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Old 16-02-2020, 12:45   #1
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Is it possible to protect Balmar alt while using battleborn drop ins?

What I do have is a yanmar 3gm30f with a Balmar 170amp alt with external regulator mc614. What Iím looking to do is add a 300ah lifepo4 bank.I like the battleborn 10 yr warranty ,the price tag, and the YouTube videos Iíve seen of them being opened up and analyzed they seem robust plus 10yr warranty. Iím aware of the shortcomings of the internal non Communicable b.m.s. And the problem of the alternator and or electronics being fried in the event of a bms disconnects. Is there a way to mitigate this? Iíve been on google for a few weeks and just when I think Iíve figured it out I have new questions. Most of the vendors Iíve spoken to are very knowledgeable honest and helpful. It seems each vendor has their own particular way to skin a cat and each vendor has its own products,.
Iíll start with my plan (3) 100 ah battle born lifepo4, Balmar 170 with external mc614 regulator, sterling protection device,Victron 12/3000 inverter charger, fla start battery as a buffer, with dc to dc Charger.
With regards to the alt; I know the lifepo4 will take a lot of charge and have the alt running wide open. So will the temp sensors be enough to stop it from taxing itself too hard? I planned on using the small engine reduction switch to reduce it to 50% if I felt I was running the balls off the alt. People will say the alt can run all it can wide open no problem but I look at it like running a car at 120mph all the time. And feel itíll last longer if not ran this way. So is the battery temp sensors for the regulator enough to protect the alt or should I also reduce its output for longevityís sake?
Next is in the event of a bms disconnect the sterling protection device diverts the load to ground? Does that mean the regulator will understand itís being dumped and stop charging or will it see this as a sign to keep charging wide open? From what I read on the literature you should shut the motor down if the device is actively dumping the charge. If I have a 5 hour steam and i donít want to shut the motor down or actively monitor the alternators output and shut it down ,then what?
I plan on using a fla start battery as a buffer. This means I have to charge the lifepo4 from the fla or vice versa? If I charge the lifepo4;from the fla wonít I be negating the fast recharge capeableity of the lifepo4? Thus not taking full advantage of their bennifits? I haven seen dc to dc Chargers over 60amps .Will I need to set the regulator to fla? In this case the po4 bank is fully charged there is a bms disconnect but the alt is still charging the fla and if/when thatís full the reg senses it and stops charging and everyoneís happy correct? If I have a bad fla then my po4s will be constantly draining into the fla? Or do I need to keep a load on the system to stop a full charge?
If I need to charge the fla from the po4 then if the fla is full and so is the po4 thereís a bms disconnect then the protection device kicks in and I have to stop motoring?
Looks like Victron has a really good system but there is so many components and so many wires,failure points, it hardly seems k.i.s.s.
Iím trying to do this with the battleborns and the least amt of components and also if a friend or wife is in command donít want to have to teach them how to be an electrical engineer...
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Old 17-02-2020, 12:50   #2
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Re: Is it possible to protect Balmar alt while using battleborn drop ins?

I don't know of a great way to use drop-in batteries with an alternator.

The one way I have seen it done in a production system is with a lead acid battery paralleled (charging with, not through). On quick inspection, that seemed to have several drawbacks:

1) You have to carry around a buffer battery.

2) The lead acid battery is, certainly, quickly ruined... although that may not be a big deal in practice. I'm not sure.

3) When the drop-ins disconnected -- and in this system they did, frequently, as the BMSes inside them were being used as the stop-charge scheme, which of course is bad -- then the tiny, beleaguered lead acid gets hammered with the load or charge by itself. This produced poor results with the particular (cheap) inverter that was installed: it would struggle to draw enough current to sustain the load, and the voltage would drop, and the inverter would cut out due to low voltage. Then the voltage would come back up, the inverter would reengage for a bit, and so on. In general, it was a mess.
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Old 17-02-2020, 13:12   #3
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Re: Is it possible to protect Balmar alt while using battleborn drop ins?

That's what i was afraid of seems like something that's gonna need constant attention. It's a shame bc the dropins make life po4 worth it to me. But the external bms and all the gear needed for a proper system are turning me away from it. To much to go wrong.
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Old 17-02-2020, 16:02   #4
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Re: Is it possible to protect Balmar alt while using battleborn drop ins?

I just got a reply from battle born regarding bms dump and a lead start battery with Sterling protection device. I'm no expert but seems to differ from the research I've done this far here's the quote ;

I had a few questions; I have a balmar 170amp alternator w the mc614 lifepo4 profile. I will ad a Sterling battery protect and the multiplus 3000 inverter charger. I will have a lead acid start battery With a DC to DC charger to charge my start battery. I'm having trouble understands what happens to the alternator when the bms on the lifepo4 cuts the battery's out of the loop? Will my alternator fry? Or should I actually be charging the lifepo4 from the lead acid battery? If that's the case will I still get all the bennifits of the lifep04s fast recharge time? Is there a safe way to protect my alternator and electronics when the lifep04 are full? There will be conditions when I will be motoring for hours and the battery's will be full



You can add the Sterling Alternator Protection device. To protect it from any type of spike back. Iíve attached a link below to the Sterling ADP unit



Yes once the bms disconnects the battery and the sterling protection device dumps diverts the alternators charge to neutral what tells the alternator to stop charging wonít the alternator just keep on running at full output? Is there a way to tell the alternator to stop charging?



