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Old 08-05-2014, 12:07   #1
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Hitachi Alternator and Smart Regulator Instal Question

Hello all,

I am attempting to instal a Mark Grasser (same as Sterling?) Smart Regulator with a Hitachi 80amp alternator. I have become confused on two issues:

When soldering the two new leads to the brushes, do you keep the Hitachi Regulator in the loop? My first thought was to simply disconnect the brush wires from the stock regulator and connect the new leads directly to the brushes.

The other thing I can't seem to find consistent reference to is the Diode Trio. Should that be removed? Most of the instructions I have read regarding this mod do not mention pulling the diodes out of the circuit.

Greatly appreciate any advice.

Meck
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Old 08-05-2014, 12:09   #2
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Re: Hitachi Alternator and Smart Regulator Instal Question

Meck, call Mark and ask him. Really.
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Old 08-05-2014, 13:10   #3
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Re: Hitachi Alternator and Smart Regulator Instal Question

I did send him an e-mail, but got no response. I'm out of the country, so phone calls can be challenging. But, if that is only way to get some answers, I will certainly go that route.

Thanks,
Meck
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Old 08-05-2014, 13:58   #4
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Re: Hitachi Alternator and Smart Regulator Instal Question

I don't know your setup but usually, you can install a switch and wire up the external regulator so it is a choice of external OR internal, keeping the internal as a fallback.

One of the 12-volt books also gives specific diagrams for this kind of setup. Typically, attach the output of the new regulator to the output of the internal one, same place. Then install the switch, from the brushes to the input of the two regulators, so it applies power to one input OR the other.

It may also be simpler to take everything to a local marine electrical shop and just let them do the install, either using a switch or a jumper.
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Old 08-05-2014, 14:45   #5
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Re: Hitachi Alternator and Smart Regulator Instal Question

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Originally Posted by Meck View Post
I did send him an e-mail, but got no response. I'm out of the country, so phone calls can be challenging. But, if that is only way to get some answers, I will certainly go that route.

Thanks,
Meck
I see, I should have noticed, sorry.

Sometimes return emails take longer.

IIRC, Hitachi alternators are different than most, whether it's because of the P or N type or just Hitachi, I don't recall. I do, however, KNOW that there have been many, many Hitachi alternator discussions. I recommend doing a search on this and maybe other boating forums on that subject.

You might also want to Google the "12V alternator handbook" a very nicely done pdf file of an older but valuable work with good information, available for download from many forums.

Good luck.
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Old 08-05-2014, 15:36   #6
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Re: Hitachi Alternator and Smart Regulator Instal Question

Meck:

I think you are trying to stuff 5 lbs of stuff in a 1 lb bag. You are trying to modify a light duty, automotive alternator and ask it to do heavy duty work. The Hitachi 80 amp alternator in normal use rarely puts out more than 20 amps and it is only designed to to that.

Disconnect its internal regulator, bring the field wires out and attach a high output external regulator and it might put out 80 amps, but not for long.

Real marine high output alternators such as made by Balmar, Hehr, Ample Power, etc have heavier windings, diodes and a better cooling fan to deal with the load. The Hitachi doesn't have these.
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Old 08-05-2014, 17:31   #7
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Re: Hitachi Alternator and Smart Regulator Instal Question

djm is right.

Here's why, find and read about Hitachi, this is one of those articles I recalled in my earlier post, good luck

Musings Regarding External Regulation - SailboatOwners.com
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Old 08-05-2014, 18:26   #8
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Re: Hitachi Alternator and Smart Regulator Instal Question

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I did send him an e-mail, but got no response. I'm out of the country, so phone calls can be challenging. But, if that is only way to get some answers, I will certainly go that route.

Thanks,
Meck
I spoke with Mark on Tuesday and I believe he is out of town for a few days. The old reg has to be disabled in order for the new one to work properly.
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Old 09-05-2014, 07:03   #9
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Re: Hitachi Alternator and Smart Regulator Instal Question

Regarding the overheating issue; don't these "Smart Regulators" have temp sensors to keep the alternator from overheating?
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:09   #10
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Re: Hitachi Alternator and Smart Regulator Instal Question

Well, yes but.... Balmar's temp sensor cuts field current in half when the alternator case temp get up to 180 as I recall. But what is the point of putting an external regulator on a light duty automotive alternator if it is going to be throttled back when you need it?

David
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:21   #11
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Re: Hitachi Alternator and Smart Regulator Instal Question

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Well, yes but.... Balmar's temp sensor cuts field current in half when the alternator case temp get up to 180 as I recall. But what is the point of putting an external regulator on a light duty automotive alternator if it is going to be throttled back when you need it?

David
The Sterling's cut to 0% and I don't know if Mark has changed that in his regs or not. I know he has done some re-programming but don't know how much. He would love to add current limiting but with that reg design I don't know that he can do that.

Older Balmar regulators did cut the field by 50% so it it best to use Amp Manager or Belt Manager on those alternators. Heck with any big bank and alt the Balmar Belt Manager feature is very useful.

New Balmar regs drop the field in 5% steps until the right field output can be maintained without going over temp. This dynamic temp sensing is a MUCH smarter way to handle alternator temp compensation and something many of us in the field had been asking for.....

Balmar is crazy not to be talking this up more but for many boaters the importance of this would go right over their heads. What it means to performance is huge as the the reg will find the exact spot it can run at in YOUR boat into YOUR load and in YOUR engine room... A 0% or 50% cut is a one size fits all Band-Aid.. Balmar's new dynamic temp sensing is significantly smarter..

The OP really should have one of Mark's alternators to go with the regulator. The Hitachi's do deal quite horribly with heat and this is why the factory internal regulator has temp compensation built in, and why many people only see 20A out of an 80A alt, even in bulk......

I use a Mark Grasser 160A alt on my lithium bank but I drive it with a Balmar MC-614 reg....
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:23   #12
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Re: Hitachi Alternator and Smart Regulator Instal Question

So, what you are saying is the 3 stage smart regulator can not improve charging capability when used with an automotive class alternator?
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:31   #13
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Re: Hitachi Alternator and Smart Regulator Instal Question

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So, what you are saying is the 3 stage smart regulator can not improve charging capability when used with an automotive class alternator?
Yes it absolutely can. However, you will very likely have temp issues and the reg will be bouncing in and out of temp limiting. Drive a Hitachi without temp limiting into a large load for too long and they will simply cook themselves. If your bank is not big then you may do just fine. If the bank is large then the alt will get hot and you will be bouncing in and out of temp limiting.

The factory Hitachi alternator regulator internally temp compensates. This is why the performance is so poor. This is a self protective feature because the alternator was never designed to drive high loads for long periods of time.

This is why higher performance small case alternators exist.
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:35   #14
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Re: Hitachi Alternator and Smart Regulator Instal Question

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So, what you are saying is the 3 stage smart regulator can not improve charging capability when used with an automotive class alternator?
Meck, did you read the link I posted in #7? It would avoid Maine Sail having to retype a lot of the material already posted.
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Old 10-05-2014, 07:44   #15
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Re: Hitachi Alternator and Smart Regulator Instal Question

Yes Stu, I read it and I have read everything else on the net regarding my original post!! And guess what? I still don't have an answer. I really don't give two hoots about your opinion on the quality of the Hitachi alternators. I have been using them for years and they work fine for me. I simply want to instal a smart regulator and improve the performance. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

Cheers
Meck
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