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Old 28-12-2014, 10:48   #1
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Boat: Camper & Nicholson58 Ketch - ROXY Traverse City, Michigan No.668283
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ALTERNATOR CHARGE CONTROLLERS

We are building our spares inventory for the planned big departure. A few years ago I installed a Balmar MC-624-H on the main engine alternator. This is a 1.5 KW 2-belt beast. We have 2 house banks of Lifeline AGM at about 320 AH each & 24 VDC. Engine is 115 HP Westerbeke.

We also have a 12 KW generator with an auxiliary identical alternator. In the event that our 2.5 KW Xantrex charger/inverter fails, we can charge batteries with this alternator. This alternator has a Xantrex (Heart In Charge) 24 VDC charge controller that is old AND a lighting strike last summer blew out all diodes on that alternator. It has been rebuilt but I doubt the controller works.

I planned to simply buy a new Balmar for the aux alternator and a boat spare. The Balmar has survived two lightning strikes since its installation so we are happy with its performance. I hopped that the price on these things might have dropped a bit since we bought but its sticker shock all over again. An additional observation: Balmar's manual says to install away from heat & vibration but they only furnish a 30" harness. I had to splice about 10 feet on to mount it on the nav station wall where I can actually see what it is doing. (PHOTO)

I looked for alternatives. All are claimed to be the best in all the land. I wondered if there is anything nice or bad to say about any of these. THANKS


Balmar - about $380

Smart Alternator Regulator, V3 AMPLE POWER V3 $499

Alternator Regulators-OceanPlanet Energy BRUCE SCHWAB $165 TO $190

Xantrex - Only 12 volt regulators found. Odd since I had two fried units on the boat from the PO
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Old 28-12-2014, 10:54   #2
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Re: ALTERNATOR CHARGE CONTROLLERS

I've had 3 or 4 of the Ample Power units. They are great. The newer ones I've not had though... so I don't know if they have changed them at all or not. At one point I had the Balmar Version III and an Ample power Next Step regulator. The Ample power put out significantly more amps than the Balmar... with the same alternator. So much so that I had to put the Balmar back on because the belt would squeal all the time.
It is amazing that they want so much for these relatively simple devices now days.
A lap top computer is cheaper....
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Old 28-12-2014, 11:46   #3
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Re: ALTERNATOR CHARGE CONTROLLERS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I've had 3 or 4 of the Ample Power units. They are great. The newer ones I've not had though... so I don't know if they have changed them at all or not. At one point I had the Balmar Version III and an Ample power Next Step regulator. The Ample power put out significantly more amps than the Balmar... with the same alternator. So much so that I had to put the Balmar back on because the belt would squeal all the time.
It is amazing that they want so much for these relatively simple devices now days.
A lap top computer is cheaper....
Thanks, I think the Ample Power 3 has load management. Follow the link and see what you think. I certainly agree on the cost. Case in point is that auto & truck external alternator regulators are about 60 bucks. The Ocean Planet unit is attractive at half the price.
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