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Old 04-05-2021, 10:57   #16
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Re: One more alternator question

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I'd really like to know more about this. We have a Westerbeke 71C with the standard/factory supplied alternator. I want to upgrade it to something more suitable for charging a 440 Ah house bank. That will likely include adding a serpentine pulley system.
I'm not familiar with your installation.

If you have the room a used ambulance/ firetruck big frame is the best.

I don't have the space unless I mount it below the engine and I didn't want to get into the complexity of mounting one there.

It was cheaper to have pulleys made than buying a kit and modifying the brackets was cheap.
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Old 04-05-2021, 11:07   #17
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Re: One more alternator question

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Balmar gets its alternators from Prestolite and marks them up by a factor of 4 or so. I have run 100 amp alternators costing $200 for decades by limiting them to 60 amps. I also have friends whose Balmars had died.

I had a Balmar alternator sitting in a dry place under a settee, and the bearings froze after about a year. I don't think the bearing materials are any different than an automotive alternator. And the Balmar 100A alternator never produced more than 70A.
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Old 04-05-2021, 11:31   #18
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Re: One more alternator question

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Originally Posted by waterman46 View Post
I had a Balmar alternator sitting in a dry place under a settee, and the bearings froze after about a year. I don't think the bearing materials are any different than an automotive alternator. And the Balmar 100A alternator never produced more than 70A.
I keep my spare alternators (1 Balmar 110 amp and 1 Hitachi 80 amp) in sealed plastic bags in a locker aft. I have swapped them in and out of service every few years when my main alternator fails (which is does) and I have never had any problems with the spares when putting them into service. My main alternator is a 90 series Balmar 130 amp. I've been using it (this one) and reusing it for about 20 years. I like it because it runs cooler than the newer ones, but it is not available any longer.

I have only a 450 AH house battery and I have set the Balmar AR5s regulator to bulk charge at 14.6 volts. When I initially start the engine with the batteries, when down to about 12v, I see well over 100 amps, I guess about 110amps (its a meter, not digital). After 10 minutes it is down below 100 amps and it runs around 95 amps for an hour. I often run the engine for 1.5 hours per day to charge. I think this is heavy usage.

These things (Balmar alternators and regulators) don't last forever but in my opinion they do what they are advertised to do. I have had failures and I have found the service for consulting and repair/replacement to be excellent.

I may look at a cheaper one next time I need one, and that is mostly a financial issue.
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Old 04-05-2021, 13:31   #19
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Re: One more alternator question

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My problem is that I need a small frame alternator to fit my Yanmar and I like them to put out 100 amps so I have them cranked up.

This is the essence of the problem. To fit the stock space the biggest you can use is a nominal 130mm diameter case, such as the Delco CS130D, Delco CS230, and Balmar 9 series and XT series. Of these only the Balmar one comes with a Yanmar dual-foot mount.



The more room you have, the more choices there are. The Balmar "AT" series is what the automotive industry calls "large frame" with a nominal case diameter of 144 mm. There are numerous sources for high-amp versions of the Delco AD244 as they are widely used for offroad and ambulance applications. But again the 3.15" dual foot mount isn't widely available. And on some boats you'll hit the side of the engine enclosure.


The Prestolite AVI150 series is available in 3.15" dual foot and might fit Yanmars. Who knows, it's larger diameter. It would be an engineering project. They come in 24v 180 amp, among other configurations: https://www.prestolite.com/pgs_produ...=AVI150S1108HP


There's one on ebay now for $2300, in Austria, and there's a 150 amp version that is I think $1000.
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Old 04-05-2021, 14:44   #20
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Re: One more alternator question

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...The Prestolite AVI150 series is available in 3.15" dual foot and might fit Yanmars. Who knows, it's larger diameter. It would be an engineering project. They come in 24v 180 amp, among other configurations: https://www.prestolite.com/pgs_produ...=AVI150S1108HP

There's one on ebay now for $2300, in Austria, and there's a 150 amp version that is I think $1000.
Did I mention that I am financially constrained?
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Old 04-05-2021, 14:56   #21
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Re: One more alternator question

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Did I mention that I am financially constrained?
Did you look at All-Tek?

Mine is 2 years old and works flawlessly.
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Old 04-05-2021, 15:16   #22
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Re: One more alternator question

https://www.nationsstarteralternator...p/al9960lh.htm

https://www.boschautoparts.com/docum...6-6f96aed6eedc

Might work for you. You would need to rewire for an external regulator. These are designed for long high amp, high temp usages. Bosch makes good stuff. NB the foot would need a 1/2" spacer and a longer bottom bolt assuming you have a 3.5 dual foot.
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Old 04-05-2021, 15:43   #23
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Re: One more alternator question

There are plenty of well priced alternators out there without the 'recreational boater' $ surcharge that put out serious amps continuously and meant for thousands of hours untouched.
Large frame alternators of the school bus, emergency vehicle family are a good bet. I ran my last boat with two Prestolite (one main engine, one Kubota generator unit) 24v 140A and they would do it all day for many years. As well as battery charging, they supplied all 240v power through inverter for air conditioning in tropics so could have serious load for 24 hrs a day. 12 years and couldn't kill them even with a dead short due to a burst seawater coolant hose that burnt the belts off both. Only drawback was with Kubota unit that pulled that much power putting out big amps at an idle that it would stall a cold engine. Easily sorted with a delay relay in excitation between regulator and main unit. Adjustable internal regulator but easily fitted with external regulator that so many people seem to like to complicate their life with.

Current boat has Cummins QSB 5.9 engines with el cheapo 100 A, 60 A after no time on charge and no room for big frame alternators. Fitted Delco (US manufacture, not Chinese made or knock off). Found a bracket to suit different mount and fitted 28SI 160 A, well proven industrially for thousands of hours. Puts out 160-120 amps for hours to bring batteries up, doesn't get hot and no issues after 400 hours.

But it is all kept simple, original Balmar dual alternator set up in bin, one engine house batteries, other anchor winch, thrusters own battery and charger, batteries on old boat FLA, new boat AGM.

IMHO most alternator damage is done at idle when left to idle to 'warm up' with batteries down and alternator flat chat at max and very low rpm. Similarly, idling when pulling anchor. I always warm engines when batteries are down at a high idle and similar when pulling anchor. Not going to hurt the engines and gives the alternators a chance.

I have to agree with one of the earlier comments that you get what you pay for and weight and country of manufacture are a good indication of what you are getting. We all dream of the super bargain but robust quality things have a price.

With lots of things, I always look to industrial applications which are similar and there are usually well proven solutions with very competitive pricing in a big market rather than the relatively small recreational marine market.
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