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Old 07-08-2012, 11:45   #1
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Universal 5432 Engine Alternator Upgrade

I am looking to upgrade my electrical system, including HO alt, external reg, solar panels, in that order over the next year or so. I am looking for another person who has done the same with the universal 5432/kubotaV1501 diesel. I like to do the work myself. I have searched this site and others and really have not found much..a few pictures of a similar engine but no responses. This particular engine appears to have limited spots to add on another alternator, which is my initial plan, subject to change. The issue being the upgrade needed to the FW pump. I plan to add another alternator and run them both through an external regulator. this appears to be the simplest way to increase amp o/p. Presently I have a delco style 51 amp internal reg alt. feeding 240amph AGM batts in two banks. I would like to combine these batts into one bank and install a separate bank to increase the total to around 400amph. The present batts are fairly new..two yrs with little usage prior to my purchase of the boat..a Gulf 32. There is a 10 amp xantrex charger. The power issue comes up when I use the newly installed espar D4. The batteries soon drop below necessary voltage on the 150 amph house bank and I need to combine the batteries to get heat. THis doesn't seem right so I am thinking that the alternator just cannot properly charge the AGM batteries adequately.
I would appreciate any input here folks..the old universal is old, but runs well.
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Old 08-08-2012, 14:19   #2
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Re: Universal 5432 engine alternator upgrade

I had this engine on my Ericson 38. We were able to install a 90amp Balmar alternator in place of the OEM 51 amp model. I think you may have some other issues at play here though as the Espar D4 should not be killing your batteries. I have a friend who lives aboard with a similar heater and he only has 1 group 31 battery. Your 10 amp xantrex charger sounds pretty small though. With AGM batteries you better find a way to float them soon or you will be replacing them. You may already be too late but with AGMs you need a proper 3 stage charger either from your alternator or shorepower. One that is configured to properly charge AGM batteries and you need to get them floating often. An internal regulated alternator will not do this. I doubt your 10 amp xantrex charger will either. Im sure others will comment here but my suggestion would be to get a copy of Nigel Calders Boat Owners manual, read the whole electrical section then figure out whats up with what you have.

Amazon.com: Boatowner's Mechanical & Electrical Manual: How to Maintain, Repair, and Improve Your Boat's Essential Systems (9780070096189): Nigel Calder: Books
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Old 08-08-2012, 15:35   #3
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Re: Universal 5432 engine alternator upgrade

I don't know if this site will help you or not.

Compass Marine "How To" Articles Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com

There are many threads on this forum and others pertaining to boat electrical systems, charging systems, etc. The problem you are having is that you have limited the search to one specific engine instead of looking at the bigger picture.

Today's thinking is that one large house battery bank is better than two smaller ones (although some argue the point I think the people who really know boating and batteries would agree). So, if you have one large battery bank you need charging systems that can keep the batteries charged and healthy. It will require some work on your part to do an electrical analysis of your boat and your needs.
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Old 08-08-2012, 16:30   #4
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Re: Universal 5432 engine alternator upgrade

Thanks. I had come to this conclusion also. I have Nigel Calders book, and have pretty much scoped out the fact that I need the smart regulater system. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can still rehabilitate the batteries. From reading the material on the xantrex site I understand that the only real difference between the chargers as concerns amp output from shorepower is the time it takes to bring the batteries up to the float state. I am thinking that even with only minimal use while the engine is running-auto helm, etc and windlass use, I am taking more out than is going back in. The only problem I am having at this point is figuring out how to get a bigger amp on..firstly, with the three stage regulator Ample model. I understand the one big bank issue, because I am thinking that these batteries may have been damaged, but still could work as start bank, or back up, installing a new separate group with the fresh alternator etc etc. Question for Demeter: I am being advised by the local guru that the hotter amps require larger belts and thus pulleys, and that with that issue comes torque loading..especially on the fresh water pulley. The 5432 comes with a 3/8 pulley. Did you change up your pulleys? Did you find increased belt wear with proper tensioning of the belt? I posted here in a very narrow search arena because I am looking for very specific information. It may well come about that I'll have to change out the batteries to wet cells..the Previous Owner likely chose AGMs without fully understanding their special needs..however because they mostly just sat at the dock hooked up to the xantrex charger they may be hope..LOL. Thanks for your replies,eh.
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Old 09-08-2012, 07:54   #5
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Re: Universal 5432 engine alternator upgrade

These may help. AGMs take a lot of current to charge and could/will tax a reasonably sized alternator on your engine with any kind of regulator (ext or int). You should seriously consider wet cells. AGMs also require extensive care & feeding.

