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Old 11-03-2013, 13:43   #1
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Solar/Alternator Regulators... anything new?

Hello cruisers and wanabees:


Real simple electrics on my boat: two AGM 90 amp batteries, a selector switch, a digital voltmeter and the stock 35 amp alternator with standard (automotive?) regulator. Only have cabin lights, radio and GPS.


I'm thinking of complicating things a bit. Maybe need my head read but I am adding a 100W - 12V solar panel to the mix with a Morningstar PWM controler. Being I'll have my wire strippers out anyway, this is probably the time to look at a 'smart' regulator for the alternator. Question: is there a marine regulator available these days, that will monitor both the alternator and the solar panel?


I don't have a lot of money here, so an inexpensive, but reliable set up is what I'm after.


Thanks for any and all suggestions...


Bry
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Old 11-03-2013, 13:51   #2
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Re: Solar/Alternator Regulators... anything new?

IMHO a smart regulator for the alternator won't do you much good with only 35 amps capacity anyway. Not sure what engine you have, but most could power a 90-100 amp alternator. I've had good service from standard automotive Delco 12SI alternators you can get at any auto parts store. They're rated for 94 amps. Even with the standard built-in regulator they put out a lot more juice than your 35 amp alternator. I get mine at Advance Auto and they have a lifetime warranty. You've got to figure out what car they go with, as they only source parts by the car. Make sure you don't get one of the so-called "one-wire" alternators--you want one that can sense the voltage at your batteries, so it has a separate wire for that. If you have a gasoline engine you need the kind with a spark protector on the back, but for diesels you don't need that. There are also some reasonable Leece Neville alternators which are even better, but cost a bit more too.

I will add that I would highly recommend putting both of your batteries in one bigger bank for the house supply and routing all charging sources to that bank directly, or just keep that switch on both. The less percentage you take from your battery bank the longer it will last--less deep cycling. It would be ideal to add a third battery dedicated to engine starting that is charged by a combiner or a Trik L Start or an Echo Charge. The Trik L Start is the cheapy way to go--mine has been working for a couple of years perfectly. That starter battery is just used for starting the engine. If you don't want to add the batter, be sure to keep an eye on the voltage in your main bank so it doesn't go too low to start the engine. Lots of threads on this if you want to do a search.
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Old 11-03-2013, 15:33   #3
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Re: Solar/Alternator Regulators... anything new?

Some regulators/chargers can combine alternator and shore charge functions and may (?) accept solar input on the alternator side.

One such unit is made by Vetus (many Vetus toys look exactly like Mastervolt units).

EUR 600 or thereabouts. 25A.

b.
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Old 11-03-2013, 15:46   #4
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Re: Solar/Alternator Regulators... anything new?

Alternator regulators function in a very different way to solar regulators.

I have never seen a combined unit, but keeping them separate is better in terms of redundancy.
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Old 14-03-2013, 15:18   #5
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Re: Solar/Alternator Regulators... anything new?

Thanx guys... that Delco Alternator is probably in my future... when I get back to civilization! For now, a solar panel and a separate regulator. Thank you again...
Bry
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