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Old 01-28-2016, 04:18 PM   #1
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Tach issue

Cruised the boat today. Beautiful day in South Texas!

After about 1.5 hours of cruising my tach RPM started showing low-- like 900 rpm when I was probably doing around 2000.

I also got a high voltage error code on my Balmar Smartguage. Underway at RPM it was showing like 14.7 volts. Back at the dock I put the multimeter on it and at idle it was 14.5 volts.

Is that too high? It's a Balmar alternator. Would that high output have anything to do with the tach? Wires are tight at the tach and on the alternator.

Thanks!
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Old 01-28-2016, 04:21 PM   #2
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pulling up a chair and getting ready to learn. Seems smarter than giving you the answer I think is right which will be proven only partly right 3 posts later
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Old 01-28-2016, 06:20 PM   #3
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What model regulator? Balmar Manuals

Page 9
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File Type: pdf 2005-mc-612-manual.pdf (1,001.8 KB, 16 views)
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Old 01-28-2016, 06:28 PM   #4
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Tach issue

Damn I forgot to get the model number when I was down around the battery box. It's a Balmar duo charge. Regulator.

It is set for AGM batteries. I have a new set of AGM batteries for the house bank and don't want to screw them up.
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Old 01-28-2016, 07:38 PM   #5
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Balmar alternator/regulators will often peak at 14.5 or so, just before switching from acceptance to float. You need that much voltage to drive the amperage into the batteries.


But who knows if you were at that point on the charging algorithm. Some, maybe all Balmar alternator's give you an LED readout that tells you which charging mode: bulk, acceptance, float that you are in at the time you look.


Why the tach was reading low is anyone's guess- bad connection, maybe. Is it connected through the Balmar regulator? That regulator has a frequency divider to match the alternator's pulses to what the tachometer is expecting. But it should be constant.


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Old 01-28-2016, 08:33 PM   #6
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Thanks. I will do some more research and testing when I get back to the boat.
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Old 01-29-2016, 01:04 AM   #7
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Which engine do you have and year?
Do you know where the tach signal is taken from?
Some engines use the alternator to provide the tach with a signal, some engines use a flywheel sensor, some older ones use a separate voltage generator.
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Old 01-29-2016, 08:15 AM   #8
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Some tachs pick up a signal from the alt.

As the voltage rises to the point where float cuts in , perhaps there is too little voltage for the tach to count pulses.

This can be solved IF the engine has a place for a mechanical driven set of points for the tack, it will also make the tach accurate , the alts driven ones seldom are .
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Old 01-29-2016, 09:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C lectric View Post
Which engine do you have and year?
Do you know where the tach signal is taken from?
Some engines use the alternator to provide the tach with a signal, some engines use a flywheel sensor, some older ones use a separate voltage generator.

It's a 2008 Yanmar 4Jh4-hte. I figured the alternator supplied the tach signal but could be wrong. All wires seemed to be tight on alternator. Voltage at pos and neg on the alternator itself was 14.5 at idle.

Maybe the alternator is fine and my little Balmar Smartguage is just acting up. Need to investigate the 03 high voltage error code.

Can I fry my AGMs with 14.5-14.7v?
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Old 01-29-2016, 10:18 AM   #10
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I have a Balmar alternator and their ARS 5 regulator.
I also get strange activity on my tach and it's very repeatable.
Only happens when I leave the dock after being on the shore charger .
After approximately 1 hour my tach flutters a couple of times and drops to 0 rpm.
It will stay at 0 for approx. 3 minutes, then it flutters a few more times and comes back to the previous and correct rpm.
I say repeatable because I often go to the same anchorage from the marina and this happens at close to the same place every trip. (no not the Bermuda triangle).

If I run the boat after being on anchor and depleting the batteries this does not happen.

I am thinking it may be after the 2 initial 36 minute cycles so maybe it's 72 minutes, I will have to use a stopwatch to know exactly. Someone suggested that the regulator stops charging to check battery voltage so maybe that's why I lose tach signal.

Balmar suggested I start playing around with voltage settings, but everything else works so well I hate to monkey around too much.

Not trying to steal this thread, but thinking our issues may have a common cause.
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Old 01-29-2016, 10:22 AM   #11
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Greetings,
Mr. j. I encounter exactly the same symptoms with my Balmar system and have come to the same conclusions (regulator stops charging). I'm not going to fiddle with it either.
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Old 01-29-2016, 10:23 AM   #12
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Tach issue

Hmmm. That sounds similar to mine. It always seems to happen about the same time on my little loop cruise I do-- after about two hours or so.

And this is after mine has been on shore power and the charger.

I am scared to "play around" with the regulator. It takes some kind of special tool and I'm sure I would screw it up somehow.
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Old 01-29-2016, 10:32 AM   #13
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With your draft some of the south bay rivers are open to you. I suggest getting a good chart and comparing it to a local map. I think you will find it possible to go up river a bit and get closer to some towns and attractions.


beaching on one of the many small islands was fun back when I lived there. Set up camp and have the island to yourself. Clams were readily available in shallow water back them as well.


Watch hill park and marina is still a popular spot on the east end of Fire Island. Don't pass up Peconic bay.
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:15 AM   #14
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Don't know if this is related to my tach issue or not, but yesterday the tach refused to work again, and now the autopilot/plotter has started acting crazy.

About an hour into the trip the plotter actually spun 90 degrees and showed my boat going sideways. It then spun 360 degrees, like it was hunting for a heading. It could not figure out which way was up basically.

I tried turning it off and restarting it but that didn't work.

I tried to engage the autopilot and it immediately turned the boat about 90 degrees or so.

??
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:18 AM   #15
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Are you cruising near Area 51
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:57 AM   #16
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I had that happen on a seacat at about 30kts... nearly threw me off the boat!

If you fire up the AP, let it get a bearing before you engage it. In my case, it used the last known bearing (going home) which was 180 off where we were going.
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Old 01-31-2016, 11:58 AM   #17
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Can you check voltage at that helm...maybe @ the plotter supply. Does the plotter have a separate breaker or if it is with something else is it affected? What is the Amp or Volt meter saying when this is going on? Have you changed anything else prior to this challenge? Bunch of questions but it is time to start eliminating the gremlins.
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Old 01-31-2016, 12:05 PM   #18
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Can't think of anything I have changed. I will check the voltage. Ground.

Could something be interfering with the autopilot maybe?
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:13 PM   #19
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Back at the boat today. Tach was not working when I started the engine. Accessed alternator, unplugged connector and plugged back in. Checked all other connections-- all seemed tight.

Restarted engine and tach working. Bad connection at connector maybe?

Found flux compass for autopilot. There were some bungee cords thrown on top of it when cleaning last time and they have metal on the ends. Maybe that's it. Too rough today to go out and try AP today. Will try later in the week.

Garmin plotter question: sitting at the dock should my GPS heading be way off from mag compass heading? Plotter says 2 degrees true and compass is at about 210. Does the boat need to be underway for the heading to be accurate? I've never noticed the difference at the dock I guess.
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Old 02-02-2016, 03:38 PM   #20
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I would put a new connector on the tach wire that way you'd be sure. And if its a pull off type, make sure it fits tight. Squeeze the female end if necessary (RT I know you'll comment on this LOL).
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