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Old 03-13-2019, 04:49 PM   #61
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Amptech builds a small frame in 140A based on a Delco 10DN, but has beefed up diodes, windings, and better bearings. It's wired for external regulation. I have one, if you can use the 120A, it'll be easier on the alternator. I would NOT use the 614 with ANY alternator without a temp sensor. I had an OEM Delco 21SI (I think) connected to a Balmar reg. Smoked it. Literally. In short order, batteries were at 70% SOC. Full fielded for a bit. No temp sensor. Dumb.

WRT the batt temp sensors, if you port the alternator output to the house (biggest?) bank, it should be representative enough to work. It uses the temperature to calculate the charging voltage as relates to temp of the battery. That calculation is based on the Slope (SLP) setting in the regulator programming. That value can be obscure, so do your due diligence in determining the correct setting, as a wrong setting can lead to chronic over/under charge problems that you'll blame on something else. Get the temperature compensated float voltages from the battery mfr. and confer with Balmar to determine the correct SLP setting. It is poorly documented, so worth the time to talk to Balmar's tech support. They are very helpful.


I don't know the characteristics of the thermistor that is the battery temp sensor, I suppose you could reverse-engineer one, but I think a case could be made for using a single Balmar sensor on the biggest bank since that one will set the control pace anyway. Ask Balmar, they have answers, I have some experience, shaded by opinion.


There was another post weeks ago WRT the FFA setting. Very helpful. Mine was dropping back to absorb with any significant inverter load. Adjusting the setting allows the alternator to increase the field without kicking up to absorb voltage. Ahhh, that's what was happening.



As others have said, the Balmar regulators are excellent, but using a "standard" preset program for your battery type is foolish. Gather all the information, create a table of your customized settings, including SLP, and then step through the whole programming sequence, advanced included. If you're paying someone else to do the install, ask to see their programming parameter table. If you get a blank look, you may not have the right installer.
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Old 03-14-2019, 07:33 AM   #62
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Balmar MC-614 Regulator Settings

Great advice.
I will do the alt temps for sure. And Balmar batt temp.
Sounds like I will be doing a lot more homework too.
Displaying the depth of my ignorance....the diodes are not part of the regulator then?
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:22 AM   #63
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Great post, Maerin! Also good advice from the man, CMS. Have you looked at his alternator mentioned in his post which he modifies for the Balmar MC-614? It's a one stop shop with expertise and warranty.

KS, I have an extra Balmar alternator temp sensor new in bag that I'll find and send you gratis. Somehow I double ordered it.

Send me a PM or email with your mailing address.
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:47 AM   #64
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Great advice.
I will do the alt temps for sure. And Balmar batt temp.
Sounds like I will be doing a lot more homework too.
Displaying the depth of my ignorance....the diodes are not part of the regulator then?

The diodes are part of the alternator. They convert the A/C power created by the alternator into DC. If you want a really high output alternator, look at Zena alternators. The higher amp units utilize an external rectifier that mounts separate from the alternator. This keeps the diodes cooler since they're not subject to the heat created by the windings. I also use a 250 cfm 12V blower that ducts outside air to the back of the alternators and the battery box. It helps. My Zena alternator can crank at full field (about 200A into the bank) and stays at temps under 90C. Helps keep the batteries happier since they live in the hostile environment of the engine room. Heat is the enemy.
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:55 AM   #65
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Still searching for reasonable and readily available alternators to replace my two 10si models to go with Balmar set-up - Not going for the Balmar alts.
Found a local shop with good reputation, in business a long time.
They suggest a stock Denso model that should fit my mounts and gave me a core to try. Will update on that fitment. not sure of amperage, but they think around 100 max. Idle not so much.... my 10si (two) each put out 72 amps max - idle rate unknown.

online, Mechman tech said that if they modify their S model 170 amp for external regulator, there will be no warranty. so I think they are out of favor.


