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Old 17-09-2007, 22:27   #1
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Balmar is dead..

My Balmar 90-75 stopped working yesterday. I had replaced the brushes about 7 months ago. at that time I noticed that the bearing was a bit noisy. So sur enough yesterday as I ran the smoky perkins I noticed that the alternator stopped charging. When I looked in the engine there was a weird smell. As I checked temperatures with a laser I noticed that the pulley and belt of the alternator were at 300F. As I removed the alternator it sounds pretty rough when turned.

Is it worth the expense for an offshore kit at $160.00 to rebuild it?
Is it better just to replace it with a new cheaper alternator?
It does have the regulator but I dont know if othe alternators will work......
If I decide to rebuild......is it dificult?

HELP
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Old 18-09-2007, 00:52   #2
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Does it need a rebuild or just a bearing?? A bearing should be cheap and easy enough to fit surely. But even at $160, that must be substantially cheaper than a new Alt, even a cheaper brand. Balmar is a good alt. How many trouble free years has it given you so far? It should do the same again.
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Old 18-09-2007, 01:20   #3
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My previous post disappeared - oh, well...

In my mind it depends on whether the windings rubbed or were affected by heat. The hardest part will be removing and pressing in the new bearings but that's not too bad. It looks like the kit comes with bearings, brush holders & brushes and diodes. Not much else to worry about.

I found a Balmar 90-75 online for $380. The rebuild kit is $160. You can spend $80 more and get the Balmar 90-100 which looks like a drop in replacement and 25 more amps charge capability.

I am all for rebuilding stuff and it should be fine but I personally would take the opportunity to upgrade to 90-100.

You don't have to decide now - rip it apart and examine the windings. Also check winding continuities.
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Old 18-09-2007, 03:04   #4
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Heck, don't ya think 75 amps is enough? Unless he lives on the hook, it would appear that his charging system is more than adequate. I agree with Alan. Buy a bearing and slap it in there.
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Old 18-09-2007, 05:10   #5
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Slightly OT, but I am a 120 amp rated alt with a MaxCharge612 external smart regulator. The batts are on a constant solar charge and so they seem to normally topped up, but when they dodrop down to 75% as indicated by the Link20... they alternator never puts out anything close the the rated amount. I might see 54 amps for a few seconds and then the ramp down as it goes from bulk to acceptance to float.

I suppose if they were deeply discharged I might see more amps from the alternator. I also see the alternator/regulator completely kink off when running at times and I am not sure what is going on. Is it a whacky Link20? A whacky MaxCharge612? or a whachy Alternator? It can then resume as quickly as it went off. Odd behavior. I can usually hear the sound of the alternator when it kicks in and is churning out amps.. or rather the change in the sound of the engine/alternator.

I might try a cut off switch for the solar panels to see how they are confusing things.

Basically the batts are doing well and we don't see real deficits and don't need to conserve use... yet. The house bank is rated at 500AH.

What's the deal of having a battery unused? As a spare... is that ever advisable? Or do they degrade from just sitting around unused?

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Old 18-09-2007, 06:47   #6
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Well the thing is that it stopped charging. For about a month I would start the engine end it would not charge for about 30 second then it would. after that those 30 secs increased to maybe more. Finally I smelled something (not like electrical) was very hot. It might have been the belt at the pulley because I read 300F there. I loosened it and started the engine again.....it charged for a minute and then it stopped.

Today I will disassemble it to see what's going on in there.
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Old 18-09-2007, 07:31   #7
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avazquez,

I have burnt out my high output alternator a few times. Usually it's from a poorly aligned belt and the dust causes it to overheat. Take it to an automotive alternator rebuilder. For a bit over $100 they will rebuild it and it'll be as good as new. The reason it doesn't charge right away is because it needs to be "excited". They all work that way.
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Old 18-09-2007, 07:47   #8
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Originally Posted by defjef View Post
I suppose if they were deeply discharged I might see more amps from the alternator.
I connected my 100A Balmar to a Gel battery that was mostely dead at 9V. It cranks much higher amperage when connected to a nearly dead battery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by defjef View Post
I also see the alternator/regulator completely kink off when running at times and I am not sure what is going on. Is it a whacky Link20? A whacky MaxCharge612? or a whachy Alternator? It can then resume as quickly as it went off. Odd behavior. I can usually hear the sound of the alternator when it kicks in and is churning out amps.. or rather the change in the sound of the engine/alternator.

