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Old 06-07-2014, 06:07   #31
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Re: High rated alternator with Alternator to Battery charger

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
....
For those who haven't internalized what this thing does I suggest reading at least page 5 of the attached link.

http://www.sterling-power.com/images...%20Control.pdf
I'm glad you posted that link as it will give people a chance to fully see what it's about and form their own opinions - especially the Special 'Auto Pause Function' which stops it charging the house bank for 3 minutes every 20 minutes, and allows the starter to get more charge. It has already, with this 'Special Funtion', disabled the house bank charging for 5 minutes to let the starter battery charge, so why should you want to keep charging a starter battery for possibly hours when it will only take about 10 minutes to fully charge. Mr Sterling in another part of the text also calls this a 'rest period' - I suspect what it is doing is allowing the alternator a chance to cool down.

So for 15% of the time the unit is not charging the house batteries and when it switches off it doesn't come back on again until the batteries are down to 12 volts!!! If you can get to the alternators field wire an external regulator like the Balmar is a much better solution.

And beware of Main Sail's warning which I would like some clarification on - he says if you have an alternator that is nominally 14.2 volts then that is the minimum Float voltage you will get, even though Mr Sterling is talking about a Float of 13.5 to 13.8 v. I have emailed Mr Sterling before to clarify this issue and never got an answer, nor from three Sterling Dealers that I also emailed.

I hope you all begin to see why I called this product a Bodge! Is the new ProAltC any better - it stills says it 'mimics' a 4 stage battery charger!
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Old 06-07-2014, 06:26   #32
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Re: High rated alternator with Alternator to Battery charger

You seem to have a personal problem with Sterling. In another post you call him an idiot and here you keep referring to his products as a "bodge".

This product fills a niche. That is all. It does what it says it will do and does it cleverly and well. Sterling also sells external regulators and split diode devices, so he isn't just trying to pull one over on people with this particular product.

There are OEM alternators that are a real problem to modify to take an external regulator. Try modifying an N-type alternator to run with a Balmar regulator, for example. This product doesn't require any modifications to the alternator and is agnostic on what type of internal control the alternator uses.

Then there are those who have multiple alternators/engines who would need to not only modify all of them, but buy individual external regulators for them. This product allows one to use multiple alternators to charge a system. And it can be easily placed outside of the engine room in a cool dry place - many boats are challenged to do so with a external regulator.

Lastly, it is a dead-simple drop-in product to install and use. People do not need to know how to take apart their alternator and rewire it or have skills in wiring up an external alternator.

It isn't the full and correct solution for everyone, but it is not a bodge and has its place in the pantheon of available products.

BTW, that 3 minute drop out every 20 minutes could be very clever. Not only does that help prevent overheating the alternator, it also allows surface charge to dissipate more deeply into the plates to obtain faster, better charging overall.

As to the float voltage, what do you think an internally regulated alternator does when the batteries are fully charged? They stay at 14V (or whatever they are regulated to). Why do you find it a problem when Sterling does this, but not when the OEM itself does it? As far as Sterling's statement that it will be 13.5-13.8V, it is possible that the output goes through diodes in his device, which would drop that 14V down to these levels.

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Old 06-07-2014, 08:05   #33
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Re: High rated alternator with Alternator to Battery charger

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Originally Posted by sailinglegend View Post
And beware of Main Sail's warning which I would like some clarification on.
'beware' - do you mean he is wrong ?? or are you meaning heed ??

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Originally Posted by sailinglegend View Post
I hope you all begin to see why I called this product a Bodge! Is the new ProAltC any better - it stills says it 'mimics' a 4 stage battery charger!
Just for my clarity - A2B and ProAltC are the same thing. You seem to imply there is a difference ? It is the latest A2B product i have purchased but also refered to as a ProAltC in the documentation - confusing i agree - it is an AB12160 i am planning to fit to my yanmar hitachi stock alternator.
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:27   #34
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Re: High rated alternator with Alternator to Battery charger

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Originally Posted by Rumbero View Post
... I am planning to replace the current Hitachi LR155-20 55Amps alternator with a more powerful and high rated alternator, specifically I am thinking in a Balmar 60 Series of 100Amps.

I wonder if anyone has experienced such a combination of Balmar alternator and Sterling A2B and could provide any inputs.....
I wish certain people on here would read these posts properly, especially the OP's question that I have quoted above.

