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Old 28-01-2019, 21:59   #1
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Alternator for new Volvo engine?

Question: We are building a new boat. Engine is a Volvo D2-75. Comes with standard 105A, internally regulated alternator. We want to change it out to a larger, externally regulated alt., to better pair with our 600 AH LiFePo4 bank. But builder has said that this will void the Volvo warranty, and the only option is to add a Volvo second alternator...... Does anyone know if this is just a line of BS, or can we really not change the alternator to a proper externally regulated unit until the warranty is up????? We will have wind and 400 watts solar, as well as a genset, but I do like to take advantage of the "free" power when motoring if possible. If we do have to add instead of replace the alternator, we'd keep the original for the start AGM batt, and the new one for the lithium house bank. But obviously this new alternator would need to be other than a 2nd stock Volvo alternator/regulator to make it work. Would they even allow LiFePo4 batts to be charged by a stock setup, given the load demand on an alternator placed by these batts. Anyone know how this works with new Volvo warranty? As always, "the big print giveth, and the small print taketh away"!!!
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Old 28-01-2019, 22:28   #2
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Re: Alternator for new Volvo engine?

My Amel 50 has the stock Volvo alternator and a second 24V 110A MasterVolt alternator with external MasterVolt regulator from the Amel (I guess) factory. I would hope the Volvo warranty is still valid.

You need to ask someone else...
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Old 29-01-2019, 04:02   #3
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Re: Alternator for new Volvo engine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boom23 View Post
... You need to ask someone else...
Like, perhaps, Volvo?


For the first 2 years, the warranty covers the complete engine package and for the following 3 years, major components. Accessories bought simultaneously with engines will also benefit from an extended warranty period.
https://www.volvopenta.com/marinelei.../warranty.html
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Old 29-01-2019, 11:52   #4
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Re: Alternator for new Volvo engine?

In my boat I have the D2-55 with the same Mitsubishi alternator (it is actually a 115 A unit), and a 600 A LiFePO4 bank. I had the same questions as you, and although I wasn’t so concerned about warranty issues, I sure wanted to charge my bank in a reliable fashion, as the Mitsubishi will run too warm if charging a LFP bank. One alternative would have been to add a Balmar At165 or Delco 28 Si (large frame) as a second alternator with external regulation. Alternatively, the Mitsubishi could have been rebuilt for external regulation (and possibly void the warranty), but this is not a straight-forward task.

However, I came across the Sea Lithium VRC 100 charge controller, see www.nordkyndesign.com, which alters the sense voltage tricking the alternator to think that the batteries are more charged than they are and hence reduce the charge current. I can adjust it so that I have a charge current at 80A, which keeps the alt. at around 90 C. The VRC100 will also reduce charging further, as the bank is filled up, achieved both by the logic of the unit, as well as it is hooked up to the BMS.

For me, this was the most practical solution, and it has turned out that the original alt. combined with solars provides all the electricity we require, at a fraction of the cost of a second alternator.
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Old 29-01-2019, 13:24   #5
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Re: Alternator for new Volvo engine?

Bravo-
If you really want to know whether the story is BS, you'd have to contact Volvo directly, and ask them to see the warranty terms--in writing. And even those terms may not bind you, because even in Oz there are warranty statutes that determine when/how a warranty may be modified or voided.
Of course what you CAN also do is ask the question of the dealer in writing, or by receipted/signed email. (Digitally signed email still being something that is way beyond most users these days, even if it is decades old.) The answer may not be the same as it was on a phone call or personal conversation, especially if you phrase it being about "reliance" and other terms and ask them to confirm this specifically with Volvo.

However. Any time you add an additional side load to the main bearings, such as bolting on a second alternator, you MAY create problems with the side load being too great, resulting in excess water pump wear (the same way any excess belt tension would affect any externally belted water pump' seals and bearings, or alternator's bearings) so it is possible that rather than bother the engineers, Volvo would just say "You can't change stuff like that".
Here in the US, we have federal laws that say "You can change anything you want, the warrantor has to PROVE you caused damage before they can void the warranty coverage." They can argue about it--but they're going to lose.

Doesn't matter if it is a ribbed serpentine belt, or a v-belt, an extra load still has to be within an acceptable range, and often "balanced" for side-load on the shaft. There are some real issues there to be considered, and Volvo *may* have already considered them in their (no doubt pricey) option.

FWIW.
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Old 29-01-2019, 13:43   #6
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Re: Alternator for new Volvo engine?

Check AU consumer laws too.



In the US - warranty conditions that forbid consumers from opening or repairing their devices are illegal under a provision of the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act that forbids "tying," meaning the conditions of the warranty "tie" the consumer to using a specific service or specific types of parts.

So, if you tack on an accessory it does not void the warranty. You can use an item that's critical such as a brand of oil or transmission fluid that's not the Volvo brand. Same with 3rd party filters and belts, hoses etc. However, Volvo might claim the oil or filter doesn't meet "specifications" and try to disclaim that warranty.
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Old 29-01-2019, 16:02   #7
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Re: Alternator for new Volvo engine?

Gord, I saw the same clause. It didn't really clarify Volvo's position on my question. It seems clear that in that line the accessories it refers to are just Volvo accessories, even if bought and installed at the same time as the engine. (You can't ask them to warranty a Balmar alternator and regulator, of course). And when I look at Volvo's available accessories, they do not include any high output, externally regulated alternators.

