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Old 14-07-2012, 21:28   #61
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Re: Balmar Regulator Failure

Ive had 2 Balmar 612 regs fail in 5 years & both were mounted outside of the engine room- for the last year the internal reg on the Balmar has been the only Reg and it seems to be working fine- I will not buy Balmar regs again
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Old 15-07-2012, 11:35   #62
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Re: Balmar Regulator Failure

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Ive had 2 Balmar 612 regs fail in 5 years & both were mounted outside of the engine room- for the last year the internal reg on the Balmar has been the only Reg and it seems to be working fine- I will not buy Balmar regs again
Hi Ram,

First I don't have any affiliation with Balmar. But I am curious as to the details of your install. How big a battery bank, what size alternator, did you use the temp censors for bat and alt, was it table mounted or wall mounted, did it ever get wet?

I have installed 100's of the Balmar regulators over the past 13 years, to date I don't know of one failure.

Lloyd
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Old 15-07-2012, 11:54   #63
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Re: Balmar Regulator Failure

Lloyd, Ram...

Yes, that's curious. I, too, have no affiliation with Balmar and have never seen a real 612 failure either on my own boat (11 years since the original install) or on many customer boats.

On my own boat I have seen two "mini failures", i.e., not of the device itself:

1. the fuseholders supplied with the 612 are junk, and can cause the regulator not to function properly; I replaced them with real fuseholders several years ago and have had no problems since; and

2. one morning while cruising a couple of years ago, for no explicable reason, the Balmar 100A alternator (also 11 years old, but perfect) wouldn't put out proper charging current. Upon investigation, I found that the 612 had somehow lost it's program setting (usually PO2 for flooded deep-cycle batteries). When I reset it with the magnetic reed, it worked perfectly as it always has. Don't know why this happened....maybe a strong magnetic field set up by something (lightning???). Anyway, it's still working fine.

Other than this, I know of no 612 failures. I have heard, though haven't had personal experience, that the smaller Balmar alternator (ARS-5????) has experienced several failures, and I heard (though couldn't verify) that there was a magnetic switch problem with one of the new MC-614 regulators.

FWIW,

Bill
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Old 15-07-2012, 15:36   #64
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Re: Balmar Regulator Failure

I wish I had read this thread two weeks ago!

I had a 624 fail well offshore causing us to divert course to San Fran. I bought another one from West Marine, but would have preferred to have switched brands to Ample Power or some other manufacturer. The 624 lasted only 325 engine hours.
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Old 15-07-2012, 15:37   #65
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Re: Balmar Regulator Failure

Lloyd-
"I have installed 100's of the Balmar regulators over the past 13 years, "
From some of the other posts, it would appear that there really are no "Balmar" regulators, but some elves are building regulators and apparently selling them to three companies under random names. i.e. a "Xantrex" regulator carrying the Balmar brand on the board. I'd expect both companies to throw a fit if a supplier did that to them.
While potting has always been problematic for causing problems like overheating, it shouldn't take a lot of over-engineering to ensure that even with potting, a gizmo will run reasonably cool. regardless of how the user/installler might ignore the installation instructions. Could also be a case of simply one bad batch of potting compound, or one regulator that wasn't properly degreased before potting, causing a bond failure.
Kinda like a "Friday car" from Detroit in the good old days...
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Old 16-07-2012, 01:02   #66
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Re: Balmar Regulator Failure

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Lloyd-
"I have installed 100's of the Balmar regulators over the past 13 years, "
From some of the other posts, it would appear that there really are no "Balmar" regulators, but some elves are building regulators and apparently selling them to three companies under random names. i.e. a "Xantrex" regulator carrying the Balmar brand on the board. I'd expect both companies to throw a fit if a supplier did that to them.
While potting has always been problematic for causing problems like overheating, it shouldn't take a lot of over-engineering to ensure that even with potting, a gizmo will run reasonably cool. regardless of how the user/installler might ignore the installation instructions. Could also be a case of simply one bad batch of potting compound, or one regulator that wasn't properly degreased before potting, causing a bond failure.
Kinda like a "Friday car" from Detroit in the good old days...
hellosailor,

Balmar owns the patent for the regulator, I know because I have a copy from the patent office. I also know that Xantrex has just a license, they probably buy the boards from direct from Balmar, then pot them in thier own shop.

I know Balmar pots their own boards, in Bellingham WA.. The just built me 2 M632H regulators..ie 32 volt.

I also know that Xantrex has a license for their Bat Monitors, I also have a copy of the patent which belongs to TBS Electronics BV , The Netherlands.

tbs-electronics.com



Victron's batMon is also on license from TBS.

Some companies buy license and manufacture themselves, some buy license and contract manufacturing, and some find the cheapest place no matter quality control.

Xantrex had a good name just after they purchased Trace, but Schneider quickly did that in.

So it seems sometimes price has something to do with quality, then you have to factor in tech support.

