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Old 26-12-2017, 09:43   #46
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Re: Next steps for the Alternator Regulator effort

Hi All,

Jon, yes I am one of Al's happy and satisfied customer's so I'm aware of the capabilities of his Regulators. Yes I know about for example his Programmable profiles, and particularly the 7 and 8 profiles that are fully user customisable.

My wishlist of features, as I prefaced it with was largely already available with Al's Alternator Regulator. I was simply trying to reinforce the features we all should be looking for.

I fully agree that he has done a massive effort and come up with a great product- thanks Al!

It is also great to see that this subject is starting to become a little more understood and appreciated by more of the boating community. In no small part to the the efforts and recent postings on this forum.

Yes I agree that, although there looks to be some better Regulators coming out, someone mentioned the 'Seallithium' which at a quick glance looks quite good.

However the mainstream prime time community, if they do anything at all, simply goes straight for commonly available products out there currently. I dont think I'm supposed to mention names here but I think most reading this might know the products I'm referring to.

Even the best available mainstream product are lacking. They all seem to be missing some, or many great but not so difficult to implement features. Of course they are, better than automotive stock but, IMHO way short of what they should be in terms of features and capabilities.

I think that if someone realises and goes to the trouble and expense of improving their Alternator charging capabilities, why settle for half of good solution. I guess the truth is that apart from Al's Regulators, the picking is very thin.

The general awareness is unfortunately even thinner. However this, and other similar threads are going someway to remedy this situation. Keep up the good work, and thanks again for all the knowledgeable contributors on these threads.

Someone mentioned the documentation is not so consumer 'palatable'. I actually like the v1.1.1 reference guide. But I know I am only a dumb mechanic and like this sort of thing. Perhaps the average consumer dosent want to work so hard trecking through a few pages of information to get their Nespresso machine working overtime. So I guess a 'marketers' touch giving it a catchy name and some glossy graphics could help the cause getting the word out.

I think this is the real issue- exposure, or lack of. Simply not enough people realise the benefits that this can bring.

As already mentioned a BT/ wifi'd Tablet app interface to program and monitor would be real nice. I'm not sure if a dedicated display is the way to go. Obviously Tablets are not daylight readable and water proof etc, but there are more interfaces heading this way. These are common and relatively cheap.

Waterproofing, hmmm. I'm all for trying to get as much reliability as the next guy. My feeling is this is not really warranted. I think it can be placed somewhere that should be mostly dry. Let's face it if there is that much water getting inside where this is likely to be mounted then there are most likely bigger issues to worry about at this point.
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Old 26-12-2017, 10:26   #47
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Re: Next steps for the Alternator Regulator effort

John, the only stupid question is the one not asked, as I'm sure there are others wondering the same thing. OK, it is thread drift, as Al's looking for ideas on what folks want in a regulator...

Your first example is spot on. There is a programmable output line, but you really don't want to disconnect your alternator from a battery, as the alternator voltage will skyrocket instantly and blow all the diodes. And you don't want to mix battery types just to keep a "load dump" connected. Keep it simple and go with option #1. It's already there, with no external hardware.
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Old 26-12-2017, 18:43   #48
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Re: Next steps for the Alternator Regulator effort

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
... your VR is (can be set to)...
I think the "your" above was referring to Al, but just to be clear, I have no financial interest in these regulators. I cooked $3,000 worth of Sonennschein Gel batteries, so went looking for an alternator regulator that monitored current into the batteries, as my Blue Sky MPPT solar controller has been doing for years. I didn't find anything, so started designing my own (I'm an EE). Then a cruising friend pointed me at Al's regulators, and I've been bothering him ever since.

So I'm certainly a fan, and I'd like to see these regulators take off, but only because I think it would benefit the cruising community, not for any personal gain.
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Old 26-12-2017, 19:29   #49
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Re: Next steps for the Alternator Regulator effort

Yes I was actually addressing Al, but of course thanks for your response
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Old 28-12-2017, 14:54   #50
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Re: Next steps for the Alternator Regulator effort

This thread has been very informative. Thanks for the posts.

My view is that, generally speaking, solutions have been "approximate" - some more than others. This regulator allows for very precise charging for a single house bank; presumably a much smaller starting battery could be maintained accurately by a DC-DC charger, or approximately by a combiner for less cost. I find this approach very appealing.

With lead batteries the approximate approaches work pretty well, with diminishing returns with added complexity. (With the low cost, this regulator does change the tradeoffs, but again with more complexity - more sensors and settings - to attain more improvements.) I see that the additional precision is a huge benefit for lithium batteries, which are not nearly as forgiving as lead technology. For lead "good enough" is often just that.