My response has repeatedly said that the A2B is not a good option if you can get to the field wires and use a proper external regulator. I have tried to outline why. If people can't be bothered to modify the field wires then yes the A2B does the job - with the cautions that I and Maine Sail have pointed out. Taking the trouble to get the alternator modified and use an external regulator will always be a better option.

The OP has the even better idea by getting a 'hot rated marine alternator'. Standard cheap automotive alternators are designed to charge starter batteries and not deep cycle banks.
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:58   #35
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Re: High rated alternator with Alternator to Battery charger

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Originally Posted by d4raffy View Post
'beware' - do you mean he is wrong ?? or are you meaning heed ??s an AB12160 i am planning to fit to my yanmar hitachi stock alternator.
I mean heed - after all he is a God isn't he! I believe nearly all of what he says - nearly all of the time!
I have heard others talk about not going to Float voltages on his external regulators, so I was looking for clarification on this point.


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Originally Posted by d4raffy View Post
...Just for my clarity - A2B and ProAltC are the same thing. You seem to imply there is a difference ?
Goboatingnow said the advice being offered here was not good advice, and talked about a NEWER A2B regulator so I downloaded what looks like the NEW product brochure, but it's the same old.....with far less information.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:47   #36
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Re: High rated alternator with Alternator to Battery charger

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Originally Posted by sailinglegend View Post
Standard cheap automotive alternators are designed to charge starter batteries and not deep cycle banks.
Not to keep picking at things but you throw out inflammatory terms like, "idiot" and "bodge" and "cheap" which I believe you think colorfully accentuate your points.

You make your points well but this one I have to ask about.

Forget regulation for a minute. What makes an alternator suitable for deep cycle or not deep cycle? It's a field winding, a stator, some diodes and a commutator.

I had a similar argument about a Cessna voltage regulator. The one from the auto parts store came off the exact same assembly line as the airplane one. It just had a stamp that said, "FAA/PMA" on it.

Balmar has found their little niche in the world too - they have figured out that stamping "marine" on an item allows increased pricing - If one really wants to push some amps why not go "cheap" automotive and get up to 320 amps?

Mega Amp GM High Output Alternator
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Old 06-07-2014, 13:38   #37
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Re: High rated alternator with Alternator to Battery charger

@d4raffy..

Yes, the tacko uses a reflective tape on the front pulley. I used the one still there from commissioning.

The screw for adjusting the tacko is inside a white plastic hole on the back of the unit.. maybe 5mm inside. Mine had a sticker over it which I removed and you need two people to do the job. There are better instructions on google if you hunt around.

I don't think there is much wrong with the Hitachi alternators and could have used a Balmar at the time, but was concerned about the $$s.

I have a friend with a Balmar alternator and external regulator and he had trouble with it getting so hot it was giving off a burning smell. He also diverted cool air on it and and went to a smaller pulley it increase the airflow at slow speed when it was getting hot. The balmar was shutting down at a higher temperature compared with my Sterling system so I'm guessing you'd have to run a balmar alternator with a balmar regulator.
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Old 06-07-2014, 18:51   #38
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Re: High rated alternator with Alternator to Battery charger

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Originally Posted by sailinglegend View Post
I wish certain people on here would read these posts properly, especially the OP's question that I have quoted above.



My response has repeatedly said that the A2B is not a good option if you can get to the field wires and use a proper external regulator. I have tried to outline why. If people can't be bothered to modify the field wires then yes the A2B does the job - with the cautions that I and Maine Sail have pointed out. Taking the trouble to get the alternator modified and use an external regulator will always be a better option.



The OP has the even better idea by getting a 'hot rated marine alternator'. Standard cheap automotive alternators are designed to charge starter batteries and not deep cycle banks.

Why is an external regulator a " better option " its a different option not necessarily a better one

Explain ?

