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Old 28-03-2018, 07:32   #1
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Balmar 90 and 7 series. What to expect?

Hi folks!

I have to change my original Yanmar Hitachi 80A alternator. I have a 600A bank (service+start) and bump into two Balmars that the vendor says its new but a long time in stock (I think they have some use). Well, I know these two models are not comercialized anymore. The question is if they are going to deliver what they promise, the 90 series is 100amp and the 7 series 80amp or the new ones has much more cost/benefit improvements? The price asked is less than half a new 100amp. Should I buy a new regulator with? Or should I skip this offer and pull the trigger on a new one?

Thanks all! Fair winds!!
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Old 28-03-2018, 08:18   #2
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Re: Balmar 90 and 7 series. What to expect?

Small frame Balmar alternators never
deliver what they advertise in practice. They can't dissipate the heat when run at more than about 70% of rating. You can derate them using a good regulator.
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Old 28-03-2018, 09:25   #3
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Re: Balmar 90 and 7 series. What to expect?

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Small frame Balmar alternators never
deliver what they advertise in practice. They can't dissipate the heat when run at more than about 70% of rating. You can derate them using a good regulator.
I just spent a boatload of $$$$ replacing my Yanmar 80A alternator because it quickly heated up and de-rated itself to 50A. The new Balmar 165 gets up to 105C after just a few minutes, the software setting I chose derates the output by about 20%. So the new alternator starts around 130A and after a few minutes hits 105C and drops to 65A. It cools down after 5 minutes and jumps back up for a few minutes.

I did not do enough research before I chose Balmar, if I had I would have found many similar complaints about their small-frame alternators. I am going to try the following:
1. Use a quality temperature sensor to measure the alternator temps and see if they match the Balmar readouts.
2. Duct the engine room fan directly to the back of the alternator to try and cool the thing down. Some large-frame alternators have a built-in bracket for air cooled ducting.
3. Spend another $1,000 and change to a remote rectifier assembly with a built in fan.
4. As a last resort, install a different alternator and toss this pos in the dumpster.
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Old 28-03-2018, 09:41   #4
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Re: Balmar 90 and 7 series. What to expect?

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Originally Posted by deluxe68 View Post
I just spent a boatload of $$$$ replacing my Yanmar 80A alternator because it quickly heated up and de-rated itself to 50A. The new Balmar 165 gets up to 105C after just a few minutes, the software setting I chose derates the output by about 20%. So the new alternator starts around 130A and after a few minutes hits 105C and drops to 65A. It cools down after 5 minutes and jumps back up for a few minutes.

I did not do enough research before I chose Balmar, if I had I would have found many similar complaints about their small-frame alternators. I am going to try the following:
1. Use a quality temperature sensor to measure the alternator temps and see if they match the Balmar readouts.
2. Duct the engine room fan directly to the back of the alternator to try and cool the thing down. Some large-frame alternators have a built-in bracket for air cooled ducting.
3. Spend another $1,000 and change to a remote rectifier assembly with a built in fan.
4. As a last resort, install a different alternator and toss this pos in the dumpster.
If #4 means a large frame alternator, you probably have a solution. The Balmar may not give you anywhere near what they advertise it at in practice, but it will be pretty easy to resell.
Alternately, a much lower cost small frame alternator feels less painful when it needs to be derated even if it is not painted white.
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Old 28-03-2018, 09:51   #5
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Re: Balmar 90 and 7 series. What to expect?

If you have flooded batteries save your money and get 10SI Yanmar Replacement alternator. It's 94A, internally regulated and is a direct plug and play replacement. It's far superior to the Hittachi since it's not as severely temperature compensated. Oh and it's $72, buy two.

If you have LiPo or some AGMs don't go with a small case alternator.
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Old 28-03-2018, 11:31   #6
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Re: Balmar 90 and 7 series. What to expect?

The most critical component is an external VR fitted at install time, Balmar MC-614 gives great adjustability and control no matter which alt.

Def go large-frame and ensure good cooling over diodes and electronics.
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Old 28-03-2018, 11:39   #7
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Re: Balmar 90 and 7 series. What to expect?

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Originally Posted by deluxe68 View Post
3. Spend another $1,000 and change to a remote rectifier assembly with a built in fan.
I believe that is a good idea, 110 USD from https://alternatorparts.com/quicktif...rectifier.html
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Old 28-03-2018, 11:42   #8
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Re: Balmar 90 and 7 series. What to expect?

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Originally Posted by kenbo View Post
If you have flooded batteries save your money and get 10SI Yanmar Replacement alternator. It's 94A, internally regulated and is a direct plug and play replacement. It's far superior to the Hittachi since it's not as severely temperature compensated. Oh and it's $72, buy two.

If you have LiPo or some AGMs don't go with a small case alternator.
Where can we buy a 10SI with yanmar mount ?
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Old 28-03-2018, 11:48   #9
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Re: Balmar 90 and 7 series. What to expect?

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The most critical component is an external VR fitted at install time, Balmar MC-614 gives great adjustability and control no matter which alt.

Def go large-frame and ensure good cooling over diodes and electronics.
John,

Why would you say an external voltage regulator is a critical component for the OP's 600ah combined banks. He doesn't say whether they or flooded or not. If flooded and at that ah size a good internally regulated, small case alternator will charge that bank very well and at a great price point. I've never understood the need for the fancy alternator/regulator systems for moderately sized flooded batteries.

