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Old 21-06-2016, 08:19   #1
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New Multi-stage regulator

So my old Hehr Powerline voltage regulator packed it in on me and I decided to upgrade to a multi-stage regulator.
I took the old 150A Hehr alternator in and had it rebuilt and purchased a Balmar ARS-5 regulator to go with it.
When I installed the two units, I was very careful to wire the installation just as the old one had been wired.
The odd thing is, now my ammeter no longer works. I've taken it out and went through all the connection, including re-soldering to make sure they are all good.
When I switch the key on, there is no reaction from the ammeter (stays at 0) and when I start the engine, the needle dives below 0 as far as it can go.
The alternator is charging.
I've tried reversing the wires but the symptoms stay the same.
I'm confused... So I guess my question is, is there something different about how the ARS-5 gets wired to the ammeter?
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Old 21-06-2016, 17:45   #2
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Re: New Multi-stage regulator

No electricians around?

Anyway, I got it going. That is, the ammeter now shows what the alternator is pumping out.
However, where I used to be able to control the output, the potentiometer is not potentiatin'. Oh well, at least I can see what the alternator is alternatin'

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Old 21-06-2016, 20:02   #3
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Re: New Multi-stage regulator

your regulator shouldn't be connected to an ammeter at all. an ammeter shunt may be on the pos charge line downstream of the alt. with wires going to a gauge. but they are totally independent.
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Old 21-06-2016, 20:20   #4
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Re: New Multi-stage regulator

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Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
your regulator shouldn't be connected to an ammeter at all. an ammeter shunt may be on the pos charge line downstream of the alt. with wires going to a gauge. but they are totally independent.
That's right, there is a shunt on the + line from alt to bat and off that shunt the wires lead to the ammeter. That's not where the problem lies. The set up for the ammeter is such (and this is the part that I don't fully understand) that from the field wire between the alt and reg and from the ignition wire between ign and reg there are two wires that go to a potentiometer that controls the ammeter. I've never seen anything like this before but it was kind of cool. I had control, via the potentiometer over the amperage the alternator would send to the batteries. I have the ammeter working now but don't have the potentiometer working.
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Old 21-06-2016, 20:45   #5
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Re: New Multi-stage regulator

Is the potentiometer an AutoMac?
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Old 21-06-2016, 21:19   #6
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Re: New Multi-stage regulator

No it's an Ohmite.
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Old 21-06-2016, 21:47   #7
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Re: New Multi-stage regulator

Ok I think I've got it all going now. My ignition source wasn't giving enough voltage. Ran a new wire from the ignition switch to the ign. wire @ the reg. Now the potentiometer/ammeter combo works as it should.

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Old 23-06-2016, 02:20   #8
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Re: New Multi-stage regulator

So you buy an automatic regulator, then over-ride it?
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Old 23-06-2016, 08:35   #9
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Re: New Multi-stage regulator

.the water maker we need all the power we can generate. Under normal running conditions, no
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Old 25-06-2016, 00:53   #10
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Re: New Multi-stage regulator

Your regulator should be able to adjust the field to maintain constant voltage whether the water maker is running or not. That is what it is for. Lose the pot and let the reg do its job.
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Old 25-06-2016, 09:51   #11
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Re: New Multi-stage regulator

I see that the Powerline reg has a pot as design feature. I believe this is to compensate for its lack of programmability, i.e. You can change the voltage set point depending on your battery type and distance from the alternator. Even so, this type of feature should be regarded as a set and forget feature. The reg should be able to maintain whatever voltage you set it at. If it can't, either your alt is undersized or your batteries need charging. Cranking up the pot won't help if your field is maxed out.
The Balmar regs are programmable, and you can choose the bat type, as well as being able to tweak voltage set points. These set points should depend only on your bat type and possibly the distance from the alt, and have nothing to do with whether your waterrmaker is running. With a properly installed sense wire you should not need to tweak the set points. The reg is designed to increase field output it voltage falls below the target. If your alternator can't keep up, the pot won't help. Powerline alts seem big enough, though. Don't subvert your reg. It'll keep your bats safer.
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Old 25-06-2016, 10:44   #12
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Re: New Multi-stage regulator

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Don't subvert your reg. It'll keep your bats safer.
Yes I understand what you're saying but I have been through the entire charging system and can find nothing wrong (beyond that failed powerline regulator), yet I still have an issue with charging while making water.
Last night I started the engine at about 6:45, then started the water maker and was up to operating pressure by 7:00.
House battery voltage was @ 13.5v when I started the water maker and down to 12.9 with in an hour. The Balmar was giving me 70 amps.
So I flipped the switch on the pot and put the alt to 110 amps. We were done making water at 9:15 and the house batteries were at about 14.5v.
After shutting down the water maker, I switch the pot off and ran the engine for another hour until we were fully charged.
So that's one instance where it is nice to have that option of flipping a switch to override, however if I were only travelling somewhere under engine power, I would leave the switch off and let the reg do it's thing.
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Old 25-06-2016, 16:13   #13
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Re: New Multi-stage regulator

I'd make sure there are no naked flames near your batteries! BOOM!
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Old 25-06-2016, 18:06   #14
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Re: New Multi-stage regulator

So you never charge your batteries or you just don't have them properly vented?
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Old 26-06-2016, 00:08   #15
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Re: New Multi-stage regulator

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House battery voltage was @ 13.5v when I started the water maker and down to 12.9 with in an hour.
i can't help but wonder what your volts/amps were at the 15 min mark when your watermaker reached full pressure. This should be your baseline. The fact that your bats were at 13.5 when you started the watermaker also shows that your bats weren't fully charged. Frankly i am surprised that the Balmar was not running at full field. Perhaps the field is throttled back? That's a Balmar feature, but only if you set it that way. ('Amp manager' in my Balmar 612 reg - may be called something else in your newer model.)
The reasonable experiment to run is to repeat everything in terms of time and charge level, ignoring voltage levels in between.

Regardless ... It sounds like you have a handle on your setup. But as you say, "If it ain't broke..."

Fair winds,
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