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Old 19-06-2022, 19:28   #1
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Balmar ARS-5 Regulator Issues

Balmar ARS-5
  1. Red wire direct to battery positive with a fuse.
  2. Black wire direct to batter negative.
  3. Blue wire to alternator field.
  4. Brown to ignition.
FLA batteries Trojan 6vdc in series. (2)T103
bulk mode bv=14.8 but it is showing 15.0-15.1 and so is Cu=15.0-15.1
Battery measures 15.3v while charging. It should measure 14.8v.
I can drop the rpm to adjust the voltage back down below 1500rmp, but that is useless.

Cleaned and checked all contacts at alternator, battery and regulator. Did not clean the contacts at the 3 way switch.

I tried going into advanced program and resetting bv to 14.8 (I found it set at 14.8, ran it up to 15.4 and then back down to 14.8 and let it reset and Sav).
Nothing changed for the better.

Since I was about .5v over, and I could not think of anything else to do, I reprogrammed bulk bv-14.4v (.4v lower) and reset and Sav.
Now the ARS-5 is providing 14.81 volts at the batteries.

Why was this necessary? Is there something wrong with the ARS-5? With my wiring?

Also should I go back in and reprogram the absorption setting by reducing it about .4 volts?
I may have to wire up an old Cruising Solutions backup regulator, or pull out Al Thompson's Smart Alternator Regulator Gen3 and just get it wired and use it.
But what I would really like to do is figure out why this is happening.
I did notice that the tack and blue wire connector is pretty old, I squirted contact cleaner and worked the connections, but perhaps I should redo that.
(BTW the stator wire is cut because I have a flywheel sensor, so that white wire is not needed.) Also the wires on the alternator are a heavy red B+ and heavy black B- and the blue field wire. There are no red or black connected from the regulator harnass, those are connected to the house battery for better sensing
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Old 19-06-2022, 19:32   #2
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Re: Balmar ARS-5 Regulator Issues

Does it have a battery temp sensor? If it’s cold out 0.3v-0.5v high is normal. But that’s normally in winter.
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Old 20-06-2022, 03:59   #3
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Re: Balmar ARS-5 Regulator Issues

Good point. It does have a battery sensor and alternator sensor. I tried both disconnected and there was no visible difference. Alt was around 44c and the battery was more like 32c-35c. I can try disconnecting them again, but don't think that is the issue.

I spoke to Dale, just before he was retiring and he wanted me to move the black and red sense wires to the battery. Note that the ARS-5 does not have a separate sense wire, its red wire also provides power to the regulator and acts as a sense wire too. I did that things seemed better, but at the end of last season, I was seeing 15volts consistently, so I have to get this fixed or it is going to fry my batteries.

I have removed the red sense wire and black sense wire from the alternator completely, they are now connected to the battery, and are sensing the actual battery voltage. I should check what the voltage is between them again at the regulator. It should be within .1v of the battery.

I would rather not have to connect the alt temp sensor + and - to go into "small engine mode"... and cut output but maybe I should do that now to make sure it works.

This situation really hampers cruising.
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Old 20-06-2022, 05:59   #4
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Re: Balmar ARS-5 Regulator Issues

Sounds like the problem is voltage drop in the red or black wire. They have to provide several amps to the regulator to drive the field current.
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Old 20-06-2022, 06:16   #5
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Re: Balmar ARS-5 Regulator Issues

The way I understand it this occurred with the power/sense and ground at the alternator and after it was moved to the batteries (good idea to have at the batteries).

Was the problem is most likely in the ARS-5 circuit programing. I feel that far as the regulator is concerned it is putting out the correct voltage because is is doing the Cu calculated voltage. So that is what it wants to do.

Use the advanced mode and reset as you have done and/or replace the unit.

BUT - when you disconnected the battery temp sensor, did you do by removing the wire at the regulator and did same NC for it when operating after, or did it still display a temp?
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Old 20-06-2022, 09:59   #6
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Re: Balmar ARS-5 Regulator Issues

Thanks both of you. Going back to the boat. Will check volts between black and red at battery and regulator, with ignition off and on. They must be the same, as the battery!
If not, I have to fix it.


Then reset the programming and disconnect both alt and temp sensors at the regulator and run it to see what happens.


Will advise.
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Old 20-06-2022, 10:17   #7
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Re: Balmar ARS-5 Regulator Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
Thanks both of you. Going back to the boat. Will check volts between black and red at battery and regulator, with ignition off and on. They must be the same, as the battery!
If not, I have to fix it.


Then reset the programming and disconnect both alt and temp sensors at the regulator and run it to see what happens.


Will advise.
I don't think there is any wire problem. The regulator says that it is doing the targeted voltage. So that is what it "thinks" it is suppose to do even though its' programmed voltage is less. Now if the batteries were at a lower voltage than the regulator says that would be a sense wire problem.

These regulators do "lose their minds" sometimes. I had one go into reduced output because it thought the alternator was hot, but there wasn't a sensor for the alternator. I kept as a spare and later reinstalled after a near lighting hit that fried the regulator. I had since installed an alternator sensor and now the old one worked fine.

BTW there is a factory reset than could be tired. You would then have to redo all you programing (I find it easier to do it on a bench with jumper wires). I don't remember how to do, but doubt it will work on a "lost mid" regulator
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Old 20-06-2022, 15:16   #8
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Re: Balmar ARS-5 Regulator Issues

Maybe a silly question, but have you checked the accuracy of your voltmeter?

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Old 20-06-2022, 15:52   #9
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Re: Balmar ARS-5 Regulator Issues

Good point. But the regulator displayed and target voltage match 15+ volt.
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Old 20-06-2022, 19:09   #10
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Re: Balmar ARS-5 Regulator Issues

Thanks everyone. Sailorboy, has this right. The voltage at the batteries is the same as the voltage measured at the regulator. Identical, there is no drop, not even .01 volts.

