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Old 10-09-2017, 12:29   #91
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Re: New Balmar Alternator Charging Question

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So, has anyone tried the fan/blower cooling the alternator to see if that works or not?
I have installed a blower with ducting to the back of the alternator and yes, it works. I have only done a short test run so far so I can't tell how well it works yet.
My 200 Ah Balmar is de-rated to 120 A and under normal circumstances, with no extra cooling, will limit to about 100A at temperatures I am comfortable with (90C at frame). IMHO, if the temperature sensor failed and the temperature based limiting is not available, it will more than likely survive without harm.
I expect cooling to allow 120A continuous (where it is limited to) and temperatures of 80C or possibly even lower.
As a side comment, in another thread I speculated about temperatures on the diode pack. I can now state that diode pack temperatures in my setup run up to 30C higher than the alternator frame. AFAIK, the diodes are rated at 190C junction temperature and I am guessing that means the diode pack will toast above about 150C measured at the heat sink but I am not willing to put that to a test.
I have heard of people running the alternator at a 110C temperature limit (at the frame). That is getting pretty darn close to maximum temperatures for the diodes.
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Old 10-09-2017, 12:32   #92
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Re: New Balmar Alternator Charging Question

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>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
And then you have the problem of "smart" regulators going into float mode too early, something which arguably could do more harm than potentially "overcharging" at 14.4V.
Chargers yes. Regulators are programmable.
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Old 10-09-2017, 12:39   #93
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Re: New Balmar Alternator Charging Question

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>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So hardly a state-of-the-art engine charging system, but every time I consider upgrading to a larger, expensive alt. with ext. regulation & read these threads I start wondering why. Especially when I could simply take my two alts. down to a local alt. shop, have them checked out/rebuilt as necessary, and then purchase two more identical ones to have as spares. Given the minimal time saved during bulk charging, it doesn't seem worth the add'l cost. I should add, btw, that I have a genset that runs a 3-stage batt. charger when not motoring.

Am I missing something? Maybe I need to give Third Day a call??
You're not missing anything. Based on how you use your boat, you know your equipment (engine & genset) and how it works, and it works for you.

Those are the critical issues to allow anyone to make the choices based on the options available. This is NOT one size fits all stuff.
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Old 10-09-2017, 12:43   #94
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Re: New Balmar Alternator Charging Question

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Chargers yes. Regulators are programmable.
I've read that some chargers are programmable as well. I follow a64's suggestion to turn on/off to get my charger to go back into absorption mode for awhile, although it appears my charger might a bit "smarter" than many. It also has its own amp counter display which can be helpful (if it reads correctly that is). I can also cross-check amps & voltage off my Victron BM. A Smartgauge would be a helpful addition when I'm off the dock more.
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Old 10-09-2017, 12:45   #95
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Re: New Balmar Alternator Charging Question

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You're not missing anything. Based on how you use your boat, you know your equipment (engine & genset) and how it works, and it works for you.

Those are the critical issues to allow anyone to make the choices based on the options available. This is NOT one size fits all stuff.
Yes, very good point worth emphasizing Stu. When you're away from the dock full-time then the needs & perspective change I'm sure.
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Old 10-09-2017, 13:01   #96
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Re: New Balmar Alternator Charging Question

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This is NOT one size fits all stuff.
Ding ding ding....give that man a cigar, or in todays world were promoting a Tabaco product will get you and your company cizcotted and attacked on twitter, better yet give him a gluten free non-GMO free range dried arugula crisp. (Fair Trade of course)

That's what in some ways makes the cruising lifestyle to cool but on the flip side makes it so hard to figure out, especially until you have been out cruising yourself and found out what really works for YOU and YOUR boat set-up. Two people can be equally passionate and both RIGHT about two totally different approaches to setting up and running a cruising boat. The only "wrong way" is one that you are not happy with in the end after spending way too much cruising kitty money to install and set-up. The best way to outfit a cruising boat is after a 2-3yr cruise...but you see the paradox of that position. So here we all are trying to learn from us "experts" who really only know what "we like".

In my opinion, if you are the "average cruiser" who spends the vast majority of your time at anchor rather than on a passage then the best way to power your boat and keep your batteries full is via Solar. You will get power only as an incidential added benefit when you are motoring into/out of the anchorage or when the wind is coming from any direction that would cause you to not be on an easy beam reach. AKA almost everywhere in the Sea of Cortez...ahem...

I've talked quite a few cruisers out of 160/180A alternators with serpentine conversion kits after getting to know them and their needs better and down to what I personally think is the perfect size alternator for the average cruising boat, a 100A with an external regulator with temp sensing/protection. I know I know...I do sell larger alternators also, but only because the client is always right, even when he's wrong...

((Triggering note: I did not have a typo on the word "Cizbotted". The use of the word "Boycott" I have been told is part of the Hetero-patriarchy-phallic aggressive culture that has ruined the Country and World. So little old me down here in La Paz, Mexico is trying to do my part to save the world and keep the snowflakes from melting in the MMGW heat of oppression))
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Old 10-09-2017, 13:14   #97
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Re: New Balmar Alternator Charging Question

I love these Third Day posts. They're as entertaining as they are instructive. And the thread topic doesn't seem to matter! I'm afraid I'm gonna have to buy an alternator, refrig, watermaker, or something from the guy, whether I need it or not!
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Old 10-09-2017, 13:49   #98
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Re: New Balmar Alternator Charging Question

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So, has anyone tried the fan/blower cooling the alternator to see if that works or not?
My engine bay gets hot as its quite heavily sound proofed. Motor still runs on the cool side. 3GM30F
I've gone from a hitachi 55A to Delco 10SI 120A modded with 12SI fan with no external cooling. Both IR'd & got hot, the 10SI particularly.

