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Old 26-10-2015, 07:47   #1
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Internal alternator regulator or external

We are in the process of replacing our old Yanmar with a 3YM30AE ( YANMAR | 3YM30AE ). The YM30 comes with a 125A alternator which is internally regulated. Our old engine had an external regulator and I am wondering if I should also get one for this new alternator. The old regulator is unusable due to it's age so I am considering a Balmer MC-614-H or ARS-5-H.

What advantages would I have using an external regulator?


House bank is currently 6 T-105s (675AHr)
Start batter and Thruster battery charged via Balmer Digital Duo Chargers

Geoff.
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Old 26-10-2015, 09:59   #2
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Re: Internal alternator regulator or external

Don't know about that particular Yanmar alternator, but my understanding is internally regulated alternators are generally not "smart" or multi-stage regulated, so they don't do a very good job charging a house bank, especially a larger one. Maybe newer ones are better??

My Max Charge 614 does this very well.
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Old 26-10-2015, 10:14   #3
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Re: Internal alternator regulator or external

I don't think there is room inside an alternator to have a smart regulator built in. My only experience with an internal regulator was bad. It just could not handle our 7 batteries all at once and eventually burned up trying.
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Old 26-10-2015, 10:35   #4
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Re: Internal alternator regulator or external

You may be interested in these:

Alternator Regulators - The Differences between ARS-5 and MC-614 Units (see reply #5)
External regulation | SailboatOwners.com Forums

Differences between Balmar MC-614 and ARS-5 Regulators

External regulation | SailboatOwners.com Forums
Why oh why....... | SailboatOwners.com Forums

How Alternators & Regulators Work PLUS External vs. Internal Regulators (by Maine Sail): Musings Regarding External Regulation | SailboatOwners.com Forums

Your Yanmar will most likely have a Hitachi alternator. You need to read this:

Hitachi Alternators 101 Alternator upgrade | SailboatOwners.com Forums This comes up so often on other boating forums...
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Old 26-10-2015, 12:03   #5
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Re: Internal alternator regulator or external

Some engine manufacturers invalidate the warranty if you replace the internal regulator. Engine warranty. No, not a typo.

If you want plenty of charge quick then an internal regulator is IMHO a joke.

b.
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Old 26-10-2015, 18:34   #6
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Re: Internal alternator regulator or external

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post

If you want plenty of charge quick then an internal regulator is IMHO a joke.

b.
Not necessarily.

How Alternators & Regulators Work PLUS External vs. Internal Regulators (by Maine Sail): Musings Regarding External Regulation | SailboatOwners.com Forums

The "problem" is the Hitachi alternator's built in temperature sensing.

This is NOT present on all the rest of the internally regulated alternators.
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Old 26-10-2015, 21:26   #7
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Re: Internal alternator regulator or external

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
If you want plenty of charge quick then an internal regulator is IMHO a joke.
Depends on the age. Newer internal regulators may be set at a higher voltage than older ones, mine has a CV of 14.6V at the batteries.
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Old 27-10-2015, 09:34   #8
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Re: Internal alternator regulator or external

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Originally Posted by conachair View Post
Depends on the age. Newer internal regulators may be set at a higher voltage than older ones, mine has a CV of 14.6V at the batteries.
I have tested an original VP internal regulator (new engine, around 2012, alt about 115 if I remember well) then we employed an external regulator (Sterling in this case). We tested towards a half emptied but otherwise sound/new battery.

In our case the external alternator not only gave initially higher charge but also the battery came to full charge in about half the time against the internal regulator.

I was not aware that there are around internal alt regulators in factory mounted marine engines that would be anything but a remote cousin of an external three or four stage alt regulator.

I am glad you told me I was wrong. I might save some bucks when buying our future inboard.

Cheers,
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Old 27-10-2015, 09:44   #9
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Re: Internal alternator regulator or external

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post

I am glad you told me I was wrong. I might save some bucks when buying our future inboard.

Cheers,
b.
Not that you were wrong, but that Maine Sail's explanation in my link discussed the differences and applications of both.

For many folks, internal regulation may be all they need.

Much of the choice(s) we have in any boating system depends on how we use our boats.

Marina hoppers need different things than anchor outs, for example.

