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Old 08-28-2018, 02:57 PM   #1
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Cummins QSB Smart regulator and alternator

In my 2006 Mainship 400 I have a single 2006 QSB 5.9 380 HO with what looks like the standard Delco alternator. The electronic display shows it to be putting out a fixed 13.1 volts. I have an 8D AGM deep cycle start battery and 2 8D AGM deep cycle house batteries. They should be charged at 13.5 volts float voltage.
1) Is there a standard Cummins alternator and regulator that would allow for adjustable output voltage? Even better an external smart regulator that would quick charge the batteries through bulk charging before settling down to the float voltage?
2) A respected after market direct fit?

3) The start battery is connected to the house with a Blue Seas 120 Amp ACR automatic charging relay. The alternator output is going to the start battery. Does it make sense to have the output go directly to the house bank where (voltage would be lowest and) it should be most needed? Any tricks or traps in moving the alternator output to the house bank?

Many Thanks Paul
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Old 08-28-2018, 04:10 PM   #2
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Look for a Leece Neville alternator with terminals for an external regulator. These should be available to match your existing mounting and are much heavier duty than what Cummins installs.


You can hook up a Balmar external regulator which should maximize charging capability. Buy the alternator and battery temperature probes as well.


It is generally preferred to have the alternator output charge the house batteries as they need it the most and charge the starting battery with an ACR or similar. But on an electronic engine like the Cummins that might not be easy to separate the alternator output from starting/ignition/instruments as those all should be on the starting battery.


I would consult with a Cummins pro, like Seaboard Marine's website before I start pulling wires. They can probably can also give you the correct L-N part number. But be aware, that those guys don't seem to like external regulators, perhaps because they service fishermen, not on the hook cruisers.


OTOH, if the ACR rating is high enough, it may not matter which battery is connected directly.



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Old 08-28-2018, 08:43 PM   #3
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One of the reasons they may not like external regulators is that the Cummins electronically controlled engines really donít get along well with others. I would be very cautious about using a Balmar regulator with a Cummins QSB 5.9 unless an expert Cummins mechanic told me it would be OK.

Yes, I think it is a better idea to send the alternator output to the house than the start battery.
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Old 08-29-2018, 03:39 AM   #4
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Look for a Leece Neville alternator with terminals for an external regulator. These should be available to match your existing mounting and are much heavier duty than what Cummins installs.

You can hook up a Balmar external regulator which should maximize charging capability. Buy the alternator and battery temperature probes as well.

It is generally preferred to have the alternator output charge the house batteries as they need it the most and charge the starting battery with an ACR or similar. But on an electronic engine like the Cummins that might not be easy to separate the alternator output from starting/ignition/instruments as those all should be on the starting battery.

I would consult with a Cummins pro, like Seaboard Marine's website before I start pulling wires. They can probably can also give you the correct L-N part number. But be aware, that those guys don't seem to like external regulators, perhaps because they service fishermen, not on the hook cruisers.

OTOH, if the ACR rating is high enough, it may not matter which battery is connected directly.

David
Concerning the battery and temp sensors, be aware that the Balmar probes sometimes fail. I had such a recent experience where the battery probe was reporting a high temp reading such that the regulator pretty much shut down the alternators' output. The batteries' actual temps were around 100 degrees whereas the regulator reported 155 degrees which was well outside the shutdown temp. I called Balmar. The tech said it was not uncommon for this to happen and that the sensors are not required. At his suggestion, I disconnected both and now my two Balmars work as designed. Previously, output was intermittent. I won't be spending money on new sensors given their apparent short life and unreliability. I do, however, monitor the alternator case temp with an IR gun when I do checks on engine temps.
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Old 08-29-2018, 08:05 AM   #5
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Maybe you have already, but check the on-alternator regulator carefully for a small screw hole. Some are adjustable. They operate at a fixed voltage, but it's adjustable by turning the screw.


Check out the two holes in the case of this regulator. One of them is the voltage adjustment, though I'm not sure which looking at the picture.
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Old 08-29-2018, 08:26 AM   #6
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"The electronic display shows it to be putting out a fixed 13.1 volts."