As stated earlier, I have been proceeding with a ProIsoCharge, basically a smart combiner, which should work well (approximately) with any voltage-sensed regulator (either the stock internal regulator or an external one). With this regulator and a current-sense on the house bank I am concerned that the smarts in this regulator could get confused when the output is first connected to the starting battery only (no current sense) and then to both (current sense on house) and finally to house only as the voltage rises. Is that the case? Of course the answer may be to try to sell the ProIsoCharge and start over, at a cost. Or accept a slightly lower (more approximate) performance without the current sense.

FWIW, whichever configuration I end up with, I expect to be using this regulator. I am mightily impressed with the design. The only real improvement that I can see would be to work with an alternator with an internal regulator and external voltage sense, as I offered earlier. Instead of your external regulator directly driving the field, the voltage sense of the internal regulator could be manipulated to cause it to output as required. It would make installation a lot easier.

Any comments welcome.

Greg
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Old 28-12-2017, 18:50   #51
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Re: Next steps for the Alternator Regulator effort

Ya using the shunt to regulate output, then

putting a device in between the output and that shunt

which is designed to block that output

sounds like a. very. bad. idea

As I mentioned earlier, that device is not actually doing anything useful, the problem it claims to solve is not a real problem.

Using an expensive DCDC charger would be a good idea if the Starter is also expensive, and a completely different batt chemistry requiring a profile very different from House.

But if Starter is just used for that, then a cheap lead batt and an Echo Charger would make more sense IMO.
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Old 30-12-2017, 00:04   #52
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Re: Next steps for the Alternator Regulator effort

I suppose this is abit of a thread drift but we were talking names before, therefore we are entering the realm of marketing and business.

Firstly, from a technical perspective I'm no where near as knowledgeable as John or Jon here, but I'm a mechanic by trade and probably have a little bit better understanding than the average cruiser out here as far as I can see.

In my previous business the product was of course important BUT the way the marketplace viewed the product was more important, positioning is everything, understanding the mind of the consumer. The business was designed around what they believed they needed, solving their problem. An older successful friend pointed this out to me fifteen years ago, revenue increased ten fold once I realised how I viewed the world was irrelevant. The way my customer viewed the world was everything.

The best product dosent nessacarily win, this has been proven over and over in business. Often inferior products have market dominance, more often than not one product owns 80% of the marketplace regardless whether its the best or not. All competing products share the remaining 20%.

What problem is this solving for the average cruiser? Does the average cruiser know he has a problem? If he knows he has a problem, how easy can you make it for him to solve his problem? It's always WIIFM what's in it for me.

A products success always starts with questions like the above.

Now if the average cruiser dosent know he has a problem you'll never convince him that he needs your product. I don't believe the majority of cruisers know they have a problem.

This brings us to niche markets. What percentage of cruisers are technical enough to want the sort of control this reg supplies? I don't know, just throwing it out there but I would suggest you target the niche more educated part of the market, your product reinforces to them they know more and they enjoy this stuff.

A product like Balmar would have to do something really dumb to screw up their market share, it's hard for a established number one to ever lose that position and generally when companies try to go head to head they lose. A smart company looks for the crumbs, the niche markets.

When you understand the mind of the market (the hole) you can then build the peg(solution).

Many times brilliant technicians don't make great business men, they think different. Great business men often make very poor technicians, they focus on other stuff.

An example. Good friends of mine built a water bottling company on their own farm. Worked their absolute asses off, they put everything they had into this and had a good product. Over the first eight years they were so close to losing their farm several times, they had great water, spent heaps on marketing, packaged everything well, yet really struggled. They then started another line, same water same bottle same everything BUT went the "indigenous" branding approach, had a nice aboriginal story behind it, got involved in Aboriginal communities etc, the rest is history, major major success.....they don't compete with Schweppes or coco cola that dominate the bottle water markets, they found their niche and own it.

I must repeat, same water same bottle, same everything, different sticker.

Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 02-01-2018, 08:19   #53
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Re: Next steps for the Alternator Regulator effort

Quote:
Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
I suppose this is abit of a thread drift but we were talking names before, therefore we are entering the realm of marketing and business.

Firstly, from a technical perspective I'm no where near as knowledgeable as John or Jon here, but I'm a mechanic by trade and probably have a little bit better understanding than the average cruiser out here as far as I can see.

In my previous business the product was of course important BUT the way the marketplace viewed the product was more important, positioning is everything, understanding the mind of the consumer. The business was designed around what they believed they needed, solving their problem. An older successful friend pointed this out to me fifteen years ago, revenue increased ten fold once I realised how I viewed the world was irrelevant. The way my customer viewed the world was everything.