So I tried a Bosch 115A with factory external air duct and it runs cool as a cucumber for the same demand as the two above. I have yet to turn on the 12v fan to force air in as haven't needed to. (just sucking) The bosch is externally regged
but is putting out twice what the hitachi did. The hitachi and 10si ate belts as well.
The bosch is good on belts, but have yet to run with a depleted bank. Also a joy to hook up external regulation as opposed others.
Still experimenting.
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Old 10-09-2017, 14:42   #99
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Re: New Balmar Alternator Charging Question

lateral, is there a Bosch that is a bolt-on ready for the 3gm30f?
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Old 10-09-2017, 14:58   #100
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Re: New Balmar Alternator Charging Question

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lateral, is there a Bosch that is a bolt-on ready for the 3gm30f?
Not Quite. You need to remove 3mm off the inside of the rear leg. ( just the rounded bossed part- easy peasy) and put a couple of washers on the thru bolt. I did mine with a 1mm cutoff blade.
Its a Bosch off a Porsche 944. Comes with a factory air duct.
A pleasure to work on and cost $50 on fleabay.
The regulator is part of the brush assembly & is external. You can buy a brush assembly that is not regulated with spade terminals for $15. There is an earlier 90A version, I went with the 115A.
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Old 10-09-2017, 15:09   #101
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Re: New Balmar Alternator Charging Question

Thanks JD1 and lateral for your responses.
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Old 10-09-2017, 15:17   #102
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Re: New Balmar Alternator Charging Question

lateral, thanks for the details. Much appreciated.
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Old 10-09-2017, 16:44   #103
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New Balmar Alternator Charging Question

There are often two screw holes in an alternator frame to mount the temp sensor. If you look at alternator from the front, the port or left side of the alternator is the side that gets the hottest and maybe is where you ought to mount the temp sensor.
On my 4JHE that is the engine side and the alt has to be almost removed to put the mount screw in.

As I was working still while prepping the boat, I had way more money to spend than we do now that we are no longer working and cruising, so I beefed all three charge sources up, a generator with two AC chargers totaling 185 amps, a kilowatt of Solar and the alternator of course.
For me, the alternator is least important, most of my power comes from Solar and topped up with generator.
It seems when we motor, we motor for many hours at a time, so a big alternator just doesn't do much for us.
However the Balmar 614 lets me set voltages exactly correct for my battery chemistry and the serpentine belt seem like it will last for many years, and the Mark Grasser alternator you can tell is very well put together.
I don't think it money wasted, however I will buy a much smaller than 165 amp for my spare.
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Old 10-09-2017, 23:19   #104
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Re: New Balmar Alternator Charging Question

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There are often two screw holes in an alternator frame to mount the temp sensor. If you look at alternator from the front, the port or left side of the alternator is the side that gets the hottest and maybe is where you ought to mount the temp sensor.
On my 4JHE that is the engine side and the alt has to be almost removed to put the mount screw in.

As I was working still while prepping the boat, I had way more money to spend than we do now that we are no longer working and cruising, so I beefed all three charge sources up, a generator with two AC chargers totaling 185 amps, a kilowatt of Solar and the alternator of course.
For me, the alternator is least important, most of my power comes from Solar and topped up with generator.
It seems when we motor, we motor for many hours at a time, so a big alternator just doesn't do much for us.
However the Balmar 614 lets me set voltages exactly correct for my battery chemistry and the serpentine belt seem like it will last for many years, and the Mark Grasser alternator you can tell is very well put together.
I don't think it money wasted, however I will buy a much smaller than 165 amp for my spare.
Its true that solar has changed the importance of high output alternators in the last 20 or so years. Before almost every cruising boat was equipped with solar panel a high output alternator was much more important. However LFP batteries may be changing that back again.
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Old 10-09-2017, 23:41   #105
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Re: New Balmar Alternator Charging Question

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I think Maine Sail's number crunching examples in an earlier post above also demonstrate why keeping this perspective is important. Fwiw, my boat came to me with two internally regulated "dumb" engine alts., a 50A charging the 8D 255AH start battery (I know, overkill for a 80hp engine), and a second 50A charging the two 8D house batts (510AH) (I know, probably too small). Well, these alts. may not be so "dumb" since they put out 14.4V all the time, which Lifeline has told me is fine for bulk & absorption, and will likely do minimal harm on float. My engine room is also cramped & hot, something that even with my blower I'm not sure I could do much about.

So hardly a state-of-the-art engine charging system, but every time I consider upgrading to a larger, expensive alt. with ext. regulation & read these threads I start wondering why. Especially when I could simply take my two alts. down to a local alt. shop, have them checked out/rebuilt as necessary, and then purchase two more identical ones to have as spares. Given the minimal time saved during bulk charging, it doesn't seem worth the add'l cost. I should add, btw, that I have a genset that runs a 3-stage batt. charger when not motoring.

Am I missing something? Maybe I need to give Third Day a call??
From my experience you are missing nothing.
If the smart set up charged the way they are meant in order to take advantage of the charging perimeters then that would be different.
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