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Old 06-07-2014, 19:08   #39
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Re: High rated alternator with Alternator to Battery charger

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Originally Posted by MechMan View Post
The balmar was shutting down at a higher temperature compared with my Sterling system so I'm guessing you'd have to run a balmar alternator with a balmar regulator.
Uhm, why would that be? If you use an alternator by Leece Neville, who for many years and may still make alternators for Balmar, it doesn't matter. Balmar makes a very good external regulator, the MC-612, now the MC-614. With proper temperature sensing, use of amp manager and small engine mode, you should be able to and can use any alternator.
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Old 07-07-2014, 03:52   #40
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Re: High rated alternator with Alternator to Battery charger

@ SailingLegend ... As I am someone looking at options here .. I notice Hunters come with Yanmar engines ? ... what is your alternator charging fit out ? .. did you replace your stock Hitachi alternator then ?
I am assuming, from your posts, it's Balmar ... but curious ...
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:25   #41
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Re: High rated alternator with Alternator to Battery charger

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
... What makes an alternator suitable for deep cycle or not deep cycle? It's a field winding, a stator, some diodes and a commutator.
...
Sorry about my 'colourful' language but somehow you have to draw attention to the differences between products which will do the job properly in a marine environment.

'Cheap' is probably the key to the difference - for example auto shore power chargers which can be dangerous on boats - see Main Sail posts for this, cables should be 'tinned' to stop corrosion, and through-hull fittings should be made of DZR brass to stop dezincification. These and many other products are sold by chandeliers who don't know any difference, which is why I try and advise 'best practice' when buying kit for a boat. I can't afford to buy 'cheap'. Too many kit failures spoils the 'Cruising' Experience.

So why is an automotive alternator not suitable for deep cycle batteries? This has already been said by others on this and many other threads.

A car alternator is engineered to a price - cheap - because its main job is to charge a starter battery that has been discharged by about 1%, or about 1Ah, which it can do in about 10 minutes. Then it just has to supply power to the car systems. A 60 amp alternator can happily do this job, even when it gets hot, when it's maximum output may have been reduced to about 30 amps.

On a boat the load on the alternator to charge a 50% depleted 400 Ah bank will be much higher for much longer. 200 Ah will have to replaced in the bank, so it will be trying to supply near it's maximum current for a long time and it will get even hotter and it's output may fall even further. A 'hot rated Marine Alternator', like the Balmar, is 'engineered' to provide 60 amps even at a temperature of over 100 degrees C, so it will maintain that output and charge the bank much quicker. Faster charging is what we all want.

This 'hot rated engineering' may mean:

- High temperature diodes mounted on big heat sinks
- Heavier gauge stator windings
- Precision balanced rotor
- Copper composite brushes
- Heavy duty bearings with high temperature grease
- Corrosion resistant materials & coatings
- Dual cooling fans
- access to field windings
- tachometer output
- maybe an isolated ground terminal

All this comes at a much higher price!

Since I am replying to a 'Moderator Emeritus' I shall continue to defend my colourful language, at the risk of 'breaking the regulations'. As to my use of the word 'Bodge' this is exactly what the Apollo 13 astronauts did to fix their air filters. I'm doing it all the time on my boat to keep me cruising in the Med. If you can't get the right parts, or you can't control the alternator by getting access to the Field wire, then that is a 'Bodge'. djmarchand in his post called it a 'Kluge' which is surely much more derisory term.

As to the use of the word 'idiot' I have explained that on the other posting? Mr Sterling feeding 160 amps into a 100 Ah battery to prove his fast chargers are the best is not a sensible thing to do, or to encourage others to do, without some safeguards or warnings. The amp-hour law suggests that the maximum safe current should be 50 amps if the battery is 50% depleted.

If you agree that this is NOT a sensible thing to do then you should also accept that this is a 'foolish' thing to do. The opposite of sensible is foolish. In the UK a definition of 'idiot' is stupid or foolish.

I could also draw attention to Mr Sterling's latest product literature where has changed the graphs from the link you kindly provided. Your link showed the voltage being switched off for 3 minutes every 20, so 15% of the time the charger is not charging.

This link: http://www.shop.sterling-power.com/acatalog/AB.pdf - shows a flat graph for the same product, with no output interruption. He still describes in the text that there is an output reduction. So how would you as a Moderator Emeritus describe this latest marketing dis-information?
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:50   #42
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Re: High rated alternator with Alternator to Battery charger

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Originally Posted by d4raffy View Post
@ SailingLegend ... As I am someone looking at options here .. I notice Hunters come with Yanmar engines ? ... what is your alternator charging fit out ? .. did you replace your stock Hitachi?
We bought the boat when two years old and the original paperwork showed a 30 amp alternator and a 30 amp shorepower charger. And all this on a 43 foot Liveaboard boat with 440 Ah of batteries.

It came with a Balmar Alternator and ARS 5 regulator, but with no temperature sensors. We had to replace the batteries almost immediately and fitted 1050Ah of AGMs and a 120 amp Victron charger, and a 280 amp DC genset.

