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Old 14-12-2011, 11:46   #16
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Pine Island, FL
Boat: Crowther Spindrift 38
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Re: Smart Charger for Balmar Alternator

Just a quick note that may help someone out there. My Balmar ARS-4 voltage regulator failed recently. I was carrying a Balmar MC-612 regulator as a spare which is also defective (used, but it was operating when stowed in my parts bin). I have a twin-engine catamaran so I was able to switch out to the good ARS-4 regulator which is working fine. Still short one voltage regulator, I bought a single stage Ford external regulator, model F540E-1, here in Rio Dulce, Guatemala for 75 Q (about $10) and took it back to the boat expected to have to do a lot of wiring changes but was happily surprised to learn that the main, 4-wire Balmar harness plug is a Ford connector with the correct spacing between the terminals. All that I had to do was cut the black ground wire on the Balmar harness, crimp on a ring terminal and ground it using the bulkhead mounting screw. So far, I haven't bothered to hook up the (I) terminal that would have received the black ground wire and which is provided for an indicator light on the Ford models using this regulator.

The regulator is set for 14.2 volts and seems to be working just fine--not optimal since it is single stage, but cheap and available. A little shopping on the web will reveal several heavy duty models of this same regulator if your alternator(s) is/are greater than the 90 amps that this stock unit is rated for.

Given my experience with the Balmar regulators, $10 seems like a cheap insurance policy. Today I ordered two Sterling Power 4-stage regulators for less money than one Balmar regulator. I will post my experiences on the forum to let everyone know how they work out but rest assured, there will be spare $10 Ford voltage regulators on board just in case. As far as the shortcomings of a single stage regulator, the boat is equipped with 550 watts of solar using a three stage Trace charge controller and an a/c powered 50-amp Freedom Heart inverter/charger so topping off is usually not a concern.

Sailing often into the sunset...
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Old 29-01-2015, 08:18   #17
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Re: Smart Charger for Balmar Alternator

funny thing on the way to charging my the local commercial boat show here in seattle, about 10 yrs ago, i listened to the balmar speil, and bought the hype! purchased one of their regulators for my 130 amp leece-neville alternator! we go up into northern bc every summer, and i kept a close eye on the way it charged...everytime i started the engine, it charged different! when we got home in sept, i called them and talked to the guy that designed most of their stuff, faxed my records to him...after a lengthy conversation on the fone, he sent me a new regulator! that continued for 5 yrs! [they sent me a new one every fall] in my frustration, i made a call to the 'ample' company, [in seattle] asked them the diff between theirs and balmar! answer was...'ours works!' and works, and works, etc..after lots of research, i bought the ample power "V3" [latest model 5 yrs ago] and it works, and works! there`s 3 dip switches to set the batt type, and that`s it! hav`nt touched it in 5 yrs! [still have the 'new' balmar 612 reg i keep for a spare] have some other ample power equipment that has worked for 20 yrs!...clyde

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Old 30-01-2015, 00:32   #18
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Re: Smart Charger for Balmar Alternator

why would you leave a fridge running for 6 months while off the boat?...

you need more solar to run fridge, and that is on the sunny days. you are screwed if weeks of bad weather. see point #1

if the batteries were reharged a day after droping to 10.5 the would be ok. sounds like they have been sitting for months dead. the worst thing you can do to a battery. throw them all out and buy new ones. don't even bother looking for the better ones to keep. there won't be any

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alternator, balmar

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