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Old 29-04-2017, 09:30   #1
tml
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alternator regulators vs alternator to battery charger

Need to add some smart charging to my Yanmar / Valero alternator.
What is the advantage to a smart regulator ( Balmar etc ) over an alternator to battery charger such as the Sterling Power Pro C? It seems they both accomplish the goal of faster better charging but the Sterling is a much simpler installation with no modification of the alternator.
I must be missing something
TML
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Old 29-04-2017, 10:02   #2
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Re: alternator regulators vs alternator to battery charger

I had never heard of a sterling Pro C so I Googled it period very interesting. Would love to hear some feedback I'm someone who has used it
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Old 29-04-2017, 11:28   #3
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Re: alternator regulators vs alternator to battery charger

Yes, point of the A2B charger is leave the stock alt setup in place, avoiding messing with the ECU or warranty issues.

Note some newer ECUs throw error conditions from the A2B's manipulations, in which case you need to go to the Battery to Battery models.

Obviously a replacement VR like MC-614 is more efficient and direct if the goal is to direct all Alt output to the House bank.
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Old 29-04-2017, 12:40   #4
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Re: alternator regulators vs alternator to battery charger

I've have a Sterling 130amp Pro alt c on my Yanmar 3YM30 with 80amp alternator for over 5 years with no problems with the Sterling.

I've replaced the alternator once when it failed after the alternator was "off loaded" by the regulator because it went over 90C. The alternator regularly gets wound back when it hits this temp. I think the alternator didn't like sitting when it was hot and I should have just let it run for a while to allow it to cool down.

The replacement was real cheap so I just figured I'd keep replacing alternators if it happened again.

I'm happy with this setup.
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Old 30-04-2017, 11:32   #5
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Re: alternator regulators vs alternator to battery charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by tml View Post
Need to add some smart charging to my Yanmar / Valero alternator.
What is the advantage to a smart regulator ( Balmar etc ) over an alternator to battery charger such as the Sterling Power Pro C? It seems they both accomplish the goal of faster better charging but the Sterling is a much simpler installation with no modification of the alternator.
I must be missing something
TML
The purpose of a smart regulator is to protect your engine, alternator and batteries from unusual hick ups.

Smart regs. are programmed to charge batteries when the engine is warm enough to take up additional loads, would cut off the charging when the alternator gets hot ex:if the belts gets misaligned. Regulates battery charging as needed by calculating the output of your alternator to battery bank, the program sets up a start delay soft ramp mode to charge batteries smoothly prolonging the life of your batteries. If you're looking for a regulator I would suggest you to get one along with alternator temp. sensing and battery temp. sensing.
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Old 30-04-2017, 15:20   #6
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Re: alternator regulators vs alternator to battery charger

Thanks, hadn't heard of this product before and after doing some research I haven't found anything bad about it. Defender has it on sale for $305, so not bad at all! Plus it comes with an alternator and battery heat sensors. I already have a Victron battery monitor so I wouldn't get Sterlings remote panel. Think I might be installing this soon
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Old 30-04-2017, 18:32   #7
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Re: alternator regulators vs alternator to battery charger

The Sterling units are well designed, quality products. We are using the Pro-Reg D with a high output Delco style alternator (way cheaper than a Balmar). The Pro-Reg D requires modifying the internal regulator wiring inside the alternator housing. It bypasses the internal regulator and controls the alternator field voltage to achieve a longer and higher output 4 stage charging current profile. It includes microprocessor control, is programmable for different battery types, and also monitors alternator and battery temperature. Cruising and anchored out for several days, recharging a large 440 Amp Hour battery bank (at ~ 20% discharge) takes no more than an hour per day of engine time.

The Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger works by creating an artificial voltage drop in the field current, "tricking" the alternator into a higher output profile. It does not require any internal modification of the alternator. I have no personal experience with this unit but can see in the Sterling info that it has a large heat sink and requires significant cooling, which no doubt means it is not as efficient as the smart regulator units.

Balmar offers a 4 stage smart regulator system matched to their excellent line of premium priced alternators.

My only caution with the Sterling systems, particularly the Pro-Reg D, is that they do require knowledgeable installation. The manuals provided require some interpretation by an installer with a good foundation in DC charging and wiring. Sterling is a small company in England -- getting an answer to a tech question can be a challenge.
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Old 30-04-2017, 20:35   #8
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Re: alternator regulators vs alternator to battery charger

The Sterling Battery-to-Battery units are one more step removed, don't touch the Alt or its VR at all, much simpler install.

Personally I would optimize the Alt output via a good external VR like MC-614 directly to House.

Then look at a much "lighter" solution for keeping starter/reserve bank(s) topped up.
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Old 01-05-2017, 01:51   #9
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Re: alternator regulators vs alternator to battery charger

One difference between the Sterling and the Balmar regulator as I understand it is te way they deal with overheating.
The Sterling regulator shuts off the charging until the genetator cools down while the Balmar regulator reduces charging and try to find right amount of charging without overheating the generator.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:36   #10
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Re: alternator regulators vs alternator to battery charger

Yes, google belt saver and small engine mode.

You can just turn down the amps demand of the Sterlings manually.
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:32   #11
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Re: alternator regulators vs alternator to battery charger

I think beltsaver and temperature regulation on Balmar regulator are different functions.
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Old 01-05-2017, 13:32   #12
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Re: alternator regulators vs alternator to battery charger

Yes, absolutely, I don't think anyone conflated them.

Obviously temperature needs to be monitored at the alternator and field current /amps output reduced to protect the diodes.

Different of course from the temp sensor at the battery, required to protect the bank and adjust compensation voltage levels. Which also requires sensing voltage through a wire separate from alt output.

The delayed start feature gentle ramps up the load, sometimes 8-10HP per alt, giving the engine a chance to warm up and lubricate first.

"Small engine" mode allows you to reduce the alternator load on demand when you need extra power for propulsion.

"Belt manager" lets you derate load on an ongoing basis, I think in 5% increments.

This both runs things cooler and save wear & tear, lets you install a larger amp than required so you're running it well below its peak rated capacity.

And finally you have the custom programmable voltage and charging algorithms
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Old 01-05-2017, 13:35   #13
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Re: alternator regulators vs alternator to battery charger

No you are not missing anything.

Both system seem to work very well if installed well.

I used both and was happy with both. I installed the Sterling unit and had zero problem doing it by myself. The Balmar alternator and charger came with the boat. Good stuff (except the alternator is huge).

Go get one, this will be the end of running the engine long hours to charge the batts.

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