That's not charging , it is keeping a fully charged start batt at a voltage the accessories will operate at.

Charging usually takes a full volt over a charged batt, 12.7 or 12.8.

I would look in the Cummins parts catalog and purchase what is required to add a second large frame , 2 belt alt , to your engine.

Use the truck L-N and a good 3-4 stage regulator for the house bank.

Should be trouble free almost forever , change belts every 7-8 years.
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Old 08-29-2018, 08:46 AM   #7
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In my 2006 Mainship 400 I have a single 2006 QSB 5.9 380 HO with what looks like the standard Delco alternator. The electronic display shows it to be putting out a fixed 13.1 volts. I have an 8D AGM deep cycle start battery and 2 8D AGM deep cycle house batteries. They should be charged at 13.5 volts float voltage.
1) Is there a standard Cummins alternator and regulator that would allow for adjustable output voltage? Even better an external smart regulator that would quick charge the batteries through bulk charging before settling down to the float voltage?
2) A respected after market direct fit?

3) The start battery is connected to the house with a Blue Seas 120 Amp ACR automatic charging relay. The alternator output is going to the start battery. Does it make sense to have the output go directly to the house bank where (voltage would be lowest and) it should be most needed? Any tricks or traps in moving the alternator output to the house bank?

Many Thanks Paul



Most of the QSB 5.9's use either a Delco 19SI (single 2" foot), a 22SI (J180 dual foot) or a 24SI (J180 dual foot). I've replaced the 22SI's and 24SI's with a custom built 28SI frame alt set up for external regulation. If it's a 19SI it too can be replaced but a J180 bracket would need to be sourced from Cummins. A picture of the alt would help. The 19SI, 22SI and 24SI are not well suited to charging large banks and if converted to ER can tend to bounce off the alt temp high limit.
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Old 08-29-2018, 09:07 AM   #8
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Hi, Cummins qsb 380 have 3 types altenators same motor.


Tony's site https://www.sbmar.com/articles/ident...n-the-qsb-5-9/


In my qsb 5.9 charger, the battery can charge up to 14.09V, but not higher, with an external charger for full security reasons.


NBs
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Old 09-02-2018, 11:46 AM   #9
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It isn't easy to add a second alternator to a QSB 5.9. Nothing's impossible, but on this engine it would be expensive.

I've been looking at the same issue, a Delco 19SI which is completely inadequate for anything but charging the start battery.

I'd like to hear more about trouble with Balmar external regulators on the QSB. There is some vague internet lore on it but not much specifics. My plan is to replace the 19SI with a large frame 94 series and Balmar 612 regulator.
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Old 09-02-2018, 11:59 AM   #10
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I think that Balmar makes the best and most versatile regulator for high output alternators. Whether they make the best alternator is a subject of some debate.


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Old 09-02-2018, 01:30 PM   #11
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I'd like to hear more about trouble with Balmar external regulators on the QSB. There is some vague internet lore on it but not much specifics. My plan is to replace the 19SI with a large frame 94 series and Balmar 612 regulator.

I can only tell you of my personal experience with a Balmar device. It was their DuoCharger. When it was used to charge the start battery it completely messed up the electronics and made the engine run poorly.

After my experience I since have heard that there can be similar problems with other chargers and charge controllers. I would check with someone like Tony Athens at Seaboard Marine. You might also check specifically with Balmar and ask them if that charge controller will work well with the QSB.

My concern is that if you are changing the house bank with the alternator using the charge controller, and are using an ACR to combine the house to the start battery when the house bank is being charged, you are still subjecting the start battery to the potential electronic from the charge controller.

One way to avoid that is to use an Xantrex EchoCharger to charge the start battery from the house bank. There is no interference from the Echo Charge. I replaced the Balmar DuoCharger with the Echo charger and the problems went away. I still have DuoChargers that charge the thruster bank and the genset battery.

Again, I have no experience the Balmar external regulator for the alternator. I would just be very cautious. FWIW, when I bought my boat I found a new Balmar regulator in a box in the bottom of a lazarrete. I have not installed it.

