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Old 17-09-2016, 17:30   #16
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Re: Hi voltage alternator benefit

I would buy that 3 year replacement plan for the extra $22.50. Still keeps it cheap. Good luck.

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Old 18-09-2016, 14:06   #17
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Re: Hi voltage alternator benefit

This is a recurrent topic. Just for clarification;
A standard alternator on any engine is there to keep the start battery charged only.
To upgrade to a battery charger system suitable for any boat spending more than a few days away from the dock an external 3 step regulator is required. This should, as a min, have;
1 Voltage sensing direct to the house bank not the alternator. This is absolutely essential a machine sensed alternator simply will not will not recharge a boat battery effectively
2 Adjustable settings for bulk, equalize and float voltages that can be set for the type of batteries used. Also essential as the wrong setting mean either never fully charging a battery or destroying it.
3 Over-voltage sensing at the battery terminal that limits it to less than 15v (to prevent blowing nav instruments!
Over voltage and temp protection for the alternator and battery are useful but not essential. Anything else is bells and whistles, makes it easier to use not a better charger.
These units turn the alternator into a charger that works just like your shore power one. Be aware they also substantially increase charging currents so make sure you core wiring is up to it or you will get excessive voltages and burn out wiring.
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Old 18-09-2016, 21:49   #18
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Re: Hi voltage alternator benefit

I disagree with Roland. I do not see a requirement for a smart regulator depending on how the rest of the system is set up and how one actually uses the system.

For a liveaboard the simplest setup is the standard alternator with stock dumb regulator plus solar, a multi-step solar regulator and some sort of energy use tracker. Let's assume there isn't enough solar to come close to keeping up with demand. First thing every morning as early as possible you want to run the engine for 1-2hr to do all the bulk charging at as high an amperage as the batteries will take or the alternator will put out. FLAs like to charge at about 0.13C but can fast charge at up to 0.20C. For a 200a-hr bank that means 26a at 0.13C and 40a at 0.20C. The range of bulk charging is from 50% to about 75% full, or about 50a-hr for a 200a-hr bank. Actually bulk charging is anything up to 75% full but you don't want to go below 50% because loss of cycle life increases dramatically the further below 50% you regularly go. So with a stock 50a alternator starting at 50% discharge every morning you run the engine for 1h15m to 2h00m watching for the current to start falling off on the battery monitor then shutting the engine down and letting the solar bring the batteries up the rest of the way. Absorption charging which is the last 25% of charging takes 5-7hr (depends on condition of batteries) regardless of the charger, alternator or solar panels and regulators you use. Increasing voltage can marginally speed up the process but damages the batteries. Once the voltage falls off, the cheap way to proceed is letting the panels finish the job. For a 200a-hr bank that's 50a-hr of absorption. 50a-hr means 150-200w solar capacity. A deeper implication of all this taken together is that you are using approximately 100a-hr every night. In which case you might want to spend money to curb demand before upgrading the alternator regulator.

Alternatively you are using less per night or have significantly more solar, lets say 300w. That means you need to run the engine every several days to a week to do bulk charging to catch up from a heavy use day or a low sun day, and the panels still provide all the absorption charging.

The case where you want the smart regulator is when the engine is the primary source of charging, you don't have significant solar, wind or hydro or you can't find space to install enough and/or if you have a very large battery bank and a large demand. In this case you want the multi-step regulator. The cost of the solar panels is not a good reason to upgrade your regulator. To fully charge your batteries everyday you will need to run your engine for 7-9hr. It doesn't matter if you upgrade to a smart regulator, high output alternator and AGM batteries that can accept the high output, doing so will only shave an hour off of charging time. After bulk charging is done, the battery will only accept a decreasing amount of current, absorption charging takes 5-7 hours regardless. If you are running the engine as the primary charging means, and you want to charge your batteries right to maximize life, you will be faced will significant fuel bills over the medium to long term.

