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Old 10-23-2020, 09:15 AM   #1
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Balmar Regulator

Trying to research this on line and not getting clear answers.

Are the settings different for AGM batteries than flooded?

If anyone has a link to a clear concise programming link I'd be grateful! The ones I found assume you are an spaceship electrician!
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Old 10-23-2020, 09:31 AM   #2
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If you have the Balmar 614 regulator then there is a sticky thread at the top of electrical the forum, lots of info.
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Old 10-23-2020, 09:54 AM   #3
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Search in You Tube. “programming balmar regulator“
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:28 AM   #4
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If you don't want to get into it deeply, just set the Balmar to its built-in AGM setting. It won't be optimal, but that takes getting into it deeply. Yes, the settings are different for AGM vs flooded.
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:41 AM   #5
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If you don't want to get into it deeply, just set the Balmar to its built-in AGM setting. It won't be optimal, but that takes getting into it deeply. Yes, the settings are different for AGM vs flooded.
Thanks. That's what I needed to hear. I'll set it to the standard then on my run to the yard on Monday see if it resolves my overcharging issue. I may ask them to optimize it when she is there.
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:46 AM   #6
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I found this website very helpful for Balmer regulators.

https://marinehowto.com/programming-...age-regulator/

As per the video, I removed my regulator and used a small 12V battery to program the regulator while it was sitting on the kitchen table. My PO had simply hooked it up using the default settings, which were fairly accurate because default was for flooded lead batteries. But I was able to contact my battery manufacturer and they had slightly different bulk/float recommendations for my particular batteries. Also, I did some calculations regarding my usage and my alternator output. Based on that, I was able to change some settings to generally reduce the alternator output (100A) as I was unlikely to always need full output and recharge as fast as possible. Saves belts and horsepower drain.

I think that the video is right. Having paid $$$ for a fancy regulator, make sure to use its features to save belts, stop alternator burning out, cooking batteries, etc., and it will pay for itself.
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Old 10-23-2020, 01:44 PM   #7
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Also from marinehowto - AGM's are NOT all alike. Best to get the exact voltage recommmendations for your particular AGM's.

Manufacturer suggested charging and float voltages for AGM Batteries
Which ďAGMĒ Preset works?

Lifeline AGMís = 14.4V & 13.4V = AGM Preset #1
Odyssey TPPL AGMís = 14.7V & 13.6V = Neither AGM Preset
Firefly AGM =14.4V & 13.2V = Neither AGM Preset
Mastervolt AGM = 14.4V & 13.2V = Neither AGM Preset
Full River AGM = 14.7V & 13.7V = Neither AGM Preset
Rolls AGM = 14.7V & 13.7V = Neither AGM Preset
East Penn/Deka = 14.6V & 13.6V = Neither AGM Preset
US Battery AGM = 14.4V & 13.4V = AGM Preset #1
Trojan AGM = 14.4V & 13.5V = Neither AGM Preset
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Old 10-23-2020, 03:23 PM   #8
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Wow, I ordered a Balmar alternator kit on Wednesday from Defender. They had a great price on the kit which included the 614 regulator. List was about $1200. Most web sites had it for about $1000. Defender had it for $869 and the Defender First price was $817, Defender First cost $50. So I saved more than the Defender First cost on this order and it is good for a year. Like I said I ordered it on Wednesday and it came today, Friday. It was drop shipped from Balmar. And Defender told me it would not even ship until next week. Talk about great service. Actually from both Balmar and Defender. Now I just have to figure out how to program the regulator. Glad I read this thread and learned about the sticky post on the 614 regulator. BTW, no affiliation with either company. Just wanted to tell about the great service and glad to have seen this thread. That is why this forum is so great!
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Old 10-23-2020, 05:06 PM   #9
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I have a 24v system so have two of the 624s.

For AGMs it should be set to program 4 (flooded is P06 for regular, P02 for deep cycle).

