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Old 13-12-2017, 11:18   #16
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Re: Next Gen Alternator Regulator

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Iíd like to see it incorporate a shunt so that alternator output could be known, and an end point of absorption can be set based on amps.
Alt output is one thing, but includes consumption of running loads.

Bank acceptance is another, and what should (for lead) determine endAmps transition from Absorb, fully adjustable.

Thing is you don't want multiple shunts in line, so if you have a coulomb-counting SoC meter already, that should have control over that transition.

Just disabling Field Current is of course the easy workaround, but bit of a kludge.
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Old 13-12-2017, 11:44   #17
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Re: Next Gen Alternator Regulator

Obvious now: We'd like the charging device to provide, and allow control of, in detail, all measurable information/data to a computer or similar screen, and for each type of information/data to be controllable within the full range of the device. BTW, for those of us inclined to needlessly tinker (and sometimes brainlessly), a single button to reset everything to factory specs. Sort of an adjustable controllable OBDII mechanism for the functions and characteristics related to the device presently called, at the most basic level, the engine's generator/alternator system, although it should tie in with other on-board electrical production and use systems. Can you make it corrosion resistant as well?
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Old 13-12-2017, 11:53   #18
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LiFePo4

I should probably have specified that LiFePo4 is paramount, so:

1) It shouldn't fry the alternator
2) It shouldn't fry the Regulator
3) It shouldn't fry the LiFePo4 batteries
4) It should however be able to run close to 100% charging
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Old 13-12-2017, 14:18   #19
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Re: Next Gen Alternator Regulator

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Alt output is one thing, but includes consumption of running loads.

Bank acceptance is another, and what should (for lead) determine endAmps transition from Absorb, fully adjustable.

Thing is you don't want multiple shunts in line, so if you have a coulomb-counting SoC meter already, that should have control over that transition.

Just disabling Field Current is of course the easy workaround, but bit of a kludge.


Alt output canít exceed house plus other loads and battery acceptance, of it did, it would exceed voltage set point. So just like any other charge source, with a shunt you could set an alternator regulator to drop into float, just like my shorepower and Solar chargers do now.
Without directly measuring acceptance rate, when it drops into float is just a guess and will not be correct from one day to the next, unless you always start the engine at the same battery bank SOC, so as good as my 614 is, if it had an adjustable point as to at what amperage it dropped into float, it would be better, but that takes a shunt.
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Old 13-12-2017, 14:30   #20
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Re: Next Gen Alternator Regulator

Lots of good ideas here, but to me the most important thing hasn't been mentioned yet: any aftermarket regulator should work with either N or P type alternators, and not require modifying the alternator to work.

To explain: In the US our alternators (including Balmar) are typically P-type, which is to say that one side of the field is grounded (12V-) and the other is powered by positive voltage from the regulator. In Europe the alternators are typically N-type, with one side of the field going to 12V+ and the other through the regulator to ground (12V-). So when you buy an American made, or equipped, or updated engine you will usually need a P-type regulator, which is what is made here (in the US). But buy a Volvo-Penta and it will have an N-type alternator, which most if not all American regulators won't drive. So instead it is necessary to buy an import or tear apart and rewire the alternator. Dumb. It simply isn't that hard to design a regulator that will work for both.

Consider my case: a new Volvo-Penta D2-40 comes with a stock N-type 115A Mitsubishi alternator, which is more than adequate for my system. So I have no intention of replacing the alternator with a new Balmar. While disconnecting the internal regulator I could change to P-type for a Balmar regulator, but that would complicate the installation as well as the reversal if the new regulator fails and the stock one is needed again.

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Old 13-12-2017, 14:58   #21
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Re: Next Gen Alternator Regulator

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Alt output canít exceed house plus other loads and battery acceptance, of it did, it would exceed voltage set point. So just like any other charge source, with a shunt you could set an alternator regulator to drop into float, just like my shorepower and Solar chargers do now.
Without directly measuring acceptance rate, when it drops into float is just a guess and will not be correct from one day to the next, unless you always start the engine at the same battery bank SOC, so as good as my 614 is, if it had an adjustable point as to at what amperage it dropped into float, it would be better, but that takes a shunt.
Yes, I just meant the shunt needs to be located at the bank to measure acceptance properly, and many owners may already have their BM's mounted there.

Just measuring Alt output, while useful if in addition to the above, tells nothing about the bank itself
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Old 13-12-2017, 15:14   #22
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Re: Next Gen Alternator Regulator

I for one don't feel the need for additional measurements nor more sophisticated float entry algorithms. But, I will never again buy a regulator that uses your magnetic reed switch programming and complicated blinking led readout system, Never. The frustration that I suffered trying to set up and then modify the routines drove me to bin the Balmar and go to a competing brand.

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Old 13-12-2017, 15:22   #23
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Re: Next Gen Alternator Regulator

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I for one don't feel the need for additional measurements nor more sophisticated float entry algorithms. But, I will never again buy a regulator that uses your magnetic reed switch programming and complicated blinking led readout system, Never. The frustration that I suffered trying to set up and then modify the routines drove me to bin the Balmar and go to a competing brand.