For $300 you can get a 4 stage Balmar regulator.
For the same $300 you can get a solar starter kit that includes a 100w rigid panel, cabling and a 30a 4 stage regulator that can handle up to 400w of input as you expand your panel inventory.
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Old 19-09-2016, 02:34   #19
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Re: Hi voltage alternator benefit

info@smartregulator.co.nz

Email this guy he designs aeroplanes and smart regulators he will courier you a smart regulator and explain how to fit it and set it up.

We did it on our yanmars and it made the world of difference to our battery charging.

we did not change the alternator only fitted the smart regulator.

His comment was that the alternator with standard regulator will only charge at capacity for a short period of time as they are designed to charge starting batteries not house type batteries. They are set up so they do not over charge or heat anything.

The smart regulator is by passes this and allows you to use more of the capacity of the alternator which will continue to charge more the faster you spin it until it blows itself up. It is the regulator that keeps the power in check.

worked well for us, it is relatively cheap and he is very user friendly

RJ
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Old 20-09-2016, 13:25   #20
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Re: Hi voltage alternator benefit

[QUOTE=Adelie;2216159]I disagree with Roland. I do not see a requirement for a smart regulator depending on how the rest of the system is set up and how one actually uses the system.

For a liveaboard the simplest setup is the standard alternator with stock dumb regulator plus solar,

IE a smart regulator! Yes you can put it on the solar charge system and, provided you have enough solar, it will make a fine charger system.

You alternator is still not a charger and is not working as a battery charger
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Old 20-09-2016, 14:44   #21
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Re: Hi voltage alternator benefit

Dears,

I have read a number of threads but my experience is not matching up with the idea that it takes 7-9 hours for the absorption phase. I did the following experiment. Two GC2 batteries, 207 Ah. Starting from a fully charged state, I discharged them to 45% (run a heater for an hour and a half). Then I started charging with the shore charger and the alternator (switching between the two every 10 minutes).

Initially, the batteries were taking 75A @ 13.6V from the charger and 50A @ 13.4V from the alternator (both at rated max output). The voltage stated rising, peaking at 14.4V for the charger and 14.1V for the alternator. Then the current started falling, basically the alternator was tracking about 10A lower than the charger. For example, at some point I had 15A @ 14.0V from the alternator and 25A @ 14.4V from the charger. Charging was complete in slightly over two hours (the charger switched to float). Thus, I am thinking that with a high voltage alternator (14.4-14.7V) one should be able to charge the batteries in 3-4 hours. A smart regulator should reduce this time by an hour max.

By the way, I do like smart regulators I just do not like the idea of buying both a Balmer regulator and a Balmer alternator to make it work.

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Old 20-09-2016, 16:10   #22
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Re: Hi voltage alternator benefit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
Charging was complete in slightly over two hours (the charger switched to float). Thus, I am thinking that with a high voltage alternator (14.4-14.7V) one should be able to charge the batteries in 3-4 hours. A smart regulator should reduce this time by an hour max.
I would suggest that the charger switched to float prematurely and that your batteries were NOT fully charged.

Do you know the logic used by the charger to determine when to switch to float?
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Old 20-09-2016, 21:52   #23
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Re: Hi voltage alternator benefit

Thank you, Stu. It is a Freedom 15 charger and the manual says it switches to Float at 10 amps. I guess this is too high. I believe these chargers were optimized for a 400 AH battery pack. OK, time to rethink the whole system.
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Old 20-09-2016, 22:21   #24
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Re: Hi voltage alternator benefit

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Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
Thank you, Stu. It is a Freedom 15 charger and the manual says it switches to Float at 10 amps. I guess this is too high. I believe these chargers were optimized for a 400 AH battery pack. OK, time to rethink the whole system.
Whoa! I've just taken a look at the manual for them and saw this:

"The acceptance stage lasts until the charge current reaches the transition point in Amps. A timer will terminate the acceptance
stage if this current level is not reached.
The time is automatically set when the dip switches for battery type are set on the
Freedom Remote Control Panel. Maximum acceptance time is 1 hour for
wet cells and 3 hours for gel cells. "

That means that your batteries are getting an acceptance charge for a maximum of one hour, even if they are still capable of accepting well over 10 Amps.
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