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Old 08-07-2011, 02:38 PM   #1
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Power Line Alternator

Any one have any experience with the Powerline alternator with external adjustable voltage regulator?

I need more power to keep my house batteries up after anchoring out all night and running them down.

Currently have the 65 amp Prestolite alternator that struggles to bring house batteries back to full charge.

I see these Power Line alternators (100 plus amp) advertized and they are considerably cheaper than Balmar

Thanks
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Old 08-08-2011, 04:58 AM   #2
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RE: Power Line Alternator

The Voltage regulator will have much to do with the rate and time of charge.

That said the "best" is a large frame 135A HOT rated truck or similar unit fitted with a sailboat 3 or 4 stage V reg and if you can afford it Dual belts .

Its a major change fitting a bigger Alt , but many times a front engine pully with extra belt space is aviliable OTS.

IF you really are going to the extent of extra brackets a 2 inch clutched Jabsco bilge/fire pump would be nice.
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Old 08-08-2011, 05:15 PM   #3
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RE: Power Line Alternator

these guys were very helpful and best prices i seen around.
BUT their website is not worth much, so call them instead.
fast service and fast delivery.
http://www.all-start.com/index.php?o...tpage&Itemid=1

they hooked me up with the prestolite 105 amp, though it only has the internal VR.
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:13 PM   #4
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RE: Power Line Alternator

Probably won't make much difference without an external regulator.

I can recommend the Amplepower SAR V3. I've had two of these in*service**for almost seven years. They do an outstanding job and are adjustable*to suit any*battery type.
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:12 AM   #5
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RE: Power Line Alternator

Probably won't make much difference without an external regulator.

True , only IF the V reg is set to charge deeply discharged batts (3 or 4 stage ), an external truck brain will charge the same as an auto unit .
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:34 AM   #6
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RE: Power Line Alternator

While I have not had any direct experience with Power Line alternators I have had a lot with Leese Neville and Chrysler high output ones. The house system on Penta uses an alternator type that was fitted to Ford ambulance chassis and is rated at 200 Amps but it too has an internal regulator in its stock form (and for a number of years I used the same sort of item from Chrysler).
I have removed the L/N regulator and now use a Balmar 3 stage unit with great results. The conversion to the external regulator was easy to do and I am certain any respectable auto electric shop could make the mods for you at a reasonable cost.
This modification to an external regulator gives you a wide variety of "automotive" alternators to choose from without having to spend large $'s on a "marine" unit since there seems to be an ever increasing demand in commercial / emergency vehicles for high power 12 volts. There is another great advantage to using an automotive alternator in that parts are far easier to obtain within the auto industry than trying to fine a "marine" shop with parts etc.
Just one more way of attacking the problem!
John Tones "MV Penta"
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:02 AM   #7
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RE: Power Line Alternator

I had a Powerline 150 amp alternater on my old boat for about 18 years. It gave me great service. I had it rebuilt once at automotive electrical shop ( same place I bought it ) at about 10 years old. New brushes/new bearings as a preventative measure not to fix a failure. I put up with skeaky belt slippage for a few years. I would need to retension it every 20 to 25 hours and only got 150 hours or so on a high quality belt. I converted it to dual belts and never had any more trouble with belts. I paid about half price at the automotive / industrial electrical parts house as the catalog marine store price.
As I ponder what I'm going to upgrade the trawler to I will probably go with a used and rebuilt commercial emergency vehilcle unit.
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:34 PM   #8
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RE: Power Line Alternator

Quote:
FF wrote:
Probably won't make much difference without an external regulator.

True , only IF the V reg is set to charge deeply discharged batts (3 or 4 stage ), an external truck brain will charge the same as an auto unit .
*can you elaborate on this statement?

Bendit also...

my guess is that internal regulators just supply whatever voltage you set it at? and no 3 stage charging?

installing a high output alternator, main motivator is the bulk part of the charging not the trikle charge.
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Old 08-09-2011, 07:02 PM   #9
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Power Line Alternator

A ggod multistage external regulator will enable maximum bulk charge for as long as the battery temperature and voltage permit. These sensors are a vital part of the functionality which an internal reg just doesn't have.

The ext regulator will then step down the current to the field windings as the battery nears full charge - or as the battery temperature increases. There are "smarts" in these regulators which*means, for example, that a battery that is at 90% will get a fast charge at bulk for a few moments before the regulator reduces the current. An internal reg will not*allow this.

The max capacity of the alternator is only used in the first*phase of bulk charging, which is a relatively short period. It's in the subsequent phases*(both bulk and absorption) when the ext VR manages the charge current. These phases are*usually only 50 to 70% of the first phase and last much longer, so the size of the alternator is not the total answer.

