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Old 02-02-2016, 09:14   #16
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Re: Balmar (and other premuim) alternator worth the expense?

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It without put its full rated amperage Atlanta until I saw the boat
Cool!
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:21   #17
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Re: Balmar (and other premuim) alternator worth the expense?

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Originally Posted by pwillems View Post
I believe I am going to be replacing my alternator very soon and am looking at options. It seems to me that there are some very big price differences between the standard and the more premium products.

For example, Bosch K1 120A for around AU$500 vs. Balmar 6 120A for around AU$1100.

Is the price difference here justified? In durability? In hot rating output?
============

In my opinon the Balmar alts are grossly overpriced. For example, the Delco CS144 is available for much less and is an easy install on most engines. It can be configured for anywhere from 140 amps to 200 amps, and typically costs less than $300 USD. Parts are widely available and at that price it makes sense to carry a spare. For a very large battery bank (>400 AH) some form of current limiting is desirable.

https://alternatorparts.com/cs-144-special-offer.html

For even more capacity, rebuilt 300 amp Leece-Neville alts are widely available for about $500. The big L-Ns take a J-180 type mount which is less widely available. I had a local machine shop fabricate one to my specs for about $400. An alternator of that size also requires multiple belts and a heavy duty adjustment arm. At full power it will take 5 to 10 horsepower to drive it.
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:40   #18
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Re: Balmar (and other premuim) alternator worth the expense?

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Originally Posted by wayne.b View Post
============

In my opinon the Balmar alts are grossly overpriced. For example, the Delco CS144 is available for much less and is an easy install on most engines. It can be configured for anywhere from 140 amps to 200 amps, and typically costs less than $300 USD. Parts are widely available and at that price it makes sense to carry a spare. For a very large battery bank (>400 AH) some form of current limiting is desirable.

https://alternatorparts.com/cs-144-special-offer.html

For even more capacity, rebuilt 300 amp Leece-Neville alts are widely available for about $500. The big L-Ns take a J-180 type mount which is less widely available. I had a local machine shop fabricate one to my specs for about $400. An alternator of that size also requires multiple belts and a heavy duty adjustment arm. At full power it will take 5 to 10 horsepower to drive it.
Does anyone know whether Balmar actually do anything to that alternator besides stencil their brand name on it? Whether it's worth it or not probably depends on the answer to that question.

They don't indeed do anything to the SmartGauge battery monitor except double the price.

For heavy duty alternators, the go-to brand in my experience is Leece Neville. Which is just a part of Prestolite now but apparently still built to the old standards. I have a 24v x 110 amp LN on my boat, equivalent to 220 amps at 12v. It weighs something like 40 pounds and will produce its rated output 24/7/365 without breaking a sweat -- it's designed for that. Case temperature doesn't seem to ever exceed about 80C. It puts out 2.5kW and I run a washer/dryer off it without problems.

Other good heavy duty alternators include the military ones from American Power Systems, which are much more expensive, but made to mil specs, and look absolutely fabulous. They are brushless and WATERPROOF. Looks like the t*ts if you can afford it.
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:41   #19
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Re: Balmar (and other premuim) alternator worth the expense?

So I was just thinking about this large alternator small engine thing. I keep hearing people talk about running the engine for an hour or two to charge the house bank generally with a 60 amp alternator. Fitting a larger alternator should charge significantly faster ( 2x amps = charge time/2) which is simple enough let's say 200a alternator at 14v = 2.8kw roughly 4 hp. This is a significant draw on a underpowered engine. So how could you easily lessen that draw if you wantec to charge the battery and still have power left to cruse?

I like the idea of bigger alternators because i see no reason to run a noisy engine longer than really needed plus fuel wear and tear e.t.c

Plus a crude internally regulated alternator pushing the battery to 75% ( to what ever ) and letting solar top off sounds much cheaper, easier to fix, less costly on fuel.......
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:48   #20
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Re: Balmar (and other premuim) alternator worth the expense?

On two different boats, I have used Electromaax alternators to replace top-name brands. A steep power curve means lots of amperage at little more than idle. My experience working with the company to set up a toothed belt on a Perkins M50 was very enjoyable. The current use is on a Yanmar; a double-belt 160amp with a Sterling regulator. I am very pleased with both of these as cost-effective alternatives to the other Brand.
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:08   #21
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Re: Balmar (and other premuim) alternator worth the expense?

