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Old 14-02-2020, 15:04   #1
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Alternator, Small engine mode Balmar

Hi all,

Iím in the process of improving (one can hope) how my high output alternator is wired form the PO, and I have some questions. I have been reading many threads in here but specially Mainesailís website (thanks for such valuable resource), and some of the questions are for him, but Iím sure someone else can pitch in, and also may help other people along the way.

I currently have a Balmar 110A 12V with an ARS-5 regulator charging a 630Ah Rolls AGM battery bank and start battery. I wasnít going to touch anything because there is a change to lithium in my future, but I figured I can improve a couple of things in the meantime without doing much.

The negative cable from the alternator is connected to the engine block, and if understand correctly I should move this cable directly to the batteries (to the negative bus bar). Should I also change the regulator negative to the batteries? Currently, it is grounded with the negative from the alternator. In the process Iíll also beef up the positive and negative cable to allow for a slightly longer run, they are undersized, and also because the positive cable runs way too close to the alternator belt, and last year, when the belt broke (I already solved the misalignment) it chafed the wire and in just a few minutes it almost melted it completely.

There are no battery or alternator sensors installed in the regulator, and I was thinking of at least adding the alternator sensor. In the process, I will add a switch (at the helm) in these wires so I can turn on/off the Ďsmall engine featureí. One question I have about the small engine feature, can I switch on/off this mode while motoring without damaging the diodes?

Thanks in advance,

I.
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Old 14-02-2020, 15:31   #2
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Re: Alternator, Small engine mode Balmar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivanvet View Post
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>
One question I have about the small engine feature, can I switch on/off this mode while motoring without damaging the diodes?

Thanks in advance,

I.
Of course you can. All it is doing is cutting the field voltage, thus reducing AO by half. It has nothing to do with AO.


If you've searched SEM here, you will have found many of my posts on the subject.
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Old 14-02-2020, 15:36   #3
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Re: Alternator, Small engine mode Balmar

Thanks Stu Jackson,
I actually did the search and I found your posts, here and in other forums, very useful, especially with the pictures of the switch and such. I just wasn't 100% sure it wouldn't harm the alternator and I would rather ask the question than **** it up for not asking.
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Old 14-02-2020, 16:57   #4
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Re: Alternator, Small engine mode Balmar

I do not have a problem with using a common engine return (starter and alternator). Once the engine is started that length of large copper is just dead weight otherwise. I do have a jumper from the alternator frame to a nearby bolt on the engine block ground.


I have a ebay temp controller that is wired in parallel with my small engine mode switch. It will switch in/ out of SEM as the alternator temp swings between 180 and 190 degrees. All works just fine for years.


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Old 14-02-2020, 18:02   #5
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Re: Alternator, Small engine mode Balmar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankly View Post
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


I have a ebay temp controller that is wired in parallel with my small engine mode switch. It will switch in/ out of SEM as the alternator temp swings between 180 and 190 degrees. All works just fine for years.


Curious as to how that can work in parallel.
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Old 14-02-2020, 19:57   #6
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Re: Alternator, Small engine mode Balmar

I have a SEM toggle switch, when closed reduced the output by half. If I open the switch then the temp controller output relay (connected in parallel with the switch)become's the control element. The temp gets to 190 the relay closes, the output is reduced by 50% until the temp drops to 180 then the relay opens and the output returns to 100%.

I typically just operate it with the SEM switch closed as it (100 A small case Balmar), is easy on the engine, belt, and altermator. Sometimes at anchor to charge batteries, and make some shower water I run it on full output (typically about 70 amps at 1500 RPM), and on occasion I let it run full bore. The alt case temp will hit 190 in about 20 minutes with 90 or so output amps.
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Old 14-02-2020, 20:00   #7
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Re: Alternator, Small engine mode Balmar

Having alternator temperature sensor with a regulator that will dial back the output when it inevitably overheats is a nice feature.
You will take better care of your Rolls if you have a temp sensor on them and a regulator set to the proper temp compensation. The Rolls manual state's the compensation.

On a side note, how old are your AGMs? I have the same setup with Rolls AGM, 110 Balmar but with a 612 Balmar regulator.
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Old 15-02-2020, 10:16   #8
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Re: Alternator, Small engine mode Balmar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivanvet View Post
Hi all,

Iím in the process of improving (one can hope) how my high output alternator is wired form the PO, and I have some questions. I have been reading many threads in here but specially Mainesailís website (thanks for such valuable resource), and some of the questions are for him, but Iím sure someone else can pitch in, and also may help other people along the way.