I might try a cut off switch for the solar panels to see how they are confusing things.
Are the solar panels on a regulator? Are you using a battery isolator/combiner?

Quote:
Originally Posted by defjef View Post
What's the deal of having a battery unused? As a spare... is that ever advisable? Or do they degrade from just sitting around unused?
Probably not a good idea. Even if the battery starts off fully charged, it will degrade over time. With a lead acid, it will also sulfate. I've seen a setup where a 1/2/both/off switch was used to choose between 2 different starting batteries (the house bank was seperated and running off its own high-output alternator).

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Old 18-09-2007, 07:49   #9
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Believe the Balmar regs and most other ones have a "soft start" feature so the alternator is turned off until the engine starts and gets some oil pressure up, then it's supposed to gradually ramp up the output and go into the 3 cycle charging routine.
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Old 18-09-2007, 11:34   #10
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Quote:
Believe the Balmar regs and most other ones have a "soft start" feature so the alternator is turned off until the engine starts and gets some oil pressure up, then it's supposed to gradually ramp up the output and go into the 3 cycle charging routine.
Yeah, a 30 second delay is quite normal, I have been told it is to "warm up" the belt.

I have an 150 amp alternator, but have never seen more than 90 amps being pumped out.

A rebuild here in Ft. Lauderdale costs around $100.00.
Also it is a good idea to have a spare alternator on the boat.

(You don't have to buy a new $500.00 Balmar, have the overhaul shop slap together one from parts laying around...Piece of mind: I carry an extra starter and an extra alternator)
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Old 19-09-2007, 02:13   #11
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So, does anyone know what ever happened to the idea of the Integrated Starter-Alternator (ISA), and the much-vaunted 42V PowerNet electrical architecture?
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Old 19-09-2007, 14:22   #12
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What bearing?

I replaced my front Balmar alt bearing for $11 from Napa Autoparts.

Take pictures If/when you disassemble things like these that can go together in several configurations. Saves lots of head scratching

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Old 19-09-2007, 19:58   #13
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"So, does anyone know what ever happened to the idea of the Integrated Starter-Alternator (ISA), and the much-vaunted 42V PowerNet electrical architecture?"
Yah, the 42-volt idea got shitcanned after some engineers figured out that at 42vdc you burn out switch and relay contacts real fast. Apparently 42vdc is great for motors but nothing else likes to run on it.
The ISA was last happily used by Volvo on the MD6's and IIRC the dual purpose is just too much stress for the component. Engines are better served by speccing "just enough" starter in one can, and then having the freedom to bolt up "enough" alternator in a better location (i.e. continuous duty vs intermittent duty, heat, airflow, belting) again by itself.

Kinda like a spork, they are a nice idea but most of us would still rather carry a separate fork and spoon.
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Old 20-09-2007, 06:19   #14
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I took it to a local specialized shop. Total rebuild (diodes, brushes, bearings, re-varnish windings (or whaterver it is they do to the windings to make them look new again) etc. Total......$80.00

It is the same place that rebuilt my generator starter. Pretty big shop that only does rebuild of motors,starters and alternators.
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Old 20-09-2007, 07:16   #15
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Eighty bucks, what a deal! I had my bone stock Prestolite 51 amp completely rebuilt this past spring and it was close to $250! They said all they saved was the case, probably should have just sold me a new one. I also probably should have told them to give me the bad news before fixing it. Lesson learned.
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