I also did the trouble shooting checks and measured at the battery, and those are consistent with a properly operating regulator, with the exception that I had to enter -b- bulk bv as 14.4v. If I have time tomorrow I will publish the detail measurements.
I did these measurements with the (2) 50w panels disconnected. When I checked the voltages at the regulator while charging with the solar panels reconnected, there was virtually no change discernible.

Because the Solar was active for several days beforehand, the Bulk -b- stage was fairly short, and I had a chance to see what -A- absorption produced, as a result I adjusted the Av down 0.3v and the float a similar amount.

I may try total factory reset at some point, but I will monitor these changes first. In the end I may just end up wiring my VSR Alternator Regulator by Al Thompson, but it would be nice if this worked for the summer.
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Old 24-06-2022, 08:32   #11
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Re: Balmar ARS-5 Regulator Issues

Problem: Bulk -b- was charging at 15.0v -15.1v
Cleaned and checked contacts at Alternator, Battery, Shunt, Regulator
Added direct Black from Blk Reg sense - to Battery negative
Removed Blk - sense wire from alternator to regulator

Had already removed Red + sense wire from alternator to regulator.
Had already added Red+ sense wire from Battery to regulator.

Bulk charging with no solar still was 15.0v - 15.1v
Tried resetting bv=14.8v by programming 14.0v and SAV and then programming bv=14.8v and SAV. No change. So then I programmed Bv=14.4v and it works.

ARS-5 Programmed
With Bv= 14.4v changed from Bv=14.8v

Test of Continuity
Batt +/- 14.36v
Reg red-blk 14.36v
Small Panel at Battery 14.36v
Solar Panels unplugged

Ignition off measure at regulator:
Blk - Red 13.81v
Blk - Blue (Field wire) 0v
Blk - Brown (Ign sw.) 21mv
at Batt neg-pos 13.81v
Solar unplugged

Ignition on, Eng not running, measure at regulator
Blk - Red 13.48v
Blk - Blue (Field wire) 9.8v
Blk - Brown (Ign sw.) 13.3v
at Batt neg-pos 13.3v
Solar unplugged

Ignition on, Engine 1300rpm, measure at regulator
Blk - Red 14.5v
Blk - Blue (Field wire) 14.1v
Blk - Brown (Ign sw.) 14.5v
at Batt neg-pos 14.55v
Solar unplugged

Ignition on, Engine 2000rpm, measure at regulator
Blk - Red 14.81v
Blk - Blue (Field wire) 4.71v
Blk - Brown (Ign sw.) 14.77v
at Batt neg-pos 14.85v
Solar unplugged

When went into absorption mode --A--
Engine 1600 rpm, measure at regulator
Blk-Red 14.75v
Blk-Blue 7.1v
Blk-Brn 14.72v
Batt +/- 14.77v
ARS-5 Screen
bv=14.6v
cv=14.6v
b1=20c (73.4f)

AL=54c (129 f) max set to 100c (212f) probably should be lower.
No solar

Then went into the ARS-5 advanced program
bv= 14.4v changed from Bv=14.8v
Av= 14.1v changed from Av=14.4v
Also lowered float.

Still working properly.
Then plugged in the solar and it was still working properly.
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Old 24-06-2022, 10:13   #12
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Re: Balmar ARS-5 Regulator Issues

Also changed Float Fv=13.1 from 13.5v everything else is the same as before.

I also have one other question related to the solar panels.
I have not yet purchased a Victron Smart MPPT 75/15 controller for the two SunPower 50w 20.5v panels which are wired in parallel with the battery. Instead I am using the two small Morningstar waterproof single stage controllers that are set at 14.1vdc.
The output I measure during a sunny day with a clamp meter around the panels positive wires is 2.4amps and 2.5amps.

The house battery bank that these are connected to is two Trojan 6vdc T105 batteries in series, rated at about 213 amps when new. The factory wants float charge to be 13.5v. but with these simple Morningstar one stage controllers it will be 14.1 when the sun shines. I will check the water level frequently, but would like to know if I should get that Victron now.

Are the two panels charging the batteries going to "cook" my house batteries? Should I disconnect one of the panels when we leave the boat on the mooring?
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Old 24-06-2022, 13:23   #13
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Re: Balmar ARS-5 Regulator Issues

Don't worry about the solar as long as you are checking the water regularly. Only downside really of higher "float" voltage is extra gassing. Consider leaving a light on for a very small load and the batteries/solar would be "cycling" open 24 hours.

Glad you found a work around for the regulator. But you know that means it is "questionable" as to its condition. Not a big problem really as long as you aren't going to be a a remote place long term where you could become dependent on it.
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Old 24-06-2022, 15:29   #14
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Re: Balmar ARS-5 Regulator Issues

Thanks Sailorboy.
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Old 04-07-2022, 04:54   #15
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Re: Balmar ARS-5 Regulator Issues

Now after a weeks use, charging the (2)T-105 fla up to -A- absorption (never to float) I have found that the scrolling display shows bv= 14.5 and Av=14.1 instead of 14.8 and 14.4 as intended.

This is weird, is the ARS-5 now acting properly without requiring my offset adjustment?

Can I now reprogram the ARS-5 for bv=14.8v and Av= 14.4v as intended?

I suppose I should remove the temp sensor leads at the regulator to be sure, but the alt=64c max and batts are 32c max.

What would cause this? Is it likely to happen again? I do not like it when this regulator tries to charge my batts at 15.0-15.1 v!!!

I am going to try resetting back to my original 14.8v setting for bulk bv and if that works, all is fine, but as soon as it starts bulk charging at 15v again, I will probably retire this regulator!
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