Scotty- sorry I did not get back to you sooner. Thank you for the generous offer but I think at this late stage in the game
I had better get my grubby paws on something local.
After both eBay situations fell through (a hundred dollars to ship an alternator from Canada
? Psshh!) and being totally appalled at the 800$ price
tag on the 55amp Balmer kit I decided to try the auto parts
I visited Napa, Kragen, Winchester Auto Parts
, and Pep Boys before I found an employee willing to put forth any mystery solving effort. A guy at Pep Boys got into the challenge and spent an hour or so pouring over books
with me and pulling boxes off shelfs. The Napa guy was a dick and did not want to help. The girls at Kragen were nice and wanted to help but simply had no clue. They offered to let me look in thier books- which I did for a bit before deciding it was not the right path.
Anyway, Pep Boys guy found me an alternator that was 50amp and looked like it would work
. I wasn't excited about it only being 50amp though but it was tough to argue with the 50 dollar price
tag (75 since I didn't give them a core). It bugged me all night though because I will be leaving without solar panels
and with a 50amp and a fridge I am looking at 2+ hours a day of motor
This morning I started calling alternator/starter shops. I basically went through the yahoo yellow pages for my area and started calling anything with "auto electric" in the name. I did not do this right away because I felt there would be some dark juju about it- somehow it seemed like it would be complicated or expensive or otherwise hard.
I started pretty early and got some answering machines and a place that specialized in stereos. Then I dialed a place- and this is a true story- and a guy with a thick middle eastern accent answered, "Hello?" in a gruff voice. "Do you guys do alternators and starters?" I asked. "Call this number (insert number) CLICK!" and he hung up. Feeling a bit like a spy I dialed the number before it slipped from my memory. It was, in fact, an alternator shop. I guess the listing is wrong and he gets people calling all the time- but it was still funny
The shop said they could do anything and do it within a day and to come in. I was ushered into the back where the master alternator guy- an old asian fellow- looked at my hitachi. He nodded as I told him my situation, measured the case, and went into the back room at a brisk walk. He came out with an alternator- compared it to mine- decided it was wrong- and in heavily accented and broken english
asked me why I needed a higher output unit. I explained- he nodded- and ran back to the back room.
Again he returned with a unit- compared- decided it was not right- and asked me more questions. He nodded gravely and returned to the back. This time slower. The process repeated four or five times- each time he walked slower and slower and I got more and more nervous.
Eventually he stated, "This one is hard! I build you a new one. All new parts. 100amp. See this? (he holds up something that looks like a screen) This makes it marine
. I put this in it for you. One hundred eighty nine dollars. I have it by five PM."
I explained I would be out of town in the evening but that I would come back the next morning. So, we will see what happens.
100 is bigger than seems ideal but I think it will be okay. I think the Balmer site said that you lose about 1horsepower for every 25amps. So, my 14hp will run like a 10. I can deal with that.