Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 02-01-2014, 14:00   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Ormond Beach, Florida
Boat: 1988 Wilbur 34
Posts: 148
Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger

Researching battery chargers, I've just become aware of the Sterling charger that is positioned between ones engine alternator and the battery. The manufacturer's literature professes this device will charge up to five times the rate of the alternator alone.

At sea I generally crank up my 5KW generator two or three times a day to maintain the fridge and my house batteries, the batteries being charged by means of a 110v 50 amp 3-bank charger.

The Sterling, it appears, would do a superior job in maintaining my batteries and enable me to get by with a lot less generator time.

Anyone have experience with this product?

Mac
__________________

__________________
Seighlor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2014, 14:25   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
colemj's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Presently on US East Coast
Boat: Manta 40 "Reach"
Posts: 10,049
Images: 12
Re: Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger

Assuming your battery bank is large enough to accept more than 50A of current, you could achieve less generator time by purchasing a larger AC charger. If they cannot accept more than this, the Sterling isn't going to help much, unless you do not currently have an externally regulated alternator.

That "5X" claim by Sterling makes a lot of assumptions - mostly around having a higher output, but internally regulated alternator set at low charging voltage (really dumb combination to begin with).

Mark
__________________

__________________
www.svreach.com

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
colemj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2014, 14:28   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Oriental, NC
Boat: Mainship Pilot 34
Posts: 1,429
Re: Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger

First, running your propulsion engine at anchor just to charge batteries is not a good solution. Much better to run your genset. And you are wasting a lot of time with just a 50 amp charger. If you have a decent size battery bank a 100 amp charger will do a faster job and load your genset better.

But back to the Sterling. This device is sort of the opposite of a MPPT controller for solar panels. It "fools' the alternator into thinking its connected to a severely discharged battery bank so that it will output more current. Then it converts that output to a higher voltage to push those amps into the battery bank.

So you are asking a light duty, automotive style alternator to run for hours at high output loadings. It will fail quicker that way.

A much better solution is a high output alternator with heavier windings, better cooling, better diodes and an external 3 step regulator, all of which will let it put out more current and last longer.

David
__________________
djmarchand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2014, 15:12   #4
senior windbag
 
Cuttyhunk's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: northeast USA
Boat: EndeavourCat 36
Posts: 373
Re: Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seighlor View Post

Anyone have experience with this product?

Mac
I also would be interested in hearing from anyone who has experience with this product...
__________________
Cuttyhunk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2014, 21:36   #5
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
Re: Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by bethflkys View Post
I also would be interested in hearing from anyone who has experience with this product...
I've had one ( and their battery chargers ) it does what it says on the tin.

Dave
__________________
Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! - http://smartboats.tumblr.com
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2014, 21:41   #6
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
First, running your propulsion engine at anchor just to charge batteries is not a good solution. Much better to run your genset. And you are wasting a lot of time with just a 50 amp charger. If you have a decent size battery bank a 100 amp charger will do a faster job and load your genset better.

But back to the Sterling. This device is sort of the opposite of a MPPT controller for solar panels. It "fools' the alternator into thinking its connected to a severely discharged battery bank so that it will output more current. Then it converts that output to a higher voltage to push those amps into the battery bank.

So you are asking a light duty, automotive style alternator to run for hours at high output loadings. It will fail quicker that way.

A much better solution is a high output alternator with heavier windings, better cooling, better diodes and an external 3 step regulator, all of which will let it put out more current and last longer.

David
It's simply not true. The stamdard alternator is quite capable of handling the higher outputs. And you can fit a alternator temp sensor as well.

The new version is a beleive a DC to DC convertor type hence needs no connection other then standard to the alternator

Dave
__________________
Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! - http://smartboats.tumblr.com
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2014, 04:45   #7
Moderator
 
Pete7's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Solent, England
Boat: Moody 31
Posts: 8,536
Images: 14
Re: Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
It's simply not true. The standard alternator is quite capable of handling the higher outputs. And you can fit a alternator temp sensor as well.

The new version is a beleive a DC to DC convertor type hence needs no connection other then standard to the alternator

Dave
Hmm, that is debatable, but I hear what David is saying, small alternator on an engine charging a big bank (its a 44ft yacht). That alternator is going to be working hard.

However, the yacht has a genny on board. What I don't understand is why the genny needs running two or three times a day, something wrong here. Either the batteries are toast, or the bank is way to small or there is no battery monitoring so the charing is guess work.

My suggestion would be to make the genny work properly with a charger sized to the battery bank and a bank that matches the boats requirements rather than try and run the engine for charging.

Pete
__________________
Moody 31 - April Lass
Pete7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2014, 05:06   #8
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
Your standard alternator already works hard , but only for a smaller period of the charge cycle mainly because the regulators are set to supply system loads not charge batteries , ie like car systems.

Adding an alternator regulator extends that charge cycle over a longer period.