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I'm 100% in agreement with the above.
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Old 13-12-2017, 15:40   #24
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Re: Next Gen Alternator Regulator

My beef with all electronics for boats is the case. In bad weather and in low latitudes biggest failures are from humidity destroying boards and connections. Case stuff in IP67 enclosures. Other than that keep it simple. I agree with the comments about twin channels. I run a 3 bank system, house, electronics and start. The house bank is much larger and has far more demands so needs longer charge times. The result in a tendency to overcharge the other two banks. I think this could only be done using some form of inverter system so would probably be prohibited by cost.
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Old 13-12-2017, 15:57   #25
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Re: Next Gen Alternator Regulator

Thanks for recently adding new LFP settings on your regulators. A start, but not a full solution to the LFP problem.

We all know LFP is the way to go, but current control systems are complicated, often not compatible and with some reliability issues. "Alternator Regulator" should be a "Charge Controller", accepting and controlling inputs from all charging sources, alternator, windgen, solar panels and shore power chargers. Possibly built in BMS and Hi/Lo cut out relays.

Reprogramming a wet cell regulator and trying to interface with multiple regulators from various sources is not user friendly for most owners.
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Old 13-12-2017, 16:35   #26
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Re: Next Gen Alternator Regulator

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Thanks for recently adding new LFP settings on your regulators. A start, but not a full solution to the LFP problem.

We all know LFP is the way to go, but current control systems are complicated, often not compatible and with some reliability issues. "Alternator Regulator" should be a "Charge Controller", accepting and controlling inputs from all charging sources, alternator, windgen, solar panels and shore power chargers. Possibly built in BMS and Hi/Lo cut out relays.

Reprogramming a wet cell regulator and trying to interface with multiple regulators from various sources is not user friendly for most owners.
I completely disagree. The alternator regulator controls alternator output to make in an effective battery charger. Other sources can simply be switched off when the engine is run. Also if you have only one controller and it blows you have no power, keep the solar separate and it acts as a backup. Same for shorepower and a genset if you have one.
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Old 13-12-2017, 17:22   #27
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Next Gen Alternator Regulator

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Yes, I just meant the shunt needs to be located at the bank to measure acceptance properly, and many owners may already have their BM's mounted there.

Just measuring Alt output, while useful if in addition to the above, tells nothing about the bank itself


Why would it matter where along the wire the shunt is located? We are measuring current flow, not voltage, and even if voltage the loss ought to be insignificant or you need bigger wire. I used to run voltage sense wire directly to the bank, but have discovered by measurement that the voltage measured at the starter solenoid lug is within .1V so I donít bother now.
I mounted a shunt within inches of my alternator output, and by looking at the ammeter that tells me the loads on my bank, and subtracting that from alternator output, I can derive how much charge the bank is accepting. If the alternator output is 60 and house loads are 10, then the bank is accepting 50. If you donít know the charge sources output, how else can you determine how much the bank is accepting? Again this is exactly the same as your AC charger or Solar, no difference.
I have yet to understand how someone can tell what their alternator output is without a shunt to measure it.
I was surprised to find out how low sustained output was for my 165 amp alternator and suspect that is very common, just people donít know it, cause they canít measure it. Most seem to think their small frame alternator is making rated power or close to it, I did until I fitted the shunt.
In truth I would not expect Balmar or any other high power small frame alternator manufacturer to give you a means of determining output, or they would be fielding a lot of questions and be having to explain duty cycle to a lot of customers who question all those $$$ they spent for a high output alternator that isnít making rated power for very long at all.
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Old 13-12-2017, 17:45   #28
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Re: Next Gen Alternator Regulator

Review ti wiring diagram to install a shunt-based battery monitor.

For regulating a charge source, you only want to see the current being accepted by the battery.

The alt may be pumping out hundreds of amps running various loads, while the bank is getting close to full and only accepting say 7A.

Only the latter current measurement is relevant to the charge process. With a lead bank anyway, I would not use endAmps for LFP, just hitting rhe V setpoint.
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Old 13-12-2017, 21:06   #29
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Re: Next Gen Alternator Regulator

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I run a 3 bank system, house, electronics and start. The house bank is much larger and has far more demands so needs longer charge times. The result in a tendency to overcharge the other two banks.
You should look at the ProMariner ProIsoCharge products. They replace the battery combiner or diode isolators with a smart switch. IIRC they first start charging the starting battery, then as that voltage comes up (if discharged) it will switch the house battery bank in. Once any bank is fully charged (usually the start battery first) they are disconnected from charging. There is an output for battery voltage sense for the alternator regulator; it is always connected to the currently charging battery or batteries. It also solves the problem of voltage drop across diodes. Pretty cool. I bought one but haven't installed it yet. The best explanation is in their online catalog: ProMariner Catalog .

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Old 13-12-2017, 21:33   #30
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Re: Next Gen Alternator Regulator

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What is the ambient temperature where the alternator is mounted? Usually when people complain about the alternator running hot, it's because it's mounted someplace that is, well, hot.
Engine bays are hot? Most of us don't have engine rooms that provide more space. I've had to mount the blower directly to the back of my alternator to keep it cooler. It's not a Balmar but is a reputable marine brand.
I think small case alternators not being able to produce consistently their marketed output is discussed reasonably regularly. My 100amp alternator should be rebadged 70amps sometimes!!
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