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Old 20-11-2011, 13:37   #1
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Operating Alternators at Full Load

I recently installed a Victron inverter/charger which puts out around 2.5kW (nominally 3, until you look at the temperture/output chart). My alternator is a Leese-Neville 24 volt 110 amp schoolbus unit which can theoretically put out around the same amount of power -- 2.6kW or so, as long as it's turning a certain RPM.

I experimented last summer and was pleased that I could wash and dry an entire load of clothes while underway and motoring in my washer/dryer which needs 2.3kW, using the inverter. I checked the temperature of the alternator during this experiment and was pleased that it did not rise above 80 or 90 degrees C, which I think is well within its operating parameters.

I have not repeated the experiment because it seemed to me that alternators are not designed to be operated for any period of time at their maximum output.

Is that true, or not? Is the question temperature? If the temps stay within a reasonable limit, is it ok to use them like this? Or not?
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Old 20-11-2011, 13:46   #2
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Re: Operating Alternators at Full Load

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I recently installed a Victron inverter/charger which puts out around 2.5kW (nominally 3, until you look at the temperture/output chart). My alternator is a Leese-Neville 24 volt 110 amp schoolbus unit which can theoretically put out around the same amount of power -- 2.6kW or so, as long as it's turning a certain RPM.

I experimented last summer and was pleased that I could wash and dry an entire load of clothes while underway and motoring in my washer/dryer which needs 2.3kW, using the inverter. I checked the temperature of the alternator during this experiment and was pleased that it did not rise above 80 or 90 degrees C, which I think is well within its operating parameters.

I have not repeated the experiment because it seemed to me that alternators are not designed to be operated for any period of time at their maximum output.

Is that true, or not? Is the question temperature? If the temps stay within a reasonable limit, is it ok to use them like this? Or not?
It is alternator dependent. The new Leece Neville bus alternators are rated at a much higher continuous temp rating than the older LN.

Most of the newer LN bus, Ambulance, Fire truck alts, are rated at 235F continuous. You can go to their web site and get the specs.

80-90 c for an older is at max temp, the same 80-90 on the newer ones is well with in their rating. Temp is also dependent on how fast the alternator is turning, it better be turning above 5k rpm at those temps.

Lloyd
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