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Old 01-02-2013, 17:08   #1
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Is my new alternator working?

I just installed a Balmar 100amp alternator (6 series). We are currently on the hard in Phuket so the house & 2 starter batteries are all at 100% as we are plugged in. I turned off the charger for a few hours, rigged up water for the engine and started the motor. The alternator warning light, like with the original failed alternator, still illuminated. I have checked and renewed the connections between the new alternator and our xantrex external regulator but found nothing wrong. I followed the Balmar instructions on bypassing the internal regulator. However I have not started the engine again as the yard manager wants to reinforce the boat supports before I do. (Got into a bit of trouble over not telling him my plans to run the engine)

My question is - if the batteries are full will the battery light remain on? I think I saw about a 3 amp increase in charging power when I had the engine running. Should I disconnect the charger to run the batteries down to say 80% before I run the engine again?
Thanks, Brain's Trust.
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Old 01-02-2013, 17:24   #2
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Re: Is my new alternator working?

In short, no! Something isn't right. Need more information. Are you sure the alternator output is hooked up to one or more of the batteries? That is the single biggest problem you might have that would actually fry the alternator--double check to make sure alternator output is going to the batteries before you run. Once the alternator starts putting out juice the alternator light on the instrument panel should go out, and in most cases you will see at least 15 or 20 amps or more going into the batteries briefly even if the batteries are near full charge. Once the voltage rises, which happens fast if the batteries are near full charge, the amperage will drop off, but 3 amps is very low if you have anything at all turned on or batteries that have been sitting for any length of time.
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Old 04-02-2013, 17:31   #3
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Re: Is my new alternator working?

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
In short, no! Something isn't right. Need more information. Are you sure the alternator output is hooked up to one or more of the batteries? That is the single biggest problem you might have that would actually fry the alternator--double check to make sure alternator output is going to the batteries before you run. Once the alternator starts putting out juice the alternator light on the instrument panel should go out, and in most cases you will see at least 15 or 20 amps or more going into the batteries briefly even if the batteries are near full charge. Once the voltage rises, which happens fast if the batteries are near full charge, the amperage will drop off, but 3 amps is very low if you have anything at all turned on or batteries that have been sitting for any length of time.
Thanks for your advice. Yes, I am sure it is connected to the starter battery which is right next to the engine. I have checked all connections and redone the excitation wire from the external regulator. I did notice that the Xantrex ext reg directions say to connect the duplex blue & white wires to the alternator. As far as I remember, there is only a blue wire going to the alternator. I will have a look early tomorrow as it is now too damm hot in Thailand after 9 am to do any engine work.
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Old 04-02-2013, 23:19   #4
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Re: Is my new alternator working?

If you have a ford plug in the back of the alternator, this wiring diagram may help

Alternator Regulator Wiring Diagrams (all three)
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:18   #5
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Re: Is my new alternator working?

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
If you have a ford plug in the back of the alternator, this wiring diagram may help

Alternator Regulator Wiring Diagrams (all three)
Sorry Stu the link does not work.
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:13   #6
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Re: Is my new alternator working?

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Originally Posted by svstrider View Post
Sorry Stu the link does not work.
Try again. Works for me.
Alternator Regulator Wiring Diagrams (all three)

http :// c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4548.0.html
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:53   #7
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Re: Is my new alternator working?

Quote:
Originally Posted by svstrider View Post
Thanks for your advice. Yes, I am sure it is connected to the starter battery which is right next to the engine. I have checked all connections and redone the excitation wire from the external regulator. I did notice that the Xantrex ext reg directions say to connect the duplex blue & white wires to the alternator. As far as I remember, there is only a blue wire going to the alternator. I will have a look early tomorrow as it is now too damm hot in Thailand after 9 am to do any engine work.
#1 Why is it directly connected to a start battery? Is this alt intended for just charging a starting battery? A 100A alt for a battery bank that will usually take less than a few amps seems a bit of overkill.

#2 The white wire is the stator or AC tap wire intended for driving an alternator sensed tachometer. We don't know what engine you have and you may not have an alt sensed tach. When installing aftermarket alternators, on Yanmar's for example, most don't have the terminal to drive the "dash light"...

#3 You saw 3A and this would indicate that the alt is working. What was the voltage when you saw the 3A? If the batteries are full, and not accepting much current, you won't see much in the way of current output . You likely missed the brief in-rush of current before it settled back to the 3A....

#4 Which regulator? Where is the "voltage sense wire" wired to?

#5 The blue wire is your field wire for the alternator. Without this connected it will not work at all.

#6 Be sure your alternator has the same size neg wire as the positive wire you are using for the alts B+ or output. So, if you are running a 2GA positive wire then you also need a 2GA negative wire.
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:05   #8
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Re: Is my new alternator working?

Thanks Maine sail
Each engine alternator is connected to a Voltage sensitive relay that enables the starter battery to be charged then the current goes to the house bank. So I was probably wrong saying that the new alternator was directly connected to the starter battery.
The engine is a Yanmar 3GM30 so does not have an electronic tacho.

Yes the house and starter batteries are at 13.4 V as we are plugged into power on the hardstand.

"Which regulator? Where is the "voltage sense wire" wired to?"
Xantrex XAR digital alternator regulator. The regulator is connected to the blue external Field wire of the Balmar alternator.

The negative wire is the same diameter as the red positive wire.

What do you think about disconnecting from shore power and run batteries down to 80% and then try running alternator again?

PS I really appreciate your website.
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:26   #9
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Re: Is my new alternator working?

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Originally Posted by svstrider View Post
Thanks Maine sail
Each engine alternator is connected to a Voltage sensitive relay that enables the starter battery to be charged then the current goes to the house bank. So I was probably wrong saying that the new alternator was directly connected to the starter battery.
The engine is a Yanmar 3GM30 so does not have an electronic tacho.

Who's voltage sensitive relay, model/brand? How big in Ah's is the house bank?

Running to a smaller start battery and then onto a larger house bank via a VSR can very often create relay cycling issues and cause more high amp use on the relay than is necessary.. There is NO "charging the start bank first" with a VSR. This is a myth started by some companies to sell their product.

A start battery comes up to combine voltage within seconds of the alternator being turned on. It then combines with the house bank. Even the .5Ah you took out by starting the engine has yet to go back into the bank by the time it combines.

The most reliable way of wiring most VSR's is to wire to the largest bank first, prevents relay cycling, then have it combine with a start bank.

Some VSR makers have built in delays to try and minimize relay cycling but with large enough house banks the 30 or so second delay may not be enough to bring the voltage of a large house bank into combine range so it un-combines and you start the process all over..
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