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Old 21-06-2018, 20:24   #16
Jd1
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Victoria, BC
Boat: Catalina 36 MKII
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Re: Balmar MC614 temp sensor

Quote:
Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
My question is - how to test this contraption for accuracy?

You don't need to be too concerned about accuracy, just verify that the temperature readings seem plausible. If you are just too curious then use a thermocouple with a dedicated meter on the same stud and compare the temperature it reports vs what the new Balmar replacement/substitute unit reports.
Do not use a cheap IR 'gun' because it is not accurate enough.



Something to ponder ... on a genuine Balmar 200A alternator, there is a HUGE disconnect between what the temperature is on the temperature probe stud and the diode pack.

How do I know that you ask? I have three (actually 4 but the forth is for a second regulator in case it is needed) temperature probes on the one alternator - one reports temperature to the regulator, one reports stud temperature to a temperature logger and a third one reports diode pack temperature to a data logger. It is a VERY enlightening experience !
As a result of that information, I can tell you without hesitation that you do not want to push the default temperature for alternator output cutback! I think it's right around 100C and I say it again, do not adjust it higher to squeeze some more juice out of the alternator!
I have forced alternator cooling in my setup and I throttled my output back enough so that if the forced cooling fails the alternator will not exceed maximum operating temperature. If everything works as it is supposed to, my alternator runs at about 75C.


One other tidbit of information - the more you push the alternator, the higher the discrepancy in temperature between the diode pack and the temperature measured at the stud.
To give an example: Let's take my 200A alternator. Let's assume I do not throttle it back with the belt manager feature. The thermal time constant on the temperature stud is several minutes slower than the diode pack temperature. If you assume that the temperature sensor will protect your alternator and you happen to have a Lithium battery system, you will be pushing the diode pack well past their maximum temperature before the alternator is throttled back by the regulator.
I do not think this is an issue with Lead Acid batteries but I have not tested that theory.
This btw is why I said that a minor discrepancy between temperature probe output and actual temperature is not that critical.


I would not use aluminum foil in your assembly - you have direct contact between copper and aluminum and I would not trust this to work for any length of time. Even minor amounts of corrosion can become a significant barrier to heat conduction. I would suggest to use normal epoxy or, if you are anal about things, use an epoxy formulated specifically for high heat conductivity!
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Old 21-06-2018, 22:40   #17
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Re: Balmar MC614 temp sensor

Thanks for your insight.

Took the plunge and ordered 3 sensors. Will eventually update.
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Old 24-10-2018, 09:55   #18
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Re: Balmar MC614 temp sensor

GAUVINS - just wondering if you had any success fabricating and installing the temperature sensors?


I have recently installed a Balmar 612 regulator - replacing a failed Ample Power unit. I tried using the battery temp sensor from Ample with the Balmar, but repeatedly got high temperature warnings and the regulator would turn the Alt Field off. So I am without any senor at the moment and looking for a replacement.


Can anyone advise - are temp sensors regulator specific? (one size doesn't fit all). Might there be a signal from the Ample sensor which does not meet the Balmar regulator specs - hence my high temp readings when I know for sure the batteries where cool?
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Old 24-10-2018, 10:03   #19
Jd1
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Re: Balmar MC614 temp sensor

There are many many different ways of sensing temperatures and you can't just flip one for another !
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Old 24-10-2018, 10:17   #20
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Re: Balmar MC614 temp sensor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Two Moons View Post
GAUVINS - just wondering if you had any success fabricating and installing the temperature sensors?
Sorry to report that I didn't have the time to try. It is also becoming less likely as we might very well decommission our house bank alternators, after spending a whole summer at anchor powered by solar panels only.
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