Cruisers Forum
 


Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 21-09-2021, 14:35   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 25
Balmar Regulator Output

I have a Balmar Regulator MC-614 which controls a 100 amp alternator feeding a single 440 AH battery bank (4 Trojan T-105s wired together).

The charging experience is a big improvement over what it replaced, but it still isn't what I had hoped for. I programmed the regulator according to the detailed suggestions from the Rod Collins website which was recommended by several sources. The regulator is in bulk mode for 30 min and then in absorption for 3 hours at 14.8 V, per Rod Collins.

With a Victron BMV indicating 73% SOC and a Balmar Smart Gauge showing 52% SOC, I was getting (according to the Victron) about 60A output 20 minutes into a charging session. In addition, the output would regularly drop to less than 30A and then return to the higher level, so the average was probably closer to 45A. Voltage would oscillate between 13.4V and 13.15V.

Given the state of charge, I would have expected a higher overall output (engine was running at 2000 rpm), but the cycling between a high and a low output is very puzzling. I would have expected that it would at least remain at the higher level considering the state of charge.

I'm curious what experience others have had with this regulator, which seems not to be as "smart" as I had hoped.
rha9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-09-2021, 15:16   #2
Registered User
 
Stu Jackson's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Cowichan Bay, BC (Maple Bay Marina)
Posts: 9,060
Re: Balmar Regulator Output

Quote:
Originally Posted by rha9 View Post
...................
.................................................. ...


Given the state of charge, I would have expected a higher overall output (engine was running at 2000 rpm), but the cycling between a high and a low output is very puzzling. I would have expected that it would at least remain at the higher level considering the state of charge.

I'm curious what experience others have had with this regulator, which seems not to be as "smart" as I had hoped.

I have an mc612, earlier version of your mc614, and fort purposes of this discussion, identical.


Do you have temperature sensors installed? If so that answers the high & low output - something's getting warm.


You "programmed" it per Maine Sail's website. Does this mean you're using amp or belt manager? If so, you've already turned down the A output. What is it set for? IIRC, MS includes a belt manager turn down, at least in his writeup, I forgot the How To Program stuff 'cuz there are so many, and I read it a long time ago when first published and know how to work mine, his settings don't agree with how I use mine, and I also use Small Engine Mode. I've written about that here, often. Two different approaches to operation. Both are valid and work.



You should record and report the start bulk AO, not just after a while.


FYI, the acceptance of a nominal 400 ah bank when first begin charged at from 50-70% SOC is anywhere between 50 and 75A, for a short period before V starts rising, A starts tapering. You may well have been getting more on startup. Good idea to find out, ya think?



I don't think you have a problem, it may be the way you think you understand how it works.


FWIW, I read the manual a LOT of times before I "got it all."


Actually, I keep my 100A alternator at 60A or even lower to avoid overheating. It's lasted a long time.


If you could answer my questions, I think you'll see you're in fine shape.
__________________
Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
Stu Jackson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-09-2021, 15:19   #3
Registered User
 
lateral's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: NZ
Boat: S34 Bob Stewart - 1959 Patiki class. Re--built by me & good mate.
Posts: 1,022
Re: Balmar Regulator Output

FWIW, I have a similar setup minus Victron BMV. My alternator is putting out similar amps at same approx SOC, which I think is typical for FLA. Except mine does not drop to <30A periodically I suspect because it is force cooled and your temp protection circuit is cutting in. I am suspicious of the accuracy of the SG200 for SOC, (SOH is definitely erroneous) so not necessarily an accurate deduction.
What have you set belt manager to?
" about 60A output 20 minutes into a charging session."
So how long does it stay at >90A ? Mine at ~70% SOC, bulk last a few minutes (>90A) then slowly comes back as EMF of battery comes up to somewhere around 60A at 30mins.
I see Stu beat me to it, he definitely has more experience anyways!
lateral is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-09-2021, 15:30   #4
Registered User
 
NYSail's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Long Island, New York
Boat: Beneteau 423 43 feet
Posts: 693
Re: Balmar Regulator Output

I have a 150 balmar with mc614 regulator. Bought from Rod as well. Have the papers at the boat but pretty sure my bulk is 1 hour at least. Have my clocked down to a 130 amps I think…….house bank is 4 Trojan 6volt 125s 12 volt system…. Charges like a charm.