I downloaded the manual and found this on coding, seems there could be a better interface but oh well. Of curse the special magnetic tip screwdriver is not to be found, but I do have a magnetic wand for picking up dropped screws:

Regulator Programming Modes
Using The Magnetic Reed Switch
Control of the MC-624 magnetic reed switch located in the upper left corner of the regulator’s circuit board. The reed switch provides selectable control of the regulator’s programming without creating an intrusion point as is common on many other adjustable voltage regulators currently on the market.

A small screwdriver with a magnet embedded in the tip of the handle is included to activate the magnetic reed switch. While any magnetic tipped tool can be used, the Balmar programming screwdriver does an excellent job as an interfacing tool.
Programming is accomplished by contacting and removing the magnet from the RED dot affixed to the regulator’s epoxy potting. If the magnet has difficulty activating the reed switch at that position, try moving the up and down along the length of the reed switch until the light is illuminated at the top of the LED display, between the second
and third display digits. The light indicates activation of the the reed switch.

Within the basic and advanced programming instructions, activation of the reed switch will be described by the following actions:
• TOUCH / RELEASE - Indicates the action of contacting and immediately removing the magnet from the reed switch
• TOUCH / HOLD - Indicates the action of contacting and holding the magnet to the reed switch
• TOUCH / HOLD / RELEASE - Indicates the action of contacting and holding the magnet to the reed switch, then releasing the reed switch be removing the magnet from the RED dot on the epoxy potting

Basic Programming
Programming For Battery Type
The MC-624 features selectable programs for SEVEN battery technologies. Programming can be done whenever the regulator is active. System voltage must be greater than 25.0V for programming changes to be saved.

To adjust the regulator for your battery type:
1. Turn on the regulator. If the regulator’s BROWN ignition wire is connected to an oil pressure switch, it may be necessary to start the engine to activate the regulator.
2. Once the regulator is on and the display is scrolling, TOUCH / HOLD the magnetic end of the programming screwdriver to the RED dot on the regulator as described above.
3. Continue to hold the magnet to the RED dot. The letters PRO will appear on the LED.
4. Continue to hold the magnet to the RED dot. The display will scroll through the seven available preset battery programs. The battery programs are signified by one of the program numbers shown below.
5. When the desired battery code is displayed, RELEASE the magnet from the RED dot.
6. The regulator will indicate the Pro code once the reed switch is released, followed by the SAV code to indicate that the program change has been saved.
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Old 10-24-2020, 02:36 PM   #10
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Need some more help on this.

I changed the starboard regulator in a few seconds from P02 to P04.

When I went to change the port regulator I went through and changed it to P04 and it showed Pro/Sav but it still was set to P02.

The battery level needs to show 25v for the save to take place. The other regulator saw more than 25v so changed fine.

My BV reading on the port side is showing 0.0.0 - so that is probably why it is not taking the save. I'm going to go back down later and start following the wires to make sure that the regulator wires at the battery have not come loose.

I suspect this is why the batteries are being overcharged - that Regulator/Alternator pair is seeing a battery voltage of zero so will keep cranking the charge!

My question: is there any other physical reason or setting reason that the BV would read 0.0.0?
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Old 10-24-2020, 02:42 PM   #11
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I was reading Rod Collins write up on programming the regulator. He said that Balmars instructions are wrong as to where to connect the sense wires, maybe. I donít remember exactly what was wrong but you might read through his write up and see exactly what is wrong in the directions.
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Old 10-24-2020, 02:44 PM   #12
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I was reading Rod Collins write up on programming the regulator. He said that Balmars instructions are wrong as to where to connect the sense wires, maybe. I don’t remember exactly what was wrong but you might read through his write up and see exactly what is wrong in the directions.
Mines aren't a new install - just different type batteries put in.

I suspect he may have knocked the battery side wire off or loosened it when he lifted in 160 pound batteries!
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Old 10-24-2020, 02:50 PM   #13
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If the sense wire isn't connected it will run the field current up to max. Depending on your alternator and battery sizes, that could give you 18V or higher. So don't run it until you have a DVM on the output.

