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Old 08-01-2018, 23:58   #1
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Need new alternator regulator

I presently have a Balmar MC 612 alternator regulator. It has apparently died.
Looking to replace the 612 and was wondering if anyone had a suggestion for another brand of regulator or should I just buy another 612.
A neighbor in the boat yard suggested a Mastervolt.
Any opinions? The alternator is 100amp, also a Balmar.
Thanks for any input.

Ken
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Old 09-01-2018, 00:44   #2
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Re: Need new alternator regulator

From memory the Mastervolt Alpha is designed for Negative field control, whereas your Balmar I think would be Positive. As such I think some alterations would need to be made to the Alternator.

I can understand the suggestion if the rest of your electrical installation is Mastervolt since then an Alpha regulator will integrate over the Masterbus, which can make configuration and monitoring neat if the system includes Mastershunt and a display, but if you have been happy with the 612, then why not stick with Balmar?
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Old 09-01-2018, 01:11   #3
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Re: Need new alternator regulator

Quote:
then why not stick with Balmar?
I can't speak for the OP, but in my case, I wanted away from Balmar. Too many early deaths, too cumbersome a system to program with the bloody little flashing lights and magnetic switches. Enough to drive one round the bend, it was.

For the OP... I switched to an Ample Power Next Step regulator. Much simpler, does everything that I need, has outlasted the best Balmar I ever had.

Jim
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Old 09-01-2018, 03:11   #4
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Re: Need new alternator regulator

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Adrian.
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Old 09-01-2018, 03:32   #5
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Re: Need new alternator regulator

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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Adrian.
Thank you - Your post reminds me I haven't introduced myself - I will do now
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Old 09-01-2018, 05:44   #6
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Re: Need new alternator regulator

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post

For the OP... I switched to an Ample Power Next Step regulator. Much simpler, does everything that I need, has outlasted the best Balmar I ever had.

Jim


Iíll second the ample power. Weíve got the SAR V3, the predecessor to the NS regulator. Itís easily setup, robust, and just works.
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Old 09-01-2018, 06:01   #7
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Re: Need new alternator regulator

You might find the ARS-5 Regulator a good replacement for the 612. It is less complicated than the 612 and seems to be more robust. Friends of our are on the third 612 while we're still on our original ARS-5 over the same time period.

FWIW...
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Old 09-01-2018, 09:36   #8
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Re: Need new alternator regulator

Thanks, everyone. The units you have suggested have popped up in my searches. I will go back and look more into details.

Ken
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Old 09-01-2018, 10:31   #9
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Re: Need new alternator regulator

I am not a happy Balmar customer. For the prices they charge for their alternators and regulators, I would expect them to be more robust.

From Balmar:

George,
With the ARS-5 being 10 years old it could be the output drive failed in a shorted condition. This, in effect, would put full battery voltage on the field of the alternator driving to full output. This in turn could overheat the alternator to a damaging point. An ARS-5 has an estimated life span of seven years so ten years a a little beyond that. If you would like to send them in for a autopsy we would be glad to do that however the situation I laid out is the most likely cause. Pease let me know if you want to send them in and a give you a return authorization number to use.

Best Regards,
Thomas Pusateri

Seems to me like Balmar has been taking lessons from Apple's laptops and their planned obsolescence. The repair to the alternator was half the price of a new one and it turned out they say the ARS-5 is OK...but for how long?

From what I have learned from this site and others is that Balmar equipment is heat sensitive and if anyone has any suggestions on how to cool the alternator in the engine compartment of a Pearson 36 without adding more holes in the deck, please let me know.
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Old 09-01-2018, 11:04   #10
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Re: Need new alternator regulator

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Originally Posted by George DuBose View Post
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
From what I have learned from this site and others is that Balmar equipment is heat sensitive and if anyone has any suggestions on how to cool the alternator in the engine compartment of a Pearson 36 without adding more holes in the deck, please let me know.
The trick is not to cool the alternator but rather to avoid letting it get hot to begin with. That is done with alternator temperature sensing, which reduces the field current and thus output.

For the OP:

Alternator Regulators - The Differences between ARS-5 and MC-614 Units (scroll UP to see reply #5)
http://forums.catalina.sailboatowner....php?p=1103132

I have an MC-612, been in for 15 years, NOT in the engine compartment. Works just fine.

They don't make the 612 anymore, it's been replaced with the MC-614, which is pretty much the same, but with better temperature sensing by varying the field, rather than I/O to 50%.

You can read the manuals at www.balmar.net
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Old 09-01-2018, 11:14   #11
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Re: Need new alternator regulator

The internal regulator on my 150-amp Iskra alternator was charging my new AGM batteries at too high of a level so I installed a Sterling Power regulator. After a couple of years, it failed, the company sent me a new one and now that one drops off line after about an hour of use (the error code shows no ground yet I've confirmed the grounding is in perfect condition). The batteries need replacing again and the ones I've selected have a tolerance for the higher float voltage that the internal regulator provides. Based on my experience, I'd stay away from the Sterling Regulator - besides, it was difficult to install.

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Old 09-01-2018, 12:08   #12
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Re: Need new alternator regulator

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
You might find the ARS-5 Regulator a good replacement for the 612. It is less complicated than the 612 and seems to be more robust. Friends of our are on the third 612 while we're still on our original ARS-5 over the same time period.

FWIW...
I've gone through 2 of those ars-5 the past 5 years. Just saying !
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Old 09-01-2018, 12:55   #13
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Re: Need new alternator regulator

My 612 working just fine for 12 years, but it is not in engine compartment. I also use the 50% output position quite often to extend belt life (also easy on alternator). Did have to put in new brushes and bearings a few years back (cost $15 for parts at local shop). 100 amp small case Balmar.


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Old 09-01-2018, 14:07   #14
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Re: Need new alternator regulator

I am using ARS-5 Regulator on a Lee Nevill 200 amp. Alternator
No Problem what so ever.
The secret is to install the regulator outside the hot engine room !!!
Cheers
Siggi
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Old 09-01-2018, 14:53   #15
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Re: Need new alternator regulator

Ken, I fried $3,000 of gel batteries, so went looking for another regulator, but virtually all of them, including the brands mentioned above, rely mostly on time for their Acceptance phase, & don't really know the state of charge of the batteries. I eventually ended up with this regulator, being built by a cruiser near Seattle. It:
  • Measures the current *into the battery*, so it knows the state of charge, and when to flip from Acceptance to Float.
  • Uses your existing battery shunt (or adding a shunt is easy if you don't already have one)
  • Monitors & adjusts for the temp of the batteries and the alternator
  • Works with wet, sealed, gel, AGM, & LiFePO4 batteries
  • Runs so cool that it doesn't need a heat sink, yet provides ~30A of field current
  • Works with US & EU (P- or N- type) alternators
  • Works with 12v, 24v, or 48v systems (& others if needed)
  • Costs only about $80 + shipping & $1/temp sensor
It should work fine with your Balmar alternator. The standard hookup is relatively straightforward, but it gets more complex if you want to get in and adjust internal settings (all of which are adjustable via a standard micro-USB connector). It also needs to be mounted in a dry place (ideally, near your batteries, not in the engine room) as it's just a small printed circuit board. Contact Al Thomason if you want more info. And no, I have no financial interest in these regulators, but I do think they're a boon for the cruising community.
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