Did you set charging voltage as per Trojan for bulk absorb and float?

Greg
NYSail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-09-2021, 18:23   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 25
Re: Balmar Regulator Output

Thanks to all for the knowledgeable feedback. Yes I do have the temp sensors on both the batteries and the alternator. I thought this might be the issue with the cycling, but after such a short period of time I did not think that would be a factor. Not sure what limits I have on the temp sensors, perhaps they are too restrictive? I will need to check that. Any suggestions on this would be appreciated.

I had thought about increasing the time on the bulk cycle, perhaps that would help. When the batteries are at a lower state of charge the longer bulk cycle is what you want of course, but when they are close to full charge I am concerned that this could be a problem. There are many times that you need the engine to go somewhere when the batteries are close to a full charge, and too long a bulk cycle in those situations could be problematic I would think. I guess that could be addressed by installing the small engine control to cut out the alternator output in those situations.

Regarding the belt manager, yes I do have that active but I do not remember at what level. I am aware of the danger of running the alternator at too high an output, but I thought that something like 80A from a 100A alternator for 1 hour or so was a reasonable expectation at a 50% SOC without running the risk of damage, but perhaps this is too optimistic.

Speaking of "smart" regulators, apparently a new regulator from Wakespeed controls the alternator by measuring the actual current charging rate unlike the Balmar (or any other regulator). It was developed by Balmar alumni I believe and I have heard very good things about it.
rha9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-09-2021, 05:16   #6
Senior Cruiser
 
GordMay's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 43,571
Images: 241
Re: Balmar Regulator Output

Quote:
Originally Posted by rha9 View Post
... Speaking of "smart" regulators, apparently a new regulator from Wakespeed controls the alternator by measuring the actual current charging rate unlike the Balmar (or any other regulator). It was developed by Balmar alumni I believe and I have heard very good things about it.
Very interesting.


How Wakespeed’s WS500 alternator regulator solves complex charging issues
https://panbo.com/how-wakespeeds-ws5...-new-approach/

According to Wakespeed Offshore:
“... The WS500 is the only alternator regulator available that can utilize current, voltage and temperature to deliver the most precise and effective charging possible for 12V, 24V and 48V battery systems – with configurability for voltages in between – making it the perfect solution for charging lead acid based, or new generation LiFePo4 lithium ion battery banks..."
Wakespeed Products

"... The WS500 uses a unique approach to charge control by factoring multiple criteria – battery voltage, current in, current out, battery temperature, alternator temperature – to create a smarter approach to battery care..."
http://wakespeed.com/WS500%20data%20sheet%20web.pdf

http://wakespeed.com/WS500%20Users%20Manual.pdf

http://wakespeed.com/Wakespeed%20%20...e%20v2.4.3.pdf
__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22-09-2021, 09:04   #7
Registered User
 
Stu Jackson's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Cowichan Bay, BC (Maple Bay Marina)
Posts: 9,060
Re: Balmar Regulator Output

Quote:
Originally Posted by rha9 View Post
Thanks to all for the knowledgeable feedback. Yes I do have the temp sensors on both the batteries and the alternator. I thought this might be the issue with the cycling, but after such a short period of time I did not think that would be a factor. Not sure what limits I have on the temp sensors, perhaps they are too restrictive? I will need to check that. Any suggestions on this would be appreciated.

