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Old 27-06-2010, 17:20   #1
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Three-Stage Charging with Single-Stage Alternator

Before we left for the Bahamas last December, I would have sworn that I saw advertised a battery charging device that took 13.5 to 14.5 volts from a single stage alternator, massaged and managed the current, then output it to the battery bank in the standard three-stage protocol; producing the same result as an un-regulated alternator and external regulator.

Anyone heard of this or used one? Thanks!
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Old 27-06-2010, 17:46   #2
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That's what external regulators do....they control the output from the alternator to provide appropriate current/voltages for efficient battery charging.

Some are more sophisticated than others. A popular one which does a very good job is the Balmar MC-612. It is programmable for many parameters. And, the new model, the MC-612 Dual, will handle the output from two alternators for charging a single large battery bank.

The MC-612 actually can use up to 12 stages of charging, depending on the need. Here's a table showing the preset programs you can choose from:

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Yes, I've used one on my boat for over 10 years, and currently have three in stock for installation on client's boats.

Bill
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Old 27-06-2010, 19:38   #3
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Bill is correct, but you just can't add an external regulator to a stock internally regulated alternator without modifications to the alternator. I don't know about the product you are asking after.

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Old 28-06-2010, 01:19   #4
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Opsailor I run a sterling regulator this required leads to be soldered to the alternator brushes. When installing you will use one lead and cut off the other. The sterling regulator piggy backs the original and if it fails you go back to the original. The alternator is 60amp on a volvo 28hp and we see 55amps every so offen so we worth its addition.
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Old 28-06-2010, 02:02   #5
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You may have been thinking of a Sterling alternator to battery charger.
Sterling Power Products: Alternator to Battery Charger
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Old 28-06-2010, 06:34   #6
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This Sterling looks like it....

This appears to be what I read about oh so many months ago. CRS is a key feature of my life. Also, the current product doesn't seem to need any soldering or unusual installations.

We have a standard 80-amp Hitachi alternator on our Yanmar, and this may be our simple solution: A quality alternator, modest cost regulator, and simple installation.

http://www.sterling-power.com/images...%20Control.pdf

Owning a boat means I'm skeptical about something that meets all my needs, but willing to try.

Thanks for the replies!
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Old 28-06-2010, 07:09   #7
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hey, let us know how it works.
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Old 22-07-2010, 06:08   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opsailor View Post
This appears to be what I read about oh so many months ago. CRS is a key feature of my life. Also, the current product doesn't seem to need any soldering or unusual installations.

We have a standard 80-amp Hitachi alternator on our Yanmar, and this may be our simple solution: A quality alternator, modest cost regulator, and simple installation.

http://www.sterling-power.com/images...%20Control.pdf

Owning a boat means I'm skeptical about something that meets all my needs, but willing to try.

Thanks for the replies!
Please be aware that the lowest volt output when running a Sterling OVER an existing internal regulator will be the set point of the internal regulator.

It can only boost the voltage but can never supply a float voltage lower than what the internal reg is set for, which is usually 14.2 - 14.4, with most newer marine alts. It is basically piggy backing on top of the existing regulator and can only boost the voltage beyond the internal unit but it will never go below unless you disconnect the internal reg....
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Old 22-07-2010, 07:19   #9
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Please be aware that the lowest volt output when running a Sterling OVER an existing internal regulator will be the set point of the internal regulator.

It can only boost the voltage but can never supply a float voltage lower than what the internal reg is set for, which is usually 14.2 - 14.4, with most newer marine alts. It is basically piggy backing on top of the existing regulator and can only boost the voltage beyond the internal unit but it will never go below unless you disconnect the internal reg....
I don't know anything about this regulator or how it works, but the above linked manual states:

When the batteries have been fully charged, the voltage is reduced to float voltage (appr. 13.5V to 13.8V).

Later in the troubleshooting section it states that if the output of the regulated alternator doesn't meet the below specs, that the Sterling regulator will not work correctly:

Most regulators come set with a standard output between about 13.8V and 14.4V



John
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Old 22-07-2010, 07:56   #10
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I don't know anything about this regulator or how it works, but the above linked manual states:

When the batteries have been fully charged, the voltage is reduced to float voltage (appr. 13.5V to 13.8V).

Later in the troubleshooting section it states that if the output of the regulated alternator doesn't meet the below specs, that the Sterling regulator will not work correctly:

Most regulators come set with a standard output between about 13.8V and 14.4V



John
Charlie Sterling (sp) seemingly likes to confuse people with his "marketing" spin, and this is a prime example.

If the standard regulator has a set point of 14.2 and you piggy back the Sterling over it you will have a float voltage or low voltage of 14.2. If it is 13.8 you will have 13.8, 13.6 you will get 13.6. The only way I know of to get the true float voltages they have programmed into the regulator is to by-pass the internal regulator of have an internal regulator with a very low voltage set point.

Noting wrong with the product, just the marketing, that can be confusing and at times somewhat misleading if not taken with a grain of salt.
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Old 22-07-2010, 08:55   #11
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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
Charlie Sterling (sp) seemingly likes to confuse people with his "marketing" spin, and this is a prime example.

If the standard regulator has a set point of 14.2 and you piggy back the Sterling over it you will have a float voltage or low voltage of 14.2. If it is 13.8 you will have 13.8, 13.6 you will get 13.6. The only way I know of to get the true float voltages they have programmed into the regulator is to by-pass the internal regulator of have an internal regulator with a very low voltage set point.

Noting wrong with the product, just the marketing, that can be confusing and at times somewhat misleading if not taken with a grain of salt.
I don't think it's very hard to do at all, people used to do this inadvertantly with a diode splitter and a non adjustable regulated alternator. I've even chartered a boat in the Caribbean that was messed up that way. Switch a diode into the circuit when it trips into float mode, the regulator on the altenator sees 14.2 volts, throttles back to maintain that voltage, other side of the diode is 13.5 volts for the battery. I'm sure it wouldn't take much to make it some fancy active circuit to boost the cost.

Back on the chartered boat experience, my friend cannot stand when things are wrong, so he took the diode splitter out of the circuit so we could have fully charged batteries. When we got back to the base He asked if we should return it to the way we found it. There was a language problem as the boat tech guy was French. My wife has a B.A. in French, but liberal arts isn't heavy into technical terms, and it turns out the boat tech guy didn't know squat about electricity anyway. (Probably why the electrics were messed up in the first place.) In the end he asked us if it worked correctly now, we said yes, he said leave it.

That was 25 years ago, probably be banned for life from chartering if we did that today.

John
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