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Old 01-01-2016, 15:58   #1
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Volvo Penta Alternator Regulation By Mastervolt Alpha Pro II

I thought I would share how to connect a Mastervolt Alpha Pro Alternator Regulator to a Volvo Penta with MDI electrical control system.

The internal regulation of the alternator needs to be removed and two field wire connections added.

An additional Oil Pressure switch ( Normally Open ) needs to be added to the Volvo Penta to provide a signal to the MDI when the engine is running. Without this the MDI will give alarms. I needed to add an extension to fit the Oil Pressure Switch.

The temperature sensor should be strapped to the alternator housing and connected to the Mastervolt Alpha Pro. I have a Mastervolt Shunt that has a temperature sensor on the batteries. This enables the Mastervolt system to monitor both the alternator and battery temperatures.

This set up has worked really well for me.

Attached are wiring diagrams and photos of the set up.

Hope this is of assistance
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Old 02-01-2016, 02:57   #2
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Re: Volvo Penta Alternator Regulation By Mastervolt Alpha Pro II

Good setup.
I also have an Dual setup with the Mastervolt Alpha Pro II combined with Balmar AT200 and the Balmar 60-150-sr-ig.

Many alternators are setup to be regulated on the Postive+ side.
The Alpha Pro II is regulating the alternator from the Negative- side.
But it is often easy to modify the alternator from + reg to - reg.

The Alpha Pro II is also great for LIFEPO4, as it can be configures just the way you want using an USB interface.

You know the yello wire is for the "charge lamp". I wounder if you can connect thus to the MDI instead of an relay. That way you get an error message when the Alpha Pro II is given an error.

Also I recommend connecting the white wire to the W output of the alternator.
Then the Alpha Pro II can read the RPM of the engine. This is useful if you have an really large alternator and what to limit the output on low RPM.

The REG ON is also the SENSE wire. Its important that no other load is connected to this wire. I found that even if you have an Mastershunt connected, it still uses the reading on the sens wire. I wrote to Mastervolt asking about this, but never got an reply.

In my 1000AH Lifepo4 setup i let the BMS control the REG on signal
So in an high voltage event, it will not only disconnect the battery, it will safely shut down the alternators also turning of the regulators.

When it comes to the temp sensor on the alternator, i found it difficult to get an correct reading using the Mastervolt sensor. The alternator would reach 120`C (using an handheld IR meeter) and the Alpha Pro II would only read about 85`C. Dont understand why they put an rubber layer around the sensor.

Anyway of the alternator is running to hot, especially in an LIFEPO4 setup then you can reduce the output using the "small engine" mode.
I configured it to give maximum output at 5500 RPM. Of course this will never happen so the output is permanently limited. I get about 250A out of 350A in this way, at 2300 RPM.


Using an Masterbus->NMEA2000 interface you can send all kinds of information to your display.

Volt Batt 1 (service)
Amp Batt 1 (service)
SOC Batt 1 (service)
Temp Alt 1
Field curr Alt 1

Volt Batt 2 (Start)
Amp Batt 2 (Start)
SOC Batt 2 (Start)
Temp Alt 2
Field curr Alt 2
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:24   #3
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Re: Volvo Penta Alternator Regulation By Mastervolt Alpha Pro II

Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterplan View Post
I thought I would share how to connect a Mastervolt Alpha Pro Alternator Regulator to a Volvo Penta with MDI electrical control system.

The internal regulation of the alternator needs to be removed and two field wire connections added.

An additional Oil Pressure switch ( Normally Open ) needs to be added to the Volvo Penta to provide a signal to the MDI when the engine is running. Without this the MDI will give alarms. I needed to add an extension to fit the Oil Pressure Switch.

The temperature sensor should be strapped to the alternator housing and connected to the Mastervolt Alpha Pro. I have a Mastervolt Shunt that has a temperature sensor on the batteries. This enables the Mastervolt system to monitor both the alternator and battery temperatures.

This set up has worked really well for me.

Attached are wiring diagrams and photos of the set up.