Your boat, your choice.
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Old 27-10-2015, 10:04   #10
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Re: Internal alternator regulator or external

I'll skip all the theory;
I have a Yanmar 30GM and replaced the original alternator with an 80 amp (max I can use with single belt) from DB Electrical ( direct fit replacement).
I added an external Sterling regulator, which brings my battery bank up, from about 60%, in about 50 mins or so. The regulator has a temp sensor to protect things. So far, 3 years ( we live aboard, and mostly anchor out for 5 months per year) and the whole system has been trouble free.
A few of my acquaintances have Balmar set ups, and most have some kind of "issue".
Good luck and let me know if I can help you with it.
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Old 27-10-2015, 10:17   #11
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Re: Internal alternator regulator or external

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
....The "problem" is the Hitachi alternator's built in temperature sensing.

This is NOT present on all the rest of the internally regulated alternators.
I'm not sure you are correct with that statement.

I have a Balmar series 6 hot rated top johny 100 amp alternator with an internal regulator that starts happily at 14.4v and falls quickly to below 14v as the engine heats up to about 65C. I have spoken with Balmar and this is not to protect the alternator which will go up to 105C, but to protect the batteries which it assumes are in the engine compartment.

This internal regulator I believe works like MOST car alternators but it is a useful backup if my external Balmar regulator fails. I have a simple two way switch to go between internal and external.
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Old 27-10-2015, 10:20   #12
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Re: Internal alternator regulator or external

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Not that you were wrong, but that Maine Sail's explanation in my link discussed the differences and applications of both.

For many folks, internal regulation may be all they need.

Much of the choice(s) we have in any boating system depends on how we use our boats.

Marina hoppers need different things than anchor outs, for example.

Your boat, your choice.
Not one of his better (normally excellent) write ups I think. My interpretation was: if your application doesnt require an external regulator and/or you dont fully utilize its features (like programable set points) then you dont need one...OK...I'll buy that.

However, in my experience (admittedly no formal testing) an external makes a big difference over most internals. For example, Ive swaped in a simple internal regulator on my alternators when the external was having a problem. It works, but charge times are much longer and never really seem to get to full SOC.

Also, some of the features of externals do come in quite handy for some applications. Features I use for example: programable set points, automatic paralleling (to drive paralleling solenoids, which works even if the engines are off...handy for solar maintenance of all batteries), dual alternators...
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Old 27-10-2015, 10:21   #13
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Re: Internal alternator regulator or external

Stu,

Thanks so much for these links! Some good reading. Being an EE nothing surprised me.. other than the fact that the Hitachi's regulators are garbage!

Now the question is can I hook up an external regulator to it or do I need to salvage my older Balmer Alternator and swap them?

Geoff.
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Old 27-10-2015, 10:30   #14
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Re: Internal alternator regulator or external

See I wouldn't say Hitachi's regs are garbage, they do exactly what the manufacturer wants, protects the alternator.
I'd bet this temperature cut back adds years to the life of the Alt., and for the majority of people that plug into shore power after the day's sailing it's a good piece of kit.
But, I desire three stage charging, with adjustable set points. I don't know of anybody's internal reg that does that.


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Old 27-10-2015, 10:41   #15
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Re: Internal alternator regulator or external

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Not one of his better (normally excellent) write ups I think. My interpretation was: if your application doesnt require an external regulator and/or you dont fully utilize its features (like programable set points) then you dont need one...OK...I'll buy that.

However, in my experience (admittedly no formal testing) an external makes a big difference over most internals. For example, Ive swaped in a simple internal regulator on my alternators when the external was having a problem. It works, but charge times are much longer and never really seem to get to full SOC.

Also, some of the features of externals do come in quite handy for some applications. Features I use for example: programable set points, automatic paralleling (to drive paralleling solenoids, which works even if the engines are off...handy for solar maintenance of all batteries), dual alternators...
With an external,programmable regulator, you can set up a central control center with solar, wind,and underwater prop generators that feed via the regulator to maintain a set charge level while your using the batteries for various boat functions. If you got the room, can even have a small diesel generator setup so you can bypass the main engine entirely and program it to start when batteries dip to a defined charge level. Makes the batteries a lot happier.
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