Xantrex sells their Balmar Licensed cheaper then Balmar sells the same design. One company has great customer service and the other terrible.

A good company will stand behind their product, especially if there was a Manufacturing Defect.

I try to shop price, but not at the costs of false economy.

Cheap is not the same thing as frugal.

Lloyd
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Old 16-07-2012, 01:24   #67
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Re: Balmar Regulator Failure

Just for the record, I put 2 M612's and a centerfielder on my boat in 2003, they now have over 1400 hrs on the clock.

Lloyd
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Old 16-07-2012, 05:34   #68
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Re: Balmar Regulator Failure

I have 2 612s that have run a combined 5000Hrs...never a hic cup or failure. I have no reservation in recommending that product. If you wanted to get into Xantrex invertors, now that a different story...after 3 bad experiences and no(NO) customer support, never again!
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Old 16-07-2012, 05:42   #69
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Re: Balmar Regulator Failure

Can't tell the players without a scorecard. Thanks for the inside info, Lloyd.
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Old 16-07-2012, 08:55   #70
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Re: Balmar Regulator Failure

My 614 just fried on me. Smoke coming out of the aft ports near the regulator mounted location. Scared the crap out of us. Sent it back to Balmar since it's been installed since April and under warranty. They sent me a new one and 2 friends went over all the wireing and found everything to be according to the installation information from Balmar.

Thet said something came in contact with the tx and rx terminals. This is imposible based on the mounting location. Also stated that semiconductors have a mean time before failure. It has operated for 3 months, mostly weekends.
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Old 16-07-2012, 09:02   #71
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Re: Balmar Regulator Failure

"Thet said something came in contact with the tx and rx terminals. This is imposible based on the mounting location."
Never say never. Roaches and other critters like the warm dry places in electronics and appliances, it could literally have been a bug that got vaporized.


"Also stated that semiconductors have a mean time before failure. It has operated for 3 months, mostly weekends."
Yeah, they do. In the 70's the USAF did some tests on that, comparing soldered circuits to wire-wrapped ones, and discrete components to ICs. A properly engineered discrete component device--like those regulators--should have a typical lifetime of 100 years. There will be a bell-shaped curve with some failing sooner and some failing later but the MTBF averages 100 years unless someone has been using junk, or messed up their design.

It might be worth buying a $25 non-contact IR thermometer to see just how hot the regulator gets in normal use, and what Balmar thinks should be normal.
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Old 16-07-2012, 09:59   #72
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Re: Balmar Regulator Failure

One thing to watch out for when using electronic devises. IS VOLTAGE SPIKES.

All solenoids/relays especially the energize to run solenoids on a diesel need diode shunts. When a winding is saturated and then de-energized it will force a large spike back on the system.

So if your taking power for the regulator close to the source of power to a coil make sure you have a diode shunt in place.

Balmar Regulators have a built in shunt, but they can only take so many hits before they fail.

Lloyd
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Old 16-07-2012, 10:16   #73
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Re: Balmar Regulator Failure

I'm very happy so far with my Balmar system. I have the MC 614 and the Duo Charge to take care of my start battery. Customer service for my issue was great. There is nothing that I saw in the installation paperwork that mentions adding shunts and maybe it should. I did notice that the TX and RX terminals on the replacement regulator has those 2 terminals covered with a rubber cover on each.
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Old 16-07-2012, 10:19   #74
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Re: Balmar Regulator Failure

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Originally Posted by bmm32005 View Post
I'm very happy so far with my Balmar system. I have the MC 614 and the Duo Charge to take care of my start battery. Customer service for my issue was great. There is nothing that I saw in the installation paperwork that mentions adding shunts and maybe it should. I did notice that the TX and RX terminals on the replacement regulator has those 2 terminals covered with a rubber cover on each.
It's the job of the Marine Electrician to design the onboard power system. There is just no way Balmar could give instructions to every possible installation event.

Lloyd
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Old 16-07-2012, 10:58   #75
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Re: Balmar Regulator Failure

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It's the job of the Marine Electrician to design the onboard power system. There is just no way Balmar could give instructions to every possible installation event.

Lloyd
A little white paper

quote:
Relay deenergization or “drop-out” in typical clapper-type relays normally develops as follows: As the coil supply is interrupted, the magnetic flux decays to the point where the decreasing magnetic holding force (trying to keep the armature seated) drops below the spring forces (trying to unseat it), and armature opening commences. As armature opening continues, spring forces reduces according to the armature position; the countering magnetic force, however, reduces both with armature position and with decay of coil current (both of which reduce coil magnetic flux).As the electrical current in a relay coil is interrupted, an induced voltage transient of the order of hundreds or even thousands of volts may be generated across that coil as its magnetic flux, which is linked by the coil turns, collapses. This induced voltage, plus the coil supply voltage, as shown in Fig. 1, appears across the coil interrupting switch in a simple series switching circuit.
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