I currently have a Balmar 110A 12V with an ARS-5 regulator charging a 630Ah Rolls AGM battery bank and start battery. I wasnít going to touch anything because there is a change to lithium in my future, but I figured I can improve a couple of things in the meantime without doing much.

The negative cable from the alternator is connected to the engine block, and if understand correctly I should move this cable directly to the batteries (to the negative bus bar). Should I also change the regulator negative to the batteries? Currently, it is grounded with the negative from the alternator. In the process Iíll also beef up the positive and negative cable to allow for a slightly longer run, they are undersized, and also because the positive cable runs way too close to the alternator belt, and last year, when the belt broke (I already solved the misalignment) it chafed the wire and in just a few minutes it almost melted it completely.

There are no battery or alternator sensors installed in the regulator, and I was thinking of at least adding the alternator sensor. In the process, I will add a switch (at the helm) in these wires so I can turn on/off the Ďsmall engine featureí. One question I have about the small engine feature, can I switch on/off this mode while motoring without damaging the diodes?

Thanks in advance, I.
As both your alternator and ARS-5 regulator are Balmar products I recommend calling their Tech Support with all your questions. They have been very helpful and straight forward in their discussions with me on numerous occasions.

FWIW I also have a Balmar 110V alternator and finally converted over to a serpentine belt two years ago...it has eliminated all the belt tightening, belt dust, belt braking problems I was experiencing. Gather the make/model numbers of your engine and alternator and discuss it with Balmar to insure you get the correct kit.

By all mean, install the alternator and battery temperature sensing kits.
Good Luck.
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Old 15-02-2020, 11:22   #9
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Re: Alternator, Small engine mode Balmar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post

On a side note, how old are your AGMs? I have the same setup with Rolls AGM, 110 Balmar but with a 612 Balmar regulator.
I don't know how old they are. I got the boat 2 years ago, but I imagine they have been in place for many years. They are great, and holding charge without problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJH View Post
FWIW I also have a Balmar 110V alternator and finally converted over to a serpentine belt two years ago...it has eliminated all the belt tightening, belt dust, belt braking problems I was experiencing. Gather the make/model numbers of your engine and alternator and discuss it with Balmar to insure you get the correct kit.

Good Luck.
Yes, I was already thinking about about upgrading to a serpentine belt (currently I have a double v-belt) but I think this will have to wait until next season. One question, did you notice any reduction in vibration +/- noise when you changed to serpentine? I'm pretty sure the excessive noise I have in my engine room has more to do with old engine mounts and old sound insulation, but I wonder if the belts have also something to do with it.


Thanks,

I.
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Old 15-02-2020, 11:41   #10
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Re: Alternator, Small engine mode Balmar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivanvet View Post
I don't know how old they are. I got the boat 2 years ago, but I imagine they have been in place for many years. They are great, and holding charge without problems.



Yes, I was already thinking about about upgrading to a serpentine belt (currently I have a double v-belt) but I think this will have to wait until next season. One question, did you notice any reduction in vibration +/- noise when you changed to serpentine? I'm pretty sure the excessive noise I have in my engine room has more to do with old engine mounts and old sound insulation, but I wonder if the belts have also something to do with it.

Thanks, I.
No, I didn't notice any vibration or noise reduction, only what I posted earlier...all positive.

Installing the serpentine kit on my Volvo Penta engine placed a new crankshaft pulley OVER the original and was bolted into existing threaded holes in the OEM crankshaft pulley. I had problems getting the bolts started due to debris in the holes (I first thought there was a size error). I eventually bought a tap for the hole size to clean out all the debris and the bolts easily went in. I'm happy with the conversion.

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Old 15-02-2020, 19:12   #11
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Re: Alternator, Small engine mode Balmar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivanvet View Post
I don't know how old they are. I got the boat 2 years ago, but I imagine they have been in place for many years. They are great, and holding charge without problems.



....

I.
The battery manufacture date is on the top of the battery.
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Old 16-02-2020, 06:10   #12
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Re: Alternator, Small engine mode Balmar

You are right, They are 7 years old, so still plenty of life.
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Old 16-02-2020, 07:04   #13
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Re: Alternator, Small engine mode Balmar

Seven years, especially on AGM’s is very good. Really ought to be closing in rapidly on end of life.
You may want to do a capacity check, not a “real” one but I maintain that you can get a real good idea with an amp counter and a good volt meter.

Use your bank until you get to 12V, then see how many amps were consumed, double that and get an estimate on capacity.
Of course best to find out if 12V is where your batteries are at for 50% SOC.
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Old 18-02-2020, 17:34   #14
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Re: Alternator, Small engine mode Balmar

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You are right, They are 7 years old, so still plenty of life.
My Rolls AGMs are 9 years and still going strong too.
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