The alternator protection device is intended to protect your alternator from any return charge that may come from your full lithium batteries. The BMS in our batteries will not disconnect the batteries once they are fully charged. The alternator will continue to output continuous amperage because that is how it is designed. The amount of current coming out of your alternator will depend on what speed the vehicle is going.



The alternator protection device will not divert the alternatorís charge to negative, it diverts any power coming back from the lithium bank towards the alternator. The charging load from the alternator will just be directed to your starter battery to maintain its charge and to power other loads on the vehicle such as radio, clocks, etc. Prior to the lithium batteries being charged, the alternator will charge your lithium batteries, starting batteries, and power on board loads. The only way your alternator stops outputting a current is when it is in idle or when the vehicle is off. This is not damaging though as this is how this is designed to work within vehicle systems
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Old 03-03-2020, 16:41   #5
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Re: Is it possible to protect Balmar alt while using battleborn drop ins?

I can't help a lot here but I will learn a lot.

One point I can address is about your concern that the Balmar alternator can run at full output forever and hurt itself. Your MC614 is a very clever device and can prevent this. Use the alternator temperature sensor and the Belt Load Manager setting as instructed and your alternator should be kept out of trouble as far as load goes. This does not address the the critical issue the Sterling device solves.

I am heading down this path to convert from AGMs to LFPs for house, leaving an AGM for the start battery. I plan to use the Balmar Digital Duo Charge to manage charging the start battery. It will handle having the different chemistry between the banks. Before I do any of this, like you, I'm trying to get a lot smarter about the challenges. The LFP/BMS voltage drop out issue is certainly critical to understand, but clearly not a show stopper.

BTW, I found Balmar technical support to be excellent. Don't hesitate to contact them with your Balmar questions.
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Old 04-03-2020, 09:43   #6
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Re: Is it possible to protect Balmar alt while using battleborn drop ins?

Chris from Balmar here. If you use an alternator protection device (and Balmar reg) and it does it job or protecting the alternator diodes, the field will collapse shortly after the battery is disconnected. The voltage from alternator may go up, but no current will flow. Thus the Alternator is not really putting out any power while the battery is disconnected.

Chris
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Old 04-03-2020, 10:08   #7
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Re: Is it possible to protect Balmar alt while using battleborn drop ins?

Brilliant
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Old 22-08-2021, 10:23   #8
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Re: Is it possible to protect Balmar alt while using battleborn drop ins?

Reviving this thread, as I am investigating a similar solution. I have 6 105A Lifeline Group 31s that I am thinking of replacing with BattleBorn 100A drop-ins. I have a Magnum Inverter/Charger and a Balmar MC-614 with Balmar AT-DF-165-K6 alternator. Looks like Magnum charger will work but can this work with the Balmar? I don't want to mess with a parallel flooded battery etc. Anyone made a similar setup work without too much hassle?
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Old 22-08-2021, 13:19   #9
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Re: Is it possible to protect Balmar alt while using battleborn drop ins?

I'm in the process of replacing my aged AGM's with 2 Battle Born 100Ah. The alternator system is 100A Balmar alternator with a 614 regulator, a Balmar Duo Charge charges a sealed LA starter battery. Looks like this will be a pretty common setup. Shore power and solar are in the mix but I'll leave that out of the discussion for now.

First I think a little theory on how an alternator/regulator works. The regulator controls the alternator output VOLTAGE by controlling the field winding current. The current output is determined by the battery terminal voltage, battery internal resistance, alternator winding resistance, and any resistance due to cables and connections. So let's take the case where the BB Lithiums are almost fully charged (14.2V) and the regulator is set for 14.4V, doubtful the alternator will output anywhere near 100A. As the terminal voltage of the battery rises to 14.4V there will be no current flow into the battery from the alternator, there may be current drawn from the alternator by house loads, refer, lights, but not by the battery. Also the BB BMS does not disconnect when fully charged, however it will disconnect if the terminal voltage is >14.7V, a properly set regulator will prevent this.

So why does an alternator fry when charging Li batteries? Due to Li batterie's extremely low internal resistance they will draw as much current as you can throw at them, and unlike an LA will draw high current for almost the full charge cycle, most alternators are not designed to cope with this. Fortunately the Balmar 614 regulator allows the max output to be reduced, I plan on 50%, and can monitor the alternator temperature. Possibly a blower duct to the alternator might allow the power to be increased, we'll see.
What about the case of the BMS disconnecting and damaging the alternator? Yes this can happen and if it does while charging at a high current the magnetic field of the alternator collapses and can induce a high voltage opposite polarity spike which may exceed the breakdown voltage of the alternators diodes and damage them.