With regard to Battery temp sensors feeding Balmar regulators, are they all the same? I presume a bi-metal strip feeding two wires. Is Balmar worth the $47 vs $20? I will need three, I think ---Port Start, Stbd Start, and House bank- so not a huge deal either way. I am curious though.

Have you looked here? Alternators & Regulators


Also the Balmar temp sensors are not just basic thermistors. They are precision calibrated to the regulator and are proprietary devices that can not be mixed and matched with other brands. The alternator MC-TS-A and battery temp sensors MC-TS-B are interchangeable (could be swapped) but only for use on a Balmar regulator.
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:07 AM   #66
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Thank you CMS.
Can you send that link again?
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:09 AM   #67
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Nevermind it wirks fine!
Thank you
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:14 AM   #68
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Ah, so MaineSail, Marinesail, and CMS are all Rod Collins?
Well, he was in the Federal Witness Protection program, but that's blown now....
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Old 02-05-2020, 06:53 PM   #69
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Hear is something I just learned about. An Alternator Service Disconnect. I have one but a recent post on Marine How To explained that I should change the way it is wired.
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Old 03-23-2020, 03:15 AM   #70
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This is a good thread, and I am about to re-program my 612 again, this time getting everything right! I just discovered the reason I was getting a 'ping-pong' charge rate. In the Short Prog mode I had inadvertently changed the AL2 parameter to 'b2' (second battery bank) from 'AL2' (second alternator). So when the second alt reached 52įC it was stopping charging.

Now I have that sorted I have a question about the Slope Voltage Correction (SLP) parameter. The manual indicates a range of 0-8.3 mV/įC. Is this actually 0-8.3 mV per volt per įC?

I have Odyssey batteries which say temperature correction is +/- 24 mV per 12V battery per įC. So do I use '2' as the value for SLP?
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Old 06-11-2021, 03:32 PM   #71
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Iíve read through all the replies in this thread multiple times and all the links so think I understand the Balmar settings but need input from the experts as no matter what I do I canít get my Balmar to kick into float mode.

My settings are as followings: 450Ahr LFP @ 24 v house bank, Balmar 624 regulator. BV=28.8v, b1c=12 mins, AV=27.2v, a1c=12 minutes, FV=26.8v, f1c=1 hour, Fba=30%, Ffl=60%, Ali=90c

My alternator is 190amps and while cruising at 1800rpm itís usually outputting 135-150amps into the battery in bulk mode with the alternator 90c threshold acting as a cutoff to prevent overheating. The regulator satisfactorily goes through S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6 but then stays on S7. My battery monitor is showing a consistent 27.2v-27.25v and +/- 2amps so the regulator should trigger and go into float. On a recent 12 hour run no matter I tried I couldnít get it to flip to float voltage. The regulator is showing Fe of 8% which is for the house loads while underway.

Anyone have any ideas how I get the regulator to go into float mode? Being LFP the battery accepts almost full amps up to 99% so the Fba threshold of 30% is working to trigger absorption.
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Old 06-11-2021, 11:06 PM   #72
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Switch your fba and ffl

I think youíve got your fba and ffl switched. You want it to drop to absorption at a higher field threshold than the drop to float. Your drop to absorption is at 30% and your drop to float is 60%. That should be reversed.
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Old 06-12-2021, 08:39 AM   #73
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I think youíve got your fba and ffl switched. You want it to drop to absorption at a higher field threshold than the drop to float. Your drop to absorption is at 30% and your drop to float is 60%. That should be reversed.
Thanks for the input. Have you read all the postings in this sticky and the related links? The Fba setting is actually used for both the drop from Bulk to Absorption and from Absorption to float. The Ffl is the field percentage for the regulator to go from Float back to Absorption.

After further reading I think my issue is with my variable house loads while underway. While in Bulk at 28.8v my alternator is putting out almost as many amps as it can until the battery reaches 99% full and then the amps fall off drastically and it switches to my absorption voltage of 27.2v. At this voltage if my inverter kicks on a larger load it produces more amps which I think the Fba of 30% is preventing it from going into float.

