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Old 03-06-2008, 13:51   #1
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Alternator regulator

We have a Next step alternator regulator which has been working fine for 3 years. Recently we had a new Anco alternator put on our Yanmar 3gm 30f due to the other alternator dying. Now we are having trouble with the next step alternator and our house batteries are becoming overcharged at about 15 volts. When we called "Ample power" who makes next step they said the old alternator probably fried the coils and turn around time to fix is 3 weeks so we should probably buy new for $482.00. We can't wait 3 weeks and we are presently in the ocean trying to get to Charlston,SC to see if we can find someone to check this out. If needed can't we buy a cheaper alternator regulator? Don't alternators have internal regulators also? This is all so confusing and any help or advise or a name to call in Charlston,SC would be most appreciated. Thank you
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Old 03-06-2008, 13:58   #2
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A cheaper external regulator should work fine. Try a Balmar.
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Old 03-06-2008, 14:04   #3
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If you are stuck in the mean time with the regulator that you have, you can easily shut down the alternator at any time by removing the power supply to your current regulator. At least you won't fry your battery bank if you need to power for any length of time. By shutting down the regulator you also turn off your alternator.
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Old 03-06-2008, 14:50   #4
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It appears the Anco alternator is an automotive type, is that right? If you could post a better description (model number, web site, etc) we may be able to give you better advice, but for now Rick's suggestion is best way to go. Having said that most (all) automotive type alternators have built in regulators, but very few are built for the rigors of marine life.
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Old 04-06-2008, 02:00   #5
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So the first question is, was the system working at least for a short time with the Anco alt? Or was the problem right from the get go? If right from the get go, it could be a wiring or compatibility issue. If it failed after awhile, it will be the charge controller.
The issue is that the next step regulator is a "smart" charger. It provides the three steps of charging, Bulk, absorption and float. If these fail, then what you are experiencing is usually the result. You are lucky the batteries have held the voltage down at 15V. The big issue with these and as far as I know, all makes of theses alt smart chargers is there is no protection to stop the Alt from going over voltage. Either the batteries boil and can be wrecked, or worse, the system voltage goes so high that electronics are damaged. Of course, the alt. can also be fried from excessive current production causing it to over heat. During absorption charging, the voltage will go over 15V, but the current should be low. So do ensure that it isn't just in absorption.
If anyone knows of a make that is protected from over voltage, please let me know.
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Old 16-06-2008, 13:15   #6
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Dual mode Alternator regulator

Balmar series has an internal regulator and can also use external regulator. The Internal regulator is a very good backup.
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Old 17-06-2008, 18:40   #7
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First, all automotive alternators NO NOT have built in regulators. Some have internal. Some have external. Not both.

If you have an external regulator, you should be able to use a standard car regulator. They are quite cheap. It's good to carry one as a spare.
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Old 17-06-2008, 19:19   #8
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The one and only place on a boat for an automotive regulator is to charge the starting battery if, and only if, you have an externally regulated alternator to charge the house batteries. Some automotive alternators, it's true, have externally mounted automotive regulators. Some of these alternators may even be appropriate, with a good marine external regulator, for charging the house batteries.

I repeat, do not use an automotive regulator to charge your house batteries. There are numerous threads on this and other forums discussing this. People who advocate using an automotive regulator to charge the house batteries on a cruising boat are doing a real disservice.
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Old 01-07-2008, 19:52   #9
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I guess you missed my point about a car regulator. Carry one as a spare.
Or use one, in combination with a charge controller. I have used a Delco 108 amp alt. with a built in regulator, on my boat for 9 years of sailing. I use it with a home made charge controller. When the charge controller is on, it overrides the internal reg. This controller is a reostat that adjusts field current.
As long as I keep an eye on the voltmeter and reduce charge when the voltage gets high, it is a fast way to charge batteries. I generally charge the wet GC batteries to 14.6 volts, before cutting the amps back.
The other home built charge controller I also have on board, is just a few diodes and switches to chose which diode to but in series in the alt. sense wire. It lowers the voltage, the reg. senses from the batteries, and keeps the charge going longer, before cutting back. I use this one if I don't want to have to be watching the voltmeter all the time.
The 2 controllers on board are known as "Ampzilla"
Remember, if you never need to add water to your wet batteries, you are not charging them enough!
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Old 02-07-2008, 04:57   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by over40pirate View Post
... The other home built charge controller I also have on board, is just a few diodes and switches to chose which diode to but in series in the alt. sense wire. It lowers the voltage, the reg. senses from the batteries, and keeps the charge going longer, before cutting back...
How to increase the charge voltage of your alternator on the cheap:
Goto: SmartGauge Electronics - Increasing alternator charge voltages

and

Adding a float voltage to a previously modified alternator:
Goto:
SmartGauge Electronics - Adding a float function to a modified alternator
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