A 3/8" belt is what we use for our 100A alternator, with an external regulator, which we use with the Small Engine Mode on the Balmar MC-612 (now MC-614) regulator when the engine first starts. The belt has been just fine. M25 1986 engine.

Small Engine Mode - discussion with link to the picture of the toggle switch: Alternator heat, Regulator Controls, Small Engine Mode

Battery Acceptance (a very good Maine Sail presentation and further discussions) Battery Acceptance Observations - SailboatOwners.com

AGM Battery Issues (from Maine Sail)
AGM Batteries - Making The Choice - SailboatOwners.com

AGM Battery Issues and the Blue Seas Dual Circuit Switch (from Maine Sail) "DARN AGM Batteries"
Darn AGM Batteries - SailboatOwners.com

Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams This is a very good basic primer for boat system wiring: Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams

This is another very good basic primer for boat system wiring: The 1-2-B Switch by Maine Sail (brings together a lot of what this subject is all about)
1/BOTH/2/OFF Switches Thoughts & Musings - SailboatOwners.com
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:19   #6
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Re: Universal 5432 engine alternator upgrade

Ed I did not have any problems on my 5432 with the bigger alternator and the stock FW pump pulley. I cant recall if it was a 100amp model but it was at least 85amp. Stu's advice on the Balmar 614 regulator is solid. Thats the reg Im using on my current boat and it is easy to program, has a display so theres no counting stupid LED blinks when programming. It has the small engine mode it also has a soft ramp up in output to reduce wear on the belt which also eases the loading of the FW cooling pulley.

Depending on how you use your boat you may want to consider a better shorepower charger than the 10 amp. Think about something at least 40amp and multistage. This will at least allow you to float those AGMs when sitting at the dock.
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:07   #7
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Re: Universal 5432 engine alternator upgrade

Thanks for the input..the xantrex charger is a three stager..every thing works very well after being charged up, the problem occurs when I am out..fridge lights etc..the heater will be fine for a day or so then she wont go to the high draw start phase, and the voltage meter shows a drop to less than 10 volts. This makes me think that the batteries are damaged or that..for sure, the 51 amp reg cannot replenish the agms. Any way thanks for the links. I am advised that 70 amps on a 3/8 belt will actually deliver rated amp output when at temp and rpm if properly tensioned ...there is certainly a lot of info out there. I have seen others who have used large amps with small sheaves and belts but the info is incomplete.
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Old 09-08-2012, 13:01   #8
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Re: Universal 5432 engine alternator upgrade

Stu after reading a bunch of your posts and links I am beginning to understand a bit more..takes time right. I have a couple of questions I couldn't find the answers for maybe you can help here. I bought the boat last year, it came with the 3 agm batteries in two banks, a 90 on one and two 75's on the other through a 1-2-b switch. 51amp delco alt. internal reg. The PO had the A\O wired to the ignition switch!, the tach wired to the alternator output nut. There is a xantrex 10amp shorepower unit, 3 stage wired to both batteries. There is also a west marine combiner disconnected in the battery compartment. Here is my question: (I plan to get an external regulator and a higher output alternator) If I combine the 3 agm batteries in one bank and run everything off of that bank, buy one more reserve wet cell battery and run that to the second bank as a reserve, reconnect the combiner and attach the a\o to the big bank, do you think that I can keep the agm's alive with a moderately sized alternator(100amp), and will the wet cell battery have any downside to that system? Thanks.
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Old 09-08-2012, 15:01   #9
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Re: Universal 5432 engine alternator upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed-White View Post
Stu after reading a bunch of your posts and links I am beginning to understand a bit more..takes time right. I have a couple of questions I couldn't find the answers for maybe you can help here. I bought the boat last year, it came with the 3 agm batteries in two banks, a 90 on one and two 75's on the other through a 1-2-b switch. 51amp delco alt. internal reg. The PO had the A\O wired to the ignition switch!, the tach wired to the alternator output nut. There is a xantrex 10amp shorepower unit, 3 stage wired to both batteries. There is also a west marine combiner disconnected in the battery compartment. Here is my question: (I plan to get an external regulator and a higher output alternator) If I combine the 3 agm batteries in one bank and run everything off of that bank, buy one more reserve wet cell battery and run that to the second bank as a reserve, reconnect the combiner and attach the a\o to the big bank, do you think that I can keep the agm's alive with a moderately sized alternator(100amp), and will the wet cell battery have any downside to that system? Thanks.