What advantages do you think an external regulator gives you for a moderate flooded bank?
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Old 28-03-2018, 12:01   #10
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Re: Balmar 90 and 7 series. What to expect?

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Originally Posted by kenbo View Post
John,

Why would you say an external voltage regulator is a critical component for the OP's 600ah combined banks. He doesn't say whether they or flooded or not. If flooded and at that ah size a good internally regulated, small case alternator will charge that bank very well and at a great price point. I've never understood the need for the fancy alternator/regulator systems for moderately sized flooded batteries.

What advantages do you think an external regulator gives you for a moderate flooded bank?
Thanks for reply. My bateries are deep cycle flooded. And sorry for asking but what is a 10 SI? I googled but had no input on that. Thanks!
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Old 28-03-2018, 12:03   #11
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Re: Balmar 90 and 7 series. What to expect?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Small frame Balmar alternators never
deliver what they advertise in practice. They can't dissipate the heat when run at more than about 70% of rating. You can derate them using a good regulator.
Another small frame? Mark Grasser maybe?
thanks
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Old 28-03-2018, 12:08   #12
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Re: Balmar 90 and 7 series. What to expect?

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Why would you say an external voltage regulator is a critical component

I've never understood the need for the fancy alternator/regulator systems for moderately sized flooded batteries.

What advantages do you think an external regulator gives you for a moderate flooded bank?
Factory settings with stock VR's generally do a **very** poor job properly charging a large deep cycle bank.

And not just for the sake of the bank, also protects the alt, lets you control the load factor, "current limiting" as appropriate.

Especially when going to a high output alternator, capable of running high loads at high temps, even more so if one with a small frame.

Maybe relatively more torque's needed for propulsion.

And this is permanent infrastructure, banks are consumables, a decent setup gives you the freedom to go to whatever chemistry you like in future without going back and revisiting or even replacing charge sources.

Accurate voltage sense, ability to ensure the bank actually gets to full, always sees the actual voltage at the bank because the v-sense wire is not also carrying current on it.

Temperature compensation, separately from intelligent derating when things get too hot, whether at the alt or the bank.

Probably lots more I've missed

http://content.westmarine.com/docume...xCharge614.pdf
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Old 28-03-2018, 12:12   #13
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Re: Balmar 90 and 7 series. What to expect?

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Originally Posted by rom View Post
Where can we buy a 10SI with yanmar mount ?
Here https://www.dbelectrical.com/product...es-94-amp.html

They have a 120A as well but I believe that's outside the envelope of the heat dissipation capability of the case.

I have bought dozens of these and modified them to be quit heavy duty for customers. as sold they come with an internal regulator set to 14.6v and the temp correction is not as severe as the Hitachi. They work quite well as long as you follow good install practices such as:

- use a solid, milled pulley, not a stamped POS
- use a quality 1/2" v belt such as Gates Fleet Runner
- make sure all your drive pulleys are aligned
- keep the belt adjusted to the proper tension, most don't and suffer from dusting. I use this tool to adjust the tension https://www.mscdirect.com/browse/tnp...yABEgKvdvD_BwE
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Old 28-03-2018, 12:25   #14
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Re: Balmar 90 and 7 series. What to expect?

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They have a 120A as well but I believe that's outside the envelope of the heat dissipation capability of the case.
So you tune the output level with the VR.

Maybe increase amps to get better charging in cold weather, tune it down in tropical conditions.

If nothing else the alt will last longer putting out a smaller proportion of its max rated capacity.

That's the much greater flexibility of getting a great VR, may well get used on completely different alts, or even boats over the years.
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Old 28-03-2018, 12:36   #15
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Re: Balmar 90 and 7 series. What to expect?

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Factory settings with stock VR's generally do a **very** poor job properly charging a large deep cycle bank.

And not just for the sake of the bank, also protects the alt, lets you control the load factor, "current limiting" as appropriate.

Especially when going to a high output alternator, capable of running high loads at high temps, even more so if one with a small frame.

Maybe relatively more torque's needed for propulsion.

And this is permanent infrastructure, banks are consumables, a decent setup gives you the freedom to go to whatever chemistry you like in future without going back and revisiting or even replacing charge sources.

Accurate voltage sense, ability to ensure the bank actually gets to full, always sees the actual voltage at the bank because the v-sense wire is not also carrying current on it.

Temperature compensation, separately from intelligent derating when things get too hot, whether at the alt or the bank.

Probably lots more I've missed

http://content.westmarine.com/docume...xCharge614.pdf
John,

My question was "What advantages do you think an external regulator gives you for a moderate flooded bank?"

I believe most of your answers are for either lager banks of flooded batteries, some AGMs and LiPo and I would agree with your answers in those cases.

But for a 400-500ah flooded house bank being charged by a sub 100ah small case alternator an external regulator has always looked to me like a solution looking for a problem. And I say that because I have had that set up for many decades charging 4 GC2's.

My Delco 10SI with an internal regulator will:

- Sense battery voltage right at the battery terminal, very accurately too!
- Charge just as fast as any external regulator unless you set the absorption set point higher than 14.6 on your external
- No need for temp monitoring of the alternator since the bank and alternator are sized as a system. My alternator has never gone above 175F

Just my 2 cents for keeping things simple and keeping your money in your pocket instead of Balmar's.
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