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Old 13-08-2012, 11:34   #1
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alternators

If I replace my current alternator- I notice Balmer for example are well recommended and expensive. why cannot one use a simple car alternator/80 amps, if that is what is previously on the engine , was working well and after 8 yrs has failed? thanks nigel longland
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Old 13-08-2012, 12:03   #2
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Re: alternators

See reply #16, here: Additional New Alternator Source & Maine Sail's Analysis of Alt. Sources

No reason to spend $$ on a Balmar.
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Old 19-08-2012, 06:50   #3
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Re: alternators

Every reason to spend $$ or on a "Marine" alternator because it should be "hot rated". This means a 100 amp will give you near to 100 amp under normal - hot - operating conditions. An automotive 100 amp may give 100 amp when cold but not when hot.

Stu - your links are very useful but not when they link to a site where you have to be a member!!!!!
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Old 19-08-2012, 07:16   #4
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Re: alternators

Balmar, Powerline, Hehr, Ample Power all sell marine alternators with heavier windings, diodes, cooling fans, etc which let them put out high current without failing. An automotive alternator won't do this and almost certainly is not set up for an external three step regulator.

The bottom line, if you want to recharge your batteries faster, install one of these with a three step regulator.

David
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Old 19-08-2012, 07:24   #5
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Re: alternators

Per the OP's question, there is no reason you can't use a regular automotive alternator on your engine if that is sufficient for your electrical needs. I do that, and I can find parts everywhere in the world, I can get the alternator repaired anywhere in the world, and I can purchase them at my friendly neighborhood Advanced Auto Parts or some such for $150 or less. And, if you get the right alternator it is perfectly possible to set it up for remote regulation, if you need that. If for some reason you have an inboard gasoline engine you do need to get the spark-shielded marine version or the marine kit for the alternator. With diesel you don't need that. I should add that at the price it is not so painful to carry an identical automotive alternator as a back up.
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Old 19-08-2012, 07:24   #6
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Re: alternators

We changed our Balamr 85 amp alternator out about three years ago. We never saw more than about 60 amps with its internal regulator. and were frustrted

We went with an ELCTROMAAX 160 amp alternator with an external regulator. It works great.

EltroMaax also have a surpentine belt kits for most engines, which elliminate fanbelt dust, reduces slippage and lasts 2-3 times longer than a norml fanbelt.

The really cool thing about their serpentine kit is they change the size of the pullies, causing more rotations per minute at the alterntor, thus more power to the batteries.
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Old 19-08-2012, 18:11   #7
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Re: alternators

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
We changed our Balamr 85 amp alternator out about three years ago. We never saw more than about 60 amps with its internal regulator. and were frustrted

We went with an ELCTROMAAX 160 amp alternator with an external regulator. It works great.

EltroMaax also have a surpentine belt kits for most engines, which elliminate fanbelt dust, reduces slippage and lasts 2-3 times longer than a norml fanbelt.

The really cool thing about their serpentine kit is they change the size of the pullies, causing more rotations per minute at the alterntor, thus more power to the batteries.
Comparing an internally regulated alternator to an externally regulated one is apples and oranges. Your Balmar would perform differently than you experienced with an external regulator, and your Electromaax would not perform as it does on its internal regulator.

While having a higher pulley ratio allows more charging at lower (near idle) speeds, above these lower speeds, little to no additional amperage is going to the batteries. However, more air is being pulled through the alternator because the fans are running faster. Cooling is the big advantage to higher pulley ratios.

Mark
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Old 19-08-2012, 19:16   #8
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Re: alternators

There are definitely specialty high output marine alternators and you should get one if you need it.

Our 60 amp failed and I put on an automotive branded one of the exact same model. Been running fine for 4 years.

Years ago when I was an aircraft mech a Cessna 172 failed it's regulator. We could not source an FAA approved one but the local NAPA had the exact same regulator - I mean dead nuts identical.

Like $35 bucks vs. $150 for the one with a PMA/FAA stamp on it. I am sure they came down the same assembly line and the FAA one got a $115 stamp on it.

In fact I could have swapped all the NAPA parts to the baseplate and no one would be wiser.
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Old 19-08-2012, 20:35   #9
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Re: alternators

Ive been useing Genral Motors 100 amp alts. from both diesel and gas Ambulances for a long time and never had any problems!! they use external regulaters and can give 100 amps at times of need !! and they are much cheaper then any Marine alt. just a bare bones cruisers 2 cents LOL
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Old 19-08-2012, 21:27   #10
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Re: alternators

Police vehicles also use high output alternaters if you can find one in a wrecking yard.
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Old 19-08-2012, 22:23   #11
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Re: alternators

nigellongland - like you, i had a standard automotive delco remy si12 alternator on my perkins 4-108. worked for eight years, rated at 105 amps but who knows what it really put out. don't really care. got hit by lightning last summer and for some strange reason the alternator was one of the things that got damaged. i carry a spare delco remy si12 that cost me $100 at a rebuilt alternator shop. put it on and been using that since last summer. traded in the old one for another rebuilt to carry as a spare.

the fact is that, even though the balmar and it's ilk can be set up to give a battery bank a 'proper three stage charge', you shouldn't be running your engine for that purpose so why spend all that money on it. everyone knows it's not good for the engine. for charging batteries when cruising i use the solar panel and/or a generator/battery charger setup. so the engine alternator only charges when you're traveling on your engine and doesn't need to be anything special.

my humble opinion - save your money on the balmar and install a solar panel instead....
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Old 19-08-2012, 23:25   #12
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Re: alternators

If you have a house bank and an automotive alternator with a built -in regulator, your house bank will never be properly charged.
Automotive alternators with built-in regs are designed fopr charging start batteries not deep cycle batteries...and that job they do very well.
Best setuop is to have two alternators...one automotive with built-in reg to charge your start bank and another high output (Balmar, Electrodyne etc)with and external 3 stage regulator to charge the house bank.
There is nothiung wrong with using your engine to charge your batteries. The only issue is running engines without load is that they don't get up to temperature and you get glazed bores etc....
You'll be struggling to keep up a decent sized house bank on soalr alone if you have any reasonable demands on the system.
My Balmar 120A alternator generally puts out 100A(i've measured it) in stage 1 of the charging cycle. With the firg compressor running as well, the engine temp is uop to 80C in 10 minutes...no problem.
This is really the only way to completely charge the house bank.
If you run the house bank down and don't recharge it fully, the life of the batteries will be shortened.
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