If you do find that it works good, let us know as I would like to have my alternator externally regulated. I just will wait for someone else to do it. :-)
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Old 09-02-2018, 05:36 PM   #12
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My engine is a 6BTA 5.9 M3 330hp, not the electronic QSB, but FWIW:

I replaced the stock 19SI alternator with one from Seaboard that was 145A rather than 105A, same dimensions so no belt issues. Converted that one to external regulation, with a Balmar MC614 external regulator with batt and alt temp sensors. Works like a charm to charge my 4 G31 AGM house bank, 2 G31 AGM start bank, and 2 G31 AGM bow thruster and windlass bank (the last two banks connected with Blue Seas ACR's).

Kept the stock internally regulated alternator for a spare, incase either alternator or regulator go bad.
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Old 09-06-2018, 07:26 PM   #13
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I can only tell you of my personal experience with a Balmar device. It was their DuoCharger. When it was used to charge the start battery it completely messed up the electronics and made the engine run poorly.

------

Again, I have no experience the Balmar external regulator for the alternator. I would just be very cautious. FWIW, when I bought my boat I found a new Balmar regulator in a box in the bottom of a lazarrete. I have not installed it.

If you do find that it works good, let us know as I would like to have my alternator externally regulated. I just will wait for someone else to do it. :-)
OK, thanks for that. The Duocharger uses power mosfets to rapidly switch (pulse width modulate) the current going to the second battery, and it is noisy. Maybe too noisy for the QSB electronics. I could see that, especially if the Duocharge output was not wired directly to the start battery terminal (batteries are pretty good capacitors and therefore good filters for that sort of thing). The regulators also pulse width modulate the field, but the field itself, and the rest of the alternator magnetics will smooth it out substantially.

I may not get to it until this winter or next spring, as I am wayyyy behind on my schedule for upgrades, but my intent is to mount a Balmar 94 series 165 or perhaps 200 amp alternator controlled with a Balmar 612. The start battery would be charged through a combining relay. I'll report back.
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Old 09-07-2018, 09:39 AM   #14
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Keep in mind the stock Delco 105A alternator can be upgraded to as high as 200A. When mine failed, I had it rebuilt with a 160A stator. With new stator, internal regulators, diode trios, et al, $160. Works fine with no wiring changes, or complex external regulators. I should note that this alternator has been rebuilt 3 times in 13 years. All the failures are due to salt air corrosion during Winter storage. I now remove the alternator when I haul the boat for Winter storage.
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Old 09-07-2018, 10:54 AM   #15
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A Delco alternator with internal regulator will not do what I want. The 105A alternator will barely put out a real (hot and continuous) 60 amps and the voltages produced by the internal regulator are inappropriate to charge a house battery bank rapidly and completely. The Balmar 612 will do true 3 stage charging along with temperature compensation for batteries and temperature protection for the alternator.
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Old 09-07-2018, 11:31 AM   #16
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IMO there is some confusion about voltage regulation. I dont believe the voltage is always 13.1V under all conditions.

The regulator only sets the max voltage not the minimum. The voltage measured at the battery will be determined by it charge state not the regulator. Only when the batteries are fully charged will the voltage reach the regulator set point. before that the voltage will be lower.
So IMO either the measurement is wrong or the battery is not fully charged for some reason. Before messing with the regulator set point I suggest determining the charge level of each battery independently. If the batteries are parallel one weak battery could be draining the others and limiting the voltage reading.
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Old 10-25-2019, 07:42 PM   #17
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I can only tell you of my personal experience with a Balmar device. It was their DuoCharger. When it was used to charge the start battery it completely messed up the electronics and made the engine run poorly.

After my experience I since have heard that there can be similar problems with other chargers and charge controllers. I would check with someone like Tony Athens at Seaboard Marine. You might also check specifically with Balmar and ask them if that charge controller will work well with the QSB.

My concern is that if you are changing the house bank with the alternator using the charge controller, and are using an ACR to combine the house to the start battery when the house bank is being charged, you are still subjecting the start battery to the potential electronic from the charge controller.

One way to avoid that is to use an Xantrex EchoCharger to charge the start battery from the house bank. There is no interference from the Echo Charge. I replaced the Balmar DuoCharger with the Echo charger and the problems went away. I still have DuoChargers that charge the thruster bank and the genset battery.