However, an internally regulated alternator will drop the charge rate much more quickly as it operates on voltage, as seen at the alternator rather than *measured at the battery, so the maximum capacity of the alternator is used for an even shorter time, so becomes less relevant. Also there is no temperature compensation, which not only protects the battery, but ensures the charge current is maintained to the highest*rate the battery can accept.

As a battery accepts a charge, it gets warmer and the*higher the temperature, the greater the charge it can accept. So*without some limits,*thermal runaway*can occur. A*clever charger will actually increase the maximum bulk charge rate as the battery temperature rises to the optimum (preset) temperature. It will not allow the battery to exceed this temperature. When charging with our DC genset, the current typically starts at ~70A and then*steadily rises to ~90A before beginning the step down process.*Ours is a 24V system.

Hope this helps, I'm sure FF will*provide any necessary corrections.



-- Edited by Bendit on Tuesday 9th of August 2011 07:05:25 PM


-- Edited by Bendit on Tuesday 9th of August 2011 07:34:22 PM
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:42 AM   #10
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Power Line Alternator

The auto unit is designed for auto service , where a minor amount may be required to refill after starting the car , and a bit more to operate accessories , wipers , fans on heater or air cond and minor loads.

The car V reg will give 1/2 the required charge +about 10% to push in the amps.

So your car sat 3 weeks and the batt lost 15% the start was slow so another 5% went into thew starter (tho on most cars the batt starts out 98% full.

The V reg will figure you need 20A, so charge at 10A + another 1A to get the job done , next hour it will charge at 5A plus probably another 1A as its harder to push in when almost full.

AS you can see it takes a long time. ON PURPOSE as they do not wish to hard charge as that requires the addition of water at times.

Say* our house bank is down 50% , the first hour the charge rate might be 25A+2A, the second hour 12A +1A and so on till the bank is full.


THe 3 stage will look at the 50% discharged batt bank and attempt to put in 30% of the batt banks capacity , to the limit of the alts ability to pump amps.

The difference is the 3 stage will keep pumping amps into the batt bank (temperature monitoring required) at 25-30% of the house banks acceptance capacity.

The battery charge acceptance (and temp) is the main limit till 85% full is reached , then it slows down, because of the batts internals.

AGM can accept a higher charge rate , so for min. noisemaker run time, the e$pensive choice might be worth it.


This is the simple , less Tech answer, that hopefully is easier to grasp.


-- Edited by FF on Wednesday 10th of August 2011 04:45:22 AM
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Old 08-10-2011, 06:48 AM   #11
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RE: Power Line Alternator

Bendit is pyschic.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:47 PM   #12
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RE: Power Line Alternator

thanks Bendit and FF for the information and the delivery in a way even I can understand..
so with a 105 amp alt, it sounds like i will need an external V reg to get the most charging done in the least amount of engine run-time.
too bad you cannot simply connect your alts to your smart charger and let that unit handle feed the batts as needed..
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Old 08-10-2011, 06:09 PM   #13
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RE: Power Line Alternator

Yep, 'fraid so and yep, too bad!

*
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Old 08-15-2011, 04:37 AM   #14
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RE: Power Line Alternator

"too bad you cannot simply connect your alts to your smart charger and let that unit handle feed the batts as needed.."

"Rapture" My brothers 41' Baybuilt boat has a 5 KW Sea Power unit which has been doing this for years.* The Sea Power runs reefer and AC unit and smart charger all the time while cruising.* The Sea Power unit has a huge altenator with a converter.* The engine doesn't even use a 12 v*altenator for charging. *
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Old 08-15-2011, 09:18 AM   #15
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RE: Power Line Alternator

Mauleone:

I have a Powerline 130Amp on my port engine. It is regulated by a 3 stage "Next Step" by Ample Power. It would actually put out 90 amps continuous amperage (except for a very short burst of up to 120 amps). What I haven't liked about it is the output to the tachometer. I have never figured out why that only works when it wants to, which is infrequent. The Regulator is the more important element in the system.
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Old 08-15-2011, 02:28 PM   #16
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RE: Power Line Alternator

When the batteries are fully charged and there is little or no electrical load, the regulator ceases to drive the alternator and its output drops to zero amps. No output means no tacho. The cure for this is to turn on an additional load.

This happens on our boat occasionally even though we have two DC fridges and a DC freezer. On a summers day, the solar panels are running everything and the alternator drops out. I usually turn a few interior lights on which does the trick.
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