Some people put a diode or two between the power in and sense line right at the regulator. The idea is to keep it from running away if the sense line becomes disconnected. The sense line is supposed to have a fuse, also it may be on the other side of an ACR, or just break the wire - there are a few scenarios where this could happen.

How are the port and starboard systems connected, if any?
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Old 10-24-2020, 03:17 PM   #14
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Mines aren't a new install - just different type batteries put in.

I suspect he may have knocked the battery side wire off or loosened it when he lifted in 160 pound batteries!
It may have always been wired incorrectly. I donít remember what he said was wrong in the directions and if it may or may not make a difference in your application.
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Old 10-24-2020, 03:46 PM   #15
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If the sense wire isn't connected it will run the field current up to max. Depending on your alternator and battery sizes, that could give you 18V or higher. So don't run it until you have a DVM on the output.

Some people put a diode or two between the power in and sense line right at the regulator. The idea is to keep it from running away if the sense line becomes disconnected. The sense line is supposed to have a fuse, also it may be on the other side of an ACR, or just break the wire - there are a few scenarios where this could happen.

How are the port and starboard systems connected, if any?
I have questions on that last point as well.

Since the two batteries are in series when both regulators and alternators are fully functional the regulators should read identical battery voltage. They would each then tell their alternator to push out identical loads until they sense their float point. Then they should both manage the same messaging to their alternators.

My theory is; now that one regulator isn't seeing battery voltage it will have the alternator charge continuously maxed out, the other regulator will lower the charge appropriately. Since the alternators both put out 15v that would lead to the overcharge.

Instead of not running the suspect regulator, I found that running at 1600RPM I can manage the charge in the green - basically using the engine RPMs as the regulator.
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Old 10-24-2020, 04:38 PM   #16
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Well here is one thing that could be causing the regulator not to read the voltage. I had the mechanics put these new batteries out just Thursday of last week. When I checked the battery side wiring;


It's now reading the battery. The voltage on that battery is not up to 25 so I can't attempt to change the battery type setting yet.
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Old 10-24-2020, 05:32 PM   #17
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I have questions on that last point as well.

Since the two batteries are in series when both regulators and alternators are fully functional the regulators should read identical battery voltage. They would each then tell their alternator to push out identical loads until they sense their float point. Then they should both manage the same messaging to their alternators.

My theory is; now that one regulator isn't seeing battery voltage it will have the alternator charge continuously maxed out, the other regulator will lower the charge appropriately. Since the alternators both put out 15v that would lead to the overcharge.

Instead of not running the suspect regulator, I found that running at 1600RPM I can manage the charge in the green - basically using the engine RPMs as the regulator.
Your setup seems unusual to me. Normally you would use 24V alternators to charge a 24V system. Do you have 12V or 24V starters? Maybe the way yours was originally configured is OK, I don't know. But on another thread you indicated that your old batteries life seemed a bit short. A Rube Goldberg battery and charging system could give that outcome!

When your new batteries were installed your sense wire may well have been connected to the wrong place wrt the "Rube' design. I'd suggest you get a GOOD marine electrician to trace and verify the whole thing.

Balmar's have a bit of a learning curve, but it is worth the effort. This is particularly true if you leave shore power chargers connected at the dock and also have significant solar charging capacity. For example, when leaving the dock with fully charged batteries, what minimum voltage do you want to force into the batteries from the alternators, and for how long? Ditto minimums for the solar when the sun gets up a bit in the morning.

If you overcharge AGM's on a regular basis they are going to off-gas, slowly, but over time you will dry them out and stuff them. Now Rod Collins says, I believe, that most batteries die from chronic undercharging. That doesn't mean that some don't fail prematurely if you aggressively charge batteries that are already fully charged every time you start the engines or when the sun rises each morning. For wet cells, probably not a big deal. You just need to add water more often. The trick for AGM, I think, is to set short min times for bulk & absorption phases, and let the regulator's smarts detect the V, and extend the times according to the battery's actual SOC. This way you will not overcharge them for more than a few minutes. For AGM's i've used, there have been warnings not to exceed 15V, and keeping a little below is prudent.