Iím going to switch my Fba to 50% to prevent my house loads from stopping the switch from absorption to float. Once I confirm this is happening Iíll lengthen my absorption time to 1 hour to allow sufficient time and prevent field % from prematurely stopping absorption. Will report back my results.
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Old 06-12-2021, 09:39 AM   #74
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I’ve read through all the replies in this thread multiple times and all the links so think I understand the Balmar settings but need input from the experts as no matter what I do I can’t get my Balmar to kick into float mode.

My settings are as followings: 450Ahr LFP @ 24 v house bank, Balmar 624 regulator. BV=28.8v, b1c=12 mins, AV=27.2v, a1c=12 minutes, FV=26.8v, f1c=1 hour, Fba=30%, Ffl=60%, Ali=90c

My alternator is 190amps and while cruising at 1800rpm it’s usually outputting 135-150amps into the battery in bulk mode with the alternator 90c threshold acting as a cutoff to prevent overheating. The regulator satisfactorily goes through S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6 but then stays on S7. My battery monitor is showing a consistent 27.2v-27.25v and +/- 2amps so the regulator should trigger and go into float. On a recent 12 hour run no matter I tried I couldn’t get it to flip to float voltage. The regulator is showing Fe of 8% which is for the house loads while underway.

Anyone have any ideas how I get the regulator to go into float mode? Being LFP the battery accepts almost full amps up to 99% so the Fba threshold of 30% is working to trigger absorption.
The attached might be helpful. It's my notes on how charging and the various parameters actually work, as opposed the what the Balmar manual says which is confusing and sometimes flat out wrong.

First, Fba is the field % for BOTH the transition from Bulk to Absorb, AND the transition from Absorb to Float. With LFP, I would set that pretty high. When your batteries reach their target voltage, you want to quickly switch to the next stage, and quickly get to Float.

Ffl is the field % for transition from Float back to Bulk, NOT from Absorb to Float. I think the Balmar manual says otherwise. For LFP, I think this should be set as high as possible. There is no need to go back to Bulk once in Float.

The values for timers are confusing, so I just want to check to be sure you have them right. The displayed numbers are 1/10th of an hour (6 minutes). I don't recall if there is a decimal place displayed, but 0.2 (or maybe "2" or "02") would be 2/10 of an hour or 12 min. 1.2 (or "12") would be 1.2 hours, or 72 minutes. With LFP, I think you want the shortest timers possible for Bulk (b1c) and Absorb (a1c), and the longest time possible for Float (f1c). With the timers, keep in mind that the regulator always stays in each stage for at least 6 minutes, then it observes whatever programmed time you have. So the actual time is always 6 minutes longer than what you program.

Now with all that said, I actually don't see how the settings you currently have explain the problem you see, other than if you have the timers set incorrectly.


Let us know what you find.
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File Type: pdf BalmarRegulatorOperation.pdf (43.7 KB, 5 views)
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Old 06-12-2021, 10:09 AM   #75
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What Bulk and Float voltages does your battery manufacturer call for? And how much Absorb time? I would expect Bulk/Absorb of 27.6V, and a short absorb time, unless longer is required by an internal balancer. Now Balmar insists on Bulk being at least 0.2V higher than Absorb, so I would set Bulk to 27.6 and Absorb to 27.4 to be conservative, or if you want to be more aggressive, 27.8 and 27.6. And unless specifically called for by the battery manufacturer, I would keep programmed bulk and absorb times to the absolute minimum, knowing that I'll get an extra 6 minutes in each stage whether I like it or not.


28.8V is the absolute max for LFP. You only want to go there if a battery balancer requires it for some reason, and you definitely don't want to maintain that voltage any longer than absolutely necessary.
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Old 06-12-2021, 12:02 PM   #76
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Since you have spent the money on LFP, might as well go all in and put in a Wakespeed regulator. It avoids all this nonsense because it has a shunt input. Balmar went as far as to do a major revision of the 614 (now 618) and yet did not put in the shunt input, the most glaring thing it was lacking. In addition, the Wakespeed can integrate directly with some brands of BMS.