So how do you prevent this? An alternator protection device, like that made by Sterling, or an LA battery in parallel with the BB Li batteries will work. I believe the LA battery solution has advantages. First the optimal charging profile for BB Li batteries is very close to a sealed LA battery, 14.2V-14.6V for absorption and 13.4 to 13.8V for float. Yes, I know the term 'absorption' is not correct for Li batteries but BB uses this voltage to top balance the cells when the charge is complete, BB recommends holding this voltage for about 30min per battery, so a two battery bank would need an hour. Now this is a bit short to properly charge an LA battery but a call to BB confirmed that their batteries can sit at 14.2-14.6V for hours with no detrimental affects. If the absorption time is increased to 2 hours and the float voltage set to the lower end near 13.4V this should be fine for a small LA, say group 24 of 80Ah. Another advantage, you can get a grp24 LA deep cycle for about $100 at any auto parts store, relatively cheap and easily replaced when the time comes. Now for the major advantage, redundancy and backup, if the BMS were to disconnect, which of course will happen at night in a busy shipping channel, you can still run nav lights from the LA. Given all that I fail to see the reluctance of adding an LA to the system.

Hope that helps.
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Old 22-08-2021, 21:36   #10
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Re: Is it possible to protect Balmar alt while using battleborn drop ins?

Thanks @SteveSails, this is very helpful.

While researching I also came across alternator regulator Wakespeed WS500. Looks like this is meant to be a replacement of MC614 in my setup and it does appear to be supporting LifePo4. Has anyone tried using this with drop-in BB batteries?
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Old 04-09-2021, 13:37   #11
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Re: Is it possible to protect Balmar alt while using battleborn drop ins?

Drop in batteries generally have no way of communicating with the Wakespeed regulator.

In my opinion, the wakespeed will work but you will need a small FLA or APD to protect from battery cutoff.

Balmar and wakespeed regulators will probably work better with a BMS, but the small FLA or APD would work too.
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Old 04-09-2021, 22:50   #12
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Re: Is it possible to protect Balmar alt while using battleborn drop ins?

Thanks a lot, what is a FLA and APD? Any references?
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Old 05-09-2021, 04:56   #13
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Re: Is it possible to protect Balmar alt while using battleborn drop ins?

FLA Small flooded lead acid battery to accept any spike.
APD Alternator Protection Device (stirling)
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Old 16-09-2021, 09:46   #14
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Re: Is it possible to protect Balmar alt while using battleborn drop ins?

So i started this thread and i thought i had it fugured out...i have an xt 170 . 170 amp alt.i have a duo charge that my lithium charges my lead bank and asterling devive in place.my 614 regulator is derated to 70 % and i use small engine mode to put that in half.. for hours id watch the batteries get to 100% and the regulator would tell the alt to stop charging. Worked great always in small engine mode..at anchor id take it out of small engine mode and run it high rpm. ( derated to 70% approx 120 amps this way im not robbing h.p. from tbe engine while steaming) i never fully topped the batteries when charging at 120 because i didn't need to. Id get close and tire of hearng the motor. Last time i did try to top off to 100%.....94% full 1500rmp 120 amps about the 2nd hour. And BAM CRACK and the alt is fried....

Inital thought was a bms dump. Either a premature bms dump or the regulator didnt shut down at the set parameters.

Bms dump would require all 4 bms to be faulty or premature. Not likely

Or regulator failed to stop the alt prematurely.

Or my victron bmv battery monitor was wrong and ineally was at 100% and i just thought i was only at 94%..

Checked my regulator settings theyre correct. Checked the alternator and diodes were indeed fried( partially i still get 50 amps)

Balmar tech said the regulator cant shut the alternator down fast enough. However i dont believe that since thats its job and it did just that for months. Maybe the 120amps was to much i dont know.

Turns out the battery on off shorted and opend up while the alternator was running.
So the sterling device didnt save the alt. Nor did the regulator or bms fail.

The only way to guarentee bb and balmars is to charge a lead battery and use dc to dc charges to your lithium. This negated alot of the bennifits of lithium. This is just bb and balmars. Ive been told by balmar youd need a contact to turn off the regulator before it dumped. The mc614 doesnt have that capability. ( i think)

Thats my findings. Moral of the story. Is it does work until it doesnt. And from what balmar told me it shouldnt but it did and does.so either im confused misinformed or some of both...
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Old 16-09-2021, 12:00   #15
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Re: Is it possible to protect Balmar alt while using battleborn drop ins?

P.s. im looking at the balmar zap stop. The sacrifical diode. Not completly sure how or if this can factor into the equasion. But my thoughts are to some how add it to my main pannel to protect my electronics ratger the protect my alt? Any input on that?
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