Again, I have no experience the Balmar external regulator for the alternator. I would just be very cautious. FWIW, when I bought my boat I found a new Balmar regulator in a box in the bottom of a lazarrete. I have not installed it.

If you do find that it works good, let us know as I would like to have my alternator externally regulated. I just will wait for someone else to do it. :-)
I just completed an install on my 2007 QSB 5.9. Remanufactured Delco Alternator set up to external regulation,and Balmar MC 614. Big mistake. The engine started, ran rough, and died. Called Balmar tech support, no joy, they have never heard of any issues with the Cummins ECM's. I called Seaboard, and their tech people are gone until Monday. I'm hoping the may be able to offer support. Possibly shielding or ??? Probably lucky I didn't fry the ECM.
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:01 PM   #18
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I just completed an install on my 2007 QSB 5.9. Remanufactured Delco Alternator set up to external regulation,and Balmar MC 614. Big mistake. The engine started, ran rough, and died. Called Balmar tech support, no joy, they have never heard of any issues with the Cummins ECM's. I called Seaboard, and their tech people are gone until Monday. I'm hoping the may be able to offer support. Possibly shielding or ??? Probably lucky I didn't fry the ECM.
I just installed the same setup on my AT 34. There were are few issues related to how the (rather odd) DC wiring is done in the AT. I used a Delco 28 converted to external regulation, and a 614. Ultimately quite successful.

One of the big questions is where did you tie in the voltage sense line for the 614? Also ground? The issues I had were related to the split between house and start and interaction with the combiner voltages and time delays.

Did you get any alarms from either the ECU (on the Smart display) or electronic throttle control?
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Old 10-25-2019, 11:24 PM   #19
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I just installed the same setup on my AT 34. There were are few issues related to how the (rather odd) DC wiring is done in the AT. I used a Delco 28 converted to external regulation, and a 614. Ultimately quite successful.

One of the big questions is where did you tie in the voltage sense line for the 614? Also ground? The issues I had were related to the split between house and start and interaction with the combiner voltages and time delays.

Did you get any alarms from either the ECU (on the Smart display) or electronic throttle control?
The + sense wire I connected to an auxiliary power bus on the e.r. bulkhead. The ground is connected to the alt. case ground stud.
I performed all of the Balmar recommend tests before starting the engine.
The engine ran briefly (extremely rough) and shut down. This happened so quickly that I did not observe any alarms, although the may have happened.
After speaking with Sbmar, I was reluctant to repeat. I returned to my original alt. I restarted the engine, and it seems to be o.k..
I'm pleased to hear that you made yours work.
Any ideas/suggestions appreciated, as I have $$ invested, and I would like to correctly charge my new AGM's.
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Old 10-26-2019, 01:57 AM   #20
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There are several auxiliary power busses on the ER bulkhead - one of the reasons why the AT is a big strange. Was the bus you connected it to on the house side or the engine side?

It needs to be on the engine side. You will find many explanations recommending the house side, correct from the point of view of regulating the charge into the house battery, but incorrect and potentially damaging for the transient condition just after startup (and some other conditions). There are a number of places to sense the voltage, some will work and some won't, and among those that work there are advantages and disadvantages.

Which Delco alternator did you use? A high output alternator will overload the charge cables and the combiner, unless they are upgraded. It can all be made to work, but there turn out to be quite a few nuances in the installation.

However you have it installed, as long as it was done to the Balmar instructions almost all the problems will go away if you switch on the manual (emergency) combiner connecting the house and engine batteries. I'd recommend doing that if you want to try it again. Not a good long term solution but it can prove that everything is basically working.

The main issue is that the alternator is driving the engine start battery and the current path to the house is light wire, a light combiner relay, and is intermittently connected. The Balmar will drive the engine side up to very high voltage if the sensing is on the house side - I saw 17V on mine momentarily. If the combiner is open (and it is for a time delay immediately after start) they are disconnected, even when connected there can be a 2V drop between them under some circumstances. Switching the manual combiner switch locks them together.
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