I have the opposite problem, regulator switches to float prematurely, and no setting will keep it from doing that. I've about had it with the Balmar and will be switching it out when I find the time.
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Old 06-12-2021, 01:41 PM   #77
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What Bulk and Float voltages does your battery manufacturer call for? And how much Absorb time? I would expect Bulk/Absorb of 27.6V, and a short absorb time, unless longer is required by an internal balancer. Now Balmar insists on Bulk being at least 0.2V higher than Absorb, so I would set Bulk to 27.6 and Absorb to 27.4 to be conservative, or if you want to be more aggressive, 27.8 and 27.6. And unless specifically called for by the battery manufacturer, I would keep programmed bulk and absorb times to the absolute minimum, knowing that I'll get an extra 6 minutes in each stage whether I like it or not.


28.8V is the absolute max for LFP. You only want to go there if a battery balancer requires it for some reason, and you definitely don't want to maintain that voltage any longer than absolutely necessary.
Thanks for all the inputs, I think I solved the issue. The problem was that my variable house loads were drawing too many amps that despite the batteries being fully charged the Fba setting of 30% wasnít triggering the advancement to float. I raised Fba to 50% and today on a 3 hour run I was able to get to float but only after turning off my inverter. So I think Iíll bump Fba all the way to 80% so house loads canít prevent advancing to the next stage. Iíll put Ffl at the maximum since as you say there is no need to leave Float to go back to Absorb.

As for voltages Iím running Battleborn LFP and they say 28.4v-29.2v (recommend 28.8v) for bulk and float 27.2v or less for float. As for times on my 624 regulator firmware the lowest I can go for B1c and A1c is 0.2 or 12 minutes. I would go to 0.1 or 6 minutes if it was available but that would require a firmware update.

Battleborn recommends a 30 min absorption time for each 100Ahr battery so in my setup that would be 2.5 hours. My understanding is the absorption time is to allow any rebalancing amongst the cells so itís not critical that this occur on every cycle. As we know with LFP you can go from 10% SOC to 90% SOC all day with no long term effects. My shore power charger is utilized often enough that minimal absorption time while underway will result in no ill effects.

So my final settings are: Dlc=60, Bv=28.8v, B1c=0.2/12 minutes, Av=28.4v, A1c=0.2/12 minutes, Fv=27.2v, F1c=4 hours, Fba=80%, Ffl=96%, Ali=90c

The only thing Iím still not clear on is how the regulator handles the calculated bulk/absorb times. Let me explain, if we assume B1c/A1c both are 0.1 or 6 minutes, after 6 minutes if Actual voltage=Bv and Fba<=field output it advances to Absorb time/voltage, but if not it stays on Bv. Does the actual voltage need to equal Bv for the entire duration of the cycle or only at the instance itís making the comparison? Also, does it automatically go through another 6 minute cycle before doing another comparison or is it continually comparing?

Thanks again for all your inputs.
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Old 06-12-2021, 07:12 PM   #78
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The only thing Iím still not clear on is how the regulator handles the calculated bulk/absorb times. Let me explain, if we assume B1c/A1c both are 0.1 or 6 minutes, after 6 minutes if Actual voltage=Bv and Fba<=field output it advances to Absorb time/voltage, but if not it stays on Bv. Does the actual voltage need to equal Bv for the entire duration of the cycle or only at the instance itís making the comparison? Also, does it automatically go through another 6 minute cycle before doing another comparison or is it continually comparing?

Thanks again for all your inputs.

The way Balmar words the description I have always interpreted it as a spot check at the various 6 minute intervals. But I really don't know. They might keep high water marks over the 6 minute interval, and check that when the time is up. It's not clear.


BTW, with LFP I'm not seeing any reason not to have Fba = 98% as well. I thin once that target voltage is reached and you have sat there for the prescribed time, I think you want to switch to float regardless of the current. Also, I think it's better to stretch out float (F1c) as long as possible. If float turns off, then you will be left running on the batteries rather than letting the alternator carry your loads.
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