A few thoughs here:

1. You shouldnt mix battery chemistries unless you have a charging system that can differentiate. Depending on what sort of combiner you have you may be able to get the set up to work but wet cells and AGMs have different charging requirements.
2. "keeping the agms alive" will have more to do with how often and how far down you discharge them and how long you are able to run your engine. In theory you should be able to keep them alive with the 50 amp alt you have if you have it converted to an external reg., add a smart reg, and run the engine long enough.
3. I would first determine if the AGM's you have are in fact still good by enlisiting the services of a good marine electrician with the proper meters or through tests found in Calder's book.
4. Once you know the answer to #3 then you can decide if it makes sense to pursue the path of all AGMs or switching to wet cells. For the majority of cruisers wet cells offer the best value and make the most sense because unless you have a really big charging system you will never be able to take advantage of the high CAR (charge acceptance rates) of AGMs and realize the shorter recharge times, and unless you are able to float them regularly they will die an early death and at these are not cheap batteries.
5. A 100 amp alternator is generally speaking more than adequate for the majority of cruisers out there unless you are talking about a really big battery bank. You mentioned I believe looking to get to a 400ah bank. Assuming you keep your depth of discharge to 50% you are talking about needing to replace 200ah. With a 100amp alt and a smart regulator you are probably looking at a few hours of engine running, say maybe 3-4hrs.
6. You really should consider performing an energy analysis and first determine what your needs are then build a balanced electrical system that can meet those needs. What sort of cruising do you do? Are you live aboard full time on the hook or are you a weekender with an occasional 1-2 week summer cruise who can regularly plug into shore power? I sailed my ericson 38 as the later and found a 200ah bank to be just fine. We pulled about 70-90ah out every 24hrs and with a few hours of engine per day and regular plug ins to shore power we did just fine. OUr biggest draw was the fridge at 50-60ah. I got 9 years out of a pair of gel cells that to my knowledge are still going strong. You need to know how many amps you are going to pull out every 24hrs then add a fudge factor, then double that number. Now you have your battery bank size. Once you know the battery bank then you can built the appropriate charging system.
7. The one item I havent seen mentioned is a battery monitor. Thats probably the most important piece of gear in the equation. It will allow you to tell a lot more about what you are doing to your batteries.
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Old 09-08-2012, 18:34   #10
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Re: Universal 5432 engine alternator upgrade

Thanks for the input. I am thinking along the same lines I guess..putting in the wet cell as a reserve as well as hedging my bets..ie: the agms have been irremedially depleted so I will end up buying new batts soon. They will then be wet cell. As I have shore power..weekend warrior..and that keeps the batteries floated up for the most part, it is the usage on my journeys that is the issue. I like to go out in the winter, and up here that means extensive heater usage. So..I have a 90 amp alternator..prestolite, and will go the combiner route off of the alt only, leaving the shore power to top up the agm's. I am going to try this out under the advisement of an auto electric source before installing a three stage external reg. If the agms are NFG then the external reg is moot. I am going to install the monitor as well..I certainly appreciate all of your advice. Thank you.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:42   #11
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Re: Universal 5432 engine alternator upgrade

Without at multistage external regulator you will likely end up killing your batteries sooner. Internal regulators taper off charge way too early so you will never get full charge unless you run the engine for hours and hours. They are designed for cars which run the engine all the time. Why not take the 90 amp alt to a shop and have it converted to external reg? Shouldnt cost more than $40-$50
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Old 10-08-2012, 18:08   #12
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Re: Universal 5432 engine alternator upgrade

Once again thank you all for the input. I am going to try the simple upgrade for the rest of the season and through the winter. Because I am at the dock on a regular basis I top up my batteries regularly. I also run the engine quite a lot given the fickle winds around here..the boat is heavy at around 18000, and though she sails nicely, is no racer. It is not unusual to motor for four to six hours at a go. My amp hour demands are not that high, but the battery depletion was driving me nuts. Now perhaps I am expecting too much of the batteries, but from what I have been reading on these forums I should be getting more. With the proper gauge wiring that I have installed along with the new alternator and additional battery I anticipate a better response. I will let you know how it turns out at a later date.
Cheers..Ed.
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