You're welcome.
Short period of time? Hardly. Why? Because when you first start using the alternator to charge is when it is doing its MAXIMUM AO. And when it will be hottest. You can see this in the Balmar regulator's manual, the graph of the charging regimen. WADR, this is Charging Basics 101.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rha9 View Post
I had thought about increasing the time on the bulk cycle, perhaps that would help. When the batteries are at a lower state of charge the longer bulk cycle is what you want of course, but when they are close to full charge I am concerned that this could be a problem. There are many times that you need the engine to go somewhere when the batteries are close to a full charge, and too long a bulk cycle in those situations could be problematic I would think. I guess that could be addressed by installing the small engine control to cut out the alternator output in those situations.

Not true in reality based on how the THREE STAGE charging regimen works. Again, please read how the regulator works, right in the manual. Essentially, regardless of the charging times, the regulator checks Bv against Cv, doesn't it? Here's an example: you leave the dock with a fully charged bank. If the Bv>Cv it will cut back the Cv. Voltage is the only thing the regulator can see. It keeps checking on the differences, and will go to float V and will not overcharge your batteries. Only too high a V can overcharge batteries. If the Bv<Cv it keeps the higher voltage until the bank gets up to the Cv based on the stage it is in. Again Basics 101 of charging for this regulator. It's a tad smarter than an egg timer shorepower charger.

When I sailed (99% motored) from SF to BC in 2016, we sometimes ran 13 hours in a day. After the Bv reached the Cv the Cv cut back to float and the bank was happy being in float and running the fridge, stereo, VHF and autopilot. Just like the manual said it does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rha9 View Post
Regarding the belt manager, yes I do have that active but I do not remember at what level. I am aware of the danger of running the alternator at too high an output, but I thought that something like 80A from a 100A alternator for 1 hour or so was a reasonable expectation at a 50% SOC without running the risk of damage, but perhaps this is too optimistic.
Didn't you write the settings down like Maine Sail told you to do? If you used his settings, don't you have them? 80A from a 100A alternator WILL get it hot, you should shoot for 60A or so to keep it cool, which is what you seem to have done, and even then might be getting it too hot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rha9 View Post
Speaking of "smart" regulators, apparently a new regulator from Wakespeed controls the alternator by measuring the actual current charging rate unlike the Balmar (or any other regulator). It was developed by Balmar alumni I believe and I have heard very good things about it.

Gord posted it. I haven't read the details. If it has a shunt, that's how it works. But if you learn how to properly use what you have, the new one isn't significantly better. Better, but not significantly.

Please re-read the mc614 manual.
__________________
Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
Stu Jackson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-09-2021, 19:46   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: canada
Posts: 3,763
Re: Balmar Regulator Output

first the victron does not tell you alternator output. it tells you net house bank amps.

some of the amps are going to the engine battery (assuming an ACR or isolator) and amps are going to loads. so 60a net into battery isn't too far off for a 100a alt depending on what's running.

the cylcing could be from an ACR. is the alt direct to the house bank or engine bank? where is the voltage sense wire connected too?

or it could be from the heat sensor. cutting in and out. I never run an alt at 100% and always turn down the belt manager to 2 or 3. you can read the alt temp on the mc614 screen and you can see if it's high enough to cut it off and on.
smac999 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-09-2021, 18:24   #9
Registered User
 
rgleason's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Boston, MA
Boat: 1981 Bristol 32 Sloop
Posts: 15,425
Re: Balmar Regulator Output

Quote:
I haven't read the details.(Wakespeed) If it has a shunt, that's how it works
Yes it does.
rgleason is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
balmar, regulator

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How to Properly Program Balmar 614 and High Output Alt zboss Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 7 01-05-2018 19:03
Balmar 614 regulator / Balmar Alternator help Strait Shooter Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 16 25-08-2015 13:08
Balmar MC-614-H/regulator/no field output daboulton Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 7 13-07-2013 05:20
For Sale: Balmar 100 amp Hi output alternator sailguy2004 Classifieds Archive 1 01-04-2012 14:41
High Output Alternators - Look Out Balmar ! Jamel Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 11 24-01-2012 22:05

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:02.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.