Hope this is of assistance
Many thanks for that. Very interesting as I was thinking about the same setup. One question I have, from your experience do you think the alternator manages to keep up high charging currents for extended periods without the temperature circuit dialling the alternator down because of overheating of the alternator. I'm wondering because the alternator is just a standard automotive alternator that may not have been designed to handle those loads for long periods of time.
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:33   #4
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Re: Volvo Penta Alternator Regulation By Mastervolt Alpha Pro II

Is it me or does it look like the isolation on the internal wires have been a bit hot here..?
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Old 12-09-2016, 02:03   #5
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Re: Volvo Penta Alternator Regulation By Mastervolt Alpha Pro II

Quote:
Originally Posted by offpist View Post
Good setup.
I also have an Dual setup with the Mastervolt Alpha Pro II combined with Balmar AT200 and the Balmar 60-150-sr-ig.

Many alternators are setup to be regulated on the Postive+ side.
The Alpha Pro II is regulating the alternator from the Negative- side.
But it is often easy to modify the alternator from + reg to - reg.

The Alpha Pro II is also great for LIFEPO4, as it can be configures just the way you want using an USB interface.

You know the yello wire is for the "charge lamp". I wounder if you can connect thus to the MDI instead of an relay. That way you get an error message when the Alpha Pro II is given an error.

Also I recommend connecting the white wire to the W output of the alternator.
Then the Alpha Pro II can read the RPM of the engine. This is useful if you have an really large alternator and what to limit the output on low RPM.

The REG ON is also the SENSE wire. Its important that no other load is connected to this wire. I found that even if you have an Mastershunt connected, it still uses the reading on the sens wire. I wrote to Mastervolt asking about this, but never got an reply.

In my 1000AH Lifepo4 setup i let the BMS control the REG on signal
So in an high voltage event, it will not only disconnect the battery, it will safely shut down the alternators also turning of the regulators.

When it comes to the temp sensor on the alternator, i found it difficult to get an correct reading using the Mastervolt sensor. The alternator would reach 120`C (using an handheld IR meeter) and the Alpha Pro II would only read about 85`C. Dont understand why they put an rubber layer around the sensor.

Anyway of the alternator is running to hot, especially in an LIFEPO4 setup then you can reduce the output using the "small engine" mode.
I configured it to give maximum output at 5500 RPM. Of course this will never happen so the output is permanently limited. I get about 250A out of 350A in this way, at 2300 RPM.


Using an Masterbus->NMEA2000 interface you can send all kinds of information to your display.

Volt Batt 1 (service)
Amp Batt 1 (service)
SOC Batt 1 (service)
Temp Alt 1
Field curr Alt 1

Volt Batt 2 (Start)
Amp Batt 2 (Start)
SOC Batt 2 (Start)
Temp Alt 2
Field curr Alt 2


How do you use your Alphapro N-type on your p-type alternator?? What kind of modification you need to do? Thanks
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Old 16-09-2016, 09:00   #6
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Re: Volvo Penta Alternator Regulation By Mastervolt Alpha Pro II

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nouv-vague View Post
How do you use your Alphapro N-type on your p-type alternator?? What kind of modification you need to do? Thanks
Mastervolt confirmed me that all recent alpha pro (in plastic case) are P-Type... so i am back to square 1... I do not have enough current (the Voltage is OK) to trigger my alternator while a much cheaper regulator (Balmar BRS-2T) does the job... Is there another cause possible than the regulator is defect (brand new)? How can I check if it is really the regulator?
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Old 17-09-2016, 01:17   #7
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Re: Volvo Penta Alternator Regulation By Mastervolt Alpha Pro II

Any P type alternator can probably be converted to N type easy.
I have only done two different Balmar and one Hitachi.

One of the brushes is connected to ground now, and you move it to positive instead. If you do not understand any of this, its better to get some help.
An alternator service store should be able to do this for an low price.
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Old 23-01-2018, 02:05   #8
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Re: Volvo Penta Alternator Regulation By Mastervolt Alpha Pro II

Opening this thread again.

I'm currently installing LiFePO4 batteries into my boat and updating the electrical system.

Since I already have a mastervolt/masterbus system onboard (easyview, chargers, shunts) I decided early to go for the Alpha Pro regulator to better control the alternator charging. Ive used google numerous times and every time I end up at this forum and this thread. The Alpha Pro regulator is now on its way

I have a fairly new VP D1-30. I don't want to modify the existing Mitsubishi 115A alternator by disabling the internal regulator and also get a little bit more punch when charging I have ordered a Balmar 150A alternator.

