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Old 16-12-2010, 07:53   #1
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Need High Output Alternators for Research Boat

I was in a situation the other day where most of the power generated by my alternators was being used to power some scientific instruments. On average the alternators were producing 90 to 95 amps each. I have each alternators power running through a shunt therefore I know this with certainty. The alternators are rated for 110 amps. The instruments were running off a Xantrex Prosine 3.0 capable of producing 30 amps at 120 volts AC. The engines are twin Cummins B series turbo diesels that are about three years old.

I need to upgrade my alternators, probably into the high 100's each. I called Balmar and they quoted me a price of $2000 each for an alternator that produces 160 amps and then one that produces just over 200 amps. The price difference was a couple hundred dollars.

Purchasing a generator is not in the budget.

I do not need an alternator/regulator that maximizes how efficiently the batteries are charged. I just need a pair that can crank out the current reliably.

Does anyone know where I can get a pair of high output alternators that will cost me less than $4000?
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Old 16-12-2010, 08:05   #2
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David,

Been researching the same and from a number of sources the opinion is that Balmar just rebrands commercial grade alternators and adds a coat of white paint. There may be some limited marinization and spark protection added by Balmar but with diesels on your boat I think not a critical issue.

From what I can learn the Balmar is just a Leece-Neville (now part of Prestolite). Look into a commercial grade or truck grade L-N. Should be able to get into a new 200 amp for 25%-50% of what Balmar charges.

Other issue is the regulator. Did the package from Balmar include external, multi-stage, smart regulator? The L-N would probably come with standard automotive style internal regulator which might limit the output for your application.
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Old 16-12-2010, 08:06   #3
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You could check with a truck parts house, peterbilt and the like. Our units have (peterbilt chassis) have 150A alts.
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Old 16-12-2010, 08:09   #4
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Thanks Skip,
The quote I received from Balmar included an external regulator which cost just over $300.

I will look into the Leece-Neville alternators.

Edit:
Thanks Sail. I will look into that as well.
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Old 16-12-2010, 08:09   #5
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David,

One or two other comments.

Even if the Balmar is not a Leese-Neville but some other brand the L-N is a serious, heavy duty alternator and should stand up to the load. It will be a large frame unit and put a serious load on the engine and belts so make sure you can mount a really heavy duty bracket and serious drive belts to run one of these. When I added a 150 amp L-N to my last boat I had to custom fabricate a bracket (no provisions for such on the Volvo diesel I had at that time) which cost almost $300 in 1979 dollars.
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Old 16-12-2010, 08:21   #6
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I bought a large frame truck alt off ebay There ate thousands for sale many cheap check it out
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Old 16-12-2010, 08:22   #7
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Uh...... why not install a generator?
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Old 16-12-2010, 08:30   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
Uh...... why not install a generator?
The cost, time and then being reliant on it working for the boat to function. Additionally, I think that the chance of two alternators failing is less than the chance of a genset failing.

It's a huge deal when the boat does not work. It's lost revenue plus it can really screw up someones research.
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Old 16-12-2010, 08:34   #9
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Let us know how your solution works out.
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Old 16-12-2010, 08:36   #10
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From the numbers that are being thrown around to upgrade, a Honda eU3000 could be used.... utterly dependable, quiet, no installation involved, and easily removed when the power is not required
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Old 16-12-2010, 08:39   #11
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David,

What you may want is a Delco single wire 150 amp alternator. I use to have a Cummins B 220 HP in my charter boat. The bracketing is the same although you will likely need to change the size of the serpentine belt. The fit is a little snug but worked fine. Also the cable that runs from the alternator to the starter will need to be increased in size. If you aren't familiar with a single wire alternator, it only has the big heavy cable that carries the amperage. The regulator is self exciting when the alternator starts to turn. I think the last one I bought was around $400. You will find this is likely about as large as you can go before you have to move the heat exchanger and change bracketing. The Delco alternators are available most places that rebuild starters and alternators. I would buy one and make sure you can bring it back if there is an issue with bracketing.

On my boat I have a single Cummins C 300 HP now. To get enough amperage to run the airconditioning throuh a 5,000 watt inverter, I installed a second alternator on the engine that runs off an auxilary pulley bolted to the harmonic balancer. Currently have a 150 Delco on it, but thinking about switching to a 320 amp Leece-Neville.

Ted
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Old 16-12-2010, 08:48   #12
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David,

One other thing. Before you change alternators, check to see if your tachometer is driven off the alternator or has a sensor that works off the flywheel. Both my engines were older models so it wasn't an issue for me. Not sure if that changed in the more recent models.

Ted
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Old 16-12-2010, 09:07   #13
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In addition to Leece-Neeville

Check out American Power Systems who build high capacity Ambulance alternators & etc.

American Power Systems, Inc.
426 W. Second Street, Davenport Iowa 52801

Commercial Sales Line: (563) 323-7994 ext 107
Tech Line: (563) 323-7994 ext 103
Inside Sales: (563)323-7994 ext 100
Fax: (563) 323-8089
E-mail: info@americanpowerinc.com
Toll Free 1-866-446-8878
Web ➥ High Amp Output Alternator, Heavy Duty Alternators by American Power Systems, Inc.


Or, contact Dudley, at Red Hot Battery Service in Cleveland, who
builds special, high capacity alternators. He uses the large frame semi truck alternators and rebuilds them to make 200+ amps as a 1 wire unit (self-exciting).

Red Hot Battery Service Inc,
1708 Wildwood Avenue Se
Cleveland, TN 37311-6985 map
Phone: (423) 478-3536
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Old 16-12-2010, 09:11   #14
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I think the Honda might be an idea. EU2000i is about $900. Might be enough to run your loads by itself but if not you can get a second to piggyback onto the first for another $900. Then you get some redundancy as well as a stand alone system in case you want to shut down the engines but still run the equipment.
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Old 25-12-2010, 19:51   #15
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Thanks everyone! I'm still looking around to see who has the best cure. I did a calculation and it looks like each alternator needs to be around 200 amps. I need to call Cummins and see if my engines will accept such high amp alternators. Perhaps they have some they will guarantee will work for less than what Balmar wants?...$2000 each.

I very much appreciate the gas genset idea Skipmac, but I am afraid the small gas genset idea will not work because it would get splashed with salt water out on deck. It's a 17 knot boat and there is spray everywhere at speed in chop. In addition there are on occasion some sensitive and very expensive laboratory instruments on board that are powered by 120vac. I need super clean AC. The true sine wave inverter I use creates and conditions 120vdc very well. It has also been extremely reliable.
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