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Originally Posted by Steven UK View Post
This is a significant draw on a underpowered engine. So how could you easily lessen that draw if you wantec to charge the battery and still have power left to cruse? ..
This was also a concern for me, since I am running a 100A alternator on a 35hp Volvo, and I am planning on installing a 140A alternator. Many would consider that way under-powered already, since that engine is pushing a 41' steel vessel of 17.3 tons. So, I can't afford to divert too much power to the alternator.

My solution is an external voltage regulator (Balmar MaxCharge 612 H). Firstly, this unit ramps the alternator output up after engine start, so it slowly pushes the amps up from 0 to about 84A over a period of a few minutes, so there is no sudden load.
Secondly, I have two toggle switches on the instrument panel. If I need a little extra engine power at any time, I flip switch 1 and alternator output is reduced by 50%, and a little extra energy is available to the prop.
If I am caught in a narrow entry with obstacles and a tidal rip, and things go pear-shaped, I can flip switch 2, and I now have full engine power, with zero alternator drag.
There are other external regulators that can do this also.
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:14   #22
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Re: Balmar (and other premuim) alternator worth the expense?

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Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
... I picked up a new 10SI Delco clone 105 amp alt from Amazon for $65 US and threw it on. Been 2 years and still going strong. I just ordered a spare 10SI. I cruise a bit slower the first hour to keep it under 85 to 90 amps but it seems to handle it.
For 10SI users, see: ➥ Catalog
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:22   #23
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Re: Balmar (and other premuim) alternator worth the expense?

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Originally Posted by nitpik View Post
This was also a concern for me, since I am running a 100A alternator on a 35hp Volvo, and I am planning on installing a 140A alternator. Many would consider that way under-powered already, since that engine is pushing a 41' steel vessel of 17.3 tons. So, I can't afford to divert too much power to the alternator.

My solution is an external voltage regulator (Balmar MaxCharge 612 H). Firstly, this unit ramps the alternator output up after engine start, so it slowly pushes the amps up from 0 to about 84A over a period of a few minutes, so there is no sudden load.
Secondly, I have two toggle switches on the instrument panel. If I need a little extra engine power at any time, I flip switch 1 and alternator output is reduced by 50%, and a little extra energy is available to the prop.
If I am caught in a narrow entry with obstacles and a tidal rip, and things go pear-shaped, I can flip switch 2, and I now have full engine power, with zero alternator drag.
There are other external regulators that can do this also.
Very cool solution!
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:56   #24
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Re: Balmar (and other premuim) alternator worth the expense?

"How do you guys externally regulate an off the shelf alternator?
How do you know the output of your alternators? "


Good questions and mine is related: I have an externally regulated alternator and am wondering how an off-the-shelf alternator would work with my system. Would I have to disable or bypass the external or the internal regulator?

Another question I have is related to measuring output. My alternator - as measured by my battery monitor - never puts out more than about 15a. This seems really low. Note: I've measured the output in idle and underway with the batteries at just above 50% SOC. Do I already have a defective alternator or is it possible the one put there by the PO was just crap?
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Old 02-02-2016, 12:05   #25
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Re: Balmar (and other premuim) alternator worth the expense?

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When we wanted to upgrade from a 55 amp alternator to a 110 amp version, our diesel mechanic recommended a standard off the shelf Delco alternator. We put it in, bought a spare because we were headed offshore, replaced it ourselves plug & play in Mexico when it needed rebuilt several years later. Then had the original rebuilt... in Mexico. We used the rebuilt version in Panama a few years later, and had the 2nd one rebuilt. We still have the Panama rebuilt Delco on the boat and it's been 6 years. And the rebuilt rebuilt one as a spare.
I had almost exactly the same experience. 2 100A alternators from a shop in Iowa. Rebuilds and rebuilt. Have lasted for over 12 years. Find a good alternator shop in your neighborhood. No need to spend exorbitant amounts of money on a Balmar alternator.

Leece Neville*110-603 - 12V 90 amp ALTERNATOR
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Old 02-02-2016, 12:08   #26
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Re: Balmar (and other premuim) alternator worth the expense?