The best product dosent nessacarily win, this has been proven over and over in business. Often inferior products have market dominance, more often than not one product owns 80% of the marketplace regardless whether its the best or not. All competing products share the remaining 20%.

What problem is this solving for the average cruiser? Does the average cruiser know he has a problem? If he knows he has a problem, how easy can you make it for him to solve his problem? It's always WIIFM what's in it for me.

A products success always starts with questions like the above.

Now if the average cruiser dosent know he has a problem you'll never convince him that he needs your product. I don't believe the majority of cruisers know they have a problem.

This brings us to niche markets. What percentage of cruisers are technical enough to want the sort of control this reg supplies? I don't know, just throwing it out there but I would suggest you target the niche more educated part of the market, your product reinforces to them they know more and they enjoy this stuff.

A product like Balmar would have to do something really dumb to screw up their market share, it's hard for a established number one to ever lose that position and generally when companies try to go head to head they lose. A smart company looks for the crumbs, the niche markets.

When you understand the mind of the market (the hole) you can then build the peg(solution).

Many times brilliant technicians don't make great business men, they think different. Great business men often make very poor technicians, they focus on other stuff.

An example. Good friends of mine built a water bottling company on their own farm. Worked their absolute asses off, they put everything they had into this and had a good product. Over the first eight years they were so close to losing their farm several times, they had great water, spent heaps on marketing, packaged everything well, yet really struggled. They then started another line, same water same bottle same everything BUT went the "indigenous" branding approach, had a nice aboriginal story behind it, got involved in Aboriginal communities etc, the rest is history, major major success.....they don't compete with Schweppes or coco cola that dominate the bottle water markets, they found their niche and own it.

I must repeat, same water same bottle, same everything, different sticker.

Just my 2 cents worth.
Dale,

You are on target with this in ways many people would note wish were true. Product Development is one thing, Marketing Plan is a totally separate (and vital) aspect to any offering. Drives tech guys nuts, but is the real world.

I started this effort because I had a need: A way to properly and safely fully charge our batteries while way from the dock for our 8+ mo of the year; and I was unable to accomplish that goal using any of the existing devices available (sorry to some folks, but that is the truth). In sharing this other folks have seen value as well. Bit it was never my desire to create a business around these efforts - I worked too hard and too long to get to the 'early retirement' phase of my life to give that up by creating from the ground up a full on business venture.

Having said that, you have truth-be-told IDed perhaps the MOST SIGNIFICANT BARRIER to this effort. Who knows, perhaps there is someone who would like to push that aspect of this effort; given my preference to 'Bang on Bits All Day Long'** at this point of my life.

** My apologies to Todd Rundgren
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Old 02-01-2018, 08:25   #54
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Re: Next steps for the Alternator Regulator effort

That would IMO require the techie founder either submitting to biz/investor/marketeer leadersip, or letting go completely.
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Old 02-01-2018, 08:31   #55
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Re: Next steps for the Alternator Regulator effort

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomasow View Post
Dale,

You are on target with this in ways many people would note wish were true. Product Development is one thing, Marketing Plan is a totally separate (and vital) aspect to any offering. Drives tech guys nuts, but is the real world.

I started this effort because I had a need: A way to properly and safely fully charge our batteries while way from the dock for our 8+ mo of the year; and I was unable to accomplish that goal using any of the existing devices available (sorry to some folks, but that is the truth). In sharing this other folks have seen value as well. Bit it was never my desire to create a business around these efforts - I worked too hard and too long to get to the 'early retirement' phase of my life to give that up by creating from the ground up a full on business venture.

Having said that, you have truth-be-told IDed perhaps the MOST SIGNIFICANT BARRIER to this effort. Who knows, perhaps there is someone who would like to push that aspect of this effort; given my preference to 'Bang on Bits All Day Long'** at this point of my life.

** My apologies to Todd Rundgren
Absolutely, I've retired young and the thought of building another business from scratch freaks me out, so I get where your coming from, imagine getting caught back up and not being able to get out after you had already escaped. Business killed the fun of my business.
Cheers.
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Old 15-01-2018, 07:56   #56
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Re: Next steps for the Alternator Regulator effort

Name is the easiest thing. AMPERE-Master is my like
Difficult to make of it a sellable product, due to big business issues like distribution, branding, after sale services...

But, say within our community, it must be easy to grasp, manage and set up. Not a plug&play, not something you need to call another EE for.

An android interface would be OK
I hope to be a customer soon.

Fair winds and sea
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