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Old 01-25-2022, 10:00 PM   #1
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External voltage regulators....

Was wondering how many of you have one onboard. I have heard that they can improve charging. They also help you get more out of your alternator. Question is are they worth it.


https://www.pysystems.ca/shop/power/external-regulator/
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Old 01-25-2022, 10:24 PM   #2
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Absolutely... wouldn't be without.
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Old 01-25-2022, 10:29 PM   #3
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I have had one for many years and yes they do make a difference.
Now they have temp. sensors for both the batteries and the alternator which are important to avoid overheating and destroying the batt and/or the alternator.

But again yes.
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Old 01-25-2022, 10:32 PM   #4
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Absolutely worth it.
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Old 01-26-2022, 06:43 AM   #5
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" Question is are they worth it."

Yes,,,, if you have a larger , better alt than can do the work.
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Old 01-26-2022, 12:24 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies, sounds like a no brainer. Any recomendations on makes and models?
Cheers
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Old 01-26-2022, 12:32 PM   #7
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Absolutely worth it.

I currently use a Balmar MC-614. Been very happy with it for 3 years.

Started with a Sterling. First one died around a year old and was replaced under warranty. Second one died and it was time to find something more reliable.

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Old 01-26-2022, 01:07 PM   #8
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The standard for years has been the Balmar MC-614. There are lesser Balmar models and some competing brands that do about the same thing.

Top of the class right now is the Wakespeed W500. The main difference is that the Wakespeed actually observes the charge going into the battery (as well as voltage) and regulates based on that. The Balmar and all the others only guess at the charge, inferred using voltage as a proxy for current which can have large errors. The downside of the Wakespeed is cost.
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Old 01-27-2022, 07:39 AM   #9
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Big DC juice works best with a big (large frame) alt.

Check with a Detroit D or other large truck supply.

A Leece Neville or Ptestolite alt of about 135A should run under $150 , under $135 when on sale.

It will require purchasing a pulley to match your belt and a fan for the direction you wish to spin it.

You can take 100A on most V belts although a dual belt pulley will allow the belts a good long no hassle service life.

If your engine or tranny has a PTO , an alt to fit will be more costly but a good investment.

Large truck alts are not built to the sparks standard required for a gas powered boat.
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Old 01-27-2022, 09:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDW View Post
The standard for years has been the Balmar MC-614. There are lesser Balmar models and some competing brands that do about the same thing.

Top of the class right now is the Wakespeed W500. The main difference is that the Wakespeed actually observes the charge going into the battery (as well as voltage) and regulates based on that. The Balmar and all the others only guess at the charge, inferred using voltage as a proxy for current which can have large errors. The downside of the Wakespeed is cost.
Yup. Love the Wakespeed regs I installed.

One thing to note- a twin engine install is massively simplified as the Wakespeed regulators connect via a Cat-5 cable vs a centerfielder with all its small wires.
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Old 01-28-2022, 10:52 AM   #11
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I have a Sterling ProReg-D 12/24 volt that has worked good and very easy to install.
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Old 01-28-2022, 11:17 AM   #12
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I have the Balmar ARS-5. The only things it doesn't do that the more expensive regulators do is Lithium (which I don't have) and alternators over 150A (which I don't have).

These regulators have more bells and whistles than most are willing to program. My PO had changed a couple of things out of the 10 or 12 things it can regulate. He had also skimped on not installing the battery and alternator heat sensors, both important in getting the best performance. Get your battery manufacturer's charging profile and follow it. Get a separate battery monitor that shows exactly what's happening at the batteries. It doesn't have to be an expensive one.

Safely getting 25-30% more out of your charging system and batteries is probably easier than adding more batteries.
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Old 01-28-2022, 12:13 PM   #13
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As some other mentioned, depends on what you're doing. If you always run a gen or on shorepower or have a small house-bank, then maybe not needed as much. But with the growing power needs aboard boats now-a-days, bigger house banks and not wanting to run gen's all the time, having a solid ER set up correctly for your battery chemistry and size is a MUST HAVE!!!

I have 2 Wakespeed WS500's networked together charging my house bank (800ah). I went with them because of the "next-gen" abilities over the Balmar's. I also HATED that stupid magnetic tip screwdriver needed to program them and the horrible UI menu. WS500's can literally be programmed on your kitchen table with a cell phone and a USB cable...
I also like the N2K output they now have as well. I can see my alt info on all my MFD's across the N2K network.
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Old 01-28-2022, 12:34 PM   #14
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WS500's can literally be programmed on your kitchen table with a cell phone and a USB cable...

What did you use to do this?
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Old 01-28-2022, 12:56 PM   #15
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Old 01-28-2022, 12:56 PM   #16
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twistedtree-

You can download the Wakespeed app for your phone... In there, it has a ton of already loaded configurations for popular brands (batteries, alternators, BMS, chemistries, etc.). Once you have the app, you just connect to the WS500 with a USB cable from phone to device (inside cover plate).

If you REALLY want to dive into the programming, Off Grid has a very user friendly tool for programming... 4th pic is the PC software programming option.

https://www.offgridsoftwaresolutions...indows-64-bit/

Attached Thumbnails
app5.jpg   pp6.jpg   app2.jpg   Programming Screenshot.PNG  
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Old 01-28-2022, 01:13 PM   #17
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It might also be mentioned that the OP can't just add an external regulator to his existing alternator. You can have an alternator modified, removing the internal regulator and set it up for an external one. Or better yet use this opportunity to upgrade to a better, externally regulated, alternator
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Old 01-28-2022, 01:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sean9c View Post
It might also be mentioned that the OP can't just add an external regulator to his existing alternator. You can have an alternator modified, removing the internal regulator and set it up for an external one. Or better yet use this opportunity to upgrade to a better, externally regulated, alternator

100% ! ! ! Definitely agree with looking into an upgraded (more amperage) option if available.
Guessing that if you have an INternally regulated alternator it's also probably <100a.
With that in mind, you would need to go to dual belt pulley at about 100-150a. I believe above 150a you need to switch to serpentine (if not already installed).
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Old 01-28-2022, 04:46 PM   #19
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Boy, after scanning Scott's post #16, I'm not sure I can handle that additional complication in my life, even if it helps my boat light up the entire marina, make dinner for us and do the laundry. And I've watched a lot of Jeff Cote's videos too, they're great, I love the guy, but I only have so much time in life. I'm installing new alternators this spring. Double pulleys already so that's nice, but the old ones are original to the boat and only 50 amp. I'm going with a relatively simple upgrade to 70 amps, simple swap, same wiring pattern (Marine Power 454's). I'm already wondering about whether I should replace the wiring with something heavier, just for that relatively small amp increase. It never ends. External regulators might be a big improvement, I don't disagree, but at some point I only have so much time and mental capacity to maintain complex systems. I had to figure out the error message lights and repair a Keurig coffee machine at home this week. Even the coffee machine is eating pieces of my life with higher complexity.
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Old 01-28-2022, 05:09 PM   #20
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kthoennes-
The app for the device makes it REALLY easy. Just click through the drop down options.... Takes MAYBE 10 mins start-to-finish. You can download the app and play with it without having anything connected. That would definitely give you a real understanding of it's simplicity.
The last pic I posted is of the Off Grid software you can also use. That ones really get's into the device and also allows you to see real-time what's happening in your charging system (amps/temps/power curves/volts/etc.)
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