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Old 09-27-2016, 07:13 AM   #1
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Alternators for Ford Lehman

I have a 6 cal 2700 series Ford Lehman with standard Lucas alternator connected through a diode splitter to the engine and house batteries. It really doesn't seem to put much out and when I pull into port and switch on the shore charger the charge to the house batteries leaps up to about 23 amps for a few hours to bring the house up to full charge. (there is a cooler that is the big user)
I am looking for a bigger suitable alternator with an external regulator more suited to providing a good charge to the house batteries when the engine is running.
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:18 AM   #2
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I just upgraded to the 90 amp alternator available from American Diesel. Haven't even installed it yet.

It is more standard (available) than the original I had on there..... when I had it rebuilt, heck it was nearly the cost of a new alternator.

The kit from American Diesel isn't inexpensive...around $350 IIRC, but it was t that much higher and did include the new bracket and arm.
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:32 AM   #3
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I added a Lecce Neville to my motor as a second alternator with a Sterling 4 stage external regulator to charge the house battery bank. The 2 systems can be linked through a battery switch if either regulator fails. Extremely happy with the system.

External regulator is mounted on the wall in the upper right corner.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:21 AM   #4
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GS

External regulators are fine but now you're adding $ and extra effort to what may be required. Internal regulation units are just fine, tens of millions made per year. Simple and cheap.

I have two 90 amp Prestolites. OEM and working well after 13 years. Prestolite makes Leece Neville. One 90 keeps the house bank up provided I'm cruising for more than say 4 hours per day. For shorter periods genset at anchor does the rest. With twins I can flip the // switch to on and the other 90 amp unit now charges the house bank too. Or get fancy and add a Blue Seas auto switch, which I've not done.

I was chatting with Ben Gartside in Sidney the other day and he says many are using 120 amp Delcos. 120 is about the largest on a single belt. My advice, keep it simple and generic. To really know what is going on add a BMK to your house bank. Amazing units.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:50 AM   #5
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Stock alternator regulators are designed to handle consumption loads and return modest amps back to the battery. If you have a small house bank or don't draw much out of the bank, they're fine. The external regulator can double to quadruple the amount of amps being returned to the bank by the same alternator (depending on the internal regulator's design). External 4 stage regulators are designed for the same purpose as the 4 stage shore power charger, return the bulk quickly, finish in progressively small charge rates, and completely charge the battery. If you have a significant house bank and one engine, the external regulator makes a big difference.

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Old 09-27-2016, 09:00 AM   #6
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Ted

In theory you're right. But advertising and paper statistics aside, not every boater needs an external regulator. I don't. We have 8 Trojan 105s for the house bank and have survived for many years quite nicely with lots of time on the hook.

But for short hop boaters external regulation may be required. For this longer hopper twin engine cruiser not so.
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Ted

In theory you're right. But advertising and paper statistics aside, not every boater needs an external regulator. I don't. We have 8 Trojan 105s for the house bank and have survived for many years quite nicely with lots of time on the hook.

But for short hop boaters external regulation may be required. For this longer hopper twin engine cruiser not so.
Certainly agree in your situation it's adequate as you have 2 alternators available and I infer the OP has only one. I have the same T105 bank as you and prefer to have my bank charged completely each day I motor as I believe it increases life expectancy of the batteries. The standard alternator regulator does a good job of returning the majority of the amps eventually, but certainly doesn't bring the battery back to the manufacturers spec for fully charged. Whether that matters in the life expectancy of the batteries can certainly be debated. For $190 one can add the regulator on top of the existing alternator's regulator for redundancy, and get both a faster and complete charge. Also important to understand that the stock regulator has no provision for being set (charging voltage parameters) to different battery types (open lead acid, AGM, etc.). Think it's important for the OP to understand the options.

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Old 09-27-2016, 09:40 AM   #8
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The standard alternator regulator does a good job of returning the majority of the amps eventually, but certainly doesn't bring the battery back to the manufacturers spec for fully charged. Ted
Ted

This is not so. My standard alternators do indeed bring the 8 105s back to full charge. And they can do this each and every day. As I said, my BMKs reveal all, and indeed the Trojans are happy and getting a full charge
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Old 09-27-2016, 11:06 AM   #9
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I have twin leece neville alts om my FL120, beacuse the motorolla failed and cant seem to get the regulator. I have the same set up as Ted. The sterling unit tricks the alts into putting out full power so to speak and acts more like a traditional 3 stage charger, bulk, accept, float, etc.

My issue is alt temp gets too high and the sterling shits off due to temp sensor. So in reality, the sterling was probably a waste, unless I air duct cooling or change alts.

Granted we are full time cruising, and have 1300 ahrs of batts.

