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Old 18-09-2011, 12:20   #1
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Balmar MC-614 Wiring Question

I am upgrading my alternator to a Leece-Neville 8MR2401UA 100amp alternator including a internal to external regulator conversion kit (install steps)and a Balmar MC-614 external regulator.
My old alternator was a Leece-Neville 8MR2198L 65Amp Alternator with builtin regulator.

While these are physically compatible alternators (drop-in replacement) the new alternator is self-excited and the old one was ignition excited. I'm not sure if and or how that impacts this.

In the interest of full disclosure I've had the engine out of the boat in the last week. but this morning it fired up fine (yay!) My engine is a Westerbeke 58.

I'm trying to perform the pre-flight tests as outlined in the manual
http://balmar.net/PDF/mc-614-manual.pdf
There are four wires you use to do the tests and this is how they are hooked up in my boat.
  • Blue - Field Wire - Connected to the field connection on the alternator
  • Brown - Ignition Wire - Connected to a wire which is fed of of my fuel pump solenoid. I do not have an ignition switch. The key in my system enables, disables the fuel pump.
  • Red - Power - Connected to the 12V output of the Alternator
  • Black - Ground - Connected to the Ground of the Alternator

When testing with the engine off the voltages between the wires and Ground should read:
  • Blue - 0V
  • Brown - 0V
  • Red - 12V

With the engine one it should read
  • Blue - 12V
  • Brown - 12V
  • Red - 12V

In my setup the readings are correct when the engine is off.
When the engine is ON the readings are wrong, in-fact I get very low voltage on all wires.

I've never seen the lights on the regulator come on at all.

I think the problem is the ignition wire. The way I hooked it up this time was with the same brown wire the fed the old regulator.

If we can get this nailed down we can get head South again!!

Thanks for the help!
-patrick
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Old 18-09-2011, 22:38   #2
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Re: Balmar MC-614 Wiring Question

OK.. I've had some beer and watched my Hawks lose which I am beginning to think is a good thing so we can finally draft a QB.

Anyway, now that I'm relaxed and dug out my longer test wires I redid some of my voltage tests. This time I ran the Ground (black) of the multimeter to the Negative on the House bank and all the tests with the key on and off were GOOD. When I use the black wire on the connection on the Balmar MC-614 as the ground the key on tests all FAIL.

Looks like we have a Ground issue, but I'm curious why it wouldn't show in both the Key On and Key Off tests.... more multimeter... this time directly to the GND terminal on the alternator bypassing the black wire on the Balmar. SAME FAILURES !! OK so we've got a ground problem.

Not sure what's next, but i feel like some progress was made.
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Old 19-09-2011, 09:43   #3
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Re: Balmar MC-614 Wiring Question

The key off test has no current flowing through the reg, so a ground problem might be masked. I don't think the case of that alternator is isolated, so it should be grounded through the mounting. In any case its best to run a separate heavy cable from the alternator ground stud to the boat grounding system. Sort out the ground before you run the engine, as a completely ungrounded alternator can blow its diodes.

Also, I think the 614 is a soft-start, ramp-up type regulator, so don't expect an immediate 12v on the field wire. Depending on the state of charge on the batteries, the field should see 5-12v.
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Old 19-09-2011, 10:08   #4
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The key off test does show power flowing through the red wire both through the ground wire on the regulator and when i bypass it.

It's the key ON tests which are failing, then I see no power at all.

The ground wire on my alternator goes to a four post solenoid (I think that what it's called) and it seems like the key on removes that ground. I had to pull those wire to get the engine out, I'll double check my pictures to make sure it's wired right, but I think it is. If so, the next attempt is going to be to wire the ground on the regulator direct to ground bypassing all other routes since that did provide the correct test readings.

Also going to call Balmar.

Thanks,
-p
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Old 21-09-2011, 09:57   #5
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Re: Balmar MC-614 Wiring Question

Here's what I did when I did our upgrade: Alternator Regulator Wiring Diagrams (all three)

Ground the alternator with a separate ground wire to the engine block, where your basic ground is located, or use a bus bar. As suggested earlier. Even if your old alternator didn't have one.

Then check each of your wires. I think you're getting ahead of yourself with doing the diagnostics on the regulator. Make sure YOUR wiring is right before you call Balmar, 'cuz you have to ask yourself this question: "What are they gonna tell me about MY specific wiring issues on my engine that i can't answer myself?"
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Old 21-09-2011, 10:08   #6
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Re: Balmar MC-614 Wiring Question

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Originally Posted by Patrick_DeepPlaya View Post
The key off test does show power flowing through the red wire both through the ground wire on the regulator and when i bypass it. It's the key ON tests which are failing, then I see no power at all.

The ground wire on my alternator goes to a four post solenoid (I think that what it's called) and it seems like the key on removes that ground. I had to pull those wire to get the engine out, I'll double check my pictures to make sure it's wired right, but I think it is. If so, the next attempt is going to be to wire the ground on the regulator direct to ground bypassing all other routes since that did provide the correct test readings.

Also going to call Balmar.

Thanks,
-p
Voltage is not power, and turning the key should not remove the ground, unless you are trying to something really unusual like charge a 24v battery bank.
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Old 21-09-2011, 14:59   #7
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I figured this out with the awesome assistance of Rich at Balmar. The issue was my old alternator was case grounded and the new one was not, once I wired the alternator to the negative on the battery everything was happy!

-p
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Old 22-09-2011, 10:40   #8
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Re: Balmar MC-614 Wiring Question

So Rich confirmed what was recommended in Posts #3 and #5. Glad we could help you.
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Old 22-09-2011, 11:46   #9
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pirate Re: Balmar MC-614 Wiring Question

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So Rich confirmed what was recommended in Posts #3 and #5. Glad we could help you.
" No man is a prophet in his own land"
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Old 22-09-2011, 12:52   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe
Also, I think the 614 is a soft-start, ramp-up type regulator, so don't expect an immediate 12v on the field wire. Depending on the state of charge on the batteries, the field should see 5-12v.
wanted to clarify that the mc-614 no longer works as you describe in it's factory shipped configuration. However, It can be configured to work the way you describe.

-p
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Old 22-09-2011, 12:54   #11
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Quote:
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So Rich confirmed what was recommended in Posts #3 and #5. Glad we could help you.
Yes, thank you very much! I love this site and try to answer questions when I can as well. Great community here!
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