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Old 29-11-2015, 18:35   #1
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Cool Recommend External Voltage Regulator

Can anyone recommend an external voltage regulator- one that they have had good experience with-- i have AGM batteries and a Powerline 120 amp alternator that needs to have an external regulator. Thanks
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Old 29-11-2015, 19:27   #2
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Re: Recommend External Voltage Regulator

Sterling regulators are popular with many here.

I've run Ample Power (Next Step) regulators for many years and been pleased with them and their support.
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Old 29-11-2015, 21:15   #3
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Re: Recommend External Voltage Regulator

We have been running balmar regulators for more than 18 years and are very pleased with them. We purchased a spare in 2003 and still carrying it as a spare and we are full time cruisers. Meaning we are still running the ARS-4 for 12 years.

Just my 2 cents worth

Chuck



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Old 29-11-2015, 22:28   #4
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Re: Recommend External Voltage Regulator

balmar
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Old 30-11-2015, 05:05   #5
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Re: Recommend External Voltage Regulator

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Originally Posted by chouliha View Post
We have been running balmar regulators for more than 18 years and are very pleased with them. We purchased a spare in 2003 and still carrying it as a spare and we are full time cruisers. Meaning we are still running the ARS-4 for 12 years.

Just my 2 cents worth

Chuck



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My first Next Step was in service from 2000 until 2013....not bad, but of course it failed while in a remote location. Now I carry a spare too. Ample Power was nice enough to give me a credit for the old failed regulator...so I bought two. I have one installed on each alternator (twin engine) for redundancy.

Come to think of it, Ive had good experience with Balmar too, a lot of charter boats Ive run have had them.

OP: lesson learned: the major brands a very reliable, but failure can be a major PITA, regardless of brand you choose, buy a spare.
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Old 30-11-2015, 08:25   #6
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Re: Recommend External Voltage Regulator

Ours is a Balmar MC-614. Excellent! Had an MC-612 before that.
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Old 30-11-2015, 09:06   #7
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Re: Recommend External Voltage Regulator

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Originally Posted by Madehn View Post
Can anyone recommend an external voltage regulator- one that they have had good experience with-- i have AGM batteries and a Powerline 120 amp alternator that needs to have an external regulator. Thanks
Madehn,

I agree with the other responders re: Balmar.

I've been using Balmar voltage regulators for ~25+ years with great success. I had 2 fail over that period (on different boats at different times) and both times the company either replaced or offered a substantial discount on their latest version. [The 2nd failed unit was several years out of warranty...]

The only thing I don't like about Balmar regulators is they are a bit fiddly to program, but once you get the hang of it it isn't so bad... [Read the online manual...]

I mark-up a copy of the manual with the parameters I chose for future reference.

I also keep a pre-programmed spare mounted next to the active unit so in the event of failure I just have to switch the wires over to the back-up unit [with the engine off...] to get up and running [charging] again in short order.

Also, they seem to last longer if you can mount them in a cooler environment than the engine room... [This is subjective from personal experience...] That may also provide you better comfort while programming/tweaking/observing the readouts...

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 30-11-2015, 09:18   #8
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Re: Recommend External Voltage Regulator

Also a Balmar fan with the same reservations as previously noted about a steep programing learning curve. Very helpful and patient tech service. Having said that, I had 2 612's fail over the period of about 8 years. My current 614 seemingly was dropping out of bulk charge too early and Tom at Balmar gave me great direction on what settings to change. I strongly recommend that whatever you get you add a temperature probe which will sense too high a heat and kick back the alternator output accordingly.
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Old 30-11-2015, 09:20   #9
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Re: Recommend External Voltage Regulator

Balmar are very good I believe, but very expensive, I do not think they are worth the expense myself, I went with one from Mark Grasser which is I believe a reworked Sterling one, and at that price I can carry a spare if I chose to.
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Old 30-11-2015, 13:03   #10
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Re: Recommend External Voltage Regulator

Just a question ? Does anyone know if you can use an external regulator with a enternal regulated alt 120 amp ? Thanks sailing Santa
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Old 30-11-2015, 15:28   #11
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Re: Recommend External Voltage Regulator

We are using the Xantrex (XAR) external regulator, for the past 10 years in play with a marinized Delco Alternator. We have not had any issues and I believe this is the unit that the Balmar unit is based on.
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Old 30-11-2015, 15:33   #12
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Re: Recommend External Voltage Regulator

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Just a question ? Does anyone know if you can use an external regulator with a enternal regulated alt 120 amp ? Thanks sailing Santa
Ah, you mean "internally" regulated...had to read that a few times.

The alternator will require minor modification to by pass the internal regulator, but "yes". Some have selectable internal/external regulation so require no mods. Great for a backup option too.

Sterling makes alternator driven battery chargers which will work with an internally regulated alternator. Ive never used them, but its an interesting concept. I think there are members here who have them.
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Old 30-11-2015, 17:04   #13
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Re: Recommend External Voltage Regulator

Balmar too. I followed the install notes and extended the wires so it lives on my nav station wall. Easy to see, etc and cooler than the engine room.
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Old 01-12-2015, 07:31   #14
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Re: Recommend External Voltage Regulator

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Originally Posted by Sailingsanta View Post
Just a question ? Does anyone know if you can use an external regulator with a enternal regulated alt 120 amp ? Thanks sailing Santa

We are doing just that. Using a stock 80 amp Yanmar alternator we had a alternator guy in La Paz, Mexico convert it to an external regulator. It has worked perfectly since we did that.

I also agree using a temperature probe attached to the alternator will insure the unit does not cook itself to death. But when it's really hot out (think Sea of Cortez in the summer) it starts to cut back within just a few minutes of run time. Adding a computer fan blowing on the alternator as many of our friends have done seems like an excellent idea. Our regulator is located outside of the engine room.

In addition Balmar after service care has been 5 stars. Always helpful, prompt email replies and excellent tech support. For us out there with limited to zero chance of buying a new one means a lot to us.

Good Luck in your choice

Chuck
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Old 01-12-2015, 07:51   #15
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Re: Recommend External Voltage Regulator

Sterling seem to have an alternator-to-battery charger which eliminates the need for an alternator regulator completely.

This seems to be a great solution but I don't know enough to offer valid advice on this. To do away with the need for electricians to fiddle with problematic regulators seems highly desirable - even if it meant carrying a spare unit.


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