The model is 604-150-K6, I hope this will fit without any modifications. The only thing is the fact that this alternator is a P-type and the Alpha Pro regulator is an N-type regulator.

It would be fantastic to hear how easy it is to convert a Balmar from P-type to N-type (@offpist)

Quote:
Any P type alternator can probably be converted to N type easy.
I have only done two different Balmar and one Hitachi.
Ping @offpist

Thank you
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Old 02-02-2018, 11:25   #9
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Re: Volvo Penta Alternator Regulation By Mastervolt Alpha Pro II

Peder,

When you receive your regulator from your supplier, check it- it may already be a P type.

FYI, we have just signed up Odelco in Sweden as a distributor, in fact, I will be there next week to give them some training on our products.

FYI, the MC series Balmar regulators work with LIFEPO4 just fine. You can start with the LIFEPO4 profile now included with new regulators, and then tweak based on your own cell/battery specifications. While the LIFEPO4 profile is new, the MC-614/24 has played nicely with LIFEPO4 from the get go. My wife and I cruised with such a setup back in 2011-13, way before I joined Balmar.

Chris

Quote:
Originally Posted by peder.berglund View Post
Opening this thread again.

I'm currently installing LiFePO4 batteries into my boat and updating the electrical system.

Since I already have a mastervolt/masterbus system onboard (easyview, chargers, shunts) I decided early to go for the Alpha Pro regulator to better control the alternator charging. Ive used google numerous times and every time I end up at this forum and this thread. The Alpha Pro regulator is now on its way

I have a fairly new VP D1-30. I don't want to modify the existing Mitsubishi 115A alternator by disabling the internal regulator and also get a little bit more punch when charging I have ordered a Balmar 150A alternator.

The model is 604-150-K6, I hope this will fit without any modifications. The only thing is the fact that this alternator is a P-type and the Alpha Pro regulator is an N-type regulator.

It would be fantastic to hear how easy it is to convert a Balmar from P-type to N-type (@offpist)



Ping @offpist

Thank you
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Old 02-02-2018, 23:07   #10
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Re: Volvo Penta Alternator Regulation By Mastervolt Alpha Pro II

The mastervolt regulator is allways N regulated and the Balmar 604-150-K6 has n built in P regulator so it WILL need to be modified to make it work.

Now, i have seen some take out the whole regulator and connect directly to the brushes, but thats not necessary.

The positive side is available on the BLU wire, this is Field +.
Them you need the Field - and for this you open the black cover and you disconnect the black wire running from Bat- to the brushes and there you solider your own wire and run it out the black cover. This is now your Field - where you can connect an Mastervolt or any other N-Regulator.

Its an 10 minute job really, and can easily be reversed if you need to to that one day.

For the Balmar AT200 and AT160 its similar remove wire from brush to minus and instead put it on Plus.

BTW, make sure the mastervolt regulator has SW version 1,08 or newer.
It now has an dedicated setting called "maximum output" that run from 0 to 100%. This makes it really easy to setup the alternator in Lifepo4 to make sure it does not overheat. I would start at 50% and monitor the temp.. then gradually go higher.
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Old 05-02-2018, 05:27   #11
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Re: Volvo Penta Alternator Regulation By Mastervolt Alpha Pro II

Quote:
Originally Posted by witzgall View Post
Peder,

When you receive your regulator from your supplier, check it- it may already be a P type.

FYI, we have just signed up Odelco in Sweden as a distributor, in fact, I will be there next week to give them some training on our products.

FYI, the MC series Balmar regulators work with LIFEPO4 just fine. You can start with the LIFEPO4 profile now included with new regulators, and then tweak based on your own cell/battery specifications. While the LIFEPO4 profile is new, the MC-614/24 has played nicely with LIFEPO4 from the get go. My wife and I cruised with such a setup back in 2011-13, way before I joined Balmar.

Chris
Hi Chris,

Many thanks for your reply. As stated by Offpist, the Mastervolt regulator is an N-type regulator so I need to modify the alt. to provide a positive feed to the rotor.

