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Old 16-07-2011, 19:33   #1
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Balmar Regulator Failure

How many hours should a balmar 612 regulator last?

My first one lasted 40 hours.. but out of warranty Balmar send one to me at a reasonable price (still not cheap though).. last year

The second one is on hour 110 since it was installed ..and failed..but it is weird.. when you turn the motor on, it goes through like it is new, and cycles through the program modes.. but you cant enter the modes.. no charging... I am uploading a video to youtube now and will post the link.

The regulator is in a well ventilated area. Not hot, lots of air around it. Wiring is pristine.

I do have a backup emergency regulator.... installed it...so i now have something to charge the battery..

So these things fail like this regularly?

Should I try for #3? Or just put the original yanmar alternator back in and call it a day?
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Old 16-07-2011, 19:39   #2
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Re: Speaking of Balmar.. another regulator bites the dust..

Get an Ample Power Regulator. Just the basic one is fine. I used to have both .... the Balmar was a model III....? The Ample Power regulator put out 15-20 amps more at the beginning of charge. (same boat, same alternator) I've had 4 of them over the years and never had a failure. Small company but I think they are still in business....
(edit) Here: Next Step Regulator
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Old 16-07-2011, 19:41   #3
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Re: Speaking of Balmar.. another regulator bites the dust..

My 612 has well over 2000 hours on it with no issues. I use it with a Balmar 100 amp alternator. Sure sounds like a wiring or alternator issue. Check voltages and diagnostics, as well as program vs actuals.
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Old 16-07-2011, 19:46   #4
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Re: Speaking of Balmar.. another regulator bites the dust..

My Balmar MC-612H will be 10 years old in September. It has been very reliable during that time, regulating a 100-amp Balmar alternator on my Perkins 4-108.

It, too, is installed in a cool, dry location with lots of air. That's important.

Only once did I have a problem: for no apparent reason it lost its program, and was on P0. This was quickly remedied as soon as I noticed it.

I have installed a bunch of these on client's boats, and have a couple of new backups which I have never had to use. I've heard of several failures of the AR-5 regulators, but the MC-612 series seems pretty robust, PROVIDING that you don't install them in the engine room.

One problem they do have: the in-line fuses and the manner of connection to the blades are a trouble spot. Sometimes with those Buss fuses even though they might check OK with a high-impedance multimeter, they can't handle the amperage. And, they're always susceptible to surface corrosion, so keep 'em very clean. I've replaced mine with better blade-type fuses.

I didn't quite understand what you meant by, "but you cant enter the modes". Do you mean the magnetic wand doesn't work? Again, I'd check the wiring, not only at the regulator but also the voltage sensing and field control wiring at the batteries and alternator.

Bill
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Old 16-07-2011, 20:26   #5
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Re: Speaking of Balmar.. another regulator bites the dust..

Balmar just sticks its label on the xantrex unit. I had great success with the old xantrex smart regulators but very poor longevity out of the new ones. You can't enter the programming mode because the magnetic switch is broken, nearly all of these models have or develop this problem. The first one I bought lasted less than 1 month before it died (wouldn't regulate). The second one came from the factory with the mag switch bad. Same with the 3rd unit they sent. Luckily I only need the default settings so I didn't send the last one back. Three friends also have the same unit (one a Balmar label)...none can enter the program mode. The next unit will be from someone else. Xantrex seems to have a lot of "issues" lately with inverters, regulators and battery monitors. I won't ever buy anything xantrex again.
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Old 16-07-2011, 20:39   #6
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Re: Speaking of Balmar . . . Another Regulator Bites the Dust

It was posted before: Ample Power regulators are top. You can't compare Balmar from years ago with Balmar today...

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 16-07-2011, 20:39   #7
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Re: Speaking of Balmar . . . Another Regulator Bites the Dust

is a video of what the regulator is doing now
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Old 17-07-2011, 00:37   #8
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Re: Speaking of Balmar.. another regulator bites the dust..

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
It, too, is installed in a cool, dry location with lots of air. That's important.

Bill
My alternator is installed in a hot nasty location and it does not fail and I dont expect it to fail. And I expect my regulator to perform in the same environment as the alternator.

Why does the regulator have to be installed in cool dry location with lots of air. mine isn't and I would not buy one that does.

Its a boat, life is tough
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Old 17-07-2011, 05:31   #9
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Re: Speaking of Balmar.. another regulator bites the dust..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuss View Post
My alternator is installed in a hot nasty location and it does not fail and I dont expect it to fail. And I expect my regulator to perform in the same environment as the alternator.

Why does the regulator have to be installed in cool dry location with lots of air. mine isn't and I would not buy one that does.

Its a boat, life is tough
X2

The manual just says it should be well ventilated, but does not state it should not be in the engine bay

Iit is a piece of resin. Only moving part is the reed switch. One would hope that could survive on a boat.

We will see what balmar says.

Was curious if others have expirienced failures like this.

Paul
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Old 17-07-2011, 05:46   #10
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Re: Speaking of Balmar . . . Another Regulator Bites the Dust

Quote:
Iit is a piece of resin. Only moving part is the reed switch. One would hope that could survive on a boat.
Well, not quite. Its what is inside the resin that matters and over heating the electronic components inside the resin will lead to diminished life span. That is why the electronic components inside the resin are mounted on a heat sink. For longest life span an external regulator should be mounted where it can get an adequate flow of cooling air over the fins of the heat sink. An engine compartment might or might not be an okay place to mount the regulator. It depends on ventilation and where the regulator is mounted.

Its true that magnetic reed switches should not be overly affected by heat so if they are failing prematurely it sounds like defective switches.
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Old 17-07-2011, 06:18   #11
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Re: Speaking of Balmar . . . Another Regulator Bites the Dust

I have 4000 hrs on my 612. I keep another 612 and the replaced Ample Power unit as a backup. Never an issue with the AP before I upgraded to the 612 either. Each has been mounted over the 4-108.
A
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Old 17-07-2011, 06:57   #12
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Re: Speaking of Balmar . . . Another Regulator Bites the Dust

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Well, not quite. Its what is inside the resin that matters and over heating the electronic components inside the resin will lead to diminished life span. That is why the electronic components inside the resin are mounted on a heat sink. For longest life span an external regulator should be mounted where it can get an adequate flow of cooling air over the fins of the heat sink. An engine compartment might or might not be an okay place to mount the regulator. It depends on ventilation and where the regulator is mounted.

Its true that magnetic reed switches should not be overly affected by heat so if they are failing prematurely it sounds like defective switches.
Understand. But the 612 should be robust enough to take it.

My install is very good. If the balmar is that delicate, thay should pull it, as it is n ot ready for a marine environment.
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Old 17-07-2011, 11:38   #13
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Re: Speaking of Balmar.. another regulator bites the dust..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuss View Post
My alternator is installed in a hot nasty location and it does not fail and I dont expect it to fail. And I expect my regulator to perform in the same environment as the alternator.

Why does the regulator have to be installed in cool dry location with lots of air. mine isn't and I would not buy one that does.

Its a boat, life is tough
yep...bravo!
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Old 17-07-2011, 12:39   #14
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Re: Speaking of Balmar . . . Another Regulator Bites the Dust

According to the info sheet at Balmar site, the safe working temp is 145 degrees F. there is no way where mine is mounted even gets close to that.

No doubt that is a conservative number
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Old 17-07-2011, 14:08   #15
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Re: Speaking of Balmar . . . Another Regulator Bites the Dust

My Balmar 612, installed in a dry place in the engine compartment. Now 8 years old, with 300-400hrs per year on it. Has yet to give me any trouble at all.
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