually has my batteries back in "float" within two hours of firing up and moving out. Two 4D batteries, no inverter, and mostly the refrigerator and stereo (no heater either). After two days on the hook, it was topped off in less than two hours. They are available discounted if you do a little searching. I love my little Honda, but hate to make noise to make coffee (electric range top) every morning. I bought a little Coleman single burner for coffee and use the leftovers from my propane grill once the bottles get too low to cook a whole meal. Still waiting for my new Dickinson propane stove and oven to show up...
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Old 07-22-2014, 03:17 PM   #32
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On a work truck with a 3 ton capacity electric crane that ran off the truck battery and a battery on the crane, truck grp 31 AutoCrane grp 27. I had the standard Delco 55 amp alternator rebuilt several times over the years, at one time the shop I used boosted the output to 105 amps. The crane was used almost every day pulling or replacing components on excavating equipment and the truck engine would usually be running. Now to where this is going on a boat, I've thought about having the output of the alternator on my Hino that charges the house bank boosted to what the shop thinks it can reliably put out. Has anyone else tried this with your stock alternators? I believe mine are Nippon Denso and the output ramps down pretty quickly, it may be best to leave well enough alone as it has worked without any problem. What are your thoughts on this as a choice for faster charging vs going with the much more expensive Balmar units?
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Old 07-22-2014, 04:38 PM   #33
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Ron: that's exactly what you would achieve by getting an external regulator and having the local alt shop pull out the internal regulator. That will both increase the output and safely hold it at the higher output rate for long enough to be really useful.
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Old 07-22-2014, 05:53 PM   #34
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Ron: that's exactly what you would achieve by getting an external regulator and having the local alt shop pull out the internal regulator. That will both increase the output and safely hold it at the higher output rate for long enough to be really useful.
I agree!

There's nothing unique about the Balmar alternators except Balmar badging. My understanding is that most, if not all, of them are really Leece-Neville alternators inside with Balmar labels on the outside. If I had not received friend pricing on the Balmar 621-120, I'd have looked into buying a Leece-Neville at a fraction of the cost new.

I think any alternator can be modified to defeat the internal regulator and accept an external regulator. This might help.

Leece-Neville 8MR Series Alternator External Regulation Conversion Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:09 PM   #35
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Thank you for very much for clearing that up, I know what I'll do if I update the alternator.
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:11 PM   #36
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Here's a very good discussion of high output alternators and external regulators. There's a video that demonstrates the principles of smart charging very well.

He even brings into the discussion the differences between trawlers and sailors when it comes to the need for the float charge that a smart-regulator provides.

Great info in a clearly delivered format.
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:51 PM   #37
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RC, there are some who have had their alternators rewound to increase the output significantly. It's certainly worth a try, especially is you're going to regulate externally with an alternator temp sensor.
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Old 07-22-2014, 09:22 PM   #38
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Here's a very good discussion of high output alternators and external regulators. There's a video that demonstrates the principles of smart charging very well.

He even brings into the discussion the differences between trawlers and sailors when it comes to the need for the float charge that a smart-regulator provides.

Great info in a clearly delivered format.

Excellent information I bookmarked it for future reference.
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:26 PM   #39
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Hello. Congrats on the new boat, and being in the PNW. There is a LOT to do up in the islands! You mentioned Crusaders so that really limits you a lot - being gas engines. You really need to make sure you get proper marine alternators that have the needed explosion protection.

One thing you might do is consider your usage. Cruising the San Juan's you likely are just an hour or two between stops (or more if you slow it down). Even at our slow pace a 4-hour trip was unusual unless we were repositioning the boat. If you mostly do weekend cruising the engine alternators will not help you while at the dock/anchorage, and are not really needed on the return trip to home port (as the shore power charger will top off the batteries). Perhaps just try things a bit and see how it goes? After you understand your cruising pattern a bit you can decide where the weaknesses and opportunities are, alternators, battery size, generators, solar, etc.

It seems a lot of these posts have talked about other options, many of which are applicable only to Diesels. FWIW, we have been using large frame Leece Neville alternators for several years now. At this point I have a 270A/12v LN4870 alternator on the main. It is able to put out 120A+ at idle for hours on end, and we get upwards of 220A underway (Limited due to slow cruise RPMs).

I purchased it off Ebay for around $200; new ones are available for under $400. A cover plate can replace the existing regulator to allow an external regulator to be attached (part number: 39-5204, 100265, or A038100265S). I originally used a Balmar external regulator, but had issues with it exiting Acceptance Mode early - well before the battery was recharged. Perhaps the newer ones are different, but after a trip up the Columbia/Snake where I had to stop and restart the engine to get the regulator to continue Bulk/acceptance charging I pulled it for a fixed voltage truck regulator. Last summer I started using an Arduino based multi-step regulator I developed and posted in public domain.

I have been reading some good things about later model 'hair-pin' alternators, ala the Desno units that many Chryslers and some GM cars have been using for the past few years. Thinking about picking one up for our DC generator and see if it is indeed more efficient. If you have a Diesel I think there are lots of options out there. Gas is another story.

Best of luck deciding which way to go. Remember, if you upgrade the existing alternator to look also at the wire to the battery, don’t just reuse the existing wiring harness w/o verifying it is heavy enough for the current. And looked at some of the boats you build, wow. What a great life to have!

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Old 08-05-2014, 06:10 AM   #40
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If your SOC meter and experience show low or dead batteries there are low buck cures.

Simplest would be a JC Whitney style windings kit to bring the amp output up.

I would go online and find a suitable kit and bring it with the alt to a local shop.

Perhaps just the paperwork , and let him find a source.

I would ask to have the internal V regulator replaced with an external field wire.This is the most important step.

The stock auto brain V reg is really lousy at recharging heavily discharged batts , a 3 or 4 stage marine unit will be far far better.Any extra output from the amp kit will help the better regulator.

Before pulling the alt draw its direction of rotation on the unit , so the rebuilder cam make sure the cooling fins are the proper ones.

IF the re-builder can also stick on a cast iron pulley , it may help belt life over the stamped steel ones.

All of the above should NOT be expensive as its the same work for the shop as a std rebuild.
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