I looked at the Balmar regulators and they look awesome but since Im already stuck with all the mastervolt gear I went with the MV regulator since it will use my shunt to control the charging based on SOC, batt temp etc.

Good to hear that you working with Odelco, I talked to them a couple of times and they seems to be very will up to date around charging systems for LiFe batteries.

Thanks again Chris

Quote:
Originally Posted by offpist View Post
The mastervolt regulator is allways N regulated and the Balmar 604-150-K6 has n built in P regulator so it WILL need to be modified to make it work.

Now, i have seen some take out the whole regulator and connect directly to the brushes, but thats not necessary.

The positive side is available on the BLU wire, this is Field +.
Them you need the Field - and for this you open the black cover and you disconnect the black wire running from Bat- to the brushes and there you solider your own wire and run it out the black cover. This is now your Field - where you can connect an Mastervolt or any other N-Regulator.

Its an 10 minute job really, and can easily be reversed if you need to to that one day.

For the Balmar AT200 and AT160 its similar remove wire from brush to minus and instead put it on Plus.

BTW, make sure the mastervolt regulator has SW version 1,08 or newer.
It now has an dedicated setting called "maximum output" that run from 0 to 100%. This makes it really easy to setup the alternator in Lifepo4 to make sure it does not overheat. I would start at 50% and monitor the temp.. then gradually go higher.
Thank you Offpist for your reply! This confirms my plan how to modify the alt.

My only change would be to put the positive feed where the grounding used to be, just to get the color coding correct (blue = Field-) but I'm not sure if this requires me to remove the internal regulator completely.

I manged to get the latest 1.09 firmware from Mastervolt for the regulator. Except from that I must say that Mastervolt really lacks customer support. Most emails are ignored.

Thank you again for sharing your experience, really appreciate it!

Kind Regards
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:35   #12
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Re: Volvo Penta Alternator Regulation By Mastervolt Alpha Pro II

I would not attempt to reverse polarity on the blue wire like that, it could ruin the internal regulator of the Balmar.

I am still very happy with the performance of the Mastervolt regulator and how it works together with LIFEPO4.

To upgrade FW you dont really need to contact Mastervolt directly it can be done by the local dealer.
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Old 05-02-2018, 10:11   #13
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Re: Volvo Penta Alternator Regulation By Mastervolt Alpha Pro II

To reverse the polarity I would remove the regulator, I'm just not sure if this can be done easily, I will now by the end of the week when I have the alternator.

Good to hear that you have good experience using the Alpha Pro regulator.

Regarding the firmware, I have not bought the regulator from a local dealer. Not sure why the firmwares ar not generally available.

I've heard there are vendors who actually make the firmware's available on their homepage.
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Old 26-02-2018, 13:24   #14
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Re: Volvo Penta Alternator Regulation By Mastervolt Alpha Pro II

Just a quick update. I have now modified the alternator. I removed the internal regulator completely simply because I found no use of keeping it there. Its a P-type regulator and cant be used without sonme welding has to be done

I installed a connector to ge tthe W cable along with the two field wires so I can easily disconnect the alpha pro if necessary. I also have my original 115A alternator as spare if needed.

Two questions for you pro's:

1. Can I simply connect the MDI 7 (VP sense wire) to the D+ output of the alpha pro (yellow)? The only thing this cable does is to meassure the voltage. If the voltadge stays below 13V or over 15V for more than 10 seconds when engine is running it will set off the battery alarm.

2. I plan to connect the Reg On (brown) to the ignition but is it better to actually install an oil preassure switch to make sure the alpha pro is only fired up when the engine is running?

Some pictures attached
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Old 18-04-2018, 09:10   #15
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Re: Volvo Penta Alternator Regulation By Mastervolt Alpha Pro II

Thank you Offpist and others for the help so far, the setup is now as follow

A service bank with 400Ah LifePO4
A bow battery with AGM

2x Mastershunts

A Balmar 150A alternator with external Mastervolt Alpha Pro regulatoer connected through masterbus network. An additional temp sensor for mounting directly to the alternator as well.

Today I tested the setup for the first time and everything works fine. My question now is what's the optimal charge settings for Lifepo4 regarding bulk/abs/float, voltage, max/min time and so on.

Anyone who like to share your charge settings for lifepo4?

This is my settings atm.
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