With no temperature sensor even the Balmar burnt out with our large battery bank. The supplier of all the kit failed to mention that we must have an alternator and a battery temperature sensor!!! This is why I get so annoyed with this industry.
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:58   #43
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Re: High rated alternator with Alternator to Battery charger

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Originally Posted by sailinglegend View Post

So why is an automotive alternator not suitable for deep cycle batteries? This has already been said by others on this and many other threads.

A car alternator is engineered to a price - cheap - because its main job is to charge a starter battery that has been discharged by about 1%, or about 1Ah, which it can do in about 10 minutes. Then it just has to supply power to the car systems. A 60 amp alternator can happily do this job, even when it gets hot, when it's maximum output may have been reduced to about 30 amps.

On a boat the load on the alternator to charge a 50% depleted 400 Ah bank will be much higher for much longer.

<snip>

This 'hot rated engineering' may mean:

- High temperature diodes mounted on big heat sinks
- Heavier gauge stator windings
- Precision balanced rotor
- Copper composite brushes
- Heavy duty bearings with high temperature grease
- Corrosion resistant materials & coatings
- Dual cooling fans
- access to field windings
- tachometer output
- maybe an isolated ground terminal

All this comes at a much higher price!

<snip>

I could also draw attention to Mr Sterling's latest product literature where has changed the graphs from the link you kindly provided. Your link showed the voltage being switched off for 3 minutes every 20, so 15% of the time the charger is not charging.

This link: http://www.shop.sterling-power.com/acatalog/AB.pdf - shows a flat graph for the same product, with no output interruption. He still describes in the text that there is an output reduction.
First of all forget about the Md Emeritus stuff - I put my pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else.

If I were going to replace my alternator setup with a high output alternator, like the Balmar, I would probably use the Balmar regulator. Why not? They are probably engineered to go together. I have no doubt Balmar has a design that includes many "robustness" features.

However I have a boat with a 70 amp "cheap automotive" alternator. This is where you and I part ways. As an engineer and mechanic of 30 years I have no problem driving that 70 amps for a longer duty cycle. That's all the product does.

Your assumption that the automotive alternator works for 5 minutes and then is off duty is flawed. Modern cars have pretty greedy power needs.

With battery and alternator thermal protection, I feel even better about it.

So if one has a cheap alternator and one has upgraded to a larger bank this seems like a pretty reasonable solution.

In my case I have upgraded to 210 a/h and I am hoping to replace the batteries and get 3 X 100 a/h. I don't plan to buy a "hotshot" alternator but if I can get the current one to stay in bulk longer that means I can run the engine fewer hours per day and that makes sense to me.

I'll let you know in a few years if my alternator fries...

PS - In regards to the smooth graphs - I can't speak for Sterling's marketing department but I think you are putting too much into it. They may have decided that the average consumer should focus on the "magic" after point 1 (keeping the current up in bulk charge) and that the timeouts - while an interesting feature - are not the point they want to make to the layman.
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Old 07-07-2014, 12:47   #44
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Re: High rated alternator with Alternator to Battery charger

Here's an interesting comment from another forum ... if maybe different now .. not sure ...

'it's worth noting that Balmar don't make alternators, they buy them from companies like Prestolite. Automotive alternators by Prestolite/Leece Neville are built for challenging conditions encountered by power-hungry trucks and buses in hot climates, and have excellent high temperature performance.'

...but it appears they are just truck alternators ?
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Old 07-07-2014, 13:05   #45
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Re: High rated alternator with Alternator to Battery charger

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Originally Posted by d4raffy View Post
Here's an interesting comment from another forum ... if maybe different now .. not sure ...

'it's worth noting that Balmar don't make alternators, they buy them from companies like Prestolite. Automotive alternators by Prestolite/Leece Neville are built for challenging conditions encountered by power-hungry trucks and buses in hot climates, and have excellent high temperature performance.'

...but it appears they are just truck alternators ?
Balmar builds many of their own and Leece-Neville builds some Balmar's under contract. They are contract built to Balmar's specs.

I just ordered two 24V alts last week from Balmar that were not in stock & ready to go. I ordered them at 11:30am, Balmar built them, in house, tested and shipped them the same day... Can't do that if all the alts are built by others. They have been moving more and more in-house and doing less and less contract builds.
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