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Originally Posted by Steven UK View Post
So I was just thinking about this large alternator small engine thing. I keep hearing people talk about running the engine for an hour or two to charge the house bank generally with a 60 amp alternator. Fitting a larger alternator should charge significantly faster ( 2x amps = charge time/2) which is simple enough let's say 200a alternator at 14v = 2.8kw roughly 4 hp. This is a significant draw on a underpowered engine. So how could you easily lessen that draw if you wantec to charge the battery and still have power left to cruse?

I like the idea of bigger alternators because i see no reason to run a noisy engine longer than really needed plus fuel wear and tear e.t.c

Plus a crude internally regulated alternator pushing the battery to 75% ( to what ever ) and letting solar top off sounds much cheaper, easier to fix, less costly on fuel.......
nitpik has the right answer. Do a search on Small Engine Mode and Amp Manager and read for hours.

You could start here:

Alternator heat, Regulator Controls, Small Engine Mode

http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4454.0.html

Small Engine Mode - discussion with link to the picture of the toggle switch: http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4....html#msg27149

Small Engine Mode - the picture of the toggle switch http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4669.0.html
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Old 02-02-2016, 12:12   #27
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Re: Balmar (and other premuim) alternator worth the expense?

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Originally Posted by FruiVita View Post
"How do you guys externally regulate an off the shelf alternator?
How do you know the output of your alternators? "


Good questions and mine is related: I have an externally regulated alternator and am wondering how an off-the-shelf alternator would work with my system. Would I have to disable or bypass the external or the internal regulator?

Another question I have is related to measuring output. My alternator - as measured by my battery monitor - never puts out more than about 15a. This seems really low. Note: I've measured the output in idle and underway with the batteries at just above 50% SOC. Do I already have a defective alternator or is it possible the one put there by the PO was just crap?
As far as having an external regulator, pick up a 10 DN Delco clone. They don't have internal regulators and are otherwise the same as the 10 SI.
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Old 02-02-2016, 12:17   #28
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Re: Balmar (and other premuim) alternator worth the expense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FruiVita View Post
"How do you guys externally regulate an off the shelf alternator?
How do you know the output of your alternators? "


Good questions and mine is related: I have an externally regulated alternator and am wondering how an off-the-shelf alternator would work with my system. Would I have to disable or bypass the external or the internal regulator?

Another question I have is related to measuring output. My alternator - as measured by my battery monitor - never puts out more than about 15a. This seems really low. Note: I've measured the output in idle and underway with the batteries at just above 50% SOC. Do I already have a defective alternator or is it possible the one put there by the PO was just crap?

My guess would be your regulator isn't adjusted / set correctly, incorrectly installed maybe? I'd check that before I started buying parts.
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Old 02-02-2016, 12:40   #29
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Re: Balmar (and other premuim) alternator worth the expense?

I'm curious which alternators folks have used on a 3gm30f besides Hitachi and Balmar. Especially small budget minded choices.
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Old 02-02-2016, 13:16   #30
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Re: Balmar (and other premuim) alternator worth the expense?

You can sometimes find very good prices on quality products, like the Balmar alternators.

Fifteen years ago I installed a BALMAR 100-AMP ALTERNATOR MODEL 912-100-D. I also installed a Balmar MC-612 external regulator. They have been rock solid for fifteen years.

I de-rate the alternator by 20%, using the option on the regulator. This means I never load the alternator to more than 80 amps. Since I have only a single 1/2" belt on my Perkins 4-108, this works very well. I don't burn up belts and the alternator isn't over-taxed.

Like the poster above, I also installed an ammeter on the alternator output. It's a big analog type mounted on the aft cabin bulkhead so I can see it from just about anywhere in the cabin, and see exactly how much amperage the Balmar is putting out at any time. On engine startup on the morning, after the 45-second ramp-up delay occasioned by the Balmar regulator, I see the ammeter needle peg on 80A and stay there for quite a while. Very reassuring.

Don't forget, batteries will only take the amount of charging amperage that they want, based on their state-of-charge, temperature, condition, charging voltage, etc. It doesn't matter how much amperage your charging sources can provide; the batteries themselves will determine how much they're going to take, at any fixed charging voltage.

And, while AGMs and gelled batteries can take a lot more charging amperage initially, it will still take them HOURS to reach a truly 100% charge....normally, much longer than you'd like to run your engine. That's why solar panels and/or frequent shoreside charging make sense, especially for AGMs which need frequent full charging.

Bill
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