OP, any alt will work with a generic mount, just keep it under 100 amps due to belting. Most have an AC tap for the tach
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Old 09-27-2016, 01:11 PM   #10
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I went the Balmar route. Alternator and smart regulator.
The "upgrade" from ADC didn't do much for me. I still only got small amperage.
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Old 09-27-2016, 02:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golderskookum View Post
I have a 6 cal 2700 series Ford Lehman with standard Lucas alternator connected through a diode splitter to the engine and house batteries. It really doesn't seem to put much out and when I pull into port and switch on the shore charger the charge to the house batteries leaps up to about 23 amps for a few hours to bring the house up to full charge. (there is a cooler that is the big user)
I am looking for a bigger suitable alternator with an external regulator more suited to providing a good charge to the house batteries when the engine is running.
Your diode splitter may be your only problem. They are an obsolete idea. I suggest that you remove the splitter, put the charge into one bank only, and install a BlueSeas ACR (about $85). This may solve your problem without further expense and if not, will be a good starting point for a new alternator. You can get, at any good autoelectric shop, a higher output version of your existing alternator which should go right in place.
Reminder: You will have to enlarge the size of your charging conductors (ground path too) and you can't do more than 100 amps on a single V belt.
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Old 09-27-2016, 03:34 PM   #12
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Wow lots of ideas. Not quite sure where to go next. I can see that the diode splitter is old tech and a new smart system would do better. I like the idea of pumping out a lot of amps to get a daily top up quite quickly. This seems to imply the external regulator. Perhaps there is a package of 100amp alternator and smart two bank regulator.
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golderskookum View Post
Wow lots of ideas. Not quite sure where to go next. I can see that the diode splitter is old tech and a new smart system would do better. I like the idea of pumping out a lot of amps to get a daily top up quite quickly. This seems to imply the external regulator. Perhaps there is a package of 100amp alternator and smart two bank regulator.
You didn't mention what size alternator you had now nor what your cruising habits were; only that your current system wasn't topping off your banks which could be the diode splitter since they limit charging voltage by .8-1.2v unless special precautions are taken. The ACR automatically connects your banks together as soon as charging starts and disconnects them when charging ends without the voltage drop of a splitter. This, in itself, may solve your problems.
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunchaser View Post
Ted

This is not so. My standard alternators do indeed bring the 8 105s back to full charge. And they can do this each and every day. As I said, my BMKs reveal all, and indeed the Trojans are happy and getting a full charge
To what voltage do they charge to? Do you reset the BMKs periodically?

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Old 09-27-2016, 05:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golderskookum View Post
Wow lots of ideas. Not quite sure where to go next. I can see that the diode splitter is old tech and a new smart system would do better. I like the idea of pumping out a lot of amps to get a daily top up quite quickly. This seems to imply the external regulator. Perhaps there is a package of 100amp alternator and smart two bank regulator.
Brooksie beat me to it, but your diode isolator is much worse than just an old tech idea, the diodes in the splitter cause a voltage drop of between .6 and .7 volts. So unless your alternators have remote sense wires from the batteries to the regulator (uncommon) you lose a LOT of output from the alternator because the regulator always sees the batteries as .6 to .7 volts higher than they really are. So instead of putting 14.0 volts to the batteries, the batteries only see 13.3 or so and that is way too low for Good charge current. Plus, for that reason, any batteries downstream of the diodes can never get to full charge. An easy and just about drop in improvement is to replace the diode isolator with an automatic charge relay. An ACR is not perfect, but it will allow the alternator to "see" the true battery voltage and you will end up with a fair bump in alternator output to the batteries without having to change anything else. Depending on your needs, an ACR may be enough.

Ken
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:43 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Sealife View Post
I have twin leece neville alts om my FL120, beacuse the motorolla failed and cant seem to get the regulator. I have the same set up as Ted. The sterling unit tricks the alts into putting out full power so to speak and acts more like a traditional 3 stage charger, bulk, accept, float, etc.

My issue is alt temp gets too high and the sterling shits off due to temp sensor. So in reality, the sterling was probably a waste, unless I air duct cooling or change alts.

Granted we are full time cruising, and have 1300 ahrs of batts.

OP, any alt will work with a generic mount, just keep it under 100 amps due to belting. Most have an AC tap for the tach
Scott, which Leece Nevilles are you using? Mine is the heavy frame truck, fire truck, ambulance, etc unit that is designed to put out lots of amps at low RPM. When you see an EMS vehicle sitting for hours at a disaster scene with all the lights etc. running, this often is the alternator providing the power. They make them to well over 500 amps (body gets longer with increased capacity). Have had the Victron gauge showing 200 amps going into the bank for over a half hour. Never had the regulator cut back do to alternator temperature. This alternator may not fit in the normal position do to the case size.

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Old 09-27-2016, 06:05 PM   #17
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I just had a 90 amp Prestolite put on my FL as well, same thing with low charging especially if the fridge was running.
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Old 09-27-2016, 06:46 PM   #18
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I can only speak from experience of cruising in Europe.
The only alternators you can freely get spares for in Europe are Bosch and Valeo.
I've used an Adverc alternator controller for years now and can't speak highly enough of it.
It's made with pride in Trysull, Birmingham,Britain, unlike the Taiwan made Sterling products, you get full backup via Internet or phone including colour coded wiring diagrams, in English.
The first conception of alternator control was by a Swedish TV outdoor broadcast engineer who patented it and it was sold as the TWC (his initials) alternator controller.
Adverc bought out the patent and improved it even further and supply all the emergency services in the UK.
My contact with them was via trucks with tail lifts which kept getting flat batteries and they solved my problem.
I DO NOT have any vested interest whatsoever except as a satisfied customer..
Google them, or if you have difficulty contact me for their American agent.
Were here for an easy life so keep it simple.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:00 PM   #19
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Ted, it is the 90 amp model that came with the Bomac reman, same one was on the original takeout, so just makes it easy to have to identical on motor with one spare. Nothing high dollar I'm sure. BTW sensor is mounted on the top at the hottest part of the alt I could find. Sterling cuts it out at 90degree C I believe. I'm also restricted to a single belt on each without major changes
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Old 09-28-2016, 05:20 AM   #20
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Thanks everyone for lively discussion and lots of ideas. The isolator is obviously gone to be replaced most likely by an ACR although the Adverc controller is also very interesting. The question I now have is whether I need a completely new alternator as well. The one I have is 35 amp which doesn't sound like much against some of the one's mentioned but would be quite sufficient if I could get it to pump out 15-20 amps continuously. Is there some way to get it to do this? Do I have to by pass the interior regulator and feed it directly to an ACR or the Adverc?
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