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Old 03-05-2021, 16:08   #1
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One more alternator question

A Balmar 100 amp alternator costs somewhere north of $800. An unknown brand (Hollywood) 80 amp alternator at Budget Marine is $250. I am a big believer in "you get what you pay for" but are Balmar alternators THAT much better?
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Old 03-05-2021, 16:12   #2
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Re: One more alternator question

Run a 100 amp Balmar @ 100 amps for an hour....it lives.

Run a run of the mill 100 amp alternator for an hour at 100 amps it typically does.

There are other “hot rated” alternator builders but how much do you want to chance it?
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Old 03-05-2021, 17:07   #3
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Re: One more alternator question

Quote:
Originally Posted by callistov42 View Post
A Balmar 100 amp alternator costs somewhere north of $800. An unknown brand (Hollywood) 80 amp alternator at Budget Marine is $250. I am a big believer in "you get what you pay for" but are Balmar alternators THAT much better?
What Sailmonkey posted +1 although I THINK he had a typo and meant to say 'Run a run of the mill 100 amp alternator for an hour at 100 amps it typically doesn't'

Also, a rough rule of thumb - compare the weight (and general size) of a 'hot rated' alternator to that of the run of the mill alternator. Much of the additional weight is in the larger gauge copper windings. Heavier (and bigger) is better, way better for heat dissipation.
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Old 03-05-2021, 17:08   #4
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Re: One more alternator question

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.
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Old 03-05-2021, 18:54   #5
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Re: One more alternator question

I had a Balmar alternator with the ext regulator on my previous boat. Engine had 3000hrs of use when I sold it and never had a problem with it. I now bought a Balmar xt170amp with and external regular and could not be any happier . I could not find the equivalent alternator on the Prestolite website.

Abe
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Old 03-05-2021, 19:18   #6
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Re: One more alternator question

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Originally Posted by callistov42 View Post
A Balmar 100 amp alternator costs somewhere north of $800. An unknown brand (Hollywood) 80 amp alternator at Budget Marine is $250. I am a big believer in "you get what you pay for" but are Balmar alternators THAT much better?

A $100 bottle of wine is not 5x as good as a $20 bottle of wine.


With Balmar you get: isolated ground, larger diodes, heavier windings, cool looking white paint. They use the CS130 and AD244 GM/Delco cases and rotors on the common sizes of their products.


If you want the extra 15% or so of output you can get by hand-winding the stator with square wire then they'll give you that for a price, but it's going to be way more than a 15% upcharge.


If you run your engine 15% less as a result maybe it's worth it.
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Old 04-05-2021, 03:38   #7
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Re: One more alternator question

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A $100 bottle of wine is not 5x as good as a $20 bottle of wine.

.


Maybe. But wine cannot be compared with controlled tests as one can do with alternators. Primarily because there is no accounting for taste.
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Old 04-05-2021, 08:51   #8
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Re: One more alternator question

I have an industrial, small frame, 200 amp, brushless alternator that happily puts out 185 amps for an hour without getting hot.

I paid $350 CAD.
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Old 04-05-2021, 08:59   #9
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Re: One more alternator question

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I have an industrial, small frame, 200 amp, brushless alternator that happily puts out 185 amps for an hour without getting hot.

I paid $350 CAD.
Tell us more, make, model, where bought.

I have burned up Balmar alternator stators repeatedly over the years. Better than standard alternators but not goo enough.
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Old 04-05-2021, 09:01   #10
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Re: One more alternator question

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I have an industrial, small frame, 200 amp, brushless alternator that happily puts out 185 amps for an hour without getting hot.

I paid $350 CAD.
Can you provide details please? Make, model, where to buy?
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Old 04-05-2021, 09:25   #11
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Re: One more alternator question

All-Tek Industrial in Lloydminster, Alberta.
Very easy to deal with.

CH-12200-SS-6G, $320 + freight. A couple of years ago so prices may have changed.

The frame is a tad larger than the OEM one on my Westerbeke but a little tweaking of the mount and it fits fine.

I had a local machine shop make new pulleys for a 6 tooth belt.

The only thing I'd do differently is to leave out the internal regulator.
I had the internal one removed and added a W-100 external regulator that has a Firefly setting.
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:14   #12
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Re: One more alternator question

I have had problems with Balmars as well. I currently have a brand new Balmar HO 160 amp installed and am today replacing it with a Electro Maax HO 250amp (external)remote rectifier alternator. I'm hoping to have no more high output cooling issues, as I have experienced with the Balmars. The high heat leads to failure.
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:38   #13
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Re: One more alternator question

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.
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:38   #14
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Re: One more alternator question

K type rated work fine as a Balmar replacement. Try school bus or ambulance ones.
Balmar is good but way overpriced.

Having remote diodes can help longevity and is sometimes a cost effective alternative.
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:45   #15
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Re: One more alternator question

I have used Balmar Alternators for 35 years. Several times they have failed. I usually have them rebuilt, and that has been done is very third world countries, successfully, I might add. All together I have bought three new ones since 1993.

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. I use a temp sensor. I am charging my batteries with the main engine and these Balmars get a workout. I've been doing this since I started cruising, same engine, same approach. It works for me but I have to carry two spare alternators (and one spare regulator) to make sure I have enough back-up.

Of course there is a cost associated with this approach but it saves weight and complexity.

Now I might look at alternate sources other than Balmar, (since I have been reading about them on this forum).
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