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Old 04-06-2014, 08:58   #1
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Regulator for an Alternator?

When we had our boat rewired in Port Townsend, the electrician had both my alternators rebuilt. He had the man that did it leave out the regulators for both. His feelings at the time was that you start up your motor when you leave the harbor and shut it off shortly after that when you put up the sails. We do have an external regulator for the alternator for the "house" bank of batteries that steps down the charge from 14.4 to 13.2 once the batteries are better charges from the previous days drain but nothing for the "start" alternator. His feelings was that there was so little drain on the start battery, the short time the engine would be running would easily put the amps back in it and keep it topped off. If the "house" bank needed more, we could start the generator, plus if the House alternator died we would have a backup alternator in an emergency.
Here in the Malacca Straits off Malaysia, there is so little wind that we had to motor all the way from Phuket to Johor Bahru out side of Singapore running the engine7 to 12 hours each day till we got to the next anchorage.
We pulled into the marina two days ago to find the "start" battery bank fried and with next to no volts left in it. The battery box as well as the batteries were VERY hot. Even heated the floor boards that are over the battery box.
To correct the problem, I need to have a regulator installed in the alternator and get two new batteries before we leave here.
How difficult is it to have a regulator installed in the alternator? Outside my line of knowledge.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:12   #2
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Re: regulator for an alternator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mestrezat View Post
When we had our boat rewired in Port Townsend, the electrician had both my alternators rebuilt. He had the man that did it leave out the regulators for both. His feelings at the time was that you start up your motor when you leave the harbor and shut it off shortly after that when you put up the sails. We do have an external regulator for the alternator for the "house" bank of batteries that steps down the charge from 14.4 to 13.2 once the batteries are better charges from the previous days drain but nothing for the "start" alternator. His feelings was that there was so little drain on the start battery, the short time the engine would be running would easily put the amps back in it and keep it topped off. If the "house" bank needed more, we could start the generator, plus if the House alternator died we would have a backup alternator in an emergency.
Here in the Malacca Straits off Malaysia, there is so little wind that we had to motor all the way from Phuket to Johor Bahru out side of Singapore running the engine7 to 12 hours each day till we got to the next anchorage.
We pulled into the marina two days ago to find the "start" battery bank fried and with next to no volts left in it. The battery box as well as the batteries were VERY hot. Even heated the floor boards that are over the battery box.
To correct the problem, I need to have a regulator installed in the alternator and get two new batteries before we leave here.
How difficult is it to have a regulator installed in the alternator? Outside my line of knowledge.
depends what make of alternator,but most bosch/paris rhone alternators the regulator is incorporated into the brush holder assembly
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:04   #3
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Re: regulator for an alternator?

Good lord that is some of the most faulty thinking and reasoning by your "electrician". Really, really bad. I can't believe that guy is in business. He, and you, never thought you would run your engine more than a few minutes? And during a rebuild, he and you purposefully left out an inexpensive regulator?

OK. So why not just install an external regulator on it? All you need to do is solder a wire onto the field brush and bring it out of the case. Like Atoll said, putting in an internal regulator depends on the alternator. For a Valeo, it is a dead simple drop in, but for others, it requires a bit of work.

Your other alternative is to just connect a voltage sensitive relay between the house and start banks (commonly called a "combiner) and remove the alternator from the start bank. This will keep both banks charged from the externally regulated alternator. Yandina and Blue Seas are popular brands of these.

Still shaking my head at your "electrician's" reasoning and logic…

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Old 04-06-2014, 10:15   #4
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Re: regulator for an alternator?

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Good lord that is some of the most faulty thinking and reasoning by your "electrician". Really, really bad. I can't believe that guy is in business. He, and you, never thought you would run your engine more than a few minutes? And during a rebuild, he and you purposefully left out an inexpensive regulator?

OK. So why not just install an external regulator on it? All you need to do is solder a wire onto the field brush and bring it out of the case. Like Atoll said, putting in an internal regulator depends on the alternator. For a Valeo, it is a dead simple drop in, but for others, it requires a bit of work.

Your other alternative is to just connect a voltage sensitive relay between the house and start banks (commonly called a "combiner) and remove the alternator from the start bank. This will keep both banks charged from the externally regulated alternator. Yandina and Blue Seas are popular brands of these.

Still shaking my head at your "electrician's" reasoning and logic…

Mark
I agree GOOD LORD what faulty thinking.
Install an external regulator.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:18   #5
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Re: regulator for an alternator?

Or you could use the Sterling system and use your present alternators with internal regulators.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:18   #6
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Re: regulator for an alternator?

Even where you are there must be automotive alternator shops. Take them in and ask them to check the alternators out for you, and install regulators. Not so hard, less than the cost of new alternators, and you'll be assured they work. You really don't NEED external regulation, but if you'd like, the Balmar MC-614 is the very best one, and I rarely use best in anything related to boating.

Musings Regarding External Regulation - SailboatOwners.com
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:18   #7
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Re: regulator for an alternator?

As he mentioned, his present alternators do not have internal regulators.

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Old 04-06-2014, 10:21   #8
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Re: regulator for an alternator?

yes, Mark, I understand, The shop could install them, no?
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:22   #9
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There are an incredible number of complete morons masquerading as marine electricians. You need an external regulator - preferably a 3 stage regulator. If whoever you are talking to does not IMMEDIATELY understand what that means then RUN - don't walk - to someone who does understand. Absolutely do not go back to an internal regulator.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:24   #10
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Re: regulator for an alternator?

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Originally Posted by bobofthenorth View Post
There are an incredible number of complete morons masquerading as marine electricians. You need an external regulator - preferably a 3 stage regulator. If whoever you are talking to does not IMMEDIATELY understand what that means then RUN - don't walk - to someone who does understand. Absolutely do not go back to an internal regulator.
Why? Did you read the link I provided? If he'd had even an internal regulator, he wouldn't have cooked his batteries.
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:47   #11

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Re: Regulator for an Alternator?

If you have no regulator at all, and the alternators are turning at any reasonable speed in any reasonable configuration, you will be putting at least 17 volts into your 12 volt system, and you will find light bulbs and electronics (ALL of your electronics) burning out in short order. None of it is designed for unregulated voltage.

Installing the proper internal regulator in an alternator probably will involve cutting whatever new wiring your butcher installed, and then having a $50-100 "block" installed, which is the internal regulator. You may need to have that shipped in at more cost. So, maybe a $50 job with a scrap part if it is around, maybe a $200 part from an urban shop with a special order new part. (And the regulator should be new, as opposed to unknown used condition.)

At that point probably cheaper and simpler to make sure a proper external marine (deep cycle) regulator is used. And they're certainly better at maintaining a deep cycle marine battery bank.
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:14   #12
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Re: Regulator for an Alternator?

Just take your starter alternator to the local auto electric shop and have them give you a simple regulator--either external or internal. It shouldn't cost more than $50.
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:56   #13
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Re: Regulator for an Alternator?

These work very well.
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Old 04-06-2014, 13:15   #14
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Re: Regulator for an Alternator?

Depending upon what make and size of alternator you have/need (and you don't need much if it's dedicated to your start battery), you might be able to purchase a used or remanufactured internally regulated alternator for not much money (certainly less than a three step external regulator). I think an external regulator is overkill for a dedicated start battery (equivalent usage to your car).
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Old 04-06-2014, 14:08   #15
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Re: regulator for an alternator?

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
yes, Mark, I understand, The shop could install them, no?
My fault for not using the quote function - I was responding to Robert's post, not yours (check the time stamp on our posts!). Your post made perfect sense.

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