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Old 12-07-2014, 12:28   #1
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Equalizing Batteries using Alternator

Hi Folks,

We have a balmar 165 amp alt with the 614-H regulator. I see that the regulator has an equalization mode.

Any feedback from people that have done it?

Also, I have lost my balmar reed pen... does anyone know where to buy one?

Thanks,

z
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Old 12-07-2014, 12:43   #2
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Re: Equalizing Batteries using Alternator

Haven't used the equalization mode, but equalization should be done on fully charged batteries. That's a lot of engine time, and if you are motoring a long distance, the voltage may be too high for the boat's equipment.

You don't need the special pen (I lost mine a long time ago) - you just need a small magnet. I have a small pickup tool that I use. Alternately, you can magnetize a small screwdriver and use that.

Mark
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Old 12-07-2014, 13:12   #3
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Re: Equalizing Batteries using Alternator

It's the only way we've got to equalize......and it takes a really long time running the engine with little to no load on it (at anchor to avoid high voltage on electronics, and a load in the batteries). It a pain.
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Old 12-07-2014, 13:45   #4
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Re: Equalizing Batteries using Alternator

When you say "really long time"... how long does it take for you?
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Old 12-07-2014, 13:53   #5
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Re: Equalizing Batteries using Alternator

The last time I did it, it was a 6 hour ordeal........every 45 mins to an hour checking the SG of the cells.
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Old 12-07-2014, 13:59   #6
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Re: Equalizing Batteries using Alternator

Wow... I was thinking 2 hours after a full charge. Does it take less time if you do it more often?

colemj... I really like your website, especially because you talk so much about the people you meet. My wife and I started on a blog but after a while became disgusted with ourselves because it was emulating the narrissim of so many blogs we read... "look how great our life is, and how great our accomplishments, don't you wish you were us."

We have also now started to focus on what we like most about our cruising life so far, the people we meet and the interesting things they have to say but we have yet to update the blog to this new format.
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Old 12-07-2014, 14:25   #7
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Re: Equalizing Batteries using Alternator

I honestly don't know. I try to avoid equalizing as often as possible......but the solar keeps us full 99% of the time so I don't think the batts are sulfa ting as much as they would be without
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Old 12-07-2014, 14:53   #8
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Re: Equalizing Batteries using Alternator

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
Wow... I was thinking 2 hours after a full charge. Does it take less time if you do it more often?

colemj... I really like your website, especially because you talk so much about the people you meet. My wife and I started on a blog but after a while became disgusted with ourselves because it was emulating the narrissim of so many blogs we read... "look how great our life is, and how great our accomplishments, don't you wish you were us."

We have also now started to focus on what we like most about our cruising life so far, the people we meet and the interesting things they have to say but we have yet to update the blog to this new format.
Thanks - I have nothing to do with it other than being there. Michele takes all the pictures and writes and organizes the website. I like how she does it also!

The blogs we tune out are the "Day X, we woke up at 6:23am instead of our usual 6:20. Decided to make scrambled eggs for breakfast. After breakfast, Jack decided to read his book while Jill did some knitting. At 9:15am Joe came over in the dinghy to talk. Turns out their watermaker is now only making 5.8gph instead of 6.2. He and Jack talked about the reasons for this until 11:15 when Peggy called Joe back to the boat because she couldn't get the stove to light. Blah, blah, blah, blah - every little unimportant detail of our day - blah, blah, blah, then we went to bed at 10:12pm".

Sorry for the thread drift, but I was responding to the OP!

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Old 12-07-2014, 16:18   #9
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Re: Equalizing Batteries using Alternator

Success with the magnet! I used an expanding magnetic pick up tool with the bonus that I didn't have to lean over the engine while doing so. I increased my bulk time, and also increased the absorption voltage and absorption time to trojan spec. The dealer that installed our new system last year did not modify the balmar to meet Trojan specifications.
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Old 14-07-2014, 02:01   #10
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Re: Equalizing Batteries using Alternator

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
Hi Folks,

We have a balmar 165 amp alt with the 614-H regulator. I see that the regulator has an equalization mode.

Any feedback from people that have done it?

Also, I have lost my balmar reed pen... does anyone know where to buy one?

Thanks,

z
If you must use your alternator to equalise then you should be aware that you are potentially stressing your electrics and electronics by subjecting them to a high voltage if they are all left on.
For example, is your engine instrument panel ok with 15.5/31v.
It might be, but if at some stage in the future something goes wrong, you will always wonder if the high voltage was a contributor.
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Old 14-07-2014, 20:23   #11
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Re: Equalizing Batteries using Alternator

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If you must use your alternator to equalise then you should be aware that you are potentially stressing your electrics and electronics by subjecting them to a high voltage if they are all left on.
For example, is your engine instrument panel ok with 15.5/31v.
It might be, but if at some stage in the future something goes wrong, you will always wonder if the high voltage was a contributor.
If I turn off my main DC breaker switch while equalizing that'll cut off most of my DC stuff. The rest (bilge pump, alarms, echocharger, etc.) is fused so I can just take out the fuses.
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Old 14-07-2014, 22:36   #12
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Re: Equalizing Batteries using Alternator

Current fries much more than voltage. Sure, twice or five times the voltage causes damage. But 15.5 vs 14.4 .... I doubt it. Could be wrong, bit its way, way down the list of things that will trash 12vdc (or 24vdc) equipment. 11.5v will damage a lot of stuff.
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Old 14-07-2014, 22:51   #13
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Re: Equalizing Batteries using Alternator

Why equalize?

I've never done it in 20 years

7.5 years on 2x8D gelcels
7 years on 4xT105s
5.5 years on 6xT105 and they are still perfect

if you charge the batteries properly you shouldn't need to equalize
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Old 15-07-2014, 01:09   #14
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Re: Equalizing Batteries using Alternator

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Why equalize?

I've never done it in 20 years

7.5 years on 2x8D gelcels
7 years on 4xT105s
5.5 years on 6xT105 and they are still perfect

if you charge the batteries properly you shouldn't need to equalize
If you live at anchor in the real world, sometimes you will NOT charge properly... it's a fact of life as I know it. And then, sulfation occurs and equalization helps control it.

Perhaps in your perfect world equalization ain't needed, but for many of us it surely helps. Trojan agrees...

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Old 15-07-2014, 02:20   #15
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Re: Equalizing Batteries using Alternator

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If you live at anchor in the real world, sometimes you will NOT charge properly... it's a fact of life as I know it. And then, sulfation occurs and equalization helps control it.

Perhaps in your perfect world equalization ain't needed, but for many of us it surely helps. Trojan agrees...

Jim
Yes, it helps but only after you have made the following changes below which are more important than equalising.

For people who anchor out with FLA batteries you need...
1- Alternator that is 30%, not 25% of the battery capacity.
2- FLA absorbtion at 14.8/29.6 for at least 5 hours, drop the float to 14/28.
(low float settings are for people on shore power.)
3- Disregard any talk of limiting the current to the batteries, take whatever the alternator supplies.
4- Ensure the battery temperature compensation is working especially in over 30 degree situations.
5- Install a decent battery watering system.

If you happen to find yourself on shore power after 6 months then turn everything off and give them an equalise...its good for them.
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