Something that is useful to have for Balmar programming is a crib sheet, with values based on your research on specific battery manufacturer. Attached is the one I used for my Balmar 612 dual and my new Victron SuperCycle AGM's. Your settings may vary.
Attached Files
File Type: doc Balmar 612 Settings.doc (95.5 KB, 14 views)
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Old 10-24-2020, 06:13 PM   #18
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Your setup seems unusual to me. Normally you would use 24V alternators to charge a 24V system. Do you have 12V or 24V starters? Maybe the way yours was originally configured is OK, I don't know. But on another thread you indicated that your old batteries life seemed a bit short. A Rube Goldberg battery and charging system could give that outcome!
Electricity is (one) of my big weak points. I will have to check the alternators but when the mechanic in Hilton Head last week installed the new batteries I asked him to check the alternator output when engines were idling and he told me he read 15v from both. Now that could have been their output at idle, could be they put out up to 28v at cruise, so 24v alternators.

My starters/relays are 24v. Start batteries 24V bank.

This week the voltage meters at the helm were showing the batteries being charged at the red top of the gauge ~ 30-32v. So I cranked back the engines to get them back into the green. I got my engine mechanic on the phone and he said I could play with the adjustment screw on the back of the alternator but he recommended just staying at 1600 until I could work on the issue properly.

Now an uneducated question. If you have two 24v alternators how do they work charging two starts in series (i.e. just the one 24v bank)? Are the regulators not way oversized making the regulators health critical - if you have a failure you will quickly cook the batteries?

Regardless, the issue may have been the loose battery connection meaning that the port regulator could not read the battery voltage and was reading 0.0.0 - which COULD have meant it kept telling the port alternator to pump voltage. After I tightened the connection the regulator saw the voltage. I will try later to change the regulator battery type to P04 and see if it saves. Then on Monday I will slowly raise the RPMs and see how the charging looks.

It's all Greek to me, and I was horrible at languages!
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Old 10-24-2020, 06:50 PM   #19
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My guess is that you actually have 24V alternators, despite the '15V' comment from the Hilton Head mechanic. But your Balmar 624's had the wrong charge profile given your previous bank was wet cells. They can have high V, particularly for equalising, but you generally don't attempt to equalise AGM's.

It sounds like you have just one shared 24V bank for the engines, which is fine. Both the 624's should read the same voltage if their sense and other wires are connected correctly. Changing the 'basic setting' to an AGM profile is OK as a temp fix. Just check the manual for what V that profile has, and compare to manufacturer's battery spec. I'd expect to be less than 30V.

But since you have great regulators, why not optimise their settings? Its not that hard, and will help extend battery life.

Oh, and the regs are not oversized. Programmed correctly they cannot cook your batteries.
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Old 10-24-2020, 07:29 PM   #20
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My guess is that you actually have 24V alternators, despite the '15V' comment from the Hilton Head mechanic. But your Balmar 624's had the wrong charge profile given your previous bank was wet cells. They can have high V, particularly for equalising, but you generally don't attempt to equalise AGM's.

It sounds like you have just one shared 24V bank for the engines, which is fine. Both the 624's should read the same voltage if their sense and other wires are connected correctly. Changing the 'basic setting' to an AGM profile is OK as a temp fix. Just check the manual for what V that profile has, and compare to manufacturer's battery spec. I'd expect to be less than 30V.

But since you have great regulators, why not optimise their settings? Its not that hard, and will help extend battery life.

Oh, and the regs are not oversized. Programmed correctly they cannot cook your batteries.
I am planning to optimize later - issue is they are "West Marine" batteries (all that was readily available in HH when I needed them). I called their tech number today to find out who the actual manufacturer is so that I can get the recommended settings. He was little help, in fact he emailed me a manual for post 2017 regulators for handling Lithium LifePo4 batteries. Found on Google that they are East Penn/Deka model 8A8D, so will call them Monday for the settings.

I wasn't suggesting the regulators would cook the batteries, just the two 24v alternators if the regulators read 0 voltage from a battery (understanding the alternators have their own internal regulators).
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