Yes you get heat build up , but your alternator won't fall apart on Tuesday. It is a good idea to install the alternator temp sensor that all good alternator regulators provide. This will protect the system from abuse.

I was just countering the notion that suddenly the bearings on it will fail. Yes it works the alternator harder but with careful system design , you can increase the ability to charge the battery faster

Dave
__________________
Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! - http://smartboats.tumblr.com
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2014, 05:25   #9
Moderator
 
Pete7's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Solent, England
Boat: Moody 31
Posts: 8,536
Images: 14
Re: Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger

True, still think the genny is the better option, otherwise why have it. Something to be said for small and simple yachts.

Jut wondering if I have any solar panels left after this blast moved all the garden furniture to the other end of the garden

Pete
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	CF.jpg
Views:	194
Size:	33.8 KB
ID:	73194  
__________________
Moody 31 - April Lass
Pete7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2014, 05:59   #10
Senior Cruiser
 
colemj's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Presently on US East Coast
Boat: Manta 40 "Reach"
Posts: 10,049
Images: 12
Re: Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger

We have a OEM Volvo 60A alternator that I installed a Sterling external regulator on. I routinely measure temperatures exceeding 250*F on the alternator when the Sterling drives it near capacity for more than 30 minutes or so. And this is with an external fan blowing cooler air through the alternator. Installing the alt temp sensor only means that the alternator rarely operates, since it spends most of its time shut down cooling off. So we leave it on its internal regulator unless we are actually using it for quick bulk charging.

Based on our experience, a standard alternator is NOT able to produce routine higher outputs for hours at a time without entering damaging temperature ranges.

Mark
__________________
www.svreach.com

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
colemj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2014, 07:32   #11
senior windbag
 
Cuttyhunk's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: northeast USA
Boat: EndeavourCat 36
Posts: 373
Re: Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger

Thank you all for this information. We have a generator, and twin volvos with 80 amp alternators. I am considering the Sterling to intelligently and efficiently distribute the alternators' output. If we are sitting at anchor for any length of time, I would run the generator. So I'm planning on a larger, smart charger (boat came with only a 40 amp charger for a 400 amp house bank) and the Sterling. I'll definitely keep an eye on the alternators' temps.
__________________
Cuttyhunk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2014, 10:54   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Ormond Beach, Florida
Boat: 1988 Wilbur 34
Posts: 148
Re: Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger

Gentlemen, your input is greatly appreciated. You have convinced me that Sterling's alternator-to-battery charger is not the way to go. So it appears my next move is to shop for a 100 amp charger.

By the way, I do have a 115 amp alternator with an external regulator on my engine. It's just that when sailing, particularly if racing, I would prefer not to use the engine... even to boost the batteries.

Again, thanks to all.

Mac
__________________
Seighlor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2014, 11:01   #13
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
Re: Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger

Quote:
Based on our experience, a standard alternator is NOT able to produce routine higher outputs for hours at a time without entering damaging temperature ranges.
I think there is some confusion here, the primary reason to install a proper alternator regulator is to ensure a proper charge profile is followed. Not to overload an alternator outside its limits. I think people "slap" these on , suddenly thinking they can pull 70A for a rated 70A alternator, without a care to look at the specs.

Dave
__________________
Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! - http://smartboats.tumblr.com
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2014, 12:37   #14
Registered User
 
ullar's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Coral Coast, Australia
Boat: Amel Euros 41
Posts: 153
You can use 2 alternators in parallel with Sterling charger.
__________________
ullar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2014, 12:46   #15
Senior Cruiser
 
colemj's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Presently on US East Coast
Boat: Manta 40 "Reach"
Posts: 10,049
Images: 12
Re: Sterling Alternator to Battery Charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
I think there is some confusion here, the primary reason to install a proper alternator regulator is to ensure a proper charge profile is followed. Not to overload an alternator outside its limits. I think people "slap" these on , suddenly thinking they can pull 70A for a rated 70A alternator, without a care to look at the specs.

Dave
So how does one follow a "proper charge profile" with a product designed to use an OEM internally regulated alternator without causing a high temperature due to the continued high current output that product forces on that small OEM alternator?

I'm not arguing that one should not pay attention to their alternator design and limits. I'm arguing that these Sterling products will drive those smaller OEM alternators past their limits (and providing a real example of that).

Sterling markets these products straight into the small OEM alternator market as solutions to get more out of the OEM internally regulated alternators, so this is a real thing to be aware of.

Having said that, these Sterling products do just as they are advertised and work very well. The caveat is one must understand what they do and how they do it and be willing to adapt to the tradeoffs - which is why we own one. Just slapping one on will either burn out your alternator or leave you without charging much of the time while your alternator cools down.

Mark
__________________

__________________
www.svreach.com

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
colemj is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
alternator, battery, charger

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 00:57.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.