In the same warranty, I see the following: "This Warranty does not apply to defects caused by the Product’s combination with engines, transmissions, or any other mechanical or electronic product or accessory not sold or approved in writing by Volvo Penta." It seems like this catchall clause will prohibit adding a non-Volvo alternator/regulator, such as would be appropriate for charging a large LiFePo4 bank.

I agree, this will need a letter from VP stating their position, but I was hoping someone here had already been there, done that! Perhaps the fact that Amel is installing the Mastervolt system on Boom's new build indicates that they will accept aftermarket kit.....
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Old 29-01-2019, 16:08   #8
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Re: Alternator for new Volvo engine?

Eirik, this looks like an excellent work around. I remember studying Nordkyn Designs site a few years ago when designing/installing the LiFePo4 system on our current boat, but had not seen this product. Thanks for the suggestion, it might be the ticket to keep the existing VP installation, and add this gear downstream. Cheers!
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Old 29-01-2019, 16:14   #9
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Re: Alternator for new Volvo engine?

Good point, HelloSailor. I've known a few boats over the years who have suffered bearing damage when adding extra takeoff's, whether for another alternator or refrigeration, etc. The ones I'm most familiar with used their own design for a bracket, fabricated privately. I'd hope that if Volvo supplies the bracket, they would have sufficiently engineered the loading angles, belt tension, etc. But it may say that to use an alternator much larger than the one they sell (115A), would put too much pull on adjacent pulleys that their bearings were not designed for.
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Old 29-01-2019, 20:22   #10
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Re: Alternator for new Volvo engine?

Volvo offers accessory front port side engine mount brackets for the installation of higher output alternators such as the Mastervolt 110A/24v unit mentioned by boom 23. The bracket is engineered for the Mastervolt unit but should fit similar sized alternators.

They also offer a top mount bracket assembly and pulley/belt kit that your original 115a/12v alternator will fit into.

That way you end up with a high output unit mounted on the front port bracket driven by the standard serpentine belt, and your original 115a alternator mounted more or less above the injection pump and driven by a second serpentine belt.

All factory stuff except the high output alternator you select.

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Old 29-01-2019, 21:40   #11
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Re: Alternator for new Volvo engine?

Here are a couple of pictures of my engine at the Amel factory before it was installed on my boat. It looks like it was crated with the second alternator and the transmission.



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Old 29-01-2019, 23:14   #12
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Re: Alternator for new Volvo engine?

This is great, Doug. I just got back from the Volvo Penta dealer here on the Gold Coast. He knew about Volvo's 2nd alternator bracket, but said that to the best of his knowledge, same as my builder in France, that it could only be used with the standard internally regulated VP (Matsubishi) alternator. He recognized why this simply won't work for lithium batts, and said he would get back to me after checking with VP, as he agreed that they had to acknowledge that users need a way to charge lithiums.

After I just saw your comment, I went back to VP's website, and couldn't find any reference to the Mastervolt alternator and regulator, but Mastervolt has the info on it's site, even adds "VP" after the alternator model, indicating that it is meant to interface with VP's engines!!! So I'm now assuming it can be done, at least with Mastervolt's alternators. I'll see what my options are for regulators....whether I can stay with the Balmar MC-614 like I currently use and know how to program for the LiFePo4 use, or go with the Mastervolt regulator, which is probably fine as well.
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Old 29-01-2019, 23:16   #13
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Re: Alternator for new Volvo engine?

Boom23, this looks great. And I agree, it looks like Volvo must've installed it before crating it up and shipping to Amel. It looks like there's no doubt I just need to get to the right folks to approve this direction. Thanks for sending!
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Old 30-01-2019, 07:17   #14
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Re: Alternator for new Volvo engine?

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Originally Posted by svbravo View Post
Boom23, this looks great. And I agree, it looks like Volvo must've installed it before crating it up and shipping to Amel. It looks like there's no doubt I just need to get to the right folks to approve this direction. Thanks for sending!
No problem. Glad I could help.

My MasterVolt alternator has the MasterVolt Alpha Pro (or something, I just woke up) external regulator. It should be adjustable for lithium. Amel uses the MasterVolt gel batteries. I figured they'll last 5-7 years. By then, the lithium batteries will be cheaper and better and I'll make the switch.

Good luck.
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Old 30-01-2019, 14:51   #15
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Re: Alternator for new Volvo engine?

The alternator which is shown in the photos from boom23 is the Mastervolt 110/24 unit which is the same alternator which the mounting kit for the D2-75 accepts. (His engine is the D3, but the concept is the same)

For the D2-75 engine the mounting kit is part #21281679, the parts bulletin which describes it is #P-32-1-3, and the mounting instructions are publication # 7746145. Your dealer can see all of this in his D2-75 parts breakdown. This kit contains the reinforced engine mount bracket, alternator pulley, serpentine belt, belt adjuster, bolts, nuts, spacers,etc. The kit does not contain the alternator.

Amel Yachts uses this alternator because they run a 24v house system, but I believe you can source the same basic alternator but in a 12v version if you only run a 12v boat. I also think this Mastervolt alternator is a physical match for some of the large case Motorola/LeeceNeville alternators.

If you run a strictly 12v vessel I would suggest the following:
- source the " extra alternator bracket" kit which allows you to move the original, standard alternator to the location above the injection pump. There is also a longer harness kit which allows this alternator to connect to the original engine connections. Use this to charge the engine start battery because it will match up with the standard MDI engine electrical system, gauges and alarms.
- source the 21281679 "Mastervolt" kit and mount the alternator of choice in that kit. Then drive your house bank with the larger alternator.

Hope this helps..
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